Certain heroes in Dota 2 have abilities so unique that they will always be valuable picks, regardless of the meta. These heroes tend to jump in and out of metas seemingly at random, since, no nerf will truly push them out of the game.
Nature's Prophet is such a hero, with his global teleport allowing him to be anywhere on the map at all stages of the game. Up until a few months ago, however, Nature’s Prophet was virtually non existent in the meta. With the meta centered on playmaking and initiating offlaners, pros and pubs tend to pick heroes like Slardar, Earthshaker or Clockwerk in the offlane to control the tempo of the game. Meanwhile, as split push as a macro strategy became less and less viable, Nature’s Prophet found himself on the sidelines.
All of that changed when Team Liquid picked him at The International, bringing Furion back into the spotlight and onto the radar for pubs and pros alike. Now, Prophet has been among the most picked and contested heroes throughout most qualifiers. But what makes him so strong right now?
6.86: Increased base intelligence from 21 to 25.
7.02: Level 10 right talent: Increased attack damage bonus from 20 to 30.
7.05: Increased base attack damage from 24-38 to 30-44 (total attack damage is now 55-69).
Nature’s Prophet received quite a few buffs over the course of the past year. The most significant changes were made to his attack damage, allowing him to last-hit more effectively in lane and become a more capable carry overall. The introduction of talents further improved the hero with buffs to survivability and push.
Furion has always been a capable laner, as he can control the lane equilibrium with his Treants and harass lane opponents quite consistently. Supports also have a hard time zoning him out, as he can generally keep vision over them and trade well against them.
Pros have played around with this idea of a lane dominator quite a bit and the most popular build further reflects the potential he has in lane. Starting with Boots and picking up an Orb of Venom, Prophet players can dominate virtually any match-up. With high mobility, it’s difficult for Prophet players to get caught out of position and the Orb of Venom provides sufficient slow early on to allow the Treants to hit consistently.
Blight Stone used to be a popular choice as well and some players still opt for it instead of the OoV--and it’s still a viable choice against certain heroes and line-ups, i.e. Sven--but OoV deals more consistent damage. Blight Stone is a valuable choice when Prophet doesn’t lane alone, but even then the OoV slow could prove to be more effective.
To further dominate any lane match-up, turning the Boots into Phase Boots is essential. It provides more chase potential, especially when ganking, and of course increases the damage output.
But his lane domination isn’t restricted to the offlane, where he is usually played. Nature’s Prophet shines by helping other lanes, teleporting for early kills and tipping the odds in his team’s favor.
As a result of his laning dominance, Nature’s Prophet applies tremendous pressure onto enemies early on. Not only does he usually win his lane, or potentially keep two to three heroes busy, he also has the potential to win other lanes and can turn any successful gank into a tower push, even early on.
Split push naturally applies pressure to the opponent, forcing them to play a different game of Dota. Prophet also provides his team with more flexibility, as he can lane anywhere and can even fall back into the jungle. Once he’s taken towers and gained map control, he can even farm aggressively, farming the enemy jungle and applying even more pressure, as he can be difficult to catch out of position.
For a while now, teams have begun to resort to split pushing as a viable strategy again, bringing back the likes of Anti-Mage and now Prophet. Towers have continuously been buffed, receiving more armor the more enemy heroes are around, encouraging split pushing.
Prophet is the most iconic split pushing hero, for good reason. While towers may gain more armor with more heroes around, summoned units are still as effective as they’ve ever been, making Furion the perfect candidate to apply pressure with.
The general public may still see Nature’s Prophet primarily as a jungler, with almost 61% of his games played in the jungle. The hero certainly can work as a jungler and we illustrated just last week that jungling isn’t bad per se, if executed properly. Even as a jungler, Prophet can help his lanes win and compLexity Gaming recently ran a 4 position Nature’s Prophet that would alternate between lanes and jungle frequently.
That said, the higher skill range (5k+ MMR) has long realized that the true potential of the hero lies in lane, with more and more players opting to play him in the offlane. It can feel intimidating to play Prophet in lane, simply because there are more units to control. But even without perfect micro, Prophet is a lane beast that is worth picking up.