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Dota 2 Brewmaster Guide – Builds, Abilities, Items and Strategy


Brewmaster is a melee strength hero who’s main role is to initiate, despite having some carry elements. Though, he mostly carries through being nigh unkillable in team fights. Brewmaster can function in any lane, but I think he excels the most in kill lanes. While Brewmaster is an extremely powerful hero, his design is a mess.

Almost all of his power is allocated into two skills, leaving the rest of his kit to either be redundant or ill-suited for his role. As such, Brewmaster becomes highly cooldown reliant on his ultimate skill, which has an obnoxiously long cooldown on it. If you don’t mind long down time in between god-tier power, then Brewmaster is definitely for you.

Abilities

Thunderclap

  • Targets: Enemy Units
  • Damage: 100/175/250/300
  • Effects: Slows movement and attack speed by 25/35/45/55%
  • Duration: 4.25 seconds (8 on creeps)
  • AoE: 400
  • Cast Range: 0
  • Cooldown: 12
  • Mana: 90/105/130/150

An absurdly strong skill that, in conjunction with a way for Brewmaster to get into melee range, becomes completely broken. The easiest way to abuse this ability, is to partner up with a hero that can either CC someone long enough for you to get into range, or someone that can boost you into position.

Drunken Haze

  • Targets: Enemy Units
  • Effects: 14/18/22/26% movement speed reduction and 45/55/65/75% chance to miss on attacks.
  • Duration: 8 seconds (12 on creeps)
  • Cooldown: 8 seconds
  • AoE: 10
  • Range: 850
  • Mana: 50

I’ve never really liked this spell. Between the long cast animation and the nearly non-existent movement speed reduction at early levels, you’ll never catch up to a target to get in range to use Thunderclap with just this ability.

It also doesn’t help that Brewmaster is horribly mana starved throughout the early game. So, even though this spell only costs 50 mana, that’s 50 mana too much. In team fights, you simply don’t have the time to cast this spell before you use your ultimate. Even if you did, the targets you’d hit it with, will usually have black king bar to counter it.

Drunken Brawler

  • Targets: All Units
  • Effects: 10/15/20/25% chance to dodge, 10/15/20/25% chance to crit for 2x damage.
  • Cost: Passive

I have mixed feelings about this skill. By itself, it’s amazing. However, it feels very misplaced on Brewmaster. Early game, it’s exactly what he needs to kill people before the duration of Thunderclap dissipates. Unfortunately, right around the time it peaks, you should have Blink Dagger and team fights should start to be happening.

In which case, the fights are decided by the time your ultimate’s duration ends. Because you don’t build Brewmaster like a traditional carry, this skill will never have any impact in a team fight that actually matters. The fact that it has no synergy with his ultimate, has always felt like a poor design decision to me.

Primal Spirit

  • Effects: Splits Brewmaster into three spirits
  • Duration: 15(20)/17(23)/19(26) seconds
  • Cooldown: 180(160)/160(140)/140(120) seconds
  • Mana: 125/150/175

This ultimate is completely bonkers. Brewmaster transforms into three spirits, Storm, Earth and Fire. Storm has Dispel, which removes positive buffs from enemies and dispels debuffs on allies. Cyclone, which disables a hero for 8 seconds, but they can’t be damaged, either. And Wind Walk, which turns the spirit invisible, gives it bonus movespeed, and its next attack deals bonus damage, while breaking the invisibility.

Earth has passive spell immunnity, a random chance to deal bonus damage in an AoE on auto attacks, and a low cooldown, long ranged stun that lasts 2 seconds. Earth also has an obscene amount of health, in comparison to the other spirits and is where the Brewmaster will respawn, after the duration of the ultimate is over. Unless, of course, all the spirits are killed before the duration ends.

In which case, Brewmaster, too, dies. Fire has the highest damage, max movespeed and a passive that deals damage in a small AoE around him. The Spirits get stronger as the ultimate is leveled and when you get an Aghanimn’s Scepter. The numbers in parenthesis are additional bonuses for purchasing Aghanimn’s Scepter.

Builds

  1. Thunderclap
  2. Drunken Brawler
  3. Thunderclap
  4. Drunken Brawler
  5. Thunderclap
  6. Primal Spirits
  7. Thunderclap (maxed)
  8. Drunken Brawler
  9. Drunken Brawler (maxed)
  10. Drunken Haze
  11. Primal Spirits
  12. Drunken Haze
  13. Drunken Haze
  14. Drunken Haze (maxed)
  15. Stats
  16. Primal Spirits

Items

Starting: Stout Shield, 3x Iron Branch, 2x Tango

Early: Arcane Boots

Core: Blink Dagger, Aghanimn’s Scepter

Situational: Drum of Endurance, Assault Cuirass, Vladimir’s Offering, Orb of Venom, Magic Stick/Wand, Phase Boots

Playing Brewmaster without Arcane Boots is my personal nightmare. His mana issues are obnoxious, which is why I prefer them over Phase Boots. Blink Dagger is the first core item you pick up, so that you can initiate fights and get into range to use Thunderclap and Primal Split. Brewmaster is the poster child for Aghanimn’s Scepter, and as such, you should always, always, always pick it up. Always.

As for situational items, Brewmaster wants aura based items, because his spirits get the aura effects and nothing else. I almost always get Drum of Endurance as my first luxury item (because it’s just so awesome), unless my team really, really needs lifesteal aura from Vladimir’s Offering. Or the pushing power of Assault Cuirass.

Gameplay Strategy Tips

Laning
Brewmaster specializes in bullying other melee heroes. When they go to last hit a creep, you cast Thunderclap near them and start to auto attack them. With Thunderclap’s strong attack speed reduction and the passive dodge on Drunken Brawler, you’ll win any engagement that involves trading auto attack blows. However, be careful against double disable, hard nuking lanes.

Even though Brewmaster has a lot of health, you can easily get punished for being too aggressive. Against a really tough line up, you may want to consider putting a point into Drunken Haze, to help fend off heavy harassment. Hopefully, you won’t have to resort to such a tactic. As it usually means your lane isn’t equipped to be as aggressive as Brewmaster needs to be.

Team Fights
Brewmaster is at his best, in team fights. If you have Blink Dagger, simply blink into as many people as you can, and hit them with Thunderclap. Immediately cast Primal Spirits afterwards and during the long animation, quickly discern who you’re going to cast Cyclone on, and who you’re going to stun.

Generally, I like to Cyclone characters that have a lot of annoying abilities, but aren’t generally focused in fights. This changes from game to game and is mostly based on what your teammates have done in the past.

If they’re ignoring the carry, tag him with a Cyclone, while you clean up the rest of his team. Or, you could just as easily plant a stun in his face, while your team focuses him down, while their Tidehunter is cycloned, incapable of retaliating with his team fight winning ultimate.

Primal Spirits can be somewhat overwhelming when you first start to use it. In order to keep yourself sane, I recommend this order of priority for micro management.

  1. Escaping with Windwalk on Storm, if things turn really badly, and your Spirits are going to die.
  2. Casting Earth’s stun every time it’s available (which is very frequent.)
  3. Deciding if, when, and whom to cast Cyclone on.
  4. Dispelling buffs/debuffs with Storm.
  5. Keeping Fire alive.

Proper micro management of Primal Spirits is what really defines good Brewmaster play. I’m a huge fan of tabing between units, so I prefer to keep all three spirits in control group 2. And then clicking on the individual unit that needs specific microing, at that time. However, having each spirit in their own control group is a completely valid, and perhaps superior method. That is, if you can master it.

Closing Comments – Brewmaster achieves the fabled game design of, “Easy to play, hard to master.”  Anyone can play this character and do well. But a really talented Brewmaster can make an impact in team fights, that few initiators can stake claim to.