Dota 2: How to play Huskar like OG's ATF - Item builds

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In this guide, let's dive into how OG offlaner Ammar 'ATF' Al-Assaf dominates with his item build on Huskar. (Photos: Valve Software, OG)
In this guide, let's dive into how OG offlaner Ammar 'ATF' Al-Assaf dominates with his item build on Huskar. (Photos: Valve Software, OG)

Huskar the Sacred Warrior has emerged as one of the most successful heroes in the current Dota 2 metagame, currently listed as the 28th most picked hero in the game while having a 54% win rate by Dotabuff.

But Huskar isn’t just a hero who can stomp in pubs, he has also shaken the professional scene as well.

The hero is one of the most contested heroes in all regions, especially in Western Europe, where OG offlaner Ammar "ATF" Al-Assaf has showcased Huskar's dominance.

This is the second of our two-part guide on how to play Huskar the way OG's ATF does. This part will focus on the hero's item build, so check out the first part on how ATF picks Huskar's skills and Talents if you haven't yet.

What items does ATF buy for Huskar?

One of the things that makes Huskar a strong hero in the current meta is his flexible skill build.

Players can opt for more points in Burning Spears to deal damage or follow ATF and max out Berserker's Blood first to become nigh-unkillable early game.

When it comes to the hero's item build though, it's a little more rigid.

ATF tends to follow the same item build in almost every game, rarely deviating from the hero's core items. Let's start by going into ATF's core items for Huskar:

ATF's core items for Huskar

Boots of Speed

Cost: 500

Oddly enough, ATF tends to buy only the basic Boots of Speed and never upgrades them to either Power Treads or Phase Boots. It's a unique approach to the hero, as Power Treads are the fifth most bought item on Huskar.

With that said, not upgrading boots allows ATF to rush his Armlet of Mordiggian, the hero's most important item in the early game.

Huskar has solid strength growth and high attack speed thanks to Berserker's Blood, enough to let him comfortably skip Power Treads.

Thanks to his ultimate Life Break, Huskar can also quickly reach his enemies, rendering the bonus movement speed of Phase Boots useless.

Magic Wand

Cost: 450

Recipe: Magic Stick (200), Two Branches (100), Recipe (150)

Until Huskar purchases Armlet of Mordiggian, the hero has no way to burst heal in the middle of a fight.

The Armlet takes some time to build, as it costs 2,500 gold, so there will be a significant window of time where Huskar will be especially vulnerable. That's where Magic Wand comes in.

Cheaper than Boots of Speed, Magic Wand gives Huskar solid stats and the potential to heal 300 health and mana during a fight. While the mana regeneration is mostly useless, the burst healing is invaluable to the hero.

Huskar likes to play at low health, usually hovering around 20% of his health to maximize the benefits of Berserker's Blood. If Huskar isn't careful, enemies can bring him down when he is at such low health, which is where Magic Wand's 300 heal comes in handy to keep the hero alive.

Armlet of Mordiggian

Cost: 2,500

Recipe: Helm of Iron Will (975), Gloves of Haste (450), Blades of Attack (450), Recipe (625)

Huskar's most important power spike comes early in the game once the hero purchases the Armlet of Mordiggian. This item is so important for Huskar that ATF regularly rushes it as his first item, even before Boots of Speed and Magic Wand.

Armlet fits Huskar like a glove and provides the hero with everything he needs. Passively, Armlet gives its wielder 25 attack speed, 15 damage, 6 armor, and 5 health regeneration.

The Unholy Strength active provides 4 additional armor, 35 extra damage, and 25 strength at the cost of 45 health lost a second.

As mentioned during our discussion on the hero's Skills and Talents, Huskar has high attack speed but relatively mediocre damage. When Unholy Strength is activated, Huskar gains 75 damage per attack — enough to shred enemies during the early-to-mid game.

The health lost per second may be a problem for other Armlet users but not Huskar, who actually benefits from losing health as it helps him get the maximum benefit of Berserker's Blood.

Huskar's regeneration ramps up as he loses health, so Armlet won't bring the hero down to dangerously low levels of HP.

The most valuable part of Armlet is the ability to toggle Unholy Strength to quickly gain 500 health. This allows Huskar to play mind games with his opponents by turning the item on and off during teamfights to stay alive in impossible situations.

It's impossible to separate Huskar from Armlet, so players should follow ATF and buy this item in every single game with no exception.

Black King Bar (4,050)

Cost: 4,050

Recipe: Ogre Axe (1,000), Mithril Hammer (1,600), Recipe ( 1,450)

How bad core players see Black King Bar
How bad core players see Black King Bar

This guide has referenced Huskar's durability multiple times and rightly so, as the hero is notorious for being hard to bring down .

But being hard to kill doesn't mean the hero can skip buying important survivability items. After finishing Armlet, ATF immediately rushes a Black King Bar, regularly getting the item 15 minutes in the game.

BKB allows the hero to ignore almost all disables the enemy throws at him while he takes them down one by one.

The item also provides a decent amount of extra strength and damage, something Huskar can never get enough of.

If you want to play Huskar like ATF, buy a BKB. If you play core heroes in general, buy a BKB. If you want to win games in Dota 2, please buy a BKB. I can't stress this enough, please buy a BKB.

Aghanim's Scepter (4,200)

Cost: 4,200

Recipe: Point Booster (1,200), Ogre Axe (1,000), Blade of Alacrity (1,000), Staff of Wizardry (1,000)

The last core item that ATF always buys for Huskar is Aghanim's Scepter. The Scepter upgrade provides Life Break with 300 extra cast range, a helpful buff to the spell late game when heroes become more mobile.

Huskar's main weakness is his lack of scaling in the late game.

Scepter helps mitigate that problem by giving the hero some much-needed utility in the form of a three-second Taunt. Life Break pierces magic immunity, allowing Huskar to control enemy cores late game.

ATF's luxury items for Huskar

Heaven's Halberd

Cost: 3,550

Recipe: Sange (2,050), Talisman of Evasion (1,300), Recipe (200)

ATF buys Heaven's Halberd in so many games that it's almost a core item on the hero. The item gives Huskar bonus strength, status resistance, heal amplification, and evasion.

Huskar is mostly immune to magical damage (especially if you have BKB) but the hero is still susceptible to physical damage, making Halberd an exceptional item for the hero.

Halberd also comes with the ability to disarm targets and prevent them from attacking enemies. Huskar can disarm ranged enemies for 10 seconds if he has a Heaven's Halberd, making him a potent counter against cores like Medusa, Razor, and Luna.

Hurricane Pike

Cost: 4,450

Recipe: Force Staff (2,200), Dragon Lance (1,900), Recipe (350)

Dota 2 has multiple mobility items that players can purchase to allow them to keep their distance from enemies. Huskar in the early game can easily catch supports and bring them down, but as the match goes later and later, it becomes harder for the Sacred Warrior to stay on top of his enemies.

That's where Hurricane Pike comes in, as it provides the hero with bonus attack range to help him keep hitting his enemies during teamfights.

Hurricane Pike also allows Huskar to save allies and put some distance between himself and enemies during bad engagements. It's not a common item on the hero but ATF sees the value of Hurricane Pike in the late game, and you should too.

Platemail

Cost: 1,400

Recipe: Seriously?

As mentioned during Huskar's hero overview, 1.5 agility gain is not enough for the hero to ignore physical damage.

While Armlet and Heaven's Halberd help Huskar when facing physical damage lineups, ATF isn't afraid to take it one step further and get a Platemail for the extra 10 armor. Platemail is an efficient source of armor late game.

You can upgrade the Platemail to Assault Cuirass later on, but it isn't a necessity as 10 armor should be enough to mitigate physical damage carries while you build more needed luxury items.

Satanic

Cost: 5,050

Recipe: Morbid Mask (900), Claymore (1,350), Reaver (2,800)

Almost every item ATF buys on Huskar provides a mixture of strength and damage, and Satanic is no exception to the rule.

Satanic is an ultra late game purchase for Huskar that helps the hero stay alive during teamfights. Huskar's damage falls of late in the game and the hero takes longer to bring down his enemies.

The Unholy Rage active greatly buffs the hero's lifesteal and dispels negative effects, making it the perfect ability to use at low health.

This is part two of our two-part guide on how to play Huskar like OG's ATF. Part one looked into ATF's choice of Skills and Talents for the hero, you can check it out here.

Has this guide been useful for you? Keep an eye out for more guides on how to play and itemize certain Dota 2 heroes, and join in the conversation on our social channels.

Otomo is a long-time gaming enthusiast and caster. He has been playing games since he was 10 and is the biggest Dota 2 fan.

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