Earth Spirit is one of the best pure initiators at the start of the game. His long-range Rolling Bolder allows him to ram into opponents from a distance. Upon hitting the enemy, the hero can follow up with Boulder Smash, Geomagnetic Grip, and Magnetize. The combination of spells is very disruptive and, if executed correctly, can deal major damage to its primary target but also surrounding enemies.
Key Info Up Front
Earth Spirit is a melee strength hero whose main role is to initiate into enemies and wreak havoc within their lines. Depending on a situation, he could also be played as a defensive hero, saving his allies from being killed.
Health: 640 Damage: 47-57 Movement speed: 290 Strength: 22 + 4.4
Mana: 315 Armor: 2 Attack speed: 0.69 attacks per second Agility: 17 + 2.4
Intelligence: 20 + 2.1
Spells and abilities: Boulder Smash, Rolling Boulder, Geomagnetic Grip, Magnetize
Special abilities: Stone Remnant
Strengths: Among the best early game gankers, massive strength gain, nice area spells
Weaknesses: Heavily reliant on the available Stone Remnants, hard to execute, can be easily nuked
The hero needs Stone Remnants to execute his spells. Basically, he will manipulate these objects pushing and pulling them around. Earth Spirit’s ultimate, Magnetize, will refresh its duration each time hero puts a remnant close to the affected opponent. This is why it is crucial for the hero to stay alive for as long as possible.
Proper Stone Remnant management is what separates a mediocre Earth Spirit player from a great one. You also have to hit your spells to be efficient, which can sometimes be very hard. When you jump into the fray, there are all these colorful animations around you which makes it harder to see Stone Remnants and utilize them properly.
If you’re playing Earth Spirit for the first time, you will probably run around like a headless chicken, not knowing what to do. Even if you’re skilled enough, you might still miss a lot of your spells, causing the ire of your teammates.
However, a player who knows what he’s doing can be incredibly useful to his team.
Boulder Smash allows the hero to hit (better yet, smash) a unit or a remnant and send it flying in the direction he’s facing. As the object goes forward, it will cause damage to everything in its path. If you use the remnant instead of a unit, you will also apply a 50% slow for a short duration.
It is worth noting that Stone Remnant will remain in the same spot where you pushed it. If you’re proficient enough, you can grab it with Geomagnetic Grip as it’s traveling, pull it back to you, and cause additional damage and silence. This is one of the hero’s basic combos that causes severe damage and applies several debuffs.
Using Boulder Smash on a unit can help initiation. This is especially true in the laning phase before heroes get their Blink Daggers. On the other hand, the slow effect synergizes well with the hero’s other spells.
Earth Spirit will turn into a boulder and roll towards a target position. If it passes over a Stone Remnant, it will exponentially increase its rolling speed and distance. The great thing about the ability is that you can cast Stone Remnant as you’re rolling, making it just a bit easier to execute.
Rolling Boulder is the hero’s main spell during the laning phase. It can cover a long distance, and you can use it to travel from your mid-tower to the opponents’ mid-tower, making it great for early game ganking. If you connect with an enemy hero, you will cause them minor damage and will stun them for 0.4/0.6/0.8/1 second per Rolling Boulder level. The stun duration is doubled if you roll over a Stone Remnant beforehand.
Like many other hero’s spells, you simply have to hit Stone Remnant for it to be useful. Otherwise, the ability is rather lackluster, and enemies can even dodge it. Investing 4 points into the ability allows you to use it every 4 seconds, making it a great method of initiation but also subsequent retreat.
Unlike hero’s other spells, which can work on several targets, Rolling Boulder can only affect one.
Geomagnetic Grip is a spell that works really well with Boulder Smash.
To use it properly, you need to place Stone Remnant just behind a target and pull it towards you. Like Boulder Smash, it will affect everything in its path. The spell damage is not that impressive; however, its silence can make a difference in teamfights. Depending on spell level, silence will last for 2/2.5/3/3.5 seconds.
When doing Geomagnetic Grip/Boulder Smash combo, you can start with either one of these abilities. In other words, you can first smash a remnant and then pull it towards yourself or pull a remnant and smash it when it comes to melee range. The great thing about this combo is that you can execute it with just one Stone Remnant. That way, you will be left with more boulders for Magnetize and Rolling Boulder.
Keep in mind that hitting these two spells can be really tricky and requires a lot of practice to master.
When you roll into the enemy team, you can press Magnetize to apply a damage over time debuff. To cast this spell, you need to be close to the enemy, basically at a melee range. If the enemy is in your vicinity, they will receive a Magnetize debuff that deals 40/80/120 damage per second for 6 seconds.
Each time you place Stone Remnant close to the affected target, it will refresh the spell’s duration. Furthermore, it will affect all the nearby enemies. The debuff can also spread if the nearby targets are hit with Boulder Smash or Geomagnetic Grip (as long as the remnant goes through debuffed target).
Magnetize can do enormous damage over time. The only issue is that Earth Spirit is often played as a support, which means he is underdeveloped and under-armed. In other words, you can easily get nuked by the opponents when you roll into their team.
Perhaps the best way to utilize the spell is during mid-fight. When enemies are already engaged and have cast a few spells, you can roll into them without worrying too much about retaliation.
Stone Remnant (Special Ability)
Stone Remnants are boulder-like objects that have the appearance of Earth Spirit. They are static, don’t provide vision, and last 60 seconds.
You have a maximum of 7 Stone Remnants. Every 20 seconds, a charge is replenished. If you get Aghanim’s Shard, the maximum number climbs to 11, and they also provide 375 ground vision making them a nice scouting tool.
Keep in mind that the remnants will stay intact even when you use them for spells. The only exception is using them for Rolling Boulder, which destroys the object.
Enchant Remnant (granted by Aghanim’s Scepter)
Enchant Remnant is an interesting ability that can be used offensively and defensively.
You can target an ally or an enemy with this spell, turning them into Stone Remnant. It is worth noting that the ability can be used on allies under the effect of Black King Bar, but it cannot be used on spell immune enemies.
Enchant Remnant lasts 3 seconds, and upon ending, it will damage surrounding enemies for 450 damage. Both allies and enemies are fully invulnerable and disabled, in the same way as Stone Remnants. Earth Spirit can use them as his own boulders.
The ability is great against a pursuer as it will disable him for the duration. Players can also use it to turn their allies into stone, pull them back with Geomagnetic Grip or push them with Boulder Smash, thus saving them from a dangerous situation.
Enchant Remnant has a cooldown of 45 seconds when used on allies and enemies. You can also target your own Stone Remnant if you simply wish to damage surrounding enemies. In this case, the cooldown will be 5 seconds. The spell can also target illusions and clones, but you can’t cast it on creeps.
In theory, Earth Spirit can roll into several enemies from a long distance cast Geomagnetic Grip/Smashing Bolder on several opponents, thus silencing and slowing them. While silenced, you can cast Magnetize without worrying about retaliation.
Unfortunately, things rarely go so smoothly in practice. Hitting a few enemies with Geomagnetic Grip is extremely hard. Someone on the enemy team is bound to nuke you. Even if you hit all your spells and enemies are distracted, you will likely be targeted by a barrage of auto-attacks. Worst case scenario, they will turn on Black King Bars, and you’d just stand there twiddling your thumbs.
Mastering Earth Spirit is very fulfilling. Like many other complex heroes, he has enormous potential, but only if you utilize him properly. To be quite honest, most people will have an underwhelming experience playing the character.
Earth Spirit is commonly played as a mid or support. At this point in time, he is rather underwhelming in both roles. Even during his best patches, you had to be a good enough player to make an impact.
Most commonly, he is played as a roaming support. As lane support, his spells are rather underwhelming, with low damage, although he has lots of disables. You can’t trade hits effectively as Earth Spirit has low armor and average auto-attack damage.
Nevertheless, he is one of the more potent mid gankers. The hero can roll straight into an enemy player, stunning him for a brief duration. While the disable lasts, Earth Spirit can push the opponents towards his middle tower with Boulder Smash. If properly executed, this can ensure an easy kill.
Alternatively, Earth Spirit can gank the opposite lane. Most players start with Orb of Venom, which helps immensely in these situations.
In terms of the build, you should always start with one point in Rolling Boulder. After that, you should get points in Boulder Smash and Geomagnetic Grip, which should provide several debuffs crucial for ganking. The same build would also help for mid Earth Spirit. Given that the hero is relatively item-independent, you should start making space for your cores as soon as possible.
The early game is much easier for Earth Spirit than the mid game. The hero thrives when ganking when there are not enough heroes to nuke him after initiation. Even during small skirmishes, when it’s 2v2 or 3v3, he can get the most out of his Magnetize by casting several Stone Remnants around debuffed enemies.
But, as soon as you start fighting 4v4 or 5v5, life gets hard for this hero. By rolling straight into the enemies, you will likely die within the next 5 to 10 seconds. In other words, you would be able to get 2 to 3 refreshes of Magnetize at best. This spell is very strong when you maximize its duration, but, at the same time, it can have minimal to no impact in fights.
Contrary to your instincts, you shouldn’t use Rolling Bolder into Magnetize combination to initiate fights as a support. Instead, when the teams clash, you should stand on the sidelines and try to get a nice Boulder Smash/Geomagnetic Grip combo. If your carry gets targeted, you should try to save him by rolling into an opponent closest to the ally and pushing him back with Boulder Smash.
As mentioned, give it a few seconds to roll into enemies and use Magnetize.
Getting full Magnetize becomes even harder in the late game if you’re a support Earth Spirit. This hero tends to die a lot and has trouble farming efficiently. Ideally, by this time, you should have a Black King Bar that would allow you to cast all your spells.
In most cases, Earth Spirits ends up being a defensive save. At level 25, you get a talent that would allow you to grab allies with Geomagnetic Grip. Enchanted Remnant can be used to turn an ally invulnerable, and you also have Boulder Smash to push an ally into your team.
The hero has an enormous magic damage potential, but you will rarely get to a point where you can safely execute your spells.
Itemization (Core items)
Orb of Corrosion
Orb of Corrosion is a great early game item tailor-made for gankers. With it, your auto-attacks will slow the target and reduce its armor. On top of that, the wearer will get a minor health boost. If you don’t wish to invest the money in Orb of Corrosion, you can stick with just Orb of Venom.
Urn of Shadows and Spirit Vessel
Again, Urn of Shadows is a cheap item that you can get early in the laning phase. It is amazing for Earth Spirit as it provides minor stat boost, armor, and mana regeneration. By using Soul Release on enemies, you can deal 200 damage over 8 seconds, which can help you finish off some of the opponents during early game ganks. Later on, you can turn the item into Spirit Vessel, gaining additional health and an improved version of Soul Release.
Veil of Discord
Veil of Discord is a great offensive item for any caster, but it is especially effective on Earth Spirit. It has a feature called Magic Weakness, allowing you to cast AOE debuff, reducing the magic resistance of affected enemies. Not only does this effect work for you, but it also empowers all magic casters in your team.
Black King Bar
Due to the nature of this hero and the fact you need to remain alive to cast several instances of Magnetize, this is a crucial item for surviving engagements. Even if you’re a support Earth Spirit, you should prioritize Black King Bar as the second or third item. Otherwise, it will be very hard to use Magnetize efficiently (although you will still be able to cast Boulder Smash and Geomagnetic Grip from a distance).
Eul’s Scepter of Divinity
Here is another popular pick-up on the hero. Eul’s Scepter of Divinity is a great way to remove various debuffs placed on the hero. Furthermore, the Cyclone feature removes you from the game for 2.5 seconds, which can help you survive certain situations. Given that Rolling Boulder has a cooldown of 4 seconds, Eul’s Scepter of Divinity would allow you to jump into the enemy team, cast your spells, Cyclone yourself, and roll out of the fray.
Itemization (Optional items)
Lotus Orb is really great for any player that is often targeted. Once Earth Spirit rolls into enemies, you can rest assured they will nuke you with everything they’ve got. In such situations, it is good to have Lotus Orb to reflect as many spells as possible back onto the attackers. Besides that, the item provides lots of armor, straight mana, as well as mana and health regeneration.
Blade Mail works in a similar way as Lotus Orb. Its main purpose is to reflect all the damage Earth Spirit takes during teamfights. With every new level, the hero gets 4.4 strength, which is one of the largest strength gains among all heroes. A large health pool ensures that the enemies will suffer a lot of reflected damage, even when you don’t manage to activate the item. Blade Mail is even better if you have Lotus Orb.
Like many other defensive items on this list, Ghost Scepter should help Earth Spirit survive just a bit longer. It turns him invulnerable to physical damage, which can be great against certain heroes and lineups.
Aghanim’s Scepter can be game-breaking on Earth Spirit. The ability to save your allies for 3 seconds, or to remove enemies from combat for 3 seconds, is simply amazing. If we also consider that Enchanted Remnant does 450 damage upon expiration, Aghanim’s Scepter would improve both the hero’s offensive and defensive capabilities.
Force Staff is an item that works well on any support. You will commonly use it to help cores escape. The item has a neat interaction when used to Earth Spirit. While this hero can escape with Rolling Boulder, the roll can be blocked by an enemy. By utilizing Force Staff, you can move to the side or in front of the pursuer so that you safely roll out. Alternatively, you can use the Force Staff as your main escape method while Rolling Boulder is on cooldown after initiation.
Level 10 (+2 seconds Magnetize duration OR +325 Rolling Boulder distance)
A small percentage of players take Magnetize duration over Rolling Boulder distance. The reason is simple; you will recast the ability anyway, so increased duration doesn’t do much good. On the other hand, covering a longer distance with Rolling Boulder is always beneficial whether we’re talking about initiation or escape.
Level 15 (+120 Rolling Boulder damage OR +300 Boulder Smash distance)
Earth Spirit can get 3 talents to improve Rolling Boulder. This particular buff is great for increasing your damage at the start of a fight. If you live long enough, you might use it once again on the same target. On the other hand, while Boulder Smash distance is pretty nice, especially if you wish to hit several targets,
Level 20 (+3 seconds Geomagnetic Grip duration OR +18% spell amplification)
Geomagnetic Grip talent would increase the spell’s silence from 3.5 seconds to 6.5 seconds, making it the longest-lasting silence ability in the game. If you also consider that the ability works on several heroes, it makes for a very debilitating debuff. However, we also cannot neglect the second talent. In fact, this is the strongest spell amplification talent in the game, and it synergizes well with all of the hero’s spells, especially Magnetize.
Level 25 (+0.6 Rolling Boulder stun duration OR Geomagnetic Grip can be cast on allies)
Most people will take Rolling Boulder talent. As a spammable spell, you have the opportunity to cast it several times, thus restunning your main target. The ability has a cooldown of 4 seconds, and with this talent, the stun will last 2.6 seconds (if you roll over the boulder, that is). In order words, you can almost continuously disable your target with it.
Question: Is Earth Spirit a good hero?
Answer: In this current patch, Earth Spirit is below average hero. He is not an ideal pick if you wish to increase MMR. However, elite Earth Spirits can single-handedly win games for their team. The hero increases in potency based on your skill level.
Question: Who is the best Earth Spirit player?
Answer: Jesse “JerAx” Vainikka is considered the best Earth Spirit player in the history of the game.
Question: Is Earth Spirit support?
Answer: This hero is commonly played as a position 4. In other words, as a roaming support. You might also see him in a mid role or as hard support.
Like with other complex heroes, playing Earth Spirit is always a thrilling experience. It is a character that pushes you to the limit, and even when you have a good game, there will always be something you’ll regret. Simply put, it is very hard to have a perfect game with the hero.
Personally, I never fully mastered the hero. I can have a good game with him, but that cannot come close to what elite Earth Spirit players are doing. Anyway, if you wish to try something different then, Earth Spirit will be the right choice.