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Lion minimap icon.png Lion is a powerful spellcaster and is mostly played as support or ganker hero due to his disabling spells. He is best to partner with carries or another spellcaster to finish enemies quickly. His Earth Spike and his Hex make him a formidible disabler, while his Mana Drain can prevent enemy heroes from casting spells if done effectively and allowed to drain. His Finger of Death can easily nuke the chosen enemy, dealing incredible damage to help his allies or himself finish a kill.
Pros Cons
  • Powerful disables.
  • Good early/mid game nuker.
  • Beginner-friendly.
  • Finger of Death increases its damage for each kill.
  • Easily targeted due to low health.
  • Rather slow movement.
  • Countered by strong dispels and spell immunity.


  • As a support, Lion excels at nuking and disabling. Earth Spike will be your primary control and damage ability. It deals damage, knocks up and stuns enemy in a straight line. It can be either point targeted or unit targeted. It is usually the first skill to be maxed. Point targeting grants better use of its range, but it is less accurate.
  • Hex is a single target disable, preventing the target from attacking, casting, using items, and reducing their movement speed. Hex helps Lion get kills and gank in the laning stage, either saving your partner or disrupting the enemy team by following with Earth Spike.
  • Mana Drain takes mana away from the enemies to give to Lion, fueling his expensive abilities. As a result, Lion does not need to invest in mana granting items, but focusing on support or mobility items instead. Furthermore, it counters enemies who rely on mana more, such as Wraith King minimap icon.png Wraith King or Omniknight minimap icon.png Omniknight.
  • Mobility items like Blink Dagger icon.png Blink Dagger help Lion in positioning himself as he lacks defensive and escape abilities.
  • Try to target the most dangerous enemies with your disables and nuking power as few can tank all of Lion's abilities in the early to mid game.

Ability Builds[edit]

Generic Lion
Earth Spike icon.pngMana Drain icon.pngEarth Spike icon.pngHex (Lion) icon.pngEarth Spike icon.pngFinger of Death icon.pngEarth Spike icon.pngMana Drain icon.pngMana Drain icon.pngTalent icon.pngMana Drain icon.pngFinger of Death icon.pngHex (Lion) icon.pngHex (Lion) icon.pngTalent icon.pngHex (Lion) icon.pngUnknown icon.pngFinger of Death icon.pngTalent icon.pngTalent icon.png


Hero Talents
+250 AoE Hex25+800 Earth Spike Range
Mana Drain Restores Allies20+20 Finger of Death Damage Per Kill
+70 Max Health Per Finger of Death Kill15-2s Earth Spike Cooldown
+70 Damage10+15 Movement Speed
  • The Finger of Death damage per kill talent as well as Max HP talent are retroactive, adding damage and max HP to all already existing stacks, not just the ones made after the talent was taken.
  • This attack damage talent is added as raw attack damage, so it does not benefit illusions, and is not affected by most percentage-based damage increasing or reducing effects.

Tips & Tactics[edit]


  • Lion is renowned for being one of the strongest disabling supports in the game. He has two hard disables in Hex and Earth Spike, which allow him to set up kills in virtually any situation once he hits level 2, potentially giving his team a strong early advantage with his combination of nukes and disables. Be sure to layer your disables properly, in order to lock down a target for the longest possible duration instead of stacking the disables and wasting one or both.
  • Like most other intelligence-based casters, Lion suffers from low strength and agility growth, making him frail and easy to kill if focused down. Due to this and his strong array of disables, Lion benefits greatly from building survivability and mobility items, as his great intelligence growth combined with his Mana Drain ability means that he is never wanting for mana to cast his spells.
  • Beware that due to his single-target nature, all of Lion's spells can be blocked with Linken's Sphere icon.png Linken's Sphere, or even worse reflected with Lotus Orb icon.png Lotus Orb. As such, be extremely careful about when and where you cast your spells, and be sure to regularly check the enemy's inventory so that you know if they are building towards either item.
  • Because of his powerful early disabling potential, Lion can be played in a variety of ways.
    • In most cases, Lion is played as a hard support, protecting his safe lane carry by pulling neutral camps and harassing the enemy offlaner. He is also able to set up kills with his disables if he is able to get within range to cast them on the enemy, whether it be their offlaner or rotating to gank their mid-laner.
    • True to his name, Lion is also a strong roamer who can prowl and pounce on enemies in their lanes, using his disables to hold them in place while his teammates kill them.
    • In unusual circumstances, Lion can also be a respectable mid, as his good base damage allows him to compete with other mid heroes with last-hits, and his disables allow him to set up the enemy mid if supports rotate for a gank. The early gold and levels can allow him to transition into a strong roaming who can catch enemies with his disables and nuke them down with Finger of Death.


Earth Spike[edit]

  • Earth Spike is a disable that deals damage and stuns in a line in front of Lion, making it a well-rounded stun and nuke.
  • Because both its damage and stun duration scale with levels, Earth Spike is generally Lion's best ability to max out first. This allows Lion to deal respectable nuke damage and disable for a good duration with a single spell.
  • Earth Spike is unusual in that it can be both ground-targeted and unit-targeted. This allows the spell to be used both as a reliable and unreliable disable, however, it also means that the spell can be blocked by Linken's Sphere icon.png Linken's Sphere even if ground-targeted.
  • Due to its line target nature, Earth Spike can potentially damage and stun multiple targets at once. If the opportunity presents itself, try to position yourself such that you can line up a stun on at least two enemies at once.
  • One unusual aspect of Earth Spike is that it can be targeted at only 500 range but travels up to 825, possibly hitting enemies up to 950 units away. This means that while the spell can reliably stun an enemy at 500 range or less, with skill it can be used as an unreliable stun to disable an enemy at almost twice that distance.
  • Beware that Earth Spike does have a travel time, and that it is possible for the enemy to dodge the spikes near the end of the spell if they are fast enough. As such, it can pay off to get as close as possible to a target before casting Earth Spike on them, to give them as little time to react if possible.
  • Keep in mind that the elevated spike animation will still play if the spell catches an invisible hero. While it cannot be used to reliably search for invisible enemies due to its thin radius, a successful hit will alert allies to a stunned invisible enemy, allowing them to cast an area-targeted unreliable disable or nuke on that spot.


  • Hex is a powerful hard disable that can silence and mute its target, preventing them from casting spells or using items. As well, it has an instant cast animation, giving the enemy absolutely no time to react.
  • Due to its poor scaling, Hex is generally best left with one point in the early game. Each additional level only adds half a second to the disable duration while drastically increasing the mana cost, which can tax Lion's mana pool beyond its limit. It is better left as the last ability to max out, as Lion can replenish his mana pool reliably with more levels in Mana Drain, and it is unlikely that targets need to be hard-disabled multiple times in the early game when all-out teamfights are rare.
  • Due to its instant cast time, Hex is a powerful initiating disable since it can lock down a target immediately when Lion gets within range to cast it. As well, the slow it inflicts on the target makes them an easier target to hit with a followed up Earth Spike. However, this will generally vary according to the situation, as Earth Spike's longer disable range can allow Lion to disable an enemy from a greater distance away first, then follow up with a longer-duration Hex.
  • Hex's instant cast time also allows Lion to pre-cast Hex when a teamfight is imminent. When you target Hex on the enemy initiator outside of cast range, Lion will move towards the enemy to cast Hex. When the enemy initiates by teleporting into Lion's team, Lion will instantly Hex him, potentially interrupting the enemy team's initiation.
  • Hex can instantly destroy illusions, making it a powerful counter to certain illusion heroes and Manta Style icon.png Manta Style. If the enemy can create a small number of powerful illusions with abilities like Reflection, Phantasm or Mirror Image, Lion can instantly remove one of them from play or hard-disable the source of the illusions directly. And if an enemy uses Manta Style defensively, Hex can instantly remove one of them, increasing the chance of finding the right hero to 50%.
  • In dire situations, Hex can be cast defensively as well. If a lone enemy initiates on Lion and he is unable to kill them with his nukes, casting a max level Hex on them will disable them for 4 seconds, more than enough time for Lion to channel a Town Portal Scroll to escape.
  • The AoE Hex Talent at level 25 allows Hex to bypass Linken's Sphere icon.png Linken's Sphere since it is no longer a targeted spell. That said, the spell can now be wasted if you miss your target or attempt to cast it in the vicinity of an enemy with spell immunity.

Mana Drain[edit]

  • Mana Drain is a strong utility and soft-disable spell that allows Lion to roam independently as he can maintain a near-limitless supply of mana.
  • Next to Earth Spike, Mana Drain can be a powerful spell to max out early on. While it is not very strong at level 1, getting it to level 2 allows Lion to start recouping the mana cost of his spells, giving him the mana to cast his full combo whenever he needs to. At level 4, it can drain mana at double the rate that it does at level 3, making much more powerful.
  • Used judiciously, Mana Drain can hinder enemies' attempts to lane as Lion can threaten to remove their mana pool if they remain in the area while he casts this spell on them. It is particularly effective against melee heroes that have to approach the creep wave to last-hit, and used over time it can force them to leave the lane as they will not have the mana to cast any of their spells, including escape abilities in the event of a gank.
  • While Mana Drain can be a powerful harass tool in the laning stage, it can leave Lion wide open to retaliation since it is a channeled spell that forces him to stand still. Be sure that the enemy is not in a position to jump on him before attempting to cast this spell on them, and that allies are ready to come to your aid if necessary.
  • Remember that Mana Drain can be cast on any non-friendly unit that has a mana pool, not just enemy heroes. This means that Lion can drain mana from ranged lane creeps, as well as neutral creeps with mana pools. However, keep in mind that casting this spell on neutral creeps will draw aggro, so it is best to cast it when they are otherwise occupied in order to avoid taking damage while draining mana.
  • Past the laning stage, Mana Drain has strong utility despite its seemingly mediocre effects. Its ability to drain up to 120 MP/sec means that, when combined with other disables, it can completely destroy an enemy's ability to retaliate at all as they will have no mana to cast any spells or use certain active abilities. It can be extremely powerful against heroes with small mana pools that rely on survivability abilities, with Reincarnation being one of the most prominent examples.
  • Like Hex, Mana Drain is capable of destroying illusions, removing them from play upon the first drain instance (0.1 seconds after casting). As its cooldown and mana cost is even lower than Hex, Mana Drain can effectively destroy an illusion every four seconds (or more with the Mana Drain Multi Target talent).
    • Exceptions are strong illusions such as those created from Phantasm and Vengeance Aura.
    • When used in combination with Earth Spike and Hex, Mana Drain can allow Lion to completely remove Manta Style icon.png Manta Style illusions from the field: use Earth Spike to disable all three targets and identify the real hero by how much damage they take, destroy an illusion with Mana Drain, and follow up with Hex on the hero once Earth Spike's stun ends. The second illusion can be destroyed at leisure once Mana Drain comes off cooldown. Alternatively, the Multi Target talent removes the need to identify the real hero by draining up to three targets at once.
  • Due to its long cast range, Mana Drain can be used to break an enemy's Linken's Sphere ahead of a fight or gank. However, be very careful when attempting this, as Mana Drain's cast animation can add an additional delay that the enemy can take advantage of.

Finger of Death[edit]

  • Finger of Death is one of the most powerful magic nukes in the game, capable of dealing a tremendous amount of damage to a single target.
  • In general, it is best to use Finger of Death at the start of an engagement, rather than in an attempt to finish off a foe. Using the nuke on an enemy at the earliest opportunity will ensure that it deals all of its damage rather than a portion of it, and can allow your team to kill the target faster.
  • Lion doesn't have to score the last hit with Finger of Death to get the bonus damage stack. He will get the stack as long as the target dies within 3 seconds of taking damage from Finger of Death. As well, it is usually wise to try to let your team's carries score the last hit and claim credit for the kill, as they can usually make better use of the gold than Lion can. However, if there is a chance that the target may escape, do not hesitate to take the kill yourself, as getting a kill on the support and assist gold on other teammates is better than missing the kill and everybody getting nothing at all.
  • Keep in mind that there is a 0.25 second damage delay once Finger of Death connects with a target, meaning that the damage will take effect 0.55 seconds after giving Lion the command. This delay can allow players with quick reaction times to evade its damage and possibly escape death, as activating spell immunity or becoming hidden/invulnerable will effectively dodge the damage, wasting the spell.
  • Due to its strong nuking potential, Finger of Death can be profitably used on a squishy enemy support rather than trying to damage the enemy carry. At the start of a teamfight, if the opportunity presents itself to instantly remove an enemy player from the field, it can benefit your team far more than dealing more damage to their tanky carry: killing a support at the start will prevent not only any high-impact spells they might otherwise cast, but also any items that could give their team an advantage (such as Mekansm icon.png Mekansm or Crimson Guard icon.png Crimson Guard). Be sure to use your judgment and choose your targets wisely.
  • Beware that Finger of Death's nuke can be turned against you if the enemy builds the right items. A Blade Mail icon.png Blade Mail can cause Lion to blow himself up as well as the enemy, preventing him from further using his disables in a fight, while a Lotus Orb icon.png Lotus Orb or activated Counterspell can amount to the same result, but even worse can potentially allow the enemy to bounce Aghanim's Scepter icon.png Aghanim's Scepter-upgraded beams onto Lion's allies. Check the enemy's inventory for such items ahead of time, and be sure to refrain from casting your spells if the enemy attempts to bait you.


Starting items:

  • Tango icon.png Tango provides health sustain in-lane, allowing Lion to remain active despite enemy harass.
  • Healing Salve icon.png Healing Salve also restores health to Lion and teammates.
  • Iron Branch icon.png Iron Branch is cheap and can be purchased with any leftover gold, giving Lion some additional stats. It can be built into a Magic Wand or Mekansm components if needed.
  • Observer Ward icon.png Observer Ward should always be picked up when available, one of the core duties of a support. Spotting enemy movements allows Lion and his team to re-position to meet them, and lets Lion pounce on his foes with his array of disables and nukes.

Early game:

  • Magic Stick icon.png Magic Stick gives Lion burst health and mana, critical to have on hand for low-HP casters whose spells can make large differences in teamfights. While a fully-charged Magic Stick is not fully guaranteed to allow Lion to cast one more spell if he's out of mana, it can buy him a few seconds to contribute more in an engagement or escape pursuers.
  • Boots of Speed icon.png Boots of Speed is important to get early on Lion due to his strong disables. The extra movement speed allows Lion to chase enemies and get into position to cast his disables, securing early kills for his team.

Mid game:

  • Magic Wand icon.png Magic Wand is a great upgrade for extra attributes and the additional charges, always useful on hard supports. Its cheap price makes it useful on Lion, who will not always have the gold to buy better items.
  • Tranquil Boots (Active) icon.png Tranquil Boots's passive health regeneration keeps his health pool topped off, synergizing with his ability to keep his mana pool at full with Mana Drain. The increased movement speed gives him better roaming and positioning ability.
  • Blink Dagger icon.png Blink Dagger is extremely powerful on Lion, and should be considered a core item no matter his farm situation. The ability to instantly jump on top of enemies allows him to get much more use out of Hex and Earth Spike, greatly increasing the odds of getting kills on the enemy.
  • Sentry Ward icon.png Sentry Ward is crucial to purchase regularly as a support Lion. As a ranged hero, Lion can destroy enemy Observer Wards he finds, taking away map vision from the enemy team.
  • Town Portal Scroll icon.png Town Portal Scroll is important to carry at all times. Lion's nuking and disabling potential allows him to turn ganks and teamfights completely around if he is present.

Late game:

  • Force Staff icon.png Force Staff is a powerful utility and mobility item on Lion that grants him more mana, base damage, and some health sustain. It can serve as an inferior substitute to Blink Dagger, or as a supplement to further increase Lion's mobility. The active can also be used to help allies re-position as needed, or on an enemy to disposition them or instantly break their Linken's Sphere ahead of other disables.
  • Glimmer Cape icon.png Glimmer Cape gives Lion strong utility and some initiation power. The active can allow Lion to invisibly approach gank targets and get within range to cast his disables, and can even be used as a shield while channeling Mana Drain. More importantly, it can be cast on allies who are caught out of position, granting them invisibility and strong magic resistance to aid them in escaping.
  • Aghanim's Scepter icon.png Aghanim's Scepter greatly augments Finger of Death's killing power, as well as drastically reducing its cooldown to allow it to be used tactically. It is best purchased if Lion is given farm priority and his team has good crowd control that can group up the enemy to hit them with the area of effect.

Situational items

  • Mekansm icon.png Mekansm is useful to build on Lion if no other teammates can utilize the item effectively. The additional stats and armor increase Lion's survivability, while the heal drastically improves his teamfight contribution. As well, Lion does not suffer from the tremendous mana cost of the item as he can always recoup it with Mana Drain.
  • Aether Lens icon.png Aether Lens increases Lion's mana pool for him to more easily get off his spell combos due to the high cost of Finger of Death. The cast range increase can greatly extend the reach of all of Lion's abilities, especially Hex and Earth Spike for disabling foes. It also increases the cast range of Blink Dagger icon.png Blink Dagger, one of Lion's core items.
  • Scythe of Vyse icon.png Scythe of Vyse is expensive, but is a strong late-game item on any casting-oriented support. In Lion's case, it gives him better overall stats and reduces his reliance on Mana Drain, while also adding yet another instant hard disable to his already formidable arsenal.
  • Dagon 1 icon.png Dagon drastically increases Lion's nuking potential, as it allows him to double up on the already formidable nuking power of Finger of Death. However, it is extremely expensive to upgrade and can be relatively useless if bought too late, so it is best purchased if Lion already has a strong gold advantage and needs to end the game early.
  • Urn of Shadows icon.png Urn of Shadows's charges accumulate quickly given Lion's strong ganking abilities; those charges either heals allies or deals minor damage to enemies in early fights.
  • Medallion of Courage icon.png Medallion of Courage gives Lion more utility, along with a blend of armor and mana regeneration. As a ranged support with strong disables, Lion can use the active on gank targets, increasing the damage they take from teammates' physical attacks. It can also be used on Roshan to reduce his armor, and later upgraded into a Solar Crest icon.png Solar Crest for even more benefits.
  • Ghost Scepter icon.png Ghost Scepter is useful on low-HP casters such as Lion. The ability to evade physical damage for a short duration can buy Lion time to survive if the enemy attempts to focus him down, giving him the few seconds he may need to get his spells off. Can be upgraded into Ethereal Blade icon.png Ethereal Blade to improve the damage of his nukes if he gets the gold advantage.
  • Eul's Scepter of Divinity icon.png Eul's Scepter of Divinity can give Lion some very strong benefits. The item grants more movement speed, giving him more mobility, as well as some more intelligence and mana regen to help him with casting. The active ability can be used either as an additional disable on the enemy, or on Lion himself to give him temporary invulnerability while dispelling debuffs like silences.