By Crowslaw

Ravenor is another hero who has recently been allowed into Tournament Mode, and he is the topic of today's discussion as to where he fits—if at all—in competitive Heroes of Newerth. I will also give general tips and tricks that may be of help should you wish to try him in a lineup.

Ravenor's first skill is his bread and butter, though Ball Lightning is by all means the slowest moving projectile in the game and any good player will be able to dodge it, if they see it coming. Ravenor is a very strong semi-carry, capable of mid-game damage output that rivals heroes like Pebbles and the burst potential of Deadwood, while also being a counter to those heroes we hate, the blinkers.

Bubbles, Magebane, Wretched Hag, Valkyrie—even invisible heroes all turn in their graves at the thought of Ravenor. If he sneaks up on you and lands a Ball Lightning then activates his other abilities and inflicts all that burst damage on you, if you happen to survive you most likely blink/invis to get away. Then he activates Ball Lightning again and BOOM, he's there with you like a deadly Siamese twin, stunning you again and probably killing you.

With a Meta that uses the aforementioned heroes frequently, Ravenor is being used to shut them down and jump start his team the same way Pebbles does. Of course the problem all lies in landing that Ball Lightning, so when laning the obvious answer is to have someone else stun them first, but you can't always do that outside of laning with someone who can help you.

Mid Game

If you are roaming around by yourself, one of the options is to get an Assassin's Shroud. Obviously people would want to get a Portal Key, but even then it's possible to miss with Ball Lightning. With the shroud you can get into position easily, land your opening attack and then immediately Ball Lightning without failure and unload your skills onto that poor unsuspecting victim.

Ravenor is more item-dependant than a hero like Pebbles due to his skills being based around him auto-attacking his opponents. Focusing on your Shroud also gives you the option to get a Genjuro later on—but you are primarily a strength-based hero, so try and get those big items like Icebrand and upgrade it to that Dawnbringer.

This may not always be ideal for a team since they would want to focus on getting their Draconis, Silhouette or Forsaken Archer farm, but that's why Ravenor is more of a ganker and should be getting those early kills before the Shrunken Heads come out.

That leads me to Ravenor’s biggest weakness: all of his damage comes from magic, which is why you should focus on getting a Frostwolf's Skull or a Brutalizer. With these you can use your Storm Blades to increase your attack speed and get some Bash procs and slow them down while still doing physical damage.

Eventually those Shrunken Heads will come out, which is the reason I recommend survivability items so you can make use of Power Overwhelming. Nothing is worse than getting in a fight and only using one rotation of your skills before you get blown up. Getting a Shrunken Head yourself can prevent this, so I recommend getting it when needed after your Assassin's Shroud.

Another problem for Ravenor—similar to Riftwalker and Solstice—is that all your skills are designed to get you into the fight, but they cannot be used to get out. Ravenor's only “escape” is his passive ultimate, which gives him near max move speed. Combine this with a Shrunken Head or a Shroud and he will easily be able to break contact or turn it around and chase an enemy down without fear of being chain stunned.

Although laning a stunner with Ravenor would appear to be optimal, there is one particular hero who synergizes very well with him but isn't picked up very often: Revenant. Combining Revenant at level 2 with Ravenor makes for easy pickings in your lane.

You may look at this combo and assume you could use Revenant and any number of other heroes with mechanics similar to Ravenor’s to get easy kills. While that is true, Revenant's combo becomes harder to hit as you get further past level 3 and 4, because by then any team will have a Ward of Revelation in their lane to stop it. However, that doesn't stop your ganking ability of other lanes until you aren't able to instagib people any longer.

Overall I feel that Ravenor is a niche hero, but I believe he has a role in the Meta game due to his innate ability to shut down most suicide heroes. Players often express how strong our suicide heroes are and I urge teams to consider Ravenor as a hero to stop them. Combined with a Glacius for support and a Jungler with the current pseudo-tri lane Meta phase, Ravenor could find his place in the game.

One issue with trying to fit Ravenor in a lineup is that no one is currently known to play him effectively, as with Jeppins and Kinesis. I feel we may not see him in competitive play due to most top players being unwilling to try “new” things. It may take a change to the Meta from S2 and DOGKaiser himself.

- Crowslaw