The recent 7.28 patch brought with it a new item along with several other changes. This new item is called Aghanims Shard in Dota 2. The reason why players are so excited about it is that it has added a new level of innovation. Changing the gameplay, hero itemization, and overall playstyle.
During the initial phases of the patch, only a handful of players were using the item. Icefrog decided to change that, and ever since the 7.29 patch update, more emphasis has been laid on players purchasing the Shards.
A lot of heroes got buffed due to this, and to effectively utilize them at their full capacity, Aghanims Shard in Dota 2 has now become the go-to mid to late game item.
What’s most lucrative about this item is that it takes no space in the inventory. A well-farmed carry with a lot of gold lying around can purchase this item, and use the extra move slot.
Here’s a look at the top 10 heroes you must buy an Aghanim Shards for:
“Bloodrage: Bloodrage attacks now deal 2% of the target’s max health as pure damage and heals Bloodseeker for that amount. Only works for Bloodseeker.”
BloodSeeker was always a right-click hero. That means his attack speed and pure damage made him exciting to play and a terrible enemy for opponent heroes to deal with. With the addition of this shard, Bloodseeker now does more damage than before.
This is especially good for tanky strength-based heroes, who have a lot of HP—allowing Bloodseeker to do pure damage to them and lifesteal that same amount. Pairing that with Bloodseeker’s thirst, which gives him an ever-increasing attack speed based on enemy health, makes him a killing machine. Pure damage, lifesteal, and attack speed are an OP combination on any hero much less Bloodseeker.
“Hairball: Coughs a quill-packed hairball towards the target location. Erupts at the location, hitting enemies in a 700 radius with Goo and 2 Quills.”
Bristleback has always been a strong defender when it comes to taking punishment. With the right positioning, Bristleback can fend off a lot of attacks. However, with the Shard upgrade, he also receives an offense bonus.
Using this attack when enemies are grouped up can reduce enemy armor and slow them down. Since it also grants Bristleback a Warpath stack, it allows him to chase them down while dealing damage to them using his quill spray. The AoE range coupled with the armor loss, slow, and damage effect makes it worth buying on this hero.
“Skeleton Walk: Causes Skeleton Walk to create two Burning Army Skeletons.”
Clinkz is a very fragile but mobile hero. His single hero damage output allows him to take down isolated heroes and finish the job before the enemy team has a chance to respond. However, this also renders him a bit useless if the enemy team is always grouped together or a team fight occurs. In which case, you need to be careful about your positioning, or Clinkz may quickly die.
The Aghanims Shard in Dota 2 removes this hassle altogether. Clinkz’s ultimate allows him to call forth an army of burning skeletons who shoot enemy heroes on sight. However, with the shard, he can call forth two armies. This adds to the damage output his skeletons give and can be used both offensively as well as defensively. Not many heroes can stand up to this kind of damage and will most likely have to retreat in panic, in which case Clinkz can simply give chase and finish them off.
4- Queen of Pain
“Blink: Releases a sonic boom when Queen of Pain blinks, at both her starting and ending locations. Deals 175 damage in a 300 AoE and silences for 1.75 seconds.”
Queen of Pain is a tricky hero. She has high damage outburst abilities but also needs to be positioned well to deliver them. Her ultimate, Sonic wave, relies on this positioning to deliver damage within an AoE.
She also needs to maintain distance from her enemies as her low armor, and strength-based capabilities make it easy to kill her. The shard upgrade allows her to be both offensive as well as defensive. If she’s trying to escape enemy heroes, she can blink away, and most heroes will not be able to follow her due to the silence. Similarly, she can use it to chase heroes, blinking close to them to use either a scream of pain or a sonic wave while silencing them for 1.75 seconds.
“Glaives of Wisdom: Causes Glaives to bounce once towards the closest enemy unit, dealing 50% of Silencer’s attack damage. Bounce range is 600.”
Silencer is one of those heroes that can fit into both the support and carry role quite easily. Depending on the enemy matchup, he’s flexible with his skill build and itemization. While a support silencer does not need that many items, a carry Silencer does.
The shard upgrade allows him to do more damage to a greater number of enemies. While the bouncing glaive may only deliver 50% of the damage it will still steal intelligence. The more intelligence Silencer has, the more damage he can deliver. Meaning that enemies will lose mana in a right-click battle and get additional damage from this move.
“Dismember: Allows targeting an ally to swallow them and heal them for 6% of their max health per second. Adds 300 Cast Range and reduces cooldown by 10 seconds.”
Pudge is a hero that requires skill and experience to master. Landing hooks can be incredibly hard in-game, as not every hero will simply stand around waiting to be ganked. The good thing about this hero is that you can use his hooks to isolate enemy heroes during team fights and take them out by yourself if you play him well.
With the Aghanims Shard in Dota 2, Pudge can now play the tank and heal other heroes at the same time. Similar to Lifestealer, Pudge can swallow heroes, saving them from being killed and then throw them out once they have full HP again. This is especially beneficial for strength-based heroes who have a large HP pool.
Heroes like Bristleback, centaur runner, and Axe can jump right back into team fights having been healed. Making this a must-have item for Pudge.
7- Crystal Maiden
“Freezing Field: Allows you to move, cast, and attack during freezing field. Can still be interrupted by enemies. You move 75% slower during this. Increases total number of explosions by 20%.”
Crystal maiden is a hard-core support hero. This means she doesn’t often have much gold to use for her own items. The Aghanims shard in Dota 2 is cheap and provides her with a lot of offensive and defensive capability, which makes it an item worth buying on her for every game.
This move can be used highly effectively with items like Blink Dagger and Force staff. Crystal maiden can blink while using this move to position herself well or stop the move from being interrupted. Pairing her with heroes like Lycan can also be beneficial, as he can use Wolfbite to give her maximum movement speed.
8- Bounty Hunter
“Shadow Walk: Shadow Walk now grants you 35% damage reduction while invisible. Attacking out of invisibility stuns the target for 1 second. Lowers cooldown for 5 seconds.”
Bounty hunter was going out of meta, but this shard upgrade has changed the playstyle for him. Scouting enemies heroes in the jungle was often a risky move as they would be warded. With this buff and the decreased cooldown, Bounty Hunter can effectively tank hits while in Shadow Walk.
The additional stun allows him to use Shadow Walk to place other abilities in the queue to take down Supports before they have a chance to defend themselves. Making this especially viable if they are trying to either ward or deward your own jungle.
9- Phantom Lancer
“Spirit Lance: Spirit Lance bounces once on an enemy within 750 radius, prioritizing heroes. Increases Spirit Lance illusion damage by +40%.”
Phantom Lancer is a hero that has to be dealt with during the selection draft phase. If you fail to pick a counter hero for him, he could prove to be a menace in the late game. Now with the Shard upgrade, phantom lancer is an unstoppable killing machine.
This upgrade allows him to farm efficiently. One spirit lance is enough for an entire creep wave. The added damage and the extra illusions thanks to Juxtapose allow him to produce illusions to farm faster. This can also be useful in team fights. It’s very hard for supports to deal with a high number of illusions with their low damage output, allowing Phantom Lancer to drain them of their mana and shut them down.
“Sleeping Dart: Fires a dart at the target enemy, putting them to sleep for 4 seconds or if they take 200 damage. At the end of the duration, the target wakes up and takes 150 damage, and is slowed by 30% for 4 seconds. Cast Range: 1000.”
Riki has become quite the underrated hero in this meta. With the Shard upgrade, we can expect to see more of him.
The Sleeping dart is a powerful move as it puts your enemy to sleep for 4 seconds. Combine that with the 6-second smoke bomb silence, and Riki becomes a formidable opponent.
This can allow Riki’s teammates to keep the enemy disabled to reposition themselves and be ready to take the hero down. Allies with high damage output can use this chance to kill the hero while they are disabled immediately. Making this an important buy item for Riki.
Aghanim shards have already changed the way heroes were played, and with this upgrade, we can expect to see more heroes come back to the meta.
This list includes the best heroes to buy Shards on, but there are still countless heroes this item provides a buff for. Ultimately, it’s down to the player on how they use this item effectively enough to win matches.