Dota 2 Hero Guide: Lycan

Lycan loading screen
Let's figure out how to play Lycan! (Credit: Valve Dota 2 loading screen)

Banehallow the Lycanthrope ( Lycan ) has been the go-to hero for most dedicated solo queue warriors aiming to gain MMR as fast as possible for quite a while now.

Playing Lycan at a high level (that's usually enough to keep a high winrate), requires knowledge, skill and a lot of practise, with this guide we will try to give you all the needed tools to make you Lycan-Ready for your upcoming MMR grind.

Lycan Meta stats
Looks at there win rates! (Credit:

Why and When to Play Lycan

The reason why Lycan has been one of the most feared, and also most contested ban/pick heroes in the pubs for several months is his ability to single-handedly carry a game, even when his teammates aren't performing optimally.

The ideal Lycan game starts off with your enemy wanting to farm. You, as Lycan want to do the complete opposite! You push and fight early since there's not a single hero that can match Lycan's (12-minute necro standard item timing ) impact in the game in both team fights and gather-up pushes. Always focus on using your advantage to their disadvantage and abuse it.

A dream Lycan game could be no CC ( Crown Control ) on the enemy's side, which enables you to just run into them with no response whatsoever.

High MMR Lycan pub game
High MMR Lycan pub game

The Basics

Before going over the key things about Lycan, let's check out the basics.

Microing units isn't hard, you just need to set up your micro hotkeys and maybe 5-10 mins of lobby practise and you will be good

The hotkeys that I use (and you can try as well) :

  • Next unit - E (you don't need the E key since it's your passive)
  • Select all units - R (You bind Alt-R for your ulti)
  • Necro ranged creep - Alt- Q (you need this.)
  • Control groups for farming (1, 2, 3, 4)

Important things to know that you usually don't pay attention to:

  • The wolves have 70% magic resistance
  • At level 3 they get invisibility , at level 4 they gain Cripple .
  • Lycan's passive is now global for your summons ( good for split pushing safely )
  • Don't be afraid to pick Lycan mid, and always focus on denying ( together with your wolves, you have 104 damage )

People have different ways of playing Lycan, when a hero is popular we see many many unique and silly builds that people try, solely because the hero is good and they will win anyway.

Yes, it's ok to experiment and have fun. - Notail

Spells and Talents.

Leveling up Lycan is pretty easy and the priority goes like this:

Wolves -> Feral Impulse -> Shapeshift -> Howl -> Talents.

This means that Wolves are your most important tool to dominate the lane, and farm afterwards, your E gives you sustain and the needed bonus damage to farm even faster – not to mention kill faster.

Since Lycan's talents are not that great, and Howl gives you better efficiency, you skip the level 10 talents so you can max out Howl, but at level 15, you skip the Level 10 talents and take your CDR (left talent) (you do it by directly clicking on the left level 15 talent).

Talent Lycan
Lycan Talents. (credit: Dota 2)

Which Items to Buy for Lycan?

The build is pretty standard and the same for both mid and carry, quelling blade, x2 sage mask, and regen is what you opt-for in 99% of the games.

The x2 sage mask is enough to make your mana last during laning stage (maybe you ship out a clarity or two if need be).

Necronomicon is the item you need to rush since it's Lycan's core item that enables him to be a beast early on.

Later on Assault Cuirass and BKB are items you go for regardless of your opponents, and maybe occasionally you can buy Power Threads, Orchid or Silver Edge.

Lycan items. (credit: Dota 2)

Lycan Gameplay

This is probably the most important part of this guide, and the more you understand it, the better you will be at playing Lycan.

Farming and split pushing is something almost anyone can do since the complexity and difficulty are not that high.

Experienced Lycan players don't follow gameplay patterns, instead, they trust their instincts that they have built up with time from playing the Lycanthrope.

To get to their level, it is of the utmost importance that you watch Lycan replays and just play Lycan constantly. First picking him is a big plus since you will learn the most from those games.

Things to always have on your mind:

  1. Your kill priority (You and your summons are running around on maximum movement speed, you choose where you go and how you deal with the fight)
  2. When is the right time to engage and where (Lycan takes objectives faster then other heroes, so fighting near them will give you a better bounty in the game)
  3. FARM YOUR ANCIENTS. (Yes they belong to you, its ok to tell your teammates your name is written below them :) )
  4. Communicate with your team to end the game earlier (Like come on, you're Lycan, 25min./30mmr is your goal)

Take these match id's from replays that will be very helpful for your journey.

ID's : 5875289477 (Trending) / 5875289477 (vtFaded Ehome) / 5877120999 (Versus counters) / 5794151136 (My last Lycan game – stomp)

And don't forget, Wolves need no armor.

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