Why You Should Play Ancient Apparition
Are you mainly a support player? Do you struggle to win games because the enemies ‘outcarry’ your cores? Fear not! The answer to your questions is Ancient Apparition. As of this moment, AA has an impressive 54.79% win rate in the Hard Support role across all brackets. The nerfs in 7.29d, which dropped his win rate from a previous 55.53%, still leave him as the most successful support hero in the game right now.
So why is this? Let’s look at the strengths of the hero.
Your heals mean nothing!
Patch 7.29d saw massive buffs to Satanic. It has a shorter cooldown, is undispellable and provides a basic dispel on cast. This leaves very few options against the item. Heaven’s Halberd can be pretty good, since it is also undispellable. But the best and cheapest one is probably AA’s Ice Blast.
Also, Mekansm has been getting better and better since patch 7.28. The item’s biggest pain point was its mana cost, which detracted most support heroes from buying it. But after multiple mana cost buffs, it now requires only 100 mana and is back in the meta.
Lastly, there has been a general trend of building ‘sustain’ and ‘heals’ on heroes to outlast enemies and thus win teamfights. Stacking lifesteal on carry heroes, with a combination of shop items (Morbid Mask, Vladmir’s Offering), neutral items (Possessed Mask, Paladin Sword) and talents is quite popular.
Picking support heroes like Dazzle, Abaddon, Phoenix, Oracle, Warlock that can heal is also part of the strategy. This is also why items like Eye of Skadi on carries and Spirit Vessel on supports is part of the meta.
But, with AA’s Ice Blast, you nullify ALL of the above!
Lethal from a distance
One of AA’s biggest advantages is that his most important skills can be cast from a great distance. This means you don’t have to jump into the teamfight and risk getting stun-locked and blown up.
Perhaps AA’s most underrated spell is Ice Vortex. A spell with 16-second duration and 4-second cooldown at max level (2 seconds with talent) that reduces the enemy’s movement speed and magic resistance is a game changer.
And of course, as we discussed above, Ice Blast is his other important skill that has a global cast range. In fact, it is recommended that you stay even further away from teamfights to catch as many heroes as possible. But beware! Missing this spell can cost you a lot.
Next level warding
Guess what? We haven’t finished talking about Ice Vortex yet. Because on top of all the benefits we pointed out that it provides, there are even more!
This spell also provides ground vision in a small AOE. Which means that you can use it to check for wards on hill spots that are very common places to plant wards. But, why is this important, you may ask?
Because you can check for a ward by placing a sentry on the ground. There are tons of benefits to this. But we will discuss these advanced techniques of warding and dewarding in detail in a different article in the near future. So stay on the lookout for that!
The hero does have some weaknesses too. But there are ways to overcome them, so let’s take a look at that.
No reliable stuns
If the enemies decide to dive your carry hero in lane, there’s little to no stuns you can use to help them survive. Cold Feet is the only spell of his that stuns, but, it is delayed and quite easy to play against. However, if you have a carry hero with a spell that stuns, you can combo your Cold Feet with that spell to guarantee that the hero is stunned for even longer.
Generally, it is better to max out Chilling Touch on AA in the early game. It allows you to deal a decent amount of damage as harass, and like the other spells mentioned before, can be cast from far away.
Easy to kill
AA is a very squishy hero. So if the enemy team has heroes that can jump the back line with a mobility spell or Blink Dagger, or can go invisible, they can kill you pretty quickly and remove your impact for that fight.
To counter this, it is generally a good idea to build full support items on the hero. Glimmer Cape, Force Staff and later on, Aeon Disk are great items to keep you alive. AA doesn’t really need any other items, which makes him such a good Hard Support.
This also allows you to spend most of your gold on consumable support items like wards, dusts and smokes. Your main objective should be to provide as much vision for your team, and also so that you can land a good Ice Blast. It is good to spend as much as needed on sentries to counter any vision your enemy might have, and to spot any invisible heroes attempting to gank you.
No wave push
Generally, AA can TP back to base and deal with a rat hero, even when his team is trying to siege barracks. His Ice Blast can be used to help his team owing to its global cast range.
However, the only spell that he has to kill a creepwave is Ice Blast. Even then, it doesn’t kill a wave completely. This makes his wave push very slow. His Aghanim’s Shard upgrade changes this completely. With that, Ice Vortex becomes even better and reduces the enemy’s attack speed and deals damage. Not only does it allow you to push out a wave in a single cast, you can generally spam this spell at multiple locations to create true nuisance for the enemy team.
We hope this guide has helped you realize the potential of Ancient Apparition, and inspired you to play him in your pubs. Now go and win some MMR! And tell us if you can beat our 8-game win streak on the hero!