Abaddon, Lord Of Avernus - Dota Hero Strategy Guide

A former paladin of great renown, Abaddon fell into darkness during the invasion of the Burning Legion, becoming possessed by many demons, corrupting both his soul and his powers. Now a Death Knight set high in the Lich King's hierarchy of generals, he rides into battle against impossible odds, never stopping until he reaches the World Tree itself. Whether enhancing his own fortitude with a shield of dark energy, or using his life force to aid in combat, the Lord of Avernus leads the armies of the Scourge ever onward, forever locked in combat with the forces of good, and his enemies who were once his greatest comrades.
Abaddon is a most difficult hero to kill, thanks to his Aphotic Shield and Borrowed Time. While he can easily be made into a tank, his role is often that of a support hero, as all three of his basic skills benefit his allies while his ultimate allows him to survive in team fights.

I recommend you to play Abaddon if you
  • Want to play an unstoppable pusher and support hero with almost infinite health and mana
  • Want to be the core hero in pushes with infinite shields and heals
  • Want to never die (almost)
  • Love to play in pusher tactics and want a hero who cannot be stopped
  • Love to play a support role
I do not recommend you to play Abaddon if you
  • Prefer hour-long games instead of fast and crucial ones
  • Above everything hate to play support heroes
  • Want all the kills for yourself instead of being the one who helps getting and securing themIf this sounds interesting, please continue reading.
Now let's have a closer look on Abaddon's pros/cons, stats and abilities.

  • Has a strong nuke that also also works as a heal
  • Has an ultimate that makes him invincible which will activate itself, even through silences and stuns
  • Has a strong shield that does not only neglect incoming damage but absorbs it and blasts it at its enemies
  • Can remove many negative buffs through his abilities
  • Is devastating during the early game and middle game
  • Can deny himself
  • Has both strong pushing and support capabilities
  • Becomes considerably weaker towards the late game
  • Depends much on his allies and the way his team chooses to playStats

Hero Stats

Strength - 23 + 2,7
Agility - 17 + 1,5
Intelligence - 21 + 2,0

Attack range of 100.
Movement speed of 295.

Level 1 information:
- Health: 587
- Mana: 273
- Damage: 55-65
- Armor: 4
- Attack Speed: 1,45 sec

Level 25 information (without any worn items):
- Health: 2183
- Mana: 1157
- Damage: 119-129 +20
- Armor: 9 +2,8
- Attack Speed: 0,98 sec.


Death Coil

A coil of death that can damage an enemy unit or heal a friendly unit at the cost of his own life.

Level 1 - Heals or Damages for 100 HP. Deals 50 HP to himself.
Level 2 - Heals or Damages for 150 HP. Deals 75 HP to himself.
Level 3 - Heals or Damages for 200 HP. Deals 100 HP to himself.
Level 4 - Heals or Damages for 250 HP. Deals 125 HP to himself.

Cooldown: 7 seconds.
Mana cost: 75.

Comment: This is Abaddon's main nuke or heal. As the description says, it damages or heals enemies or allies for 250 damage at level 4, which is a fair amount, but it also damages yourself. However, this is not a bad thing. The damage dealt on you is fairly low and it can be used for a lot of things, which I will describe later in the guide.

Useful information: Death Coil can be used to deny yourself if you're below 125 health. It's not always easy, but if timed correctly, if you see you're gonna die, killing yourself with Death Coil can be very effective.

Aphotic Shield

Summons dark energies around an ally unit, creating a shield that absorbs a set amount of damage before expiring. When the shield is destroyed it will deal damage equal to the amount it absorbed to an area around it. If cast on self while using borrowed time, the damage you take will heal you. Removes certain types of negative buffs on cast. Lasts 20 seconds.

Level 1 - 125 damage.
Level 2 - 175 damage.
Level 3 - 225 damage.
Level 4 - 275 damage.

Cooldown: 23 seconds.
Mana cost: 100.

Comment: The Aphotic Shield is an incredible strong ability. Not only does it protect either you or one of your allies from taking damage. It also blasts the absorbed damage back on the enemies around the target that wears it. Furthermore it removes most debuffs on cast which means if you're affected by slows or whatsoever, the shield will negate them. Finally it also works as a heal on yourself if you, as described, cast it on you and take damage while Borrowed Time is activate. This shield is extremely strong and very useful in many situations.

Useful information: The shield's absorbable damage equals to the damage it deals and vice versa. At level 4 it absorbs 275 damage. Once absorbed, it blasts nearby enemies for 275 damage. Also please note that the shield only blasts visible enemies. Invisible units or units in the fog will not take damage regardless of their distance to you. Also, while shielding when activating Borrowed Time, the shield can still explode thus making it able to heal for 275 damage max.

Frostmourne (Passive)

Abaddon strickens an enemy with Frostmourne's chilling power on each attack, causing all units who attack the slowed enemy to gain 10% increased movement speed, along with faster attack speed, for a limited time.

Level 1 - 10% increased attack speed, slows enemy by 5%.
Level 2 - 20% increased attack speed, slows enemy by 10%.
Level 3 - 30% increased attack speed, slows enemy by 15%.
Level 4 - 40% increased attack speed, slows enemy by 20%.

Cooldown: None.
Mana cost: None.

Comment: This passive applied-on-attack buff/debuff is fine, but it's nothing to brag about. It's fine for increasing your enemies' attack speed and it's fairly good for chasing heroes, but during team fights, constantly hitting the enemies can be difficult and dangerous. When you gank with your teammates, this ability is fine but constantly attacking during heated battles is mostly stupid thus making this ability slightly questionable.

Useful information: This ability slows your enemies' movement and attack speed as well as increasing yours and your allies who attack the target. Once attacked, both the buff and debuff last about 5 seconds, so you have plenty of time to hit, catch up and hit again.

Borrowed Time (Ultimate)

When activated, most negative buffs will be removed and you will no longer take damage for the duration of the ability. If the ability is not in cooldown, it will passively activate when your hitpoints drop below 400.

Level 1 - Lasts 3 seconds.
Level 2 - Lasts 4 seconds.
Level 3 - Lasts 5 seconds.

Cooldown: 45 seconds.
Mana cost: None.

Comment: This is Abaddon's invincibility cloak. Once activated, you're completely immune to taking damage. This makes Abaddon extremely hard to kill, especially during the early game and huge team fights. Focusing Abaddon makes it very tough and you will save yourself from so many deaths with the help of this spell. As a bonus, it's activating itself if you take damage below 400 health, even through silences and Doom. Like the Aphotic Shield it also removes negative buffs. GG?

Useful information: As said this removes most negative buffs like stuns, disables, slows and Doom. It activates itself if you go below 400 health but you can still activate it yourself by manually clicking it. If activated with Aphotic Shield, you will heal for the amount of damage taken during such situation. As a negative side though, Borrowed Time doesn't make you invulnerable meaning that after activated you can still be stunned, slowed etc. It removes negative buffs on cast but further debuffs can be casted without being cancelled after activation.

Skill order

Level 1 - Aphotic Shield
Level 2 - Death Coil
Level 3 - Aphotic Shield
Level 4 - Death Coil
Level 5 - Aphotic Shield
Level 6 - Borrowed Time
Level 7 - Aphotic Shield
Level 8 - Death Coil
Level 9 - Death Coil
Level 10 - Frostmourne
Level 11 - Borrowed Time
Level 12 - Frostmourne
Level 13 - Frostmourne
Level 14 - Frostmourne
Level 15 - Stats
Level 16 - Borrowed Time
Level 17-25 - Stats

Skills explanation

Death Coil and Aphotic Shield are both your two primary nukes and supports and should be skilled right away. Aphotic Shield will be skilled over Death Coil because it directly helps protecting you or your allies more than Death Coil would do. Also, Aphotic Shield will work as your main harass ability during the first minutes of the game. Borrowed Time is too valuable to be skipped so we skill it when we can in order to survive ganks and tough attacks. Finally, Frostmourne is taken over stats because the buffs and debuffs after all are pretty useful, especially when ganking and chasing. The stats are fine but aren't super important on Abaddon.

Item order

The cookie cutter supporter

I tend to use this item build in 90 % of all my games. This is fully and utterly based on supporting and is meant to boost your allies with heals, shields, endless mana and different stuffs like disables and Necronomicon for higher pushing capability. This build should be bought if none of your teammates are making a Mekansm. If your teammates do make a Mekansm you ought to follow the second build a few lines beneath this.

Core item build

Basically, with a Mekansm and Arcane Ring in your hand, you will never run out of either mana or health during the early and middle game on a decent team. You will be able to heal, shield and support with mana for almost an infinite duration. Because you're a support hero, there's no questioning that either of these items should be bought. However, Arcane Ring should be replaced by a Vladmir's Offering if and only if someone else on your team already makes an Arcane Ring. There's not much point in having two thus allowing you to use your Ring of Basilius to complete the Vladmir's Offering. If you are buying the Arcane Ring you ought to disassemble the Ring of Basilius and keep the Sobi Mask for continious regeneration in despite of the Arcane Ring. Either way, the Ring of Basilius ought to be bought from start to support your's and your allie's mana regeneration which allows you to spam your abilities more often.

Items afterwards

After Mekansm and Arcane Ring have been completed, you should start completeing a full levelled Necronomicon. Not only is the Mana Burn nice, the demons also provide True Sight and a great aura for you and your pusher team. The faster you can finish this book, the more effective will your allies be. Boots of Travel are bought mainly for the teleportation because this makes you able to move forth and back on the map much easier, which again makes it easier to start and join pushes as well as getting back from them. Finally, either Eul's Scepter of Divinity or Guinsoo's Scythe of Vyse should be bought, On 95% of the time you should choose the Tornado wand over the Sheepstick, but when you at rare occasions have so much money that you can easily afford it, buy Guinsoo's Scythe of Vyse because it's a better disable than Eul's Scepter of Divinity.

The secondary supporter

This build should be followed if your teammates already build a Mekansm before you. If none of them are making a Mekansm, you ought to follow the cookie cutter supporter build above. This build still focuses on support but in an alternative way. Someone already makes a Mekansm so it means you'll have to buy other items in order to maximize your support potential.

Core item build

The Boots of Speed are self-explanatory. Arcane Ring should be bought if you noone else is making it in order to support with mana in pushes for you and your allies. If someone else makes it though you ought to complete the Vladmir's Offering instead. Like before though, the Ring of Basilius should be bought from start to give you and your allie some cheap mana regeneration for laning in order to spam your heal/nuke and shield better.
In this core item build the Necronomicon has taken Mekansm's place as the main item. When you're not building Mekansm it means you "save" almost 2500 gold which should go directly to a Necronomicon rush. The faster you build it, the more effective it'll be. Rushing it early will often result in much stronger and more constist pushes.

Items afterwards

Guinsoo's Scythe of Vyse or Eul's Scepter of Divinity should be made to get an extra disable for you and your team. Basically, Guinsoo's Scythe of Vyse is better than Eul's Scepter both in term of stats and the active disable spell because it allows you to hit the target. However, if you're not farming very well you ought to buy the Eul's Scepter of Divinity instead because it's much cheaper. Finally, Shiva's Guard should be bought in order to increase your pushing potential as much as possible by giving you the aoe blast and the armor penalty from the item itself.

Optional items

Shiva's Guard is fine because it gives you an additional aoe nuke which helps you taking down enemies and push better. It also provides acceptable stats and a fine debuff when used. After all, Abaddon in the heat of the combat allowing him to get off a good nova.

Orchid Malevolence is an excellent item. It comes with easy, cheap and purchaseable pieces and its silence is great against many heroes, especially enemies with aoe stuns or escape mechanisms as Blink or Wind Walk.

Helm of the Dominator may be useful in some rare occassions. It allows you to take over a creep who will hopefully boost you and your team with a great aura and perhaps even some abilities (Ensnare or War Stomp for example). However, the two prefered creeps would be a Centaur Khan (Endurance Aura) or a Alpha Wolf (Command Aura).

As a support hero, an animal courier can easily be purchased if your team needs it. In public games, animal couriers are mostly only used by the purchaser but in organized games where teams mostly cooperate, an animal courier is almost unnegligent and Abaddon can easily buy one from the start and even upgrade it to a crow later if needed.

Again, support heroes often buy wards which is again mostly for organized teams. Abaddon is no exception and Abaddon as a ward purchaser is not at all a bad choice.

Personally I consider Radiance a very, very, alternate optional item. It's expensive and could do much better in the hand of your teammates, however, if noone buys it and if they instead buy like all the other items you need (Mekansm, Necronomicon, Arcane Ring, Shiva's Guard) and you have a lot of spare money which you can't just spend on wards or chickens, I guess a Radiance is okay because it helps you clear and push lanes better as well as giving you some weak carry potential which lay some focus upon you from your enemies. Your shield and ultimate will hopefully help you against this.

What if someone builds all the items I want to get like an Arcane Ring, Mekansm, Necronomicon and Vladmir's Offering?

My suggestion is that you try to replace as many items you can with items from the optional items list. Besides, firstly it almost never happens that someone builds like all the items you wanted to get. Secondly some items can be bought from more heroes like Guinsoo's Scythe of Vyse or Eul's Scepter of Divinity.

Items not to buy:

Monkey King Bar, Buriza-do Kyanon, Stygian Desolator, Battle Fury, Divine Rapier and Armlet of Mordiggian are not recommended. Abaddon is, accoarding to this guide, a support hero and should not be built with pure damage items. Abaddon has much more potential as a supporter than a damage dealer.
Cranium Basher and Sange and Yasha are not recommended. Running around hitting lose on enemies and ganking and chasing on your own is definatly not your job. These items don't support your role in any way and should not be considered on Abaddon.

How to play

Early game

When you've picked, started with buying a Sobi Mask and, depending on the game mode, 1-2 Ironwood Branches and a Ring of Regeneration if possible. If you're playing on a pre-prepared team, you can be content with a Sobi Mask and then buy an Animal Courier. After this, head off to a lane. Try to lane with someone instead of going solo. Especially a hero who benefits a lot from a babysitter is a good lane partner. As soon as you get into your lanes, you should start spamming Aphotic Shield on that creep of yours that take damage. Make sure you time it perfectly so you don't miss too many blasts (read later in this guide for more tips). Also try not to burn your mana too fast by spamming the shield too much. A good rule of thumb is to save about 150 mana ready to either get a kill or get away. If you're against a very strong lane, however, you ought to play very passive and save your shield and heal for yourself and your allie instead of spamming them as offensives.

The important thing for you to do during the early game is to secure the lane for you and your allie, either by playing offensive by harassing with Aphotic Shield or by playing defensive against tough opponents by countering the threat with the shield and heal. The better you're doing, the more free farm you'll get. Still, always try to spam your shield just enough to harass your opponents but still save enough mana to either rush in or escape. Ganking and roaming is not your cup of tea and is not adviced.

Keep going like this and eventually try to push down your enemies' tower if get the chance. The faster, the better. Try to not run back too much from start. Stay in your lane and help your allie and yourself. Farm as much as possible from the beginning because you're most likely not to farm very much later, and if you get your Arcane Ring and Mekansm fast you can push very early which is basically the point of a support and pusher Abaddon.

Middle game

Hopefully you and your team will now start to push harder. You should have finished your Mekansm and/or Arcane Ring by now which means almost endless supports with shields and heals thus making you able to stay in the push much longer. If you didn't already, try to finish the last outer towers in each lane (the first ones you can kill), but after those you ought to focus the push on one lane. Focusing your pushes on multiple lanes weakens every lane's pushing force significantly thus lengthens the time before you destroy one lane. The longer the game lasts, the harder it'll get for you to do something. Therefore, try to focus on one lane where the middle is typically the chosen one because it's the shortest, but it doesn't really matter. In pushes you ought to heal, shield and supply mana as much as possible. During this stage of the game you are still very strong and hard to kill so you can easily tank some damage, but be careful not to overdo it. However, your shields ought not to be thrown on yourself unless you're being focused badly. You're not meant to be the actual tank on the team, so try to find the hero who has that role and shield him, or atleast reckon the hero on your team your enemies try to focus and defend him. Either way, throwing shields on yourself all the time is a waste since you're not the tank but a support. You also have your ultimate to get out of tight situations. Try to stay in the front of the combats but without taking too much damage either. If you have it, don't forget to use your Necronomicon either, especially not if you're up against invisible heroes.

The middle game is your strongest stage so utilize it as much as possible. Try to push as much as you can. Stay in the push as long as possible by healing with Death Coil and Mekansm, defending with Aphotic Shield and supplying mana with Arcane Ring. If you can get a whole lane including rax down before 30 minutes you are doing good. This is also a very team dependant stage of the game, so try to make them follow you and protect them with your life.

Late game

If you're in the late game and especially without having done anything crucial to their lanes, you're not doing very well. By this time you ought to have taken at least a few base towers or a whole lane or else you will be getting a hard time. Your heals, mana and shields are still okay but are getting rather weak and insignificant. Many late gamers will begin to cut through your shield like a knife through hot butter. Your heals and mana support will also begin to turn trivial when they're nullified with one or two hits. Your goal, however, is still the same as the middle game. Supporting. But you can not longer really participate in the combats as a crucial force. You can't really tank the niffy late gamers. You can't deal damage either. You can only hope that your own team is strong enough to tip the bowl to your advantage and still be able to withstand and outpush the hostile forces. Unlike before though, you ought to stay more in the back and throw shields and heals whereas the Arcane Ring is not quite as important as earlier, but may still come in handy from time to time.

How to dominate the battlefield with Aphotic Shield

To sum up, Aphotic Shield works as a shield, a nuke and a self-heal ability. It absorbs 300 damage at level 3 and once it has absorbed it, it will break and blast nearby enemies around the shielded target. The aoe is rather large but it doesn't hit invisible units nor units in the fog (in other words, units you do not have sight of). If the shield doesn't absorb its max damage (e.g. 300) it will not explode but eventually disappear. Anyway, the shield has 3 uses:
Heal (self)Using the shield as a nuke

Basically, the shield is mainly used for harassing and killing heroes during the early game. When you're in your lane, you're supposed to throw the shield and make it blast in order to damage your enemies. However, enemies with just a little experience know that the shield will explode thus trying to get away or out of sight in time. This means you will have to make the shield explode before they can get away. Another fact I'm going to show you in a moment is that you're supposed to harass them and not getting harassed yourself. This means not shielding yourself, run in and take a lot of damage to make the shield exlode in order to harass. No no! You will only end up taking extra damage thus getting just as much harassed yourself as your own shield did to them.

Using the shield as a defense

As simple as it sounds, the main purpose of the shield is its protection. Why else would it be the Aphotic Shield. Though you mostly use it to harass during the early minutes of the game, you will use it to protect you and your allies later, especially in pushes. Try to shield the heroes who are being focused or whom you know will be focused in a moment. Of course it's all okay to protect yourself from dieing if you're being targeted but in general you don't want to waste the shield on yourself as you have your ultimate to save you nearly all the time.

Using the shield as a heal

This technique only works on yourself because it needs to be combined with Borrowed Time. As I mentioned earlier, if you have activate your Aphotic Shield and Borrowed Time at the same time, the amount of damage taken during the time will be converted to health. This is a very smart technique to use if you need to heal yourself, especially if you've taken damage and there're no enemies around so it means you can "waste" your ultimate for this.

This technique can also be used in live combat, especially against strong abilities like Echo Slam (Earth Shaker). However, you ought to be very careful not just throwing your ultimate in the trash for when you really need it. Also, if you're running into towers to heal yourself like in the example above, you should just run in so the tower will barely shoot on you (1-3 shots are enough) and then run straight out again. Taking as much or more damage than you heal will result in a completely wasted Borrowed Time which might eventually have saved you a few seconds later if you suddenly get ganked.

Heroes to watch out for


Axe's Culling Blade will cut through your ultimate and kill you if you're below the health limit. Nuff said.

Lina and Lion

A very well known way to counter Abaddon is using either Lina or Lion. Their ultimates, Laguna Blade and Finger of Death, will kill you instantly before your ultimate even has a chance to auto-activate. Normally it activates when you go below 400 health. Lina's and Lion's ultimates damage almost 1000 at level 3 (or level 4 with Aghanim's Scepter). You do the math.


Some heroes are excellent at stopping pushes. They're like a huge, solid block between your team and their base. If you can't get through them it will be very hard to push and eventually get very hard for you to do well later in the game. Some well known anti pushers are Sand King (Epicenter), Earthshaker (Echo Slam), Tidehunter (Ravage) and Silencer (Global Silence). However, heroes with much aoe like Tormented Soul, Twin Head Dragon and Tiny can also be effecient push stoppers and may be hard to work against when they clear your waves as fast as you clear their's.

Abaddon's best friends

Queen of Pain

Abaddon does very well laned with Queen of Pain. Queen of Pain often puts herself in danger when she blinks in to use her Scream of Pain. However, when she's shielded she can be a huge pain in your enemies' asses. Aphotic Shield benefits Akasha very well and allows for great lane domination.


Basically a support Abaddon is a very much all-around hero and pretty much all heroes benefit from him, especially during the early- and the middle game. However, Abaddon does best when he is included in a pusher lineup which goal is to end the game around the 30th-40th minute. All heroes who help in pushes a lot like Twin Head Dragon, Krobelus, Beastmaster, Rhasta, Treant Protector, Lina and in fact just about all heroes with aoe spells that help clear creeps and kill multiple heroes go very good with Abaddon.

2 Comments yet..:

Anonymous said...

try basher and mkb madness you will be unstoppable

Anonymous said...

Just went god like against lion, earthshaker, viper, venom and someone with vanguard, treads and satanic..

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