Aghanim’s Labyrinth has proven to be a breath of fresh air with a roguelike twist on Dota 2’s usual Battle Pass events, making every run distinct.
Players can seem fixated on their standard picks, however. While heroes like Winter Wyvern and Sniper remain some of the best damage dealers in the game, Wyvern can feel locked into his Arctic Breath Shards, while Sniper’s skill tree is decidedly less interesting than most of the hero pool.
The following three underrated heroes have solid skill sets and talents that allow them to break their limits. They can have interesting variations in their Scepter Shard selections as well, allowing them to serve entirely different roles from game to game and provide a truly divergent experience.
With variety being the spice of life, here’s a quick rundown on why you should try out Mars, Viper, and Witch Doctor in your next Labyrinth excursion.
It’s true that most melee heroes are at a severe disadvantage when it comes to most of the Captains and bosses in the game. Omniknight is a notable exception thanks to his multitude of heals and always serves as a stable pick. One of Dota 2’s most notable personalities and Omni spammer SirActionSlacks recently released a comprehensive beginner’s guide to the Labyrinth along with tips and tricks for the hero.
When you get to higher difficulties, however, the overwhelming amount of mobs in each room can be a problem. Coupled with deadly modifiers such as Chilling Touch and Drunk that will instantly maul down any hero, Mars is a powerful tank that be remoulded into one of the best creep clearers in the business.
Mars has two creep clearing nukes in Spear of Mars and God’s Rebuke, which can be further enhanced with Scepter Shards like Trailblazer and Stunning Rebuke to provide even more utility or damage.
Bulwark is fantastic for tanking physical damage as well, along with drawing enemy ranged attacks from your squishier targets. Its legendary Shard Phalanx is also top class. Phalanx summons three invulnerable soldiers, ala Monkey King’s actual Aghanim’s Scepter, on every use of Bulwark. Plus, the soldiers even scale off your attack damage, so they get stronger later on.
Arena of Blood serves double duty as a way to prevent more enemies from flooding you. Along with a Shish Kebab Shard that allows you to spear seven enemy units, it can function as a secondary damage tool. There are other Shards that allow you to have a global cast range as well as making it an offensive aura.
Mars is definitely one of the most unique heroes you can play with in this mode. Its variety of skill shots and multiple viable skill builds make every run a divine experience.
At first sight, Viper seems like a single-target focused damage dealer that lacks creep clears. But Viper has some of the most powerful Scepter Shards in the game that can transform his Nethertoxin and Viper Strike into world-beaters. The Netherdrake can be one of the most versatile heroes in the Labyrinth along with one of the maze’s most broken mechanics: Break.
Even in the main game, Viper is the only hero with access to Break at his first level. Nethertoxin works against some pesky enemies, like negating the Stone Faced modifier and preventing the blood-curdling Spectre’s Blademails room in the third act.
Plus, Viper’s Nethertoxin can help to cheese some rooms. Functioning similarly to Sniper’s Shrapnel, Viper can simply lay his skill on the ground and wait outside of aggro range, allowing the creeps to die. It’s mostly useful in the early game to conserve lives against tough rooms like Brewmasters and the Dazzle-Huskar duo, becoming virtually useless later.
Viper’s most powerful Shard upgrades lie in his ultimate, Viper Strike. Contamination radically transforms it, periodically shooting it out to viable targets within range. Antitoxin allows it to target allies, healing and buffing their attack speed. If you’re lucky enough to get both, they work perfectly in tandem, turning you into an AoE machine to both fortunate allies and unlucky enemies.
The Netherdrake further proves his worth if your team manages to make it to Aghanim himself. While the Apex Mage has a staggering 65 armor, he has zero percent magic resistance. Coupled with your Poison Attacks’ reducing said resistance, Aghanim easily goes into the negatives, vulnerable to your multitude of magic damage.
Zharvakko the Witch Doctor serves as a powerful support in the Labyrinth with Voodoo Restoration and Maledict. He provides surprisingly solid damage and wave clear with Paralyzing Cask and Death Ward.
Witch Doctor’s Voodoo Restoration is a solid heal on paper, but practically, it’s difficult to keep your allies alive solely with the base skill due to the high amounts of burst damage in the Labyrinth. There are Shards that can turn the skill into an aura-like ability, providing damage amplification, lifesteal, and even becoming an actual DOT, making it multi-faceted and flexible.
If you manage to gain Hocus-Pocus, the legendary Scepter Shard that allows Voodoo to deal damage over time, the skill synergizes ridiculously with your level 25 health percentage talent, allowing it to rapidly eat away at your enemy’s health. Since it comes so late into the game, it only serves as a fringe tactic against Aghanim. But the close-range nature of the skill makes it a dangerous yet rewarding proposition.
At time of writing, however, Witch Doctor’s upgrade that reduces Voodoo Restoration’s mana cost is bugged and actually increases mana consumption.
Paralyzing Cask is an effective way to stop small creep waves and can become one of the best crowd control abilities with Multi-Cask, which automatically triggers additional casks to targets within range. Bad Medicine allows the cask to apply Maledict as well, bypassing its usually-awkward casting.
Even without the aid of legendary Shards, Maledict is a great amplification skill that Witch Doctor can throw on bosses and creeps. With Shards, it can even become a secondary source of healing, which can allow the hero to serve as a pseudo-tank with the correct items.
A full channel of Death Ward can likely kill most Captains in the early game, allowing the skill to remain relevant later into the game with damage upgrades.