Gamers in search of glory can be their own worst enemies, chasing lost kills to their death and turning fun competitions into unrewarding slogs for fleeting validation. In Dota, however, the concept takes on a more literal meaning.
One of Dota 2‘s most hit-or-miss heroes is a fellow by the name of Rubick. The raspy green wizard is a typical Dota support, wielding a damage spell, a stun, and a helpful aura that passively benefits teammates. His ultimate, however, is what allows Rubick to truly shine.
Spell Steal does exactly what you think, allowing Rubick to steal and use the last spell its target deployed. This means that that game-changing ultimate you’re so proud of can turn into your worst nightmare.
For the uninitiated, allow me to break it down. While Rubick only has two items in his inventory, one of them is pretty important: Aghanim’s Scepter. This item upgrades the ultimate of the user in various ways depending on the hero. In Rubick’s case, the scepter decreases the cooldown of Spell Steal to a measly two seconds. In addition, any abilities stolen also receive their respective Aghanim’s Scepter upgrade.
As Rubick walks into the river, he’s hit with one of Dota‘s most frustrating abilities: Rupture. Rupture, a weapon in Bloodseeker’s arsenal, causes the target to take damage as they move over the next 12 seconds. This means that heroes can either stand still and fight Bloodseeker—a bad idea for a support like Rubick—or die running away from him.
Rubick chooses the former, but he has a secret weapon: a stolen Chronosphere (aka, the giant purple dome in the video). Chronosphere freezes everyone inside, including allies, and allows the user to move around quickly within its indigo confines. However, since Rubick has Aghanim’s Scepter, he’s hit the jackpot; this extremely powerful move lasts six full seconds thanks to the scepter upgrade.
Our intrepid wizard takes advantage of these six seconds to turn the table. While Bloodseeker is frozen, he hits him with his damage spell and steals his enemy’s greatest weapon. Now, if Bloodseeker wants to chase Rubick, he has to take damage as he moves.
But Bloodseeker has backup. Out of nowhere appears Dazzle, another hero with a particularly overpowered spell called Shallow Grave. The bright pink light seen in the video keeps its target safe from death, no matter how much damage they incur over its duration. Things are looking bleak.
Thanks to that two second cooldown, however, Rubick steals shallow grave for himself. He quickly uses it as Bloodseeker ticks down to virtually no health and then hits the vampiric assailant with one last attack to win the confrontation.
Of course, Rubick himself is now susceptible to a single strike from Dazzle. But there’s one final twist in Rubick’s favor: Bloodseeker has used a spell called Bloodrage, which increases his damage. The one drawback to this spell is that those affected by bloodrage heal their killer for 25 percent of their maximum health when slain, thus saving Rubick from an unceremonious end.
The whole series makes for an entertaining, if somewhat opaque highlight. If nothing else, the moment is a thorough demonstration of the strategic and mechanical depth of the world’s oldest MOBA, even if it took some serious luck to accomplish.