Image by Welkynd
Possibly the biggest surprise of the International was the Broodmother. The hero has been forgotten for a very long time, but it seems like we might have underestimated her. The hero now has one of the highest win rates in the tournament and a decently high pick rate, so today we would like to discuss what exactly makes her viable and how you can replicate her success in pubs.
This is probably the biggest change the hero received. Without access to early Spiderlings, Broodmother’s lane is all about surviving, sustaining and getting to her level six. She has several tools at her disposal to make this a smooth experience, with Spin Web being the most important one.
Going on the offensive is problematic early on. Broodmother’s damage output without Insatiable Hunger is rather limited and the ability is on a very long cooldown. Most of the time you want conservative resource trades, in an attempt to create potential openings. Hard committing for a kill with Insatiable Hunger is ill-advised, unless the enemy has been softened up enough.
Early itemization-wise, most professional Broodmother players opt for Arcane Boots, Soul Ring and straight into Pipe. There are a couple of Falcon Blades as a substitute for Soul Ring, though we are not sure how efficient it is: the hero is extremely mana-dependent and wants to be able to spam Spawn Spiderlings.
Soul Ring, if used every single time it is available, is 6 mana/sec, while Falcon Blade is only 1.8. The health cost is also trivial for a hero who has a built-in 11 HP/sec from Spin Web and builds into an early Pipe.
Ultimately, it is a matter of preference, and while the nerfed Soul Ring and Pipe with its extremely high recipe cost are far from being cost efficient, Broomother is definitely a special case that defies some of the rules of the game, as it has always been.
Come minute fifteen or so, most Broodmother players have Arcane Boots, Soul Ring or Falcon Blade and Pipe of Insight. Their next goal is usually Wraith Pact. All of the above are what is usually considered Utility items, but they are more than enough for Broomother to take over the enemy side of the map and parts of the jungle, constantly pressuring a lane.
This playstyle is somewhat similar to how one would play heroes like Beastmaster, Venomancer or Timbersaw. Instead of constantly rotating to find a kill, these offlaners try to shove in the wave, farm up and force the enemy to come to them.
It should be noted that this is not the default pub playstyle. Most of the time your other cores will expect you to make space by ganking and defending, rather than “afk farming” and while switching lanes is a lot easier with Spin Web having charges, it should still be done sparingly.
Broodmother is naturally great at 1v1 engagements, especially against supports, so even with the full on utility build she should be able to force multiple rotations, opening up the map in this manner. Silken Bola is what you max out after Spin Web to maximize your damage output. At max level it has a 50% uptime, making it one of the most powerful debuffs in the game for smaller skirmishes, especially in the pre-BKB or Manta timings.
When the teamfights do start, be it on the enemy highground or around the Roshan pit, all the auras and Pipe Barrier will be extremely handy for saving teammates and your own Spiderlings.
After the Wraith Pact + Pipe of Insight combo, there are two main ways to progress on the hero: you can go a “problem solving” item, be it Lotus Orb against strong debuffs, Heaven’s Halberd against strong right-clickers or maybe even an Eul’s against heroes with high Status Resistance like Ursa. This is highly situational and game-dependent.
The other option, the default one where the game is even or is being dominated by your team, is Aghanim’s Scepter.
Spinner’s Snare is the ultimate form of retaining map control and it is not even close. An ability that can highlight and ping your enemies through Smoke of Deceit, while dealing respectable damage is very strong both tactically and strategically.
That said, there is little to no point in it when the game is wide-open. It is a way for Broodmother to translate her midgame dominance into actual victory, something that can be somewhat problematic at times, as Spiderlings are less and less relevant as the game progresses.
If the enemy is stuck in their base with only three ways out, Spinner’s Snare is easily the best ability in the game. If they have access to multiple TP spots, can attack from different angles and get space to farm, it is a Roshan contesting tool at best, which is not nothing, but a “problem solving” item would probably do more for your team.
What we are trying to say is that while it is a very popular item in the International, it is not necessarily the only item to build on Broodmother and definitely should not be purchased without thinking of what to do with it.
Broodmother is definitely an annoying hero to play against and we hope that she will receive some nerfs in the post-TI patch. She is not necessarily overpowered, she is just overwhelming and frustrating to lose against.
What are your thoughts on the hero and do you feel like we are going to see more of hero in the Top4 of the International?