Today we are going to talk about hard support, who is very common in lower ranks but is rarely picked in high-ranked matchmaking. Lion is one of the very few supports in the game, who has more than one disables. His W, Hex, is no doubt the strongest disable in the game. It has no cast time, making it impossible for enemy heroes to dodge it. If Lion catches someone out of position, this hero is certainly dead.
Table of contents
Role in the game
Lion is usually picked as a hard support or soft support but can also be used as a midlaner or offlaner.
The purpose of Lion in the game is to provide disable and burst down key enemy heroes in fights.
Earth Spike is point-target and a unit-target disable. You can use this spell to stun one or several heroes. Earth Spike also allows Lion to ensure last-hits of ranged creeps and increases the split-pushing potential of a hero.
Hex is no doubt the strongest single-target disable in the game. The spell works best against mobile heroes, as this ability has no cast point. Once the hero is in range of Hex he is usually dying right away.
Mana Drain is a very annoying ability, which steals mana from a target while also applying slow de-buff. Use it to get rid of the mana of your opponents in the lane. You can also use it on any units that have mana to restore your supply.
Finger of Death deals a tremendous amount of damage to a single target. With every kill you make with the help of Finger of Death its damage increases by 40. So do not be ashamed to steal kills by using this ability :) .
Lion don't have lots of ways to farm and is very dependent on making kills. This prevents Lion from farming too many items and makes his item build very straightforward.
On your starting gold, you should get yourself two sets of Tangoes, Healing Salve, two Faerie Fires, Enchanted Mango, Clarity, and an Iron Branch.
In the early-game get Tranquil Boots and follow them up with a Magic Wand and a Wind Lace. Lace is going to improve your mobility, which Lion really lacks.
In the mid-game focus on getting yourself mobility items. Your two best choices are Blink Dagger and Force Staff. Blink is a must-have item on Lion. The sooner you get it, the more impact you are going to have on the game.
In the late-game, you only left with Aghanim’s Scepter, Aeon Disk, and Octarine Core. Aghanim’s makes Finger of Death hit target in a small AoE and also decreases its cooldown. It helps Lion to push lanes very effectively and also gives him an opportunity to deal a lot of damage in fights.
As I mentioned earlier, one of the Lion’s biggest downsides is his lack of mobility. His poor movement speed makes it very difficult to avoid deaths once you are caught out of position.
Play very carefully during the laning stage. Stay close to your carry and use Earth Spike to ensure last-hits of ranged creeps. Use it to harass enemy heroes.
Make pulls whenever it is possible to get yourself more gold and experience.
Lion is very good at rotations. With Hex and Earth Spike you can easily set up a kill on pretty much any hero on the map. It is always worth using at least one Smoke of Deceit in the early stage of the game to get a kill.
Once the laning stage is over try to find yourself some space on the map to farm and get yourself a Blink Dagger. With Blink, you can once again use Smoke to get an impactful kill.
Lion is not very dependent on his ultimate, however, it is best to force moves whenever Finger of Death is ready to use. Aim to use this spell effectively anytime it's off cooldown. If you fail to find kills with Finger you can find yourself in a very bad place - without major items and levels.
During late-game fights aim to disable key enemy heroes, with the priority to Hex the most mobile opponents.
Allies and counters
Lion works best against mobile heroes, such as Ember Spirit, Void Spirit, Queen of Pain, Storm Spirit, and Puck.
Best counters to Lion are tanky heroes, and heroes with high pushing potential, such as Beastmaster, Chen, Kunkka, Visage, and Dragon Knight.