Updated on November 22, 1:30 p.m. (GMT+8): Updated the guide for relevancy based on most recent Dota 2 patch notes.
If you want to solo carry your Dota 2 games with big crits from downtown, SumaiL’s Dragon Lance Templar Assassin (TA) build is the one for you.
But how do you play TA like SumaiL?
Dragon Lance is the most popular item build for TA right now and is viable as both a midlaner and a carry since it offers the hero a lot of room to grow. The extra attack range from Dragon Lance makes TA a stronger laner and sets her up for success in the midgame.
TI5 winner Syed “SumaiL” Hassan is a great example of a pro who masterfully plays the Dragon Lance Templar Assassin build at a professional level.
This is the build that helped SumaiL climb up the leaderboards, scoring an insane 80% win rate on the hero during patch 7.29. To replicate the talented Dota 2 player’s success, we’ll break down how he was able to master TA on the midlane and safelane.
How good is the Dragon Lance Templar Assassin build?
The Dragon Lance TA build boasts numerous strengths:
- Long attack range
- Bonus health and damage in the early game
- Positional Advantage
In the past, TA relied on Refraction charges to survive early game ganks. If her opponents had ways to shred the charges quickly, she instantly melts since she has no mobility and is fragile once Refraction is down.
The Dragon Lance build not only offers TA much-needed bulk early on, but the extra attack range, on top of the bonus from Psi Blades and her level 10 talent, means that she’ll be able to dish out more damage when she activates her Refraction ability.
The additional attack range boosts Psi Blades splash range so much that you can get some crazy long secondary hits off.
Since the build relies on Templar Assassin to ramp up in power, you need to do whatever it takes to secure your early game farm. If you can master TA’s laning stage, jungling rotations, and avoid distractions, you’ll be crushing your opponents like SumaiL in no time.
Starting items to get for TA
SumaiL’s TA always goes into lane with these starting items:
- 2 or 3 Branches | Cheap stats
- 1 set of Tangoes | Core regen over time
- 1 Faerie Fire | Core Instant healing
- Quelling Blade | Optional
- Circlet | Optional
- Slippers of Agility | Optional
- Magic Stick | Optional
You’ll have 290-340 leftover, which you can put towards a Quelling Blade if you struggling with last hitting, Circlet for extra stats if you think you’ll get pressured, or Slippers of Agility if you want a cheaper alternative for extra last hitting power.
Don’t cheap out and skip any of TA’s items, SumaiL respects the laning stage and so should you.
In tougher matchups, you’ll sometimes see SumaiL pick up an early Magic Stick for extra regen in the lane and potential ganks.
TA’s optimal skill build
If you’re going into the midlane, your skill order will look like this:
- Psi Blades
- Psi Blades or Meld
- Psionic Trap
- Meld or Psi Blades
- Meld or Psi Blades
If you’re going into the safelane, your skill order will look like this:
- Psi Blades
- Psionic Trap
- Meld or Psi Blades
- Meld or Psi Blades
The two skill builds look different but the overall goal is the same: setting up for a good laning stage whilst optimizing your damage for your farming rotation. After Refraction, you’ll typically max Meld then Psi Blades since the Dragon Lance and TA’s level 10 talent make up for the missing attack range.
You’re open to changing skill order in a pinch, but keep in mind the number one rule is that you must max Refraction as soon as possible since this is both a defensive and farming tool.
Level 10 Talent – +25 Refraction attack damage
This level 10 talent used to be extra Psi Blades range that allowed the hero to kite her opponents. Now, it is a buff in her damage that allows her to dish out more damage during team fights. Paired with her Dragon Lance, she can easily take down enemy supports.
Level 15 Talent – +120 Psionic Blade attack and spill range
Both of TA’s level 15 talents are both viable choices, but in order to overwhelm your opponents you should go with the Psionic Blade upgrade. This talent will allow you to line up your opponents to deal extra damage to their backlines.
If you’re the hero that’s always being initiated by the enemy team, you could pick up the Refraction upgrade at level 15. This should keep you alive in most team fights even before you pick up your Black King Bar.
Level 20 Talent – Meld Dispels
In most cases, the TA’s Meld dispel talent will be your go-to pick as you’ll want to purge off any spells/items that hinder your mobility such as the root from a Rod of Atos. The only time you skip this is if there are absolutely no spells to dispel.
Level 25 Talent – +7 Refraction Instances
The +7 Refraction talent is a no-brainer. More charges, more damage block instances. It’s too good.
How to play TA like SumaiL?
- Bottle (mid only)
- Blight Stone
- Magic Wand
- Power Treads
- Dragon Lance
- Daedalus/BKB/Aghanim’s Scepter/etc
Level 1 – Farm your lane. If the lane is tough, finish a Magic Wand first otherwise just get a Blight Stone. Pick up a bottle too if you’re mid.
Level 4 – At this point, SumaiL always shoves the creep wave and starts farming the nearby small (and large if safe lane) camps to his farming regime. Prioritize lane creeps over neutrals if they’re reaching your tower. Aim to finish a Magic Wand (if you haven’t already) then Power Treads.
If you have cooperative supports ask them to start stacking the remaining camps and the Ancients. Don’t worry if your lane opponent is farming the shoved wave, you’re gaining a much bigger lead if they let you jungle for free.
Level 8 – Clear the stacked neutral camps and spend more time in your jungle but don’t abandon the lane. Don’t aggressively farm yet. Always head back to the lane and shove it if the creeps are reaching your tower. You should be working towards the Dragon Lance.
Level 11 – You should have everything until the Dragon Lance by now. If not, clear the Ancients (which are hopefully stacked) and complete it. From here on out, only participate in low-risk ganks/fights that are close to your towers or farming spots. Desolator is your next priority so keep farming.
Consider Blink Dagger before the Desolator if you’re farming well and your opponent has no instant stuns. Blink further speeds up your farming whilst also allowing you to escape ganks, later on becoming a great initiation tool. Skip if you have slow reaction timing.
Level 13 onwards – With Desolator complete, you’re now a big threat to your opponent. SumaiL typically continues to prioritize farm after the Deso but he’ll happily turn up to objectives to help the team now. Add the enemy jungle to your farm rotation.
Item choices from here will vary depending on what you’re up against but Daedalus is SumaiL’s go-to big damage item after Desolator. You can’t go wrong with the chance to one-hit-KO squishy supports.
Aghanim’s Scepter is another common pick-up for SumaiL if he hasn’t opted for an early Blink Dagger. Psionic Projection turns TA into a leaner and meaner version of Spectre, especially with the Psionic Trap talent. This item is amazing if your team is ahead.
Though SumaiL tends to fall back on offense rather than defense, he’ll still build a Black King Bar if he’s up against a lot of stuns. If he’s overwhelmed by crowd control during midgame team fights, he picks it up after Desolator, otherwise, he’ll complete it after the Daedalus.
If you’re planning on building Blink Dagger, Swift Blink is a viable damage option after Daedalus. It synergizes well with TA since you’ll want to be blinking aggressively anyway by the time you complete it.
The only time we see SumaiL upgrade his Dragon Lance into Hurricane Pike is when the game is getting long and all his other core items are completed. Hurricane Thrust is useful against melee heroes such as Ursa or Phantom Assassin, and the extra health is always welcome.
In rare cases, SumaiL will pick up a Monkey King Bar to deal with heroes who naturally gain or build evasion such as Terrorblade and Phantom Assassin.
Neutral items for TA
The drops are completely random in every game but always choose items that benefit TA in that particular situation. SumaiL usually keeps multiple neutral items in his stash for later use, so don’t be afraid to do so as well — but only if nobody else on your team needs that particular item.
- Tier 1 – Possessed Mask | Less trips back to the fountain thanks to the 7HP lifesteal, big plus for Ancient farming.
- Tier 2 – Bullwhip | A combination of passive regen and mobility, perfect for flash farming.
- Tier 2 – Nether Shawl | Makes TA super tanky in team fights.
- Tier 3 – Enchanted Quiver | Even more range to play with on top of a buffed up right click, perfect for sniping the backline and kiting melee.
- Tier 3 – Mind Breaker | Prevents enemies from reacting if you jump first.
- Tier 4 – Ninja Gear | The Agi further buffs up TA whilst the free smoke is a nice little bonus for avoiding detection from wards.
- Tier 4 – Flicker | SumaiL likes to pick this up for the extra mobility and dispel.
- Tier 4 – Telescope | Bonus attack range, ideally a teammate equips this for you.
- Tier 5 – Stygian Desolator | Opens up the Desolator slot for another item.
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