Image by Melchiah and UC
Lina is the number one carry of the patch and it is not even close. Great laning stage, high farming speed, impressive scaling and flexible builds make her a little bit too strong in the current patch. Strong, but not unbeatable and today we would like to talk about how to deal with Lina.
One potentially exploitable quirk of the hero is that she is usually picked in the second phase and sometimes even the first one. There is time to adapt to her pick.
In lane, she is often paired with midgame melee supports like Riki or Nyx Assassin, who are often picked in the first phase. They typically have a poor laning stage when it comes to trades and in situations like this Axe is amazing. He gets to ignore the lane come level two or three, and just go behind the tower and pull creeps towards the neutral camps. This accelerates his farm immensely.
Similar concepts can be applied to Centaur Warrunner and Dark Seer, though they usually need slightly more levels to go for such plays. The latter is also not necessarily the best hero to have against Lina in the later stages of the game, but the farming speed can still be utilized to great success.
By going this route, you do not “counter” Lina’s laning stage: she will get an absolute free farm in lane. But you will have a timely response with a very strong, aggressive hero who gets to farm more than Lina and will have much higher tempo.
Against weak lanes and when played well both Axe and Centaur can get very early Blink Dagger and have an absolute field day across the map. Again, not necessarily countering Lina directly, but rather making sure that she doesn’t get to play around her teammates.
Once you have an extra item, such as Blade Mail on Axe, you can go for Lina kills, but it is not necessarily the best course of action. When you have tempo in the early game, going for objectives, restricting the map for the opponent and making sure you progress towards victory is usually the more reliable play.
Lina is a glass cannon. She starts off pretty squishy and continues to be squishy until the very late stages of the game, where Satanic is usually her durability item of choice. Multiple heroes can exploit that squishiness very well.
Most notably, there is Phantom Assassin. The dynamic between her and Lina is a bit weird, since Lina can go for an early Silver Edge or late midgame Monkey King Bar, but it is still very much initiation-favored until the end of the game.
If Lina gets to open up on PA, with correct items she can absolutely melt her over the duration of her stun. If PA gets to jump Lina with BKB, she will usually need a crit or two to seal the deal. With access to Blur on PA, though, getting the jump should be much easier and it is reflected in Lina winrate: she only wins 47% of her games against Phantom Assassin.
More reliable burst heroes include Sven, Ursa and Chaos Knight. All three are high physical burst heroes who prefer to jump in on a target, deleting them in the process.
Of the three Ursa is definitely the most meta-friendly, being one of the better carries for the laning stage with built-in objective taking. Don’t sleep on Chaos Knight, though: most pro players just spam Phantasm off cooldown, solving the farming speed problem the hero used to have.
Sven is probably the most niche hero of the bunch, but we feel like he is criminally underrated. His farming speed is very high, he can deal a good amount of damage throughout the game and his laning stage is pretty impressive: the level one stats on the hero are among the best in the game.
More importantly, though, with Shard and Warcy, he can provide his team with an insane amount of extra Armor. With the current meta revolving around heroes like Death Prophet, Drow Ranger, Lycan, Tusk and Shadow Fiend, being extra protective of your supports makes absolute sense. We feel like a well-played Sven can mitigate a tremendous amount of damage in teamfights, turning “one-shot” kills into prolonged fights where his supports get to use their spells multiple times.
There are several items to consider against Lina. First is a forgotten Wraith Pact. The item is a far cry from what it used to be, but it is still a great Armor aura and a strong Physical damage mitigation tool. We understand why players are hesitant to use it, but we feel like it is still being undervalued.
Another option is a recently buffed Crimson Guard. Lina hits very fast: she gets +385 AS from Fiery Soul, basically making her a better Troll Warlord. However, she doesn’t really hit hard before getting Crits, be it Silver Edge or Daedalus. 75 Damage Block can go a long way in preventing allies from going full to zero over the duration of a stun.
The regular save items in Glimmer Cape and Force Staff also go a long way, but we would like to highlight Guardian Greaves, which is currently among the most popular items in the meta and for a good reason. It has an insanely good Aura that now activates much earlier. It provides the bearer with a dispel and the clutch heal can sometimes allow teammates to use their priority spells for a turn-around.
What are your thoughts on dealing with Lina? Do you feel like there are other options to consider when dealing with her? Share your thoughts in the comment section below.