Dota 2 Lycan Guide: Items Build | Game Plan | Abilities

Dota 2 Lycan is one of the best chasers. This hero can be played in a very aggressive way and will quickly win you the game if you get a good start. Lycan lineups are used frequently to win the 10-25 minute battle window. 

As soon as he gets a few core items, Lycan can start siege towers, and stopping him is very challenging. That’s because his ultimate gives him a lot of extra damage and speed, while his summons is there to tank tower shots and harass anyone who tries to interfere.

If you want to become a Lycan specialist, our Dota 2 Lycan guide will offer you an excellent foundation.

Dota 2 Lycan

Lycan’s Pros and Cons

These are the pros and cons of playing Lycan in Dota 2.


  • He can initiate a fight with ease and guarantee a win in most cases 
  • He can easily escape from a row thanks to his movement speed
  • He deals a lot of damage even without any damaged items
  • He is very tanky
  • He can farm efficiently thanks to his overall damage output
  • He can go into the jungle early thanks to his summons
  • He’s one of the best-split pushers in the game


  • He’s slow and poor at fighting when his ultimate is on cooldown
  • He starts with low agility and gains very little agility throughout the game
  • His mana pool is low
  • He needs to win early, otherwise, he loses his edge


Banehallow, the Lycan, comes from the noble house of Ambry, the mightiest castes in the kingdom of Slom. His group rebelled against the throne and was no longer willing to pay homage and fealty. However, Lycan’s rebellion was crushed in the Massacre of the Apostates.

After the loss, the king decided to completely destroy the Ambry bloodline. Lycan was the only one spared. However, the king’s magicians transformed him into a wolf and he was asked to kill his own father. But instead of doing that, he killed dozens of his soldiers and then escaped. Now he seeks justice for everything he lost.

Dota 2 Lycan
Dota 2 Lycan

Attributes and Stats

These are Lycan’s general stats:

Win Rate54.75%
Level1 – 30
Health785 (at level 1)
Health regeneration0.25
Mana351 (at level 1) 
Mana regeneration0
DMG61 – 67
DMG Blocknone
Magic Resistance25%
Status Resistance0%
Attack Range150
Movement Speed305
Attack Rate1.7
Attack Speed110
Projectile Speedinstant
Attack Animation0.55 + 0.25
Turn Rate0.6
Collision Size8
Vision Range1800 / 800
Gib Type

Ability Upgrades: 

Lycan’s abilities are upgraded by his 8 talents.

  • Level 10 talents: +10 Summon Wolves damage / +10 Feral Impules HP regen
  • Level 15 talents: -15s Shapeshift cooldown / +200 Summon Wolves HP
  • Level 20 talents: +25% Feral Impules damage / +6s Shapeshift duration
  • Level 25 talents: +2 Summon Wolves summoned / Howl reduces total attack damage

These talents make Lycan an excellent offlaner but can also be played in the carry role. No matter how you choose to utilize him, make sure that you have a solid plan of action. This hero doesn’t benefit from waiting and needs to use his ultimate as frequently as possible to be effective.

Roles Lycan Can Take On

Lycan is a natural position 1 / 3 hero. He will usually deal a lot of damage to an enemy structure or chase down enemy heroes before he starts to retreat. Lycan players like to force the opposite team to utilize a lot of spells on them. This will give the other heroes on the squad the chance to do their thing and win the fight.

After a Black King Bar is purchased, Lycan becomes the perfect assassin and split-pusher. Support heroes can no longer stop you and you can easily deal a lot of building damage before teleporting out.

Dota 2 Lycan

Lycan Item Builds

These are the most critical items that you should consider purchasing when picking Lycan. The build changes based on the role you are playing but many of the items stay the same. You can become tanky, immune to magical damage, or highly aggressive.

A lot of players opt for a summons-oriented build because it greatly increases their ability to split-push.

Early Game

For the early game, consider buying these items:

  • Magic Wand
  • Quelling Blade
  • Boots of Speed
  • Drum of Endurance
  • Helm of the Overlord

Mid Game

During the mid-game, you will usually purchase several of these items:

  • Black King Bar
  • Aghanim’s Shard
  • Assault Cuirass
  • Skull Basher
  • Desolator

Late Game

In the late game, this hero thrives if you have one of these items:

  • Silver Edge
  • Daedalus
  • Aghanim’s Scepter
Dota 2 Lycan Guide
Dota 2 Lycan Guide


Lycan has 4 abilities and can gain a 5th if you buy an Aghanim’s Scepter. These abilities are described below:

Summon Wolves

This is Lycan’s best farming ability because it allows him to easily go into the jungle at level 5. Each wolf has 450 HP and around 40 damage. Wolves also Cripple enemies, making them lose some of their attack speed (60) and movement speed (15%). The Cripple chance is 20%. During the Cripple debuff (8s), the target takes 8 damage/s.

The 2 wolves you summon last for 50s unless they get killed. This means that your damage output is much higher while they’re alive and this will naturally boost your farming speed. 

Mana cost: 125 – 140

Cooldown: 30s


Lycan can use this ability to reduce enemy damage by 25% – 40% and armor by 4 – 7 in a 2000 radius during the day and globally during the night. The effect lasts for 8 seconds. This ability is absolutely devastating against lineups that heavily rely on physical damage.

Mana cost: 35 – 50

Cooldown: 22s – 16s

Feral Impulse

This is a passive ability that enhances the attack damage and HP regen of Lycan and every unit under his control. The buffs are substantial: 10 – 40% damage and 1 – 7 HP regen. 

Dota 2 Lycan Guide


This is Lycan’s ultimate and will give you maximum movement speed for 25 seconds. You also get 1800 night vision, 40% chance to critically strike an opponent with a 160% – 220% damage, and 200 – 400 HP on top of everything.

During your ultimate, you are one of the deadliest heroes on the map, so make sure you utilize it properly. The only problem is that in the early game, the cooldown of your ultimate will be long: 120s. However, by the time you’ve reached level 18, if you also use the level 15 talent, it will be just 80s.

Mana cost: 100

Cooldown: 120s – 95s

Wolf Bite

This is a great ability to have because it gives you the chance to cast a second ultimate on an ally, transforming them into a deadly wolf. You and the shapeshifted hero share a 30% life steal. This means you can be healed by the other’s damage, as long as you fight near each other (1200 radius).

If you have a teammate that has the potential to deal a lot of damage but doesn’t have great mobility, just buy an Aghanim’s Scepter, and your problem is solved.

This ability makes Lycan a great offline hero. Because instead of having to do everything yourself, you can just buff one of your teammates to do the job for you.

The only weakness of Wolf Bite is that it needs to be cast from a maximum range of 300. This means that you will need to be close to your allies when the fight begins.

Mana cost: 150

Cooldown: 120s – 95s

Ability Build Guide

When you play Lycan in Dota 2, you should try to follow this ability build order:

  1. Summon Wolves: levels 1, 4, 5, 7
  2. Howl: levels 11, 13, 14, 16
  3. Feral Impulse: levels 2, 3, 8, 9
  4. Grow: levels 6, 12, 18

This is a skill build that you will almost never change. The only potential modification is the first Howl level. If you find yourself fighting often against the enemy team in the first 10-15 minutes of the game, put one point in Howl before you reach level 5. So instead of a 3-0-2 build, go for a 3-1-1 build.


When playing Lycan, your basic combo is to position yourself, cast Howl, summon your Wolves, and then shapeshift. Be as close to the enemy as possible if you want to engage. Sometimes, good players will buy a Blink Dagger to guarantee themselves a good fight that cannot be dodged by the enemy team.

Make no mistake, as soon as the enemy heroes see you shapeshifting, they will try to dodge you because you’re very powerful during your ultimate. One way of preventing that is to buy a Blink Dagger or a Silver Edge.

If you have a BKB, make sure you use it early when playing against heroes like Lyon or Shadow Shaman. You don’t want to be disabled for 5-10 seconds before having the chance to become magic-immune. Otherwise, it may be too late.

Game Plan

This is what good Lycan players do in terms of tactics and strategy.

Early Game

In the early game, your goal is to take as much farm as possible on your lane and then transition to farming the jungle as soon as you reach level 7. Some Lycan players like to do it earlier. Some like to do it later. It’s ultimately up to you, but your decision should also take into account the enemy side.

If you’re playing against heroes that can easily push the lanes, stay near your top or bottom lane and don’t neglect it. You do not want to lose your tier 1 tower. Ideally, you should be the one destroying the enemy tier 1 tower as fast as possible.

Don’t engage in any fights before you reach level 6. After that, you can fight when necessary but prioritize farming until you have your first important item, Helm of the Overlord.

Mid Game

During the mid-game, you will farm while your ultimate is on cooldown and fight whenever you have it available. Do not just passively farm when playing Lycan, especially if you’re up against a Spectre or some other carriers that will destroy you in the late game.

Your objective is to end the game before the 30-minute mark, so make sure you use every ultimate to get closer to that goal. Take Roshan, destroy buildings, and engage the enemy whenever possible, as long as you can win the ensuing team fight.

Late Game

In the late game, Lycan continues to be strong if he has a high net worth. But he falls off otherwise. However, even with great items, you will be weak while your ultimate is on cooldown. So make sure you choose your fights correctly.

Ideally, you shouldn’t have to fight after the 30-minute mark because the game will be over by then. But if you find yourself fighting a long battle, itemize correctly and always pick a target you can kill fairly rapidly. That’s how you make a big difference with this hero. Another option is to split-push. Just make sure you do it properly.

If split-pushing is your preferred tactic, make sure you buy a BKB. Otherwise, you’ll get caught and killed.


Lycan is naturally countered by heroes that can negate his movement speed with their spells. For example, Bloodseeker, Puck, and Faceless Void.

Advantageous Matchups

Lycan is good against heroes that can’t escape from a fight and can’t really disable you in any way. Templar Assassin is a perfect example of such a hero. With your summons you can quickly burn through her Refraction, and then she has nowhere to hide.

Most Used Skins

There are numerous Dota 2 skins that you can utilize when playing Lycan. Three of them are presented below:

Trail of the Grey Ghost

This is a very beautiful Lycan set that makes him look even wilder than he already is.

Mark of the Blood Moon

This mythical set gives Lycan the terrifying look he deserves.

Armor of the Sanguine Moon Set

This Lycan set will turn you into a pirate monster.

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Posted by
William Westerlund

William is an author, editor, and an avid gamer with over 10.000 hours in CS:GO (Counter-Strike 2). He also enjoys playing Rust, Dota 2, and TF2 but never became a top 1% player in any of those games.