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

Dota 2 Tusk is one of the best position. His ability to gank and save allies is exceptional; many players love and hate him. Even at the professional level, Tusk is picked all the time. Learning how to use him properly is not that difficult, and your MMR will skyrocket once you’re a Tusk specialist.

If you’re interested in mastering the hero, this Tusk Dota 2 guide will offer you a strong foundation.

Dota 2 Tusk

Tusk’s Pros and Cons

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


  • He has a very impactful laning phase 
  • His stats are excellent
  • Provides excellent mobility for himself and his team
  • He has multiple escape mechanisms
  • He has multiple initiation tools


  • He needs more farm than other roamers to be effective
  • His ultimate is weak after the first 25-30 minutes
  • He loses much of his offensive strength once the enemy team has BKBs
  • He is a melee hero that struggles against roots and slows


Tusk comes from a tough land where fights break out all the time. His name is Ymir, which comes from the name of the Giant from Norse mythology, but he is also known as the Terror from the Barrier and the Snowball from Cobalt. He’s the only living fighter who has defeated the Bristled Bruiser in a 1v1.

After an epic fight in Wolfsden Tavern, the barkeep challenged him to go out into the world and find a real battle. The side he would choose would be up to him and the goal was victory. Should he successfully complete this quest, Tusk will be offered another round of drinks for free.

Dota 2 Tusk

 Attributes and Stats

These are Tusk’s general stats:

Win Rate48.8%
Level1 – 30
Health717 (at level 1)
Health regeneration1
Mana291 (at level 1) 
Mana regeneration0.5
DMG50 – 54
DMG Blocknone
Magic Resistance25%
Status Resistance0%
Attack Rate1.7
Movement Speed310
Attack Speed100
Attack Animation0.36 + 0.64
Projectile Speedinstant
Attack Range150
Turn Rate0.7
Collision Size24
Vision Range1800 / 800
Gib Type

Ability Upgrades: 

Tusk’s abilities are upgraded by his 8 talents.

  • Level 10 talents: +0.5s Walrus Punch stun duration / +25 Tag Team damage
  • Level 15 talents: +120 Snowball damage / +325 health
  • Level 20 talents: +75% Walrus Punch crit / -6s Ice Shards cooldown
  • Level 25 talents: -8s Snowball cooldown / 12% of hitting a Walrus Punch

Roles Tusk Can Take On

Tusk is a natural initiator. This makes him perfect for the position 4 and position 3 roles. However, he is rarely played as an Offlaner. Teams think of Tusk as the perfect hero for a pair that ganks all lanes between the 5 and 20-minute marks.

Dota 2 Tusk

Tusk Item Builds

These are the most critical items you should consider purchasing when playing Tusk. This is not a fixed build, and you can modify it based on circumstances, but some of the items tend to be essential to the objectives you’re trying to achieve throughout the game.

If you play Tusk as a position 4 initiator, you will not afford to buy damage items unless the game goes very late or your team is far ahead in net worth. The more gold you have, the more you can think about the damage. But in most situations,  you’ll have to be satisfied with just a few initiation items.

Early Game

For the early game, consider buying these items:

  • Magic Wand
  • Mangoes
  • Phase Boots / Arcane Boots
  • Wind Lace
  • Orb of Venom
  • Bottle
  • Falcon Blade

Mid Game

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

  • Blink Dagger
  • Blade Mail
  • Aghanim’s Shard
  • Force Staff
  • Black King Bar
  • Desolator

Late Game

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

  • Aghanim’s Scepter
  • Shiva’s Guard
  • Pipe of Insight
Dota 2 Tusk


Tusk has 4 abilities that can be further enhanced by his talents and the items you buy. You can also gain a 5th ability by purchasing an Aghanim’s Scepter. These abilities are presented below:

Ice Shards

This is Tusk’s best early-game ability, which is why you should maximize it first. It allows you to deal damage to multiple enemies from afar and trap them for 4 – 7 seconds. Any opponent that cannot blink away or get out of the shards using some kind of forced movement will be trapped for a long time.

The only option that is left for heroes who are trapped is to go around the shards. But that can be time consuming and will force the target to move towards Tusk and his team.

Ice Shards deals 75 – 300 damage and even slows movement speed by 40% if you have Aghanim’s Shard. With this item, the barrier deals 60 damage per second. The cast range of this ability is phenomenal: 1800 – 2100.

Mana cost: 100

Cooldown: 23s – 14s


This AoE ability allows Tusk to damage enemies, stun them, and get close to them with ease. The cast range is almost as big as a blink: 1150 units. The movement speed of the snowball is 625 – 700. This means that even the fastest hero in the game cannot escape it if the distance is not big enough.

When using this ability, Tusk can grab allies and add them to the snowball. So it’s not just him that moves towards the enemy. It’s his team as well. For each hero added to the snowball, the damage increases by 25 – 100. The stun duration is 0.8s – 1.4s and the base damage is 80 – 260.

Mana cost: 75

Cooldown: 18s – 15s

Tag Team

Dota 2 Tusk

This is one of Tusk’s best abilities during team fights. It allows him to tag an enemy for 5 seconds. During that time, the target will take increased damage from all attacks (20 – 95) and will have its movement speed slowed by 75% for each attack it receives, for a duration of 0.5s. This could easily guarantee a kill if your teammates are nearby.

Mana cost: 70

Cooldown: 24s – 15s

Walrus Punch

This ability stuns the target for 1 second, slows its movement speed by 40% for 2 – 4 seconds and deals 300% – 400% critical damage. And what is amazing about it is that it has a very low cooldown. Tusk can use this ability to stop enemies from trying to teleport away or to ruin their combos.

Mana cost: 75

Cooldown: 20s – 10s

Walrus Kick

This ability functions like Walrus Punch but with some twists. It slows by 40% for 4 seconds and kicks the target 1400 units toward the kick.

To gain Walrus Kick, you need to buy an Aghanim’s Scepter. In most cases, you won’t afford the item or buying it won’t make much sense. But against certain heroes it will be one of your best tools for winning the game. Also, if you have a Blood Seeker or a Puck on your team, the ability to kick enemies becomes extremely valuable.

Mana cost: 100

Cooldown: 12

Ability Build Guide

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

  1. Ice Shards: levels 1, 3, 5, 7
  2. Snowball: levels 2, 4, 8, 9
  3. Tag Team: levels 11, 13, 14, 16
  4. Walrus Punch: levels 6, 12, 18

If you find yourself fighting a lot more frequently than you had planned, put one point in Tag Team early on. This will help you to get kills a lot easier.


When playing Tusk, your primary combo consists of casting Ice Shards, closing the distance with Snowball, and then using Tag Team on a target to help your team kill it faster. You can either use your ultimate at the start of the fight or wait until the target tries to teleport away.

The second option is much better when you’re the only member of your team who can interrupt a TP.

Game Plan

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

Early Game

In the early game, your goal is to aid your farmers by preventing them from getting killed or by helping them get kills. You can easily gank a lane at level 2. And if you want, you can have all of your 3 basic abilities skilled at level 3. You can easily kill an enemy hero with enough mana and a well-placed Ice Shards spell.

Make sure you buy yourself an Orb of Venom to slow enemies down even further. Nothing can escape the combination of slows, blocks, and damage.

Don’t be afraid to take risks because this hero is very tanky in the early game. If you buy a bit more armor on top of that, you can easily tank multiple tower shots and kill heroes under their own tower. A good strategy is to ask your midlaner to push the way and ensure it’s under the enemy tower. This will make your dives even easier.

Mid Game

During the mid game, you will be a very important initiator for your team. Having a Blink Dagger is crucial at this point, so you should start gathering gold for the item immediately after the laning phase. If you get a few kills, it will speed up the process by several minutes.

Another thing that you should try to do during the mid portion of the game is to keep your team alive during enemy ultimates. If the opponent has a Disruptor, a Void, or some other hero that can cause massive damage for several seconds, be prepared to cast your Snowball and insert your teammates in it for protection. This will ruin any combo.

Late Game

In the late game, your job will be to stop enemies from teleporting away, saving your teammates, and initiating on a key target. Don’t be afraid to die at this point because your job will be in part to absorb enemy damage. It’s not a good idea to try to stay safe during this stage of the game. If you’re safe, someone else on your team isn’t.

Building a Shiva’s Guard or a Scythe of Vyse will be extremely beneficial in some cases. But always check your teammates’ inventories and make sure that you don’t duplicate key items. Having a Pipe is also nice because the amount of magical damage tends to be massive.

If you haven’t bought your BKB, it will be challenging to not get caught and killed at the start of the fight. But if you have it, you should be able to protect yourself, blink in at the right time, and generate favorable fights.


Tusk is naturally countered by heroes that can blink away. You will encounter difficulties if you play against an Anti-Mage or a Queen of Pain.

Another type of hero that’s hard to play against as Tusk is illusion-based. Heroes with summons can also be difficult to defeat. It’s not impossible, of course, but you’re playing at a disadvantage.

Advantageous Matchups

For Tusk, an advantageous matchup is one against a hero with poor mobility and no escape mechanism. Anything that has to run away and can’t jump over your Ice Shards will be at a disadvantage against you, starting from the laning phase.

Most Used Skins

There are many Dota 2 skins that you can use when playing Tusk. Three of the best ones are presented below:

Eternal Explorer

This Tusk set puts an elk crown on your head and makes your hero feel like he’s gone through a sophisticated armoring ritual before engaging in battle. It looks absolutely amazing.

Arctic Hunter

This is another excellent Dota 2 skin, and it makes Tusk feel like he’s a character from an incredible culture.

Frostiron Raider Set

If you love playing the hero with a menacing mace, this set will be perfect for you.

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.