Dota 2

Blademail is IMO the most misunderstood item in the game

Content of the article: "Blademail is IMO the most misunderstood item in the game"

This post is meant to stir up a discussion, so if you dissagree let it be know, but lets try to keep this civil because I don't think this is a popular opinion, but I think its important that we challenge our preconception of items and their utility. Also potential wall of text ahead

Blademail as a tank item

IMO blademail is extremely overrated as a defensive item, and provides downright poor stats for what most people purchases it for. For 2050 gold you only get 6 (2 armor more from the chainmail you build it from), compared to say a platemail which costs 1400 and builds into a wide array of useful late game items. So, if we just compare price to armor ratio, blademail is horribly outclassed. So the appeal of the item has to come from the other stats it provides and the active/passive it provides. Now, the focus right now is from a defensive perspective, so we ignore the bonus for damage as of this moment because it does not help us survive. Therefore, the main draw of blademail comes from its passive and active which are often used as a pseudo bkb.

The selfish bkb

The logic of blademail is that your enemy can't kill you without killing themselves and this is true for certain matchups like Luna ult pre bkb, windranger before her buff to focus fire, and Sky Wrath Mage without Euls. The problem with this sort of itemization is that it is inherently selfish and only provides you the ability to use your hp pool as damage in the interval you use blademail. Before using the active, blademail does not offer you substantial tank as we established, so the sky Wrath can keep using nukes on you because you want to use it to kill him when he ults. Maybe it could be argued that is the strength of blademail, it prevents someone from using their abilities. However, this is what makes blademail so deceptive, it does not make it so that abilities cannot be used, it makes it so that abilities are more likely to be used on your teammates. If centaur has a blademail the Sky Wrath should be more prone to ult his teammates, but if the centaur has a pipe, it does the same no matter who he ults. So it is understandable that people feel that blademail keeps them alive, but its worth remembering that it comes at the cost of their teammates. And for the real kicker

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The survivability is an illusion

If we keep going with the Sky Wrath example, if we really think about it then we actually do not get tankier vs the hero, the only thing blademail does is enable us to damage him, not survive the burst. However, a pipe would help us survive. This concept can be aplied to other items too, and this is why its important to reevaluate what items can do for us in certain matchups.

What we can learn from thinking about our items

I used to believe that as a storm you HAD to rush euls vs heroes like sky wrath because it was the most effecient item to dispell silences. However, I realized after seeing a snowballing stormspirit rush bloodstone that you do not need a dispell to survive sky burst. The active from the bloodstone was enough.

It changed how I viewed bloodstone as a super niche mana item with tank properties, into a situational tank item that fixes mana issues. And many items are like this in dota, Helm of the dominator can enable kills on heroes like necro with the purge creep, and allows non push heroes like maybe ogre to take a tower easier, dagon clears illusions so you can save yourself against spectre as rubick when she haunts, and holy locket…. Yeah I got nothing there. But it could potentially be useful!

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My point is that itemization in dota is so deep and multifaceted that it saddens me that blademail is being bought with very little thought of the benefits and consequences of it.


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