Dota 2 Marci guide: What spells and items to make?
Marci is the newest hero in Dota 2. Here’s your complete guide to Marci and how to dominate the game with her.
Slam into wins with DOTA 2’s newest hero, the silent superpowered sidekick Marci. In fact, you may already know that Marci can kick ass from watching the DOTA: Dragon’s Blood anime which was released on Netflix back in March. Even after receiving 2 nerfs in 10 days, Marci is absolutely viable and still one of the enjoyable heroes to play at the moment. She has great mobility, pro-wrestling moves and most importantly she punches people so hard that it literally causes shockwaves.
Marci is a strength hero who is good at initiation and scales well due to her ability to provide physical burst damage. While it may be too early to definitively tell where Marci should be played, it seems highly likely that she is best suited to a core role (Carry, Midlaner or Offlaner).
Her ultimate scales really well with items and because she’s melee she needs to be in the middle of teamfights to use all of her abilities effectively. (Being in the middle of fights is not the ideal place for an under-farmed support!) Thus, we highly recommend playing her as a core.
Marci's Spells and Skill Build
Marci is another one of these new heroes that have spells that are kinda complicated on paper - but pretty simple in practice. So let’s just quickly breakdown what she’s all about:
Dispose is a powerful initiation tool, stunning and throwing the target back towards your team.
Marci grabs a target (enemy or ally, hero or creep) and yeets it directly behind her. If the grabbed unit is an enemy it will be stunned and take damage. On top of this, any enemy units in the landing area will also get stunned and take damage.
This ability is great for initiating. Mostly because it's a stun (DUH). But it also has a fast animation - meaning enemies will have a hard time reacting or dodging. Lastly, it has the added advantage of repositioning the enemy hero, ideally throwing the target back towards your team so they can burst them.
The other important thing to note about this ability is that it’s amazing in the laning phase. Being able to throw an enemy hero back towards your tower (or just further away from the safety of their tower) means more time for you to harass them if not outright kill them.
Dispose has a relatively short cooldown and low mana cost, so don’t be afraid to throw a few of these out during the laning phase!
Finally, Dispose can be interrupted by stuns or even just being forcestaffed during the animation. So it can be countered if your enemy has quick fingers.
Marci's mobility spell is great for closing the gap to land Dispose or finish off fleeing enemies.
Rebound is probably Marci’s most complicated spell and like many of DOTA’s weirder spells - the best way to really understand it is to just play around with it a bit. But here’s what you need to know:
Marci picks a unit - (enemy or ally, hero or creep) and sprints to that unit. Upon reaching the unit she will jump to a targeted location, damaging and slowing any enemies in the landing area. So you first have to target a unit, then use vector targeting to pick the area you want the leap to land.
Crucially, you can’t just straight up jump somewhere - you need someone to jump OFF first!
This ability is great for closing the gap on fleeing heroes, or bouncing off teammates in order to yeet an enemy back into your team. It also works pretty well as an escape ability if there is something to jump off.
Rebound (like Dispose) is very strong in lane for basically the same reasons. It allows you to further harass and kill enemy heroes who find themselves out of position.
Another thing to note is that Rebound has only an 11-second cooldown when maxxed out - so it’s definitely possible to use it multiple times in a single fight or chase.
Finally, if Marci targets a friendly unit to jump off - the friendly unit will receive a 35% move speed bonus for 5 seconds. This is especially helpful for chasing down a target or making a quick getaway in a teamfight that has gone south.
Sidekick gives Marci bonus damage for the laning phase as well lifesteal for sustainability.
In stark contrast to Rebound, Sidekick is a super simple spell. Marci picks an allied hero and grants them and herself bonus damage and lifesteal for 6 seconds.
If you cast it on yourself - it will auto search for the closest allied hero in a 700 radius and buff them. If there is no ally, Marci will just receive the buff herself. So you don’t NEED an ally around to use this.
Despite granting +20 bonus damage (+40 if you count your buffed ally), this ability is surprisingly one of Marci’s weaker laning phase tools. Not so much because it's not strong, just because the other two are just better for actually securing kills. However, one point in Sidekick early on to sustain you and your lane partner (and to win the harass battle) is definitely recommended.
In the later phases of the game, when Marci has damage items - this ability becomes a lot stronger - as the +damage and lifesteal can be greatly amplified by the right items.
Last thing to note is that the Sidekick buff CAN be dispelled. So don’t go manning up too hard against Enchantress!
Unleash (R Ultimate)
Unleash (R Ultimate)
Unleash is Marci's 'transform' ultimate (like Dragon form or Shapeshift), it's best saved for important moments like teamfights where you can use the extra movespeed and attack speed for maximum impact.
Her Unleash ability is what makes Marci scary. Upon casting Unleash Marci receives a basic dispel and gains 15% movespeed and enters ‘Unleash mode’ for 16 seconds.
When Marci is in ‘Unleash mode’, she gains a huge amount of bonus attack speed for a set amount of attacks (3/4/5), these are called Flurry Combos. The last punch in the combo will cause a damage shockwave in a 800 radius around Marci.
However, the one drawback is that between Flurry combos (after each shockwave) - Marci is unable to attack for 1.75 seconds. So you punch super quickly, then stop, punch super quick, stop and so on.
Furthermore, all the Flurry combo attacks must be used up within 1 second - which sounds kinda hard on paper - but since you are basically attacking at the speed of light, it’s not a big deal unless you get stunned or disarmed or the target gets out of range. If for whatever reason Marci can’t use up all her Flurry attacks - this will count as a failed combo and the 1.75 second disarm timer will be triggered.
You don’t really have to worry too much about failing the Flurry combo in practice, just pick a target and hope for the best - as many of the reasons that you may fail the combo are mostly out of your control. However, this is a large part of why Black King Bar is so good on Marci as it avoids many of the ways the enemy team can disrupt your barrage of punches.
Finally, Unleash cannot be dispelled and the Flurry combo works on Spell Immune targets and will still trigger the shockwave. However, the shockwave is magical damage and will not pierce spell immunity.
How To Skill Marci
Marci being still very new means the optimal skill build has not been completely figured out and the way you skill her will depend on your situation.
However, it’s definitely advisable to skill Dispose (Q) or Rebound (W) level 1 as both provide a form of lock down which helps you secure a rune or first blood.
For similar reasons, we suggest maxing either Dispose (Q) or Rebound (W) first, as Sidekick simply doesn’t do as much. (Unless you are in an extremely passive lane with absolutely no kill potential and just want the added sustain and damage to help you last hit).
A good all round skill build for Marci would look something like this:
Q, W, W, E, Q, R (ultimate). Then go on to max Rebound (W) followed by Dispose (Q) and finally Sidekick (E). Taking the point in Unleash (R) whenever available.
(This build chooses to max Rebound first over Dispose as it has slightly more utility since it can be used as an offensive AND defensive tool).
Marci's Talents - What to pick and why?
DOTA 2's newest hero: Marci
Unfortunately for us, Valve actually did a good job of balancing both sides of Marci's talent tree. So, some of the choices in Marci’s talent tree are pretty obvious while others depend more on your playstyle and the specific game you find yourself in.
Lvl 10: +2 Mana Regen vs +5 Armour
Right out the gate we have a hard one. I suggest taking the mana regen as Marci (being a Strength hero) does suffer from some mana issues. You don’t generally want to be building mana regen items on Marci while you DO want to build items that make you tanky, thus the Mana Regen feels a little more logical. However, if you do plan on building some form of mana regen or you are facing a heavy physical damage line up - the +5 Armour is certainly not a bad choice!
Lvl 15: +200 Rebound Cast/Jump Range vs +0.5s Dispose Stun Duration
This is an easy one, take the +200 Rebound Cast/Jump Range everytime. It’s a ton of added mobility which will make utilizing the rest of your kit a lot easier.
+0.5s Dispose Stun Duration is fine (obviously, more stun is always good), however it just loses out to the utility provided by the Rebound talent.
Lvl 20: +30 Movement Speed vs +25% Sidekick Lifesteal
This is another tough one. Obviously the +30 Movement Speed is tempting as Marci does need to stick on heroes during Unleash to land the combos. But, +30 Movement speed is really not THAT much (especially when you factor in Rebound and the fact that Marci will often build a Blink Dagger).
On the other hand, +25% Sidekick Lifesteal takes you from 50% lifesteal to 75% which honestly just feels a little bit like overkill…
We recommend taking the +30 Movement Speed as just a ‘quality of life’ pick, since it will make teamfights, ganks and generally running around the map a bit easier. However, if you do find getting into some heated man fights, the +25% Sidekick Lifesteal is definitely a reasonable pick.
(Note: the +25% Sidekick Lifesteal becomes a much better choice if you have a hard carry on your team who will benefit from it, think Phantom Assassin or Terrorblade).
Lvl 25: 1.5s Sidekick Spell Immunity vs 1.5s Unleash Pulse Silence
Marci’s 25 talents are a real Sophie’s Choice. 1.5s Sidekick Spell Immunity is amazing, it synergizes really well with your own BKB as well as the option to buff your carry and make them spell immune.
The 1.5s Unleash Pulse Silence can be extremely effective if you are able to jump the backlines and disable the enemy supports. (Remember that you can get multiple Pulses off during Unleash - so that’s a ton of silences).
Generally, we are leaning towards the 1.5s Sidekick Spell Immunity as the safer choice, especially in a close game, game when you are facing a lot of stuns or a game where you are not the hard carry.
But if you ARE the hard carry and you feel like you can do your job with just the BKB, go for the 1.5s Unleash Pulse Silence.
How To Play Marci
In the early game, you should focus on farming up your core items and getting as many levels as possible. This is because Marci can hit some seriously strong power spikes such as level 6 (when you get Unleash) and when you finish armlet.
This doesn't mean you have to play passive on Marci, in fact she often has kill potential in the early game! Dispose and Rebound works great to set up early game kills, especially if you have a support who can capitalize on the enemy being out of position. If you feel you don't have any kill potential, put more points into Sidekick for an easier time sustaining and last hitting and simply wait until you have Unleash.
As a mid lane Marci, Rebound is a great tool for rune control. This is especially important as a highly levelled Marci with a power rune can be absolutely devastating. Use this to your advantage and look to rotate or TP into the side lanes for some easy kills.
When it comes to team-fighting as Marci, you want to find a balance between over-extending and playing too passive. If you jump directly into the enemy team and start slapping people - you will likely get stunned and killed (this is especially true before your BKB).
Ideally, you want to start a team-fight by Rebounding onto the most out-of-position enemy and Dispose them back towards your team. After that you can simply help your team finish that target off - or you can look for another target. Remember, when you have Unleash activated you do A LOT of physical burst damage, so you can easily burst squishy heroes if you aren't being controlled. Following this logic, your best bet is to jump on the enemy supports (who have low HP pools and usually have stuns) and take them out of the fight as soon as possible. Once you get rolling in a team-fight, it's easy to snowball it to your advantage.
The final biggest note about playing Marci is: DON'T SKIP BKB and DON'T BE GREEDY WITH YOUR BKB. Marci's spells give her movement speed, mobility, high damage and lifesteal - everything you need to have a huge impact in your game. Being able to stick on a target will keep you healthy (due to the life steal) and push the fight in your favour as the target your hitting is probably gonna die very soon, allowing you to move onto your next victim. Spell immunity is what allows you to do your job.
You are insanely strong with just Armlet and Skull Basher. Purchasing a BKB just allows you to fully utilize that strength while drastically reducing any potential counter-play from the enemy.
What Items to build on Marci?
Starting Items - Sidelines.
Marci’s starting items are pretty simple. Either go for the standard quelling blade + magic stick build or the 2 Gauntlet start and courier your stick out later. (The stick build is better vs spell spammers like Batrider).
Starting Items - Midlane.
For mid you are going to want to rush your bottle ASAP, so start with a Quelling, 3 Branches and a set of tangos.
(For Midlane Marci - get your bottle first, then follow the same build as below.)
Finish up your Magic Wand, Bracer and get some Brown Boots.
Next you are going to want to work on either your boots upgrade (Treads or Phase boots, when to choose which is explained below) or just go straight into Armlet (starting with the Helm of Iron Will for extra sustain).
After finishing Armlet, you will have to choose the order in which you build Marci’s core items according to the game.
Marci’s Core Items
Armlet of Mordiggian: Easily the most value for money item on any strength hero and especially great on Marci as the lifesteal from Sidekick mitigates the HP loss from activating Armlet. It also features Helm of Iron Will in the build-up which is nice for lane sustain.
Black King Bar: while Marci is tanky and mobile, she also relies largely on sticking on top of a target in order to kill them. This means that stuns, slows + silences can be a real problem for her. The solution to this is to simply build a BKB. The stats are decent (especially on a strength hero) and the magic immunity is amazing - as you do NOT want to be kited during Unleash
Skull Basher: It synergizes super well with Unleash as tons of attack speed means almost guaranteed bashes (which in turn means fully landing your Flurry Combo).
Blink Dagger: This makes initiating with Dispose even easier and can be used during Unleash to keep the Combos going.
Silver Edge: The crit synergizes well with Sidekick and Unleash. Additionally, the mobility and sneakiness factor from the invisibility is nice too (especially in pubs). Plus it has a 'break' mechanic.
Power Treads vs Phase boots on Marci
Both Power Treads and Phase Boots have their merits and deciding which to build will be game dependant. Here's what you should be thinking about when making the choice:
Phase Boots are generally the stronger early game choice, as they provide more damage and the active movespeed buff allows you to punish slow-moving enemies. They also have the added benefit of providing some armor which can be a small bonus against heavy physical damage heroes like Phantom Assassin. Definitely the more early game 'ganky' boot choice.
Power Treads are generally the more 'carry' option of the two, as the attack speed scales better into the late game. This factor isn't that important for Marci as she gains so much from Unleash anyway. (Note that the attack speed isn't completely wasted, as Unleash does remove the attack speed limit.) Despite this, Treads are still a better farming boot than Phase as the attack speed will help you farm quicker when not in Unleash. Additionally, the ability to Tread Swap can allow you to squeeze out an extra spell or be that little bit tankier in those crucial moments.
Armlet Alternatives - Playing against Ancient Apparition or just hate Armlet?
If you don't want to go Armlet your other options are: Echo Sabre, Falcon Blade or even a Sange and Yasha. All these options (while not ideal) make for good early game stat items that synergize decently with Marci's kit and have good build-ups.
Optional and Luxury items
Marci Late Game Items
Abyssal Blade: While this item has somewhat fallen out of favor, Marci still uses it pretty damn well as she can easily close the gap in order to use the stun active. Also it's built out of Skull Basher which means you get to save an inventory slot.
Nullifier: A solid late-game option that provides a ton of extra damage as well as the active which will prevent the enemy from kiting you with things like Forcestaff, Glimmer Cape or Euls.
Satanic: This is just a great item overall for strength heroes in the late game. More strength, more lifesteal, a dispel and the active are all amazing on Marci.
Crystalys / Daedalus: Crit synergizes really nicely with Sidekick and Unleash, adding more burst physical damage. Generally, we would advise you to turn the Crystalys into a Silver Edge instead, but if you just need more raw damage, a Daedalus is a great option.
Maelstrom: This allows you to farm faster, thus scale better and the lightning procs works nicely with the attack speed from Unleash.
Overwhelming Blink: An obvious late-game choice if you already have the Blink Dagger and you are starved for inventory slots. More strength is always nice and the damage and slow fit Marci really well.
If you want to have a great time while annoying the enemy team - Marci is the hero for you (assuming she wasn't picked or banned already!). Her insane ultimate coupled with her mobility and tankiness makes her quite unique among the DOTA 2 hero roster. She also has the added benefit of being viable in any of the core roles, which means even if you can't get mid, you can still play your hero. Hopefully, this guide will aid you on your punch-fuelled journey to the immortal bracket.
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