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Jungling as Lycan, post nerf. non-disruptive
This guide will teach you how to jungle as Lycan without being disruptive, post 6.75 nerf. This method will be extremely useful in pub games with almost no cooperation or communication (aka russian pubs) as this method does not require single pulling, nor teammates to buy you items.
Lycan is one of the best pushers and carries in the game as of now.
On the DotA 6.75 patch he received a huge nerf to his wolves, reducing their health into half of what it used to be, and increasing their mana cost so that he's unable to cast them twice without having to regen mana at level 1.
Lycan then has been tried to be played on the lane, although his utility on lane is subpar, and his jungling skills are still there.
This guide aims to give you a bit of insight on how to jungle as Lycan as of now, without disrupting your teammates or needing help from them whatsoever.
The fonts used to gather information will be presented at the bibliography at the end of the guide.
All screenshots are of own elaboration and do not bide any credit to anyone else apart from me and valve, of course.
An image is worth a thousand words
This is a video showcasing how I jungle as Lycan, successfully soloing Roshan at minute 13.
I do take a single regen rune but it makes little difference as all it made was fill my mana before the roshan fight, you can alternatively walk back to base, buy a smoke and go into rosh pit unseen, without him getting any stronger.
Pros & Cons
Undisruptive jungling means you can do this alone without any interaction with your teammates whatsoever
Can be just as much as efficient as Lycan prenerf jungling
Insert usual jungling advantages for the game overall here
Very easy to screw up, requires finesse and practice and understanding of many game concepts such as armor types, choke points, regen, micro, etc...
Mildly luck dependant: the efficiency of your jungling depends on the neutral creep spawns to a certain extent, sometimes you will get easy creeps and sometimes hard creeps, a list detailing all of this is provided further down this guide.
Very vulnerable to an organized team. If the counter to Lycan prenerf was to gank in his jungle, the counter to this lycan jungle is the same, but with 10x the effectiveness. If 1 single hero catches you you will probably die to him/her due to the high mana cost of your wolves and your possibly low health.
The idea is to be an efficient jungler without needing to do any of the following:
Take runes, as your mid player will need them for bottle charges.
Single pull the easy lane camp, as it will push the lane further if you don't stack it. it might be tempting to do so, but it's not a good idea especially if your opponent's solo laner has half a brain
Asking your teammates to buy you regen at the start of the game
More in-depth (screenshot-light)
Ring of Protection vs Stout Shield
Lycanthrope requires to keep his wolves alive as much as possible, while minimizing his own damage. The reason I recommend starting with a stout shield instead of a ring of protection is because RoP gives, effectively, a percentage based damage reduction early game, while stout shield provides a numerical 20 damage block, which is more often than not better than RoP.
The most critical moments in Lycan's jungle are levels 1-4, in which the player will have to focus as much as he can to not only not die, but also keep up with his teammates and opponents' EXP progression at the same time.
So, what is doable and how is it doable for Lycan, in terms of neutral creeps?
List of neutral creeps
Small camps: Small camps can be dealt with by Lycan without many problems, NEVER block the small camp and ALWAYS stack it if you're fighting it at the 53 second mark, it is very important that you maximize the EXP and gold you can get out of the only small camp on each side so that you boost your efficiency while jungling.
Medium camps: these include Alpha Wolves[www.dota2wiki.com], Centaur Camp[www.dota2wiki.com], Satyr Camps[www.dota2wiki.com], Ogre Camps[www.dota2wiki.com] and Mud Golem Camps[www.dota2wiki.com]. The ones that might prove challenging for you might be centaur camps and alpha wolves camps, these ones either have too high damage output or in the case of the centaurs, have enough CC to shut you down. From levels 2 to 4, if you find a medium camp composed of mud golems, satyrs or ogre magis, GO FOR IT.
Large Camps: these include Centaur Camps[www.dota2wiki.com] (same as medium camps), Large Satyr Camps[www.dota2wiki.com], Furbolg Camps[www.dota2wiki.com], Troll Warlord Camps[www.dota2wiki.com] and Wildkin (Wildwing?) camps[www.dota2wiki.com]. I recommend tackling these after level 4, and with wolves hopefully at level 2 already, the ones that can prove overly challenging can be the furbolg camps, which I recommend avoiding at all costs until you are well past level 6, but other than that everything else should be doable after level 4.
These are general guidelines on what to face at what levels. Bear in mind, sometimes the RNG tends to like to have intercourse with you, and will repeatedly spawn the same camp over and over at the same place. As I've said, this technique is a bit luck based, but with a bit of practice you should be able to tackle anything.
You are not axe, axe can face 1v5 the enemy team and get out alive with a rampage, you should only stack the small camp, and never risk gambling by stacking medium or large camps, especially early game. If you do, though, get an easy camp after stacking, congratulations, you just boosted your efficiency, but chances are, RNG will be horny and will send you a couple furbolgs or centaurs for the extra ♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥.
If you are capable of finishing off a medium or large camp before the 56 second mark, by all means walk away from it to allow it to respawn!
Microing your wolves
In spite of what you believe, you really don't need too much micro with lycan jungle, sure, if your wolf dies you're a bit screwed, but it's not the end of the world, all you need is to keep them alive, as they deal the same damage at 200HP as at 1 HP.
The reason I say avoid centaurs and furbolgs early on is because they have a nasty AoE spell that will mess with your micro, furbolgs are notorious for dealing way too much damage and getting your wolves killed, while centaurs will keep you locked down as they eat dogmeat for breakfast (or supper?)
Choke Point Jungling
This is a very informative video by XVRogue about choke point jungling that you should watch:
As you can imagine, only the melee neutral creeps can be used for choke point jungling.
This is a last resort to utilize when you're overly desperate and way behind, but sometimes it might even be better to simply return to your fountain and summon wolves there instead, as this is a very inefficient way to jungle with Lycan.
Radiant vs Dire
Radian jungle is inhrently harder and slower than the Dire jungle, that is because the Dire jungle nonpullable medium camp is located in a much more comfortable area for junglers, very close to the small camp and easily accessible. Radiant's unpullable medium camp is located way on the other side of the small camp, making it slow to reach and sometimes hard, if you happen to get something like centaurs.
The video showcasing was done on Radiant side, meaning that it really doesn't matter which side you are at, they're both doable, although it's easier to do on the Dire side. With a bit of practice you should be able to do it comfortably on both sides.
7th of February of 2013: Original Issue 8th of February of 2013: Revision 1. New item build, new skill build, Added and corrected sections on the in-depth content of the guide. Added video showcasing the entire process from level 1 to solo Roshan at minute 13. Added this changelog. Added Special Thanks section.