It’s time to take a look at Dota’s newest addition: the Monkey King. Patch 7.00 brought a whole host of changes, and it will be a while before the Monkey King is added to Captain’s Mode and competitive play, but you can guarantee that you’ll be seeing a lot of him in your pubs. And we’ve seen plenty of threads already complaining that the new hero is imbalanced and needs a good nerf. Is this really the case? It might be that players are just unused to going up against him at the moment.
The Monkey King’s abilities make him an exceptionally strong laner. He’s got a stun, a slow, and a passive in Jingu Mastery that allows him to trade right clicks with just about anyone and come out on top. The mobility provided by Tree Dance and Primal Spring also allows him to effectively gank other lanes and Tree Dance can operate as a situational escape if you can avoid damage for three seconds to get it off cooldown. Boundless Strike is your best farming tool, once you’ve got a bit of damage because it can easily obliterate big creep waves as the game progresses. Wukong’s Command provides him with decent team fight contribution if enemies group up, particularly when defending or attacking high-ground, however, it has a cast point of 1.2 seconds so can easily be interrupted.
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Safe-lane carry? Mid? Offlaner? Roaming support? How should the Monkey King be played? To be honest, a standard lane for Monkey King doesn’t seem to have been established yet. This is an aggressive hero who wants to fight and scales well with items so you’re going to want to play him in a core position. He’s probably not suited to be your number one farmer since farming isn’t really his thing. Playing him as one of your cores in a dual-core line-up might be the best way to go – either putting him in the mid lane or one of the side lanes and then ganking aggressively early on.
There was little doubt that Underlord was OP when first released but Monkey King is far more balanced. He’s a snowballing hero who looks unbelievable when ahead but pretty useless if he gets behind. Whilst his damage output is intimidating, it’s all single target (other than his Ultimate which is relatively easy to simply avoid). Several heroes can take away his flying vision advantage, Beastmaster for instance, but the best way to deal with Monkey King is simply to focus him down early on. He’s an easy gank target and has low armor for an agility hero – so a Phantom Assassin or Templar Assassin with Desolator will kill him in a few hits if you can’t simply nuke him down. Play against Monkey King as you would against a Slark – pressure him early on and don’t give up easy kills.