Making it Work: Hero Traps

Hero traps can be extremely effective at stopping pushes.  The strategy of using hero traps to stop pushes is not new, but like anything it can be done well or not well. 

The Concept

Hero traps damage heroes, but unlike minions, heroes are controlled by players who have brains and will not mindlessly walk down narrow paths. This means we need to be smart about the placement.  If we cover the whole killbox with hero traps the minions will get through unharmed so obviously there needs to be a balance.  Since we cant cover the entire killbox in hero traps, we need to put them in key areas.  If the attacker wants to avoid it, you push them out of critical spots.  If they want to walk through it they take damage.  Either way you are getting beneficial use out of that trap.  This is how I determine what trap I need and how many.  You dont need 8 hero arrow walls to slow a push, 1-2 will do it. 

The Strategies

1. Ballistas.  Hero traps can be broken down into 2 categories, ballista's and everything else. Ballistas help reduce the enemies sustainability of any attack.  The longer the attackers stay in the killbox the more damage they take. While not overly powerful, hero ballistas can be annoying and deadly if left unchecked thanks to their auto aim.  The best part is you only need 1 and it will be very effective. 

This is probably the best hero trap because its range is so high and it auto aims.  This forces the attacker to make a decision to retreat or continue attacking, the "wait it out" option is much harder.  It only costs 1000 coin and takes up a 0.5x0.5 ceiling space. You can put one up in any killbox and make it much stronger. 

Remember hero ballistas only target one hero at a time and do not stack with each other.  If you have 10 ballistas but there is only 1 attacker, only 1 ballista works.  Save you coin.  Also the projectile can be blocked by numerous things.  If there are large minions, for example, the attacker can hide next to the minions and will take no damage.  Try and place ballistas where it has maximum vision.  Placing them next to corners is a huge waste. 

This single ballista covers the entire killbox.  Pretty good return on investment for only 1000 coin.

2. Hero Arrow Walls.  Hero Arrow Walls are a funny hero trap because as we've established people have brains so they probably aren't going to sit in front of a hero arrow wall absorbing the full barrage of arrows.   They might even bait the wall by triggering it and stepping back, only running forward after all the arrows are gone.  Nevertheless arrow walls have great range and can zone attackers out of key areas in killboxes.  They arent that great at damaging heroes that run away since they will probably only hit the attacker once.  Put them on corners where attackers like to use peripheral vision.  Use it on spaces where attackers like to stand.  Place them to support your position when you defend.  Use it to support other hero traps.  Hero Arrow walls are the cheapest hero trap, but they are also not great at their job so dont spam them. 

Example:


I would recommend avoiding spamming hero arrow walls.  This following killbox is a little overkill.



3. Hero Zapper.  These bad boys put out some damage, but they are pretty easy to avoid and cost quite a bit of coin.  This is actually how you should use them, not with the intention of actually killing or severely damaging attackers, but routing them away from critical areas.  Put them on a corner to make it harder to chase you.  You want to route them away from a spot and if they chose to take it on, you'll need to punish them.  These are great when used in conjunction with arrow walls and anti-magic.  Both of these traps also help secure a single area.



Holy Smokes that is a lot of zappers.  Attacker will probably get zapped at minimum 2 times and maybe even 3.  Those walls are also securing that line.  That setup is also 10,500 coin and 8 traps.  Is it worth it?

Isnt this setup cheaper, more efficient and nearly as effective?  Its got extra antimagic and arrow walls and those 2 zappers cover the middle of both bottlenecks.  They are rather hard to avoid in the heat of battle.




4. Anti-Magic Field.  This is a funny trap because its the only thing in the game that silences a player but allows movement and primary attacks.  It lasts 2 seconds which is either nothing or an eon depending on the situation.  2 seconds is forever if they are under attacks so we want to position anti-magic fields in contested areas.  Take a look a the the 2 examples below.


In both these setups the anti magic field is placed poorly given my defensive setup.  In the first example, attackers can walk into the box but there is so much space between where I am defending and the anti-magic field that the 2 seconds will wear off before the fight even starts.  In the 2nd example the magic field is behind the killbox.  This limits attacker's chase potential but does nothing to help hold the killbox. With stinkeye I like to stay next to my traps as long as possible to get off arcane anomalies.  These 2 magic fields are not helping me do that, they are not in contested areas. 

Check this one out.

Here I have the same cade setup and the anti-magic field is right next to it.  If attackers want to push forward they will be silenced as soon as they challenge my spot.  Used in conjunction with zappers, this presents a problem to attackers.  If they commit they put themselves at risk. 

The Limitations

  1. Hero Traps count against the trap cap.  Too many and the minions will start to get through with too much hp.
  2. Hero traps take deck space.  This may leave your minion traps with smaller combos or insufficient damage. 
  3. Hero traps cost coin.  This is coin that could be spent on minion traps.
  4. Because attackers have brains its possible that all the coin you spent on hero traps is wasted. 
  5. Hero traps take up real estate, sometimes precious real estate.
  6. As the game gets later, the hero traps become less effective as the heroes become stronger.

Last Thoughts

I dont think hero traps are a necessity, but are desirable.  A well placed anti-magic field can be extremely disruptive.  A well placed zapper can lock down the killbox.  A well placed ballista can harass the attacker out of lane without you even lifting a finger.  A well placed hero wall can completely zone an attacker away from critical areas.  The benefit is quite substantial and is hard to ignore. 

Having all 4 as a setup can be quite intimidating, but at a certain point the benefit returned doesnt match the coin invested.  Ballistas work great by themselves.  The other 3 are all about holding 1 spot so those should be used in conjunction with each other.  There is no symbiosis using ballistas with the others.  I recommend moderation when using hero traps.  The benefit from 8 arrow walls and 6 zappers really isnt that much more than 1 zapper and 1 wall.  I think 3-5 hero traps MAX per killbox (that you are actually defending) is a good number.  Beyond this, to me, is overkill and a waste of coin.

Go become defense masters. Get creative!
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