The release of Pangolier has sparked much controversy within the Dota 2 community ever since the 7.07 patch was released. Many things have changed with the arrival of 7.07, including 2 new heroes which many were eager to try, one of them being Pangolier. Pangolier is an agility hero who yields a rapier in the battlefield. His swiftness and precision ensures that he is able to manoeuvre around the clash while maiming his enemies. However, as talented a swordsman he may be, he has received much hate from the community. With the lowest win rate among all heroes in all tiers, averaging about 35%, many have labelled him as an ‘underwhelming’ carry whose potential and game impact is mediocre compared to the traditional hard carries. They have argued that given the same items, Pangolier would lose out to a traditional carry if faced one on one. Though this is true to some extent, Pangolier can actually be a game winning hero whose menace can be constantly felt throughout the game.
Honestly, Pangolier sucks at man fighting. He isn’t one of those dream carries who can face an entire team of 5 head on and emerge victorious nor is he a hero who can siege towers. He also doesn’t hit like a truck and can’t really burst down enemy heroes. These are the few reasons to as why players labelled him as ‘underwhelming’ as a carry. His inability to achieve these game winning objectives has caused many to say that he has zero game impact.
So far, I’ve played 9 games with Pangolier. And guess what, I’ve won 7 out of those 9.
In one of those games, I was playing against a 4.852K MMR team, whose team percentile is somewhere around 98.57%. As can be seen below, I’ve managed to snowball with Pangolier such that his net worth was the highest at the end of the game. He had a score of 16/0/10 (K/D/A) (average KDA in the game was 9.4/5.6/9.2) and he dealt the highest damage compared to the other heroes in the game.
In that game, he went solo offlane (the hardest of 3 lanes) against a Phantom Assassin (a traditional carry), a supporting Shadow Shaman, and a roaming Night Stalker. Safe to say, he dominated his lane and the game.
In another pub game, he went safelane where he carried the team to victory. In this game, I felt that I wouldn’t have won if I had used any other hero. My teammates in the others 2 lanes lost their laning phase, but Pangolier, who for a carry, has surprisingly good early game and mid-game phases, prevented the opposing team from snowballing too hard for us to make a comeback in the late game.
So what strategy did I use? Why can I carry with this hero? The answer is simple. Reactive playstyle.
Unlike most carries who proactivly find pickoffs or push for objectives, Pangolier carries his team in a different way. He excels in reacting to what the enemy is doing. If Enemy/Ally starts to clash, ok let’s join the clash. If Enemy is pushing towers, ok let’s defend. If Enemy is ganking Ally, ok let’s help out. Playing Pangolier is all about turning the tables with his skills which comes with lots of surprise factor. For instance, his Swashbuckle allows him to close the gap between him and his enemies almost instantly, constantly forcing the enemy to reposition themselves while Pangolier dashes from one spot to the next. This is especially useful in team fights where Pangolier could dash through the backlines of the enemy to keep the supports busy while his team can focus on the main threat. Oftentimes, the carry would depend on its supports to follow up/back it up, and when their supports are too busy to do that, guess what, the carry dies. Also, it is also good for preventing the enemy’s initiators from getting off their huge AOE skills (Initiators like to wait in the backlines for the fight to reach its climax before engaging, as their AOE skills work best when there’s tons of enemy). Pangolier’s ultimate, Rolling Thunder, is also another skill which has lots of surprise factor. Imagine trying to kill an enemy and all of a sudden you see a ball rolling up to you at 600 movement speed, packing a 1.9 second disable and 300dmg. The first thought is, ‘oh sh*t, I’m screwed.’
Pangolier isn’t as weak as a pangolin. Though he isn’t a dream traditional hard carry who can charge into enemy lines and face them all head on, his ability to turn team fights and ganks around to his favour is enough to categorise him as a great asset in any team. With the right playstyle and synergy with your teammates, Pangolier can definitely carry his team to victory. So keep that in mind for your next Pangolier game. Good Luck, Have Fun!