Heaven's Halberd: When is it Worth It?



Sat 6th Apr 2013 - 3:14pm

Heaven's Halberd. An interesting item, one that at first appears a little odd. A moderate amount of strength, some damage, good evasion, maim, and an interesting active - but who is it designed for? The fact that it's built from Sange and maintains the maim passive makes it seem like a strength carry item, but as far as in-slot strength and damage, it's far from the best.

With regards to survivability, the evasion is certainly a nice boost, but is less effective than most strong armor items - 25% evasion gives an additional 33% effective hit points (EHP) against physical attacks. This is not insignificant, but a 1400 gold platemail will give you an additional 60% EHP against physical attacks - every point of armor is 6% EHP (the reduction scales diminishingly, but if you go through the math the EHP scaling is linear - you can google it, or trust me!) This makes Halberd suboptimal for most carries, since the slot could be better used for items that could provide more damage or survivability.

Of course, the stats are far from the most interesting reason to purchase a Heaven's Halberd - the active disarm is a skill found nearly nowhere else in the game (off the top of my head, the only other effect I can think of that is specifically a disarm is Silencer's Last Word, and even then only if the opponent lets it time out.) It's a fantastic anti-carry option, and can thoroughly shut down enemy carries who lack a BKB or inbuilt magic immunity (we'll discuss some great targets for this later.) So what we have is an item with reasonable survivability (380 HP, +33% EHP vs physical), moderate damage, an okay passive, and an amazing anti-carry active - and who really likes that combination? Support heroes and gankers!

Heroes like Keeper of the Light, Clockwerk, Bounty Hunter, and others amass a reasonable amount of gold over the course of the game, and can hugely benefit from a Halberd if the situation is right. Any support will love the extra HP and evasion, and the active can shut down a carry (especially one who eschewed a BKB) very, very quickly and turn fights around completely. Remember, ever since 6.77c Manta Style no longer dispels Heaven's Halberd! This is a huge, huge change that many may have overlooked, since there are several carries that skip BKB completely for various reasons, and in some public matches there won't be enough stun/lockdown for carry players to feel a BKB is necessary. This is a perfect time to punish them with a Heaven's Halberd!

Heroes like Anti-Mage, Naga Siren, and Phantom Lancer very often ignore BKB in their builds. They pick up a Heart of Tarrasque and simply tank through all of the damage that can be put out during stuns rather than trying to avoid the stuns altogether while also making their illusions much more difficult to kill. Now that Manta's purge no longer affects Halberd, you can take away the ability of these heroes to autoattack for 3 seconds. Up against a Drow Ranger who went Manta, but not BKB? 4.5 seconds of autoattacking, gone! Sniper or Gyrocopter gone for a more aggressive Shadow Blade build? Halberd them! Spectre or Weaver chewing you up? Burn the Linken's first in the case of Weaver, then throw a Halberd on them!

There are of course some problems with Halberd - it's expensive for a support (3850 isn't easy to amass sometimes,) and its usefulness drops off sharply if a BKB hits the field. It's definitely a situational pickup, and should not be considered core on any hero that comes to mind. However, aside from picking on heroes who skip BKB, it's an excellent item to extend the advantage of an early-to-mid game lineup that's going up against a turtling lineup. If you've secured a solid mid-game position but their carry is beginning to get some damage going, use your extra tower/teamfight gold (if you're a support hero) to pick up a Heaven's Halberd, thus preventing their carry from using their fancy new damage output. Carries trading even in the lategame? Buy a Halberd and help your carry win the man fights!

This is (as usual with my articles) far from an exhaustive list of the uses of Heaven's Halberd, but I hope it's made you guys think about it in a new light. Do you think it's worth the gold? Post your thoughts in the comments below!