In order to counter Terrorblade, you must kill him before he pops spells or items. He is a fearsome damage dealer thanks to Metamorphosis, can turn the tide of a fight with a well-timed Sunder, and is a natural BKB carrier.
While not being a high tier hero in the current pro meta, Terrorblade was picked 17 times at The International 8 with an average 47.1% win rate. He is usually selected when tier 1 carries such as Phantom Lancer, Spectre, and Weaver are unavailable or unsuitable for specific matchups.
TB's win rate is much better in the matchmaking, going from a whopping 55.09% in the Archon bracket to a respectable 51.76% at Divine-Immortal ranks.
He was a popular carry pick for the last few patches until the recent changes in 7.14 that nerfed his base HP regeneration, Reflection, and the Enchanted Mango.
Terrorblade’s base health regeneration was reduced from 3 to 1.5 per second, dampening his ability to survive in the lane. The popular build based on stacking Enchanted Mangoes is also nerfed as now they only provide 0.7 HP regen per second as opposed to 1 HP regen per second in the previous patches.
The nerf to Reflection affected him the most as now all illusions generated from the spell are dissipated if the Reflection debuff is removed. Now you can dispel it using items such as the Manta Style and the Black King Bar, giving heroes who once struggled against Terrorblade - for example Luna and Phantom Lancer - the instruments to play against him and fare decently.
Terrorblade’s versatility as a carry
Terrorblade is an extremely versatile hero that fits into nearly every situation as a safe lane carry. Aside from being one of the most resilient heroes against physical damage due to his absurd 11.4 starting armor, his spell kit is also powerful in most situations.
Reflection gives him team fight capabilities and functions as a cheap Dark Seer’s ultimate and AoE slow.
Conjure Image grants better farming efficiency as well as the ability to split push and cut creep waves.
Metamorphosis turns the hero into a tower demolisher even with basic items.
Sunder allows Terrorblade to reset team fights. In a standard reset, the heroes disengage the battle, regenerate their HP, and rejoin the fight - this is what a Slark usually does. Instead, a single Sunder cast immediately resets the team fight.
In order to defeat Terrorblade, your must either chain-stun or blow him up with magical spells to prevent him from casting Sunder as a team fight reset. Aside from that, Terrorblade relies on outfarming the opponents to be effective, so delaying his item timings by abusing his weak laning phase will make him much easier to deal with.
Terrorblade relies both on illusions and his superior armor to deal damage and sustain fights at the same time: the Mjollnir fares well against him because it gives both magical damage and waveclear abilities.
The Battle Fury isn’t as effective because while the cleave damage goes through armor value, it doesn’t help in killing the original Terrorblade because it only boosts your physical damage.
The Shiva’s Guard is a great choice as it provides a 45% attack speed slow aura - which is useful against a right-clicking Terrorblade and his illusions - and the active ability can be used to clear the illusions spawned by Conjure Image and Manta Style.
The Radiance, while also being a decent anti-illusion item, does not work well against Terrorblade as a simple Reflection will turn the Burn effect against your team. This is also the reason Terrorblade is a decent pick against radiance carriers like Wraith King, Necrophos, and Spectre.
Magical single-target burst items like the Ethereal Blade and the Dagon are great choices against Terrorblade considering how squishy he is against magical damage - especially if he doesn’t pick up a Hood of Defiance.
Finally, the Crimson Guard’s damage block does wonders against a hero that relies not only on illusions but also on raw right-click damage. His illusions deal nearly no damage when the active Guard is up.
Terrorblade is a hero that relies completely on physical damage and has no means of dealing magical damage sans the occasional pickup of Mjollnir. Due to his horrible base HP, he struggles heavily against tanky heroes who are resilient against physical damage, and particularly those who can deal either magic or pure damage early in the game.
Timbersaw is the natural answer against Terrorblade due to his kit which counters him at all stages of the match.
Innate physical resistance with Reactive Armor. Terrorblade can’t inflict enough damage against heavy armored targets, and his illusions’ attacks will just give Timbersaw more stacks, increasing his armor and health regeneration.
Timber Chain can be used to escape from gank attempts since Terrorblade has no lockdown to stop you from flying away with it.
Whirling Death, Timber Chain, and Chakram are all great ways to deal with Terrorblade since all of them inflict either Magic or Pure damage.
Legion Commander punishes heroes who spawn illusions, rendering Conjure Image a liability in the lane phase.
Overwhelming Odds deals more damage based on the number of units/heroes in the area of effect. As Conjure Image’s illusions count as heroes, casting it means more magical damage on Terrorblade, a hero who struggles against magical burst attacks.
Press the Attack dispels Reflection, so gank attempts that depend on the slow provided by Reflection can be shrugged off easily.
Terrorblade doesn’t have a lot of base damage without Metamorphosis. In his melee form, trading hits against Legion Commander with Moment of Courage is almost impossible.
Terrorblade wants to use Sunder when he is low health; Duel denies him that opportunity. The skill disallows the two heroes involved to use any spells for the full duration.
Axe deals pure damage in the form of Counter Helix. Terrorblade - with Metamorphosis on cooldown - can’t do anything against an aggressive axe-wielding red brute.
Berserker’s Call serves as a threat in the lane phase, deterring Terrorblade from trying to last hit creeps in Axe’s presence.
Counter Helix does pure damage, completely ignoring Terrorblade’s high base armor, and exploiting his low base hit points.
Axe is a natural Blink Dagger and Blade Mail carrier, allowing him to kill Terrorblade easily with Blink + Calls.
Culling Blade has a flat hp threshold for the instant-kill effect, which works wonders against a hero like Terrorblade who has a pitifully low health.
Suitable heroes with AoE spells
Earthshaker and Sand King are both viable options because they are decently tanky offlaners who possess AoE magical spells, and Terrorblade suffers heavily against magic abilities due to his poor base hp. Some Terrorblade players go for an early Black King Bar, which renders the two heroes obsolete if he manages to pop the BKB before your initiation.
Lina and Zeus can burst a Terrorblade down in team fights from a decent range, exploiting his lack of gap closing abilities. Lina likes building the Shadow Blade, allowing her to hunt for Terrorblade easily when he is farming in the jungle or in a lane alone, taking him down instantly with three spells.
Tinker can not only deal immense magical damage, but he is also amazing in high ground defense. He can easily stop a pushing Terrorblade with just a few Heat-Seeking Missiles and March of the Machines. With the Aghanim’s Scepter, a single Laser will evaporate all of Terrorblade’s illusions.
Carries or pseudo-carries that can outcarry Terrorblade
Kunkka possesses the ability to blow Terrorblade up instantly as Torrent and Ghost Ship are highly damaging magical AoE spells. Aside that, Tidebringer also ignores armor values for secondary targets, rendering Terrorblade’s high base armor pointless as long as Kunkka doesn’t designate Terrorblade as the primary target.
Slark is a good option because during the mid game a single Dark Pact is enough to clear all his illusions. Essence Shift also works well against stationary targets without Blink escapes, allowing Slark to rake up Agility. Terrorblade also likes farming alone, which makes hunting him easier. Lastly, Slark can use Shadow Dance to prevent a low HP Terrorblade from Sundering him.
Gyrocopter is an AoE monster with a combination of physical and magical damage in his kit. The fact that the Maelstrom + Aghanim’s Scepter build is currently in the meta only means more AoE damage and troubles for Terrorblade.
Even if Ursa is a physical-oriented hero, he is great against Terrorblade due to his low base HP, his lack of an escape mechanism, and Ursa’s ability to burst heroes. An Ursa with Blink Dagger + Skull Basher can melt Terrorblade before he has the time to use Sunder.
It is unwise to drag the game towards a point where Terrorblade is farmed enough to tank your 6-hit combo with ease and Sunder you, turning the tides of the battle. Ursa is more suitable as an offlaner against Terrorblade while having another carry who can manage him in the late game.
Ember Spirit is a slippery hero, so Terrorblade will have troubles damaging you as he lacks a reliable lockdown. Ember is also an AoE monster who can evaporate the illusions with a single Sleight of Fist, especially if you purchase the Battle Fury or the Mjollnir. Be wary of Terrorblades with the Bloodthorn, though.
Sven can potentially instant kill Terrorblade with the help of God’s Strength, Blink Dagger, and Storm Hammer - if he is decently farmed. His cleave damage is also unaffected by armor, sharing the same mechanic as Kunkka’s Tidebringer.
However, Sven struggles against a late game Terrorblade because he will often purchase stats items such as Skadi and Satanic, making him tanky enough to not die under the 2-second Storm Hammer stun duration, which makes Sunder an issue for Sven. Most Terrorblades also buy the Hurricane Pike to kite Sven.
Faceless Void can kill Terrorblade easily thanks to Chronosphere. He can’t cast Sunder, and the bonus damage of Time Lock is magical, so it ignores Terrorblade’s high armor. Even in the worst-case scenarios, where the opponent is able to cast Sunder successfully, Void can always mitigate the damage received with a simple Time Walk.
Header image: Baleful Hollow loading screen for Terrorblade - Valve
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