Clockwerk is one of the meta-defining heroes in the current patch, at least in the professional scene, but his pub popularity is still pretty low in most skill brackets. Today, we would like to highlight the hero and maybe convince players to try him out, before he most likely gets nerfed.
There is no secret ability build or a trick to make Clockwerk effective: the hero is incredibly straightforward, at least in how his skills are leveled up. Maxing out Battery Assault and then Rocket Flare, with a value point in Cogs at level two is what the absolute majority of players do, and it is almost undoubtedly the most efficient way to play the hero.
This build allows the hero to be a threat to most supports in the mid game, while also being a very good scout for his team and even an initiator, albeit with a rather low life expectancy.
While the hero’s item build does vary from game to game, it is generally about utility first and survivability second. Some of the most common purchases are Spirit Vessel, Heaven’s Halberd, and Pipe of Insight, depending on what your team needs. Going for Force Staff can also be an option and even items like Glimmer Cape and Solar Crest are not completely out of the question.
Most Clockwerk start the game with either Wind Lace or even Boots, allowing them to rapidly get on top of an opponent and make use of Battery Assault. Even at level one, provided the target is isolated, the ability deals a ton of damage and will most likely force the enemy to completely give up on harassing your lane core.
High innate regen, coupled with decent starting armor and pretty good Strength growth allow the hero to trade in such a manner continuously, and once he gets his Tranquil Boots, laning against Clockwerk becomes unbearable: he can always replenish his resources through Tranquils, he can threaten you regen with Rocket Flare and he can zone out most supports and cores in the early game, while providing a kill condition with Cogs.
If played aggressively, the hero creates a ton of space in lane and once First Blood is spilled, he can even allow himself some overexertion: it is frequently very beneficial for supports on low resources to die in lane, provided they kill or deal critical damage to an enemy. Clockwerk excels at these kamikaze attacks.
Lane dominance isn’t the only reason the hero is so popular right now: Clockwerk is also one of the few heroes who can be a very strong initiator with levels alone. Hookshot is frequently a one-way ticket for a position five Clockwerk, but, as discussed previously, the hero is surprisingly ok with dying, as long as he brings something to the table.
Constant scouting with maxed out Rocket Flare allows Clockwerk to find a good attack angle on the enemy, potentially isolating a support, Battery Assault deals an incredible amount of damage, while Cogs can be used as both an isolation tool and a way to split up the fight.
The latter is also one of the reasons the hero is so popular right now: it creates conditions under which enemy melee cores can’t deal damage to anyone but Clockwerk, even if they have a BKB.
Naturally, they can claw their way out and it is usually the best course of action for them, but it still gives Clockwerk’s team, essentially, a hard disable: the enemy is forced to do something non-threatening for a couple of seconds, on top of stun from the Hookshot.
As a position five with a very high-risk playstyle, it is unlikely Clockwerk will have a lot of items or levels, but reaching level 20 is not out of the question in longer games. At this point, on top of all the tactical advantages the hero provides with his BKB-piercing stun and zoning tools, he also becomes much stronger strategically.
Rocket Flare truesight is among the most broken talents in the game. Finding enemy wards and hard-countering Glimmer Cape is worth a lot, once both teams have reached the late game: if there is no apparent, overfarmed leader, whoever gets the jump on the enemy and starts the teamfight will most likely be victorious.
Levels aren't the only thing Clockwerk gets in the late-game: if the hero ever gets his hands on an Aghanim’s Scepter, playing against him can get very problematic. As is everything about the hero, his Agh’s is a high risk-high reward proposition, but it is absolutely worth it.
Double Cogs and double Hookshot is a lot of disable and a potential way for Clockwerk to escape after initiation. Battery Assault doesn’t get buffed in an impressive way, since multiple casts don’t stack, but at least it can ensure Clockwerk keeps on dealing damage even during the Overclock stun.
Clockwerk is a hero who is incredibly powerful at all stages of the game, regardless of his position. However, we wanted to highlight him as a position five first and foremost, since if the hero works without gold and experience priority, there is a good chance he is going to work even better with items and levels.
What are your thoughts on Clockwerk and do you think the hero is going to get nerfed in the next patch?