Naga Siren is a lithe looking serpent with talents and abilities that can leave you speechless. I’ve seen team fights come back from the brink of failure, ganks be utterly negated and enemies who think they can run meet their inevitable death. Of course all of these things require extensive knowledge of how she works and items she absolutely must have. After playing a few games with her (spectating even more), here are my first impressions.
Usually I would get stuck right into her abilities and how they do bad things to the enemy. However I think being able to farm consistently is vital to her being successful. She is so dependant on getting good items and getting them quickly that If you have trouble last hitting, I would avoid her completely until you feel more confident. If however you have the last hitting power of the gods, lets get onto her abilities.
Her primary damage comes from Mirror Images, which spawns three illusions to damage and fool the enemy. I would recommend only skilling this ability once in the early game and maxing it out once you have some items. This is because the mirror images take 600% damage at level one and their damage is negligible until it’s maxed and you have the items to beef them up.
Once it’s maxed however it’s great for pushing lanes and even better in team fights with the right items. It should be noted you should be very cautious around Templar Assassin with your illusions, as if you’re all lined up nicely, this can happen.
The reason you get one level early, though, is for your Rip Tide (which I will talk about later) and the ability to dodge incoming projectiles while you’re casting it.
Ensnare, which throws a net at the targeted enemy, is one of her most effective abilities due to its long duration and the fact it goes through magic immunity. You did read that correctly, It goes through all magic immunity. That includes Black King Bar.
To put the cherry on the cake, it also prevents movement for a maximum of five seconds, disables all blink abilities and prevents invisibility. It’s fantastic to use on those big juicy carries that want to get up in your face. There’s a downside though. Ensnare does not stop anyone caught within from casting spells and attacking from range or nearby foes. Choose who you cast it on wisely. I also found out the hard way that the Ursa I had safely Ensnared can use a Force Staff to get close enough to dig his claws in.
Her third ability is Rip Tide. It’s a damaging AoE that also lowers armour. It synergizes well with her illusions, as they will mimic the spell when cast. That doesn’t mean that you can damage the same enemy multiple times, but it effectively creates a bigger radius that Rip Tide can hit other enemies. The minus five armour when maxed can be very useful in team fights, or even for pushing lanes quickly.
The ultimate ability, Song of the Siren, can be used in many ways. It puts enemies into a magical stasis around Naga Siren. They can’t act, but they’re also are invulnerable while under its effects.The interesting thing is that Naga Siren can move while casting this, opening it up to interesting possibilities. You can cast it mid team fight, let a key enemy out of the spell and then watch your entire team jump on them, turning the remaining fight into a 5v4. Or, it give everyone time to escape from a botched team-fight.
Now I come to the most important part of this article, her items. My recommendation is that the items for your starting gold is fine. It’s up to you whether you want a Stout Shield for added survivability or a Quelling Blade for easier last hitting. I tend to avoid the latter as her attack animation is easy to work with to make sure you get those last hits. Go straight for a Ring of Aquila to solve your mana problems and result in being able to keep up Mirror Image most of the time. This will help you win your lane quite easily and give you great harassing power.
Finish off some Power Treads and a Magic Wand and then you have a choice. If you feel you need more survivability, go for a Vanguard as the extra health and regeneration can be great. On the other hand you can go straight for your Diffusal Blade. This has to be one of her most important items as it gives you and your illusions the ability to burn mana and deal damage equal to the mana burned. With three other illusions burning mana as well, enemies will fall very fast in the mid game. Also don’t forget to use the Purge ability which makes chasing enemies a walk in the park thanks to Ensnare.
For here on out it’s entirely up to you for which items to head for next. If you want more damage and evasion, Butterfly is the way to go. Daedalus will make you and your illusions do insane crit damage, which scales nicely as the game draws on. Finally Manta Style gives you an extra two illusions and another ability to dodge projectiles and stuns.
Any heroes that also have an armour reducing ability works well with Naga Siren, as well as any hero that can stun. She also lacks a silence so heroes that can cover that complement her well. Pairing her (not laning) with a hero like Bounty Hunter and utilising his Track makes farming the required gold even easier, and also stacks the minus armor they both can inflict.
So: how do you fight her?
Counters to her include chain stuns and long range stuns to cancel her ultimate. Any hero with large AoE damage should be able to pick off her heroes. The best counter however is to harass her early and consistently. It might be even worth considering building a tri-lane just to shut her down.
What I really like about Naga Siren is her versatility. As long as you have a great early game and manage to get your items with relative speed and ease, you’re in for a very fun mid/late game. Just remember that farm is paramount to her success and to keep a cool head when thinking about activating that ultimate. I recommend you play her with a five man team with access to comms. This way you can coordinate her abilities and make sure you get the most out of them.