"In every meeting of minds, there must be a loser."
Tinker is a ranged intelligence hero who can be played as a ganker, a pusher and a semi-carry. His playstyle puts a high emphasis on getting a Boots of Travel. His Laser is a very strong damage nuke that can render carries useless temporarily. His Heat-Seeking Missile is another high damage nuke that can target two heroes. These two abilities gives Tinker relatively high burst damage from the early to mid game. Tinker also has March of the Machines, which is difficult to avoid and pushes creep waves very effectively. All of these abilities have relatively high cooldowns, which is where Tinker's ultimate, Rearm, comes into play. With it, he can not only reset the cooldowns of his abilities, but also his items. Good use of Rearm can let Tinker throw out constant high damage spells, multiple layers of March of the Machines and lastly, global mobility with a Boots of Travel. Due to this, Tinker is actually quite mana-intensive as repeated uses of Rearm is quite costly, so management of mana is important for a Tinker player. Tinker is also quite item-dependant, needing his core items like Boots of Travel in order to be effective, so good farming skills are needed as well.
- Ability: Target Unit
- Affects: Enemy Heroes
- Damage Type: Pure
- Damage: 80 / 160 / 240 / 320
- Miss Chance: 100%
- Mana Cost: 95 / 120 / 145 / 170
- Cooldown: 14
Laser fires a beam at the target, dealing pure damage and causing the target to miss all attacks for 3 seconds. It is a powerful high damage spell that is very useful for harassment, since you not only do damage but render them unable to last-hit. Due to its high damage it is also useful in ganks. During teamfights, you should target carries with it, since that will make them useless for a few precious seconds while your team takes care of other heroes.
- Ability: No Target
- Damage Type: Magical
- Damage: 100 / 175 / 250 / 325
- Targets: 2
- Mana Cost: 120 / 140 / 160 / 180
- Cooldown: 25
Heat-Seeking Missile fires up to two missiles that can hit up to two of the closest enemy heroes, dealing damage. It is a great damage nuke that can be used in conjunction with Laser and Rearm for high burst damage, while its enormous range lets it target distant fleeing heroes. The fact that it targets two heroes at once can also ward off an enemy's partner while you take care of your target. Oddly, Heay-Seeking Missile will not target Ethereal units.
March of the Machines
- Ability: Target Point
- Damage Type: Universal
- Damage: 16 / 24 / 32 / 40
- Radius: 900
- Duration: 6
- Mana Cost: 145 / 150 / 165 / 190
- Cooldown: 35
March of the Machines summons an army of tiny robots that wander across the targeted area, detonating whenever it hits an enemy. The robots are packed close together so it is hard to avoid them, and since they cover a large area it makes the ability excellent for pushing. The spell's universal damage type lets it damage magic immune units but not towers, which makes it a good spell to farm and stack ancient creeps. With Rearm, you can cast multiple March of the Machines for more pushing power. It is also effective during teamfights to deal chip damage as you burst enemies down with other spells.
- Ability: No Target, Channeled
- Time To Rearm: 3 / 2 / 1
- Mana Cost: 150 / 250 / 350
- Cooldown: 0
Rearm completely refreshes the cooldowns of all your abilities and items after a short channeling time, though it cannot refresh the item cooldowns of Arcane Boots, Black King Bar, Hand of Midas, Helm of the Dominator, Linken's Sphere, Necronomicon or Refresher Orb. Getting interrupted during the channeling time will cancel the ability, wasting all the mana used. With no cooldown itself, Rearm can be used as many times as you want, which can let you extend deadly combos with your abilities.
Skill and Item Builds
Suggested Skill Build
There are a couple of ways to build Tinker depending on whether you need to push early or want to get immense burst damage quickly. Whatever the goal, the first level of Rearm is usually delayed until getting a Boots of Travel, while the remaining levels are only taken once your mana pool is large enough to support repeated uses.
This skill build will maximize your burst damage, making you a deadly ganker, but forces you to sacrifice pushing power and counter-gank ability during the laning phase. Laser and Heat-Seeking Missile will be your main focus, so you should max them both out by level 8. Only level up March of the Machines after maxing your first two skills. Get Rearm once you get your Boots of Travel max it whenever you wish to do so.
Suggested Item Build
Some Iron Branches, Healing Salves and Tangos will be the standard starting build. Some Clarities can be useful if you want to get aggressive very early, while Mantles of Intelligence grant you some extra mana and easier last-hitting.
A Bottle is necessary if you are the solo mid, giving you some quick regeneration on hand as well as letting you take runes. By bottle crowing you can also use your spells very liberally, harassing opponents endlessly with Laser and putting pressure on enemy towers with March of the Machines. A Boots of Speed is generally useful and a component for Boots of Travel. You may also consider upgrading your Mantles of Intelligence into Talismans for a nice mix of stats.
A Soul Ring is a cheap item for a burst of mana and gets refreshed by Rearm, and the health loss upon activation can be negated with frequent fountain trips once you have the BoT. For your boot upgrade, there is no substitute for a Boots of Travel. Its teleport ability is refreshed by Rearm, letting you get to anywhere on the map with creeps. With it, you can split-push constantly, forcing your enemies to divide and defend their towers, while being able to warp back to the fountain any time you're low on health or mana.
A Blink Dagger lets you blink away from danger whenever you teleport near enemy heroes, while letting you chase down wounded foes. A Force Staff is similar to a Blink Dagger but trades precision for utility, while giving you extra Intelligence. A Scythe of Vyse is very powerful due to its Hex being refreshed by Rearm, letting you shut down any hero completely if you have the mana. A Shiva's Guard is a more defensive item, but being able to use Rearm on Artic Blast also makes it very useful in teamfights.
A Dagon gives you one more source of burst damage that can be refreshed by Rearm, letting you do over 1000 damage when combined with your own spells. A Manta Style is rarely ever needed, but its Mirror Image can also be refreshed with Rearm, letting you create more and more illusions to cause confusion in teamfights and give you way more pushing power than you will ever need, making it a great luxury item if you're getting that much farm.
Try to be the solo mid laner if you can, since Tinker really needs all the experience and gold he can get early on. Laser is a wonderful ability if you're only facing one hero, as the 100% miss chance will cause your lane opponent to lose a lot of last-hits. Bottle-crowing will enable you to spam it more liberally as while as use your other spells. Depending on your skill build, you can follow up with Heat-Seeking Missile for a lot of damage and possibly an early kill if your foe is sufficiently low on health, or use March of the Machines to put pressure on the enemy tower. A nuke-heavy build will turn Tinker into a very effective ganker, while March of the Machines will make it much more dangerous for enemies to gank and tower-dive him. If you're solo mid on the Radiant side or at the bot lane of the Dire side, you can also use March of the Machines to stack ancients.
By the mid-game you should be getting your Boots of Travel, which will allow you to start your potent split-pushing. Simply teleport to any lane that is not being farmed by your team's carry, deploy two layers of March of the Machines and teleport back. Doing this repeatedly should keep multiple lanes pushed toward the enemy side of the map, forcing the enemy team to counter-push and preventing them from grouping up for teamfights and ganks.
Should you ever find yourself in a teamfight, March of the Machines will do a lot of damage if the enemy stays in the area for too long. Your Laser should be targeted at the strongest physical attacker for the 100% miss chance debuff. Heat-Seeking Missile only hits 2 heroes so it isn't that effective, but good positioning will let you control which heroes it targets, doing enough damage to force them out of the fight or securing a kill. Only Rearm if you have the space to do so, as any stun cancel the channeling and waste a lot of your mana. Constant use of Rearm and your damage spells will quickly use up your mana, so make sure you have enough to teleport back to base if you need to heal up.
You remain very effective during the late-game due to your ability to split-push, which can push an advantage further or help your team make a comeback if you're at a disadvantage. Your spells won't be as deadly once heroes get sufficiently tanky, but Laser's pure damage and blinding debuff lets it remain a very effective spell, especially against carries. Once you purchase items like a Scythe of Vyse or a Shiva's Guard, you also become a strong disabler in teamfights, as Rearm lets you refresh the cooldown of these potent items.
Laser and Heat-Seeking Missile is Tinker's basic spell combo that does a lot of burst damage. Rearm directly synergizes with everything else by putting all spells out of cooldown.
Having a playstyle that revolves around heavy split-pushing, Tinker doesn't synergize particularly well with any other hero. Heroes with slows and stuns can lengthen the time enemies spend in March of the Machines, causing them to take more damage.
Tinker relies heavily on getting a Boots of Travel to reach his peak effectiveness, so delaying that crucial item will give your team more time to gain a better advantage. This can be done by disrupting Tinker's farm with heavy harassment and frequent ganks as well as warding any ancient jungle camps that Tinker might stack for extra gold. If Tinker takes longer to farm up the BoT, you will have more time to start teamfights in your favor, farm up your carries and destroy a few enemy towers. Once Tinker does get his Boots of Travel, the only way to stop him is with lots of disables, as Tinker can teleport almost anywhere on the map whenever he wishes. Silences stop him from using Rearm, while stuns will cancel the channeling of the teleport. Mana draining abilities will limit Tinker's use of his spells, and high burst damage will hopefully take him down before he succeeds to teleport back to base. Finally, you can get Blademails on multiple teammates and walk in a March of the Machines with it activated. This uncommon but clever strategy will cause Tinker to take a lot of damage from his own spell wherever he is, and a whole team with Blademails can kill him off instantly.