Tusk Dota 2 Guide – Incredible Ganker in Patch 7.14

Tusk is a strong off lane and roamer who’s spells make him great at ganking. Snowball lets Tusk and his allies initiate onto an enemy and his follow-up spells disrupt the enemies’ ability to move around the battle-field. However, Snowball cannot be cancelled and can often lead to disaster when executed poorly.

Tusk tends to buy utility items that make him an even stronger ganker and team-fighter. This is because he needs a source of mana replenishment to get more spells off and more survivability because his strength gain is low compared to most other strength heroes. They’re also usually not very expensive and Tusk doesn’t rely on gold very much.


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Tusk Item build

Starting Items

  • Healing Salve
  • Tango
  • Clarity
  • Enchanted Mango
  • Boots of Speed
  • Orb of Venom
  • Stout Shield
  • Smoke of Deceit
  • Observer Wards

Early Game Items

  • Arcane Boots
  • Tranquil Boots
  • Urn of Shadows
  • Magic Wand
  • Tome of Knowledge

Mid Game Items

  • Solar Crest
  • Blink Dagger
  • Force Staff
  • Drum of Endurance
  • Mekansm
  • Glimmer Cape
  • Spirit Vessel

Late Game Items

  • Aghanim’s Scepter
  • Pipe of Insight
  • Lotus Orb
  • Linken’s Sphere

Situational Items

  • Drum of Endurance
  • Tranquil Boots
  • Phase Boots
  • Eul’s Scepter of Divinity
  • Shadow Blade
  • Blade Mail
  • Ghost Scepter
  • Desolator

Tusk Skill Build

  1. Ice Shards
  2. Snowball
  3. Ice Shards
  4. Frozen Sigil
  5. Ice Shards
  6. Walrus PUNCH!
  7. Ice Shards
  8. Snowball
  9. Snowball
  10. Talent
  11. Snowball
  12. Walrus PUNCH!
  13. Frozen Sigil
  14. Frozen Sigil
  15. Talent
  16. Frozen Sigil
  17. Walrus PUNCH!
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Complete Tusk Spell Guide

Ice Shards

Tusk throws out damaging Ice Shards that create an impassable wall at the target point. Ice Shards is taken at level 1 because it provides the most utility out of all of his spells. It can be used to block an enemies escape route or to just slow enemies down. It is also maxed first because it provides unmatched utility. The damage is increased and the cooldown decreases, allowing it to be used multiple times in engagements in the early and mid game. Ice Shards can be quite hard to land effecively because it requires targeting at where the enemy will run to. Ice Shards also provide vision while they travel, which makes it effective at scouting the trees whenever needed.

A bad Ice Shards can often lead to blocking your own teammates and missing out on kills because of this. The more you practice using it, the better you will become with using it. It can equally be used to block the paths of enemy pursuers to allow yourself or allies to escape from bad situations. During the laning phase, you can use Ice Shards near the creep-wave to trap enemies. The creeps will attack you or them and pile around, preventing the enemy from escaping unless they have phase movement. Ice Shards can also be used to push yourself up a cliff but this is very hard to execute and may require practicing against bots to perfect. To do this, you need to target the ground inside but at the edge of your hero’s circle.


Tusk turns into a snowball and after a short charge time rolls towards the targeted enemy, stunning and damaging foes along the way. Tusk can click on allies while it is charging and before it begins to travel to include them in the snowball making it deal more damage, although be careful when doing so as it may put them in a bad positionand get them killed. It’s often better to let them right-click the snowball themselves if they want to get in it. Snowball is usually maxed secondly because it increases the damage and the stun duration and reduces the cooldown. You can use spells while charging Snowball but not items.

Snowball can be used to save allies because it makes them invulnerable for the duration. It also functions as an early game gap closer, which is particularly deadly when coupled with spells with short range. Be careful of which enemy you target because the enemies can see which direction the snowball will travel to. Keep in mind that you can use it on creeps and most neutrals. This can confuse the enemy and make them run further away in anticipation of your incoming snowball only for you and any allies to make an easier escape.

Frozen Sigil

Tusk summons a floating ward that slows enemy movement and attack speed. This is usually maxed lastly because the attack speed slow becomes more relevant later in the game. A single point is usually taken in the early levels as it provides a small slow and also vision over the area. By default it will follow you, but you can move it separately when needed. The vision it provides makes it useful for scouting trees as well as the Rosh pit. Try not to let the Sigil be farmed as it feeds roughly a hundred gold.

Walrus PUNCH!

Tusk punches the enemy high into the air for 1 second and slowing them for several seconds when they land. The punch will deal 350% of your regular attack damage. This pierces magic immunity, which makes it very effective against BKB carriers and heroes like Juggernaut and Lifestealer. It interrupts channeled spells which makes it good for interrupting teleport scrolls. Walrus PUNCH! works very well with armor reduction as it will deal more damage. It’s best to use Walrus PUNCH! when the enemy has escaped from Ice Shards and begins to run away. This will keep them disabled and taking damage for longer.


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Walrus Kick

Unlocked through Aghanim’s Scepter.

Tusk kicks the target enemy 1400 units back, dealing damage and disabling the enemy for 1 second with an additional 4 second slow afterwards. This pierces magic immunity, which makes it incredibly powerful against BKBs, especially when they have had their cooldown reduced. Walrus Kick is particularly effective against melee BKB carriers in Dota 2 esports. This is because after they have been pushed away, they’ll be unable to make it back into the fight quickly. This means that it can be used to save allies after a Sven, for example, uses BKB and goes on someone. The enemy will be kicked in the direction they are stood relative to Tusk when kicked. Keep this in mind and try to kick important targets over cliffs to temporarily remove them from a fight.

Best Tusk Talents

Level 10: +40% XP Gain or +90 Gold/Min

The increased XP gain is very good in every game, especially ones that look like they will be going into the late game. Tusk relies much more on his levels than he does on farm and this talent lets him level up much faster. This in turn lets him have more of an impact throughout the game. If you’re behind, it will help you catch up and if you’re ahead it will increase your lead. Tusk doesn’t rely on gold to be effective through the mid and late game although it can still be helpful in getting some utility items bought faster. This can be good if you feel that there are some items that you will very much need on your team.

Level 15: +150 Snowball Damage or +350 Health

The increased snowball damage almost doubles the base damage of it which makes it a better farming and fighting spell. This can be good if you are on the offensive and have established map control and can look for lots of kills. It gives you a much better chance at being able to escape from bad Snowballs and makes you last longer in fights, being able to get more spells off.

Level 20: +150% Walrus PUNCH! Crit or +300 Snowball Speed

Te extra Snowball speed can be good if you need more disables on your team. This is good because it’s often quite easy for enemies to dodge the Snowball by moving away from you, which will be much easier in the late game as enemies will have mobility items such as Force Staff as well as items that may give them higher movement speed. If you don’t need the extra speed to help you connect your Snowballs more easily, then the extra crit damage will usually be more helpful.

Level 25: 12% Chance Walrus Punch or -6s Ice Shards Cooldown

If you are able to stand near enemies and attack them, then the Walrus Punch chance can be very strong. However, with a 12 seconds cooldown, you can usually cast it when you need to. If you have mostly utility items, it may be better to get the reduced Ice Shards cooldown. This will help you to control enemies in fights, save your allies more easily as well as making it easier for you to chase them down. It’s also a great option if you have allies with unreliable stuns, as it will make them a lot easier to land on enemies.

What Items to build on Tusk

Starting Items

  • Healing Salve
  • Tango
  • Clarity
  • Enchanted Mango
  • Boots of Speed
  • Orb of Venom
  • Stout Shield
  • Smoke of Deceit
  • Observer Wards

Tusk is most commonly played in the off lane or roamed. He will need basic regen items in the off lane, and he can make use out of a Stout Shield if he facing harass. A Clarity or an Enchanted Mango will allow him to be able to use his spells in lane and be ready for a kill if he chooses to gank at any point. A roaming Tusk can make use out of Boots of Speed or an Orb of Venom to chase down enemies. In addition, Boots can be good to get on an off lane Tusk with starting gold as he will move very quickly in the early levels thanks to his movement speed of 300. Support items such as a Smoke, and Wards let him gank more often and more effectively.

Early Game Items

Arcane Boots

Arcane Boots are the standard Boots of choice on Tusk. Tusk’s effectiveness relies on being able to cast spells, and Arcane Boots gives Tusk a form of mana regen that makes him more effective in the early and mid game. If you have 2 allies who are going to buy Arcanes, you can opt for another choice.

Urn of Shadows

Urn of Shadows is a good pickup on Tusk because he is a ganking hero and has the potential to gain many charges. These charges give him a way to heal up after each successful gank. They also provide some minor early game stats.

Magic Wand

Magic Wand is good on Tusk because he is an early and mid game fighter who relies on his spells. The Magic Wand will allow Tusk to cast more spells in early skirmishes and may even save his life. An extra Snowball may even end up saving an ally.

Tome of Knowledge

Tusk may miss out on lots of XP when roaming, especially if his ganks are unsuccessful. For this reason, buying Tomes of Knowledge may be needed to keep him in the game.

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Mid Game Items

Solar Crest

Solar Crest will make Tusk a better ganker and tank him up a bit. It can be used offensively to decrease armor and increase your teams accuracy on the target making it viable against heroes with evasion. When not activated it will tank you up with armor and evasion and also give you some mana regeneration from the Medallion of Courage. The medallion is very cheap and is a good ganking item in the early and mid game as well. It works especially well with Walrus PUNCH! as it amplifies the damage dealt.

Blink Dagger

Blink Dagger is a good item on Tusk because it allows him to position himself much more easily for his spells. It can be used to catch enemies with Ice Shards more easily and to get close enough to get Walrus PUNCH! off. It can also be used to combo Snowball in order to save an ally. You can Blink next to an ally in trouble and use Snowball on an enemy or creep. You then right click the ally to pick them up in the Snowball to give them 3 seconds of invulnerability and a chance to escape. This is especially helpful if your allies are close by and can follow up your Snowball.

Force Staff

Force Staff can be used similarly to Blink Dagger in that it can save allies. It will also give you some more intelligence to let you cast more spells and some HP regen to keep you active on the map and ganking. It’s generally inferior to Blink Dagger, but it may be more useful against heroes like Riki and Clockwerk.


A Mekansm allows Tusk to be more active in the early and mid game with his team. It’s a good item for his team if they are aggressive mid game heroes. It’s often built into Guardian Greaves which which dispel Tusk of any debuffs. This makes it very strong against silences and slows.

Glimmer Cape

Glimmer Cape gives Tusk more survivability against magic damage and nukes after initiating with Snowball. If you find yourself getting nuked by magic damage or targeted by an enemy after initiating, it may be needed to save yourself. The invisibility is also effective against physical damage.

Spirit Vessel

A Spirit Vessel is a great item on Tusk as it provides a very strong heal, or damage over time, movement speed to chase as well as HP to tank up with. It’s very strong against enemies with strong heals or if you have heals on your own team.


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Late Game Items

Aghanim’s Scepter

Aghanim’s Scepter is very effective against BKB melee carries as it allows you to effectively remove them from a fight for a short time. It is especially strong when used with Blink Dagger as it allows you to quickly move in range of the enemy. Aghanim’s Scepter also provides Tusk with lots of stats, HP and mana. This item will make climbing Dota 2 ranks a whole lot easier.

Pipe of Insight

Pipe of Insight tanks you and your team up against magic damage. This may be needed if you’re taking lots of magic damage from the enemies after initiating with Snowball. The passive magic resistance stacks very well with the level 20 talent as well.

Lotus Orb

Lotus Orb can be effective if you benefit from all of the advantages it gives you. It provides armor and health and mana regeneration as well as a defensive spell reflect. If you face several single-target spells that are likely to be cast on you or an ally after initiating with a Snowball, Lotus Orb may be needed. It will also purge you of debuffs when activated which makes it effective against silences and slows.

Linken’s Sphere

Linken’s Sphere is a good item against lineups with few but powerful single-target spells. It also provides Tusk with some great stats for the mid to late game. Linken’s Sphere should also be used on a carry in situations where they are more threatened that you are. Linken’s Sphere makes it much easier for you to reposition after using Snowball and escape from bad situations, especially when used with a well placed Ice Shards.

Situational Items

Drum of Endurance

Drum of Endurance gives Tusk more early game fighting potential. It gives you a bit more of every stat in the early game and some more movement speed. The extra intelligence and mana regeneration can be especially helpful if you have skipped Arcane Boots or are opting for an alternative.

Tranquil Boots

Tranquil Boots are good on Tusk if you’re having a bad game. They will let you heal up more easily and this can allow you to gank more and control the runes more easily in the early and mid game. They are good if your team doesn’t need Arcane Boots and if you aren’t going to buy Phase Boots.

Phase Boots

Phase Boots will give Tusk more movement speed which makes it easier to position his Ice Shards and to get close enough to use Walrus PUNCH! and later Walrus Kick. It will make it easier for you to chase enemies after using your combo and increase the damage you deal through your ultimate. These won’t provide any mana for you like Arcane Boots do, but this isn’t a problem if you have others on your team who purchase them. Phase Boots are very effective if you have had a very good early game and are having a strong impact on the game. They are also very effective on mid lane Tusk builds as they are very impactful on his overall strength.

Eul’s Scepter of Divinity

Eul’s Scepter gives Tusk more survivability as it allows him to dispel most debuffs on him and avoid instances of damage. It also gives him lots of mana regeneration and some intelligence. This lets him spam more spells in team-fights and when farming to kill creeps faster. It also provides lots of movement speed which makes it easier for you to position and reposition yourself in fights.

Shadow Blade

If you are going for a semi-carry role in your team and need to be able to gank and solo kill enemies more easily, then you may need a Shadow Blade. It can also be built into a Silver Edge later in the game which is very effective against heroes with strong passives. Use Shadow Blade to initiate onto an enemy first, as this will apply bonus damage to an enemy. You should then follow up with Snowball and Ice Shards and lastly a Walrus Punch. You can also use Walrus Punch before using Shadow Blade to make the critical hit deal bonus damage.

Blade Mail

If there are heroes on the enemy team that kill through nuking, then a Blade Mail can be very effective. Heroes such as Ursa, Clinkz and OD will think twice about going on you after initiating onto the enemy team while your Blade Mail is active. In addition, all of the stats it provides are helpful for Tusk.

Ghost Scepter

Ghost Scepter allows Tusk to get in close with the enemy team and use his spells without fear of getting killed by physical damage. This is a good option if the enemy lineup has several sources of physical damage and especially if you are behind. It is, however, less effective against heroes that can purge you with items like Diffusal Blade. In these situations, a Glimmer Cape or Blade Mail may be more useful.


Desolator gives you bonus damage and applies minus armor to the enemies which makes your Walrus PUNCH! deal even more damage. It is usually only picked up if you need to fulfill a semi-carry role on your team. A Desolator can also be a good item in the late game, as your ultimate naturally scales with the amount of damage you have.

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Interesting Tusk Match-ups

Blink heroes

Tusk has a hard time ganking heroes with a Blink ability as they can easily dodge Snowball and move out of the barrier created by Ice Shards.

Legion Commander

When Legion Commander Duels an ally, you can drag them into a Snowball to shield them from damage for 3 seconds. It can also be used effectively when an LC is on your team before they have a Blink Dagger. Snowball and Ice Shards lets Tusk and LC get close enough to get Dual off.


As with LC, allies who are affected by Berserker’s Call can be taken into the Snowball to reduce the amount of damage they will take and re-initiate the fight. When Axe is on Tusk’s team, Snowball will give Axe a way to get close enough to the enemy to be called.


If you have a Meepo on your team, you can add each clone to the Snowball to increase the damage for each one. This can be very strong in the early and mid game, and may reduce the urgency for the Meepo to get a Blink Dagger. It can also be used to save a Meepo low on HP while the others deal with any threats.