Wassup guys, and welcome to my Alpha guide. Although Alpha is generally regarded as a weak hero, I have been very successful playing with him in my ranked game at high glorious legend due to a very good understanding of how his skills work. In this guide i will be sharing with you on how Alpha actually works, and provide you with item, emblem and spell builds to handle most scenarios- including explanation on choice of itemization, so you too can play a mean Alpha.
Understanding how Alpha works: First of all, if you are unsure of what alpha’s skills are, you may look at this album’s first picture to get a full description of all of alpha’s skills:
Now, with that out of the way, lets start with why anyone should pick Alpha: 1. Instant stun ultimate 2. Go, Beta! Passive: A True damage passive that deletes all types of enemies, very similar to Karrie (Probably the most important part).
While the stun is obvious, the main thing that people don’t realize is that Alpha’s passive hurts throughout all stages of the game. With no items at level1, his passive deals 300+ damage, and with full build at the end it goes up to like 700-800 plus. There is also no cool down on this shit, which activates every time you fulfill the passive’s criteria.
The difficult part here is that unlike our OP counterpart Karrie, who only has to hit her enemies with auto attack, the criteria for activating Beta to harass your enemies is much trickier:
You will need to hit your enemies with 2 attacks from Beta itself within a timer of approx 4-5 seconds. The timer is pretty obvious as you will see a mark on top of any enemy that has been hit by Beta once.
Notice that i mention Beta (Alpha’s little minion) and not Alpha himself. This is where most people fail. Beta only attacks your enemies in certain manners every time Alpha uses a skill. Even if your main skill hits, if beta doesn’t hit there will be no marker.
For skill1, it is the second strike of the one line attack. This skill also provides a very good slow (70% for 2 sec).
For skill2, it is the outer layer strike after Alpha swings his spear. Also heals you for 300 and increases your attack speed by 12.5% per enemy hit (minion, heroes, anything). For skill3, Beta strikes the area you targeted right after you jump to that area. You are not invulnerable like Chou is, but the stun activates instantly the moment you drop it, so it’s very reliable.
All three skills’ beta attacks are shown in the album link above. You NEED to hit your enemy with any two of the 3 skills’ beta strikes to activate go Beta’s true damage. There’s no cooldown on this, so every time you meet the 2 hit criteria, beta will activate. Beta, together with the damage from the skill itself, will cause quite a lot of damage altogether.
IMPORTANT* In a full combo, you will be doing ULT>Skill1>AA>Skill2. This is where almost all of the Alpha players i used to watch on stream, fucked up. Almost everyone likes to use skill2 right after ultimate instead of skill1, and it’s bloody WRONG. If you’re one of the (still) epic players in Top10 currently, i hope you’re reading this.
First of all, beta almost certainly will NOT activated when you use skill 2 after hitting ult, because it strives the OUTSIDE area of alpha’s lance, which is also outside of your ultimate hit-zone assuming you did hit your enemy. Secondly, Skill2 has a huge delay of 1 second which is also almost your ENTIRE stun time so you missed out on the entire stun duration doing the stupid animation. And that’s not all, you are also wasting the full amount of heals that skill2 potentially can grant you using it first, because in usual circumstances you are only jumping in with almost full health.
Skill 1 on the other hand, has beta hit in a straight line and therefore NEVER misses your enemy once you hit them with ult. It’s small line area also DICTATES that you should use it while enemies are stunned, as compared to skill 2 which has a huge aoe. Also, the animation is smooth as fuck and almost instant, granting you an opportunity to add one auto attack while your enemy is still stunned, before doing skill2. Additionally, skill 2 can be done ON THE MOVE, so the moment your enemies are no longer stunned, you can be sure they start to move away and that’s where your skill 2 can start to grab them by the ass with that wide aoe, and heal you while you’re at it.
Last but not least (the most important part here), you can potentially activate beta TWICE and instead of none or just once, doing my ult>skill1>Aa>skill2 combo instead of the usual ult>skill2>skill1. Thats because once your enemies are no longer stunned, skill 2 will activate a new beta mark on your enemies since they are moving away and therefore beta will hit. At higher levels, skill1’s CD only has like 2+ seconds on max CDR, which would be ready by then for you to activate a second beta true damage passive on your target. I have seldom failed to delete an enemy MM at late game when i manage to successful hit them with the double beta combo. That’s a whole 1.5K true damage before any of your own skill damage and auto attacks.
Item, Emblem and Spell build UPDATED!: Having explained how Alpha’s main unique factor works, Im pretty sure at this stage you realize that he is a skill-based hero, and therefore items are centered around CDR. I provide my personal 3 item build in the link here:
The usual build will be the second/third one based on whether you need to go upfront to receive damage from enemies early. If you choose to max skill2 first (heal and sustain), going build 2 will be good. On the other hand, Max first skill for long range harassment in team setups where you are unable to enter a fight straight away. For these situation going the third build will be better as you max CDR faster and therefore can dish out a lot of DPS fast from afar using first skill, engaging with ult only when your enemies have been roasted enough by the constant harassment. A max first skill allows you to activate beta just by spamming it as its CD is only 2.5sec.
The first build is a new build that will be used for when the new patch comes out with Fighter buff. This will give you 25% CDR (plus 5% from emblem for me) by default, allowing you to get 40-45% CDR
Explanation and build path for build 2:
Start with 2 mana regen items (120g) each. Two will provide you with enough regen to fully cover skill2’s mana cost every time it’s off cooldown. This allows you to almost permanently stay in lane as long as you don’t get bursted down, since you can keep healing off minions with skill 2 for as long as you have mana.
Build the 3 swords for bloodlust x.
Complete warrior’s boots first before finishing bloodlust axe. The reason is that unlike other skill heroes who need bloodlust axe to heal, you already do heal from skill2. Bloodlust x just gives you more heals so it’s more important that you get tankier and more mobile first so you can start roaming and destroying enemies from lvl4-5. Bloodlust x is magical for Alpha, as all of your beta passive strikes also actually heals you.
Complete bloodlust x, and proceed to Magic Blade (After much testing, Magic blade seems better than immortality for Alpha early game as it is cheaper and provides damage for farm. The shield provided is worth equal to immortality’s second life). Magic damage is the bane of most fighters in the earlier stages of the game and Alpha is no exception. Building magic resist helps you survive early as well as provide you with a second life in team fights. Very valuable as long as you are teamfightint (as you should be).
Build dominion ice. Sell off your mana regen as you make space for the parts. Start from the ice shield for the mana and CDR. You are will tanky as all hell against both magic and physical damage and have 35% CDR to spam all the heals you like when this is complete.
Build Hunter strike. This grants you the most damage of any item that includes CDR. It is also one of the cheapest source of damage for full damage items.
Finish off with either Deadly Blade/Blade of Despair/Immortality. The default choice for always be deadly blade due to your low CD first skill allowing you to apply the debuff on almost any enemy constantly, beating down any MM through their lifesteal reduction. If you’re owning hard and want to do more damage on the other hand, Blade of Despair is another good choice as the 10% unique passive will always be active when you ult your enemy. Immortality is another possible choice as a last item if there is already a deadly blade holder in your team and you do not need the extra damage.
*** Add on*** Build 3 is stronger and more offensive but not recommended for new alpha players who are still not familiar with Alpha’s heal amounts and hitting accurate ultimates. Once you are very familiar with Alpha, i recommend going for build 3 over build 2. Once Fighter Buff is available, go for build 1 when you are able to constantly acquire the buff, otherwise stick to build 2/3.
Emblem: I use physical assassin for damage and CDR as i have it maxed. Priorities anything that gives you most CDR as that’s where your useful comes from, spamming skills.
Spell Choice (you basically only have 2): 1. Execute. If you’re not playing alpha as tank, this is my default choice. Very often I would jump an enemy MM and realize that my full combo plus beta activating leaves them with just a slight sliver of health. After adding execute to my combo, i have been very successful in deleting my targets the moment i jump them, especially if it’s a gank. 2. Flicker. If you’re playing tank or utility, execute doesn’t do much for you. Go for flicker so you can get out after executing your combo as initiation. Likely that there will be survivors of your combo so getting out means you can wait for CD and go in again once ult is off CD. Of course, feel free to go flicker on bruiser alpha too. I just prefer execute to secure my kills on a personal level, you may prefer the mobility to escape more.
A. Your job as Alpha. As a bruiser fighter, your job is one of the either two: protect your team mm against other fighters jumping in by stunning the hell out of them as they attempt fruitlessly to engage your mm, OR be the aggressor and look for opportunities to jump in and stun the enemy’s MM or mage, WHILE your team is also around. While a full combo will usually kill your enemy 1on1, your enemies also have teammates who will stun you, so initiating on them while your team is available will secure the kill for you while you’re CCed.
B. Don’t: -Farm too much jungle when you can be ganking and team fighting with your team. It’s fine if you’re farming it with another teammate in between waves early, but Alpha is a very different creature. He clears waves extremely fast due to skill2 granting him a lot of aspd hitting multiple minions, but jungle creeps are gonna be slow. Clear minion waves and look for opportunities in between to strike fear on your enemies instead (ult must be available).
Build dumb ADC items on Alpha. Seriously, i keep seeing epic and grandmaster players who’ve been stuck in their respective ranks playing thousands of games of Alpha due to this. ADC items have zero synergy with alpha’s unique factor: beta true damage, and while these suckers think they can hit faster with skill2, it only works on the damn minions. On proper enemies, once you stun them with ult and then use skill1 and skill2, You won’t have much opportunities to do auto attacks without them retaliating on you. You are also not attacking in the long duration of skill2’s charge so it will always be disadvantageous against other ADCs who have skills and passive that synergies with their crit items (zilong’s 1.8x dmg, alu’s pursuit etc).
If you’re still reading this, congratulations, you are now an informed Alpha player. Thank you for looking through my long ass guide for alpha, and feel free to ask me anything as always.