How to master the Zet

Dota 2 Arc Warden Guide: The Clone Wars

Dota 2

Image credit: SecretRoom @Reddit

Complicated heroes aren't necessarily impossible to play/master, they just require more time and commitment to be played at a satisfying level. The beauty of having Zet the Arc Warden in your Dota 2 hero pool, for example, means you are a special player with a lot more value than any ordinary player because you have the Key in your hand on that last pick with the game-winning hero in your pocket.

Don't be afraid to commit a bit more time to a hero that's as complex as Dota 2's Arc Warden because the journey is fun and amazing. Here's how to go about it.

Arc Warden in the Meta

Arc meta

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Even though Arc Warden received several minor nerfs to his Str gain and talents, his win rate and pick rate have risen constantly since the release of Dota 2's latest patch, to the point where he is sitting at almost 55% win rate in higher MMR (5k+) which makes him a pretty popular meta hero that everyone hates to play against.

His style of play has not changed except for the fact that people tend to opt for Gleipnir over the Mjolnir. Split-pushing has not been nerfed but buffed for the last couple of Dota 2 patches which makes the hero a lot more valuable compared to some other carries, as he can safely split-push and take towers with no risks at all.

Taking towers is one of the most important things in this patch since it opens up the map and gives you more safe farming space. Being able to take towers with just a clone makes Arc Warden is a really good meta hero right now.

The Basics

Before analyzing a high-MMR game, let's talk basic stuff about Arc Warden.

Arc Profile

Image credit: Valve Corporation

When To Pick Arc Warden:

  • Against ranged carries (because of Magnetic Field)
  • You need objective taking core (Clone takes objectives safely)
  • Against melee off-laners (it's hard for them to zone you out of the lane)
  • You need a game-winning hero to rely on

When Not To Pick Arc Warden:

  • Against heroes with summons (Lycan, Beastmaster)
  • Against heroes with illusions/clones (Meepo, Phantom Lancer, Chaos Knight, Naga Siren)
  • Against heroes with good catch/gap closers (Storm Spirit, Phantom Assasin, Slark, Spectre) (These are not that unplayable against, and when you're confident, you can still manage a good Arc against them!)

Item Value

There are several items that have a very high value on this hero:

  • Hand of Midas
  • Boots of Travel
  • Maelstorm (Mjolnir/Gleipnir)
  • Scythe of Vyse

These are the somewhat core items that good players opt for to get ahead. Daedalus/MKB is a good damage output item, but it's not an obligatory item since it depends on the enemy heroes whether you go for them or not.

Arc Warden Build

The picture below shows what high-MMR players (in this case Rank 457) go for. (Game ID: 5775408185)

Arc Full

Mixture of Arc Stats (Image credit: Valve Corporation)

Maxing Flux is giving this Arc Warden 4 kills in the laning stage which results with him having 5.2k NW after laning stage.

The build is pretty standard where you go for your core items. (you can see the consumables as well)

Ever since the second talent (attack speed) got a small nerf, the CDR talent is what people go for since it gives more value to your Midas, and you have a lot of spells/items that would have great use with a lower overall cooldown.

General Laning Tips

One of the reasons why people pick Arc Warden so often lies in is his ability to dominate lanes, and snowball, making him a fast-ticking bomb in terms of the tempo of the game.

Here are the things that you HAVE to keep in mind when playing Arc Warden:

  • It's not worth going for high risk-high reward plays. Your hero benefits a lot more from being alive (he's a fast farmer) than taking a kill, and then being dead for more than 30 seconds.
  • Practice your Spark Wraith placements. It can make you dominate lanes.

When playing Arc Warden mid, it's really important to have a good block, and have the creeps near your high ground so you can make your enemy hit creeps/you from the low ground. As shown in the picture below, placing a Spark Wraith on the enemy high ground when the lane is pushed towards you makes him take a lot of harass (almost 40% HP),

Arc Midlane

Mind your high ground.

  • Focus on your Midas timing and practice to get it as early as possible.
  • Make sure your clone is not on CD when your Clone Midas is off CD. Click the Clone portrait on the left of the screen as often as possible to check the cooldown,
  • When there's a single wave and you kill the enemy ranged creep, your opponent either has to wait out a new creep wave or hug the melee creeps and take harass from you, so focus on the ranged creeps!

Itemizing Versus Your Counters

Playing versus counters is completely normal, and it doesn't mean it's the end of the world if the enemy last-picks Lycan and makes your game a living nightmare.

The good thing about Arc Warden is that he farms fast and can itemize well versus his counters.


Items. Lots of items.

Hurricane Pike

When you cannot man-fight the enemy cores, you want to kite them, and the item to kite and hit from a distance is Hurricane Pike.

Ethereal Blade

Yes, Lycan does have a Necro to dispel the Ethereal form but don't forget you have a clone that can dish out another Ethereal on your hero to save you from this pesky wolf!

Blade Mail

There are games where the enemies are really focused on killing your clone, so you might as well make them work for it and sacrifice a large amount of HP to take it down, Also, the damage from the item is pretty nice.

Scythe of Vyse

There's an old saying that says, "The best defense is a good offense". The Storm Spirit jumping you will think twice before trying to solo kill you once he sees you have Scythe.


It is completely fine to experiment with your favorite (or soon to be) hero, especially if it's Arc Warden.

This hero has seen countless builds and some work pretty well, even if they look trolly at first glance.

Cheese experiment items that work (sometimes) :

  • Meteor Hammer (helps push waves/towers with Clone)
  • Dagon (only works in the early game, and only if you play vs heroes with a low HP pool)
  • Necronomicon (this item was a core farming item on Arc 1 year ago)

Final Words

The best way to master a hero is to see how the (current) best hero spammer plays it, and what they do.

Arc 22

Image credit: Oced__ @Pinterest


Copying someone's style of play or build is not necessarily a bad thing, especially not when you are just starting playing the hero.

Here are IDs of replays of good Arc Warden players:

5775408185 / 5771248128 / 5774852292

Make sure you watch them after reading this article and start grinding!

For more Dota 2 news and everything else gaming or esports check EarlyGame.

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