Stats & Skills Overview
While my initial look at the hero was focused on his decent damage, what I should have been keen on was the disruptive elements of all of his abilities. Brewmasterís Thunder Clap for example is a damaging aoe ability, but also has a pretty substantial slowing effect. Drunken Haze provides not only a nice slowing effect, but also a significant miss chance to whoever it affects. This is in addition to the powerful CC and survivability provided by his ultimate. Through his Earth and Storm Pandas alone he can keep two targets on near lockdown in a fight, which is incredibly powerful.
When taken as a whole, Brewmaster is a very survivable teamfight hero who operates by staying in the middle of fights laying down CC for as long as he can. He can lay down significant disables all the while staying alive in the process with little threat of being brought down.
Being as his ultimate is so powerful, Brewmaster is typically run as a solo hero to get him to level 6 as quick as possible. He is however not a very survivable character before level 6, and lacks any safe way to lane or get last hits in the early phases of the game. For this reason Brewmaster is usually run as a solo mid, or sometimes as a solo in the safe lane provided the other team will be soloing that lane. Brewmaster can also be run in a dual lane as he can provide some help with his Thunder Clap, but is not the strongest dual laner making this situation less ideal.
In almost every lane setup, Brewmaster will need some manner of farm to operate into the mid game. While not as item dependant as a carry, Brew still needs some gold in order to contribute fully.
Early game Brew will need some sort of item to solve his mana issues. Most people end up solving this quite easily by picking up Arcane Boots, but others seeking a more semi-carry build may opt for a more expensive Phase Boots in conjunction with a Bottle and/or Drums of Endurance. Once this problem is solved many players will then pick up a Blink Dagger to provide a means by which to initiate more readily, or another popular choice is an Aghanims Scepter to make your ultimate more powerful as well as putting it on a very short cooldown. After these pickups, any future purchases fall firmly under the category of luxury items. Additional items usually focus on the value of auras, as auras still apply while in your ultimate form. As such an Assault Cuirass or Vladimirís Offering are popular, as is a Shivaís Guard. A Linkenís Sphere can also be an interesting pick up against certain lineups packing a big single target spell (Beastmasterís Roar eg) that could stop your initiation. Other than that if you can get into the middle of a group of enemies safely, clap, and get your ultimate off, youíre pretty much set for the rest of the game.
Early game Brewmasterís Thunder Clap is by far his most useful ability early on, and is always leveled primarily. Past that picking up a couple level of stats with a single point in Haze and/or Drunken Brawler is popular to help with his early game mana issues. Once you reach level 8 or 9, finishing off the rest of your abilities should become more of a priority as your mana issues become less of a problem. Usually people will go for Haze over Brawler as the miss chance can really be a problem for many carries that rely on right clicks (a special mention to Lone Druidís Spirit Bear), but Brawler may be picked up first if you find yourself getting focused down in fights making your survivability more of a concern. Your ultimate of course should be picked up whenever possible. Primal Split > Thunder Clap > 1-3 stats > Drunken Haze/Drunken Brawler > remaining stats.
Brewmaster is a pretty forgiving hero due to his natural survivability, but using him to his full effectiveness can prove challenging for people not as comfortable with microing his pandas. (6/10)
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Brewmaster Tip of the Day
Primal Split is an ability that while powerful, has a lot of little intricacies to get used to. Some quick basics everyone should be aware of are that the pandas are magic resistant, making them immune to all but a handful of spells (Black Hole is a notable exception). In addition each of the pandas have their own strengths and weaknesses, with the Fire Panda doing the most damage, but being the least survivable, while the Earth Panda has the most hp by far. Lastly at the end of the spellís duration, Brewmaster will prioritize reappearing on a certain Pandaís position, depending on which Primals are alive at the time. The priority goes Earth > Wind > Fire, meaning the Brewmaster will always appear on the Earth Pandaís position assuming it is alive, and will only appear on the Fire Pandaís position if the other two primal are dead. Keep in mind if all Primals die, the Brewmaster dies as well.