Pangolier Dota 2 Guide: How To Play Donté Panlin

With Donté Panlin finally added into Captain’s Mode, it’s high time that we have a Pangolier Dota 2 guide up and running based on a mix of personal experience, as well as how the pros and high-level players in pubs have run the hero.

November 1 and patch 7.07 introduced Pangolier into the Dota 2 scene. However, it wasn’t until many months later on March 29 that the swashbuckling, smooth-talking hero was added to the competitive hero pool. Much has changed since Pangolier was first added to the game. We’re already in patch 7.12, for one. A lot of items, as well as heroes, have come in and out of the meta. So, we’ve decided to compile all the relevant, recent information in our Pangolier Dota 2 guide to help get you started.

Pangolier Dota 2 Guide: Who Is He?

The Pangolier, Donté Panlin, is a melee-agility type hero. His skill set ideally makes him an aggressive, space making core. Though he does need a bit of farm, Pangolier is at his best looking for fights around the map. This makes him a good hero in the offlane, something that Mineski and Daryl Koh ‘iceiceice‘ Pei Xiang have had quite a bit of success with.

Pangolier’s playstyle mainly revolves around his first skill Swashbuckle (Q). This is a rather unique skill in that it’s the first and only vector-targeted ability in Dota 2 so far. His second skill Shield Crash (W) is an area nuke that reduces any incoming damage to Pangolier based on the number of enemy heroes it hits. His third skill Heartpiercer (E) is an armour-piercing attack. Finally, his ultimate Rolling Thunder (R) lets Pangolier curl into an unstoppable, rolling ball. Throughout the duration of the skill, Pangolier is magic immune and knocks back and stuns everything in his way, albeit at the expense of a much lower turn rate.

Pangolier Dota 2 Guide: Mid vs Offlane

Pangolier Dota 2

In Dota 2, especially in the current meta, laning is everything. If you have a bad lane, it’ll be hard to recover. But Pangolier can, especially because Swashbuckle is a particularly useful flashflarming skill. Pressure, though, annoying can be dealt with if you play it safe, especially since Swashbuckle also doubles as an escape mechanism. Shield Crash also makes him fairly tanky. Plus, he doesn’t need that much farm to be effective. What needs is levels.

Basically, what this means is that your only choice is to play mid or the offlane. The only problem with the former is that while it gets you your levels and gives you the relative safety of being able to Swashbuckle your way to the high ground when threatened, there are far more heroes that can benefit from the farm and levels available in the middle lane.

If, however, you do get a chance to play Pangolier mid, do so. Even if you’re not a particularly skilled laner yourself, Pangolier can do well enough for himself in a 1v1 setting. Even if you do get ganked, you can always Washbuckle away to safety and even turn things around with Shield Crash if you have a support rotating to help you out. Either way, the mid helps give Pangolier a good start, which helps the hero become more effective later on in the game. But if it’s not available, play Pangolier solo in the offlane.

Pangolier Dota 2 Guide: Your Role as a Hero

Many mistake Pangolier as a damage dealer, when he really isn’t. He deals quite a bit of damage in a flash but doesn’t really have much to follow it up with. He’s a physical damage nuker, put simply. You can combo Swashbuckle with Javelin for some cost-effective damage to clear out waves and enemy backlines to deal with their pesky supports. But, again, he isn’t built to be a damage-dealing core. Instead, where Pangolier is most effective as a hero is if he is the initiator and the damage comes from someone else on your team.

With Arcane Boots, a Javelin and a Blink Dagger, you can use Pangolier to start team fights by blinking into the enemy, using Shield Crash and then using Swashbuckle to escape or target the softer cores. You can also use Rolling Thunder to disable the entire enemy team as the rest of your team deals the damage. But, in no way during clashes should you use Pangolier to hit or use normal attacks. That’s just not how the hero works.

Pangolier Dota 2 Guide: Go-To Items

Pangolier Dota 2

While Pangolier is a pretty versatile hero, there are a few key items that the hero should always have, regardless of your style of play.

Arcane Boots / Guardian Greaves – You need mana. Lots of it. And because Bottle isn’t nearly as effective as it once was, your only option is to go Arcane Boots, which isn’t half bad on your hero. Especially when you can turn it into Guardian Greaves later in the game, which allows you to initiate, cause havoc, and heal up in the middle of a team fight, while making you a lot more tanky at the same time.

Javelins / Monkey King Bar – This is perhaps the most cost-effective item you can build on Pangolier. Essentially, because of the 25% chance to deal 100 extra damage, you’ll be dealing 100 extra damage at least once per Swashbuckle instance. If you’re lucky, you’re going to get that 100 extra damage, twice. Even if you don’t build it into a Monkey King Bar, it’s still very effective on the hero.

Blink Dagger – Ideally, you’ll want to buy this right after you get Arcane Boots and just go ham all over the map. Because you now have an item that allows you to position on top of enemy heroes, you can be a makeshift puck and blink in, use Shield Crash, and Swashbuckle away. Or, to be even more of a nuisance, you can use Rolling Thunder after Swashbuckling away to blink back to your enemies for a second stun, or you can also open up with Rolling Thunder + Blink as well.

Because you’re going to move around the map a lot, get a Magic Wand, some TPs, Clarity, and preferably a Ring of Aquila for that extra bit of regen and armour.

Pangolier Dota 2 Guide: How to Play

Your Blink initiation is your bread and butter. As Pangolier, you can deal a lot of burst damage, but only if you play it smart. You’re not an extremely tanky hero. You are situationally tanky, thanks to Shield Crash. So, what you should do is Blink in on at least 3 enemy heroes, use Shield Crash and Swashbuckle away while aiming at them. Not only does this allow you to put in a good amount of damage (depending on your item build), but you get at least 42% damage reduction, giving you a lot of survivability during teamfights and allowing you to get into the thick of things. Be careful, though, because you’re not supposed to be tanking damage. Instead, what you are essentially is the bait that takes away the enemy team’s focus so your allies can go about killing enemy heroes or taking objectives.

After your initial Blink, you can use Rolling Thunder to do damage, stun enemies and use Swashbuckle again if the fight lasts long enough (Swashbuckle has a five-second cooldown at level 4). If you are level 15, you can get the Shield Crash Cooldown talent and use it at least two more times in a span of five seconds. In a way, Rolling Thunder is like a smaller aoe (Tidehunter’s ultimate) and lower cooldown, as well as a higher skill ceiling because you have to avoid bouncing on narrow spots so you don’t end up wasting your ult.

During the later stages of the game, your main purpose is to break high ground and generate some vision for your team, allowing your team to focus mostly on objectives or more important kills as you try to be as much of a nuisance as possible.

Pangolier Dota 2 Guide: Counters

Because of her ability to immobilize heroes with her low cooldown ability Ensare, Naga Siren is a natural counter to Pangolier. (Geying)

Just like pretty much every hero in Dota 2, the Pangolier can work against anyone and in any lineup. Just how effective is the question, and if you plan on picking Pangolier the next couple of games, you’ll want to avoid the following heroes:

Naga Siren – Though Song of the Siren does not cancel your ultimate, Naga Siren’s Ensnare can, effectively rendering you immobile and therefore, ineffective.

Chen and Enchantress – These heroes have abilities that allow them to pick up a Dark Troll Summoner neutral creep that has Ensnare.

Keeper of the Light / Bloodseeker – For a hero that moves around so much, anything that punishes you for not staying still is a death sentence, which is what Mana Leak or Rupture effectively does to you. Although you can counter these skills with Linken’s Sphere, you wouldn’t want to be building a defensive item so early on in the game.

In general, heroes, as well as items, with root and silence also make your life a little bit harder.

Final Thoughts

With the enemy team lacks BKB-piercing disables with low cooldown, Pangolier is a very effective choice. Especially when you’re up against heroes that are effectively nullified when kited around, like Sven, Ursa, and to some extent, Lifestealer. Also, Pangolier is effective against illusion-based or push-based heroes as he has a decent amount of waveclear when built right, plus his Heartpiercer is a lot more effective when there are more units to target.

Against mana-dependent heroes, Pangolier is also a very effective pick because of how Swashbuckler combos extremely well with Diffusal Blade.

Of course, we’ve only scratched the surface when it comes to Pangolier. Hopefully, with our guide, you can pick Pangolier more confidently knowing that you’ll be winning more often than not.

What would you like to add to our Pangolier Dota 2 guide? Do you think Pangolier is a good hero as it is or do you think he needs a nerf or a buff? Be sure to let us know your thoughts in the comments down below.

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