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Heroes of Newerth Nomad Guide

By syllable - 14th December 2011 - 12:14 PM

This is a guide about Nomad, a hero that's all about mobility and teamfight awareness, if you can pull it off it's one of the strongest heroes and you'll wreck in teamfights, but if you play him wrong you'll probably get killed in one big CC chain before you can do anything.


Writers Foreword

There are many ways to play this hero, it's a very versatile pick. I'm going to tell you in this guide what - in my experience and logical reasoning - works and what doesn't, and more importantly why. It's fine to disagree, I encourage it, but put some thought into it instead of randomly saying things like "that's not how astonL played this hero, therefore it's wrong!". Thanks.

When to (Not) Pick This Hero

You can pick this hero in most scenario's, but there are some situations you'd want to avoid, and others where Nomad would thrive. This is when Nomad is not a good pick.
  • The enemy team has a lot of "fat" tanky heroes, for example Kraken, Zephyr, or Electrician.
  • The enemy team has a lot of disables that are very hard to dodge. Like Tempest's ultimate, Aluna's stun, Witch Slayer's Miniaturization, ...
  • When your team already has enough farm intensive heroes. It's not optimal to pick more than two heroes that need a lot of farm to be effective.
  • And lastly, when the enemy team has Plague Rider and / or Keeper of the Forest. These two heroes, if played well, will armor up their team, giving even the supports about 30 armor, and the carry heroes will have between 40 and 50 armor. Plague rider is a major annoyance.
On the other hand, there are teams against which Nomad will be a very strong pick:
  • The enemy team has a lot of squishy heroes, like Nymphora, Slither, Bubbles, ...
  • The enemy team has a lot of abilities on which you can easily trigger your ultimate, such as Glacius' ultimate, Corrupted Disciple's Electric Tide, ...
  • You can kite and mess with their heroes, they don't have any AoE target ground slows or stuns like Fayde or Pyromancer, or silly heroes that silence and snare you at the same time like Emerald Warden.
Basically, Nomad is a hero that when uncontrolled in battle, will win said battle for his team. He's one of the strongest mid heroes, even against ranged enemies, but doesn't thrive against a team of stunners

Stats and Abilities

Damage: 54-58
Attack Range: 128
Attack Speed: 0.81

IPB Image Armor: 2.58 IPB Image Move Speed: 310

IPB Image 18 (+2.0) IPB Image 22 (+2.6) IPB Image 20 (+2.2)
As you can see Nomad has average early game stats, and a reasonable growth on everything per level. His starting armor isn't too good, but early game you can build a defensive item for that. One thing to note is his high base damage. 54-58, is a lot. Nomad also has good starting movement speed, making him a mobile, high damage, somewhat squishy hero. We'll try to exploit his strengths as much as possible while fixing his weaknesses.


On command, the Nomad envelops himself and nearby allies with a cyclone of sand, granting them with increased speed and invisibility while slowing enemies.

The Sandstorm applies a movement speed buff to all allies and a movement speed debuff to all enemies in the radius.
Sandstorm effects: buffs/slows movement speed by 5 / 10 / 15 / 20%
  • Type: AoE
  • Radius: 300
  • Mana cost: 75
  • Cooldown: 24 / 20 / 16 / 12 seconds
Note: this is an ability used for mainly three purposes: escaping, chasing, and during teamfights to avoid being focused. You can save allies with the invisibility, or movement speed buff, and you can slow enemies down with it so your allies can catch up for a kill.

Mirage Strike
Learning Mirage Strike grants you True Strike and Mirage Strike, allowing you to confuse your enemies with illusions of yourself. Deals 60/100/140/180 bonus Physical Damage on impact.

Cooldown is reset upon enemy death within 500 distance.
  • Target: enemy units
  • Type: physical
  • Range: 500
  • Mana cost: 90
  • Cooldown: 16 / 14 / 12 / 10 seconds
  • Additional effects: using True Strike will grant you 20 / 40 / 60 / 80% increased attackspeed. Using Mirage Strike will turn you invisible while an illusion attacks your target.
Note: your bread and butter. Not only does this ability deal massive damage to your target, but it also gives you a huge tactical advantage. There are two sides to this ability, the True Strike, which is fine to use late game on disabled targets if you get free time to hit them, or when you are chasing someone. Then there is Mirage Strike which will be your main ability throughout the game. Early game and lategame you might be able to do more damage with this ability than with your 80% increased attackspeed. How? Well the advantage of using Mirage Strike over True strike is that you get an illusion attacking for you and it turns you invisible. This means you can hit your target at the same moment your illusion does, and you will have the Wanderer bonus damage applied both time. When using True strike you will only hit once with Wanderer, then again on the third hit, if you are still close enough to your target that is. I'll explain more about this later, but Mirage Strike is the reason why this hero is such a powerful mid hero, and can even out harass a Thunderbringer. Basically when using Mirage Strike you get two hits in, when you use True Strike you expose yourself to all sorts of nasty nukes or stuns.

A master of movement, the Nomad's blade gains strength as he contemplates his next move against an opposing hero.

Gain a charge of Wanderer for every 10 distance traveled. Each charge grants your next hero attack 0.4 / 0.6 / 0.8 / 1% bonus damage, up to 40/60/80/100% bonus damage.

Wanderer is discharged and used only when you have 20 charges. If you attack with less than 20 charges, 25 charges are added. Only works against heroes.
  • Passive ability
  • Type: self buff
Note: the second reason why you are such a powerful mid hero. This is also your ticket into lategame. As you see it scales on your damage, not base damage, which means that if you were carrying 5 doombringers you'd be dealing around 1350 extra damage on top of your own 1350 damage every hit you had 100 charges on wanderer.

Edge Counter
Blink and you might miss it. The Nomad responds to a threat with a deadly show of force, nullifying the next attack and sending a massive shockwave at the assailant.
  • Type: magic
  • Damage: 200 / 310 / 420
  • Stun duration: 2 / 2.5 / 3 seconds
  • Range: 625
  • Mana cost: 10 / 125 / 175
  • Cooldown: 60 / 45 / 30 seconds
Note: great ability, but you shouldn't rely on it. Most abilities are too hard to predict for exactly when they're coming, or easily canceled so they can fake it. For example Soulstealer Demon Hands, I've had plenty of times that a Soulstealer will fake to try and make me use Edge Counter. There are, of course, situations when you are certain it's going to proc, for example a slow projectile hit is coming your way (Pyromancer auto-attack), Andromeda Comet stun, Soul Reaper's Judgement, you can even use it while standing in things like a Chipper ultimate and it will proc.

This ability is an unseen barrier between you and death, and all the enemy heroes know you have it, and will be careful about casting abilities on you, but if they know that you wasted it, if they see you use it too fast, you're an easy target. Point being here, don't use this ability unless if you're certain things will turn out allright for your team. You might die afterwards, but your team will have had the opportunity to get in position and get their own abilities off, which will in most cases secure an easily won teamfight for you, even if you die.

Skill Builds

There are two Nomad builds as far as I'm concerned, and it's the mid build, and the lane build. Mid obviously focuses on faster levels, while the lane build is also a bit team oriented.

The mid build:
  1. Mirage Strike
  2. Wanderer
  3. Mirage Strike
  4. Wanderer
  5. Mirage Strike
  6. Edge Counter
  7. Mirage Strike
  8. Wanderer
  9. Wanderer
  10. Sandstorm
  11. Edge Counter
  12. Sandstorm
  13. Sandstorm
  14. Sandstorm
  15. Bonus Stats
  16. Edge Counter
  17. Bonus Stats...
This build is all about the one on one that mid is about. You don't need to worry about teammates or multiple enemies (most of the time), and since there is only one enemy, the faster you can kill him the better.

The sidelane build:
  1. Mirage Strike
  2. Wanderer
  3. Mirage Strike
  4. Sandstorm
  5. Mirage Strike
  6. Edge Counter
  7. Mirage Strike
  8. Wanderer
  9. Wanderer
  10. Wanderer
  11. Edge Counter
  12. Sandstorm
  13. Sandstorm
  14. Sandstorm
  15. Bonus Stats
  16. Edge Counter
  17. Bonus Stats...
The difference here is that you grab a level of Sandstorm early on to help your laning partner out a bit. Mind you, there is a 24 second cooldown on this ability on level one, so don't use it lightly. Securing a kill while chasing can be done with it even though it slows for almost nothing, but saving allies with it is all the more viable using the invisibility it provides.

Item Builds

Early game:
Regardless of where you lane, and who you face, you will always need these two items: +

Now depending on whether or not you are mid and who you face, you want to choose between a set of items. Against melee you would always want to get a

Against ranged heroes you again have a number of options. Depending on what kind of hero they are, you choose between +


If you roll mid, then you always, always want to pick up a as first item. Then boots. For starters Nomad is a mobile melee agility hero, who relies on quickly killing enemy heroes with huge burst. The more distance he travels between hits, if not stationary rightclicking a target, increases his damage done. Which brings us to the obvious choice of making

Now, depending on the enemy lineup and how well you are doing you want to consider whether or not to get a defensive item. An item you'd almost always want to pick up even if you're basically steamrolling everything is and a , and then start building straight damage items. Though since you won't go 6/0/3 in every game you play Nomad, it's safe to say one of these two will help you in the lesser games to remedy your squishiness:

I am a fan of both, Nullstone grants you plenty of mana to spam all your abilities as much as you please, where a Helm of the Black Legion actually makes you incredibly tanky, allowing you to play even more agressively. Nullstone works in a lot of games, the ones where it's usually not that good of an item, it's where there's heroes like Witch Slayer, Armadon, or Thunderbringer, .. Put simply: heroes that can get rid of your Nullstone with a very low cost and cooldown ability.

Once past the essential basics, you can start building towards more damage and lategame potential. This is one of the most core items for Nomad, to be effective in a game he needs it as much as any hero needs his boots. Of course, I'm talking about
It might not look like a big bonus, but trust me, it is. The -5 armor usually brings the enemy team back to 10 minutes earlier, where your Strikes still dealt stupid amounts of damage. Obviously, you'll want put the item on negative armor, not on positive.

Once we passed these items, you are in dire need of MOAR damage. We're in the midgame right now (usually past 18 minutes, if you made a Nullstone past 25, if you didn't make any defensive item usually past 12). Here you have a few options:

All three are valid items to get on this hero, but of course, they'll work the best in certain situations. The first thing I'll say is that Brutalizer is only a good item to get when you are not the only real source of damage your team is doing. Being Nomad is all about dropping heroes almost instantly, chasing is allowed and fun, but spending too much time on one hero is not good when you should be able to take down their Flint in a matter of seconds. So again, Brutalizer is fine, if you have other people on your team that deal copious amounts of damage.

If that is not the case however, there is still the Nullfire Blade. This is a situational item to pick up. If the enemy team has heroes that really need their mana to stay in fights (like a Torturer or Soul Reaper), and has effects you would like to remove (Jeraziah shields, Dark Lady buffs, Corrupted Disciple Conduit) this item is perfect! It won't give you as much damage Shieldbreaker would, but you can use the Purge effect to chase as well. Very important about this item: don't blindly upgrade it to rank two. There's an 8 second increase on the purge cooldown, which is huge. I've had games where I just replaced my level one Nullfire Blade with a new one rather than upgrade it, just because I really needed the purge all the time and I had plenty of money anyways. Always think about this before upgrading. And even if you'd upgrade it, just keep the recipe in your stash until you run out of charges.

Then there's the Shieldbreaker. It's a recently buffed item, and very powerful, due to the fact that you deal physical damage with all abilities except your ultimate. Very important: Mirage Strike will not apply the armor debuff to your target. This kind of sucks for us, but Nomad is strong as he is, and he'd be downright overpowered if it did apply the debuff. This means that we need to actually hit our target before using Mirage Strike. The other option is to use True Strike. I don't recommend this unless if you're certain that you won't be interrupted during the charge. Using this ability usually leaves you wide open for any form of stun, disable, ... It's even safer to just Sandstorm up to someone, hit them, then Mirage Strike them. Or simply keep using Mirage strike first as it doesn't put you in a dangerous spot.

And lastly we have the Frostwolf Skull. More of a strength item these days, but the change was a general buff for melee heroes. If you make a frostwolf you will be virtually unkillable, and you will never lose hold of your target, as it slows for insane amounts and you're an incredibly mobile hero. Just like the Brutalizer, this item doesn't really add a lot of damage for you, so you'll have to rely on your team for this, or farm the item quickly.

There are two items I didn't mention: The first, I don't like because of its purpose, and because I just think there are better items out there to spend money on. I'm talking about
The Runed axe is good if you can get it before the 18 minute mark. Even then I just would've gone with a fast Shieldbreaker or Bulwark. This item increases your farm, but if you play Nomad you shouldn't be playing a farm oriented game. You have too much hero killing potential in you to just afk farm all the time. If your team is doing fine 4v5 then by all means, keep on farming, but you can usually be more effective with other items.

The second item is .
You can literally one-shot squishy heroes with this item and a Bulwark. Flint with Ghost Marchers? Dead. Arachna with Ghost Marchers? Dead. In fact, most ranged carry heroes that don't opt for Steamboots (strength Steamboots), can be easily killed if you have an early Shroud. Support heroes will fear you throughout the game. The one big disadvantage is that you will orient yourself even more around being invisible, making the enemy even more likely to get a Bound Eye. Usually Bound Eyes aren't that big of a deal for you, if you just try to avoid the carrier and kill everyone that doesn't stick on him like white on rice, or kill the carrier and take the Eye, but this is usually not too easy. The key to this item is getting it early on.

A last quite random item that's also a possibility for you:
When I say this is a possibility for you I say it in the same way it's a possibility for every hero that has 400+ GPM at 15 minutes in to the game. It works well for Nomad though because you're typically near enemies while invisible and it's a huge damage increase.

Then on to the next item, you now already have three or four items in your inventory: Ghost Marchers, Mystic Vestments, a Brutalizer / Nullfire Blade / Shieldbreaker + Sol's Bulwark / Mock of Brilliance, and last but most certainly not least: a Homecoming Stone.

The item you want to get next is dependant on the enemy lineup, but usually this works:

The damage you will dish out with this baby is just monstrous, turning you from a early-mid game ganker / carry into a fully worthy carry hero. Usually if you can get only three or four items on Nomad (and I mean real items, boots + Bulwark + defensive item of choice + weapon of choice + Savage Mace) the game is won for you. If you farm slowly, you won't get many items at all, if you're doing well you will completely annihilate enemies with just a few items. I've never had a game where I was able to stack my Nomad all the way before the enemy team conceded, but here's some luxury items that are a viable option for Nomad as well.

Great to add on top of your burst, 20% increased damage taken, Silenced, mana regeneration, damage, attackspeed. Overall not your weapon of choice, but it's just one of the better items in the game.
More movespeed, more confusion, more damage.
Big numbers, big damage, only get if you really don't need any survivability anymore, or your problem is that the enemy is simply too tanky.
Upgrade that Bulwark, gain some armor for you and your allies, not to forget the insane attackspeed.
Of course only if you don't have an attack modifier yet. Great survivability, great for chasing down enemies leaving them even more chanceless against you.
Again only if you don't have an attack modifier yet, it's a good item, activate to get back to full HP, passively grants a lot of HP and armor already, and adds a bit of damage.

Now here's the real kicker: That one item you might need to get in some games in order to be an uncontrollable force for quickly taking out heroes:
Depending on the enemy lineup, and how good they're playing (like really, this matters) you might want to get a Shrunken Head. If, however, you're playing against a bunch of noobs that didn't get any heroes with big stuns or control, then don't bother getting it. Example lineups against which you should probably get this item: Myrmidon / Magmus/ Soulstealer / Hellbringer / Corrupted Disciple. This team obviously has a ton of magic damage, and heroes like Magmus and Myrmidon will stack all of their disables on top of you as much as they can, if you are the big threat that you ought to be.

"Fun" Builds That Almost Never Work

Obviously we need a in there, and a , and if you feel like you need some extra HP when you're not invisible, you can always opt to get a . Seriously though, this almost never works.