The guide to the Undying
The Undying is a melee hero with strength as his main attribute (22 + 2,8). He is not the most popular hero, only in the 82nd place, according to DotaBuff. It is usually picked for tanking or lane support. His abilities can give the enemy a lot of trouble and practically deny him free creep farming. Thanks to his ultimate ability Flesh Golem and summoning a Tombstone, the Undying becomes very nasty in a team fight. Enemies simply must direct their attention to destroying the Undying or suffer his buffs. Depending on item choice, he can be a Disabler, a Durable, a Nuker or a Support.
The Undying’s downsides include low armor and a noticeable dependence on starting inventory. His strength and dexterity grow slowly, and his attacks are slow at first, which forces his player to take extra care when killing creeps and getting gold and later to invest in gear that improves all of these. For the hero to succeed in the endgame, powerful gear and constant engagement in team fights are also a must.
One of Undying’s greatest strengths is that this is a melee hero well-suited to pursuit. By summoning a Tombstone and using the Decay ability he can get very aggressive from the get-go and hassle enemy heroes non-stop. In team fights the Undying’s abilities trouble the enemy a great deal and can decide the outcome at any stage of the game.
The skill selection for the Undying is always with an eye to aggressive play. The Undying must cause consternation for the enemy from the start, so Decay and Soul Rip must be the first skills to take on the lane. This combo will let him score many a kill early on, especially with an ally hero to help with protective casts or stunning. The Tombstone summons should be developed only for team fights or an aggressive push on towers, to drive enemy heroes away and back into their territory. Taking Soul Rip to the maximum brings a bonus to allies’ damage and healing. Overall, the skill build for the 7th level should be 1-4-1-1.
The hero does not have much mana and works as lane support, so the best choice for boots will be the Arcane Boots. They will improve the Undying’s movement speed and mana and restore 160 mana to allied heroes when activated. A Magic Wand is good for all attributes and should also be had. If the Undying’s team’s early game is going well, he can right away try to gather the gold for Guardian Greaves, which improves allies’ health regeneration by 2.5 and armor by 3.0. Their aura restores 16 health per second and improves armor by 10 for heroes below 20% health. If this item can be had early on, it will give the whole team a nice boost, enough to quickly destroy towers and even Ancients. Gear such as Assault Cuirass, Solar Crest and Pipe of Insight will greatly improve team armor and survivability, but for the Undying’s skills to be more effective he should procure an Aghanim's Scepter. It increases enemies’ health theft when using Decay a good bit
The Undying starts out with poor armor, so at the 10th level a left +5 to armor talent makes sense. However, if you are playing support, you might want to go for a right 15 second Tombstone cooldown reduction talent. This one would go well with the 15th level +25 to Tombstone Zombie damage talent; or choose a left +12 to Soul Rip damage/healing talent. For the 20th level go for a left -1.5 to Decay cooldown talent, especially with an assembled Aghanim's Scepter. Together they will help steal as much health as possible, making the Undying as tough as he can be. The usual choice for the 25th level is a right resurrection with 300 sec cooldown talent.
This hero’s strength-sapping abilities will give a hard time to any weak heroes such as the Crystal Maiden or Witch Doctor. He also performs well against all melee heroes, especially those who thrive on strength and health, like Sven, Centaur Warrunner or Bristleback, thanks to Decay’s strength sap. The Undying can put a Tombstone in the way of slow-attacking enemies, who will be struggling against the summons for a long time while suffering the zombies and taking extra damage and slowing. The Undying can take care of summons-focused heroes, like Nature's Prophet or Chen, because the more enemy units show up, the more zombies will appear and the greater the damage and healing from Soul Rip.
The Undying does not do so well against crowd-attack characters like Luna with her Moon Glaives or Gyrocopter with its Flak Cannon. Powers like these will let them destroy zombies easily. Others can take advantage of zombies to farm extra gold (Alchemist with Greevil's Greed can farm Tombstone zombies). The Undying should steer away from the Earthshaker, because zombies increase the damage from his ultimate ability, Echo Slam. Heroes able to temporarily disable the Undying’s skills, like Death Prophet and Silencer, can render him nearly useless in a team fight. And any hero with Orchid Malevolence or Scythe of Vyse will be able to disable the Undying for a while, because he relies very much on his abilities; this can decide the outcome of a fight or even the whole game.
The Undying is a melee team hero, who can play a fearsome tank or a dangerous procaster. With his skills he either usurps the enemy’s attention or makes them endure serious bad buffs (loss of strength from Decay or damage and slowness from Tombstone-generated zombies). The Undying must be played in the most aggressive way possible, hassle the enemies from the get-go and develop your advantage over them. However, poor starting armor and dexterity growth mean that the Undying depends very much on his gear. Still, his abilities make him formidable in team fights and may be decisive at any game stage.