DOTA Lina hero guide
Introduction to the Slayer
Lina Inverse, the Slayer, is one of the many sentinel heroes in Defense of the Ancients. She's probably the strongest single-target nuker type character in general, with almost all of her spells dealing a large number of damage and a devastating ultimate. Unfortunately, it comes at a price: Her actual combat damage is far behind most other characters. She's also extremely vulnerable to heroes buying items like the Linken Sphere, Planeswalker's Cloak or Khadgar's Pipe of Insight to counter the spell damage.
This guide won't go into detail about her skills, but rather how to play her during a DOTA match. Good tips for using Lina's skills effectively are on the Lina hero subpages at the dota clover website.
Early in a DOTA game
How you can play her early on really depends on who you're laned against. She's one of the few characters who often don't need any healing items. Don't laugh at the pub players who only buy boots. They might be trying to grab a first blood chasing folks with Dragon Slave.
Lina fares extremely well up against melee heroes. Are they trying to hit creeps? Throw a nuke their way! Melee heroes in DOTA are extremely vulnerable to her light strike array while they're trying to last hit. They won't have time to both kill the creep and get out of it's way. Follow through with a slave and they'll soon learn to keep their distance from Lina.
Save your mana until level 3 before you try to harass for maximum damage. It's not worthwhile buying anything to regenerate it and MP takes awhile to come back. Store quite a bit when you're nearing level 6 so that you can her laguna ultimate. It deals a lot of damage to level 6 heroes, especially if they're underleveled due to your denies.
Lina is one of the best roaming characters, assuming you've taken both her stun and cone area blast damage spell. She works at her finest approaching enemy heroes from behind in their own DOTA lane. Stuns from the light strikes are much easier to land if the enemy is surprised to see you appear through the tree line.
An uncommon item on her is the Lothar Blade. Invisibility on Lina truly adds to the frightening surprise. She has more nukes than the Nerubian Assassin! Many people like to rush an Aghanim, but this has a much greater effect in most games. Be sure to attack someone first to break out of wind walk state. It does extra bonus damage. However, you can also use invisibility to perfectly align your stun in a group battle.
It might be tempting to save your ultimate for a last hit, but don't! That's like only using the Necrolyte's scythe as a finishing move. Enemies will be much weaker and probably try to retreat if they're running low on health instead of trying to duke it out and possibly winning. Having a high killing score does not win games - only destroying the barracks and throne. Fighting in a way that forces players to retreat or die is a very effective pushing strategy midgame. Early lagunas are also great for teaming up with characters who can use their low health against them or chase after the retreating heroes (even yourself with the Lothars).
Endgame as Lina
Unfortunately, the Slayer quickly starts to lose in power against other heroes by this stage of the DOTA match. Her nukes don't do enough damage to an enemy's health, and worse yet, they might be pumping up their health. Lina's also extremely vulnerable to being disabled once people can afford items like the Orchid.
And of course, people will have things like the Linken's Sphere or a Black King Bar (BKB grants magic immunity) if you've been exceptionally good at playing Lina during the early DOTA game. This is not good! You can't counter it with DPS well as an intelligence hero. The slayer works best as a support character at this point. Concentrate on trying to land your stuns, and pick up a Guinsoo or Euls.
Items: I don't recommend buying an Aghanim's Scepter in this Lina guide at all, even late game. There's better things you can spend your money on than slightly more ultimate damage.
Try to end the game quickly before enemy heroes who were once vulnerable to the Slayer get the power to turn the tide. Strength and agility heroes ("Carry" as they're often called) get extremely dangerous if you let them farm enough. Work as a team to push lanes and destroy as many of the barracks as possible. However, if your team doesn't play well together, you might want to march on the throne as soon as you demolish one lane. Good luck as the DOTA Lina hero!