Table of Contents
Marja is a mage/tank who is able to cast an unending barrage of spells due to not being constrained by mana. With the ability to leech health from the damage she inflicts, Marja is able to maintain herself for long periods without needing to refresh in the base.
- Sustain Potential – Marja’s passive, Shadow Leech, provides her with health whenever she damages an enemy or monster with an ability or normal attack. Her abilities all are area of effect as well, allowing for multiple targets and thereby even more life steal with her abilities. As such, Marja can keep herself up and running for a long time when laning or fighting.
- Strong at Chasing/Diving – With a passive that reduces enemy movement speed and an ultimate which allows her to go untargetable for a period, Marja is very good at chasing down foes. Towers won’t be much of a threat when she wants to finish a target off, Ghostwalk allowing her to avoid its aggro or move to safety after a kill.
- Easy – Marja’s kit is very simple, lacking any complicated mechanics or casting requirements. As such, newer players will have an easy time figuring the mage out and getting themselves to an effective level.
- Master Baiter – Shadow Leech heals more the lower health Marja is, and Ghostwalk allows her to avoid damage and escape to safety. Put together, it’s easy to bait enemy heroes into a compromised position when they see Marja at critical health.
- Low Control – Marja is a bit lacking when it comes to control abilities, she only possessing a light slow outside of Dark Pulse. While nothing to sneeze at, this pales in comparison to many other mages’ and tanks’ control abilities. Marja will have difficulty keeping up with mobile prey, especially those with movement abilities at their disposal.
- Low Damage (for a mage) – Marja’s abilities have decent base damage, but don’t scale very well with items (all around 0.5 AP), so she can’t burst anyone down.
- Vulnerable Without Ghostwalk – If caught out without her ultimate (and not near a minion wave), Marja’s only means of escape is through slows and light heals – at even half health, the healing from her abilities isn’t enough to sustain through enemy fire.
- Weak Initiate – If building as a tank, Marja has little to offer when it comes to initiating fights. Without any stuns at her disposal, Marja will be hard pressed at setting up a clean fight in her favor.
- Low Combo Potential – The cost of having a rather basic kit is that it doesn’t offer much in terms of creative play. Each of Marja’s abilities is very straightforward, damage being the clear main focus of each one. This limits her overall potential in fights and will make it easy for enemies to predict her moves.
Hero Basic Strategy
- Marja can comfortably sit in any of the three lanes due to her sustain and harassing potential. She’s a terrible jungler, however.
- Use Dark Pulse to both last hit minions and harass enemies. Remember that you don’t have to worry about mana, so go nuts.
- Using abilities and normal attacks regularly will help Marja return any lost health as well as keep yourself healthy in lane.
- Start with Dark Pulse and focus on maxing it first. Dark Pulse both acts as a better tool for farming or harassing in lane and scales better as it ranks up.
- Soul Devourer is your lowest priority, offering nothing but additional damage. This will be primarily used as a vehicle for Marja to heal herself through Shadow Leech and Rhea’s Blessing.
- Take Ghostwalk whenever it is available. This will both dramatically enhance her diving and chasing potential and her ability to survive engagements.
- Solo Battle: Start the fight off with Dark Pulse, slowing and damaging your target. Move in close and use Soul Devourer as soon as the enemy is in range. It is best to engage in a minion wave, as the nearby creeps will add to the amount of life that you steal with your abilities. Be sure to attack the enemy normally whenever an ability is cooling down. While it doesn’t offer much damage, it will help slow the opponent down and make them easier to kite as a result. Use Ghostwalk if they try to slip under a tower, avoiding the tower’s turret and finishing the prey off with an ability. Alternatively, Ghostwalk can be used to dodge skill shots while keeping the target comfortably in your range.
- Team Battle: Start the fight with Dark Pulse, hitting as many enemies as possible. Move in towards the enemies, getting as many as you can in range of Soul Devourer before casting. As the enemies’ attention comes your way, use Ghostwalk to shake their aggression and avoid skill shots. Hit as many enemies as possible each cast in order to maximize your health gains from Shadow Leech. Be sure to normally attack your targets while abilities are cooling down as well to apply Shadow Leech’s additional slow.
- Since Marja doesn’t heal as well when at medium-to-high health, you’ll find yourself low pretty often. In those situations, skirt around the fight and try to land Dark Pulse and Soul Devourer on as many heroes as possible to heal back up. Wait until Ghostwalk is available to re-engage if particularly low – and keep your finger on the trigger in case you see the enemy shift their attention to you.
- Escaping the Battle: Ghostwalk is typically needed to initially escape her enemies. Use Dark Pulse on any pursuers afterward, as it slows your opponents the most. Attacking requires you to stop for a moment, so use Soul Devourer as your secondary slow. If you come across any minion waves on your way, use your abilities on them as well, as damaging them heals even more than heroes do.
|Shadow Leech – Passive – After Marja takes damage, she restores her HP and reduces enemy movement speed by 20% for 2 seconds with each normal attack and ability hit.|
- Due to Shadow Leech, Marja should always hit as many enemies as possible when she casts her abilities in order to maximize her healing potential.
- Marja should auto attack whenever she does not have abilities available. Basic attacks still provide a slow and, while less than when using her abilities, some health restoration.
- Unless she’s at full health, Marja will always heal off of damage dealt – even if a green number doesn’t appear (they only appear when healing for 50 or more).
- Marja actually heals more from minions than from heroes, so prioritize hitting them if you’re desperate for some HP
- Marja heals for a much higher amount when very low on health – one Dark Pulse and Soul Devourer on a minion wave can take you from critical to relatively healthy
|Dark Pulse – Marja unleashes a shockwave, dealing 400/480/560/640/720/800 (+0.5 AP)ˀ magic damage to enemies hit and reducing their movement speed by 40% for 2 seconds.|
- This is Marja’s primary damaging ability, so it should be used off cooldown when fighting given Marja’s lack of mana.
- The long range and 40% slow also make it her primary initiation and retreat ability
|Soul Devourer – Marja summons a Soul Devourer to attack the enemy, dealing 350/420/490/560/630/700 (+0.55 AP) magic damage.|
- Soul Devourer is best used in minion waves as to maximize the amount of health that Marja receives through Shadow Leech.
- If Ghostwalk is off cooldown, and you desperately need a heal instantly, Dark Pulse is a better bet, as there’s a delay before the damage and heal on Soul Devourer are conveyed.
|Ghostwalk – Marja turns into a phantom, increasing her movement speed by 30% and becoming immune to damage for 2 seconds. She deals 450/675/900 (+0.65 AP) magic damage to nearby enemies when she enters and exits Ghostwalk.|
- Use Ghostwalk to avoid enemy abilities. Large, flashy skills like Thane‘s King’s Glory or Tulen‘s Thunderbird are easiest to dodge in this way.
- Ghostwalk is a great tool when attacking heroes under towers. Marja can still use her abilities and attack while untargetable, allowing for moments of completely one-way aggression.
- Be careful on your timing with Ghostwalk, as it makes you untargetable to allies as well. Marja won’t be affected by any heals or shields that allies try to apply to her while she is in Ghostwalk.
- Ghostwalk cannot be used when stunned, so be careful if you’re relying on it to escape a team that can stun-lock you.
How to Counter Marja
- Try to only face Marja out in the open. Her ability to regenerate life is much higher whenever minions are around.
- Marja lacks any hard crowd control, so can be easily escaped. Rely more on movement abilities than safe zones, however, as Ghostwalk allows Marja to attack safely from normally dangerous areas.
- Keep an eye on the cooldown for Ghostwalk. Without it, she is much easier to kill.
- Buy regeneration-reducing items like Curse of Death or Tome of the Reaper. The earlier the better, as long as it doesn’t completely mess with your build.
Hero Item Build
Amulet of Longevity
This build focuses on tank items to really pump up Marja’s survivability, throwing in a few magic items to improve her damage and life leech. This build has the added side effect of making Marja extremely fast, Frosty’s Revenge and Gaia’s Standard giving her a total of 493 movement speed and even more when using Ghostwalk. While not heavy on damage, the build provides a large amount of cooldown reduction to allow Marja regular use of her abilities.
- Marja needs all the life steal help she can get, which make Sap and Consume good choices (she might be the only hero in the game so far for whom Consume is good). Round it out with Enlightened, Conjure, or Indomitable.
- Another option for Marja is pumping up her defenses. Indomitable, Benevolence, and Crusader well toughen her skin and keep her in fights longer.
Keep arms length away from tanks and harass them with Dark Pulse. Your life steal and lack of reliance on mana should allow you to defeat them in a war of attrition. Avoid getting too close, as tanks generally have decent amounts of crowd control at their disposal. Tanks are low priority targets anyway and should be avoided in favor of squishier foes.
Warriors are a bit easier to deal with than tanks if building tanky yourself. They have more damage at their disposal but will have fewer control abilities in exchange. In addition, they will be squishier and thereby less able to withstand Marja’s sustained damage. That said, warriors have their own sustained damage to worry about, so these fights will generally be a question of gold and levels.
Assassins will be very tricky, with large amounts of damage at their disposal along with high mobility. Marja doesn’t have any control abilities to stop the assassins either, so will be forced to Ghostwalk away. Please do this rather than standing in a fight. Fighting directly with an assassin will only lead to disaster unless Marja has a significant gold or experience lead over them.
Mages are a unique match up to Marja, as she can withstand a bit of their harassment but may have problems approaching. Ghostwalk can be a good way to get close and mitigate an opponent’s movement abilities, however, should only be used if confident in the kill.
Ghostwalk will make Marja extremely strong against marksmen, allowing her two seconds of uncontested attacking. Use this part way into the fight to allow for some free healing time. Marksmen should generally be the first targeted in team fights
Supports can be big trouble for Marja and force her to use her ultimate early. Try to avoid their control abilities and instead focus on the carry they are supporting than on them directly. Supports will not be able to do much when alone.
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