What's wrong with Orb Build Li Ming?

I think the tittle is pretty self-explanatory. But a little bit of backstory: I had never tried Orb Build. First time was like, two months ago? And it felt really good to take big chunks of health every 4 seconds.

However, as I understand, Orb Build has a problem. What I’ve heard is that it’s damage “doesn’t matter” or “isn’t impactful”. I understand it’s damage is unreliable since the orb is eaasy to evade, but I don’t understand, when the orb does hit, why is its damage considered “unimpactful”? Is it because it can be easily healed?

So that’s basically my question, what is, exactly, the problem with Orb Build? And can it be fixed?


Because, at least against a well drafted team, it rarely secures kills. It is what some top players refer to as “fake damage”, as the damage it does is often just healed right back up, or mitigated through spell armor. Calamity is generally preferred, as it is a finishing move, and can ensure that the kill target actually dies.

Ming’s true value comes through her trait, and if people aren’t dying, you aren’t getting everything you can out of her. Remember, the goal isn’t to top damage, but kill their core, so your builds and tools should be used towards that end.


Theres no issue with it. The issue is when people
1pick all orb talents and glass cannon bc some of them are trap talents always and for glass cannon depending on the situation
2 always go orb because it gets little value vs dive and some comps
3 dont know how to land orbs. You should try to hit teams from the side to get full impact/dmg.


Its not orb being the problem, its the players who think it can be picked in every single match they play.

Just because they have high stats does not mean they are doing better, stat padding is a thing.


That’s is what i said in another thread too. A Liming who think she is good just because she did 100k hero dmg with orb spec dont even know what effective dmg means. Same goes for healing. You can do 200k healing whole game but stil lose to a healer with only half of that amount. It all depends of how effective his healing was in teamfights and not when he afk heals people up in base or on camps.


Orb build is long skill shot thats easily blocked. Were as calamity can secure kills easily thus resting her trait.

Funny though is that orb build has been buffed. It a fine build but easily countred

I should also note, if you do have a good finisher on your team, like a Greymane or Genji, Orb build can be perfectly viable. It is also decent on maps like Cursed Hollow or Towers of Doom where stalling can be very important. But if I wanted a sustained damage hero, there are better options than an Orb Ming.


Basically this. There are some rare situations where you can go orb and it works well, but you gotta pick your moments.

Most of the time you will want calamity just because it fits Ming’s playstyle extremely well. Aggressive mage, potential for snowballing the game etc etc. You never have that with orb. All you get with orb is poke poke poke from far away, which usually there’s better heroes to do that.

Usually the talents you pick are meant to do 2 things: enhance the strenghts of your hero or cover some weaknesses. Orb build does nothing to those things, not even close, while calamity covers both of them. With calamity build you are able to be way more aggressive (which is usually why you draft Ming) and you get protection from the level 13 and 16 (if needed), and you can even consider calamity a type of protection since anyone who dives you can get easily damaged.


This reason is actually why I think damage ratios should be applied at the end-game stats screen.

The closer your damage is to a 1/1 ratio of Damage Done / Average HP of enemy team * Kills the more efficient your ability to kill the enemy is.

I think I get it, it’s mostly about securing kills to abuse your trait, which is something Calamity shines on.

May I ask you which moments can Orb Build be viable in? Aside from the ones Hoku mentioned. ^-^

Also… Tips on how to play Calamity build? I’m not very good with it, I normally go AA build.

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Basically, W at 4 and 16 are good to go and work generally whenever. They compete with the talents in their tiers and also do well in helping Ming secure kills.

Just don’t go W at 7. It’s not worth skipping Calamity on Ming.

Best thing to do is practice when you think it’s safe to go in. So many Mings just dive in with their E because they see a 25% HP target and think it’s a free kill, only to get CC’d and die because they used E already.

It basically makes her like Kerrigan.
Which isn’t necessarily bad, but it does force you to decide between getting orb value or calamity value, and I’d rather just make use of my entire kit.
But you’ve already picked a mage who does “fake damage” (Ming, and I just call it damage because it always matters) so it’s no stretch to draft kill secure, especially if you aim for Orb build.

I find her trait hardly matters at all, because people don’t die often.

If your team has a lot of sustained healing, want to play slow and want very long fights where you can just spam those orbs. That’s the main condition to go W in my opinion (or any other heavy poke hero like Hammer or Chromie).

Your full combo post level 10 is W Q E R (W first because it travels slow). Practice your combo in try mode so you can get used to it. It does huge damage in a really small time. Here’s a video of me 100-0 a Hanzo in less than 1 second using this combo:

See how it was so fast that Uther couldn’t even react to heal him?

Next tip is play aggressive but do not expose yourself to the point of getting engaged on. Just because you have calamity it doesn’t mean you want to be using it on cooldown. Always keep in mind the cooldowns that the enemy can use against you. Let’s say they got ETC, you just saw ETC using slide, well, now you know you can play aggressive with your E. Always look for those tools that the enemy can use to engage on you. I like to look at the loading screen and start listing everything that the enemy has against me. It helps a lot during the game if you try to keep those things in your mind, and soon it becomes natural.

I don’t know if you know the whole build already, but this is it: Power Hungry, Dominance, Calamity, Wave of Force, Illusionist, Mirrorball, Repulsion. This is the basic calamity build.

You can change some talents depending on enemy comp or map:

Level 4: Triumvirate is good on maps where you can kinda poke a little bit more, like volskaya or even BoE. It’s good to chunk the enemy down a bit while still playing aggressive. Just keep in mind that Dominance will save you a lot when playing aggressive and getting some kills.

Level 10: Disintegrate if the enemy has Anubarak and he went cocoon. This is an amazing tool against cocoon, always save it and keep in mind its CD.

Level 16: Diamond skin is good if you are really in need of extra protection and your tank/healer are not being able to protect you until this point. Pretty good against some divers like Zera.

One last tip for calamity build, never ever go Aether Walker at 1. No matter what people say, it is not good with calamity build. All you want with calamity is that extra spell power so you can make sure you get the kill. More spell power, more damage, more chances to kill someone and get your reset.


As a side note to this, do not underestimate Force Armor at 1, either. If you know you will be diving in with Calamity, make sure your spell armor is up, first. It can mean the difference between a reset and a trade.


But the talent becomes way less useful if you’re fighting in a space without access to globes, like CH. AE has way less potential damage than Power Hungry, but there are situations it’ll end up more consistent for Calamity.

And we can’t ignore its survival and mobility aspect. It’s the middleman between FA and PH imo.

With ming you are always trying to play sideways, you never play from behind your tank basically, but on a diagonal style, so you can actually throw your spells on the backline if you want to and they don’t get blocked by the enemy tank. That said, because of how you position, there’s no map in the game where you don’t fight close to a lane. Also because of how you play sideways and more close to a lane, it’s kinda of your job to clear it while the objective is up.

Alterac Pass: both objectives are close to lanes. If you cap the enemy obj, it spawns globes.

BoE: When the obj is top or bot, you are close to the lane. When the obj is in the middle, you don’t have access to globes, but it is still good here since you get 2 globes when you win the obj, which already gives you around 50% mana, which also means you don’t need to back making you late to push with it.

Braxis: both points close to lanes.

Cursed Hollow: Most tributes close to lanes.

Dragon Shire: both points close to lanes, dragon close to lane.

Hanamura: Unless you fight right in the middle of the map, you are pretty close to lanes.

Infernal shrines: wouldn’t draft ming here, but all objectives are close to lanes.

Sky temple: All obj close to lanes.

Tomb: wouldn’t draft ming here as well, but turn in points close to lanes.

ToD: all objectives close to lanes.

Volskaya: all points close to lanes.

See, Power Hungry is just really good on every map since you are always close to lanes, and even if the objective isn’t literally next to a lane, you can still go grab a globe and walk to it. It lasts 20 seconds, it’s a long time. Another good thing about this talent is the sustain it gives you. Ming is a mana hungry hero, the extra mana is pretty nice. And like I said before, the extra spell power just helps you get those kills and snowball.

Aether doesn’t really increase your mobility. You shouldn’t be able to not get hit and get a lot of cdr on your E, unless the enemy is literally dumb. You will get damaged, you will get focused, and you won’t get the cdr. People think that having more Es increase your survivability, but it is actually wrong. You don’t need more Es. With level 13 you already get an E reset when you get damaged a lot.

I would even say that Aether is kind of a trap talent that I see A LOT of Mings pick, especially for the extra Q damage. Like, the moment you blink, the enemy team should engage hard on you cause you have no escape.

Yeah Force Armor can work as well if you feel like you will be receiving too much spell damage, but it is more of a niche talent. I wouldn’t even go this talent even if they have a kaelthas with potential pyro, since I can just interrupt him with R.

I typically pick Force Armor against double mage (rare), or dangerous melee heroes that rely on ability damage. It is very good against an Alarak, for example.

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This is one where I would take AE, because there’s 2 chokepoints where you are not near a lane. Maybe other Mings are OK with being weaker in those 2 moments, but I’d rather have the consistent boost throughout the game to avoid risks.

Not close enough though. If you’re fighting over objective, wasting time running to a lane to get a globe is time wasted that could turn a fight around completely. Either talent work here, but I’d consider it a bad idea to take PH on this map.

This is correct, but PH doesn’t assist with this issue in fights where globes are not present. Aether essentially removes the mana cost on one of her most important spells while Triumverate harshly lowers the cost of another. You have to be a lot more careful with your spells if you take PH otherwise because E will gradually wear you out.

Ming shouldn’t really be in a position where she’s getting consistently hit. The only point she should really be getting damaged is if she’s stepping up for a Calamity kill, but with the range of her Q and W it’s not necessary otherwise.

Fan takes it way too often for it to be a trap talent. I’d say the only trap talent she has is W at 7, everything else has its use somewhere.

Even the ever-so-hated GC.

Orb build have very good pokes, but all there’s to it, the fact that you need to be far away from heroes means you won’t be able to aa, easier to dodge her Q, they can just disengage and heal since you’re far away anyways, invest into spell armor to not take full orb dmg.

It is a trap that li-ming players falls into, thinking that those free hits will matter, it does only if your team follow up. Calamity is where you will punish their mistakes and make good plays, there are moments that you have to go in instead of abusing max range and let low health enemies go away.

  1. To get the most out of orb build, Ming needs a lot of distance, which undermines her ability to combo with Missiles, use her AA, or possibly even utilize her heroics. It basically turns her into a 1-trick wonder.

  2. If she whiffs her orb hits, then it’s 7 seconds before she can, or will, contribute again. Orb’s that miss the distance mark are pretty much like playing a hero without talents.

  3. Ally formations. Backline assassins aren’t just about dealing raw damage, they’re about applying pressure into the enemy team so they can’t hold their formation. If a tank can’t hold his ground, then he can screen for the backline, and they become vulnerable to attack. So some of the power of team is the threat they offer, not necessarily just the damage.

So orb’s damage doesn’t combo well with her other abilities (making it harder to get resets) her damage can whiff, leaving to long gaps of time where she doesn’t do anything, which drops the pressure put on the enemy team. With less pressure applied, her team is prone to getting overrun, causing her to retreat and abandon her allies, and thus deal even less damage, securing fewer kills, and eventually losing objectives because the rest of the team gets overrun.

Orb is a bit misleading in that it’s cdr procs work off of hitting heroes, but then it stifles the aoe the ability can have. Functionally, it’s better at sieging stationary targets (such as structures or channeled objectives)
but if enemy heroes aren’t around, then the talents to boost orb don’t really help much – missile damage and aa proc talents work regardless of target, so the cumulative effects end up being that orb-focused Ming’s tend to just do less than they could have if they had built for anything else.

This is then made further problematic cuz the sort of player’s that mindlessly build into orb tend to take glass-canon with it so they’re far more stitish, want to run sooner (so team gets overrun) or are outright liabilities to stuff like pyroblast Kael’thas. Some even take Disintegrate at 10, then Archon at 20 and just dig themselves deeper on redundant talent picks.

The build itself has times that it works (such as aram) but the main issue tends to be the sort of players that use the build and don’t realize its weaknesses, rant about superficial numbers and pretty much look to blame anything else on their allies cuz they’re too busy toting their ego to realize how poorly they’re doing personally.