As of today, I am level 100 with The Butcher. I consider myself to be one of the best Butcher players I’ve seen, though I know that there are better ones out there. My lifetime win-rate with him is over 63%, and my win-rate last season was over 78%.
In my time playing him, I’ve learned some things that I think aren’t common knowledge, so I thought, in celebration of this milestone, I’d share that knowledge with the community, and open this thread up for an AMA.
1. Playing Butcher is a Huge Gamble
In order to win with The Butcher, you need 3 things to happen all at once: (a) your team needs to be able to score kills without you, (b) the enemy team needs to play carelessly, and (c) you need to play VERY conservatively until your meat quest is done. Before his quest is done, Butcher is a mostly worthless hero, able to contribute damage on the levels of most healers, without any self-sustain, and his only form of CC is an all-in engage ability. As such, it’s your team’s job to feed you.
If your team loses, and you aren’t fed, and you didn’t die an inordinate amount in the early game, it’s their fault, not yours. Well, that’s not 100% true. It’s your fault for playing Butcher in a team that couldn’t carry you. But more immediately, the failure is theirs.
If you die too much, though, it’s your fault and you need to play more carefully. Either way, we flow directly into point #2…
2. Your Team Will Blame you for Failure
Sometimes, it’s your fault. You played too brave and died, probably. But sometimes it’s not. Either way, your team will tell you how it’s your fault. Butcher is a true feast-or-famine hero; he either completely stomps the enemy, or is an ugly potato for the entire match. There isn’t much space in between. And when you don’t finish your quest (or finish it very late), your damage numbers will reflect that, and your team will point there to say “Rofl, 13k damage from the Butcher? Report for trolling.”
To play Butcher, you need to be able to ignore these kinds of people. Whether they’re right or not, you need to be immune to flaming, or else it will get to you over time.
3. Your Hardest Counters Are not who you Think they are
If I were to ask someone who doesn’t regularly play Butcher what his hardest counters are, they’d probably go for the obvious answers: Cassia, Artanis, Li Li, and Johanna. But let me tell you, there are two heroes who Butcher hates seeing even more than all of those: Gazlowe and Nazeebo.
My second-most-favorite hero is Gazlowe, and I just love when I’m facing a Butcher who thinks he can have his way with me, because it’s so easy to shut him down. Between Robo-goblin and Xtra Large Bombs, Gazlowe can go toe-to-toe with even a fully-fed Butcher and expect to come out on top. Dropping 3 bombs in the spot that Butcher has announced to the world he’s going to be in and watching him be stunned for 7 weeks while you and your forest of turrets shred him to bits is satisfying for exactly half of the heroes involved.
Nazeebo…. his counter comes from Zombie Wall. One of the few ways to keep Butcher totally immobile, and like Gazlowe’s bombs, especially effective when you know where an enemy hero is going to be. Well, Butcher telegraphs his position like no other when he charges, so it’s pretty easy for Nazeebo to trap him, then throw frogs, spiders, maybe even a gargantuan and some allies attacks. By the end of zombie wall’s duration, Butcher is either long dead, or forced to retreat (something he both hates doing and is incredibly bad at).
As far as the classic anti-AA heroes with the blinding packages… it’s usually not too difficult to bait out the blinds before you go in. The real trick is to save your Brand for after the blinds wear off, because you can’t heal or sustain the Brand while blinded.
4. Meat Quest Should be Done by About 12 Minutes
That’s my benchmark for an “on-time” meat quest. Faster than that, and I’m feeling really good about how the game is going. Slower than that, and it’s a reminder to me that I need to play carefully, stop overextending myself, and wait for opportunities to get meat.
5. Butcher is, at Heart, an Ambush Predator
Despite his incredible sustained damage output once fed, Butcher isn’t really good in a long fight. His self-sustain only lasts a few seconds, and most healers can’t keep up with the kind of attention that Butcher demands of the enemy team. At his best, Butcher wants to come into a team fight a little late, approach from an unexpected angle, and hit their backline. He really wants to kill a hero before the enemy team has a chance to turn around and focus on him. I’ve had far more success with this approach than with charging headlong into the enemy at the start of the team fight, regardless of how “with me” my team is.
I’ve taken to the habit of copying “Reminder: Butcher sucks in the beginning. Please do not rely on my until I'm fed.” and pasting it into chat at the start of every game, and I’ve found that it had dramatically improved my game experiences, both in avoiding my team blaming me for not being amazing right out the gate, and also in notifying my team of what I expect of them. When you play Butcher, your team is effectively down a hero until you get to about 100 meat.
Most people aren’t familiar with how strong Butcher is at any given point in his quest. Even at 0 meat, if you charge an enemy hero in-lane, they will almost always withdraw, even though they have nothing to fear from you. You can use this to create space sometimes.
One thing I get yelled at for more than anything else is for focusing on the enemy tank. I immediately brush this off, since they clearly don’t know anything about playing The Butcher. For the purpose of educating the general population: Butcher doesn’t always have the luxury of choosing his targets. If Butcher is low health, he needs to brand someone to heal. That target needs to be someone who isn’t likely to just run away, because every second spent chasing is a second not spent attacking and healing. The enemy hero most likely to stand in place and let me lay into them is the tank, so sometimes Butcher has to attack the tank. Once fed, Butcher can melt most tanks, but before the meat quest is complete, this can appear to your team to be a waste of time, because they don’t know that you’re saving your own life by getting full value out of your Brand.
Anyways, that’s all the general tips I can think of. I’m pretty proud of my performance with The Butcher, so AMA.
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