This build isn't meant to be a "destroy everything!" type of loadout. It's not overly agressive and it's not entirely defensive either. Gnaw is a figurative gold sink, and requires LOTS of Solar to be effective. If your team's Gnaw is the lowest level on your team, help him get solar; he needs it for upgrades!
Please note that these are based on opinion and observation (from Gnaw's release, patch 1.3). They range from the most useful to the least useful (by observation mind you) and they are not meant to create the best loadout ever.
Acid Spit: Overcharged Metabolism
Overchanged Metabolism is incredibly useful when trying to be aggressive or defensive as Gnaw. It brings your cool-down for your Spit attack 5 seconds. It's cheap and useful, it's a must-grab.
- Honorable Mentions:
- Tentacle Soup: This is cheap and helps slow down anyone trying to run away from you or your allies.
- Spike Slime: Although expensive, more damage means your enemies have less time to get back to their base. The other drawback comes in late-games, when enemies can quickly run back to spawn and heal themselves before they die of the DOT
- Split Spit: Also expensive, but this can help the range of your Spit. Anyone who touches your Spit blobs causes them to split, causing massive chaos. It's not the best, but in large team fights, you can easily get the entire team pinned with your poison damage.
- Risky choices:
- Feather Ball: Generally you're not worrying about how far you're shooting your acid spit attack, if you're trying a lot of long-range attacks, you're not utilizing your Weedlings or your Life-steal bite. Acid Spit is better when you're near your enemy and you hit them with both blobs.
- Aggressive Acid: Note that it will only drip through Glass Floors This means the little platforms that are floating and have no depth to them. If your Spit is dripping through glass floors, nine times out of ten, enemies will see it drop, and then easily avoid it. It gives more range to your Spit (vertically only), but it's easily avoidable.
Overgrowth will be your best friend when it comes to every map (3 bites instead of 5 for a Weedling). You need all of the weedlings you can get without staying in the fray or Jungle for too long. Gnaw may be a bit bulky, but he's no Clunk; he can't take burst damage as well as Clunk can.
- Honorable Mentions:
- Wildgrowth: This is a cheap upgrade, and allows your Weedlings to heal up. If you can keep your Weedlings alive, you'll never have to replant them. However, they're not perfect, and they can still be taken down quite easily. It will force a lot of enemies to use burst damage to take them out.
- Flex Neck: Similar to Corrosive Spores, but instead of dealing 10 damage after 2 upgrades, you're effectively dealing 12 after 1 upgrade. Similar to Froggy G's Thorn fish, it doubles the damage at a cheaper cost.
- Risky Choices:
- Corrosive Spores: This is very expensive, but shouldn't be entirely overlooked. You can couple this with Flex Neck for some nasty damage-dealing Weedlings (20 DPS), but for 440 Solar, it will be cheaper and quicker to stick with Flex Neck.
- Bag of Seeds: You're able to carry 3 Weedlings instead of 1, but can only be useful in situations where you're constantly replanting your Weedlings (AI Station 404 as a notable example). If you're getting parts from biting jungle mobs and enemies a lot, and you don't need to constantly replant your Weedlings, pick another upgrade.
- Fertilizer: It's a great addition to your arsenal, Enemies need to deal with Weedlings that are bigger, and only have 40 more HP. The downside to bigger Weedlings, is that they need 15 seconds to upgrade to this stage. They don't gain damage, they don't gain range, they don't even get a full heal when they upgrade. They can also be pushed around by Lone Star's Bull, causing your nice line of Weedlings to be pushed far away from the battlefield. Without Wildgrowth, this ability will only give your Weedlings a few more hits before they die.
Bite: Filed Teeth
Gnaw may be bulky, but he's nowhere near as bulky as Clunk. Having lifesteal to your Bite is a plus, however it doesn't upgrade further than +2 HP. Gnaw's Bite is one of the harder choices to make do with.
- Honorable Mentions:
- Rotten Teeth: Normally, Gnaw's DOT does 2 damage per second (1 every half-second), This will bring your damage up to 6 per second, prompting a faster death. Though sometimes an enemy can heal before they die of your DOT, and can still run away. Also this, along with most of Gnaw's Bite upgrades, is very expensive.
- Chattering Teeth: Gnaw has a slow attack rate, and anything to increase it will help in chasing down enemies. It's very helpful for Filed Teeth, allowing you to get more HP before your enemy hits. It's cheap, but it doesn't help stack your DOT.
- Diamond Teeth: Also very expensive, but if you're one who enjoys initial damage over DOT, you'll enjoy these more than Rotten Teeth. You still won't be able to one-shot Jungle creeps unfortunately, and it may also prevent you from getting Weedling parts faster (chomp, creep dies from DOT before you can hit it again, and you loose a chance for a Weedling part).
- Dental Braces: If you're more of a DOT person, Dental braces will cause your DOT to end faster, causing your DPS to double (because it's being done in a shorter amount of time). This is greatly coupled with the Rotten Teeth upgrade,
- Risky Choices:
- Rabbit Teeth: This will only increase Gnaw's movement speed for a short duration. It may seem nice on paper, but its only nice when it comes to running away and letting your Weedlings do the damage. It's much faster than the Space Shoes upgrade, but it only works for half a second after a bite (not much time to run). Even if it ALSO sped up your attacks, Chattering Teeth still makes your attack speed faster than this buff (10 percent is +15, while this is +3). My opinion, don't waste a bite upgrade slot for speed when you can get the Space shoes.
Items: Piggy Bank
Gnaw's Upgrades are nearly all expensive, if you're going on a Solar-light build, Solar Tree will work. Gnaw needs the Piggy Bank to get his Weedlings and Overgrowth.
- I recommend getting Space Shoes for Speed, and Medi-Cans for HP regeneration. However, free Power Pills are always a plus for an early advantage (although not necessarily needed).
Note: ALWAYS get Piggy Bank first! Also, after the main tree is done, do what is needed at the time
Confident, handling enemies nicely: Weedlings > Overgrowth > Finish off Weedling Upgrades > Acid Spit > Filed Teeth
Getting a little hairy, but still doing well: Weedlings > Overgrowth > Acid Spit > Maximize Weedling Damage (Corrosive Spores or Flex Neck) > Filed Teeth > Teeth damage (Rotten or Diamond Teeth)
Can't Keep Up!: Weedlings > Overgrowth > (By this point you may find that it's hard to keep up) Acid Spit > Overcharged Metabolism > Filed Teeth > Chattering Teeth > Medi-Can** > Chattering Teeth > Medi-Can > Chattering Teeth
(**)Medi-Can can be replaced with Power Pills (not free)
Play Style and Tips
Whenever playing Gnaw with the three main upgrades that I've suggested, take control of the jungle. The jungle is your safe parts-factory. Once again, Gnaw may be bulky, but he's no Clunk when it comes to fighting against entire teams. This makes AI Station 404 a virtual minefield for Gnaw. The jungle can easily be overtaken by enemies, and there's only 1 initial lane where both teams are fighting in a small space. There are builds that work with AI Station 404, but you will never know which map you're going to until after you're there (unless you're playing local modes). Plan in advance and work out your load-out before hand.
- Never let your allies go out of control in the jungle (this has happened to me). If you're not killing at least some neutral mobs, you're not getting parts for your Weedlings. If they do get out of control, tell them you need the neutral mobs for Weedlings.
- Your Weedlings do not give you parts! Putting them in jungles may give you health and 1 Solar every 30 seconds or so, but it won't allow you to place more Weedlings!
- Gnaw cannot take burst damage too well. If he takes 1 burst damage, he needs to recharge immediately. He's better than flimsier characters, like Leon without HP upgrades, but he's not meant to stay in the fray for too long. That's what his Weedlings are for.
- Gnaw is a gold-sink; most of his upgrades are at least 175 Solar, even more are above 200! Worry about minions and jungle mobs first, pick off enemy heroes when they're weaker.
- Bait unsuspecting enemies into your Weedling pits. Having an ally Leon dragging them into your pits will take down enemies surprisingly fast.
- Your auto-attack pales in comparison to other heroes, it's best to take a couple of bites, plant a weedling, and then come back for more.
- Acid Spit is best when used next to enemies. Trying for long shots is a stretch, but the default range is fine for shooting your Spit into enemy escape-routes.
- Be conservative, but don't hide from every battle. More direct attacks from your auto attack means more Weedlings, but once you're in a 2V1 situation, you will most likely die. Stick with team members and or your Weedlings almost all of the time.
- Place Weedlings away from minion lines, this will make them less prone to droid damage. Most maps don't support this type of placement, but it will keep them out of minions' harm.
- Always check to see if your first Weedling is doing damage out of the minion/droid paths before utilizing that platform for solar farming. Packing them on a useless platform only wastes your Weedlings which can be better used helping your team push a lane.
- Try not to group your Weedlings in the same spot. Even when creating your Weedling pit, if all of your Weedlings are in the same spot, an enemy will be able to wipe a bunch out at the same time. Force your enemies to do burst damage to take out your Weedlings, don't let them use auto-attacks to take them out.