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Viper The Carry by <VllX>

August 27, 2014 by vlladonx
Comments: 57    |    Views: 750157    |   

Build 1
Build 2

The Carry

DotA2 Hero: Viper

Purchase Order

buy order

Early Game

Mid game

Late Game

Hero Skills

Poison Attack

1 4 5 9


2 3 8 12

Corrosive Skin

7 10 13 14

Viper Strike

6 11 16


15 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25

Viper The Carry by <VllX>

August 27, 2014


Hey guys, this VllX, it's Aug 2014! I wrote this guide about 2 and half years ago, and it became the most popular on the site, but eventually i forgot about it, of course. I thought I would refreshen it a bit, change a few items due to new metas and so on. Please give it an up rating to bring it back to the top, if you think this is a top guide. Thank you!

P.S. I picked Viper today after not playing him for a while and got a Blink Dagger on him early on because game was easy. It's a different build but it illustrates whats Viper able to do with this guide's core idea very well.
Match ID: 859522754

This is a detailed guide on how to carry the game to success, using Viper. Use it to your taste but remember, this guide works best when you buy these items in the exact order.

Viper is not a usual carry hero. Most of carries in Dota 2 are hard to play in the beginning but are really powerful in mid and/or late game, where as Viper is dangerous from the very beginning all the way to the end and most of the time the most dangerous hero on the map.

Picking Viper

There are a couple of DONT's when picking Viper.

  • Don't pick Viper when enemies team has two or more heroes who have a good escape mechanism such as Storm Spirit, Riki, Dark Seer (good luck slowing him, mate!) or even a Lifestealer.
    Anyone who can blink, turn invisible, or increase their movement speed is bad bet for you. Chances are, you are going to feed even if you are a good player. Because you need the early kills to succeed and survive.

  • When the enemy team has a lot good ganking heroes, you should go mid. You should pre much always go mid, but you can lane if you have to. A lot of slows and stuns will make your game that much harder if you don't have the advantage.


There are two item builds on this guide. The first one is a specific carry build to be able to carry the game no matter what, OP enemies and/or noob allies shouldn't be able to phase you too much. The second build is based for much more comfortable game, where your aim is to be a team player will destroy enemy team very fast if there is not too much focus on him. It is easier to build Viper with second build, but for a number of reasons I believe the first build is much more appealing to this hero.

Viper is a semi skill-based hero because he relies on his amazing Poison Attack to kill his enemies, which is why first build is mainly focused on how to survive and outlive your enemies instead of DPS and attributes. Because surviving means getting the gold for the next item. And a full built Viper is truly scary.

The starting items are quite typical, a couple of Slippers of Agility plus a Circlet. (which is a part of a
Wraith Band)
I prefer getting a Healing Salve instead of Tango as it lures the enemies closer thinking they can get that first blood off you, which gives you a chance to show them you're not ****ing around. It also forces you to play safer since you can't restore 100 hp every time you get harassed.

Core items (of the first build) are Boots of Speed + 2x Wraith Band, a Bottle and a Shadow Blade. Why them? Well, to survive.
However if you're confident in your skills to survive, you should consider skipping the Wraith Bands and going straight for the Manta Style instead of the Shadow Blade.

Boots of Speed will help you outrun some heroes or at least be around the same speed. However keep in mind Viper's base speed is 285, which is 15 points below the normal speed of 300. Wraith Bands keep your attacks sharp and HP reasonable, also fairly cheap since you already have most of the ingredients.
A Bottle is always good to help you stay in the lane and do solo ganking using the runes, also keeping your mana high.
And well, Shadow Blade. Many people can argue how easy it can be countered, but if taken early in the game players won't expect it and will be reluctant to waste money on Dust of Appearance or the Gem of True Sight until the later game, and it does an amazing job at escaping from a gank early/middle game. And you will be ganked, a lot, since your kill stat is likely to be higher than all of your team's kills put together. Be ready to be focused on and hunted.
If you don't favor the shadow walk ability, Manta Style is able provide a fair bit of help during escaping, whilst also boosting your stats and potential damage output quite a lot.

But coming back to the Shadow Blade, truth is, the shadow walk ability and speed boost costs you just 1000 gold, the other 2300 is the cost of damage & attack speed components of it. It will save you a lot of gold by keeping you alive when otherwise you would have been lying dead in the ground which helps you getting more easy kill since most players don't even dare to fight you because of all those "TRIPLE KILL" yells appearing every now and then. They try to flee and get slowed all the way to their grave.

Also, a Town Portal Scroll is good to have at all times to defend or quickly go to base before enemies find you hiding in that side shop.

Now, mid game items. Obviously, the Aegis of the Immortal is optional, however if you aim for 0 deaths it's something that might do the job. Just be careful with when it's expired, you might not get killed until then and be over-confident when it's already disappeared.
But the Heart of Tarrasque is the only item that can give you the edge to keep fighting and surviving during the mid game. You should get quite enough gold from kills to be able to get it and then you won't be so squishy anymore. With that much focus on you, you just can't afford to be squishy anymore.
You don't get any lifesteal, which means you'll often find yourself left with half your hp after finishing finished another gank. The Heart of Tarrasque will make sure you have full health for a new fight within seconds due to it's insane HP restoration.

Now if you managed to get so far, you probably don't die a lot. It's time to get your speed up to speed. Literally. Boots of Travel if you didn't go for Power Treads and Butterfly.

Boots of Travel will make sure you escape even the toughest ganks and catch up even with those enemies who run the moment they see you. And teleport ability will give you enormous amounts of gold by jumping to crowds of enemy creeps.
Butterfly means agility. That is more armor to stay alive during the focused fire you will get, especially if your team sucks, and most importantly, the attack speed to be able to kill a fed Ursa.
Obviously, evasion from Butterfly just makes sure it's impossible to kill you at all.
Aghanim's Scepter and Assault Cuirass are the items you are unlikely to get before the game ends, but if it comes to it, your mojo will get even doper from these items. Aghanim's Scepter reduces the cooldown of your ultimate to 12s and increases its range which lets you spamming it and be of more use in team fights and keeps enemies away from you.


Poison Attack (PA). Gods be praised! No cooldown on your poison attack anymore. You can just slow your enemy until they dissolve in your acid. It's slowing that much for lvl1 though, upgrade it before you start ganking at least to level 3.

Nethertoxin is the skill you max whenever PA is not available. The beauty of this skill is that it gives you a great farming potential through last hits. The less HP the creep has the more damage you output. Hence, making it much more likely to get the gold. It has been improved to add mindblowing amounts of damage, so get their health low, buy a ****ing dagon, idk.
In a situation you and your enemy have the same % of HP they might think they have a chance. Wrong. By the time both of you have ~20% hp - you have that edge to end them. So they will be forced to run slowed and die... or die trying to fight. Unless, you know, they have a good escape mechanism, like invisibility.

But 2-3 point in Nethertoxin is sufficient to farm and kill. After 2nd or 3rd point of it you should level up a couple of Corrosive Skins. It slows and poisons whoever attacks you. Their attack speed and movement speed slows, which means you don't have to be too careful around creeps, plus heroes that try to gank you will have a bit of a trouble catching you. Also, a great bonus is magic resistance. Magic is usually what kills the greatest and you have a good 10% to 25% shield now.

Obviously, the Ultimate ( Viper Strike) is maxed whenever possible. Don't be afraid to use it, but only to kill or to escape. Or save your team member from inevitable death. Otherwise keep it, you never know when and how many VSs you are going to need within next 30 to 80 seconds.

How to play Viper

As I have mentioned before Viper is a semi skill based hero. His Poison Attack is a Unique Attack Modifier and it is a great one. Many players who are inexperienced with Viper don't realize that with 3 point in PA you can kill most of the heroes in the game with little effort.

A fed Dragon Knight walks into a bar.... he's in the middle of the lane, farming behind the creeps? Just PA him until he dies. Whether he runs straight away or tries to fight, he's not likely to kill you or reach the tower. Go behind Sniper to simply collect your gold. Or hunt a juicy Intelligence heroe who can't stun or silence you.

Getting a kill is only as easy as you want it to be. Since there is no cooldown on PA after the 3rd level up, you can each them not to play dota again. They are too slow to outlive you in a fight and too slow to get away. Their abilities and teammates are their only hope and it is your job to make sure those won't interfere with your malicious intents.

Your PA won't do too much harm against creeps, which means you only use it to kill and harass. However it does have a slightly further attack range (600 using PA vs 575 of a normal attack) which often helps with harassing, letting you deliver poisons blows after you already decide to go back.

You should harass whenever possible, and deliver the last hits to creeps. You are likely to have the creeps to yourself so if for some reason normal auto attack doesn't do the last hit you should wait around for a creep to be last hitted.
Don't forget that by auto attacking you're pushing the lane. Think whether you want it to be pushed or not.

It's best to go middle lane with Viper, however if there is Huskar your PA harassing is going to **** you up. And Pudge.... it's just hard to play against him. But doable. Be aggressive and hide behind the creeps. If you go to a side lane, there is a huge advantage in harassing. One of them is going to go to the base and you are going to kill the one who's left defending. Especially if your lane teammate can stun.

This, is how Viper a semi skill-based hero. But as much as he relies on his skills to kill, he relies on items to survive. He's not going to succeed for too long because of the ganks that the enemy team is going to throw at you whenever they see you. Viper's much more squishier than he may seem.

Which is why it's the most important to survive. Shadow Blade is there for you to survive all these ganks. Make sure you know how to use it correctly. The Heart of Tarrasque gets your damage up to speed with the other players but your PA is still a sufficient tool to end most heroes.
At this point it's most likely you can feel pretty safe killing any single hero, or even a pair. However staying in group for more than one on one kills is the best choice.

Closer to mid game it won't be a lane game anymore and you'll be the one to suffer from this. You are 1 on 1 hero. Which is why you should make sure your team stats acting as a group and you stick to it. You can be enormously dangerous if they begin to focus on something else. By the time they realize the true danger of the team they'll have to flee or die.

It's not hard to click Q and point to the enemy's *** all the time, but it is quite hard to escape when odds are against you. But after you get the Heart it's pretty much about that magic button. The number of kills you get is terrifyingly close to the number of heroes you meet.

Note: Viper IS likely to start attacking someone else once you can't see your enemy because of the fog, which makes it very easy to lose an easy kill because you didn't have too much control over the fight.
Also, try not to accidentally click on the minimap while getting away. This is responsible for 50% of my deaths as Viper. Which, however, is not that many.

Team Fights

Quite typical gameplay. Try to get the last hits, that's what you do best. Use your slow all the time, preferably on many enemies, ult the toughest player. Don't hesitate to turn Shadow Blade on and leave the battlefield to restore some hp or mana using the bottle or the Heart of Tarrasque if you feel like you're likely to die soon.

However look back and see if it makes sense to come back and slow low-hp heroes or help your teammate to turn another team death into a team kill. You're ranged, so you're likely not to get focused on straight away. Try not to go back to fight while your Shadow Blade is still on cooldown.


Everyone knows that most of all, you want to get the most kills with least number of death. Winning the game is secondary priority, however your amazing SWAG will run out once your team starts feeding your enemies. But Viper's slowing ability is so powerful that it can be that edge your team needs to win a team fight they're ought to lose.
Even if your team is outfarmed and outleveled, this ability can steal the win for you. And most amazingly you do this by focusing on your personal wins. Which in turn make it even less likely to die. My personal record is 27 kills to 2 deaths, which could be better, but still is a very good result.

If you liked this guide make sure you vote it up so other players would be able to see it too. Clicking the upvote feels so nice!
Feel free to give me feedback in the comment section bellow :)
If you like the way I write my guides feel free to check out my Riki guide and vote it up as well!

A shout-out to wilddeonpwn for his advice on improving the outlook of the guide.

Guide Discussion
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Quote | PM | +Rep by wilddeonpwn » September 12, 2012 11:58pm | Report
I think you should add some color and some pictures so we're not just looking at a wall of text. It will help a lot but since I read it great guide



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Quote | PM | +Rep by vlladonx » September 13, 2012 12:03am | Report
Thanks for the advice and good that you liked it! I'll just some colors now, not sure what kind of pictures would I get though lol


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Quote | PM | +Rep by wilddeonpwn » September 13, 2012 12:08am | Report
Maybe in goog images typ ein Dota 2 Viper fan art or something, IDK if it will work, butjust a suggestion.


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Quote | PM | +Rep by vlladonx » September 13, 2012 12:12am | Report
Do you know how to make items and abilities appear as such, like with a little icon to the left and hover effect?


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Quote | PM | +Rep by NotSureIf » September 13, 2012 12:15am | Report
Hey there Vlladonx, if you want to add some formatting like adding item and ability pictures or the like, check this post out here. It'll show you how to do it all :) Good luck! Nice guide too +1


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Quote | PM | +Rep by vlladonx » September 13, 2012 12:21am | Report
Thank you so much! I have a huge report to do tomorrow but this is just too much fun :) Editing the visuals now


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Quote | PM | +Rep by NotSureIf » September 13, 2012 12:25am | Report
Good luck :) I'll have a look soon to see your finished product.


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Quote | PM | +Rep by jaslam » September 13, 2012 3:32am | Report
Drop a talisman, get aquila instead (you need the mana regen)
you are a good mid, and a great ganker once you hit 6.
You should also mention your role after level 6. I've seen a lot of mistakes made where vipers stick to farming (which gets them items) but the enemy doesn't die, and also gets items. next thing you know gg as viper is rather squishy against a high dps player like magina/slith etc. vipers carry potential is similar to gondars where they need to rape the anal of enemy heroes, especially those with no escape mechanism after level 6. but are also soft to big team fights cc skills and generally beign out carried.

Manta is a must - i don't care what anyone says, or if you build BoT - vipers ms is dogsh!t :) probably better than sny as you don't need the maim. and I believe your illusions carry the passive..
+1 though good content, solid skill build - don't forget the good old crit and mkb for dmg ;)


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Quote | PM | +Rep by vlladonx » September 13, 2012 3:54am | Report
If you use PA wisely your mana is high most of the time and bottle restore a LOT, but I should mention how to control your mana and use PA. The reason Im not getting aquilla is because you need SB ASAP since you get most of your death from early game when the team doesn't SS.
Thanks for the advice on the role after lvl6, I just assumed everyone knows what to do :P
I'll add it in a bit.

The reason I don't pick Manta is:
1) Gives you a general boost however doesn't give enough boost to surviving, illusions are killed off very easily, especially without the heart and then you just hope the enemy isn't good enough to own you with Manta, where as my build insures you do survive.
2) I's all about placement, so manta helps you killing the enemy faster, but doesn't make it more likely. Manta or no Manta if they are near they are slowed... for the rest of their life.

I didn't add more damage items because Viper also levels up the quickest so his damage output is superior be default.


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Quote | PM | +Rep by DibsMid » September 13, 2012 10:36am | Report
Good content, I like the focus on survivability instead of DPS. People need to know that the carry game is not always about having the strongest auto attack.

My two cents:

At first level, get Nethertoxin then get two points into Poison Attack. Last hits are the more important thing than harass, and ganking at level 1 isn't gonna happen.

Vanguard is not on the items list.....Vanguard works wonders on him. HP regen keeps you out ganking for longer, HP boost gives you that survivability, and that damage block makes him much less squishy. Plus if you decide to get manta, the HP boost transfers over to the illusions. This being excluded on a guide that focuses on Viper survivability is a little confusing, and I would like to know why you didn't include this on the guide.

Manta Style shouldn't be completely discounted because it doesn't benefit directly to survivability. It gives you movement speed, a instant debuff removal, and a stun dodge if you have quick fingers. The illusions give you very good DPS and also give you team fighting power that you didn't have before. It lets you take down towers before the team even has time to TP in. Survivability is a very important part of Viper's game, but is not the only part of his game.

Shadow blade is not bad, but it is too easily counterable with dust, sentry wards, and gem for it to be a useful item against a good team. If there is a good support on their team, they will ALWAYS have a dust on them. I would say it is situational as opposed to core.

Sange and Yasha isn't a good item choice. It is expensive for not that great of a payoff, and that money could be put to much more effective items. Vanguard + Manta Style gives you what Sange and Yasha do, but waaaaay more. I also just a have a inherit dislike of this item, so I'm definately biased against it.

You used the word SWAG.....

Boots of Travel < Power Treads. You don't have much pushing power so I think it's a bit of a waste to get BoT, as they also take 1000 more gold than treads. Carrying TP scrolls throughout the game will do just as good. Treads = Early survivability & extra attack speed.

More like 20 cents. Definitely a good guide and I would recommend it to anyone to get better at their Viper game. +1 to you Mr. Vlladonx.


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