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6.88 Support Phoenix- Watch them Burn

September 3, 2016 by OneCr1tMan
Comments: 9    |    Views: 21287    |   

Support Phoenix

DotA2 Hero: Phoenix

Hero Skills

Icarus Dive

1 12 13 14

Fire Spirits

4 8 9 10

Sun Ray

2 3 5 7


6 11 16


17 18

6.88 Support Phoenix- Watch them Burn

September 3, 2016

Introduction- Why Phoenix?

Hi, I'm OneCr1tMan, and this is my guide to my favorite hero- Phoenix. Phoenix has, in my opinion, one of the most unique and powerful skillsets in the game. It (he?she?) excels at winning teamfights, dealing immense damage over time, harassing in lane, and escaping sticky situations. Being a popular pick at the pro scene, Phoenix has proven itself at the highest levels of play. In the hands of an experienced player, the Phoenix is a bewitching bird to behold.

Your Role in the Team

Phoenix best benefits the team as a position 4 offensive support. Don't play Phoenix as a mid or carry because it does not scale and is squishy on its own. The ideal team has 2 supports: an offensive position 4 support to provide damage (such as Phoenix, Vengeful Spirit, Lion, Disruptor), and a defensive position 5 support to keep your team alive ( Dazzle, Omniknight, Chen, Oracle, Io). But often you will be the only support on your team in pubs. Thus you will have to rely on Mekansm, Urn of Shadows, and Sun Ray to heal your teammates.

Since Phoenix is a support, you actually need to know how to support to be an effective Phoenix. If you don't know how to ward, deward, deny, pull, stack, or harass, I recommend reading A Full Support Guide. This will teach you all the basics you need to know to support.


  • Does huge amounts of damage over time
  • Spells have long range
  • Sun Ray counters tanky heroes
  • Has 2 escapes
  • Ultimate gives Phoenix reincarnation and stun
  • Good at harassing, ganking, counter-ganking, and teamfighting
  • A blast to play!
  • Extremely spell-dependent- vulnerable to silences
  • Spells use up HP
  • Has mana problems early-game
  • Low agility/intelligence gain
  • Has negative starting armor
  • No reliable disables
  • Requires good positioning

When to Pick Phoenix

Because Phoenix has a lot of counters, it should not be a first-pick. Consider your team's lineup and your opponents' lineup before choosing Phoenix.

Pick Phoenix if:

  • Your team needs an offensive support
  • Your team needs magical/pure damage
  • Your team needs some teamfight abilities
  • Your team complements you (see Friends)

Don't pick Phoenix if:

  • You're new to the support role (try Lich)
  • Your team already has 2 supports
  • Your team needs a reliable disable
  • The enemy team counters you (see Foes)


Icarus Dive

Phoenix dives forward in an arc with a fixed distance in the targeted direction,dealing damage over time and slowing the movement speed of any units it comes into contact with, and then orbiting back to its original position. If Phoenix casts Supernova, the dive ends.

  • Deals 10/30/50/70 magical damage per second for 4 seconds
  • Deals 25% movement speed slow
  • Costs 15% of your HP
  • Has a 36 second cooldown
  • Dives over impassable terrain, such as cliffs or a Fissure
  • Can be canceled anytime mid-dive by pressing Q
  • Phoenix can use items and cast Fire Spirits while diving
  • Phoenix can be hit by stuns, hexes, silences etc. while diving (but not taunts and roots)

This spell provides Phoenix with the utility it needs to be effective. Use Icarus Dive to escape, to dodge spells, to chase down an enemy, or to dive into Supernova. Level this first so you have an escape ready from the start.

Be careful when using Icarus Dive without vision to chase a fleeing enemy- if more enemy heroes came to rescue him, you will be without an escape.

Because your opponents can stun and hex you while diving, never dive into the enemy team unless you plan on using your ultimate, Supernova. While diving into Supernova, make sure to launch Fire Spirits to slow the enemy before ulting.

Fire Spirits

Summons 4 fire spirits that circle around Phoenix. Each spirit can be launched independently at a targeted area of effect. Affected enemy units take damage over time and have their attack speed greatly reduced.
  • Deals 10/30/50/70 magical damage per second
  • Deals -80/-100/-120/-140 attack speed slow
  • Burn debuff lasts for 4 seconds
  • Costs 20% of your HP and 80/90/100/110 mana
  • Has a 45/40/35/30 second cooldown
  • Spirits last for 16 seconds
  • Does not stack- multiple instances of Fire Spirits on the same units will only renew the burn duration
  • Fire Spirits reveal the area it strikes for 1 second

Fire Spirits gives Phoenix lane control, provides area of effect slow great for teamfights, and synergizes nicely with Supernova. When laning, utilize Fire Spirits to harass the enemy. Fire Spirits can also be used to clear creep waves and farm later on.

Keep in mind that Fire Spirits DO NOT STACK- multiple spirits on the same targets will only renew the 4 second debuff duration. One of the biggest mistakes new Phoenix players make is launching all 4 Fire Spirits at once at the same place. This effectively wastes the first 3 spirits. If you want to attack the same enemy with all 4 Fire Spirits, wait 3-4 seconds between launching spirits.

Fire Spirits counters right-click cores (such as Phantom Assassin, Anti-Mage, or Sven) very well by reducing their attack speed. Target these cores with Fire Spirits in teamfights.

Fire Spirits's attack speed slow complements Supernova, which requires a certain number of attacks to be destroyed. Using Fire Spirits before ulting will increase the chances of a successful Supernova.

While Fire Spirits is a great spell, I prefer maxing it second to Sun Ray. I will explain why below.

Sun Ray

Phoenix expels a beam of light at the cost of its own health. The beam damages enemies and heals allies for a base amount plus a percentage of their health. The percentage increases as the beam continues to fire.
  • Deals 10/15/20/25 base pure damage per second
  • Deals an additional 1.25%/2.5%/3.75%/5% max pure damage per second
  • Heals 7/10/13/16 health per second
  • Heals an additional .625%/1.25%/1.825%/2.5% max health per second
  • Costs 6% of Phoenix's health per second
  • Lasts 6 seconds
  • Can be stopped anytime by pressing E again
  • Ray has 1250 range
  • Phoenix can slowly turn while Sun Ray is active
  • Slow forward movement can be toggled while firing Sun Ray(press D)
  • Forward movement will go over impassable terrain

Sun Ray is Phoenix's main damage-dealing spell. It does percentage-based damage , countering tanky heroes. Sun Ray also does pure damage- magic resistance will not effect it. These attributes make Sun Ray a powerful ability throughout the game.

Sun Ray not only damages enemies, it also heals allies in the beam. It heals about half as much as it deals damage.

Sun Ray's greatest asset is its range. The ray's far-reaching 1250 range allows you to safely watch as your enemies burn. To put this into perspective, Sniper's maximum range with Take Aim is 950. Be wary of heroes with gap-closes or escapes, such as Phantom Assassin, Anti-Mage, Queen of Pain or Storm Spirit.

A spell as OP as Sun Ray is bound to have a catch. Sun Ray removes 6% of Phoenix's HP per second. Using Sun Ray for its full duration will remove about 30% of your HP. Don't use Sun Ray on an enemy with Blade Mail- you will lose almost all your health.

Sun Ray complements right-click carries very well-it will both heal your carry and damage your adversary. It is also a great follow up to disables, slows, and taunts, e.g. Duel, Berserker's Call, Stifling Dagger, Open Wounds, Chronosphere.

When playing Phoenix, you should always stay BEHIND your teammates. Staying back will keep you safer, allow you to cast Sun Ray over more heroes, and give you the option to Icarus Dive into Supernova if necessary.

Sun Ray can also function as an escape if Icarus Dive is on cooldown. Phoenix will fly over trees and impassable terrain while toggling Sun Ray's forward movement. Fun fact: toggling Sun Ray's forward movement will also escape a Pounce!

Sun Ray or Fire Spirits?

Maxing Fire Spirits first is Phoenix's most popular ability build. But high skill brackets usually max Sun Ray first. Why? Sun Ray deals more damage, provides a heal, and scales better with levels. Fire Spirits might be able to singe foes, but Sun Ray can burn them to death.


The Phoenix willingly ends its current life for the chance to be reborn. Transforms into a burning sun that scorches enemies in a huge area. The sun can be destroyed by attacks from enemy Heroes. After 6 seconds the sun explodes, stunning all nearby enemies while restoring Phoenix to full health and mana with refreshed abilities.
  • Magical Damage Per Second:60/90/120
  • Radius: 1000
  • Duration: 6
  • Stun Duration: 1.5/2.0/2.5
  • Attacks to Destroy: 5/8/11(Aghanim's Scepter:7/10/13)
  • Scepter Cast Range: 500
  • Units in Supernova cannot act and are spell-immune
  • Auras such as Gem of True Sight remain active in Supernova
  • Supernova does not renew ultimates

Supernova is flat-out OP. It restores your health and mana, refreshes your spells, deals up to 720 damage to enemies in its radius, and stuns foes upon impact. Supernova's weakness is that a certain number of attacks will destroy it. Positioning is crucial when casting Supernova- a successful 'Nova can be the difference between a won and lost teamfight.

NEVER use Supernova just to renew your health and mana if you're low- that's what the fountain is for. Use it if you're about to die from an enemy, or if in a teamfight.

In teamfights, Supernova should NOT be used to initiate. Supernova renews Phoenix's abilites, health, and mana- using Supernova with full health, mana, and spells ready just to initiate is a waste. Cast Supernova in teamfights only after firing Sun Ray (unless you're about to die).

After using Sun Ray, Icarus Dive to where you want to cast Supernova. Launch Fire Spirits mid-dive on as many opponents as possible. If you have Shiva's Guard or Veil of Discord, activate these items before ulting. Land Supernova close enough to the enemy so they are in its burn and stun radius, but not so close that they can immediately target you. After Supernova lands, hit your stunned foes with everything you've got- and watch as you win the teamfight.


Starting Items


As a support, it is your job to buy Animal Courier and at least 1 Observer Ward. Tango and Healing Salve provide regen for early game. Ring of Protection negates your negative base armor and builds into Tranquil Boots. You should have just enough left to buy a Clarity for mana regen.

Early Game

As a support, it is your job to buy all the mandatory support items: Observer and Sentry Wards, Flying Courier, Smoke of Deceit, and Dust of Appearance if they have invis.

Tranquil Boots are by far the best boots for Phoenix-your spells take up HP; you need the regen. Sage's Mask and Gauntlets of Strength give extra stats and build into Urn of Shadows later on. Magic Wand is situational-get it if you're facing a spell-spammer like Bristleback in lane; otherwise don't bother.

Urn of Shadows gives Phoenix good stats. It also provides a sustain for your team. If your team doesn't have heals, this item is very good.

Magic Wand is a good choice if you're laning against spell-spammers such as Bristleback, Zeus, or Phantom Assassin.

Infused Raindrops is such a good item right now. It boosts your mana regen and survivability significantly in the early game, at the cost of only 225 gold.

Town Portal Scroll has the most bang-for the-buck of any item- for 50 gold, you get an escape, you get to turn a losing 3 v 2 into a winning 3 v 3, you become global. Always have one!


Hand of Midas is essential for a roaming Phoenix. You buy a Midas not for the gold, but for the additional XP. Phoenix is a level-dependent hero, but he will often be behind in levels due to roaming and supporting. The Midas offsets this. Tome of Knowlodge is another good pickup if you really need XP.

If you find your levels on par with the enemy's, you can skip this in favor of situational items.


Mekansm is a great teamfight item- a burst 250 heal can go a long way in the early-mid game. This item falls off later on, however. If your team is looking to play aggresively early on, go for a Mek. If not, get a utility item that will be useful all game long, like Force Staff.

Shiva's Guard complements Phoenix so well, I almost classified it as core. It gives you more durability with its armor, and solves your mana problems with its intelligence. But Shiva's Guard's greatest assets are its active, Arctic Blast, and its passive, Freezing Field. Freezing Field emits an aura that reduces enemies' attack speed-and it stacks with Fire Spirits' slow. Arctic Blast does 200 magic damage and slows enemies' movement speed. Freezing Field and Arctic Blast make it harder for opponents to run from/attack Supernova. This should be your first item after completing your core, unless the enemy team has a lot of magic damage (get Pipe of Insight) or silences (get Eul'sor Lotus Orb).

If the opposition is reliant on spells and magic damage, Pipe of Insight is the way to go. Cast the Pipe's shield at the start of teamfights; it can block up to 400 magic damage to each ally. The Pipe's regen bonus is also helpful.

Veil of Discord is a great pickup if your team has a lot of magic damage. It negates heroes' base 25% magic resistance, and lasts 16 seconds. Use this at the start of teamfights and before casting Supernova.

Aether Lens extends Sun Ray to a ridiculous 1450 distance. Demo Phoenix with Aether Lens and launch Sun Ray, and you'll see how insane 1450 range is. Aether lens not only increases Sun Ray's range, it also increases all spell damage by 5%, and provides more HP regen and mana.

If the enemy team has that one out-of-control carry, Heaven's Halberd will shut them down for a few precious seconds. The Halberd's evasion bonus also increases Phoenix's survivability.

Ghost Scepter's active Ghost Form speaks for itself. Get Ghost Scepter to survive against teams full of physical damage carries. But most times you shouldn't need it.

Aghanim's Scepter allows Phoenix to cast Supernova on an ally and have both Phoenix and the ally be reborn. All the effects of a normal Supernova apply, except if your foes destroy the 'Nova, both of you will die. You should cast Supernova on an ally about to die as far away from the enemy as possible. Because this is not always possible, Aghanim's Scepter is a risky item. It works best when your team has another ability to freeze the opposition while you 'Nova your ally. Chronosphere, Stone Gaze, and Song of the Siren come to mind. If your team can't defend the 'Nova, you should not get Aghanim's Scepter.

Phoenix gets Eul's Scepter of Divinity for one reason: cycloning yourself will dispel silences. If the enemy team has silences, get a Eul's.

You purchase Lotus Orb for the same reason you purchase Eul's: its active dispels silences. Lotus Orb, however, has better stats, shorter cooldown, and less mana cost. Lotus Orb's active, which reflects spells back to their caster, will also make enemies hesitant to even target you. Consider upgrading your silence dispel-item from Eul's to a Lotus Orb late game.

If you go super late game, Boots of Travel is necessary on any non-global hero. Sell your Tranquil Boots and TP scrolls for Boots of Travel to create space for items without sacrificing your ability to be global.

Phoenix's reincarnation ability make him an able carrier of Gem of True Sight. But keep in mind you're more likely to be targeted in teamfights if you're the sole carrier of the Gem. If your team has a tank, he could also carry the Gem.

Force Staff is a great utility item that remains useful throughout the whole game. Your team should generally have at least one, or even more if you really need to kite the enemy.

The only reason you get Refresher Orb is to refresh Supernova, as Supernova already renews all other skills. Refresher Orb is a great lategame teamfight item, and synergies well with Phoenix's Aghanim's Scepter upgrade.

Radiance is a late-game item which you should only purchase after you've bought all the utility items you think you'll need, and you also have enough for buyback after the purchase (or when you're snowballing and just want to have some fun). You get Radiance for its 17% miss chance and 50 damage per second aura, which remains active during Supernova. Radiance doesn't stack; make sure your team only has 1.


Sure, Heart of Tarrasque's extra health and regen might be nice, but does it provide any utility to you or your team? Will it purge silences? Will it slow enemies, or provide your team magic resistance? No, it won't, and there are better options available that will. Not to mention you already have a health-restoring ability in Supernova.


Early Game

If you are the only support on your team, go to the safe lane to babysit your carry. Remember to do everything you're supposed to as support- ward, deny, harass, pull, etc. Do everything in your power to let your carry farm and win the lane. Once your carry is leveled enough to farm on their own, you can start roaming.

If your team has 2 supports, let the other one babysit safe lane. Go offlane for some levels, then start roaming. If your team has a jungler instead of an offlaner, you will have to offlane. When solo offlaning, just try to steal xp and play it safe. Once you have a level advantage over your opponents, call for a gank.

When you roam, you should always be involved if a fight breaks out. If your team calls for a gank, gank. If your team gets ganked, counter-gank. You won't be able to do this unless you carry the most OP item in the game: Town Portal Scroll. ALWAYS HAVE ONE.

Mid Game

Whatever happened in the early game, react in the mid-game accordingly and follow your game plan. If you lost all your Tier 1 towers and are turtling waiting for that Anti-Mage to farm, ward defensively and help defend. If you won all your lanes and your team decides to push, ward offensively and push with them. No matter the situation, these things you should always do:
  • Itemize according to the situation- never follow a cookie-cutter build
  • Do your job as support
  • Coordinate with your team- create a plan and follow it
  • Be there for teamfights! Carry a TP scroll!

Late Game

Late game is always a true test of a team's coordination and teamwork. One mistake can lose you the game. As always, you must adapt to the situation- formulate a plan with your team and do everything you can to successfully execute it.

Some late game tips:
  • Vision is still crucial late game- if you don't have space for wards, stow away an item in the courier so you can ward and get your item back ASAP
  • In the late game more than ever, Phoenix must ALWAYS be at teamfights
  • With tons of spells and items being thrown around, lategame teamfights can become very confusing- pay attention to use all your items and abilites at the right time
  • Choose enemies to target in teamfights with your teammates- for example, taking out Earthshaker first before he can Echo Slam
  • Ensure you have enough money for buyback if necessary
  • Decision-making is often the deciding factor in late game, for example: You pickoff the opposition's Faceless Void and now have a 5 v 4 situation. You decide to push high ground, but you forgot that Void has buyback- and his ult is up. Void uses buyback and you lose the teamfight. None of you have buyback ready, and the enemy team pushes to your ancient and wins.

    Bad decision making- pushing highground without checking your team or the enemy team's buyback status- lost you the game.


Good Chronosphere + Sun Ray + successful Supernova = won teamfight. 'Nuff said.

Sun Ray on top of Duel will almost always result in a successful duel. A brilliant tactical maneuver.
Just as with Duel, Sun Ray syncs with Berserker's Call very well.

Phoenix actually complements any physical damage carry very well. Sun Ray and Fire Spirits allow your carry to overpower almost any foe in a right-click battle.

Anyone that helps keep Phoenix alive is a friend in my book, especially with the nature of your abilities.


What is Phoenix vulnerable to? Silences. And who's the king of silences? Silencer. If you must face him, get an item to dispel his silences. In fact, get a dispel item against any hero with silences (except Bloodseeker).

The fact that most of your abilities use up HP doesn't help you avoid Necrophos' ult, Reaper's Scythe. Reaper's Scythe won't even give you a chance to cast Supernova. Avoid Necrophos at all costs-consider banning him if you want to play Phoenix.

There's a reason Disruptor was the most picked hero at the Manila Major. If he traps you inside his Kinetic Field and silences you with Static Storm, good luck getting out.

3 more silences, 3 more foes. Gust, Smoke Screen, and Silence are all very annoying to face. Drow Ranger's Frost Arrows and Death Prophet's Spirit Siphon and Exorcism are great follow-ups to their silences- try to position yourself to avoid getting silenced in the first place.

All but one of Troll Warlord's abilities increase attack speed- this guy will melt through your Supernova like butter.

Overpower is another danger to Supernova- be careful when ulting near Ursa.

Legion Commander's main threat to you is Duel, of course. Position yourself so you're out of range of her Blink Dagger/Duel combination.

Sun Ray doesn't pierce Repel. This alone greatly reduces Phoenix's effectiveness versus Omniknight.

Although he has a silence in Blood Rite, Bloodseeker doesn't counter you as one might expect. The reason is you can always Icarus Dive out of Blood Rite. Even if you're low on HP and Bloodseeker Ruptures you followed by Blood Rite, you can simply Supernova.

If Bloodseeker tries to gank you, simply TP out. Only Blood Rite can cancel the TP, but its effect delay is the same as Town Portal Scroll's channel time (3 seconds). This is why Bloodseeker is rarely picked by pros-he's a ganker that can't gank.


Thank you for reading my guide! If you enjoyed it, please upvote and share. Feel free to comment if you have any questions, suggestions, or criticisms.

Image Credits


September 3, 2016: Added changelog,Infused Raindrops, Hand of Midas, Force Staff, Refresher Orb; did some editing

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