Hey everyone, I want to start off by pointing out (even though most likely no one remembers) that although I have posted some guides in DotaFire, in the past, I removed them some years ago, because I wouldn't be able to keep updating them. So, because of that, even though they had some general appreciation from you, I decided to remove the content from my previous guides. Maybe I'll remake the guides, I don't know yet.
Anyway, I'm here to talk about Invoker, a specific build for him. There was a lot of recent talk, probably because of Reddit, about Invoker, why he is so weak, what buffs he should receive, etc. Because of that I felt like posting here again, by showing my adapted build of Invoker I started using in most of my games. Honestly, I have not followed the guides being posted, so if a similar guide has been posted recently, I apologize.
I'm currently around 4-4.5K MMR. I play 80-90% in the middle lane. Invoker is by far one of my most played heroes. There are a lot of better players than me, better Invoker players, but my "credentials" and results give me some level of confidence to talk about this build I'm about to explain.
What you should and shouldn't expect from this guide:
- I will explain the reasoning behind the ability build
- I will explain the reasoning behind some items, specially the starting items and some of the early ones.
- I will go into detail of some of the abilities
- I will talk about how to play Invoker, in general and with this build in particular
- I will not explain extensively all items (there are already good and enough guides for that)
- I will not explain extensively all abilities (again, more than perfectly good guides for that already exist)
- I will talk about some combos, but I will not explain all the possibilities available to Invoker (there are other guides already with that).
- This guide won't follow the more common or usual arquitecture: pros&cons > abilities > items > friends&foes
For the lazy people like me, the most relevant chapter will be the one about the most important differences of this build. But feel free to read the rest :P.
I will update this section every time a patch is released and contains significant changes to Invoker.
6.85 patch, the latest at time of writing, came with a lot of buffs to Invoker. The ones that directly improve this build are the ones I will point out below. Overall, this Hero was buffed.
1. Alacrity attack speed/damage was increased by 10 in all levels. Self explanatory, the purpose of this build is to get early Alacrity and win the last hit war.
2. Intelligence growth increased from 3.2 to 4.0. Slightly increases your damage in the lanning phase. Also gives slight boost to mana regen, so that you don't have to worry about constantly casting Alacrity
3. Leshrac nerfed and his dominance in the lane is severely damaged. Lina is still annoying in the lanning phase, but received several nerfs that might see her disappear. Storm Spirit remains the same, but was never that much of a problem to you before reaching level 6. These were the most common 6.84 mid heroes.
4. Eul's was nerfed. This is a nerf to Lina and Leshrac, but affects you too. The cast ranged decreased, so it will take slight adjustments to your positioning.
This is the question we all ask ourselves when considering another build, another item, another playstyle. Anything. To go further into why I prefer this build, I need to point out two things:
1. I almost never play Quas-Wex Invoker. It is just too weak in lane and doesn't help your team that much more than going Exort. Wex Invoker received some nerfs in the past patches - Cold Snap nerf and Tornado nerf in the early levels. Some games, the stars align and you get a pretty good game for Wex Invoker - the enemy mid isn't that sufocating for you and they have heroes like Wraith King or Faceless Void that get completely owned by EMP.
2. Invoker needs to win his lane in order to provide something of worth to his team. If you lose your lane, you will always be playing from behind and that is terrible for a Hero like this one. Even when you are ahead, you will never be that far ahead, because of the potential for heroes such as Shadow Fiend to farm stacks. And there is always the imminence of mass Black King Bar. Also, Invoker isn't a ganking Hero. You should stay mid and farm the required items to be useful for your team.
So, if you don't play Wex Invoker, why not 4-0-4 pusher Invoker. This is still a good build, in my opinion, but it requires good coordenation with your team. Also, with all the changes after the push-centric patch of TI4, pushing early isn't that strong right now. But if you find yourself in a good game for double Forge Spirit early push, then go for it.
So, if you don't play Push Invoker, why not regular Exort Invoker? This is what I used to play most of the time. If you take a look at the items and skill order, it is very similar to Pure Exort build. Some time ago, I decided to make a few adapations to it, ending up with this Hybrid build.
Since I have established Wex Invoker and push Invoker builds aren't particularly good this patch, I'm left with explaining why I made the adaptations contained in this build.
The early Quas point vs early Wex point
In classic pure Exort Build, at level 4 you put one point in Quas, most of the times. This is for some early HP regen and so you can Invoke Cold Snap. After several games, I realized that the HP regen from 1 or 2 points in Quas isn't that impressive. Also, since nowadays its much harder to trade hits against a Bottled Hero, you don't need that extra regen from Quas. Also, why do you need Cold Snap these days, after it got nerfed to the ground? I found myself using it at level 6 or 7, once I already have decent auto-attack damage, and to setup for Sun Strike. Sometimes, rarely, good for when the enemy mid is tanking tower shots.
Thus, at level 3 I place one very early point in Wex. For what? To Invoke Alacrity. At level 3, with a base damage of around 40 + 6 damage from items + 11 damage from Exort orbs + 30 damage from Alacrity, you get almost 90 right click damage. At level 3 with 90 damage, no one can last hit or deny against you. And it only gets worse for them everytime you level up. The duration of this spell is 9 seconds, with a cooldown of 15 and low mana cost of 45. You can't use it to last hit and deny all the creeps, but with 9 seconds, you can use it for most of them. You can even cast Chaos Meteor early on to push the creep wave to grab the rune. This provides you with a clear advantage in the lanning phase. A much bigger advantage than a point in Quas could ever give you.
After that, I go back to a more or less standard skill build of pure Exort. I max Exort and place one level in Quas at level 6, to be able to cast all spells. At level 8 I put one more level in Wex, since I find the extra movement speed more useful, as well as increased Tornado range and some minor buffs to Meteor and DBlast. After that I focus on Quas over Wex, so that I have double Forge Spirit by the time I'm level 17 (I will explain more on this in the next chapter).
The starting items
When I used to play a pure Exort build, I went for Null Talisman and Tango. With this hybrid build, I favor having a Healing Salve. Since I only get 1 point in Quas at level 6, I need more HP regen and an additional Healing Salve is more than enough. The rest of the items are just stats buffs, to increase your damage and give a small HP boost.
This is actually not different from what I used to buy. With such a dominant right-click damage over your opponent, you should be able to farm Hand of Midas easily, unless you get ganked into oblivious.
I don't upgrade my boots. I leave them at Boots of Speed and later upgrade to Boots of Travel.
Eul's Scepter of Divinity is really important for Invoker. Some people argue it isn't that good, but I think it helps you fill a useful role for your team (I will go in more detail about this in next chapter).
After that I get Force Staff. In most of my games, I find that the mobility offered by this item is crucial. Not only that, the utility of Force Staff extends beyond yourself. You can help your teammates with this item. If you save your carry once, because you had Force Staff, thats the equivalent net worth value for your team of the item cost itself. Also, I can't count how many times I defended highground pushes by forcestaffing one enemy into our team.
Aghanim's Scepter finishes my standard build. I see a lot of Invoker players making the mistake of rushing this item. Don't do it. There is no reason to have this before you are level 17. I always get Eul's Scepter of Divinity and Force Staff before Ags. With Hand of Midas it isn't particularly hard to get all these items once you reach level 17, even when the game isn't going in your favor.
There are some particular things that I feel I should talk about, in order to fully comprehend this build and how you should play Invoker in general.
The "useless, but funny" Eul's Scepter
Some people think Eul's Scepter of Divinity is just a pubstomp item. Cool to combo Sun Strike > Chaos Meteor > Deafening Blast and that is it.
This combo is more than style points. To understand that, it is required to understand what is the role your Invoker is supposed to fill. You can't really gank or flash farm . So if your hero alone can't create havok like Queen of Pain and can't be the late game carry that is Shadow Fiend, what can you do?
This is where Eul's comes into play. The combo everyone knows, one shots almost every hero. This is pressure you can apply to the enemy team. You can transition from 1 kill to taking down a tower. If you play correctly, you will force the enemy team to group up, since being alone is asking to get one-shotted by Invoker. If they group up, it means your team can outfarm them. It is easier to predict their movements. Your carry will outfarm their carry. Your supports have an easier job of warding/dewarding. Once you get your Eul's, you stop being the mid hero that almost never leaves his lane, to be a Hero that contributes to everyone's success on your team. By dominating the lane with Alacrity and buying an early Hand of Midas I usually have Eul's at around 13 minutes and I'll be around level 11.
Imagine you are playing Storm Spirit and you get an early Orchid Malevolence. After you gank 2 or 3 heroes roaming alone, the enemy team will group up. What do you do then? You outfarm them.
Also, Eul's helps Invoker against his biggest counter: Black King Bar. If you time your combo correctly, you can hit Deafening Blast before they are able to use BKB. So let's do the math, at max exort: 195 damage from Chaos Meteor + 475 damage from Sun Strike + 280 damage from Deafening Blast. Remove around 30% from natural spell resistance (not from Sun strike, since it is pure damage), you get 800 damage. It is only 150 short of Laguna Blade with Aghanim's Scepter. Its probably around half HP of an agility carry, that went for an early BKB.
Also, don't forget this item has other utilities. Increased movement speed, attack damage and mana regen. You can self Eul's after being Eul'ed by the popular Lina and Leshrac, even Shadow Fiend when they go the Eul's build. Great for defending highground. Another disable during a teamfight. There is plenty of reasons why you should buy this item when playing Invoker.
4 Quas points at level 17
Why is this important? Because, before level 17 and before you buy your Aghanim's Scepter, you will be mainly switching between Sun Strike, Chaos Meteor or Deafening Blast. Maybe throw in a Cold Snap to proc with Meteor. However, once you are level 17 with 2 second cooldown on Invoke, you can be summoning Forge Spirit at will.
Another role Invoker can fill at the later stages of the match, is splitpushing. Stalling the game for your team. Pushing out the waves for map control. Giving time to your carry. Delaying the barracks push. Don't underestimate this hero's ability to clear creep waves in 2-3 seconds. This is where I like having double Forge Spirit. I can instantly kill an entire creep wave with Chaos Meteor or Alacrity, summon my spirits to keep pushing the lane and get back to safety.
I guess I can talk a little more about some of the choices you face, once you have your "core" items. Keep in mind, I will use my reasons as examples to explain when I think its worth buying each item. There may be other reaons. If you need someone to explain every detail about the items, I'm not the guy, since there are hundreds of guides with pretty good explanations.
> Just make sure you analyze the situation of the game and both teams composition, before you decide on what late game items to buy.
Scythe of Vyse
Good choice if your team is lacking lockdown. Specially good against splipery cores, such as anti mage. Recently nerfed, but still very useful and game changing item in the late game.
These days I only this item when playing against illusion based carries, like Phantom Lancer, since he is currently, by far, the most common of the type.
Boots of Travel
Is your team completely outclassed in team fights? Wether because of lack of farm or simply because of the heroes that were picked. If this is the case and only thing left for your team is splitpush and wait for an opportunity, then Boots of Travel is the best item you can buy.
Some say its better to go Octarine Core instead of aganhim scepter since it reduces the cooldown of all your spells, besides your ultimate. Well, for me, its a considerably difference in teamfights to have a cooldown of 2 seconds on my ultimate, instead of 3.75 seconds.
Even so, if you don't need more lockdown, if Shiva's isn't particularly useful and if the game is jumping from one fight to the other, this item can be very useful. By I still advise only buying it after Ags.
Very self explanatory. Higher mobility. I almost never buy this item. It is rare when I encounter a match where Blink Dagger would have been the better pick. Still, something to consider.
Black King Bar
Another item I rarely buy. But it is extremely useful when playing against Silencer or against a particular team with ridiculous amounts of magic damage and disables.
If by some reason, the enemy team isn't drowning in Black King Bar, Refresher could be a good option. However, the cooldown nerf is still very significant. Besides style points, the only reason why you would buy this is if you think you need double of every spell to destroy the enemy in a teamfight and then take that advantage to win the game.
Another item worth mentioning is the Assault Cuirass. Its a pretty good item for your team to have in the late game, but there is almost always someone better to carry it.
As I hopefully managed to explain, this "hybrid" build is an adaptation from the Exort Build.
I have never lost a lane, when going with early Alacrity. It is tough to play against a Leshrac having a courrier somehow all to himself and bottle crowing constantly. But that is tough for every hero you can think of. If you play against Lina she will only be able to farm with spells, dodge them accordingly. You can actually **** on Shadow Fiend unless a support camps mid to help him. These are currently the most popular mid heroes.
If you spot any mistakes or flaws in this guide, feel free to point them out for me. I will correct them. If you have any specific questions or suggestions, shoot away.