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Annihilating Your Way To Victory As Carl, The Invoker.

June 29, 2013 by NickFromDota
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Primary Build

DotA2 Hero: Invoker


Purchase Order

General Item Progression in a Normal Game

Starting Items (Weird, I know)

Early Game Core (Keep all game)

Mid/Late-Game Core

If you are doing well

Possible Extensions

Only if your gold is that ridiculous



Hero Skills

Quas

1 3 9 10 18 24 25

Wex

11 13 14 15 20 21 22

Exort

4 5 6 8 16 19 23

Invoke

2 7 12 17

Talents


Preface

This guide is meant to teach my methods to playing Invoker. These are not the only ways it can be done, I am just sharing my experience as a successful Invoker. Please read the whole guide, not just the first section or two as all of the information is relevant. These methods can be used in both public games and team matchmaking, and work well when playing with a coordinated party.

Thanks for checking my guide out,
~Nick

Introduction

This guide will cover:

  • General Explanation of the Invoker Mechanic.
  • My preferred Invoker item build
  • My Invoker playstyle
  • Different skill builds that are commonly run on Invoker and my preferred
  • Skill combinations that can decimate your opponents

General Explanation

If you already know how Invoker's spell structure works, then ignore this portion.

Invoker is a unique intelligence hero that has a very unconventional gameplay mechanic.

How Invoker Works:



The mechanic for Invoker is different than every other hero. While at a glance it seems Carl has the same 4-skill build that most heroes are equipped with, this is obviously not the case. Invoker actually has 10 individual abilities, not counting his ultimate, Invoke.

Invoker has a total of 3 non-spell abilities. They will be referred to in this tutorial as orbs. They are as follows:


Quas



-Provides fantastic regen
-Makes Invoker incredibly durable


-Lowers damage when orbs are active, making base damage terrible
-Slow attack speed without Wex

Wex



-Increased attack speed
-Great map mobility due to movement speed increase


-Again, lower damage
-Can be dangerous to idle with without Quas regen

Exort



-Greatly increases damage
-Fantastic for last hitting and harassing with auto attack


-Decreased durability with absence of regen
-Lower attack/movement speed without Wex




Orbs Quas, Wex, and Exort will, in this guide, be referred to as Q, W, and E respectively. His ultimate, Invoke, utilizes these orbs.


A maximum of 3 orbs can be active at any one time and each gives a passive bonus and an active benefit. Quas gives strength passively, and HP regeneration actively. Wex gives agility passively, while giving movement and attack speed when active. Exort gives intelligence passively, and bonus damage while active. These boosts in stats are the reason why there you do not level into stats on this hero. Generally, when you are not invoking spells, you want all 3 of the same orb. Exort for last hitting because it gives damage. Quas if your health is low because it regens you. Wex if you are attacking a tower because it increases your attack speed.




The gameplay mechanic works as follows:


As Invoker you must create your own spells depending on the situation. When Invoke is leveled past level 1, you are able to have 2 skills "invoked" at any one time.

These spells are invoked by certain combinations of 3 orbs followed by Invoke. For example, to invoke Cold Snap, you need to put up 3 Quas orbs and then Invoke.
Below are the all possible Invoker spells and what orbs you need to Invoke them.

All available invoked spells:
Cold Snap (Q Q Q)
Ice Wall (Q Q E)
Forge Spirit (Q E E)
EMP (W W W)
Tornado (W W Q)
Sun Strike (E E E)
Chaos Meteor (W E E)
Deafening Blast (Q W E)
Alacrity (W W E)
Ghost Walk (Q Q W)

The above combinations can be accessed at any time using the question mark button on the right side of the Invoke button on the skill bar.

Another example:

To Invoke tornado, you would put up two Wex orbs and one Quas orb, then Invoke. This causes the skill to appear in the box located right of the Exort orb in your skill bar.

I've explained this portion to the best of my ability, but if you don't understand (even if you do), then you should get into a bot game and just mess around with the controls until you get the hang of it. If you do not understand this portion, you will be unable to get any work done as Invoker in a real game. It is important that you understand this portion and mess around with the hero in bot matches.

Ok. Lets move on to the item build.

What's Behind the Item Build

In this section I will be outlining the mentality behind each of the items listed in the build above.

Starting Item(s)?!


I'm starting here because it seems most bizarre. Yea. Boots of Speed and that is it. Weird, right?

The mentality behind this one is unconventional. Basically, with the skill build you see above, you do not unlock Wex until you are level 11. This means even at level 11, your base movement speed with Wex isn't great. To counter this, we buy Boots of Speed as early in the game as possible to buff Carl's ****py movement speed. This allows you to get in some early game ganks in short lane (easy-lane). Now, if you are pretty sure you'll get sufficient farm you could buy some Tango , but I never do this as Quas provides the same or higher regen as Tango at no cost. This generally makes Tango a waste of gold that you'll just end up selling later in the game for a low return.



Early Core



The early core is the most important part of Invoker's item build. By far, the most essential item that you need to build is Aghanim's Scepter because it lowers the mana cost of Invoke to 0 and drastically reduces it's cooldown. This is important because in the mid to late game you will be using Invoke very, very frequently, and if it maintained it's 80 mana cost, you could find yourself without the mana to cast, or even need to use Invoke in a fight while it is on recharge. Prioritize this item and rush it.

Phase Boots are also an incredibly important item to build when playing Carl. These allow you to move in and out of lane quickly. This is an indispensably important mechanic because it not only allows you to move in and out of the fight quickly, but also gives fantastic ganking potential. Invoker is one of the strongest gankers in the game. This means that he must be fast enough to get in and get the gank off in the event that he is seen.

Town Portal Scrolls are an integral item in any good player's game. With these you maintain great map mobility and are able to quickly tp in to save towers and teammates. Make sure you communicate with your team and constantly pan around the map with your camera so you know when and where you need to teleport.



Mid/Late-Game Core



Eye of Skadi is, again, integral to Invoker gameplay. Get this item up as fast as you can. This provides a great boost to stats as well as incredible slowing of attack and movement speed by auto-attack. This is great for killing targets after using Cold Snap because it slows them allowing you to get more hits in per cold snap. This item also provides a decent HP and mana boost as well.

While less important, a good Invoker can utilize a Force Staff as one of the most powerful items in his arsenal. I'll come back to this later as some strategy and lots of training is involved in the use of this item on Invoker.



Possible Extensions



Eul's Scepter of Divinity is a commonly seen extension on Invoker. This can be used as a strategic, one target substitute for tornado. This will come in to play later along with the force staff.

The Desolator is a less-common item on this hero simply because you rarely get far enough to build one. If you do, though, you can absolutely decimate the enemy team through the use of this item in the late-game making it a fantastic game-ender.

As with Desolator, you will rarely get far enough to build a Daedalus. Partnered with Cold Snap, this item gives you incredible damage against single target foes with auto-attack.

Diffusal Blade is a fairly decent extension. It not only gives you even more slowing potential, but also the debuff it provides is absolutely fantastic making it an excellent choice for most games.

Heaven's Halberd is a beast of an extension for most heroes, especially Invoker. This is because he has so much slow and stun that this disable pretty much guarantees a victory in any one-on-one fight. Leaving them silenced and unable to hurt you gives you plenty of time to cast your spells and take them out.

Blade Mail serves as a decent source of armor and damage. In addition, it increases Invoker's already outstanding durability by making people think twice before attacking you.

Black King Bar is quite an obvious choice for a hero like this. It prevents you from being silenced and targeted by enemy spells. In addition it serves as a decent source of damage and strength.


You generally don't have to worry about buying a Blink Dagger unless you really know what you're doing. It is rarely used, but can be a very powerful ganking tool if you can afford one. In team matchmaking you generally want to rush it (if you know how to use it properly). I will not be explaining the methods behind this item in this tutorial, as they are far too complex for a beginner.


Is your cash really that ridiculous?



Descriptions for these items will be kept short, as it is rare you will build any of them.

Divine Rapier can be bought if you know you aren't going to die and you want to lol at how much damage you do.

dagon Again, dagon is one of those 'lol' items that you buy just for fun. You are never going to need it on Invoker.

A Monkey King Bar is nothing more than a damage stick in this case. It also buffs your attack speed. Fantastic.

The Mjollnir is sort of just here as a filler. Don't buy one of these unless you really have a reason to. It's not going the help you out all that much.

Scythe of Vyse is sort of just a funny disable/stat buff. Again, not needed, but fun.


Keep in mind that these items are recommendations. This does not mean it is the only item build you can run on Invoker. What it does mean is that I've found that this build in-particular works well for me. I suggest you stick to the recommended order at first until you get a hang of the hero and then you should branch off and explore what works for you individually. Invoker is incredibly diverse and can be played in so many different ways - the item possibilities are genuinely endless.

Explanation of Skills and Skill Build

Invoker has a very diverse set of spells and that make him one of the best disablers in the game. This skill build assumes that you are playing Invoker as a solo mid hero. This can seriously mess you up if you are in top or bottom lane (which you shouldn't be).


Skill Explanations



First thing's first. You have to know all the skills and what they do -- how they work. That is what the below explanations aim to do. It isn't as important that you read the actual description. Just what it means. You will be better off reading both.


Cold Snap


Actual Description:
Ability invokes if Invoker has 3 Quas instances. Invoker draws the heat from an enemy, chilling them to their very core for a duration based on Quas. Further damage taken in this state will freeze the enemy again, dealing bonus damage. The enemy can only be frozen so often, but the freeze cooldown decreases based on the level of Quas.


What This Means:
Basically, every time you attack the enemy hero while they are under Cold Snap, they take extra damage and are mini-stunned for 0.4 seconds. This is incredibly powerful in chasing and preventing them from getting hits on you. The duration of this skill scales with the level of your Q.



Ghost Walk


Actual Description:
Ability invokes if Invoker has 2 Quas and 1 Wex instances. Invoker manipulates the ice and electrical energies around him, rendering his body invisible. The elemental imbalance created as a consequence slows nearby enemies based on the level of Wex, and slows Invoker as well based on the level of Wex.


What This Means:
Ghost Walk is an ability that allows for a very long duration invis. A duration of 120 seconds, it slows you and enemies that you walk near. The higher your Wex, the less you are slowed. The higher your Quas, the slower nearby enemies move.



Ice Wall


Actual Description:
Ability invokes if Invoker has 2 Quas and 1 Exort instances. Generates a wall of solid ice directly in front of Invoker for a duration based on the level of Quas. The bitter cold emanating from it greatly slows nearby enemies based on the level of Quas and deals damage each second based on the level of [Exort]].


What This Means:
This ability creates a wall of ice perpendicular to where Invoker is standing. It lasts for varying durations (higher Quas = higher duration). It seriously slows any enemies that walk through it and deals damage per second depending on your level of Exort.



EMP


Actual Description:
Ability invokes if Invoker has 3 Wex instances. Invoker builds up a charge of electromagnetic energy at a targeted location which automatically detonates after a duration based on the level of Wex. The detonation covers an area, draining mana based on the level of Wex. Deals damage for each point of mana drained.


What This Means:
EMP is a strong mana drain. It's simple. After a delay that shortens with higher levels of Wex, it explodes in a huge AoE draining mana and dealing damage per mana point drained.



Tornado


Actual Description:
Ability invokes if Invoker has 2 Wex and 1 Quas instances. Unleashes a fast moving tornado that picks up enemy units in its path, suspending them helplessly in the air shortly before allowing them to plummet to their doom. Travels further based on the level of Wex. Holds enemies in the air for a duration based on the level of Quas. Deals damage based on the levels of Quas and Wex.


What This Means:
Another simple one. This ability creates a tornado that flies forward in the direction Invoker points, going farther with higher levels of Wex. It will lift all enemy units in it's path for a Quas-based duration and deal damage based on both the Q and W orbs.



Alacrity


Actual Description:
Ability invokes if Invoker has 2 Wex and 1 Exort] instances. Invoker infuses an ally with an immense surge of energy, increasing their attack speed based on the level of [[wex and their damage based on the level of Exort.


What This Means:
This is a 9 second attack speed and damage buff for any allied unit. It increases your attack speed based on Wex and your damage based on Exort. Can be powerful when combined with Cold Snap.



Sun Strike


Actual Description:
Ability invokes if Invoker has 3 Exort instances. Sends a catastrophic ray of fierce energy from the sun at any targeted location, incinerating all enemies standing beneath it once it reaches the Earth. Deals damage based on the level of Exort, however this damage is spread evenly over all enemies hit.


What This Means:
Sun Strike is a global, delayed nuke. It can hit anywhere on the map with a delay of 1.7 seconds and deals damage based on Exort. This is an excellent finisher, but it can be hard to master the timing. Once trained, you will be able to strike a target that is running away without any vision (provided they run straight down-lane). This skill is absolutely wonderful for early-game kills.




Forge Spirit


Actual Description:
Ability invokes if Invoker has 2 Exort and 1 Quas instances. Invoker forges a spirit embodying the strength of fire and fortitude of ice. Damage, health, and armor are based on the level of Exort while attack range, mana, and duration are based on the level of Quas. The elemental's scorching attack is capable of melting the armor of enemy heroes. If both Quas and Exort are level 4 or higher, Invoker will create two spirits instead of one.


What This Means:
This is a more complicated one. This spawns one (or two) 'forge spirits' to fight with you. They have to be micro'd and have Quas based duration, mana, and attack range. They have Exort based armor, hp, and damage. These are good for early last hits but I don't find myself using them all that much.




Chaos Meteor


Actual Description:
Ability invokes if Invoker has 2 Exort and 1 Wex instances. Invoker pulls a flaming meteor from space onto the targeted location. Upon landing, the meteor rolls forward, constantly dealing damage based on the level of Exort, and rolling further based on the level of Wex. Units hit by the meteor will also be set on fire for a short time, receiving additional damage based on the level of Exort.


What This Means:
Chaos Meteor is part of your most powerful group-nuke. This partnered with Deafening Blast (below) is absolutely ridiculous. This skill creates a meteor ("space meatball") that falls from the sky and deals damage on impact based on Exort. It then rolls in the direction it was cast for a distance determined by Wex and deals Exort-based damage per second.



Deafening Blast


Actual Description:
Ability invokes if Invoker has 1 Quas, 1 Wex and 1 Exort instances. Invoker unleashes a mighty sonic wave in front of him, dealing damage to any enemy unit it collides based on the level of Exort. The sheer impact from the blast is enough to knock those enemy units back for a duration based on the level of Quas, then disarm their attacks for a duration based on the level of Wex.


What This Means:
This shoots a wave of sound-like energy that stuns based on Quas, prevents attacks for a duration based on Wex, and damages based on Exort. Very strong when paired with Chaos Meteor, and can be thrown up to 1000 units.






Now that I've gotten that out of the way, we can continue with an explanation of the skill build.

As with most skill builds, there is wiggle room. You don't always want to level the same thing every game. See how it is going, and level accordingly, but I will be explaining the skill build at the top of the page.

You always want to start with one level of Quas. This is because it gives you fantastic early game HP regeneration. So, straight off spawn you want to grab a level of Quas and put up all 3 orbs when making your way to mid-lane. After that, always prioritize leveling Invoke at levels 2, 7, 12, and 17. Ideally, you want to have your Aghanim's Scepter up buy level 12. After your second level of Quas, you want to begin to level Exort. Pump all your points into Exort until level 9. At this time, your Exort damage is high enough to where you can do without the levels for a while. So pump 1 or 2 points into Quas and then start on Wex. It is imperative that you start leveling Wex by level 11. Starting later will throw off your late-game nuking power horribly. It doesn't seem like one level will do that much, but trust me, it will. Without that level in Quas, your Chaos Meteor- Deafening Blast strike will be significantly weaker.

Once Wex is at level 3-4, begin to pump your level points into Quas, Exort, and Wex as you see fit. Again, always prioritize Invoke. This build makes for an incredibly powerful late-game presence in teamfights and great durability once you know the skills and are able to Invoke incredibly fast.

Playstyle and Skill Combinations

Invoker has a significantly different playstyle than most heroes in that he can be played as almost every role. The playstyle I use most regularly (and the one I will be explaining) is the hard-carry/ganker role.


Playstyle



Invoker's playstyle is not the hardest to learn ( Meepo), but it is the hardest to master. Numerous drills and exercises are available to aid you in your quest to become a good Invoker. You can find some external links in the last chapter.

You always want to go mid with Invoker. It is incredibly important that you get as many levels as you can as early in the game as possible. Keep 3 Quas orbs up whenever your health is below ~75% and make sure you aren't idling with Quas orbs if your health is above 95%. Whenever you are last-hitting or harassing and don't need the regen, switch to Exort. When attacking towers, use 3 Wex orbs. It is very important to master when to use what orbs, and you'll get a feel of what you need when as time goes along.

The next thing you need to master is speedily invoking whatever skills you may need in a bind. This can be done in many ways. There are 2 training utilities I know of the help you with this, both of which are located in the last chapter. Basically what this entails is going into a practice match, and turning on cheats. In your chat box, type "-wtf" to turn on wtf mode. In this mode, there is no skill recharges or mana cost. Type "-lvlup 25" to give yourself some levels and "-disablecreepspawn" to stop creeps from spawning. Give yourself a scepter by typing "-item item_ultimate_scepter" and go into the Radiant jungle.

When inside the radiant jungle, begin to cycle through invoking and casting every skill that Invoker has as fast as you can. Here is an example of how fast you should be able to do this (eventually). I know the video seems unreal, but trust me, it isn't really that difficult. Do this a LOT. What you are doing here is training your brain to know the muscle memory behind each Invoke on your keyboard so you can have whatever skills you need, whenever you need them. In my opinion here, the most important ones you need to be able to Invoke quickly are Ghost Walk and Cold Snap -- One for escape and one for chasing. Train this way whenever you are bored. No matter how good you think you are at Invoker, this training method will always help you. Keep practicing until you can get your hands moving very quickly.



Once you've found your niche with the hero in practice matches, you need to learn the strong skill combinations. I've listed and explained them for you below.


Skill Combinations





Meteor Blast


This is, by far, the strongest and most important skill combination in your arsenal (with this build). The way this works is as follows. Place the Chaos Meteor down towards the team fight, and then, approximately .5 seconds later, use Deafening Blast to disable your targets and make them get hit by the meteor twice -- once on impact and another on roll. This deals not only massive initial damage, but with high Exort and Wex levels, this will also deal high burn damage and roll far. This does come in at a high mana cost (400). This combo can be followed by a quick Cold Snap to finish off a single target, or by a Tornado to trap multiple targets and have your teammates or you finish the kill.



EMP Tornado


This one is very strong early game and allows you to stop or win a team fight before it even starts. It requires good timing just like Meteor Blast, but has a much different effect. You want to use EMP first, followed by a Tornado. This timing will change every time you level up Wex because the delay of EMP and the lift time of Tornado changes. This will not only disable them, but also break a lot of their mana making it a great initiate. It is very important that EMP goes off after they hit the ground or it will not break any of their mana. This can be followed up by a Meteor Blast or single target pick-offs like Cold Snap or Sun Strike. The mana cost on this one is fairly low at 275. Keep in mind that mana will become less of an issue in the late game.



Sun Snap


This is your strongest single target pick-off. This one takes a bit less practice than the other 2. Your goal is to hit them with Sun Strike while they are Cold Snapped and are being attacked. This is done easily against melee heroes that are attacking you. Sun Strike them, then immediately Cold Snap and begin auto attacking with Exort orbs (if your health is high enough). This works incredibly well against squishy targets and aggressive melee players. This can be followed up with a Ghost Walk or Tornado if you need to escape.



Tornado Wall Force Snap



This one is a lot harder to master. This requires a lot of practice but can be very strong against single targets. Initially, you want to use Tornado while a good distance away from your target. While they are in the tornado, Invoke Cold Snap, Force Staff underneath the tornado, and place an Ice Wall. When the target lands, Cold Snap them and triple- Exort auto attack them to death. Like previously mentioned, this is incredibly difficult to learn and is very powerful against melee and ranged heroes alike, preventing them from running both towards you and away while they are slowed, damaged, and mini stunned.



Alacrity Snap


This is basically a form of super- Cold Snap. Very strong against single targets and allows you to take them out quickly. Before engaging, cast Alacrity on yourself, followed by Cold Snap on your target. Then auto attack. That's it.



This combo is also very powerful (I didn't make the video).

As for the rest of the skills, they are best used on their own.



Once you master this playstyle, it can be used to destroy your opponents and carry your team in team fights. It requires hard work to master, but the practice will pay off. Invoker isn't for everybody, and even some people who practice way harder than I have will not be able to learn him well -- it needs to click in your brain.

Resources

Below is a list of free resources to better your Invoker gameplay.



This first one is a website that forces you through invoking each and every spell:
http://www.InvokerGame.com/

Another one similar to above:
http://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/75495922/InvokerTrainer2.0.htm

The people on reddit are friendly and are willing to help new players out:
http://www.reddit.com/r/dota2

Quite an obvious one, but there are tons of great tutorials on here if you are new:
http://www.youtube.com/

Finally, check out other guides. Don't take mine as divine guidance and check some other ones out:
http://www.dotafire.com/dota-2/guide/knowledge-is-power-a-quas-wex-build-645
http://www.dotafire.com/dota-2/guide/in7-gankers-guide-to-invoker-1794
http://www.dotafire.com/dota-2/guide/spellcaster-build-for-invoker-quas-exort-hybrid-intermediate-skill-level-4903
http://www.dotafire.com/dota-2/guide/invoker-the-archmage-886
http://www.playdota.com/forums/showthread.php?t=929492
http://dota-2.co/topic/7065-the-ultimate-invoker-guide/


There are many more, but those are just a few.

Closing Words

Thanks for reading all the way through, and I wish you luck on your journey into learning Invoker.

If you have any questions, feel free to add me on steam at http://www.steamcommunity.com/id/rainbowpanda

Remember, this won't come quickly and try not to get frustrated and give up in the beginning. It takes practice, practice, and more practice to master Invoker.

Good luck,
~Nick

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