Warlock is a very good support hero that is many times overlooked because of heroes like Dazzle. He is amazing when it comes to lane support, his health and mana pool are great due to his strength and int. gain, and his teamfight contribution is very useful and the team's success in them is often reliant on Warlock's positioning and usage of spells. He must be played carefully and well, as picking him can determine the downfall or success of your team.
Fatal Bonds is a rather interesting skill. It binds several enemies that are in a 575 radius and when one takes damage, the others take 20% of it. It doesn't deal a super high amount of damage, but it is very good for pushing creep waves and can even slightly threaten enemy heroes that are getting too close for their own good. Fatal Bonds also allows you to deal a good chunk of damage to enemies that are bound together during teamfights in combination with Shadow Word and Chaotic Offering. It isn't the best of abilities, but it certainly can come in very handy at times.
Shadow Word is an amazing ability. It heals or damages a unit per second, scaling 15/25/35/45. It lasts for 9 seconds, so it can be very useful for healing low HP teammates or snagging quick kills on enemies that are almost dead. It is great for healing your ally early game if they take too much creep damage or simply don't have any regen items. It's utility is amazing, and this should easily be maxed out first.
Upheaval is, after much criticism from other Warlock players (and pretty much having to use it more), actually pretty good. The AOE is definitely nice for clumped up enemy heroes so your allies can jump on them and deal damage before they can escape, and when they do, they're still slowed. Although you're just standing there for a little while, you wouldn't be doing much damage anyway (besides casting spells, but even those have a bit of a cooldown), and you can cancel it at any point. All in all, Upheaval is worth getting, but it won't be useful early game unless there are going to be teamfights a few minutes in. It's much better towards mid and late game when teamfights are commonplace. The only problem then would be getting to your allies, at which point a TP scroll or even Boots of Travel would have to be on-hand at all times. (I'd like to thank all the people that commented about my not getting Upheaval being stupid.)
Chaotic Offering is a beautiful ability. It summons a golem that stuns for a second in a 600 radius. The golem deals damage just by being near enemies and is great for killing creeps and getting some farm. It has very good HP, although it will die if any mana drain is used on it. It's great for pushing towers due to its ability to take many hits and can deal nice damage with its auto-attacks. You should level it up whenever you can, and although the cooldown is fairly long, it's worth it.
Warlock isn't necessarily someone that buys wards and the courier, but he definitely can. He doesn't need items to be a good hero, so even using your regen items on allies isn't a big deal. His only issue is his mana pool, that, at early levels, is a bit limited because of the cost of his spells. It isn't a problem late game, but your spell-casting should definitely be somewhat conservative early game. You shouldn't steal too much farm from whoever is laning with you (unless you're soloing mid, which is rare), but taking one or two creeps here and there isn't the end of the world, as you need items too. Mekansm should definitely be your first item, followed by Arcane Boots and a Drum. Drum is good for the movement speed and the fact that it increases your attributes a good amount, and Mek and Arcanes are very good burst heal. Vladimir's Offering seems like an odd item to get, especially on a support hero, but here's why: it gives bonus armor and mana regen, as well as lifesteal and bonus damage for anyone in range. The last one isn't particularly good for Warlock, but giving it to your teammates is. The lifesteal also isn't very useful, but it's just part of the item and you may as well take it for what it is and make the most of it (Vlad's is also the reason for getting a Ring of Basilius early.) Late game is a bit of a toss-up. After you get your three core items, you should go for either a Veil of Discord or Pipe of Insight depending on what your team needs. Pipe is for more defensive play while the Veil would allow you to pressure with magic damage a bit more. Shiva's is a definite possibility from here, but due to its hefty price tag is a bit difficult to get because you won't be getting much farm as the support hero. Because of this, you might want to get Aghamin's Scepter. It gives good stats as well as some health and mana. The upgrade to your ulti is that you summon two golems. However, they deal less damage and have less health. This isn't horrible - summoning two golems instead of one can let you get that kill or that tower that one strong golem wouldn't get you. It can be game-changing, and for me, has been. Your last luxury item is a Refresher Orb. By the time you'd get this, your mana pool will be very high, and the 375 mana used to refresh your ulti isn't too big of a deal. In combination with Aghanim's, you summon four golems (975 mana total) that rampage and pretty much destroy everything in their path. Like Shiva's, it's unlikely that you'll finish one of these because of how expensive it is, but Refresher Orb is certainly a possibility.
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