First things first. This is my first EVER guide, so bear with me folks! Now, Visage is currently the least played hero in the game, but my personal favorite to play. He has an infamously low win rate, lower then Meepo's at times, and considered to be one of the hardest heroes to play effectively. Do not be discouraged! Knowing how to play Visage effectively can make you into an unstoppable killing machine, shutting down carries within the first minutes of the laning phase, ultra kills in teamfights, and generally making their life hell. Before entering Visage, you need to know the following:
Visage is a highly versatile hero, having a great number of advantages, as well as disadvantages, unfortunately enough
Chose a lane with a support, as you will need some early game farm up, and you do NOT want to mooch of your carry. Harass if they get close enough, you should be taking the farm here, however.
Power treads, Urn, Force Staff, Scepter, Heart, and Blademail is the most reliable build. In order: Urn ---> Treads ---> Blademail ---> Force Staff ---> Scepter ---> Heart
1 level of Grave Chill first, then Soul Assumption, then Cloak, then either max Cloak or Assumption, depending on if there is a hero who you are worried about burst damage from or not. If so, Cloak, if not, Assumption. Max either Cloak or Assumption next, then Grave Chill. Get your Ulti whenever possible!!
Get your basic items up, get to level 7, and gank the enemy teams carry. Get a gem if they are an invisible little prick. You have a slow if they are fast, and some stuns if they are a blinker, do not be afraid to tower dive if you have Cloak maxed, be a bit more careful if you do not, however. Once you have begun ganking, start roaming, do NOT go back to farming unless you absolutely NEED to finish an item at this point.
Use soul assumption on anyone on Medium-Low HP during a teamfight when its fully charged, it does around 400 Magical DMG then, very useful stragglers too, after the fight. Constantly stun with familiars, let them be in the fray, focusing down 1 hero, all of them. Pop blademail if they decide to focus you. Push down towers whenever they are unguarded, with some wit, you can make towers rubble within seconds.
Be highly offensive, constantly pushing and looking for out of place heroes, make SURE you are with a teammate or two at all times though, as Visage getting focused alone at this point will result in death.
Very nasty slow, slows attack speed and movement speed from target and gives it to you! Useful for a first blood, escapes, or chases
A very potent nuke, works on a charge scale. For examples: Average autoattack will give 1 charge, average nuke will give 2-3 charges. Can be used to see if someone is Roshing by standing JUST outside the pit, and they will start to go up, very handy against an usra!
Damage is low with 1-2 charges, medium with 3, and high with 4-5
Layer based armour, at around level 16 with some of your items, and all 4 layers, you will have 72% damage resistance! (only for the enemies first attack, though, then it goes down for each instance of damage above 10 or so)
Your ultimate, summons 2 bats/dragons/gargoyles/reverent (All the names i have heard them called) They do massive damage that gets lower the more they attack a target, can be recharged by waiting a bit, or by using their abilities. These can tear enemies to shreds if they get too close to them. Careful though, once summoned, you cannot resummon for a whoping 3 minutes if they are killed. Plus, they will feed 100 gold each to whoever killed them. Scepter allows you to summon 3 of these little buggers. Their ability is a 1.5 second stun, with good micro and timing, you can turn this into a MASSIVE 6 second stun, or even a 9 second one with scepter! It makes them invulnerable for 10 seconds or so, cannot move or attack, have their charges restored, and healed to full HP.
As Visage, you are a pusher/ganker hybrid, who can become a semi to a hard carry with consistent kills and successful teamfights, therefor, farming isn't a priority past the early laning stages. Now, farm in your lane until you are level 6 or 7. Find a moment when an enemy is out of position, or in a poorly chosen position, and strike. Most of the time, you will want to take the kills for yourself, as you will probably end within 30 minutes time, so a carry is probably not on your team if this is the case. Now, when confused by what to do, ask yourself these questions
1. Where is the enemy?
2. Can I kill any of them?
3. Are there towers unguarded?
4. Can I take them down?
5. Do any of the lanes need my support/Is there a fight going to happen?
If the answer to 2 is no, then ask yourself 3 and 4, if 4 is a no, then ask 5, if it is a no, then you should probably just farm, if any of them are yes, then just go look for ganks, push towers, or help your team. You will be more useful this way. If you see a large fight about to break out, get there ASAP. Your team NEEDS you to be there, no matter what.
Keep an eye on your minimap at all times, it will clue you in to where enemies are going, and when they me be vunerable, as well as some clues on where you may need to TP to, or TP away from.
When to attack
Invoker mid going for a rune? Perfect time to strike. Stupid drow attempting to towerdive a half HP Axe? Even better. Try to go for squishy heroes early, they are easy kills, and most likely the enemies team carry (Unless dealing with a Kunkka or Dragon Knight). Take advantage of out of place, or poorly placed enemies, punishing them for it. You may lose a familiar to a tower when chasing down a low health hero, but as long as they aren't in EXP range, and didn't get the last hit on it, you shall be fine. Also, its better them than you. Is a hero escaping with low HP, but still kinda lingering by their allied tower? Send your familiars to track them down and kill them, with a stun, and a few hits from the other familiar, they are history.
When to push
Towers at low HP are very easily taken by familiars alone, you can become as annoying a split pusher as Nature's Prophet with some good micro, and heroes like Drow Ranger or Lycanthrope, with the combination of Scepter, can end up taking towers within seconds. Without ANYONE getting near the familiars. Global, unrelenting pushing is a carry's worst nightmare, and insanely frustrating combined with a Leshrac, a Jakiro, or a Venomancer pushing as well. With 1 hero plus buffed familiars, you can take backdoor protected towers VERY easily, let alone Rax.
You can take a lot of damage, but you need to avoid getting focused down during these, as Visage and Magic Damage do not agree to well. Try to stay out of the thick of it, using your familiars to stun, try to get off a chain stun with them, if possible. Cast Soul Assumption whenever its charges get full, again, try to focus fire low health heroes, as always.
The Visage Chainstun
This is the "Armlet Toggle", the "Poof Bomb" the "Dragon Knight out of nowhere" -like specialty that Visage has. A very specific combination used to scare, surprise, or kill an enemy. Basically, heres how you do it.
First, find your victim, someone with no easy escapes, none to fast, or clustered in a large group. Make sure your familairs are summoned, BUT your ultimate off cooldown. Stun him once with 1 familiar, wait for the duration to expire, do it again with the next, and again, if you have scepter
When you have stunned the 3rd time, resummon them and repeat the process. With scepter, its a whopping 9 second chain stun. Without, its a respectable 6 second one. You can increase it to 14 or so seconds with a Refresher Orb, but its a waste of gold, and unless you are dealing with something insane like a 6 heart lvl 25 Centaur, nothing EVER needs to be stunned for that long.
Some stats and regen is always nice, and our 2 gaunts will make an Urn, of course! Clarity for mana is essential for a lane with heroes with large nukes or high autoattack damage, skip out on your clarities and an iron branch for the Courier, if your team decided they needed 4 carries all mid and din't get one or something.
Use the first 450 gold you get and get your boots, you need them. Trust me. Next, finish your Urn, as your Urn serves a dual purpose: healing allies and yourself, PLUS your Familiars, if they are low and you can't risk them staying in place for too long. A magic wand should suffice for the moment, albeit getting rid of it later is whats most likely going to happen. A Mantle of Intelligence will boost your mana pool considerably, gives some more damage, etc.
Make your Boots into power treads, and your Mantle Of Intelligence into Blademail, which makes most right clickers easy prey.. If you have a lot of money extra (ONLY IF YOU GET SCEPTER FIRST), feel free to get a Maelstrom, it is pretty good on Visage, and its upgrade is perfect on him! Sell your Wand at this point, if you don't find it useful anymore. Force Staff is a must, as it provides another chasing and POSSIBLE escape mechanism.
Get a scepter ASAP, it will be your godsend, what makes you a nasty ****er, gives a 9 second stun, and makes towers dead by 1 hero in 5 seconds. Heart of Tarrasque greatly boosts your HP, and provides insane healing to you out of fountain, where you will be most of the time. If you got a Maelstrom, and after ALL OF THAT, feel free to finish it, sell your Urn at this point, if you don't find it useful anymore
Bloodstone: In case you are mana-starved most of the game, very good item to have around.
Blink Dagger: Helps with chasing, and can turn you into an initiator of a fight with your ultimate.
Assault Cuirass: Great if you have some carries on your team, and it lowers enemy armour pretty massively, making them easier to kill, also makes your attacks faster, and you more tank.
BKB: For dealing with pesky spellcasters.
Desolator: Armour reduction? Damage? Count me in!
Boots of Travel: Useful if your game is going so-so, and need spit attention on lanes. With good placing of familiars, you are essentially everywhere with this now.
MKB: If your attack speed is high, this is a must have.
Mekansm: More heals for familiars, can help push, and can help you or teammates in a pinch.
Pipe: Even more tank, and more help to your allies, not much to Familiars, due to them having nearly 100% magic resistance!
Rod Of Atos: Great fallback item if you aren't going so well, handy for those pesky heroes who go so fast you probably won't catch up even with grave chill, the intelligence bonus clears up any mana issues you may have mid game, making it a great pickup then if you are having trouble ganking. Plus, 325 HP is pretty massive, so that alone is incentive enough to get the item. The icing on the cake is the 25 intel though.
Medallion: Good item to get early, superb for ganking and taking Roshan very early
Daedalus: Late game, you have potential to become a right clicking hard carry, this helps you majorly with that.
Eye Of Skadi: Helps to slow people down heavily if Grave Chill STILL refuses to be enough, get this. Pick up some Lifesteal along with it if you are farmed/fed enough, as your right clicks will be absolutely devastating. HoTD is your best option, into an eventual Satanic (Don't get lifesteal if you do NOT have this item!!!)
Necronomicon: More pushing power, upgradable, plus, you can de-ward, scout out invis heroes, and drain mana with it, also, if the enemies "HURRR NEED MORE FARM" drow comes up, she will target the creeps before you, and take 600 pure damage as a result. Would be core, but visage has no 100% reliable disables.
Invis detectors like Slardar and Bounty Hunter are always welcome, they help Visage greatley against those shadow blade users, and invisible heroes. Supports with great teamfight potential, such as Crystal Maiden, Jakiro, Enigma, and even Leshrac are amazing paired with Visage. Long stuns from heroes such as Mirana and Dragon Knight make first bloods very easy, and slows from heroes like Jakiro and Venomancer are also great.
High magic damaging heroes are an absolute pest. Number 1 enemy of Visage is Silencer, being everything that counters him at once. Silences, Mana Drain, Anti-Gank, Anti-Push, and high magic damage. Other enemies include Meepo due to poof, the aforementioned Gondar and Slithereen Guard, due to lowering his armour pretty drastically, and both negate his escape mechanism. Anti Tanks such as Necrolyte and Lifestealer are also very dangerous foes, both should be avoided. Anti-Mage should be mentioned, but if he is ganked early on enough by Visage, he will indeed end up just feeding him.
Who he counters:
Anyone squishy is on the menu for Necro'Lic during his ganks, if you buy Blademail, he is a hard counter to heroes like Anti Mage and Drow ranger, and ESPECIALLY Phantom Assassin. Any enemy teamfight heroes essentially give him free charges for his Soul Assumption during teamfights, he is a considerably annoying hero for some AOE based heroes to deal with, due to his familiars, which push faster then creeps and have 95% magic resistance or so.
Due to it being a fairly expensive build, requiring some decent items and such, there are some specific things he shouldn't do. First off, you are not meant to be a support with this guide, there are plenty of other guides that can help you with that! You should NEVER farm all game using this build, it is the worst possible thing you could do as Visage with this guide.
Items to NOT get (Aside from the obvious):
-Items providing block (Vanguard, Stout Shield, Poormans) You have little use for block most of the time, due to your gravekeeper's cloak!
-Farming items (Midas, Battlefury, Radiance) Farming is a low priority as Visage no matter what, you should be killing heroes, not creeps!
-Lifesteal (Satanic, Dominator, MoM ) Your attack damage is high, but unless you get a Skadi, lifesteal is a weak modifier on Visage compared to others. Even Diffusal on him would be better.
-Refresher Orb A common mistake i see is that some people think that Refresher + Visage Ulti + Scepter = 6 Familiars! This is not the case, as it will resummon your familiars only. Only good if you are absolutely AWFUL at keeping them safe!
Thank you for taking some time out of your life to read this thing. I stayed up from 1 to 3-4 writing this thing. Would love to see some replays of it being used effectively! I went 23/1 with it today, and i just made it up on the spot. So i decided to refine and share it with you all. Hope you liked it, or at least found it somewhat useful! Even in the slightest? Not at all? Think its terrible? Well, those are opinions, so yeah.
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