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Peppo_o'Paccio's guide to Warlock - "My grimoire opens again to a new page."

June 5, 2014 by Peppo_oPaccio
Comments: 28    |    Views: 386295    |   


Build 1
Build 2
Build 3
Build 4

Dual lane support

DotA2 Hero: Warlock


Purchase Order

Starting Items

Animal Courier
Observer Ward
Tango
Clarity
Iron Branch
Iron Branch

Early Game

Flying Courier
Boots of Speed
Buckler
Town Portal Scroll

Mid Game (Choose Boots)

Mekansm
Arcane Boots
Phase Boots

Possible Extensions

Drum of Endurance
Blink Dagger
Force Staff
Eul's Scepter of Divinity
Ghost Scepter
Necronomicon
Pipe of Insight

Late Game/Luxury

Shiva's Guard
Scythe of Vyse
Refresher Orb
Vladmir's Offering
Boots of Travel

Buy When Needed

Gem of True Sight
Smoke of Deceit
Dust of Appearance
Observer Ward
Sentry Ward


Hero Skills

Fatal Bonds

2 4 5 7

Shadow Word

1 3 8 9

Upheaval

10 12 13 14

Chaotic Offering

6 11 16

Talents

15 17 18

Introduction

I'm Peppo_o'Paccio, I've done several guides on DotaFIRE and I finally decided to make one for Warlock.

Warlock is a very flexible ranged Intelligence Hero: he can work as a trilane support, babysitter, mid laner or even solo laner. I think he's somewhat underrated, it's rarely seen in the competitive scene and a lot of people use him very badly.

If you play him support with the Refresher Orb + Aghanim's Scepter build, please change Hero: you are just ruining a match, there are too many reasons not to choose these items over the others.

Pros and Cons

Pros
  • Very flexible Hero
  • Fast and effective initiator
  • Pretty fast attack animation
  • Item independent
  • Has got a lot of DoT spells
  • Has got an healing spell
Cons
  • Rather squishy
  • Can't stun without the utimate
  • Mana-hungry if not used correctly



Abilities


This is Warlock's most annoying spell: use it to harass your enemies and to weaken an enemy creep wave that is attacking your tower. Keep in mind that spamming it causes your creeps to push and give easy farm to the enemy laner(s), and you don't want to do so.

This skill is pretty mana-intensive but is very effective against enemy carries: cast it on the carry, so that they will be bound to the creep wave and you can harass them from a safe distance.

At level 3 and 4 you can bind a full creep wave with it: as they share 20% of the damage they take, you are practically removing more than one creep (as the ranged one has less than 80% of the melee creeps' health) from the lane, thus pushing.

Fatal Bonds amplifies AoE damage by a lot: if you bind six creeps with it and you hit all of them, the damage will be increased by 100% to each one of the creeps. That's why you should use it while teamfighting: the more AoE stunner or nuker you have, the more "shared" damage you'll deal to the enemies (including Heroes).



This is the skill that classifies Warlock as both a lane support and a solo laner: with this, you can heal yourself and your allies if one of you gets low on health. You can also use it to harass the enemies.

Particularly, its DoT (damage over time) will prevent your enemies from using Blink Dagger and Refraction: don't be afraid to spam it on a mid laning Hero as long as you have enough Bottle charges to refill your mana.

Normally this should be the second skill you want to max out, because it doesn't scale very well into late game. Try to think of it as a Urn of Shadows with infinite charges and a mana cost.



If Shadow Word defines this Hero as a solo laner, this defines Warlock as a feared teamfight Hero: never underestimate this spell, you are more useful while channeling than while autoattacking.

Use it in conjuction with Chaotic Offering and/or Necronomicon, so that you will be able to deal damage even while channeling. Remember that if you imput a command to more than one unit and one of them is channeling a spell, the spell will not be cancelled.

The slow will remain for 3 seconds on the enemy units even if they leave its area of effect: because of this, you can stop channeling and autoattack if you think you are able to kill the enemy in 3 seconds. Or you can use Upheaval to run away, they will not reach you if they are slowed by 84%.



This is an amazing initiation skill: not only it stuns enemies and summons a Golem, it also synergizes amazingly with your other skills.

The default initiation combo is Chaotic Offering, Fatal Bonds (not the opposite as it used to be) and then Upheaval.

Don't be afraid to use this to gank a lone enemy, as long as your teammates can follow up with stuns: the less time your Golem will be busy killing the enemies, the more time you can use it to farm the jungle.

You can use the Golem to push lanes or destroy a tower, but never cast your ultimate just to summon a Golem: if you waste it that way, you won't be able to initiate for almost 3 minutes!

you can use Shadow Word on your Golem: don't let the enemies kill it, or you will give free money and experience to them.



Stats

You shouldn't be maxing stats unless you are terribly underlevelled or you reached level 15: if you die too often buy some items that give you stats, like a cheap Bracer or more expensive but reasonable items such as a Ghost Scepter or a Drum of Endurance.


Items Explanation: Default Support

You can play with this build in a:

Trilane
3
Side Lane
Dual lane
2
Side Lane
Solo lane
1
Side Lane




This is the build that identifies a support Hero, it's based on the Mekansm that is a pretty expensive but necessary item for every team. Nowadays people usually buy the Mek on off-laners ( Dark Seer, Tidehunter, Centaur Warrunner ...), but Warlock can get easy gold by assisting in teamfights with his ultimate.

This is perfect for everyone, from beginners to competitive players.




Starting items









As a support, make sure your team has both an Animal Courier and a pair of Observer Wards.
Just one Tango? No other regeneration items? Yes, because you have an ability to heal yourself and because you want your team to have both Wards and Courier.
A Clarity can save your (and your allies') life a lot of times, because you will costantly have mana for your Shadow Word. Some people (like me, sometimes) prefer to go without Clarity potions and, though this is viable, it's risky and less reliable.
Fill your inventory with as many Iron Branches as possible, after all they're the most cost-efficient item.





Situational

If you feel like you're going to spam your abilities a lot (maybe against heavy pushers) or if you simply want more mana regeneration before getting a larger mana pool, you can buy another Clarity: they are a must if you want to keep pressure on the enemies.



You can substitute the Clarity potion with a third Iron Branch if you want more stats: I usually start with only one Clarity because I don't like to spam Fatal Bonds, you could also end up using all the three Branches for a Mekansm plus a Pipe of Insight.




Early game items







As a support, the Flying Courier is your main priority: buy it as soon as you reach the 3:00 minute mark, even before boots.
Boots of Speed are necessary on any Hero, I don't even have to explain this.

Obviously, the Buckler is part of the Mekansm: you should buy it before the other parts because the stats it gives and its active are better that an aura or a recipe.




Mid game items





The item you always want to get is the Mekansm, the typical support item: the stats increase is simply amazing (considering its aura that gives +4 HP/sec regeneration) and don't forget about the active ability!
Now you should choose the boots you want to pick: any choice between the 900-1000 gold range is acceptable, but most of the time I go for the Arcane Boots as you'll need the extra mana for the Mek.





Situational

As a support, you can buy some Smoke if your wards let you spot a lone enemy: try to use it on as many teammates as possible to gank more effectively. Only buy this if you have good communication with your team, or you might miss an easy gank and 180 gold. Also, you can use it to go into Roshan's pit without being spotted.



This item is very useful against invisible enemies in your lane: buy some Dust straight after/before the Buckler and only use it if you will surely kill an enemy: don't waste it if the invisible Hero is at full health, you'd better save it for when he will be very low and you will be able to kill him.



Wards, enough said. If your team doesn't have proper warding, you are losing way more gold than you would spend buying them: wards let you spot enemies for a succesful gank and, at the same time, protect you from non-smoke ganks. Also, they cost a mere 150 gold, you can reach that amount with three last-hits.



I usually don't buy them but, if you encounter some invisible solo laner with little mobility (like Broodmother or Treant Protector, a Sentry Ward is the best thing you can buy: they cost a little more than an Observer Ward, but they're worth it. Plus, remember that you can counterward with them if you saw where the enemies placed their ward(s).




Possible extensions




These are extensions, don't buy all of them! Pick just one of these items if you aren't doing very good or buy even two of them if you feel your team has the upper hand.


This is a very efficient item as it boots your stats by a fair amount and boosts the attack speed of you end your allies.

Remember that you can use the active ability defensively: if the enemies are destroying your team activate the Drum and run back to base, your enemies will probably refuse to chase you as the speed increase is noticeable.

You can use the endurance even offensively, but keep most of the charges for escaping purposes.



I don't recommend this item unless you are sure you can keep up with the enemies without more stats or unless your level is decent. With this, you become your team's main initiator and you rely on your Chaotic Offering to win fights.

You can even use it to escape if enemies are trying to chase you, implying that you don't get damaged for 3 seconds.



A lot of supports or semi-supports buy this for escaping purposes and mana management: you can use it to initiate (if you know how much distance you will cover) or even to push enemies towards your team; the INT increase is not bad for an item with such a useful active.



This is more like a situational than an extension, but it comes in handy if taken in the right match: cyclone the most dangerous enemy (for example an enemy Tidehunter whose ultimate is not on cooldown) and try to kill everyone before they can set up for a kill.

You can use its active ability on yourself, so that you become temporarily invulnerable: you can use it in conjuction with a Blink Dagger to succesfully escape (if you have waited at least 0.5 seconds without taking damage before activating it) or you can use it to take time so that your teammates come to save you.



A rather underrated item in pubs but an overused item in competitive matches: many people forget that it gives 7 points to each of your stats: it costs less than a Ultimate Orb and gives almost as many stats that come with an incredible active ability.

The Ghost Form can be crucial to survive: use it right before casting Upheaval to make you invulnerable to autoattacks while the enemy movement speed drops.



This is one of the funniest items to use on Warlock and works anazingly while you have to destroy enemy buildings (mostly towers).

Summon the Necronomicon beings after casting Chaotic Offering and before casting Upheaval, so that they will attack the enemies while you slow them down.

Buy the Necronomicon recipe at least two times, because its stats (along with the power of the Necronomicon warriors) scale according to its level.

After you die, make sure the enemies kill the melee Necronomicon, which will deal significant pure damage to the Hero that he got killed by. Also, use their abilities! While you are channeling, you can use the Necronomicon Archer's Mana Burn to deal massive damage and (obviously) mana burn.

With a level 3 Necronomicon the Archer gains True Sight: keep this in mind if there are enemies that can go invisible.



This is another supportive item that almost every team should pick in every game: it gives a lot of HP regeneration and magic resistance to the wearer; also, the active ability is something you can't ignore.

Remember that the Barrier lasts for 10 seconds, if you use it too early you it will be useless. At the same time, don't be afraid to use it: its cooldown is pretty short (it's very rare to fight two times in 60 seconds) and it has infinite charges.




Late Game Items



Warlock is not the best carrier for this item, but it surely works on him: combinating it with Chaotic Offering is a quick way to wipe out the enemies that try to defend their base.

This item gives you a ton of Intelligence (which enlarges your mana pool) and a fair amount of armor points: this seems a defensive item, but the passive ability and the Arctic Blast make it perfect for offensive purposes, too.

The cooldown on this item is tiny, use it whenever possible if the enemies are around you.



This is one of the best late game items in general: it gives good stats, mana regen and a huge Intelligence boost. Always remember to buy the Ultimate Orb before the Mystic Staff: a bit more HP, armor and mana are better than a big mana increase.

Use the active ability on key targets before they can deal damage or initiate a fight: try not to waste it when having a big number advantage, as the Hex is very important in big teamfights.



This is one of the most controversial items on Warlock. I never suggest to buy it unless you are heavily stomping the enemy team, in which case a double stun (plus two Golems, though this is irrilevant if compared to the stuns) and a big mana improvement will help you snowball into late game.



Vlad's is mainly taken to let your melee hard carry skip it, so that he will build damage-increasing items; in exchange you will gain a lot of HP regen and a convenient aura.

Don't be afraid to turn your Ring of Basilius into this if your team wants to kill Roshan or you simply have 2-3 melees in your team.



These boots are usually redundant for a support like Warlock, but they can actually help for split pushing or for teleporting while your towers are down: if you have a pair of Arcane Boots you can disassemble them and only sell the Energy Booster, so that you will actually need only 1500 gold to buy them.

Items Explanation: Dedicated Ward Build

You can play with this build in a:

Trilane
3
Side Lane
Dual lane
2
Side Lane




This build is the most challenging for a support: if you don't know the best warding spots take a look at some guides on the Internet. If I play pub matches with people I know I usually play the "warder" role, but if I play with random players I try to buy wards while saving some money for at least a Mekansm.

This build is a bit difficult for newer players, it's suggested to read some warding guides before trying this: recommended for intermediate to professional players.




Starting items









Observer Wards are your main priority: unless no-one is willing to buy an Animal Courier, go for a pair of wards and place them before the game starts. Try not to be ganked while you place them, or you will give free money to your enemies.
Always buy a set of Tangos to regen your health when you don't want to waste your Shadow Word.
Choose your third item: if you are trilaning, unless someone is already going to buy a Ring of Basilius take a Ring of Protection; if you need more stats because you want to give a lot of free farm to your carry (and sacrifice your experience) take the Gauntlets of Strength, which will be later turned into a Bracer.
Buy a Clarity potion so that you won't end up without mana and fill your empty spaces with Iron Branches, as always.





Situational

If you feel like you're going to spam your abilities a lot (maybe against heavy pushers) or if you simply want more mana regeneration before getting a larger mana pool, you can buy another Clarity: if you want to keep pressure on the enemies these are a must.



You can substitute the Clarity potion with a third Iron Branch if you want more stats: I usually start without Clarities because I don't like to push with Fatal Bonds, you could also end up using all the three Branches for a Mekansm plus a Pipe of Insight.




Early game items




Wards: always buy them. Buy a pair of Observer Wards or Sentry Wards after every single early game item: buy a pair of Observers even before your boots, if you bought a Courier before.

Just to make sure you understood, buy a pair of either Observer or Sentry wards after the Boots of Speed, another pair after the Ring of Basilius/ Bracer and another one after the completed boots.










The first item you want to buy is a pair of Boots of Speed: if you are going to place wards you desperately need movement speed to shorten the time in which you will be away from your lane. Also, you can buy them from the side lane shop, which is pretty convenient.
Pick Observer Wards or Sentry Wards.
Now, pick a Bracer or a Ring of Basilius according to what you bought at the beginning: if you decided to pick the Ring, keep it turned off.
A Flying Courier is something that your team can't live without, pick it as soon as possible after the other two items.
Again, pick Observer Wards or Sentry Wards.
Choose your boots depending on the situation: if you took a Bracer you might want to buy Arcane Boots for the mana it gives, if you want better positioning for your initiation (or simply better chasing capabilites) go for Phase Boots. Pick Power Treads if you need that HP increase and if you can tread switch effectively in order to save some mana while casting your spells.
Guess what? Yes, again Observer Wards or Sentry Wards.




Mid game items




These are extensions, don't buy all of them! Pick just one of these items if you aren't doing very good or buy even two of them if you feel your team has the upper hand.



Now, you should always buy Wards whenever possible: if the Observer Wards are out of stock and either you don't need Sentry Wards or they are out of stock too, you can take other items.

Buy Wards whenever they become available again: if you almost finished to build a mid game item buy it first, provided you buy Wards right after it.




An overall great item that gives many stats and an aura which benefits your allies.

Consider getting this especially if you have bought a Bracer in the early game.



Probably it will take a good amount of time to build this item, but it's worth the investment: you might have to buy Wards multiple times before finishing it, but when you finally get your Force Staff you will be a lot safer in both initiation and escapes.



Another item that, just like the Drum of Endurance, gives good stats and an active ability: as said before use the Ghost Form, while initiating, before Upheaval to avoid physical damage.

You can use it as an alternative to the Force Staff if it seems you can never escape succesfully: comparing the two items, this is more difficult to farm because it's not made of combined items (so you might lose a lot of gold and progress to get this item while dying) but it costs a lot less.



If you are really mana-hungry, always consider this item: even a fast Void Stone, which you will turn into Eul's later, will suffice your mana problems.

The movement speed it gives can be useful for initiating with Phase Boots even if you don't have any blink items, and the active can save you if your initiation fails.



I didn't use to pick this item in mid game, but competitive players changed my mind: I usually see Leshrac or Shadow Demon players that play the "dedicated ward" role pick an Urn of Shadows even at 20-30 minutes with just plain boots, branches and one early game item in their inventory: it works wonders.

This items looks like it's made for Heroes like Warlock, that need both survivability and mana: the real problem is that there are better Urn candidates which will probably buy it in the early game; plus, with Ring of Basilius and/or Arcane Boots you can solve your mana problems, and you can heal your teammates with Shadow Word.

Still, this is a good item and it should not be overlooked.





Situational

If your enemies have a very dangerous invisible Hero (maybe a Bounty Hunter or even a fed Riki) you should immediately save some gold to buy a Gem: give it to the most tanky Hero in your team, so that the Gem won't probably be dropped to the enemies.



As a support, you can buy some Smoke if your wards let you spot a lone enemy: try to use it on as many teammates as possible to gank more effectively. Only buy this if you have good communication with your team, or you might miss an easy gank and 180 gold. Also, you can use it to go into Roshan's pit without being spotted.




This item is very useful against invisible enemies in your lane: buy some Dust straight after/before the Buckler and only use it if you will surely kill an enemy: don't waste it if the invisible Hero is at full health, you'd better save it for when he will be very low and you will be able to kill him.




Late Game Items




As in the mid game, always check for Observer Wards and Sentry Wards before buying any items: if they aren't out of stock, buy them immediately.




Warlock is not the best carrier for this item, but it surely works on him: combinating it with Chaotic Offering is a quick way to wipe out the enemies that try to defend their base.

This item gives you a ton of Intelligence (which enlarges your mana pool) and a fair amount of armor points: this seems a defensive item, but the passive ability and the Arctic Blast make it perfect for offensive purposes, too.

The cooldown on this item is tiny, use it whenever possible if the enemies are around you.



This is one of the best late game items in general: it gives good stats, mana regen and a huge Intelligence boost. Always remember to buy the Ultimate Orb before the Mystic Staff: a bit more HP, armor and mana are better than a big mana increase.

Use the active ability on key targets before they can deal damage or initiate a fight: try not to waste it when having a big number advantage, as the Hex is very important in big teamfights.



This is one of the most controversial items on Warlock. I never suggest to buy it unless you are heavily stomping the enemy team, in which case a double stun (plus two Golems, though this is irrilevant if compared to the stuns) and a big mana improvement will help you snowball into late game.



This is another supportive item that almost every team should pick in every game: it gives a lot of HP regeneration and magic resistance to the wearer; also, the active ability is something you can't ignore.

Remember that the Barrier lasts for 10 seconds, if you use it too early you it will be useless. At the same time, don't be afraid to use it: its cooldown is pretty short (it's very rare to fight two times in 60 seconds) and it has infinite charges.



Vlad's is mainly taken to let your melee hard carry skip it, so that he will build damage-increasing items; in exchange you will gain a lot of HP regen and a convenient aura.

Don't be afraid to turn your Ring of Basilius into this if your team wants to kill Roshan or you simply have 2-3 melees in your team.

Items Explanation: Semi-Support

You can play with this build in a:

Solo lane
1
Side Lane
Mid lane
1
Mid Lane




This is the most risky yet advantageous situation that you can encounter playing Warlock, especially in solo lane: as you are alone in your lane, you will gain levels very quickly and your ultimate will be ready in little time. At the same time you can get ganked more often, which can result in you costantly being killed and probably a free tower destruction for the enemies.

This is recommended for intermediate players, but you should try this build even if you are not very familiar in solo laning: this is one of the roles that every Dota player should be able to play, sooner or later you have to learn to solo lane.




Starting items




Mid lane





This is the typical "Bottle Rush", you need a fast Bottle to be able to spam your abilities and pick up runes. A Tango is there because you might get seriously damaged before you will get your Bottle.
As always, the Iron Branches are there to give you cheap stats and better last-hit capabilities.
If no-one buys the Animal Courier, you'd better pick it: it will slow your Bottle rush down, but without it you should return back to base to get a Bottle, which will result in less gold from lane farming. Also, your teammates will rage at you if you refuse to buy it.




Solo lane







If you are going to play solo against two or three enemies, two set of Tangos are fine: normally, solo laners pick more regeneration items (usually two Tangos plus one Healing Salve), but you can heal yourself with Shadow Word if you want.
A Ring of Protection will be of course turned into a Ring of Basilius that can be very useful, especially in a solo lane.
Talking about the Clarity, the mana it gives can be used to cast a Shadow Word on yourself when the lane is pushing towards your enemies, so that you can stay far from them and they won't interrupt the mana regeneration.
Three Iron Branches will give cheap stats and more last-hit capabilities, along with a slightly larger HP and mana pool.




Early game items







Pick the Bottle only if you are mid laning, and take it as your first item: you will be able to pick up runes and refill both your mana and HP pool, so that you can freely spam your Fatal Bonds and Shadow Word on the enemy.
Also, if the enemy picked up the rune before you and your Bottle is empty use your Courier to Bottle crow if nobody is using it.
In both mid lane and solo lane you need a pair of Boots of Speed: in the first case because you will gank often and the movement speed can make the difference, in solo lane because it could make you evade a gank.
The Ring of Basilius should be your next priority, and as always keep it turned off. However, if you are solo laning and the enemies are pushing or the creep waves are damaging your tower you should consider turning it on, because your creeps will gain its benefits.
A pair of Arcane Boots is the best choice if you are going to initiate the fights with a Blink Dagger: someone could say "Isn't Basilius + Arcane too much mana regen, so a waste of gold?" Well, you never know when you and your teammates need a quick mana boost; plus, you should spam your Shadow Word very often if you are alone in a mid/side lane to damage the enemies or to heal yourself.




Mid game options



We already talked about the Arcane Boots in the previous section, but also keep in mind that they synergize will with your next item, the Mekansm: a costant use of your skills plus an active item which consumes 150 mana points are a big deal if you can't regenerate your mana somehow.

With all this farm you should be able to get a quick Mek and be able to five man at about the 15 minute mark: this is what makes Warlock such a good mid game Hero, as all he needs is his level 6 and he's good to go. Adding the Mekansm to your mid game presence just makes things easier.



If someone else is already getting a Mek, Warlock is one of the very few Heroes that benefits from an Aghanim's Scepter rush if he's playing a farming role. Remember not to rush an Agh's if you're supporting, as that makes you useless.

The Scepter simply gives you two Golems who will mess up with the enemy lineup: remember that their HP doesn't scale well past level 16, so the earlier you get the Agh's the stronger they are.





Situational

As a support, you can buy some Smoke if your wards let you spot a lone enemy: try to use it on as many teammates as possible to gank more effectively. Only buy this if you have good communication with your team, or you might miss an easy gank and 180 gold. Also, you can use it to go into Roshan's pit without being spotted.




This item is very useful against invisible enemies in your lane: buy some Dust straight after/before the Buckler and only use it if you will surely kill an enemy: don't waste it if the invisible Hero is at full health, you'd better save it for when he will be very low and you will be able to kill him.



You won't probably need this, but that doesn't mean you should immediately reject it: if the enemy has a Bloodseeker or Keeper of the Light, for example, you can cyclone yourself to avoid that Rupture or Mana Leak. Plus, as it gives cheap mana regen, you can simply pick it against mana burners.



Pairing this with the Blink Dagger seems fun but, in fact, it's very useless unless you are going to use both items at their full potential: you will become impossible to chase and an awesome ganker even from a huge distance, but you have to manage your mana very effectively in order to land the combo plus the active of the two items. On the other side, investing 4500 gold on chasing/escaping/initiating items that don't give that many stats can be dangerous if you don't behave carefully and if your team doesn't ward properly.




Possible extensions




These are extensions, don't buy all of them! Pick just one of these items if you aren't doing very good or buy even two of them if you feel your team has the upper hand.


The Drum of Endurance is a viable option, again: especially for this kind of role you need more stats and an attack speed boost (to your allies, mostly), so that you can initiate more safely and your teammates can kill the enemies more quickly.



This item is as good for pushing as for teamfighting purposes: the quicker you get it, the more efficient it is (though it scales amazingly well into late game).

Consider upgrading this into level 3 to gain massive HP and mana increase, along with two small but feared Necronomicon warriors that can fight while you use Upheaval or push towers with your team.



Another item that protects you while initiating: it gives massive HP regeneration and a lot of magic resistance. After purchasing one or two other items, you can upgrade it into a Pipe of Insight if your team needs it.



A defensive initiation item which gives you stats and an underrated active ability that makes you invulnerable to physical damage while casting Upheaval, provided you use it before casting the spell.




Late Game Items



This is another supportive item that almost every team should pick in every game: it gives a lot of HP regeneration and magic resistance to the wearer; also, the active ability is something you can't ignore.

Remember that the Barrier lasts for 10 seconds, if you use it too early you it will be useless. At the same time, don't be afraid to use it: its cooldown is pretty short (it's very rare to fight two times in 60 seconds) and it has infinite charges.



Warlock is not the best carrier for this item, but it surely works on him: combinating it with Chaotic Offering is a quick way to wipe out the enemies that try to defend their base.

This item gives you a ton of Intelligence (which enlarges your mana pool) and a fair amount of armor points: this seems a defensive item, but the passive ability and the Arctic Blast make it perfect for offensive purposes, too.

The cooldown on this item is tiny, use it whenever possible if the enemies are around you.



This is one of the best late game items in general: it gives good stats, mana regen and a huge Intelligence boost. Always remember to buy the Ultimate Orb before the Mystic Staff: a bit more HP, armor and mana are better than a big mana increase.

Use the active ability on key targets before they can deal damage or initiate a fight: try not to waste it when having a big number advantage, as the Hex is very important in big teamfights.



This is one of the most controversial items on Warlock. I never suggest to buy it unless you are heavily stomping the enemy team, in which case a double stun (plus two Golems, though this is irrilevant if compared to the stuns) and a big mana improvement will help you snowball into late game.



Vlad's is mainly taken to let your melee hard carry skip it, so that he will build damage-increasing items; in exchange you will gain a lot of HP regen and a convenient aura.

Don't be afraid to turn your Ring of Basilius into this if your team wants to kill Roshan or you simply have 2-3 melees in your team.



These boots are usually redundant for a support like Warlock, but they can actually help for split pushing or for teleporting while your towers are down: if you have a pair of Arcane Boots you can disassemble them and only sell the Energy Booster, so that you will actually need only 1500 gold to buy them.

Skill Builds

While playing Warlock you can choose between two main skill builds: one that maxes out Fatal Bonds together with Shadow Word and one that focuses on Upheaval. About the first one, you sometimes have to change the skill order depending on what lane you are playing in.





Fatal Bonds + Shadow Word I


This build is made for:
Trilane
3
Side Lane
Dual lane
2
Side Lane



Shadow Word
Fatal Bonds
Fatal Bonds
Shadow Word
Fatal Bonds
Chaotic Offering
Fatal Bonds/ Shadow Word
Shadow Word
Shadow Word/ Fatal Bonds
Upheaval
Chaotic Offering
Upheaval
Upheaval
Upheaval
Stats
Chaotic Offering
Stats




This build is made for letting your carry farm safely and it's best played with a dual lane or a trilane with a very roaming-oriented support.

With this, you can get experience by pulling creeps letting your lanemate farm a lot of gold without worrying about their health, as you can heal them: be ready to cast Fatal Bonds to harass or to push towards the enemy tower before pulling.

It's worth noting that you must stay a bit far from the creeps, so your carry will get double exp. you could say "But then I get no farm!" well, this is wrong; you can pull camps, assist kills and switch lanes if your carry is able to solo. Plus, is it better to have two level 5 Warlock and Faceless Void or a level 4 Warlock that can both push and heal effectively and a level 6-7 Facleless Void, ready to Chronosphere Heroes and creeps bond together by you?

When teamfighting comes, always initiate with the following combo:
Fatal Bonds + Blink Dagger (if you have one) + Chaotic Offering + Necronomicon (if you have one) + Upheaval:
if you aim your ultimate well, you will get a lot of assists (and maybe kills) thanks to your stun and your golem.

You may want to put the last point of Fatal Bonds at level 9 because with just three skill points on it you are able to bind an entire creepwave. So, you can leave it at level 3 for a while for pushing purposes.




Fatal Bonds + Shadow Word II


This build is made for:
Solo lane
1
Side Lane
Mid lane
1
Mid Lane



Shadow Word
Stats
Shadow Word
Fatal Bonds
Shadow Word
Chaotic Offering
Shadow Word
Fatal Bonds
Fatal Bonds
Fatal Bonds
Chaotic Offering
Stats
Stats
Stats
Stats
Chaotic Offering
Stats
Upheaval




This build prioritizes Shadow Word so that you will get plenty of healing while solo laning: especially against a trilane or an aggressive mid laner, your main priority is to survive while getting as much experience as possible.

Don't spam Shadow Word too often, unless you're going to get an item that gives big amounts of mana regen or you have a Bottle.




Shadow Word + Upheaval


This build is made for:
Trilane
3
Side Lane
Dual lane
2
Safe Lane + Jungler



[[Shadow Word]
Upheaval
[[Shadow Word]
Upheaval
Upheaval
Chaotic Offering
Upheaval
[[Shadow Word]
[[Shadow Word]
Fatal Bonds
Chaotic Offering
Fatal Bonds
Fatal Bonds
Fatal Bonds
Stats
Chaotic Offering
Stats/ Shadow Word




This is the most aggressive skill build you can get with a laning Warlock: it's made to get kills (preferably in an agressive trilane) when roaming around with a support buddy. Also, it gives a "reliable" escape mechanism (only countered by a stun or an enemy slow) that can make you escape from a chase.

With this build you must play very aggessively: don't be afraid to engage a fight under the enemy tower using Shadow Word to protect yourself; then, after one of their stuns, use Upheaval as soon as possible to ensure a kill for your team.

Friends and Foes

Friends

Warlock likes to play as a babysitter, with a hard carry that doesn't need kills to dominate the game and is rather squishy, so that he can costantly heal them with Shadow Word.





Or, you can pair Warlock with a Hero that does AoE damage to amplify it with your Fatal Bonds by a lot!


These are just some examples, you can even combine him with Heroes like Lina or Dark Seer but, as they are not carries, you shouldn't be laning with them.





Foes

Warlock is a very versatile Hero, so he has little enemies: he can deal with everyone after his initiation, but if he gets silenced before it he can't literally do anything.

Doom Bringer




Also, remember that if your Golem gets purged he will die istantly.

Update History

6-5-2014: Revisited this guide for a quick cleaning; it probably needs some more up-to-date information.
3-11-2013: Added a tournament skill build for mid lane with Mekansm.
1-18-2013: Added one Clarity potion in each starting items slot, as suggested.
1-18-2013: Added the "Skill Builds" chapter.
1-18-2013: Added a skill build focused on Upheaval.
1-13-2013: Added the "Friends and Foes" chapter.
1-10-2013: Added situational items in the Default Support build.
1-9-2013: Wrote the first part of the guide.

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