Weaver is one of the fastest and most evasive heroes in the game, balancing poor stats with incredible abilities. He has two incredible escapes, and can be one of the hardest opponents to pick off. On top of this, he is a strong and flexible carry.
However, he is very skill and reflex reliant, and can be easy meat for enemies with the right skillset or items...read on for a guide on how to build and play him effectively...
+ Extremely Evasive
+ Great chaser and escape
+ Can effectively double his health and mana pool
+ Can dodge or debuff many abilities
+ Slows are ineffective against him
+ Good damage output
+ Effective pusher
+ Flexible laner
- Extremely squishy
- Very vulnerable to burst, stuns and silence
- Can lack teamfight presence
- Poor stat gain
- Item dependent
- Requires skill and fast reflexes
The Swarm is a useful pushing and damage utility ability, calling forth a swarm of bugs that will latch themselves to enemies in their path. Each enemy hit will take continued damage and armour reduction for every second the parasite is attached to them, and creeps will stop to attack them before moving on to other targets.
Theoretically, each bug can do up to 450 damage and reduce armour by up to 15, but it's unlikely that targets will wait that long to remove them. Each bug also grants a bounty to enemy heroes, meaning you have to be careful not to feed with them.
While useful, The Swarm uses quite a lot of your limited mana pool at the start of the game, meaning that you generally want to wait longer before skilling it. However, it can be worth an early point in them if you're looking to push.
The bugs provide a small amount of vision around them, making them useful for scouting, although you need to be aware of the long cooldown time before you can call them in again.
Generally you want to use them for pushing, counter-pushing, and team fights. While the damage is relatively small, the armour reduction is very useful for a hero who is so dependent on physical damage, and it can also helps heroes on your team who deal lots of physical damage.
Shukuchi is the skill that primarily drives Weaver's playstyle. It provides a short burst of invisibility and maximum movement speed, as well as applying damage to any enemy unit you touch (1 instance per use max).
You almost always want to max Shukuchi first, although this is primarily for the cooldown reduction rather than the increase in damage. Having it available when you need it is vitally important for a hero as squishy as Weaver.
Shukuchi gives you fantastic evasion and chasing skills. You can dodge a large number of spells and incoming projectiles by using Shuki, and the maximum movement speed override also makes slows generally ineffective against you.
Fast reflexes are an important part of getting the most from Shuki - you need to have your finger constantly ready to hit it as soon as anything threatening is about to happen. With fast reaction speeds you can be incredibly difficult to play against, and it can make the difference between death and survival.
However, it's important to remember that Shuki doesn't make you invulnerable - enemies with detection can still target you effectively, and you can be in big trouble if you're on the receiving end of a long silence or stun.
Another thing to be careful of is which enemies to use the shuki damage against - heroes like Axe and Necrophos can still target you with some of their abilities when they see the blur effect of you moving through enemies nearby.
Once you have sufficient mana, you can shuki almost as much as you want, using the extra damage for pushing and farming. Also be aware that you can Shuki after using a Town Portal Scroll, and won't cancel it as long as you don't do anything else.
Geminate Attack is Weaver's main DPS steroid - automatically triggering a second attack whenever it is off cooldown. This attack is made as soon as your primary attack hits, and can still fire off even when the target would normally be out of your range.
It's quite unusual in that it cannot be boosted further by attack speed (like most DPS passives), but works purely on raw damage/crits or UAM procs to boost your effectiveness. This tends to inform the way we build Weaver - while agility and attack speed still improve your overall damage output, other items tend to boost Geminate Attack far more.
Weaver tends to lack raw stats, and while his agi gain of 2.5 is respectable, you need to be aware that Geminate Attack makes your damage somewhat bursty - you can often use this to your advantage - for example, if chasing an opponent, using Shukuchi to damage them, then come out of it just as Geminate Attack is off cooldown - allowing you to hit them with two projectiles even if they're at the edge of your range.
Time Lapse is the final part of your survival kit - an extremely powerful ultimate that can let you effectively double your health pool with clever usage, as well as removing unpleasant effects and allowing you to manipulate your position.
It's another skill that requires good reflexes and precision usage - it can often be the difference between a horrible death and a full health rampage. Remember that you can queue it using Shift if you're stunned, making sure you use it as soon as you can cast again.
Time Lapse removes many unpleasant debuffs - including Dust of Appearance and abilities like Track, but remember that it won't necessarily help you with other forms of detection like a Gem of True Sight or Sentry Ward. However, you must be careful not to waste it on minor annoyances, as even at maximum level the cooldown is 40 seconds.
Also be aware that Time Lapse can make your health go down as well as up - for example if you got Mekansm'd and then used it. Also be aware that sometimes it's better to simply run away on low health rather than lapsing back into a bad position on full health.
On the subject of positioning - there are some additional tricks you can use it for - for example, shuki'ing away from pursing opponents and then lapsing back to your original position to evade them.
The choice of whether to use Shuki or Lapse when in a tight spot is vital - Lapse may restore your health and mana, but it doesn't reset your cooldowns, and you don't want to be left without Shuki in a tight spot. Quickly pick which one will help you the most in a given situation.
Weaver has a relatively settled skill build - you ALWAYS take Shukuchi first, and generally max it first too. Time Lapse should be skilled at every opportunity too.
The main contention with his builds is when to level The Swarm instead of another level of Geminate Attack. Geminate is free, and useful right from the start, while the bugs are useful, but quite expensive early on.
Generally you'll only get a point in The Swarm when you're serious about pushing or having a larger scale fight - if you don't follow it up, it's just a waste of your limited mana and giving gold to the opposition. Armour reduction tends to come into it's own a little later in the game.
Weaver has a lot of flexibility in his laning choices, but very little in his main role - he's always a carry of some kind, and needs farm to be effective. He's very capable of taking either mid and offlane provided he has the right opponent(s), or just farming the safe lane.
He's a good carry because he's quite flexible, and generally effective right from the start of the game into the late game. However, he aware that he has a very "hit and run" style, and isn't built for attritional "man fights", which can limit his effectiveness in team fights.
He can dominate multiple opponents, given the right lane, and is quite capable of picking up kills as well as farming creeps, and you should adjust his style as required. Generally you'll gank more when you have a harder carry on the team (to buy them space), and farm more when you don't.
Depending on your laning choice and matchup you need to be either aggressive or relatively passive here. The first few levels especially are vulnerable time for you - while you have 4 seconds of maximum movement speed and invisibility straight away, you have quite a long wait until this is available again, and in the meantime are slow and squishy. Once you get more levels this vulnerability window is considerably shorter.
If you're in the offlane, or against an aggressive trilane, watch carefully for enemies with Sentry Wards - Shukuchi is massively less effective when they can still target you. You need to quickly figure out the opponent your laning against - between Shuki and Geminate, you have considerable harassment power, but you don't want to be coping too much yourself. You have considerable chasing power, so try to whittle down opponents and see if you can tempt them into a mistake that you can punish.
Depending on equipment, this is generally a good time for you - a big early item may make you very hard to deal with, or even a selection of smaller ones. Generally you want to be active, finding the sweet spot between pushing, ganking and farming. Enemies may have most of their abilities unlocked now, but won't necessarily have the extra equipment to really focus you down. Personally, I find that if things went well early on, I'll generally try to be active and aggressive in the midgame, further pushing our advantage forward. However, if things didn't go well, you can still recovery farm pretty well and comeback later in the game.
Generally you favour small engagements over larger ones, but should still turn up for team fights if at all possible.
The late game can be good or bad for you, depending on the types of fights and equipment the opposition has. At this point it's not unusual to be coming up against Gem of True Sight or Necronomicon units which can badly limit your ability to be mobile in team fights - you'll likely also have to face items like Abyssal Blade, Scythe of Vyse and Daedalus - all of which can be present you with problems. However, you do have your own strengths now from your equipment - considerable extra damage and stats. Time Lapse is incredibly effective when you have a large HP pool (it's almost worth an Aegis), and you have great mobility for sneaky pushes and retreats.
Weaver has relatively straightforward starting equipment to choose from. Basically you want some consumables, and some starting components for your Ring of Aquila. You essentially have 3 choices here - lots of consumables (good for the offlane), or bonus stats/damage from Wraith Band or Ring of Basilius.
The Wraith Band works well when you need that extra damage for outhitting opponents, while the Ring of Basilius works especially well when you're part of a trilane, as it gives your allies extra armour and mana regen.
The slow trickle of mana from Arcane Aura is great for a hero like Weaver who can have some early issues with Shuki use. Allows you to harass more and feel confident you won't run out.
A great ally for you, giving you a burst of damage block/regeneration when you need it from Living Armor. Can also be used aggressively for early tower dives to secure kills.
Useful synergy between your combined physical damage and armour reduction abilities. Shallow Grave can also be handy to give you time to get away a Time Lapse.
Armour reducers are generally very handy for you, boosting the impact of your physical attacks.
Another good ally - Aphotic Shield and Mist Coil can both help you enormously in tricky situations, with the shield being particularly effective for early dives.
Doom is brought up as a counter to nearly every hero, but in this case, it's a pretty specific one. While you can kite him quite effectively otherwise, Doom completely shuts you down - a long silence and damage is so, so bad for our poor bug. While Linken's Sphere can help, it's still relatively straight forward for him to use Lvl? Death to remove your protection.
An instant, long range silence combined with considerable burst damage is a bad combination for you. Easy meat for you otherwise or if you have a BKB.
Really unpleasant - he has two really long lockdowns (one that goes through BKB) as well as the ability to cripple your damage output, and a nasty nuke. Avoid.
Your ability to duck and weave make you effective against her later on, but early-midgame she can completely destroy you with the combination of Gust and Frost Arrows. You really don't want to lane against her if she has support.
The matchup here isn't ideal - Lion especially has considerable lockdown, while they both possess considerable burst damage. Later on, this isn't too much of a problem, but early game they can set you up for the kill. Although you need to give them considerable respect, remember that you can kill them pretty easily if they can't use their abilities.
So there you have it - a guide to Weaver. A carry with a high skill ceiling who can lane almost anywhere and offers solid impact throughout the game. As you can see, it's really important to consider enemy hero choices when deciding whether to pick him or not, and to try to get a good lane matchup. Weaver can dominate multiple enemy heroes if they have the wrong abilities to deal with him, or equally he can suffer badly in some 1v1 matchups that don't suit him.
In terms of carrying ability he's flexible in both style and timeframes. He can play in a snowball style, as part of a pushing team (he can even split push, to a point), or even as almost an AFK hard carry. His most effective timeframe depends completely on what equipment you put on him - multiple cheap items make him effective early, saving up for bigger more expensive items help him late.
Matching him up against other carries is difficult - his style means that he's generally most effective against melee heroes who he can kite and avoid fighting too directly. Unless you've got some substantial survivability equipment (e.g. Black King Bar and a Heart of Tarrasque or Satantic) then you don't want to be taking much damage - use Shuki to relocate and lose focus.
However, you're very effective at picking off supports, and space closing on other heroes who want to stay at the edge of the fight. You've got to find the right balance between using Shuki to manuever, and actually making your attacks; too much time invisible = not enough damage output.
A big part of these matchups depends on the heroes on the opposition team and their ability to wade in with stuns, silences and items like Scythe of Vyse or Orchid Malevolence.
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