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9 Votes

Skywrath Gank/Support

June 25, 2013 by PPLB
Comments: 7    |    Views: 130817    |   

Build 1
Build 2

Skywrath Gank/Support tri-lane

DotA2 Hero: Skywrath Mage

Hero Skills

Ruin and Restoration (Innate)

Arcane Bolt

4 8 9 10

Concussive Shot

2 12 13 14

Ancient Seal

1 3 5 7

Mystic Flare

6 11 16


15 17 18

Skywrath Gank/Support

June 25, 2013


Dota class information: Nuker / Support
Favourite lane: Mid-lane / Tri-lane
Role: Early game Ganking/Harassing. Later on you will have to switch to full Support.
Additionally: The Skywrath Mage scales pretty well in a game. Early game you will be a pain in the private parts, as well as in mid-game. If the game really gets to a late game situation, you will be less of a pain. You will have to adept in order keep on being useful for your team.
Note: Eventhough you have got the power to nuke your enemies to the ground, do let your carries get the kills. Use your skills to set-up ganks for them. This because the Skywrath Mage definetly is not a carry hero.

Pros / Cons


  • Strong, low cooldown spells
  • Great support, and ganking play
  • Variable build per situation *
  • Good at mid- and tri-lane


  • Weak against BKB
  • Weak against silence
  • Variable build per situation *
  • Low armor

* = A variable build per situation; I think it's awesome, because you'll need to keep really sharp, and creative. I can imagine that this can be big negative for some people. Just fill that one in yourself =)


Signature items

The two most important items for this build. I think they both need a bit more explanation. Also, for people that are not really that interesting in the item build explanation, it may save you some time.
The order in which you purchase these two items varies per game.
If your team is under heavy fire, you might want to consider purchasing the Mekansm before the Rod of Atos. This way you can start off as an early support. This can be a huge advantage. You can keep your team mates alive. You will still be able to set-up a gank with your Concussive Shot and Ancient Seal. You can also use your Arcane Bolt, and Mystic Flare if needed. In this situation your focus will be on support instead of the usage of these two high damage skills. Keep your mana in your pocket where you think it's needed. Additionally: You might want to consider getting a Bracer. This will get you some extra HP which can be really useful when holding an item like the Mekansm.
Rod of Atos
The Rod of Atos can be purchased before the Mekansm. This, again, really is dependant on the situation. If your team is holding up, and can use some extra set-up for ganks, then the Rod of Atos is most likely the item you are looking for. This due to the intelligence (a good boost for your Arcane Bolt), extra HP, and it's slow once activated. This item can be used as semi-support/agressive support. Again, please leave the kills for the carry as much as possible. The bonus-money you receive is a nice addition, but certainly not a necessity.

Starting Items

Item: Tango
Goal: Basic item
A stack of Tango, just to keep you in lane that bit longer.

Item: Healing Salve
Goal: Basic item
Some emergency Healing Salve regeneration, just in case you were too careless.

Item: Iron Branch x3
Goal: Basic item
Three Iron Branches will give you some extra stats, which are obviously welcome. These will help you denying some creeps, will increase your mana pool a bit, and also get you some extra health.

Item: Clarity
Goal: Basic item
Could be useful if you have some early harassing/ganking using your spells. Trust me, you will not like to continue fighting without mana. So just say, Thank You, Clarity.

Item: Animal Courier
Goal: Basic item
Always get an Animal Courier, please. You might want to consult your team about who is getting mister donkey, if there is another support in your team.

Early game

Item: Arcane Boots
Goal: Ganking/Support
Ganking: It gives you the opportunity to actually cast Mystic Flare, every once in while, early game. The Arcane Boots give you a great advantage when you are getting some ganks/harassing done.
Support: Use your Arcane Boots near your allies to let them regain some mana as well. They will thank you for that.
Additionally: Get your Arcane Boots as soon as you can (Preferably at around level 6-8 ). It helps you maintain your mana pool.

Item: Ring of Basilius
Goal: Basic item
I'm not quite sure if I'd put the Ring of Basilius as early game item, or as situational. Eventhough it's useful to get your mana regeneration up and pretty cheap as well.
Additionally: Do switch it off once you've bought it. Otherwise you'll be pushing your lane like a crazy monkey.

Item: Flying Courier
Goal: Basic item
Again, for the love of god, get the courier already. This time a Flying Courier, because it is important, and most likely no one else will buy it.

Item: Staff of Wizardry
Goal: Basic item
The purchase of the Staff of Wizardry will be the bridge to your first core item. The intelligence bonus is nice for some extra mana, as well as for some damage increase on your Arcane Bolt

Core items

Item: Rod of Atos
Goal: Ganking/Support
Ganking: Pop a combo: Ancient Seal -> Concussive Shot -> Rod of Atos -> Mystic Flare
This combination will slow the **** out of your opponent, and deal a huge amount of damage due to the Magic damage amplification of your Ancient Seal. A certain death for your opponent. ( If not, just set things straight with your Arcane Bolt )
Support: Keep in mind that you will be focusing on support later on in the game. This means that you Rod of Atos wil be put to good use to let your carry kill off the enemy, with the nice slow it provides your team with.
Additionally: The Rod of Atos also increases your damage output with Arcane Bolt, and increases your mana pool/regenation. Also the extra HP is a welcome addition.

Item: Force Staff
Goal: Ganking/Support
Ganking: The Force Staff isn't your primary ganking item. It can be useful to guarantee a kill, or to be a surprise by Force Staffing yourself into a battle.
I sometimes use the Force Staff if the opponent is facing the direction in which he definetly doesn't want to flee. After using the Force Staff I'd use the Concussive Shot just so my opponent has got to run a bit further while being slowed down. Don't try this in a team battle though. That will not turn out well.
Support: Well, obviously to save your allies from a certain death, by pushing them forward.
Additionally: A nice +10 intelligence bonus to get your Arcane Bolt up.

Luxury items

Item: Bloodstone
Goal: Ganking/Support
Ganking: The Bloodstone will increase your health, and mana pool massively. Your health/mana regeneration will be increased as well. Giving you a longer lifetime, and a bottomless mana pool.
Support: Once you get this item, you will be in a later stadium of the game. This means you have shifted to play way more support then you would have at the beginning of your game. Support your team mates by using your bottomless health and mana pool to the fullest. Get them the kills they deserve.
Additionally: The new "active" for the Bloodstone can save your allies, and will keep your enemies from getting kills/money. Honestly... This is rarely useful.


Skill: Arcane Bolt
Goal: Nuking

Extra effect: Increase of damage by increasing your intelligence stats.
Intelligence * 1.6 + [60/80/100/120] = your damage

The Arcane Bolt can be put to good use through the entire game. It scales good as long as you can keep up with your intelligence stats.
In early game this skill can be a real good harassing tool. Just frustrate your enemy with it's pretty good damage, real low cooldown, and real low mana cost.

Skill: Concussive Shot
Goal: Ganking / Support

Extra effect: 4 Seconds 40% slowdown at a 200 radius around the hit.

The Concussive Shot is a useful ganking tool. In early game it's a good second position in your ganking skill combo. ( Ancient Seal usually being the first ) Slow your enemy to help yourself, and your team mates to bring him down.
Later on in the game you might find a perfect shot in a five man encounter, in which you slow multiple enemies.
Additionally: This skill has got a huge casting radius. You can use this skill on enemies in a radius of 1600. You obviously will need vision over the enemy.

Skill: Ancient Seal
Goal: Ganking / Support

Extra effect: Silence + magic damage increase bonus. Scaling per level: 18% . 3s / 24% . 4s / 30% . 5s / 36% . 6s

The Ancient Seal will be virtually always the first skill you use in every gank you set up. This due to it's increase of magic damage, and obviously the silence.
A downside of this skill being the first skill in your combo is that it's the skill with the lowest casting radius (700). In some situations you might want to start off with your Arcane Bolt, or Concussive Shot.

Skill: Mystic Flare
Goal: Nuking

Extra effect: None, just it's super duper doopa damage.

Mystic Flare is an awesome skill to put off a single enemy, or decrease the HP of multiple enemies at the same time. The low cooldown on this skill is awesome. It's high mana cost does make you think twice before casting it. Eventhough your mana pool will be large enough later on, try not to waste this skill too much.
On a 1vs1 encounter, or with a big tanker, I think this skill will do fine using it on one hero. Do mind that you can help your team out quite a bit by using it on two to three heroes at the same time. This hugely depending on the entirety of the HP pool you are aiming on. A tank will not feel much when you are dividing 1200 damage over three heroes.

In addition
The skills are the everything for the Skywrath Mage. As support your Mekansm, situational Courier/ Flying Courier, and Observation Ward might be of value as well. That is about it.

That may sound simple, and maybe even useless, but trust me; the Skywrath Mage can be a huge part in team plays, and the entire game, really. Use your skills wisely, focus on helping your team, and plan out differend strategies. And especially, be a huge **** to all your enemies.

Use your skills in combinations to be more effective. The most common, and in my opinion, the most effective combo is the following:

Ancient Seal -> Concussive Shot -> Mystic Flare . If this doesn't kill a single enemy, and there is no carry around, use your Arcane Bolt to finish it off.

Laning phase

A midlane dominator
With thanks, and credits to the comment of - Paperbags -

Note: Check the second build tab for a mid-lane item-, and skill build.

The Skywrath Mage is a good mid-lane hero. In order to go mid-lane, you will have to change your starting items pick. This because your first focus will be on the mid-lane instead of trying to support your team mates.
When you are playing the Skywrath Mage as mid-lane hero, you will definetly start focussing on lane domination, and setting up ganks on the side-lanes.

As mid-lane hero you can play pretty much agressive, and have a huge damage output to keep your enemy mid-lane hero out of his lane. Do keep in mind that your HP pool is not that big, and that you will also need to pick your skills in a different order.

Starting items
As mentioned, the starting items will be a bit different. Don't get an Animal Courier to begin with. Force a team mate to get it for you. The Animal Courier still is important.
Instead of an Animal Courier, you might want to get a Mantle of Intelligence, or 3* Clarity. Depending on the hero you are facing, you might also want to spare your money for early Arcane Boots, or maybe a Bottle.
I'm always a bit... cautious.. when thinking about the Bottle on my Skywrath Mage. Eventhough it is a useful item, especially when you are in the mid-lane, I think it does slow down your Arcane Boots purchase. I think the Bottle on the Skywrath Mage is not an item you will get in every game. It'd rather get myself an extra Healing Salve, or a few extra Tangoes to keep my HP up. You will not need that many Healing Salve's, or Tangoes if you keep your enemy under very high pressure.

-> -> -> ->

~possibly~> OR *3

Dear community/reader: I'd really like your opinion on the Bottle for a Skywrath Mage.

Skill order
In order to function well in the mid-lane, you will have to change to switch the order you will get your skills in.

Using the Skywrath Mage in a tri-lane will focus the skills mostly on support, while using the Skywrath Mage in a mid-lane will focus the skills mostly on nuking.
This means you will get your Arcane Bolt maxed at level 7. Your Ancient Seal, and Concussive Shot will be efficient enough at skill level one for the time being.

(Mid-)Laning phase
In the laning phase, as a mid-lane Skywrath Mage, you will be focusing on your last hits, and harassing your opponent in the same lane. Just use your spammable Arcane Bolt on the opponent, and throw some random auto attacks as well.
If your opponent is stupid enough to return to the mid-lane with low hp, use your Concussive Shot, and possibly Ancient Seal, to spam yourself to your first kill with the Arcane Bolt.

-- for the fun of it; I might add a small video to show you what it looks, and feels like to ***** up an opponent like that --

At level six you can engage on helping your team mates gank in other lanes. You will have your Arcane Boots by level six if you have kept your eyes on the last hitting, and maybe even killing your opponent. If not -> Wait with helping your team mates gank until you do purchase your Arcane Boots

Do stay logic, and keep on making sense. If the lanes of your team mates is pushed all the way to the enemy tower, you will not find your gank, and you'd better stay in your mid-lane.
Wait until you see an oppertunity rise, and use a TP-scroll, or move behind the enemies in a side-lane.
Additionally: If you are trying to set up a gank, be sure your team mates are informed and ready to jump in. Eventhough you do have a level advantage (if played well), your HP is not sky-rocketing high, always keep that in mind.


  • 24-06-2013 - First publication;
  • 25-06-2013 - Added laning phase chapter; My thanks to - Paperbags -
  • 25-06-2013 - Added a build tab as mid-lane build;
  • 25-06-2013 - Slightly changed the skill-build under the first build tab. My thanks to - Samukobo -

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