Silencer is a versatile character that can be played anywhere between carry and support, ideally not as no. 1 carry or no. 5 ward slave. Silencer is fun to play, has great lane harassment potential early on and scales into late game as well as being really annoying for the opponents.
This guide is written more for the beginning player with "pub"-level play in mind. At this level, I fidn that semi-carry supports are often a more reliable choice than pro-level playstyle "hard" supports. The latter get little or no farm and usually are unable to make an impact themselves without well co-ordinated effort from other team mates.
Every team needs supports but it sucks to be a support if your team isn't doing its job: You'll just die over and over again even if you are doing your job as support well. With semi-carry supports such as Silencer, windrunner and Enchantress you can still make an impact. For more pro-level play with Silencer, see following replays:
Empire vs No Tidehunter
Liquid vs Empire
+ Great lane presence
+ Counters hard spell casters and mana-dependent strength heroes
+ Good stats gain for all attributes
+ Messes up team fights for the enemy
+ Can potentially transition from support to semi-carry to save the day if your carries aren't carrying, even with few items
- Squishy (low armor & HP)
- Tends to get focused down in team fights
- No real disable
- Not particulary effective against many heroes
- Needs some farm to be really effective
- You should know enemy hero spells and mana limitations to use Last Word and curse of the silent effectively
curse of the silent
curse of the silent (CotS) is your bread-and-butter skill in-lane. For 75/95/115/135 mana it will drain a total of 120/210/300/390 HP and removes 48/96/144/192 mana over 6 seconds - unless the affected unit(s) cast a spell.
Glaives of Wisdom is one of the best orb effects in the game: You will deal 30%/45%/60%/75% of your intelligence as pure damage (ignoring armor!). Before patch 6.79 this skill is what you used to steal 2 intelligence from all heroes you kill or that die within 900 AOE of you but has since become an innate ability of Silencer himself. This is what makes you scale into late-game but is not so effective early on.
Last Word is a nuke and a silence/disarm all in one. When placed, if the target doesn't cast a spell within 5 seconds, they will be disarmed and silenced for 3/4/5/6 seconds and suffer 150/200/250/300 damage. If they cast a spell they will not be disarmed but will be silenced and take the damage.
Global Silence is your ultimate. Pretty simple, it does what is says: Silences all enemy heroes for 4/5/6 seconds. Can be upgraded with Aghanim's Scepter for +1 second silence and adds your current level of curse of the silent on everybody.
Level up & skill use
IMHO the only "must" for Silencer is level up Global Silence at the standard levels of 6,11 and 16. Your early levels should be put in curse of the silent (CotS) and Last Word depending on what heroes you are facing and how they react to your spells: If you are against heroes with big mana pools or who have low-mana cost, spammable spells (e.g. Bristleback, Batrider, Zeus, Omniknight) then curse of the silent won't do much and you should prioritize Last Word instead. If you have heroes who have low mana pools and high-cost spells (e.g. skeleton king, Pudge) then spam the living daylights out of them with CotS. Glaives of Wisdom becomes truly useful once you gain enough int but one point can be useful early on for orb-walking so that you can harass opponents in-lane without taking damage yourself. Nevertheless, the skill build for Silencer is otherwise situation-dependent so don't follow a rigid guide but your common sense.
Global Silence has several uses:
- Save team mates (or you) from ganks across the map
- Make sure your team's ganks go smoothly: The blinkers can't blink away, the stunner can't stun, etc.
- Let your initiator initiate safely without getting stunned or silenced (e.g. Tidehunter with Ravage).
- Mess up enemy team fight initiation and skill co-ordination
Assuming no-one wants to play support (as usual in most pubs) you should start with buying the Animal Courier or Observer Wards along with some Tangos, a Healing Salve, some Clarity potions and use the rest of your gold on Iron Branches.
The golden rule:
Silencer likes any item that gives intelligence + something. Each point of intelligence gives Silencer more mana, mana regen and +1 damage as well as +0.75 pure damage from Glaives of Wisdom.
Silencer doesn't like pure mana items such as Energy Booster or orb effect items such as Desolator . They won't work together with Glaives of Wisdom.
Among the worst items to get on Silencer (from his point of view) are Arcane Boots and Ring of Basilius, which are usually great on int supporters: Your int during the game is just so high that +0.65 mana regen from RoB and the 135 mana replenish from Arcane Boots feels like nothing with your mana pool. Also you are omitting the +8 chose stat and +30 attack speed from Power Treads which is very good on you. However, your team composition might put you in a situation where you should buy one or both of these items.
Silencer's item build is quite flexible and depends on who you are up against. Generally, you want a little bit mana regen early on in order to spam CotS so getting a Sage's Mask or even a Void Stone early is recommended. Sage's Mask can be turned into Urn of Shadows/ Medallion of Courage and the Void Stone-> Eul's Scepter of Divinity/ Scythe of Vyse.
Silencer is squishy and needs to stay in fights as long as possible to steal intelligence from dying enemies. Therefore, the boots of choice are Power Treads for extra survivability and attack speed. If you have a rough time in lane get Tranquil Boots and disassemble them later. You should also do something to not get killed. Therefore, pick at least 1 item from the "ah-ah-ah-ah staying alive"-list.
My favorite is Force Staff which is great especially for supports as it adds utility to the whole team. force staf¥ also gives you +10 int which equals +10 base damage and +7.5 pure damage from Glaives of Wisdom.
After being able to stay alive, aim for something that gives you intelligence and some utility. My favorite is Shiva's Guard as it solves Silencer's low armor squishiness. But basically, anything with intelligence + something will do, be flexible and adjust to the needs of your team. Once you start to hit hard, some attack speed item such as Hyperstone can come in very handy if you need to start carrying. Consider getting orchid malevolance and use it together with your Last Word if you really, really need to silence somebody for 11 seconds (e.g. Weaver, Storm Spirit).
The only thing I don't like is Mantle of Intelligence:usually I end up selling them off quite fast as its only upgrade Null Talisman. Yes, the stats of Null Talisman are nice for the price but it is a dead-end item unless you are going for a dagon. The excetpion would be if you are playing mid or going for orchid malevolance as first major item: in these cases some early stat boost is welcome and you should consider 1-2 Null Talismans.
Remember Observer Wards, Sentry Wards, Town Portal Scroll, Dust of Appearance and Flying Courier! A team without these is a crippled team. If no-one else gets them, you get them - after all you are a support first, semi-carry second. You will do well if your team does well!
Don't become obsessed with farming! You < team. True carries' potential with farm > your potential. Ask not what your team can do for you but what you can do for the team. If you go into late game with your inventory looking like this
Tranquil Boots Force Staff Void Stone Observer Ward Sentry Ward Town Portal Scroll
you can be happy: You are much more valuable for your team if you participate in all team fights rather than AFK farming your Shiva's Guard while the enemy spell casters have their way with the rest of your team.
Silencer is best at lane spamming and being generally annoying in the laning phase. Whenever they come to get a last hit on your creeps, hit them with Glaives of Wisdom and make life hard with Last Word or curse of the silent. Watch out so you don't get bursted down - you are squishy and lack an escape mechanism. Just harass, harass, harass but don't take damage yourself.
Once you hit level 6, tell your team that you have Global Silence and that they can call on you to use it if they need to escape a gank.
When the game goes into the team fighting, stay a bit back so you don't die, try to land curse of the silent on someone(s) who really need mana to be effective but has barely enough for their combo (e.g. skeleton king, Brewmaster, Kunkka). Last Word their most annoying spell caster and use Global Silence just at the moment when the teams clash together to mess up their initiation, spell combos and/or allow your team's initiator to do his job without interruptions. Then hammer away with Glaives of Wisdom 'till they drop. Remember to use your Force Staff, Eul's Scepter of Divinity, etc.
Make sure you ah-ah-ah-ah stay alive (to steal the intelligence) and that you participate in every team fight possible!
Last Word + curse of the silent: Last Word them, wait for the target to be silenced, then curse them.
Last Word + Global Silence (+curse of the silent): Guaranteed silence for 12 seconds AND disarm for 6.
Last Word + Eul's Scepter of Divinity or Scythe of Vyse after ~2 seconds = guaranteed disarm.
Last Word can be used effectively not only to silence but also to disarm units. Most obvious candidates are ones who have only 1 spell: Cast Last Word right after skeleton king casts hellfire blast, Drow Ranger Silences or Viper uses Viper Strike to ensure disarm of a nasty right-clicker for 6 seconds. You will know that the unit is disarmed if it turns white.
If you are 1 v 1 in your lane (aka mid), you can use Last Word to mess up opponent's last hits: Cast Last Word on the enemy ~8-10 seconds before the first creeps of the current wave die. This way your opponent will either get disarmed and miss last hits or waste a spell and be silenced during the last hits. This works especially well against opponents who have spammable AOE spells that they can use for last hitting and harassing you simultaneously (e.g. Zeus, Rubick). You have to time the Last Word so that they do not get any last hits if they use a spell to avoid the disarm. In addition, you need to fall back a bit until the opponent is silenced so you don't get nuked.
Use the confusion of team fights to your advantage: They might not notice that they have been Last Worded and curse of the silented if they are in the middle of a team fight.
Remember that curse of the silent is an AoE -spell: try to catch at least 2 enemies in each cast. It can be cast on units that are invisible as well!
Don't under-estimate the effect of Global Silence: the first 5 or so seconds of a team fight usually decides who wins the fight. Put all their spells off-line in every fight. The optimal timing to use Global Silence in team fights is either just before your initiator goes in or just before they initiate. Make sure they stand close enough to your team so it is too late for them to run away without taking massive damage from your team.
If the enemy is not familiar with Silencer's skills, abuse this. For example, if you see that they never or rarely dispel curse of the silent or Last Word, just spam spam spam it away! The most epic fail mistake against Silencer is when Drow Ranger doesn't take a level in Silence at all.
Glaives of Wisdom enables you to contest carries if you are farmed enough: If you have 100 intelligence you will deal +75 pure damage on top of your normal damage. Pure damage ignores armor, therefore low-HP / high-armor heroes (agility) are particularly suspectible to it: High-level agility heroes will have around 20 armor or so late game. This equals an armor redution of 54.5 %- that is, 75 pure damage is the same as ~165 regular damage.
You should set glaives on auto-cast (Alt+ mouse right) when you have the mana pool to sustain it.
Glaives are also very handy for making last-hitting on creeps easy early on if you are having problems with that.
Enemy creeps won't attack you if you manually cast Glaives of Wisdom on enemy heroes instead of right-clicking them, another reason to get at least 1 point in glaives early.
Problem with righ-clickers? With Ghost Scepter you should be able to cast Glaives of Wisdom manually while being immune to right-clicking in etheral form, see http://www.dotafire.com/dota-2/guide/r-conquerors-guide-to-traxex-6446 No longer works as of 6.79.
Those who hate the Silence:
- Spell-reliant strength heroes with mana-intensive spells such as Kunkka, Brewmaster and skeleton king: They'll hate you for stealing their intelligence with Glaives of Wisdom and draining even more their puny mana mana with curse of the silent, cast it on them at the beginning of every team fight.
- Spell casters with low-cooldown, spammalbe spells such as Jakiro or who need to chain their spells such as Puck.
- Gankers that rely on spells such as Bane as you can save team mates from across the map
- Invisible guys as Global Silence = no invis and curse of the silent can be cast even after they have gone invisible!
- Blinkers such as Queen of Pain, Ember Spirit and Anti-Mage
- Damage-over-time haters such as templar assasin with her refreaction and Visage with Gravekeeper's Cloak. Templar Assassin will hate you even more if you curse of the silent her after she uses Meld.
- Viper's only way of dispelling curse of the silent and Last Word is with its ultimate Viper Strike. If Viper is in the game, seek it out and spam, spam, spam.
Those who enjoy the Silence:
- Initiators such as Tidehunter and Tusk
- Gankers for you draining the enemy's HP before they come for the kill and preventing their escape by silencing the enemy
Those who can break the Silence:
- Nyx Assassin: this annoying little bug loves people who love to be intelligent = you.
- In-your-face-and-burst-you-down heroes: lycanthrope, Tusk and Spirit Breaker, I'm thinking of you.
- Omniknight's repel will frustrate you to no end: None of your skills work through it.
- Black King Bar will obviously block all your spells including Glaives of Wisdom as magic immunity cancels out the pure damage. Your ulti goes through BKB though. On the other hand, if you Global Silence first, activating a BKB afterwards will dispel the silence.
Duel 'till you drop:
- Pudge: He must use his hook to get rid of Last Word and curse of the silent but if he manages to hook you, you better have Force Staff!
- Outworld Devourer: Both of you like to steal intelligence from the other and use it against the other.
Silencer himself likes
- Attack speed boosters ( Abaddon, Troll Warlord, Ogre Magi, Beastmaster) and Assault Cuirass carriers such as Alchemist
- Tanks ( Abaddon, Tusk, Brewmaster) who draw attention away from him
When not to pick Silencer
- Enemy has a gank-heavy lineup
- Enemy has no or few heroes that depend heavily on their spell timing
- Enemy has Omniknight or every major hero is getting Black King Bar anyways
- Your team has less than 2 stuns
- You have no tank or no initiator
When to shut them up:
- Enemy has many spell casters
- Enemy has heroes with low intelligence but high mana cost spells
- They have Viper or Templar Assassin (however, if they get well fed they will make you eat your words)
->18.9.2013: Title changed, minor additions and typo corrections.
- 23.10.2013: Changes in 6.79 incorporated and pictures added.
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