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The 2000+ Commend Io Guide (7.07 BIG UPDATE)

November 20, 2017 by Wisper_the_Wisp
Comments: 26    |    Views: 60627    |   


Build 1
Build 2
Build 3

Soul Ring Build: Spirits Overload (option #1)

DotA2 Hero: Io


Purchase Order

Opening Items

Basic Items

Advanced Items

Support Items

Situational Items

Luxury Items (Pick 1)



Hero Skills

Tether

1 13 14 16

Spirits

2 3 5 7

Overcharge

4 8 9 11

Relocate

6 12 18

Talents

10 15

Hero Talents

+50 Health Regen
25
Tether Stuns
+150 Gold/Min
20
Attack Tethered Ally's Target
Tether Grants Scepter Bonus
15
+90 Spirits Damage
+400 Spirits Max Range
10
+60 Damage

Introduction

So why listen to me? What makes me an expert on Io?

I have 7500+ matches played in Dota 2, totaling 6450+ hours. Of those ~7500 matches, ~2000 of them have been with Io. This means I have spent more than 25% of my Dota 2 experience playing Io.

I maintain a >55% Io win rate, which is almost 20% above the global average.

I also manage a small youtube channel dedicated solely to Io gameplay.

I have spoken with some of the best Io players in the world as listed on Dotabuff ('Ziqi', 'N-R-C', 'Mikushiru', 'Pardon My Trench', 'Guardian/Wisp') to understand their logic and strategy when playing the hero.

Trust me when I say, I am borderline obsessed with this hero and its complexities (of which there are many). Let my addiction fuel your education.




I apologize in advance for the length of this guide. Io is very complex hero, and that complexity extends to how each individual skill can be used. That being said, if you play Io, and you want to get better with the hero, I guarantee that you will learn something new from this guide.

A Quick Note on 7.07



This guide has to be re-written from the ground up now that 7.07 has dropped. My previous knowledge in some topics has been thrown out the window, and as a result, this guide may seem incomplete or chaotic at times. This is only because I am striving to teach myself the ins and outs of this new patch and how it affects Io, and will be updating this guide in the coming months as my understanding improves.


11/16/17 - I have removed my Bottle Builds FOR NOW and will replace them later when I have a clearer understanding of when/how they have been effected by 7.07. I apologize for the inconvenience this may cause, but I do not feel comfortable talking about these builds like I am an expert when I'm not. Give me more time to practice and keep your eye on this guide, Bottle Builds will be returning soon.

Items (Core) - Soul Ring Build

"Soul Ring Build" is a subtype of Io itemization that I often play with. It avoids Bottle and instead relies on Soul Ring and Tranquil Boots for stronger, more-reliable HP and MP regen. The items described below are my personal core Soul Ring Build items.

OPENING ITEMS
Tango
Tangos heal you 7 HP/sec, and heal your tethered teammate for 10.5 HP/sec. Tangos last for 16 seconds and Tether lasts for 12, so try to make sure you're Tethered for most/all of the duration.
Clarity
This will help to replenish mana spent in the first few minutes of the game, from Tethers and potentially early Spirits casts. Tethering to a teammate will give them explosive mana gain.
Healing Salve x2
Healing Salve heals 400 HP over 8 seconds, at a rate of 50 HP/sec. This becomes 75 HP/sec through Tether, and can be used to win teammates, save allies, and keep Io alive in crucial situations. This item is NOT to be underestimated.
Animal Courier
Courier is an EZ way to support the team that will make your teammates happy. If already purchased, buy a ward instead.

Because this build lacks Bottle (and the early healing that comes with it), Io spends heavily on consumable regen items to help support his carry's HP.

BASIC ITEMS
(1) Soul Ring
Soul Ring is a more stable mana-replacement item than Bottle. With this item, you can generate 150 MP every 25 seconds for yourself, which is 225 MP for your Tethered partner. You must spend the 150 MP before the Soul Ring buff ends (10 seconds), but your Tether partner is not effected by this rule. Through this method, Soul Ring can generate up to 900 MP in under 2 mins (225 * 4 Soul Ring uses) for your Tether buddy.

Soul Ring is best combined with low-mana carry heroes that have short-cooldown stuns or damage spells. Sven, Luna, Chaos Knight, Legion Commander, Bristleback, Phantom Lancer, Necrophos, Pudge, Tiny are good examples.

The 150 MP from Soul Ring is also exactly the cost of a Spirits cast. Therefore, Soul Ring is best used by (1) Tether to target (2) use Soul Ring, giving you 150 MP and partner 225 MP (3) cast Spirits for 150 MP, losing 0 net mana. Buying Soul Ring allows Io a far greater freedom to use Spirits, Io's main damage spell, at a high frequency compared to other early game items such as Bottle.

Soul Ring now includes +6 Strength, which increases Io's ability to last hit and harass effectively. Soul Ring also increases your passive HP regen/sec by +2. However, because of the changes to the way HP regen is calculated, Soul Ring gives closer to +3 HP/sec regen.

Another minor use of Soul Ring is to lower your HP - on purpose - in order to passively heal a Tether target. Normally Io's health is lowered with Overcharge, but this is an extremely inefficient way of doing so because of the large amount of MP lost relative to HP. Using Soul Ring instead is far more constructive to your mana pool.

(2) Tranquil Boots
Using Soul Ring hurts, so to recover your HP, we purchase Tranquil Boots next. This increases your HP regen by +14 (actually the true value is much higher than this due to changes in HP regen calculation - TB gives +16 HP/sec at lv 6 and only increases with Strength gain). Now, you can help your carry recover both HP and MP, allowing you both to dominate the laning phase and feel more comfortable initiating kills.

When Tethering to a target, HP regen for them is now above +30 HP/sec. A Tether lasts for 12 seconds, meaning you can heal a Tether target for up to 30 * 12 = ~360 HP in a single Tether (by keeping your HP <100% and not taking any enemy physical damage). Changing your auto-attack settings to "Never" is a smart way to prevent Tranquil healing interruption by Io auto-attacking accidentally, especially during teamfights when keeping your carry alive is crucial.

This also means you can essentially spam Soul Ring activation without fear of self-damage, giving yourself free mana to cast Spirits or Relocate and keeping all other players topped up on mana.

(3) Magic Wand
Now that our Soul Ring/Tranquil Boots combo is complete, we need Io to get stronger. At this point he is all regen and no stats. Wand provides a much-needed stat boost to Io, as well as provides another quick-activation healing item which can be used while Tethering to a target. At 10 charges, a Wand heals for (15 * 10)= 150 HP/MP for you and 225 HP/MP for your Tether target, which is almost the strength of a Mekansm charge. At 17 charges, it's 255 HP/MP for you and 382 HP/MP for your Tether target.

(4) Urn of Shadows
Urn of Shadows provides more stats for Io survival (and replaces the armor lost in the 7.05 "Tranquils Nerf" patch), but the real profit comes from the use of the Urn charges. Urning yourself and Tethering (while Overcharging) to a hero in a fight can heal them for (400 * 1.5) = 600 HP (as long as you don't take any enemy hero damage) in additional to your natural HP regen. This makes Urn a powerful healing spell that is crucial to Io's mid-game healing functionality. Urning enemy players can net you crucial kills (with its long range and Pure damage) and can help increase your DPS in teamfights.

Because of this, Io should have priority on the team to purchase Urn of Shadows over other heroes who normally have Urn in their item builds (such as Huskar, Pudge, or Spirit Breaker).

Items - Spirits Overload (SR-based)

"Spirits Overload" is designed to maximize the damage output Io causes through his Spirits. This build starts from a SOUL RING BUILD base.

ADVANCED ITEMS
(5) Veil of Discord - 2330 gold
Before 7.07, I would get my armor from the Lv 10 Talent and build Glimmer Cape for survival. Now that the Lv 10 Talent has been changed, Io must find his much-needed armor boost from items instead.

Veil of Discord provides +6 Armor, as well as +5 HP/sec, +6 Strength, +6 Agility, and +14 Intelligence. This is an incredibly well-rounded item for Io, who at this point has a small mana pool which is greatly increased by Intelligence (+168 MP total), low total armor which is greatly boosted by +6 (___), and who could always use more HP regen to help heal others.

Veil of Discord activation, which reduces Magic Resistance by 25% for enemies in a 600 unit AOE, also combos very well with the new Lv 15 Talent that provides +90 Spirits damage. The total damage figures are presented below:

Normal Spirits = 100 damage * 0.75 Magic Resistance = 75 damage per orb
Lv15 Spirits = 190 damage * 0.75 Magic Resistance = 142.5 damage per orb
Lv15 + Veil = 190 damage * 0.75 * 1.25 Veil Boost = 178.13 damage per orb

With Lv 15 Talent and Veil of Discord, Spirits hit for 178 * 5 = 890.6 damage AFTER RESISTANCES have been factored in. 2 Spirits casts in a fight is 1780 life points worth of damage. That is no joke.

Do not forget that increasing your intelligence increases your bonus Magic Damage. All of the above numbers could be increased from 1-7% depending upon how much Intelligence is in your item build (Veil's +14 Intelligence alone provides +1% Magic Damage), meaning your Lv 15 + Veil Spirits cast of 890.6 damage could actually be hitting as high as 950 damage...

Veil also combos with Urn of Shadows / Spirit Vessel, as the damage type from activating those items has been changed from Pure to Magic.

(6) Eul's Scepter of Divinity - 2750 gold
Before 7.07, I would get the Lv 15 Talent that provided +10 Mana Regen, and this would fix Io's mana problems for the rest of the game. Now that this has been changed, Io needs to find MP regen from his items instead.

Eul's Scepter was a great item for Io BEFORE 7.07. It provided MP regen, which was, at the time, rather unnecessary, but is also provided +40 movement speed boost, and access to Cyclone, an interrupt move that Io does not naturally have. Now that Io must rely on items for mana regen, Eul's has gone from a solid item to a fantastic one.

From Eul's, Io gains +10 Intelligence (+120 MP and +0.7% Magic Damage), +2.25 MP regen (which is a lot), +40 movement speed (same as Brown Boots), and a 2.5 sec Cyclone that interrupts enemies and causes 50 damage upon landing. Io has no stun/interrupt spells, and Eul's activation on an enemy can serve to interrupt channeled spells such as Enigma Black Hole, Pudge Dismember, or even Town Portal Scroll. More simply, it can be used to remove enemies from a teamfight for 2.5 seconds or stop an enemy from chasing you. The cyclone can also be used to protect Io from incoming attacks or stuns. Most importantly, cyclone has a dispel effect that removes many unwanted debuffs from Io, which can be used to keep Io alive in many situations.

(7) Spirit Vessel - 1950 gold
Spirit Vessel is the newest item in 7.07 that increases the functionality of Urn of Shadows. It increases both the healing and damage potential of Urn quite dramatically. For healing, Vessel heals 1% of current HP per second over 8 seconds, it increase all healing/regen on the hero by +20%, and it heals for the same 35 HP/sec that Urn does.

For damage, Vessel reduces HP by 3% of current HP per second over 8 seconds, while also dealing 20 damage per second. Most importantly, using Vessel in a damage capacity reduces the amount of healing that the enemy hero receives by 70%! This means Vessel is an enormously powerful item against heroes who rely on healing themselves in the midst of a fight, such as Huskar or Pugna.

The Vessel upgrade provides +250 HP and +30 movement speed, which stacks on top of your Eul's Scepter speed upgrade! Between Tranquil Boots, Eul's, Spirit Vessel, AND Tether +16%, Io can hit movement speeds of 537!!! That's halfway to being Hasted! Permanently!

I would NOT upgrade Urn of Shadows into Spirit Vessel if someone on your team already has Urn and refuses to sell it. Vessel/Urn only work if they have charges on them, and without charges (or the reliability to know that you will gain charges in the future), you are spending 1950 gold on an item that you won't actually use. If your teammates have Urn, spend your money elsewhere.

LUXURY ITEMS
In Spirits Overload, your luxury items are situational and depend upon what is required to win the game.

Heart of Tarrasque - 5200 gold
HoT, especially after the 7.00 updates (where its regen has been increased from 4.5% HP/sec to 7% HP/sec), is without a doubt THE DEFINING ENDGAME ITEM FOR IO. If you can get your hands on this item, the game is borderline over. By staying behind your team's lines and Tether/Overcharging heroes taking damage, you can swing teamfights in your favor, support pushes by recharging half-health heroes, and even tank tower damage without flinching. Not to mention the increase in Io's total HP (+900 HP!) and damage (+40).

Tether healing with HoT heals your target for upwards of 200 HP/sec, and that's limited because OVERCHARGE DOESN'T TAKE AWAY HP FAST ENOUGH (Overcharge bleeds 6% HP/sec, HoT heals you 7% HP/sec). If you are damaged and can heal at the full rate HoT allows, you will be healing a Tether target for upwards of 300 HP/sec. Greater than 1 Mekansm activation PER SECOND. That's how f*ckin insane this item is.

The PROBLEM with Heart of Tarrasque in 7.07 is that now the item is not SO important. The Lv 25 +50 HP regen Talent (which actually heals closer to +80 HP/sec now that HP regen is increased by total Strength) can act as a weak HoT, and negates the importance of having that crushingly-powerful healing item in your inventory. Other options that provide more damage/mobility/crowd control are suddenly more interesting choices.

If there is one carry on your team who is winning the entire game, and that motherf*cker better not die or else the game is lost, I would build HoT.

Ethereal Blade - 4700 gold
E-Blade is a fun item on Io that can be built when you want to increase your magic damage output even further. When activated, E-Blade causes 2x Strength + 75 damage to an enemy, and gives them a Ghost Scepter effect for 3 seconds that weakens their Magic Resistance by 40%. Not only does this increase the damage from Spirits even more, but the E-Blade blast itself combos with Veil of Discord because the damage type that E-Blade produces upon activation is magical.

Normal Spirits = 100 damage * 0.75 Magic Resistance = 75 damage per orb
Lv15 Spirits = 190 damage * 0.75 Magic Resistance = 142.5 damage per orb
Lv15 + Veil = 190 damage * 0.75 * 1.25 Veil Boost = 178.13 damage per orb
Lv15 + Veil + Eblade = 190 * 0.75 * 1.25 * 1.4 = 250 damage per orb

Eblade blast + Veil = ~325 damage

E-Blade is built from Ghost Scepter, which is a nice item in its own right for blocking damage from physical heroes. E-Blade can still be used defensively for this purpose, as well as cast on allied heroes for similar protection.

The DOWNSIDE of E-Blade is that the 40% damage boost is only 3 seconds long. E-Blade is best combo'd with Blink Dagger for fast initiation post-casting (a nearby Tether target will provide similar mobility). Additionally, many teams in the late game would normally have at least 1 player with a Pipe of Insight, which will lower the damage output through E-Blade combos drastically. Continuing to pursue magic damage in the face of a magic-resistant-team doesn't make sense, so this item should NOT be purchased when up against a team that has already prepared magic resistance items.

Octarine Core - 5900 gold
Octarine Core is an incredibly powerful item for Io players. Io is limited by his cooldowns ( Tether lasts 12 seconds but has 12 second CD, Spirits could be used more offensively if the cooldown to re-activate was less than 14 seconds, Relocate CD just recently been nerfed) and Octarine Core works to reduce all cooldowns by 25%. This means...

Tether is now 12 seconds long with a 9 second CD
Spirits now last 19 seconds but can be reactivated after 10.5 seconds
Overcharge can now be reacivated after 1.5 seconds instead of 2
Relocate CD is now 90/75/60 seconds

Eul's Scepter of Divinity CD dropped from 23 seconds to 17.5
Veil of Discord CD dropped from 20 seconds to 15
Spirit Vessel CD dropped from 7 to 5.25
Tranquil Boots healing reactivates after 9.25 seconds as compared to 13
Town Portal Scroll CD dropped from 80 seconds to 60 (works for Boots of Travel too)

Octarine Core not only reduces cooldowns by 25% but also provides 25% Spell Lifesteal, which works incredibly well in this build due to the high spell damage output Io is creating. Spirits hitting for 180 damage per Orb are netting Io 45 HP per collision (~250 HP per Spirits cast), which is increased through Tether to provide 325 HP to your Tether target. Io is able to survive in 1v1 fights because of the health he is gaining through Spirits damage (which can now be cast and re-cast faster than ever before).

This is a powerful item not to be overlooked for its high pricetag. Now that endgame healing can be managed through the Lv 25 Talent, the usefulness of Octarine Core has never been higher.

Boots of Travel - 2400 gold
BoTs are a great item for when the game is almost over. I will often buy BoTs as my last item before the game ends, in order to keep up with the team pushes and stay near the carry to heal him. I only EVER buy BoTs after I have my healing items purchased. The bonus move speed helps keep Io alive and unpressured, and the reduced TP cooldown increases Io's mobility to extreme lengths.

Items - Tether/Aghanim's Abuse (SR-based)

"Tether/Aghanim's Abuse" is designed to maximize the support Io can provide for a carry player, using the Lv 15 Tether/Aghanim's Talent and/or the Lv 20 Tether/Attack Talent. This build starts from a SOUL RING BUILD base.

ADVANCED ITEMS
(5) Vladmir's Offering - 2250 gold
Before 7.07, I would get my armor from the Lv 10 Talent and build Glimmer Cape for survival. Now that the Lv 10 Talent has been changed, Io must find his much-needed armor boost from items instead.

Vladmir's Offering provides great stats for you AND your Tether partner. In an aura around Io, Vlad's grants +4 Armor, +2.5 HP regen, 0.65 MP regen, 15% bonus attack damage, and Lifesteal (15% melee, 10% ranged).

This is a fantastic item for Io when he wants to stay Tethered for a number of reasons. Firstly, it provides a nice armor buff that Io desperately requires at this level (with a nice bonus for your Tethered carry). Second, it provides lifesteal for both you and your local allies, which combos with Io's Tether for an even stronger effect. If Io is Tethered to Sven, Sven is gaining HP through 15% lifesteal, but he's also gaining an additional 15% through Io's 10% lifesteal and 1.5x Tether healing buff. All of this is improved by the +15% bonus melee damage, which increase lifestealing for all parties involved, and combo's incredibly well with Io's Lv 10 +60 Damage Talent providing higher melee damage and lifesteal potential.

(6) Solar Crest - 2625 gold
Solar Crest is a great item to influence the amount of killing potential Io has alongside his Tether partner. For Io, this item increase his armor by 10, his evasion by 20%, and MP regen by 1. This can be used both offensively and defensively, by increasing Io's sustainability when attacked by other heroes, as well as activating it onto an enemy hero to decrease their armor/evasion and help your Tethered ally kill them faster. It can also be cast on the Tethered ally to temporarily give him bonus evasion and armor to help protect him in a fight as you heal in the background.

(7) Rod of Atos - 3030 gold
At this point, Io is heavily lacking in MP regen. Rather than tackling MP regen directly, this build opts to support Io's total mana pool. Rod of Atos is a fantastic item for helping to pin down enemy players so your carry hero can rip them to shreds.

It provides +20 Intelligence (240 MP, +1.4% Magic Damage), +15 Strength (300 HP, +15 damage), and +6 Agility (1 Armor, 6 attack speed). Activating the item roots an enemy for 2 seconds, which prevents Blinking on heroes like Queen of Pain, Anti-Mage, and Storm Spirit. This can buy your carry time to stun/root/attack the enemy hero and get the kill, while making sure the enemy does not charge Io and attempt to focus you down.

Sell your Soul Ring to make room for Rod of Atos, bringing its total price to just under 2700.

(8) Spirit Vessel - 1950 gold
Spirit Vessel is the newest item in 7.07 that increases the functionality of Urn of Shadows. It increases both the healing and damage potential of Urn quite dramatically. For healing, Vessel heals 1% of current HP per second over 8 seconds, it increase all healing/regen on the hero by +20%, and it heals for the same 35 HP/sec that Urn does.

For damage, Vessel reduces HP by 3% of current HP per second over 8 seconds, while also dealing 20 damage per second. Most importantly, using Vessel in a damage capacity reduces the amount of healing that the enemy hero receives by 70%! This means Vessel is an enormously powerful item against heroes who rely on healing themselves in the midst of a fight, such as Huskar or Pugna.

The Vessel upgrade provides +250 HP and +30 movement speed, which stacks on top of Tether's +16% movement speed.

I would NOT upgrade Urn of Shadows into Spirit Vessel if someone on your team already has Urn and refuses to sell it. Vessel/Urn only work if they have charges on them, and without charges (or the reliability to know that you will gain charges in the future), you are spending 1950 gold on an item that you won't actually use. If your teammates have Urn, spend your money elsewhere.

LUXURY ITEMS
Desolator - 3500 gold
Desolator is a fantastic item for Io around Lv 20, when Io gets his Attack/Tether Talent. He is able to attack every time a Tethered ally attacks, which synergizes very well with Overcharge. The armor-shredding ability of Deso is powerful for pushing towers and rax, as well as increasing damage on enemy heroes. If you are close to Lv 20 and still have lots of pushing to do, Desolator is your #1 choice.

Heart of Tarrasque - 5200 gold
HoT, especially after the 7.00 updates (where its regen has been increased from 4.5% HP/sec to 7% HP/sec), is without a doubt THE DEFINING ENDGAME ITEM FOR IO. If you can get your hands on this item, the game is borderline over. By staying behind your team's lines and Tether/Overcharging heroes taking damage, you can swing teamfights in your favor, support pushes by recharging half-health heroes, and even tank tower damage without flinching. Not to mention the increase in Io's total HP (+900 HP!) and damage (+40).

Tether healing with HoT heals your target for upwards of 200 HP/sec, and that's limited because OVERCHARGE DOESN'T TAKE AWAY HP FAST ENOUGH (Overcharge bleeds 6% HP/sec, HoT heals you 7% HP/sec). If you are damaged and can heal at the full rate HoT allows, you will be healing a Tether target for upwards of 300 HP/sec. Greater than 1 Mekansm activation PER SECOND. That's how f*ckin insane this item is.

HoT is the safest bet for keeping your important carry ally alive, even if you get the +50 Healing Talent at Lv 25. The explosive healing and hardy stats from HoT will help keep you both alive during Relocate pushes and big teamfights. It also provides you with the option of going for Tether Stuns at Lv 25 (now that your healing is taken care of), which can have a real impact on endgame teamfights and can set up kills for your carry.

Items - Hard Support (SR-based)

"Hard Support" is designed to maximize the healing and survivability Io can provide for his whole team. This build starts from a SOUL RING BUILD base.

ADVANCED ITEMS
(5) Mekansm - 2350 gold
Before 7.07, I would get my armor from the Lv 10 Talent and build Glimmer Cape for survival. Now that the Lv 10 Talent has been changed, Io must find his much-needed armor boost from items instead.

Mekansm is a classic Io item that provides +5 Armor and +5 Str/Int/Agi. Activating it triggers a 250 HP heal in an 900 unit AOE, and it passively provides 3.5 HP/sec to allies in the same AOE. By Tethering to an ally and gaining the full 250 HP for yourself, Io can provide 1 hero with 250+(250*1.5)= 625 HP through Tether.

Mek is fantastic for when your team is grouped together - teamfights, pushes, even tower defenses. The

(6) Glimmer Cape - 1850 gold
Glimmer Cape is an amazing item for Io - not only does it provide +20 Attack Speed and +15% Magic Resistance, it's activatable provides 5 seconds of invisibility (after a 0.6 second delay) and an additional 45% Magic Resistance. This has a variety of uses, from straight Magic Damage block on yourself or any ally (such as during Necrophos Reaper's Scythe or Invoker Chaos Meteor), to droppping aggro from yourself (or an ally in peril) during a teamfight in order to reposition or buy time to heal up. Glimmer Cape can be used before the return portion of Relocate to hide yourself from waiting enemies and provide time to escape.

Glimmer Cape is going to help keep Io alive, to keep him healing everyone else on the team. Glimmer Cape is countered by several heroes. Slardar and Bounty Hunter can mark you with their Ultimates, so going invisible will not work. Bloodseeker provides vision if you're at low health through Bloodthirst, and Zeus' lightning bolt will temporarily show your location as well. Axe can call you out of invs, and Lone Druid can use Savage Roar for a similar effect.

(7) Eul's Scepter of Divinity - 2750 gold
Eul's Scepter was a great item for Io BEFORE 7.07. It provided MP regen, which was, at the time, rather unnecessary, but is also provided +40 movement speed boost, and access to Cyclone, an interrupt move that Io does not naturally have. Now that Io must rely on items for mana regen, Eul's has gone from a solid item to a fantastic one.

From Eul's, Io gains +10 Intelligence (+120 MP and +0.7% Magic Damage), +2.25 MP regen (which is a lot), +40 movement speed (same as Brown Boots), and a 2.5 Cyclone that interrupts enemies and causes 50 damage upon landing. Io has no stun/interrupt spells, and Eul's activation on an enemy can serve to interrupt channeled spells such as Enigma Black Hole, Pudge Dismember, or even Town Portal Scroll. More simply, it can be used to remove enemies from a teamfight for 2.5 seconds or stop an enemy from chasing you. The cyclone can also be used to protect Io from incoming attacks or stuns. Most importantly, cyclone has a dispel effect that removes many unwanted debuffs from Io, which can be used to keep Io alive in many situations.

(8) Spirit Vessel - 1950 gold
Spirit Vessel is the newest item in 7.07 that increases the functionality of Urn of Shadows. It increases both the healing and damage potential of Urn quite dramatically. For healing, Vessel heals 1% of current HP per second over 8 seconds, it increase all healing/regen on the hero by +20%, and it heals for the same 35 HP/sec that Urn does.

For damage, Vessel reduces HP by 3% of current HP per second over 8 seconds, while also dealing 20 damage per second. Most importantly, using Vessel in a damage capacity reduces the amount of healing that the enemy hero receives by 70%! This means Vessel is an enormously powerful item against heroes who rely on healing themselves in the midst of a fight, such as Huskar or Pugna.

The Vessel upgrade provides +250 HP and +30 movement speed, which stacks on top of your Eul's Scepter speed upgrade! Between Tranquil Boots, Eul's, Spirit Vessel, AND Tether +16%, Io can hit movement speeds of 537!!! That's halfway to being Hasted! Permanently!

I would NOT upgrade Urn of Shadows into Spirit Vessel if someone on your team already has Urn and refuses to sell it. Vessel/Urn only work if they have charges on them, and without charges (or the reliability to know that you will gain charges in the future), you are spending 1950 gold on an item that you won't actually use. If your teammates have Urn, spend your money elsewhere.

LUXURY ITEMS
Guardian Greaves - 3000 gold
Guardian Greaves are an optional purchase if you feel you need...
1) a second self-dispel alongside Eul's
2) a greater mana pool/AOE mana regen
3) a shorter Mek cooldown.

Guardians is excellent in builds that already have Arcane Boots to condense this item into Mekansm, creating more inventory space. However, this merges the functions of both items as well, which is not always a good thing. The problem with relying on Guardian Greaves as your main source of mana is that you're more likely to use Guardian Greaves outside of important teamfights in order to maintain your MP. This means you are more likely to have Guardians on cooldown when you need them most. Eul's Scepter provides this base mana pool increase and MP regen so that Guardians can be saved for where it's needed most.

Heart of Tarrasque - 5200 gold

Items (Core) - Bottle Build

THIS SECTION IS STILL UNDER CONSTRUCTION

OPENING ITEMS
Animal Courier
It sucks, but someone has to buy it. Try to let another support/semi-support hero purchase it, but if you must, getting courier is a priority over Bottle.
Bottle
This is Io's bread and butter. Try to grab the 0:00 Bounty Rune to ensure you can get this important item quickly. If you have VERY slow farm, Bottle can be purchased from the Secret Shop in a pinch.
Faerie Fire (Optional!)
If you have gotten lucky and (1) did not have to purchase courier and (2) got the 0:00 Bounty Rune, you will have enough gold to purchase Bottle AND a Faerie Fire. The bonus physical damage will help Io harass and secure last hits/denies. The item can be consumed to gain Io 75 HP and 112.5 HP for his Tether target! This can save your carry's life in the early game, which will have a big impact on his farm and his ability to carry as the game progresses.

BASIC ITEMS
(1) Magic Stick
Magic Stick can be purchased from the Sideshop, and helps Io to flash heal himself and his Tether target by building up charges from enemy spellcasts. This small gold investment can save you or your carry's life, and is a crucial item for early game Io. At 10 charges, a Stick heals for (15 * 10)= 150 HP/MP for you and 225 HP/MP for your Tether target, which is almost the strength of a Mekansm charge.

(2) Town Portal Scroll
Because Bottle Build places a higher early-game emphasis on healing, Io should have a TP scroll very early on to help other lanes that are retreating from ganks. When heroes dive towers or overextend to kill a mid hero or offlane hero, a quick TP from Io, Tether + heal can swing that fight and save the hero's life, and even help secure a kill. Carrying a TP scroll as early as possible is crucial in this build, moreso than Soul Ring Build.

(3) Infused Raindrops
Infused Raindrops give Io 5 charges of spell damage protection. Buying Raindrops this early is beneficial, because only 1 Raindrop charge is required to build Urn of Shadows. Getting an early Raindrops can help block some offensive spells while Io is building other items.

(5) Urn of Shadows
Urn of Shadows provides stats and armor for Io survival, but the real profit comes from the use of the Urn charges. Urning yourself and Tethering (while Overcharging) to a hero in a fight can heal them for (400 * 1.5) = 600 HP (as long as you don't take any enemy hero damage) in additional to your natural HP regen. This makes Urn a powerful healing spell that is crucial to Io's mid-game healing functionality. Urning enemy players can net you crucial kills (with its long range and Pure damage) and can help increase your DPS in teamfights.

Because of this, Io should have priority on the team to purchase Urn of Shadows over other heroes who normally have Urn in their item builds (such as Huskar, Pudge, or Spirit Breaker).

(6) Magic Wand
Upgrading your Stick into a Wand gives Io additional stats for survival, and allows the maximum charges to rise from 10 to 17. At 17 charges, Wand heals 255 HP/MP to you and 382 HP/MP to your Tether target.

Items - Mekansm Rush (Bottle-based)

THIS SECTION IS STILL UNDER CONSTRUCTION

ADVANCED ITEMS
Mekansm
Mekansm provides armor, some minor stats, and a group heal for +250 HP. Through Io's Tether (presuming he gains the full 250 HP and is not at 100% HP at the time of casting), Io's Tether target receives the Mek heal of 250 HP as well as the 1.5X Tether heal from Io's 250 HP gain. This equates to (250 + 250*1.5)= 625 HP gain on a single Tethered hero.

Mek is extremely powerful in situations where your team is grouped together, such as during teamfights or when you are pushing towers/rax.

Purchase Chainmail first; Io's low natural armor is complimented heavily by this purchase, and you will most likely begin building Mekansm before your Lv 10 +6 Armor Talent can be acquired.

The earlier you acquire Mekansm, the better. The +250 HP heal is more powerful when your teammates have less total HP - therefore, it is advisable to purchase Mek before any mana support items.

MANA/MOVESPEED OPTIONS
Arcane Boots
Arcane Boots supplement Io's minimal mana pool and mana output, and is the classical item choice for Io move speed boost and mana support. It provides an AOE mana boost of 135 MP every 55 seconds, which is (135 + (135*1.5))= 337.5 MP to a single Tether target. Arcane Boots increase Io's mana pool by 250 MP, which allows a greater emphasis to be placed on spamming Spirits. Arcane Boots also set up a Guardian Greaves purchase later in the game.

Eul's Scepter of Divinity
High-level Io players, such as Ziqi, will opt to skip Arcane Boots and instead purchase Eul's Scepter of Divinity for twice the price. The idea here is that this item provides many of the same benefits as Arcane Boots, and then some! Through Eul's, Io gains a +40 move speed bonus, his passive mana regen is heavily boosted, his mana pool is increased, and most importantly, he gains access to the activation of Eul's: Cyclone.

Cyclone provides a Basic Dispel effect, much like activating Guardian Greaves would, but it can also be cast offensively on an enemy player. It also serves as an interrupt/crowd control effect that Io naturally lacks. This can be used to cancel enemy channeling spells and TPs, remove enemy carries from teamfights for 2.5 seconds, block incoming damage onto Io, setup ganks onto enemy heroes, and much more.

Some of my favorite Eul's Scepter of Divinity uses include removing Monkey King Jingu Mastery after MK has gotten off 4 successful hits, blocking Kunkka X Marks the Spot from returning me to Torrent, and providing an extra 2 seconds of safety before my Relocate Return procs.

Obviously, you should only purchase Eul's Scepter of Divinity if you plan to skip Guardian Greaves, and vice versa. Doubling up on these items is an unnecessary waste of gold. Furthermore, this item may be difficult to buy as a Position 5 Io due to high cost, so perhaps this item is only viable when you have help with support purchases from other players.

LUXURY ITEMS
Glimmer Cape
I will sing the praises of Glimmer Cape forever. Glimmer Cape is one of my favorite Io items, and is discussed at length in the "Items - Soul Ring Build" section of this guild. It has functions in escaping, keeping others alive, surviving and complementing Relocates, and blocking magic damage. I truly advise you read that section now, if you have not already.

Heart of Tarrasque
HoT, especially after the 7.00 updates (where its regen has been increased from 4.5% HP/sec to 7% HP/sec), is without a doubt THE DEFINING ENDGAME ITEM FOR IO. If you can get your hands on this item, the game is borderline over. By staying behind your team's lines and Tether/Overcharging heroes taking damage, you can swing teamfights in your favor, support pushes by recharging half-health heroes, and even tank tower damage without flinching.

Tether healing with HoT heals your target for upwards of 200 HP/sec, and that's limited because OVERCHARGE DOESN'T TAKE AWAY HP FAST ENOUGH (Overcharge bleeds 6% HP/sec, HoT heals you 7% HP/sec). If you are damaged and can heal at the full rate HoT allows, you will be healing a Tether target for upwards of 270 HP/sec. Greater than 1 Mekansm activation PER SECOND. That's how f*ckin insane this item is.

The HP boost and Str bonus from HoT build into Io's damage and max HP, putting him somewhere around 2500 total HP. If you are attacked and HoT deactivates, Glimmer Cape is available to hide and reposition, giving HoT time to reset and activate again.

Support Items - All Builds

SUPPORT ITEMS AND CONSUMABLES
I think support items are match-dependent, item build-dependent, gameplay style-dependent - as a result, they will change wildly from player to player and game to game. That being said, I have tried to jot down notes about the most important support items and consumables for Io.

Tome of Knowledge
Tome of Knowledge is really important for Io, ESPECIALLY IN 7.07 because Io's talents are so fantastic and crucial to his functionality. If you are less than Lv 7 at minute 10, Tome can help push you towards maximum Spirits damage AND your Lv 10 Talent. If you are less than Lv 15 at minute 20, Tome can help you towards your next talent. Same for minute 30. And 40. Great item, purchase it when you can.

Town Portal Scroll
Keeping an item slot open to for Teleport Scrolls is SUPER important, especially on Io. Using the TP scroll can save your life by escaping bad situations, but it can also allow Io a quick rotation to help another teammate stay alive or secure a kill. TP scrolls can also be used in combination with Tether as described in the "How to Use Tether: Intermediate" section of this guide. I have one, if not two TP's in my inventory from minute 10 until the end of the game (or until I can purchase Boots of Travel).

Observer Ward/ Sentry Ward
Wards are important for granting vision into the enemy's half of the map. They allow you to know where an enemy is, and this information can be used to move around the map and farm lanes/neutral camps in a safer fashion. I feel that in the early game, a good team who is vocal about missing calls can accomplish the same effect as having wards, and as a result, I tend not to purchase wards until the mid or late game. When I do buy them, I'm aiming to plant them in the enemy jungling areas (or any raised structure with an "eye" painted on it). I feel wards are most effective in the later stages of the game to allow your team to coordinate difficult ganks, push T2 or T3 towers, fight Roshan, and other multi-player movements that are safer to accomplish when you can see the position of 2-3 enemies on the map.
DO NOT BE HARASSED into buying wards or any other support item. If your teammates cannot play without constant map vision, then they are bad, and that is not your financial problem. Tell them how much wards cost and where to buy them.

Dust of Appearance
"Dust pays for itself" - that is my motto. Dust is big for later-game Io Relocate ganks onto heroes that rely on invisibility items or spells to escape, such as Invoker, Shadow Fiend, Riki, Treant Protector, and Tusk, just to name a few (with the exception of Weaver, who can ult to remove Dust debuff). Dust is more reliable than Sentry Wards in my opinion and physically slows invisible opponents, making them easier to kill.

Infused Raindrops
Raindrops are an optional item for Io that I would purchase if I felt I was being pressured by enemy magic heroes. Raindrops add a lot to Io's survivability at the early/mid stages of the game, and the passive MP regen is a nice bonus for you and your Tether target.

Smoke of Deceit
While I don't do this nearly often enough myself, Io should have the money in the later stages of the game to buy Smoke so that his team can successfully gank the enemy side of the map. 50 gold in exchange for a great kill set-up is absolutely worth the price.

Skills and Leveling Up

Wanna skip reading this section? Well then this is all you need:
(1) At lv 5, your skills should be 1-3-1
(2) Finish maxing Spirits first
(3) Then max Overcharge
(4) Then max Tether

All done!


Io's skill build is relatively standardized.

There are differences of opinion about what skills to increase on Lvs 2-4, but the controversy is very minor. Bottle Build players might prefer an early point in Overcharge at Io Lv 2 to utilize Bottle healing on their carry, where as Soul Ring Build players might level up Spirits early (and ignore Overcharge until Io Lv 4) to put the mana output from Soul Ring into a higher-damaging spell.

By the time you're Lv 5, your skill build should be 1-3-1. You can take whatever path you'd like to get there, but as long as you're leveling up Spirits first and have 1 point in Tether and 1 point in Overcharge at Io Lv 5, you're doing fine.

If you're lv 5, and your build is NOT 1-3-1, you're doing it wrong. 100%, no questions asked, completely, utterly, wrong. I'm sure this statement will upset SOMEONE when they read it, but it's the unfortunate truth. You can watch any professional Io game from the last 18 months and every single player maxes Spirits first, then Overcharge, then Tether. It's the equivalent of not maxing Dark Seer's Ion Shell first, or not maxing Pudge's Hook first.

Why rush Spirits first, as compared to Overcharge or Tether???

Spirits is Io's bread and butter. Spirits at Io lv 7 (when Spirits is lv 4) provides 500 magic damage (5 orbs x 100 damage), which is STRONGER THAN A LV 1 LINA ULTIMATE with a cooldown of 14 seconds.

Leveling up Spirits increases the damage of the orbs by the same amount at every level. It is a 100% increase in strength per level. 1st level is 25 damage per orb. 2nd level is DOUBLE that. 3rd level is TRIPLE that. 4th level is QUADRUPLE that. That is a 400% increase over 4 levels.

Leveling up Overcharge only increases the Attack Speed stat by 25% of the original per level (Lv 1 = 40, Lv 2 = 50, Lv 3 = 60, Lv 4 = 70). That is a 75% increase to Attack Speed over 4 levels (vs 400% if you leveled Spirits). The damage block DOES quadruple in strength like Spirits damage (5-10-15-20), but this does not get you kills in the early game and only improves defense. Even if you are supporting a carry who benefits from the Attack Speed and Damage Reduction bonuses, you are still doing yourself a disservice by not investing in your most powerful spell, Spirits.

And don't even get me started on leveling up Tether...the returns are very sad indeed.

If I see another Russian youtuber put 3 points in Tether by lv 5, I will scream.

How to Use Tether

BASICS
(1) Healing
Tether allows you to heal a teammate by 1.5x your MP and HP regen. If you are healing for 20 HP/sec, your target will be healed for 30 HP/sec.

IF YOU ARE NOT GAINING HP OR MP, YOUR TARGET IS NOT GAINING HP OR MP. If you heal yourself while you're at 100% HP, and do not physically gain any new HP points, then your target will not receive them either. Overcharging to lower your health <99%, or taking creep damage, or using Soul Ring are all ways to ensure this does not happen. This is less of an issue with MP regen, because the act of casting Tether on a target is enough to lower your MP below 100% (paying the 40 MP cost to cast Tether) so that your Tether target is basically guaranteed some level of MP regen.

Urn, Wand, Bottle, and Mek are active ways of healing yourself to help heal others. Tranquils, HoT, and other passive heals (such as activated Fountains) are also viable options for healing (and often overlooked).

Tether's cooldown is 12 seconds and Tether lasts for 12 seconds. THAT MEANS - if you break Tether early (accidentally or on purpose) you must wait until the remainder of the cooldown has finished before casting again. When you are Tethered and healing another player, ensure that you/they do not break Tether.

(2) Speed Boost
Tether gives you and your target a 13-16% speed boost. This is useful for chasing enemy heroes or for running away from ganks. It can be cast on creeps as well.

(3) Slow
If an enemy passes through Tether, it will be slowed and have its attack speed slowed by a large margin, for 0.75-2.25 seconds. This is a very rare benefit of Tether that is more coincidental than directly useful. Trying to set yourself up to to Tether through an enemy hero is more likely the get you killed in a bad position than actually earn you a kill. For the most part, I would ignore this function of Tether and be grateful when it had an effect in a teamfight.

(4) Pulling Effect
If Io Tethers to a target that is 700 or more units away (out of potential Tether range of 1800 units) then Io will be "pulled" to that target. This can help Io escape pressure from enemy heroes and improve his positioning.

This is especially effective when used to Tether up or down cliffs, where enemy heroes cannot directly follow.

A great example of this is when you are hooked by a Pudge. Unless the Pudge has a very quick hand, you should be able to Tether directly back to safety by targeting a nearby creep or teammate BEFORE Pudge can activate Dismember.

INTERMEDIATE
(5) Fight Initiation/"closing the distance"
Once Spirits has been leveled to max, the "pull effect" of Tether can be used to attack enemy heroes by approaching them faster than they can respond, especially in the laning phase. If you walk up to an enemy hero with your Spirits activate, most players will tend to back away from the spinning orbs, or perhaps attack you because they think you are a weak Io. By tethering to a friendly creep that the enemy hero is trying to farm (while you have Spirits active), you can pressure the enemy hero with physical attacks and Spirit damage (and possibly Urn damage, too). This is a great initiation route for getting kills in the earlier part of the game.



(6) Assisting your Teleport
Much like Teleporting during/before Storm Spirit's ultimate, Io can Teleport (using a TP scroll) during the "pull effect" movement of a recent Tether. First cast Tether on a far away creep or hero, and then immediately activate the TP scroll as Io is "pulling" towards his Tether target. This can increase the distance between you and an enemy hero with a stun or disruption, and can buy you valuable seconds for the TP cast to finish.



ADVANCED
(7) Tree Removal
Io's Tether is useful for destroying large areas of trees. This is especially helpful in the early laning stages, where enemy support heroes will tend to harass carries from behind a treeline (for instance, Radiant safelane carry being harassed by Dire heroes from the Western treeline). By Tethering to a creep or hero from far enough away that the "pull effect" occurs, wherever Io stops/slows from the "pull effect" will have an area of trees destroyed around it. This is designed so Io does not Tether to save someone, but gets himself caught in the trees and unable to escape. By intentionally cancelling your Tether over a collection of trees, Io can maneuver himself to cut down trees faster than some Timbersaws.

This can be used to your advantage to destroy trees where you think enemy heroes will want to stand and harass you or your carry. The Radiant safelane Western treeline is one example. Another would be the Dire safelane trees that are just below their Tier 1 tower - removing these provides a greater avenues for harassing opponents and paths of initiation. Clearing trees in your own jungle to assist with neutral stacking is a viable option as well.

(8) Creep Block
This is a minor use of Tether, but one that I don't see performed very often. In the first 30 seconds of the game, players should be attempting to body-block the first creep wave. If Io makes a mistake in the first few seconds and lets a creep slip past, he is able to Tether ahead to his lane partner in order reposition himself ahead of that creep and have a 2nd chance to block effectively.

(9) Creep Boost
Another minor use of Tether is to Tether the ranged creep of the first creep wave that spawns at 0:00. Tether provides the ranged creep with a 10% speed boost, which will hopefully increase the chances of it overtaking the other creeps in the wave and reaching the enemy creep wave first. This means your ranged creep will be taking damage before the enemy ranged creep, and because ranged creeps a major pushing agent, its early death will ensure lane equilibrium is pushing in your favor. It also primes the ranged creep to be denied, which is key for denying the enemy heroes early XP.

How to Use Spirits

BASICS
(1) Damage
Spirits is a vastly underestimated spell. At Spirits Lv 4 (which you should have at Io Level 7), the spell provides 500 magic damage (5 orbs x 100 damage each) which is INCREDIBLY STRONG for a Lv 7 support hero. No hero in the game can match that damage output compared with such a short cooldown (14 seconds).

The orbs can be expanded and contracted, and the range of these orbs is amazing for netting Io kills that other heroes do not have the range to finish themselves.

There is very rudimentary advice I can give about getting better with Spirits expansion/contraction. Practice makes perfect. Practice practice practice.

(1) If you are chasing an enemy, EXPAND orbs.
(2) If you are about to be charged/stunned/dueled, CONTRACT orbs.
(3) Rhythmically switching between Expand and Contract essentially keep the Orbs from moving, and might be easier than trying to double-tap either command to lock the spin in place.
(4) Your range is better than their range.
(5) Aim for groups of heroes.

(2) AOE
These orbs also have a minor AOE component, which means that when enemy heroes are grouped up, hitting one of them with orbs will damage multiple heroes. So not only can Io throw out 500 magic damage in a very short period of time, but he actually cause MORE than 500 magic damage by hitting heroes who are close together. Keep an eye out for this setup.

INTERMEDIATE
(3) Overlap Theory <-- This is f*cking important
"Overlap theory" is the idea that the floating orbs of Spirits last for 19 seconds, but the cooldown for the spell (at lv 4) is only 14 seconds. There is a 5 second overlap window whereby Spirits is active, but can also be immediately re-cast as a new spell.

This allows Io to engage in a fight whereby he already has Spirits active, can use those Spirits to cause 500 magic damage to a target, and then IMMEDIATELY cast Spirits again, causing ANOTHER 500 MAGIC DAMAGE to a target. This series of events can take place over several seconds and is CRUCIAL to Io getting kills and rapidly increasing his DPS in fights. 1000 magic damage is greater than a LEVEL 18 LINA ULTIMATE.

You're a lv 7 Io.

Let that sink in for a second.

If you activate Spirits early enough before a fight occurs, you can cause 1000 magic damage with Spirits alone. Not to mention your physical attacks (with or without Overcharge boost) and pure damage from Urn of Shadows. Combined with the Initation/"closing the distance" concept as described in How to Use Tether, this makes Io a f*cking deadly hero.

(4) Shield Popping
If you have Spirits activated, and then proceed to cast another Spirits spell in the 5 second "overlap window", all previous Spirit orbs will explode to make way for the new 5 orbs from the 2nd cast. These disappearing orbs still do full damage upon explosion, and this means that by contracting your orbs as close to Io as possible, Io can act as a small suicide bomber with 500 magic damage worth of orbs surrounding him (and a further 500 about to spawn from the 2nd cast).

This can be used in 2 ways. The first is farming. Io can destroy creep waves or neutral camps by contracting his Spirit orbs and then "popping" his orb shield by activating a new Spirits spell, causing 500 magic damage in a small aoe around Io. This will clear an entire creep wave in one button push AND create a new 5 orbs that have a fresh cooldown.

The second use of this is in combat. A great example of this concept is Io vs Sven. If Io has fully-contracted orbs and Sven stuns Io and approaches to initiate a fight, Io can pop his orb shield as soon as the stun wears off. This provides a rather shocking 500 magic damage to an opponent who until 0.1 seconds ago had the advantage in this fight, and FURTHER PROVIDES a second wave of orbs that are immediately spawning and harassing Sven further.


It's not advisable to build your entire Io gameplay around this concept, because being close enough to enemy heroes to "shield pop" them puts Io in bad position. It is, however, the primary way Io farms waves/camps, and CAN be used when needed in teamfight situations.

ADVANCED
(5) Speed of Expansion/Contraction
The speed at which Spirit orbs expand and contract is relatively close to Io's walk speed. This is an estimation, because Io's movement speed will change throughout the game as he buys new items. However, this can be used to confuse enemy heroes and improve your initiation chances.

Start by activating Spirits and expanding the orbs. If you were to approach an enemy hero right now, he would see your spinning Orbs before he saw you, and he would know "Io is approaching me, I should.... retreat/fight/cry/etc." If, however, you approach the enemy hero AND contract your orbs at the same time, the speed of your walking VS the speed of contracting orbs provides a net movement of 0. This means the enemy hero sees spinning orbs, but does not realize you are approaching him. To him, Io seems to be in one place and not moving, because while the spinning orbs are visible, they are not getting any closer. Once Io comes into view of the enemy hero, it is already too late for him. Now, you can expand your orbs back out again, easily clearing the distance it would take for them to smash into the enemy hero.

(6) Spirits Range Trickery
No one has a base knowledge of Io's orb range. If you expand your Spirits to their maximum, and then slightly contract them, that's how far the enemy will presume they can go. Enemy heroes will run just outside your Spirits range to ensure they gain XP, and you can expand your Spirits and chase them to deal damage in a position the enemy previously thought safe. Play around with this concept - it's amazing what you can get away with.

(7) Vision
Spirits can provide vision to Io in multiple ways. First off, if a Spirit hits a enemy hero, that hero is visible for several seconds. NO ONE SEEMS TO REALIZE THIS. Often times heroes who have been hit by Orbs while hiding in the trees will stay there, not knowing that the Orbs have provided vision of their location to your teammates. This is especially important against Monkey King, the newest hero in 7.00. While Monkey King is using Tree Dance, any damage from Spirits will provide his location to your team and make him targetable for other spells.

Second off, Spirits will hit invisible players. This can serve as a warning sign that invisible players are approaching your position to gank. Often, expanding/contracting Orbs and attempting to mimic the pathing of an invs hero provides several Orb collisions, essentially painting a path that this invs hero is taking. This can be used to track the movement of an invs player, as well as potentially getting the kill on a hero you can't even see.

Third off, Spirits will NOT hit illusions. Seeing Orbs fly through an enemy hero is 100% guarantee that the hero in question is fake.

How to Use Overcharge

Overcharge is the most misused spell on Io. This section of the guide is a logical exploration of when and how it is viable to use Overcharge.

BASICS
Overcharge drains 6% (f*ck you, 7.06c) of your current HP and MP per second in order to provide you AND your Tether target with increased Attack Speed (40-70) and Damage Reduction (5-20%).

This is a relatively straightfoward spell that is VERY EASY TO F*CK UP.

The easiest advice I can give about Overcharge is DO NOT TO LEAVE IT ON. You will kill yourself or render yourself useless without mana if you forget to de-active this spell. If you are chasing an enemy hero and not attacking, TURN OFF OVERCHARGE. You won't gain any DPS if you're not actually attacking. If you expect that you will be stunned or silenced, TURN OFF OVERCHARGE. Any damage that Overcharge will block from the incoming stun and subsequent damage will most likely be negated by the damage Overcharge does to you during the stun/silence.

There are several qualities to Overcharge that are overlooked by the vast majority of Dota 2 players. Firstly, Overcharge will eventually stabilize at point where your current HP is low enough that a loss of 6% per second is LESS than your HP regen. At this point, the HP you lose from Overcharge is less than or equal to the HP regen you gain naturally per second, and when you Overcharge, you will not lose or gain net HP. This "baseline" can be raised by increasing your HP regen.

Secondly, the higher your CURRENT HP is, the more damage you will take from Overcharge per second. This is relatively straightforward - 6% of 2000 is more then 6% of 100. Because Overcharge takes a PORTION of your HP, no matter how much is available, the less you have, the less it will take, until you reach your baseline.

INTERMEDIATE
Because the cost of using Overcharge is so high (6%/sec of your HP/MP is no joke), an important question to ask is: When should you be overcharging? When should you not be overcharging?

Overcharge has 2 functions, one for Attacking (attack speed) and one for Defense (damage reduction). In order to answer the question of when best to Overcharge, we must compare each of these states (Attack and Defense) against the two types of Tether states, UnTethered (Solo) and Tethered.

Attack * Solo --> Good
If you're alone, you can use Overcharge to increase your own attack speed. This can help Io get kills by increasing his DPS in conjunction with his other skills. It is dangerous, because you are paying HP and MP to increase how rapidly you take away another player's HP, so use with care. This is also a good tactic for pushing towers and rax. Just make sure not to lower your HP too significantly in case enemy heroes are nearby, and to heal if you can.

Attack * Tethered --> DOUBLE GOOD
This is the single BEST way to use Overcharge. You are paying the same cost as in Attack * Solo, but you are getting double the net attack speed (once for you, and once for your Tether target). This greatly increases DPS output from you and your teammate and can net your team important kills and pushed towers.

Defense * Solo --> BAD. SUPER BAD. REALLY REALLY F*CKING BAD.
This is the WORST way to use Overcharge. The logic here is that you are attempting to block incoming damage onto yourself by activating Overcharge. However, often times the damage reduced by Overcharge is not worth the HP loss that Overcharge inflicts. The example below illustrates this concept.

I have built an Excel Spreadsheet that calculates the damage Overcharge deals to Io per second. Lets say Io has 1000 HP, and an HP regen of 8 HP/sec. Lets say a Lina is chasing the Io and wants to cast her Lv 2 Ultimate Laguna Blade (650 magic damage, 487.5 HP points after 25% magic resistance). Io begins Overcharging as he runs away, expecting to be hit with spells. He is able to make it for 3 seconds before Lina ultimates and hits him with Overcharge activated.

After 3 seconds, Io has Overcharged himself from 1000 HP to 856 HP. Once the Lina ultimate hits Io, Overcharge removes 20% of the 487.5, and the Lina ultimate hits for 390 HP points worth of damage. Io immediately turns off Overcharge, and sits at 466 HP.

If Io had NEVER OVERCHARGED AT ALL, the Lina ultimate would have hit for 487.5 HP points worth of damage, and Io would be sitting at 512.5 HP.

It's clear from this example that even a brief overestimation in Overcharge can have a net negative effect on Io's survivability. Even in this example, the time it takes for the Lina ultimate to make contact, and the time it takes for Io to turn off the Overcharge, is set to 0 seconds, when in reality it would be another additional second of reaction time before Overcharge could be turned off, dealing even more damage to Io.

Using Overcharge to block self-damage is functional IF THE TIME SPENT OVERCHARGING IS EXTREMELY SHORT (~1 second). Turning on Overcharge the moment before a Sniper Headshot hits you, and then immediately turning it off again, will block 20% of Sniper's damage while hurting you relatively little. The problem with examples like this is that very few spells are so obvious as to be able to predict the exact moment they will hit. Overcharging for even a few seconds on either side of the incoming spell would negate the damage blocked by Overcharge in the first place.

Defense * Tethered --> Good
Overcharge can be used to block incoming damage on a Tethered teammate. This is a valid way of using Overcharge because it presumes Io is not being focused by enemy damage. Io is sacrificing his own HP/MP, but it's done in order to ensure another hero's HP does not drop to zero. Overcharge also comes into play as a HP-lowering spell, in order to ensure that Io's self-healing items will have maximum effect on the Tethered party.

ADVANCED
Overcharge "Baseline"
Your Overcharge "baseline" is defined by the following mathematical relationship: 1 HP regen = 16.666666 HP. If you have 8 HP/sec, your baseline is 133.33 HP, meaning that if you activate Overcharge when your HP is at 133.33, you will not gain nor lose HP. If you Overcharged very close to your baseline, lets say 150 HP, you would only lose a very small fraction per second (<1 HP). If you Overcharged at 110 HP, you would gain net HP, despite the damage from Overcharge.

Your baseline varies according to your HP regen. 8 HP/sec has a baseline of 133.3 HP. 10 HP/sec has a baseline of 166.66 HP. 20 HP/sec has a baseline of 333.33 HP. Etc etc etc.

Another exception to the Defense * Solo Overcharge rule is when your hero is close to their baseline. Overcharging in this scenario deals very little damage to Io, at which point the 20% damage block becomes viable and useful - it might be the thing that keeps you alive. Lets present another example to illustrate this principle.

Io sits at 216.66 HP with 13 HP regen/sec, and therefore 216.66 is his baseline (16.66 * 13 = 216.66). In one reality, Io does not overcharge. Over 4 seconds, he gains 52 HP (13 HP/sec * 4 sec), moving to 268.66 HP. After the 4 seconds, he is hit with a spell that deals 270 damage, and dies. In the second reality, Io overcharges for 4 seconds. He does not gain or lose any HP, and is still at 216.66 at the end of the 4 seconds. He is then also hit with a 270 damage spell, but now survives, blocking 20% of the 270 (270*.8 = 216) and taking 216 damage. He survives with 0.66 HP remaining.

7.06c Update - The biggest change from the 4.5% to 6.0% Overcharge update is the lowering of baselines across the board. Io used to be able to survive by Overcharging at his 8 HP baseline @4.5% Overcharge (177.7 HP baseline at 8 HP/sec regen) and now dies every time before his 13 HP baseline @6.0% Overcharge (216.67 HP baseline at 13 HP/sec regen). This means that OVERCHARGING TO BLOCK SELF DAMAGE IS EVEN WORSE THAN IT WAS BEFORE.

So, in summary:
(1) Overcharge to increase your damage output
(2) Overcharge to increase your + another's damage output
(3) Overcharge to block damage on another hero and to ensure your healing is effective
(4) DO NOT Overcharge to block damage on yourself, UNLESS your HP is close to your baseline

How to Use Relocate

Double-tapping the Relocate button ("R" for some players, "4" for others) should activate Relocate and teleport you back to your base. If this does not work for you, you can change the "double-tap an item/spell to activate it on yourself" option in the Settings menu.

BASICS
Relocate teleports Io and a Tethered target to anywhere on the map for 12 seconds. After 12 seconds, Io and anyone he is Tethered to will be Returned to their original position.

(1) Escape or Save a Teammate
Relocate can be used to escape death by Relocating back to your base. This is effective because it negates the enemy team's pressure on you and in the process can waste valuable cooldowns and put enemy heroes out of position. Being back in the base refreshes Io's HP and MP, allows him to buy valuable items (especially if you think, on the Return, you will most likely be killed), and buys time for other teammates to move to the fight and engage with the enemy.

This principle is the same for when you are Tethered to another teammate. If someone is being Duel by an Legion Commander, or Dismember by a Pudge, or simply has low HP, you can Relocate them to safety. My advice is to activate Relocate FIRST, and THEN Tether to your intended target. Overcharging is also a good idea, to prevent the target from dying before Relocate activates.

You will have to make a judgement call about the Return, and whether or not it is a good idea to bring back the person you saved. If 5 enemy heroes are waiting for your Return, it might be best to leave the hero you saved and accept your death. 2 dead heroes is always worse than 1.

There are several common locations for Relocate. The first is back to base, where the healing and item purchasing can occur. This is where 98% of my save/escape-based Relocates are headed.

The second Relocate location is just outside of a teamfight. If a teammate is disabled by a spell, such as Batrider Flaming Lasso, teleporting that teammate all the way back to your base for 12 seconds removes two allied heroes from the teamfight (You + Teammate), which can weaken the position of your other teammates and could potentially lose you the teamfight. Instead, you can Relocate with that hero only several hundred units away - enough to break the disable spell, but not so far that they cannot participate in the teamfight. This saves your teammate AND stops the teamfight from becoming lopsided in favor of the enemy.

The third and least common use of Relocate takes a different approach. Rather than fighting with your team and Relocating to safety (only to Return back to the fight, which could be very dangerous) some professional Io players will opt to use a Teleport Scroll back to base, and then Relocate BACK to the fight. This provides the benefit of being able to Tether another teammate to safety upon your Return, while also increasing Io's survivability by ensuring he has 100% HP/MP. However, if the fight lasts longer than 12 seconds, Io is unable to teleport back to help further (as both Relocate and TP scroll will be on cooldown).

(2) Gank/Initiate
Relocate can be used to gank enemy heroes anywhere on the map. This is best performed when Tethering to another hero, to increase the DPS you can output in only 12 seconds.

When Io Relocates to a location, there is a "swirl" on the ground at the target location that is visible to enemy players. As a result, it is important to hide this swirl. The best way to do this is to Relocate into some trees that are near your ganking target. The trees will break when Relocate activates, so you do not have to worry about being stuck in the trees, and the enemy hero will have no visual clue that you are coming to gank.

A riskier option is to Relocate DIRECTLY ON TOP of the enemy hero, so that his character model covers the swirl. If the hero moves, however, he will most likely see the swirl and register that an Io + Teammate is incoming, so this is best performed on stationary heroes.

The is an auditory cue that your enemy can hear (the "charging up" noise that you hear when you Relocate) regardless of his ability to see the "swirl". Keen players will hear you coming and react accordingly, so be careful!

INTERMEDIATE
(3) Dive/Killing Runners
Relocate can be used to catch low-HP enemy heroes that are running back through a lane towards their base. This will require some timing on the part of the Io, but the range of Spirits allows Io to deal high damage to far-away heroes, while Relocate ensures you will be Returned to your original position, no matter how deep you have to dive.

This USED TO BE viable for diving into enemy bases, by cutting off heroes who are running for their bases' high ground. HOWEVER - after the 7.00 patch and introduction of multiple fountains around the base, diving into enemy bases has become incredibly risky and is not advisable to even very high-skill Io players. Enemy heroes can now heal themselves rapidly without needing to stand in their bases' high ground, and can reverse onto Io aggressively.

(4) Pushing (aka Rat Dota)
Relocate can be used to push towers and rax, as long as there is no backdoor protection. The 12 second Return ensures that no matter how dangerous or risky the positioning is, Io + Tether buddy will always be returned to safety. Bringing a Tethered hero is required for maximum DPS, and choosing the top-damage hero on your team ( Tiny with Aghs is a great choice, or any hero with Desolator) will ensure for fast pushing.

Backdoor tower/rax regeneration is still an issue, but if the tower/rax has low enough HP, you should be able to finish it off before the Relocate is over.

This Relocating tactic forces the enemy players to remain close to base to defend against potential Relocates, and is a valuable method for controlling enemy movement in the endgame.

(5) Defending Towers
Io can use Relocate, if needed, to engage creeps that are hitting towers. While it is not the best use of the spell, the 12 seconds allows Io to eliminate one, if not two creep waves that are pressuring a tower that no one is defending.

ADVANCED
(6) Changing Tether Targets Mid-Relocate
When Io Tethers to any target, the Tether lasts for 12 seconds, and has a cooldown of 12 seconds. HOWEVER - when Io Relocates, this refreshes his Tether, BUT NOT THE COOLDOWN. This means you can potentially have a 24-second-long Tether, by Tethering for almost 12 seconds and then activating Relocate before Tether expires.

It also means that if you Tether a target for several seconds, and then Relocate to a new area, you can Break your Tether and re-Tether a new target to bring with you on your Return. Because the cooldown of Tether is not refreshed upon Relocate use, this allows you to bring Hero A into a teamfight, then re-Tether to Hero B and bring him to safety.



(7) Return can be CANCELLED?!
The Return portion of Relocate is one of the strongest spells in the game. It cannot be overpowered by any stun, root, disable, or item (such as Eul's Scepter of Divinity). There are, however, some ways in which Io will NOT be Returned to his original location.

The first is through Pudge Meat Hook. If Pudge hooks Io, and Io is being dragged towards Pudge as the Return activates, Io will Return to his original position before being teleported back to Pudge. Something about the way Hook works with heroes and positioning means that Io will not be Returned. This can be used POSITIVELY, such as a teammate Pudge saving you from a bad Return, or NEGATIVELY, by a enemy Pudge preventing you from escaping.



The second way to cancel Return is through other "returning" spells. [Kunkka] [X Marks the Spot] is a classic example, whereby Kunkka can X the Io, wait for him to Return, and then activate the X spell to bring Io back. [Keeper of the Light] [Recall] is another example of this, where KotL can start the Recall spell before Io has Returned, and time it so that the Recall spell will activate very soon after Io Returns. A well-timed [Underlord] [Dark Rift] can accomplish the same thing.

The third way to cancel Return is via a Teleport Scroll, and is without a doubt the MOST DIFFICULT Return cancel to perform. It operates on the idea that if the Teleport channeling spell completes itself at the exact moment that Io Returns, the Teleport will override the Return, and the Io will move to the Teleport location and not the Return location.

My best advice to accomplish a TP scroll Return-Cancel is to activate the scroll just before the countdown timer for Return hits "3". There are several microseconds of time between clicking the intended location of the Teleport Scroll and 3-second channeling spell actually beginning, and this must be factored in when trying to execute this move. The window for activating the TP scroll successfully is INSANELY small (several frames, I would imagine), and you will fail more than 9 times out of 10. Activate the TP too early, and the Relocate will cancel the channeling spell. Active the TP too late, and Io will successfully TP... and then Return. Practice makes perfect.



(8) Relocate and Glimmer Cape - Two Best Friends
Glimmer Cape is your best friend, especially when it comes to Relocate. While Glimmer Cape may help you activate the Relocate without being stunned (although you will break Glimmer's invisibility when you start the Relocate spell), it is mainly used on the Return portion, where one or several enemies may be waiting to kill you.

Glimmer Cape provides 5 seconds of invisibility after a 0.6 second pause. Glimmer can be activated 1 second before you Return, and will render you invisible for when you Return to your original position. This will buy you valuable seconds to move away from the Return location and potentially Tether away to safety. Enemy heroes will be staring at the "swirl" that is left by your Relocate, and will simply see the swirl disappear without any presence of Io. This confusion also plays to your advantage in moving away from the area.

Talents

In this section I defend my logic behind my Talent choices.

Lv 10 --> +60 Damage or +400 Spirits AOE (from 700 -> 1100)
+60 Damage is viable in just about every single Io scenario. Io has approx. 80 damage at Lv 10, so +60 ontop of that is nearly double your melee damage. If you are supporting, +60 Damage allows you to farm faster, harass better, and gain gold quicker for your support items. If you are carrying, +60 Damage is crucial to getting early kills, increasing farm speed, ensure last hits, and deal more damage in a short window (for instance, during the 12 seconds of Relocate).

This talent combos very well with the Lv 20 Attack/Tether talent, as each of your bonus attacks will be 60 damage stronger.

+400 Spirits AOE is....fine. It's a nice, warm hug after the slap in the face that is the Spirits range 875 -> 700 AOE nerf in 7.07, but it's not THAT fantastic. This talent allows you to stay farther away from combat while still delivering damage to the enemy team. While I can see its function in tournament/high MMR play, whereby any kill given away to the enemy can be a huge disadvantage, in normal games (and games below 7k), I would have a hard time seeing how this talent is better than +60 Damage. By Lv 10, the damage from your Spirits (which peaks at Lv 7) is already beginning to drop off, so increasing your AOE radius doesn't help kill others as much as it helps keep you alive.

This talent combos very well with the Lv 15 +90 Spirits Damage talent, which almost doubles your Spirits damage and means you can suddenly start delivering high damage volumes from a safe distance.

Lv 15 --> +90 Spirits Damage or Tether/Aghanim's
(R.I.P. +10 Mana Regen. You will be missed.)
Many people, when 7.07 was first released, saw the "Tether Gives Ally Aghs" talent and lost their ******* minds. They thought this was either 1) the most broken thing or 2) the greatest thing to ever happen to Dota. I disagree on both counts.

Tether/Aghs is a very situational talent - one I would suggest getting if you are playing with friends and can coordinate/communicate with them very effectively. Many allies on your team have ultimates that require you to be Tethered to them BEFORE they activate said ultimate in order for it to be Aghs buffed. Other heroes don't have Aghs buffs at all. OTHER OTHER heroes....are bad players, who are currently 1-7-3 in your game and you don't trust them to use their ultimates effectively. This often leaves 1 or 2 heroes out of the potential 4 that could actually use your Tether/Aghs effectively. Some great examples included Sven, ___.

Because of the hype surrounding the Tether/Aghs talent, the +90 Spirits talent has sort of fallen under the radar - which is insane, because it's incredibly, incredibly powerful. Spirits hit for 100 damage per orb, so +90 is ALMOST DOUBLE SPIRITS DAMAGE. This means that Spirits moves from 500 damage per cast at lv 7 to 950 damage per cast at lv 15 - that's enormous! Not only that, but this bigger damage output means that percentage-based increases to magic damage (such as Veil of Discord, Kaya, bonuses gained through Intelligence) have even more impact. Most importantly, +90 Spirits Damage requires no coordination with your teammates. It is always active, always working, where as Tether/Aghs is INCREDIBLY situational even within a game where you have good targets.

I personally pick +90 Spirits Damage >95% of the time.

Lv 20 --> +150 Gold/min or "Attack when Tethered Ally Attacks"
Both of these talents are good. Really, really good.

I would personally choose Tether/Attack in a situation where the game is not won yet - where your team still has some crucial pushing to complete, and the enemy team is not a pushover. The Tether/Attack talent increases Io's attack speed by more than you can imagine. It synergizes very well with Overcharge, which increases both you and your partner's attack speed, which in turn increases your attack speed even further.

I would personally choose the +150 GPM talent in a situation where a specific item is needed to win the game (e.g. "I need to finish HoT so I can keep my carry alive") OR the game is basically already over. The +150 GPM is a strong value that allows Io to complete heavy end-game items such as Heart of Tarrasque or Octarine Core with relative ease.

Lv 25 --> +50 HP Regen or Tether Stuns (2.25 seconds)
Let's start with the most important piece of information about +50 HP Regen - it's a liar. Because HP regen now stacks alongside the amount of Strength you have, the +50 HP Regen Talent actually provides closer to +80 HP regen. That's over 50% stronger than listed on the ticket.

+50 HP Regen can act as a soft Heart of Tarrasque - it actually beats out HoT in that it cannot be turned off like HoT can. Whereas HoT was a required item in the endgame as a powerful healing source that could keep allies alive, this talent helps replace that item's necessity and allows a greater breadth of endgame options.

The more situational choice is the Tether Stuns talent, which requires the Tether to pass through the target, meaning Io or his target partner must be ahead of the enemy hero. This is a dangerous position for Io to be in, because having a squishy support ahead of your team carries can get Io killed very easily in the late-game. Glimmer Cape will help to drop aggro (presuming they aren't buying wards and dust) and Force Staff would assist in positioning, too. This doesn't negate Tether Stun's viability, it's just something to be wary of when using the skill.

Outro

Thank you so much to the Dotafire community for putting this guide on the front page, as the #1 spot on the "Top Dota 2 Guides (Last 30 Days)" charts from 2-19-17 to 3-20-17.

I hope that by reading through this guide (or just the portions you were interested in) that you have gained a deeper understanding of Io strategy, and that I have effectively defended my reasoning behind the decisions I made.

I plan to use this guide as my own personal record of successful Io ideas, and I will be updating this guide as I find new combos and item combinations that are more effective than the last. So feel free to check back in a few months and see what I've come up with.

Newest Update -- 7.07 Holy f*cking sh*t everything is different and Io is a killing machine now.

A big thank you to everyone who has said nice things about this guide, subscribed to my channel, or sent positive feedback. Hopefully you guys can be pulling moves like this soon -



And an extra special thank you to everyone who gave me advice or guidance about Io - I couldn't have done it without you.

- Wisper

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