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Thus do I Invoke Myself: The Legend of Kael

October 4, 2015 by Terathiel
Comments: 5    |    Views: 17545    |   


Build 1
Build 2
Build 3

Quas-Exort: Nuker-Pusher

DotA2 Hero: Invoker


Purchase Order

Starting Items

Core

Extension

Further Options

Highly Situational



Hero Skills

Quas

2 6 10 11 23 24 25

Wex

8 16 18 19 20 21 22

Exort

1 4 5 9 13 14 15

Invoke

3 7 12 17

Talents


Introduction


I've played a lot of Invoker. Over-a-hundred-games a lot of Invoker. This number is still climbing.

One of the things that was pointed out is that there is no up-to-date 6.84c guide for Kael (or Carl, if you dislike dramatic names). This, then, is an attempt to alleviate the problem and rectify such an unfortunate situation (see - I even speak like him!).

Kael is a very popular Hero, but his ~40% winrate is pretty pathetic. That is because, while it is easy to learn Invoker, it is extremely difficult to master him. It's a lot more than knowing in what order to hit Q-W-E-R and having the reflexes to pull off his combo - it's about game assessment - knowing what spell will be most effective in the situation. Thus, you see a lot of Invokers drop a Tornado into a 5-man Chronosphere, or trying to stop a Spirit Breaker with Ice Wall.

A lot of guides offer 'still learning' alternatives, which neglect a lot of Invoker's potential for an easier playstyle. I do not encourage this, as when you get the hang of the Hero, it can be difficult to integrate the advanced skills into an already-developed style of play. The entire POINT of Invoker is that he has a steep learning curve - and this is only fixed by lots and lots of practice.

Hero Selection

When to pick Invoker
-There is a free solo mid or solo safelane.
-The enemy has a relatively passive lineup that gives you time to come online.
-Your team needs lockdown (Quas-Wex) or damage (Quas-Exort).
-You are confident in your ability to outlane your opponents.
-Your team can live without ganks.

When NOT to pick Invoker
-Your team has a mid.
-The enemy can exert a lot of early pressure to shut you down.
- Skywrath Mage.
-The enemy team has a lot of natural BKB carriers.
-Your team needs a ganking mid.

Invoker can fit into a lot of games, more so pubs than organised play, but there are a few things to know.

1. You NEED a solo lane. Since Invoker is a poor offlaner, this means mid or safelane (mid being the more common, but safelane arguably working better against a solo offlaner).
2. You need time and levels. Ideally you also want the gold for your first item, but you are extremely level-dependent and must play as such.
3. You are a passive, farming mid. Generally, while you can gank and aren't too bad at it, the game will be better in the long run if you farm. Exceptions, of course, if your carry is having a horrible time, but the supports should be dealing with that.

Pros
-Versatile
-Either has high damage, or high lockdown
-Strong laner
-Is a solid lategamer; scales better than most other semicarries
- Sun Strike

Cons
-Vulnerable to ganks
-The worst level 1 Hero in the game
-Plowed by BKB
-Vulnerable to silences
-Extremely level dependent

Your Orbs

I must now choose the colour of my floaty sphere balls!

Invoker has two defined builds, both of which see common play: Quas-Exort and Quas-Wex. A third, Wexort, exists, but this is uncommon and generally not recommended for reasons stated below. Which build you choose depends on the game and who you are with/up against.


This is the nuker/split push build. It is a very strong laning build, with high damage and high HP regen, as well as Forged Spirits to play with the runes and assist in the lane. This build thrives against low-mobility enemies and vulnerable, low-HP Heroes who are susceptible to your combo. It is also a good build for pushing when using Alacrity and Forged Spirits, and often you will see Necronomicon picked up on a QE Invoker.

Core Spells


SUNSTRIKE
This is a global skillshot that is used for sniping enemies cross-map and assisting in ganks without having to leave your lane. It deals considerable damage with a few points in Exort and has a 1.7 second delay before hitting the enemy, requiring you to track their movement and try and guess where they will be.

FORGE SPIRITS
This spell summons minions for you to fight, push and farm with. They are powerful in the early game with their armour reduction, and are considerably better than Lycan Wolves.

COLD SNAP
Cold Snap is a long-range disable which triggers when cast, and when the target takes damage. Combined with Forged Spirits, it results in almost a permastun and an easily landed Sun Strike. The 1000 range makes it very good at disrupting channeling ultimates and Spirit Breaker's charge.


Quas-Wex is the utility teamfighter build. It features mana drain, lockdown, crowd control and is higher mobility than the QE build. It's good if the other team has a bunch of mana-intensive Heroes, and if your team needs solid disables. It's less level and farm dependent than the other Invoker builds. Be wary of arcane boots on the enemy team, however, as they can nullify the effects of your spells.

Core Spells


TORNADO
This is the first part of your combo - it's a long-ranged spell that sends out a tornado in a line to sweep enemies into the air. They take damage upon landing, and this damage is considerable when hitting multiple enemies. It's great to setup hard-to-land spells like your own, as well as things like Earth Splitter.

EMP
This is your signature spell, that you cast after Tornado. After a 2.9s delay, the area will erupt, burning massive amounts of mana. Damage dealt is only half the mana burnt, however - hence why your team needs damage to compensate. Excellent against mana-hungry carries such as Wraith King. Hyper effective against Medusa.

COLD SNAP
Cold Snap is a long-range disable which triggers when cast, and when the target takes damage. Use this to keep solitary enemies in the place of your EMP pulse, as QW builds have high attack speed. The 1000 range makes it very good at disrupting channeling ultimates and Spirit Breaker's charge.


Wexort is considered the least viable of Invoker builds; you don't have lane sustain through Quas, you don't have lockdown, and all your utility is Alacrity. But what you do have is damage. Lots and lots of damage. If your team has a massive amount of disables already, then Wexort will let you work with this to tear apart rivals.

Core Spells


SUNSTRIKE
This is a global skillshot that is used for sniping enemies cross-map and assisting in ganks without having to leave your lane. It deals considerable damage with a few points in Exort and has a 1.7 second delay before hitting the enemy, requiring you to track their movement and try and guess where they will be.

EMP
Hard to land without assistance, but works well with Euls. After a 2.9s delay, the area will erupt, burning massive amounts of mana. Damage dealt is only half the mana burnt, however - but you more than compensate for this with Sunstrike and Chaos Meteor. Excellent against mana-hungry carries such as Wraith King. Hyper effective against Medusa.

ALACRITY
This spell turns you into a devastating early-game rightclicker, especially with your already-high damage from Exort. Lategame, it's better to put it on your own carry.

CHAOS METEOR
Another spell that requires some setup to land, Chaos Meteor does a massive amount of damage and leaves a burn over time. It clears creep waves like you wouldn't believe, and with a stacked jungle you can farm incredibly fast with it. Of course, its primary purpose is killing Heroes.

Other Spells


Of course, Kael has many other skills, and no guide would be complete without explaining what they do.

ICE WALL
A lot of newer Invoker players underrate this skill and rarely, if ever, use it. However, it is an excellent zoning tool, and provides a ridiculous slow with high levels in Quas. While the damage is fairly insignificant, it triggers Cold Snap. If you're QE or QW, Ice Wall is a good spell for ganking, and if you want to disengage from a teamfight there is little better.

GHOST WALK
This is your escape. Ghost Walk is pretty ineffective at low levels of Wex, but scales magnificently to not only boost your speed but slow your enemies considerably! Another excellent disengagement spell, but be very cautious around detection - still, it disjoints projectiles, has an instant fade time, and slows your enemies. Never a bad skill.

DEAFENING BLAST
Ahh, Deafening Blast. This spell does amazing things and has so many uses. Firstly, if you're QE, then it will push enemies along the path of your Chaos Meteor, causing it to deal more damage to them. If you're QW, then it takes a more disabling role with a long-duration knockback and disarm in a wide area. It can also be used when disengaging, to force enemies away, used to disrupt teleports and channeled spells, and in teamfights to cripple an enemy's fighting capabilities. Up there with Tornado as Invoker's most versatile spell. ****in' Tornado, man. Learn to love that ****.

Combos, When to Use Them or: Don't Cock up the Chronosphere

As you'd expect from a bloke with 10 spells, Invoker can use them in a variety of different and powerful ways. How you use them depends a lot on what build you're playing and what role you are taking in the team.


Quas-Wex is the easiest of the builds to play, and only has one main combo that they will use often to great effectiveness.
1. Initiation, Mana Burn, Damage
Start by casting Tornado, then drop an EMP underneath. When your enemies land, immediately Invoke and cast Deafening Blast to disable them for the rest of the time EMP needs to charge. This is most often used as initiation, and works better the more enemies there are - of course, the cooldown is short enough that it can be used in single target ganks as well. There aren't a lot of Heroes who can do a lot with 0 mana.

2. Ganking
Sneak up on the target with Ghost Walk, then drop an Ice Wall on top of them. Invoke and cast Cold Snap. If you have Orchid Malevolence, use that. Then, right click and early-game this should assure a kill. This combo is effective only in ganks, so don't try it elsewhere.


Quas-Exort is a huge step up in difficulty from QW, and there are a lot more combos to remember.
1. Single-target annihilation
Begin by using Eul's Scepter of Divinity on the target. Wait 0.7 seconds, and cast Sun Strike underneath the tornado, followed by Chaos Meteor. Then, as the enemy is landing, invoke and cast Deafening Blast to push along with the meteor. This combo will annihilate any one target, but if there are any creeps around its effectiveness becomes severely crippled.

2. Teamfight, initiation
Requires preferably 2 levels in Wex. Cast Tornado, followed by Chaos Meteor, then invoke and cast Deafening Blast. With 4 levels in Quas, the timing is very easy and should be achieved after one or two attempts.

3. The Billion-Year Stun
This is the easiest combo to pull off by a long way. First, have two Forged Spirits following you around. Then, cast Cold Snap on the target and issue an attack command with all units. Then, Sunstrike location. Kill target. Win.


Wexort's combos all assume you have somebody else to provide a stun or two, so you're unlikely to get solo kills until you have your Eul's Scepter of Divinity. As such, it can be rather difficult to pull off successfully.
1. Ganking
This is basically the same as the QE version, except instead of Deafening Blast you are using EMP. You will cast EMP immediately after the cyclone takes effect (preferably before if at all possible) and then use Sun Strike and Chaos Meteor.

2. Teamfight
Do this into a Black Hole or the like. Start by casting EMP, then Chaos Meteor, then either your choice of Sun Strike or Deafening Blast.

3. Manfight to win
This is also a simple combo, and your high attack speed relative to the QW build allows you to pull this off. Cast EMP around the target, and then Cold Snap them. Invoke Alacrity and place it on yourself. Proceed to right-click the target, stunning them long enough for EMP to explode underneath them. If they get away, attempt a snipe with Sun Strike.


The lategame dream combo that eats fights alive. This is difficult to pull off and requires considerable practice.

You are going to be walking around with Tornado and EMP invoked, and your orbs set to EWE. Cast Tornado, then immediately Invoke, replacing Tornado with Chaos Meteor. Cast EMP, wait a few milliseconds, then cast Chaos Meteor. When the cooldown is over, invoke and cast Deafening Blast to round off the combo.

For added style points, pop Refresher Orb and go Meteor > Blast > EMP.
_________________________________________________________________

Use your common sense when doing these - if Void has put down the perfect Chronosphere, don't ruin it with an ill-timed Tornado. I see Invokers do this all the time and it always makes me cringe.

So now we've done that...

Now that you know what Invoker's spells, combos and builds are, it's time to go into the in-depth stuff. Namely, game stages.

Invoker is one of those referred to as a 'farming mid'. This means he goes mid, farms an item or two, and only then assumes a more active playstyle. If someone tells you to gank, ignore them. If you're QE you can toss a Sunstrike their way - if you're QW, you can perhaps gank if it's needed, since Tornado and Cold Snap are incredible lockdown spells, but waiting until you've got your first major item is usually a better choice.

To ensure you get your farm in mid that you so desperately need, make sure you watch the map for incoming ganks, and have a good ability at last hitting. I'm cursed in that every time I play Invoker there's some ******* roaming a Mirana on the other Ancient. So, make sure your starting items are in order. As you can see in the build, they are different based upon what your orbs are.

Tangoes, obviously, will sustain you until you have a few levels in Quas to do the job. If you're QW, the Blades of Attack will go towards Phase Boots which of course will mitigate your low damage and grant mobility. However, if you're playing QE, you won't usually get Phases as you will be getting a relatively fast Boots of Travel to maximise split push. A Null Talisman is a cost-efficient item that gives nice stats and a large boost to damage to cement what you get from Exort. With this, you'll have 58 damage which is more than enough to party with most mids you'll be up against. Since Wexort doesn't get lots of Quas, they'll want to stack up on regen with a more safelane-orientated build, and indeed should only be played in safelane if ever.

As always with Invoker, levels are the most important currency in the early game. If you are struggling in the lane, request a gank from your supports, and always adjust your item build based upon how the game is going.

Moving to Later Stages

The mid game is when Invoker hits his timing window.

It's at this point you should have your first core item, and be working towards your next. When you purchase Aghanim's Scepter depends entirely on the game - if the game is fast-paced you'll want it early; if the game is slower and more focused on farming with sporadic ganks it's better to delay it a bit. Either way, it's not good to delay it past your third item as the reduced cooldown and removed mana cost is immense in improving the effectiveness of the Hero.

What you do in the midgame will most likely decide the result of the game. You should be active, pushing and teamfighting, ganking when applicable. If you're playing QE, then your teamfighting will have longer downtime due to cooldowns of spells, but you are a very capable split-pusher. This, incidentally, is why a fast BoTs on Invoker is recommended, as you can create space for your #1.

A QW build is required to be ready for any and all fights. Due to the short cooldown on EMP and Tornado you have hardly any downtime, and the high mobility of the build means that you can keep up with your team. This is when you take objectives, get kills, seize Roshan and attempt to gain complete control of the map - the ganking abilities of QW mean that you are very effective when it comes to making space and keeping that space. Of course, when nothing much is happening, you should be farming to keep that level advantage you require.

While you do not play the late-game differently, the separate builds will start merging into one build as your orbs become maxed. In the late-game, split pushing becomes a very important aspect to consider, which you should bear in mind when using Forge Spirits. Invoker's potent disables and crowd control can turn teamfights, and as such keep your map awareness at a pinnacle to make the most advantage of the hero.

Item Builds

Each build of Invoker has a wide range of items to choose from, but only six slots to utilise. So what is best and when? That is what this section attempts to explain.

Quas-Exort


This is likely the most common pickup you'll see on a QE Invoker. And why not? The dispel is very strong, you have the mana to use it, the regeneration is awesome, and it provides setup for your spells. All in all, it's a well-rounded item with an easy buildup that excels against enemies with no innate escape. Against heroes like Morphling, there are better choices.
In the competitive scene, Necronomicon is a highly popular option that plays to a QE Invoker's pushing strengths. It's excellent if you will be providing the brunt of the push, or if you're just unsure of what to buy. Both Necrounits are invaluable tools against mana-based heroes like Medusa or Wraith King and I'd even advocate getting this lategame on a QW build if against those two.
Also a very popular item. Since 6.85 it gives you what amounts to three free levels of experience which is just like whaaaaaa! Seriously, this item is immensely powerful now and allows you to chain off spells in rapid fire. My second-favourite item on Invoker. Most of the time, this will be the second or third item you get.

Quas-Wex


A solid pickup on Invoker, mainly owing to the fact that the damage effect of urn triggers Cold Snap. Since a QW build is usually active in many kills, an Urn is a very good option.
Orchid, at a first glance, seems like the ideal item for a QW Invoker. Damage, mana, and a disable that makes your ganks a deadly prospect. Indeed, it is much the standard item for the build - however, as I will explain later in this section, there are other choices.
A favoured extension for QW Invoker, adding another disable to the arsenal. Preferable to Orchid when dealing with heroes who build dispels - aka, Manta Style or Eul's Scepter of Divinity. Also adds a nice amount of damage and scales flawlessly into the lategame.

Wexort


Since 6.85 I very much consider this the prime item in a Wexort build so you can go for the fastest Aghanim's Scepter possible. It is a necessity for all builds when dealing with Riki or other nasty area effect abilities where Blink Dagger isn't a viable option. Not only that, you can move around your allies, pull enemies into your team, and save your carry from a messy death.
As I mentioned in the QE build, this gives three levels of experience. This is VITAL on Wexort as it allows you to get to your destructive rampage stage so much faster, and eases issues you have with your mana pool. Amazing item, and has gone a long way to making max-Exort builds potentially viable.

Further Options - All Builds


I feel this needs discussing. While an early Midas can kickstart your game and keep your experience a safe level above your enemies, it's only good if you can get it no later than 8 minutes and can afford to blow 2k gold on a farming item - ie, the enemy team doesn't exert much pressure and doesn't destroy you in the lategame anyway. With that in mind, it is highly situational on both the QE and the Wexort builds. Don't get it on a QW build.
My favourite item on Invoker. Blink Dagger is an incredible positioning item that allows you to get into place to throw out your combos, mostly the ones involving Tornado or Ice Wall. Similar to Force Staff, it gets you into place to save allies with well-timed Deafening Blasts. Also notable is its synergy with Eul's Scepter of Divinity, where you can blink out immediately after landing, allowing for clutch escapes. More popular on a QE build than QW, but considerable for the latter.
Against physical damage carries, Shiva's Guard is an exceptional item to grant a lot of EHP to you. The active is a powerful utility ability. I will also note that this item is very good in slowing the attacks of Roshan - by the time you get it this may be a non-event but it's something to possibly consider.
The premium item against mass BKB users. Eye of Skadi gives you the HP to stay alive and wait out their BKB, and the slow pierces spell immunity, making it not only a potent disable but also allowing you to kite heroes like Sven and Lifestealer.
Octarine Core's main function is to lower the cooldowns of all your spells. With this, Cold Snap has a 15 second cast time, Deafening Blast goes down to 30, and Tornado becomes the most obnoxious spam in existence. The lifesteal is often overlooked, but can make a nice bonus that may save your life. The cooldown of Invoke with Octarine and Aghs is 1.5 seconds, which is pretty ridiculous and allows you to cycle through all your spells in under 15 seconds. How's that for a skill cap.
This item is for the lategame, and is hyper situational. Get this item against low BKB durations, or a lack of BKBs, and only if you actually need the damage and disable of double Chaos Meteor and Deafening Blast, which is mostly what it's used for. Allows you to show off your reflexes with Invoker, but most often is overkill, or just that - showing off. It will take a lot of games to judge whether Refresher is worth it at any one time. Exceptionally good against Phantom Lancer.

Friends and Foes


What's this? Invoker needs no friends! He is the Magus Apex, the Progenitor of Sorceries! The lesser ones should be grateful he even graces them with his presence!
*misses Sunstrike*

While Invoker is a fairly independent Hero, there are a couple guys he works well with, and others that absolutely destroy him.

Friends



Faceless Void
Although a bad Invoker can seriously ruin Void's fun, Chronosphere is excellent setup at all stages of the game. In ganks, it makes Sunstrike too easayy lmao. In teamfights, EMP/Chaos Meteor become guaranteed hits. And Void himself is an excellent target for Alacrity. Just don't use Tornado.

Initiators and Teamfighters
Anyone who can lock down and bunch up a team is a QE Invoker's utter dream.

Ancient Apparition
AA's magic damage amp isn't the only reason Invoker likes him; Ice Blast works well with all Invoker builds to deal with stragglers; and Invoker has plenty of lockdown to help get off Cold Feet. Finally, this duo have a lot of global presence to add extra pressure to the enemy team!

Legion Commander
Old mate Tresdin works very well with Invoker. Alacrity gives her attack speed she naturally lacks, and Duel is perfect setup for Sunstrike. Not only that, if things go balls-up in the duel, Tornado and Deafening Blast are there to help.

Foes



Hardcore gankers
Despite his prominence, Invoker is still a relatively squishy Int Hero; and thus, prey for guys like Balanar and Anub'Arak. Anyone who can get close and burst him down can cause a lot of problems.

Outworld Devourer
This *******. Right here. He beats you in mid, saps your Intelligence, and a well-placed Astral Imprisonment can completely mess up your combo. Consider going solo safelane against this smug bastard.

Silences
While a BKB can remedy a lot of these problems, silencing an Invoker makes him pretty underwhelming, especially if you don't have high Exort for rightclick damage. Far more dangerous early than lategame, as Invoker's standard toolkit has ways to deal with silences meaning you don't have to 'sacrifice' an item slot for defence. However, Doom doesn't care about that.

Roaming Supports
Invoker is kinda dependent on a good start, which means roaming supports can set him back a lot. In this case, get your jungle stacked and skill Exort to use Chaos Meteor for catchup dosh.

Drafting Invoker

While the Friends and Foes section has some decent outlines, it's mainly referring to pub plays. This section, by contrast, is for a more professional look at it - Invoker in captain's mode and LAN events. In these situations, a QE Invoker is very rare, and Wexort is never done. So, these draft assume you will be playing QW.

EDIT: I'm not going to do this until the 6.85 meta is defined as something other than 'ban Spectre'. This was originally written in 6.84!

Conclusion

So, this is quite possibly my most in-depth guide to date, and with good reason. There is a lot to talk about with Invoker and a lot I feel I glossed over and shall go back to later. With this lovely stream of buffs and this magnificent 4.0 INT gain, I feel we may see a resurgence of him in the meta, and that thought makes me happy.

Now obviously I have at least one section to go back to, and likely more once I re-re-reread it, but for now, here my wisdom is laid bare. Go smash some buttons until you have RSI for me!

Changelog

6.85, 30/9/15
Published.

6.85, 4/10/15
Updated with an item section.

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