24.1.2014: Added "Sir Slow-a-lot" - build and discussion, updated content match 6.79 playstyle and changes.
27.-30.9.2013: Minor additions and format improvements.
1.-2.10: Added section on discussing when to pick which support item.
14.10: Added roaming & pushing skill builds.
18.10: Venomancer saw major changes in patch 6.79.
+ Poison Nova no longer ignores invis/fogged units
+ Venomous Gale no longer ignores invis units
+ Poison Sting duration increased from 6/8/10/12 to 6/9/12/15
+++ Plague Wards now have Poison Sting for 50% of the damage at the current skilled level (When both Venomancer and a Plague Ward affect a target, only the highest dps is applied) o_O
-- Poison Sting dps no longer dispels healing or disables dagger :(
- Plague Wards XP bounty increased from 12/12/25/25 to 20/25/30/35
- Venomous Gale damage over time rebalanced from 15/30/45/60 to 0/30/60/90
-- New Venomancer model looks like something from a cheesy B-class horror movie
Venomancer is a damage-over-time (DoT) hero that is most commonly played as a support. This is a tad strange as his (its?) primary attribute is agility, making him theoretically more suitable for a carry role. His skills, however, are heavily support-oriented and this is where Venomancer actually excels. Venomancer is good at getting early kills but is very dependent on his team doing well. He is constantly balancing on a knife's edge regarding his positioning: His abilities are fairly short-ranged and he is squishy and slow. This means a veno too far away is an ineffective veno but a veno bit too close is a dead veno. You have to have a good eye for positioning with Venomancer, otherwise you are better off playing support heroes that have room for positioning errors thanks to HP and/or movement speed such as Warlock, Lich, Abaddon or Lion.
+ Excellent slow and kill potential already at level 1 with Venomous Gale
+ Ulti Poison Nova does huge damage over time
+ Normal autoattack with Poison Sting does huge damage over time
+ Free wards for scouting and vision
+ Great push and counterpush with Plague Wards
+ Awesome voice
- Short range
- Small mana pool and slow regen
- Doesn't scale well into lategame
Your 1. skill provides an awesome slow of 50 % already at level 1. It does a total of 25/200/375/550 damage over a 15 second interval. 1 point in this is put usually at level 1 and then leveled up only later on when you have the mana pool to spam it more.
Early game only use it when going for a kill or when trying to save yourself or an ally.You blow half of your mana pool with one use and it does negligible damage before level 3.
Use your second skill Poison Sting if you want to deal damage to the enemy. This skill is deceptive: You deal a total of 30/90/180/300 extra damage on top of your autoattack over a period of 6/8/10/12 seconds as well as slowing the enemy for 11%/12%/13%/14%. This skill is kind of bad at level 1 but already at level 2 you almost deal double damage with each attack: This skill is your passive but deals about the same damage as an average nuke! I prefer taking at least 3 levels in this skill ASAP as it is very useful in the laning phase but falls off late game as fights are over faster and faster.
Tip: If you can do it safely, hit every lane opponent once every 6/8/10/12 seconds to whittle away their HP.
Plague Wards is Venomancer's signature skill. For a mere 20 mana you can summon wards every 5 seconds. These wards do 11/21/32/42 damage per attack and have a HP of 75/200/325/450, lasting for 40 seconds. Besides this, they deal 50 % damage of your current level of Poison Sting. At level 1 when the wards have 75 HP and you should use them for getting vision only as they give some bounty to the enemy when killed. They can be used for pushing and counter-pushing effectively once your wards are level 2. I usually take 1 point at level 4 and a second point at level 7. If you have the need to push / counter-push earlier, take points in wards earlier by all means.
Note that the damage is piercing, meaning that creeps take + 50 % damage and heroes - 50 % damage from wards. Therefore, you can only kill heroes that are really low with them.
Tip: Most of the time you want to use wards whenever they are off cooldown. They have many uses such as:
- Giving vision to the sides, front and rear to spot incoming ganks and enemy movement.
- Finishing off fleeing enemies - you can cast wards a decent distance in front of you
- Blocking paths through woods
- Getting vision of enemies juking in the woods
- Building "walls" in front of your towers to defend or the enemy tower to attack
- Jungling and taking ancients
Tip: You can control whom your wards attack; use this to micromanage your wards whenever you can. You can still do this when you are dead, use this for finishing off enemies at low HP. Few things are more satisfying in DOTA 2 than vengeance from beyond the grave.
Your ultimate Poison Nova deals a whopping total of 432/812/1215 damage to any unit caught in the quite big 830 AOE over 12/14/15 seconds. At level 3 you can theoretically damage the enemy team for 6075 (4556 after magic resistance) if you get off a 5-man nova. It can be upgraded with Aghanim's Scepter for some even more serious damage. The mana cost is quite high given your low int at 200/300/400 mana, another reason to opt for Arcane Boots. It is situational whether you take it at already at level 6: if you don't seem to get opportunities at that stage to catch at least 2 enemies with it, consider leveling up something else for a while.
- This skill does not take enemies below 1 HP. Therefore, use Venomous Gale or Poison Sting on enemies in conjunction with Poison Nova to kill them.
- Strangely does not affect invisible units nor prevents them from going invis.
- Should be used at the start of a team fight as it is DoT and non-lethal. Better to catch 2 heroes with Poison Nova at the start than 4 at the end.
- If enemy has Rubick always put down a Plague Ward ASAP after using your ult. You don't want to let him Spell Steal it.
Tip: All of your skills last for an insanely long time: Use them to
- Disable Blink Dagger users from escaping as it cannot be used for 3 seconds after taking player damage. When you use your skills (except Poison Sting after 6.79 patch), they can't blink for 15-18 seconds!
- Melt off Refraction shields, Gravekeeper's Cloak and Living Armor.
- Always hit enemies who have any of the above mentioned once if you get the chance.
- Prevent enemy from using Clarity, Bottle, Urn of Shadows or Healing Salve after going low on HP or mana ( Poison Sting no longer disables these as of 6.79)
- Kill Shallow Graved opponents. It lasts 5 seconds. Your poison DoT last 12-15 seconds, that is 7-10 seconds after Shallow Grave ends.
Rule-of-thumb: You want to have as many opponents as possible infected with Poison Sting as often as practically possible.
There are 3 possible roles for Venomancer early on:
Level up sequence:
Take 1 point in Venomous Gale and see if you can get a first blood with your partner, preferably someone with a slow/stun. Otherwise, stay close to your lane mate, deny creeps, and try and harass with Poison Sting. Remember that you are squishy: Don't go Leeroy Jenkins style yet. Early on use Plague Wards only for vision to the sides or when you are actually to pushing or counter-pushing. Just randomly popping them on the lane will lead to your creeps pushing towards the tower and open up your flank to ganks. Also you will steal CS from your carry.
Remember to stack & pull creeps as needed. See e.g. this video if you are not sure howto:
You can roam & gank once you have 1 level in Venomous Gale. However, to ensure kills you will need assist from another hero: either from in-lane or a dedicated roaming partner such as Crystal Maiden. For roaming & ganking instructions, see e.g.
You can take on jungle creeps and even ancients pretty well thanks to Plague Wards. You have 2 options:
1. Create chokepoints with your wards, see
Stay together with your team and preferably a bit back: you are squishy. Use your utility items and Poison Nova if you get the chance. Try to Poison Sting once anyone you can - especially if the have Blink Dagger, low health, Refraction, Living Armor, Shallow Grave or Gravekeeper's Cloak. Venomous Gale the enemy at the start of the fight as well as when they try to run away. Put Plague Wards down to attack enemy creeps, finish off low-HP opponents and to get vision. This is especially important if you are on the enemy side of the river: Your wards will save you from many ganks if you place them on or near commonly used routes.
You need to listen to your "6. sense" and anticipate tower pushes by teleporting in and putting up a wall of Plague Wards at your tower to kill of the creeps when pushes come. You are a vital asset in pushes, communicate & co-ordinate well with your team mates.
Lategame is not your golden time as you become easy pickings for the enemy carries. Carry Town Portal Scrolls with you, keep up Observer Wards, teleport to defend your towers, follow your team into team fights to get off Poison Nova and Venomous Gale and try to stay alive. Poison Nova is your most valuable asset at this stage. If your team's carries don't carry then you are in a bad spot: Unlike Silencer or Enchantress your skills don't scale particularly well into lategame (even though you are an agility hero).
The anti-venom(ancer) department:
- Burst damage dealers
- Fast burst-damage gankers
Spirit Breaker, lycanthrope
- Long-range dual lane
Drow Ranger and Warlock: Bad times.
Poison their game:
+ Squishy melee heroes: Poison Sting will whittle away their HP. Venomous Gale will stop them from running away -> easy killings.
+ Damage block heroes: you will simply strip off their shields and leave them vulnerable
Templar Assassin with Refraction, Treant Protector with Living Armor, Visage with Gravekeeper's Cloak
+ Early/mid-game peaking pushing teams (a line-up with many of these heroes: Kunkka, Death Prophet, Keeper of the Light, Pugna, Leshrac) You counter-push very well early on, ruining their hopes of ending the game early. Plague Wards are immune to magic thus they cannot be nuked down.
+ Stunners, slowers and nukers: to follow up your Venomous Gale to get early kills in-lane
Sven, Lina, Viper, Juggernaut, Ursa
+ Roamers: you can make kills happen together from level 1
Crystal Maiden, Vengeful Spirit
+ Melee flak magnets: you can come much closer to the enemy without dying
+ AoE initiators that help you set up a good Poison Nova
Enigma, Dark Seer, Magnus
Special mention goes to Warlock: His Chaotic Offering creates a nice confusion that allows you to Poison Nova. The damage and killing power becomes ridiculous when combined with Warlock's Fatal Bonds.
Venomancer is a potent addition to any line-up that needs a support with pushing/anti-pushing power or who needs to strip away enemy's damage block shields from Refraction, etc. However, you will have to have a decent eye for positioning in order not to feed and to be effective. Also your team has to have some co-ordination and some carry skillz, you have very limited potential to take on anyone alone.
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