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9 Votes

Unlocking Visage's Potential *7.01*

January 5, 2017 by Zantetsuken
Comments: 14    |    Views: 88608    |   

Mid Lane Semi-Carry

DotA2 Hero: Visage

Hero Skills

Gravekeeper's Cloak (Innate)

Grave Chill

2 13 14 15

Soul Assumption

4 8 9 11

Summon Familiars

6 12 18



Hero Talents

+1 Familiar
Gravekeeper's Cloak aura grants 10 armor
+1 Armor Corruption to Visage and Familiars
+25 Soul Assumption Damage Per Charge
Soul Assumption Hits 3 Targets
+2s Grave Chill Duration
+6 damage to Visage and Familiars
-3s Grave Chill Cooldown


Welcome to my Visage guide! This guide will emphasize Visage's strengths and weaknesses, offer typical item builds, and provide more obscure tips about how to get the most mileage out of the hero. Visage is my most knowledgeable hero with 766 games played with a 59.56% WR (as of 11/1/16). I've played him from position 5 all the way to position 1. I've played him as a safe lane farmer, safe lane support, mid-laner, jungler with Agh's, and even as a solo offlaner.

Of all the roles I've played Visage in, I find that he succeeds best in the mid lane. I say this for a few reasons. First off, he is level dependent. He does not offer enough at low levels to be effective as a support. Visage is quite good in 1v1 situations, though. With his relatively high base attack damage as well as Grave Chill, you can easily out-trade an opponent in a 1v1 scenario. The only real drawback for Visage in the mid lane is his low attack speed. But once you hit level 6 in the mid lane, you can use Summon Familiars to dominate the lane and often times score a kill on the enemy mid laner. In my experience, Visage actually can offer more to your team as a mid laner than heroes like Queen of Pain or Windranger if you play him correctly.

Patch 7.01 Impact

I will update this section of the guide to reflect the most recent major patch when it is released.

Hero Changes:

- Gravekeeper's Cloak reworked to give 5%/10%/15%/20% damage resistance per layer with a layer recharge time of 6/5/4/3 seconds.
- Summon Familiars reworked. They now have 300/500/700 health instead of requiring a certain number of attacks to kill. Stone Form cooldown reduced again and they now stay down for 6 seconds instead of 8. Familiars no longer recharge their damage when you use Stone Form. Instead, they gain 1 charge of damage every 2 seconds at all times. Familiar speed increased.
- Talent tree implemented.

Ok, a lot of changes for Visage. The Gravekeeper's Cloak changes are a massive buff to his survivability. If you are playing mid, I highly suggest maxing this skill first. It negates most forms of harassment in lane and allows to trade very efficiently with the opposing mid laner as well as surviving ganks with ease. I was recently playing a game as mid Visage where both supports rotated to gank me. I had max Gravekeeper's Cloak and not only did I survive the gank, I managed to pick off one of their supports as well.

The changes to Summon Familiars are a nerf in my opinion. The 7.00 Familiars were OP as heck, but I think they nerfed their health way too much in 7.01. They can also be targetted and killed with spells now. I watched in despair yesterday as Monkey King one-shot all three Familiars. Queen of Pain with Aghanim's Scepter can use Sonic Wave + Scream of Pain to kill all your lvl 3 Familiars. Lion with Aghanim's Scepter can practically one-shot all your Familiars with Finger of Death now.

Overall, 7.00 and 7.01 are buffs to Visage himself, but nerfs to Summon Familiars.

A Misunderstood Hero

According to Dotabuff, Visage is currently the least picked hero in the game and has one of the lowest win rates overall. With over 700 games played on the hero, I can confidently say that the Dota community at large (including pro players) have not figured out what role Visage has in the game. So I am writing this guide to shed some light on one of Dota's most misunderstood heroes. I have tried many, many different builds on him and after 700+ games, I think I've figured out what role he succeeds the best in. I'll explain in the following chapters.

Why Visage?

This section of the guide will cover when you should pick Visage.

When to pick Visage:

- Opponent has multiple squishy heroes ( Crystal Maiden, Witch Doctor, Ancient Apparition, Queen of Pain, Drow Ranger, Lina and many others)
- Your team is running a Drow Ranger strat
- Enemy team has Tinker or Nature's Prophet

When NOT to pick Visage
- - The enemy team has lots of tanky heroes ( Doom, Legion Commander, Bristleback, Ogre Magi, etc.). Visage excels against more squishy lineups.

Item Philosophy

This section will explain why I think my suggested item build at the top of the guide should be considered standard for Visage.

Core Items

Boots of Travel: When I play mid lane Visage, this is my first core item, similar to Tinker or Ember Spirit. The most effective playstyle I've found is to send Familiars to the side lanes looking for ganks, then TP'ing from wherever you are on the map to your Familiars and assert your global presence. Very few people realize that Visage has an incredible global presence that he can use to completely dominate the map. You can punish junglers and scout out enemy roamers like Pudge and Earth Spirit. This is why I believe more people should be playing Visage as a mid laner, so he can get fast levels, fast Boots of Travel then use his global presence with Familiars to take over the map. Obviously this requires a ton of micro skill and map awareness. This is the main reason we almost never see Visage played even in the pro scene. It takes a lot of practice to master Visage.

Orchid Malevolence: After picking up Boots of Travel, my build varies depending on the game. Usually, I'll pick up Orchid as my next item, but sometimes I'll build a Solar Crest instead. But the idea is the same. Both are items that allow me to TP to my Familiars for a gank and burst down the enemy hero. Usually I pick up Orchid though because Bloodthorn is an amazing item on Visage later on.

Aghanim's Scepter: I usually build this as my third core item after Boots of Travel and either Orchid Malevolence or Solar Crest. But sometimes I'll build it as my second item, right after Boots of Travel. It always depends on the game, but I rarely play a game without building this item at some point. Having the extra familiar dramatically increases your damage in teamfights as well as providing an extra 1.5-second stun at lvl 18. It also dramatically increases your gank potential around the map with the extra burst damage. With 3 familiars at lvl 18, you can actually solo enemy supports just with Familiars. I can't tell you how many times I've killed squishy supports with just my familiars. It's a great feeling.

Bloodthorn: This item is absolutely amazing on Visage. Your familiars get guaranteed crits and true strike on your target, allowing you to quickly burst down enemy heroes. While the silence can be removed with things like Manta Style and Black King Bar, the crits and true strike cannot be removed.


Aether Lens: I rarely build this item on Visage anymore, but it definitely could be situationally useful.

Eul's Scepter of Divinity: A good defensive item if you're going up against a lot of silences. Can also be used to setup Familiar stuns.

Rod of Atos: Otherwise known as "Rod of Aui", this item has situational value though I seldom pick it up. It is great for kiting melee heroes as well as chasing. You can chase infinitely with Cripple and Grave Chill. The health boost is also nice considering the situations you would pick up this item usually means you're going against targets that get in your face which is bad for Visage.

Assault Cuirass: A fantastic item for Visage to build if your carry isn't. Combined with Gravekeeper's Cloak and Solar Crest, you get absurd physical damage reduction. Visage, your familiars, and your team greatly benefit from the aura as well.

Shiva's Guard: Fantastic if you're going against high physical damage teams.

Scythe of Vyse: A fantastic late-game pickup. Games don't usually go long enough for me to pick up this item, but it is definitely a great pickup for core Visage in the late game.

Mastering Visage

To maximize Visage's potential, we need to know what his strengths and weaknesses are....

Among the highest burst potential in the game
Familiars can disrupt many forms of initiation such as:
- Meat Hook
- Sacred Arrow
- Hookshot
- Can remove Nightmare from allies by A-Clicking them
- Can interrupt Fiend's Grip, Dismember, Shackles, Requiem of Souls, and Epicenter.
- Can easily deny a Doomed ally or Visage
- Farms well
- Global presence with Familiars
- Fantastic laner
- Can 1v1 almost any support and most carries pre-BKB
- Strong in all phases of the game
- Can contribute in a teamfight via Familiars even while disabled/dead

- Medusa, Gyrocopter, Luna, Drow Ranger, Windranger, or any team with Troll Warlord can easily kill your familiars.
- Global Silence and Silence (affects both Visage AND Familiars)
- VERY high skill cap, difficult to master
- Requires some micromanaging skills
- Vulnerable once Gravekeeper's Cloak is down
- Riki things
- Slark things
- Storm Spirit things

Micromanaging the Familiars:

My Hotkeys: 1 is Visage, 2 is the Familiars, and 3 is everything. This allows me to quickly switch between all of my units and control them as needed.

Making the most of Familiars: Familiars have TONS of damage stored away in them. Don't let it go to waste by hiding them in treelines, unless a gank is imminent. You can use Familiars to...

- Harass the enemy
- Kill your lane
- Scout your opponent
- Scout Roshan
- Rune control
- Assist ganks
- Deter ganks with stuns, or possibly picking off a hero
- Deny creeps
- Deny towers
- Deny teammates, or yourself
- Stack ancients
- Farm the jungle
- Split pushing
- De-ward highgrounds
- Backdoor T1 towers
- Scout out supports and pick them off
- Many other things

There's always SOMETHING you can be doing with your Familiars to gain an advantage for yourself or your team. Whenever your Stone Form is off cooldown you should be using them in one of the above-mentioned ways.

This video is an excellent example of how to make the most of your Familiars and really showcases Visage's strengths (and some of his weaknesses).

Early Game (Pre-Lvl 6)

Your focus in the mid lane early on is a couple of things...

- Get last hits
- Be aware of what enemy supports are doing and if they're missing
- Don't die
- Farm Boots of Travel as fast as possible

Last hitting with Visage can be difficult because of his slow attack speed, so often times you'll just want to focus on getting last hits and don't worry about denies. You have high base damage so generally it will be hard for your opponent to deny you. Always be aware of the side lanes. Check them frequently to see if enemy supports are missing. If they are missing, play safe and don't go in for last hits until you're confident they aren't trying to gank you. Your only method of escape is to Grave Chill and run away. Once you hit lvl 6, you can farm very easily with Familiars and you should be able to finish your Boots of Travel quickly.


Once you get Boots of Travel, you'll want to part ways with your Familiars. This can be very uncomfortable for new Visage players because you have to keep an eye on multiple places at once. Constantly tab between Visage and your Familiars. For me, I just constantly double-tap 1 and 2 to quickly switch between them. What I usually do is send my Familiars to a side lane and hide them. When I see an opportunity for a gank, I will start TPing to my familiars and then fly my Familiars at the hero I am ganking. By the time I finish the TP, I am right on top of the enemy hero with Familiars and I can easily kill them. When you are not hunting for kills with your Familiars, you should be using them to farm and scout the map. Personally, I like to use them to farm enemy jungle camps. Just make sure you are always keeping an eye on them so you don't end up feeding them.

Late Game

Visage tends to fall off a bit in the late game in terms of teamfight damage, but he retains his global advantage with Familiars. The late game for Visage is all about split pushing with Familiars. Keep a lane under constant pressure and force your opponents to respond. Make sure you keep an eye on Visage while you're doing this as it is easy to forget about your hero when you're trying to micro Familiars like this. Sometimes I'll just park Visage in the base if it isn't safe to go out anywhere, otherwise I'll just keep him following the team around.

Visage in the late game becomes more about leveraging your global presence against your opponent and be as annoying as possible with your Familiars. If your opponents are pushing, find one of their supports in the back lines with your Familiars and poke away at them (be careful not to feed Familiars while doing this). You probably won't be able to kill them with the first round of damage, but you can drop them down in the trees and look to finish them off if they haven't healed up. Without their support (or with a very weakened one), they may think twice about committing to the push. Little things like this are what separate novice Visage players from skilled Visage players.


According to Dotabuff, Visage is currently the least picked hero in the game ( Also according to Dotabuff, Visage is currently doing the worst against Nature's Prophet ( What this tells me is that many players are not playing Visage to his maximum potential. Visage is probably one of the best counters to Nature's Prophet in the game in my experience. But because he is the least picked hero, he is also the least understood hero. I hope this guide helps you to understand Visage better and the types of strengths he brings to the table.

Thanks for reading!

There are many things I did not cover in this guide, as they are covered in the numerous other Visage guides, so check those out as well. My guide simply offers a new way of looking at the hero and outlines the builds and playstyles that I have found to really make the hero shine and make use of all its strengths. Feel free to post your comments and hopefully this helped you become a better Visage player :)

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