Vengeful Spirit is one of my favorite supports and can contribute to almost any team composition. That being said, she is utilized most effectively as an early roamer rather than a passive laning baby-sitter. While she can be played passively, she really shines (and is terrifying) before level 6. This guide will focus on her early game as a roamer/gank support and her transition to later stages of the game.
One of the strongest reliable single target stuns in the early game.
Respectable stat gains per level make her tankier than others would imply.
Solid 3 base armor at level 1.
Does not need many items/farm.
Skillset scales well into late game.
Relatively short attack range (400).
Low mana pool early-mid game.
Vengeful Spirit's skills are very powerful early to mid game and all of her skills scale well into late game. Her skill build is a little more flexible than some heroes. I'll discuss the strengths and uses of each of her skills and when/why each should be prioritized over another.
Magic Missile: High damage (100), decent duration (1.45 sec) single target stun at level 1 and scales up well with each point. Your basic ganking tool at early levels. This is best maxed first as the damage will start to fall off in the mid-late game.
Wave of Terror: Long range (1400) debuff that reduces armor of all enemies hit by 3 points at level 1 and removes a bit of health. A solid skill that is also very useful to scout high ground/through trees, and push lanes as the armor debuff will affect creeps.
It's common for people to max this skill second before putting any points into Vengeance Aura. I personally don't agree with this since the armor reduction scaling is pretty poor (1 point per level) and the health removal is most often negligible. It's usually best to get this skill to level 2-3 then start putting points into Vengeance Aura.
Vengeance Aura: Passive aura that grants bonus physical damage to all units in a 900 range around you. I usually put 1 point in this passive by level 9 when your team is most likely getting into a few larger fights and your carry should have at least a a couple starting items.
As of 6.81 this skill also curses your killer and all their allies in a 900 radius from them, reducing their physical damage based on your vengeance aura level until you respawn. This gives some consolation for using Nether Swap to save an ally from a 5-man gank but should not be incentive to suicide into team-fights. You are always much better alive than dead to your team.
Nether Swap: Exchanges place with another target hero (ally or enemy). Very versatile and probably Vengeful Spirit's most unique skill. Very "swingy" as it can often lead to big plays or big throws. Most commonly used to save allies, pursue fleeing enemies, or instantly put an enemy out of position before a team fight. When saving allies this will often lead to your death so make sure it's worth it.
Level 1 Nether Swap has a pretty lousy range (650) and will have very limited use. When starting to play Vengeful Spirit the best rule-of-thumb is that if you're unsure at all if you should use swap, don't. Too many players suicide into 4 heroes for no return or put the enemy into a more advantageous position with bad Nether Swaps. Make sure you and your team are on the same page before you dive. That being said, when used correctly Nether Swap can single-handedly enable your team to dominate team fights with a key pick-off.
Also note that this skill does go through magic immunity such as Black King Bar and will interrupt channeled abilities.
The item selection for Vengeful Spirit is very versatile based on the fact she does not require farm to be effective.
Throughout the game you should be mindful to buy Sentry Wards, Observer Wards or Dust of Appearance as needed. Always carry a Town Portal Scroll with you AT ALL TIMES even if it means delaying your next item. A timely teleport to a lane where the enemy is diving under a tower can easily turn a 3 man gank on your carry into a 3-man wipe in favor of your team, as well as a ton of assist gold for you.
At the start of the round I recommend buying a set of Tangos and a Clarity then the Animal Courier or Observer Wards if the other support has not bought them. Then ideally a Smoke of Deceit and Iron Branches with any remaining gold.
Your early game core items
Boots of Speed - obvious move speed
Ring of Basilius - armor aura, a little more dmage, and mana regen while roaming.
Magic Stick to be built into a Magic Wand later - great cost effective stats/burst heal item
Note you can skip Ring of Basilius if another ally is building one. In this case I recommend building toward an Urn of Shadows.
Mid game core items
Ring of Aquila - solid upgrade from Ring of Basilius. give you more damage and boost to overall stats. I would typically finish this first since it's very cost effective if you built a Ring of Basilius.
Medallion of Courage - One of my favorite items on Vengeful Spirit yet I see it rarely bought. Offers more armor on top of your generous level 1 base, a bit more mana regen, and the active (0 mana/1000 range) stacks with your Wave of Terror enabling your team to rip through almost any hero mid-game. To make things even better the active can be used on Roshan for faster and earlier Rosh kills. I recommend this second after Ring of Aquila or Urn of Shadows.
Force Staff - Great mobility for most supports. Vengeful Spirit isn't the fastest hero, nor is her range that good. Being able to get in/out of a fight is invaluable. You can also make some plays by forcing a teammate away from enemies or push an enemy out of position. I'll usually buy this item 3rd as it's expensive and you should not rely solely on an item for positioning.
Power Treads - Straight forward boots that give you options for more survivability or higher mana pool. Can be substituted with Arcane Boots if you have several heroes that have mana issues i.e. Sven, Brewmaster, Phantom Lancer, etc. I typically upgrade my boots last, as the money early game is better spent on wards, Town Portal Scrolls, or other items.
Mekansm: While Vengeful Spirit is not the best mek carrrier due to her smallish mana pool and poor intelligence growth, if no one else on your team is building one I highly suggest buying it before or instead of your Medallion of Courage. A Mekansm will win team fights for you, and while 250 hp and +2 armor may not sound impressive it can easily be the difference from going even in kills in a teamfight to 4-5 man wiping the enemy team with all your team alive.
Ghost Scepter: This is my usual first luxury item after my mid-game core if I find myself being right-clicked down by the enemy team. Definitely situational (magic nukes will vaporize you) but when it's good it's real good.
Orchid Malevolence: Does what it says. Give you a solid silence, a bunch of mana regen, and some damage amplification. I tend to build one if their team has a hard to pin down hero like a Puck or Anti-Mage that get's wrecked if silenced.
Scythe of Vyse: similar to orchid, but offers a harder lockdown at a higher price. If you suddenly inherit an extra 2700 gold to start building one, it's a fine luxury item.
Necronomicon: Solid utility/pushing item. Nets you extra push if you find that your team needs to split push rather than man-fight the other team. Using Wave of Terror on a creep wave and sending you Necro minions to push down a lane is a considerably safe way to keep a lane pushed out.
Pipe of Insight: If you're worried about a bunch of AoE/global nukes this is your go-to if no one else on your team has bought one yet.
Desolator: A fine item if you find yourself way ahead, or your team has all the lockdown/utility items they need. While -7 armor is fine and works well against buildings you shouldn't be expecting to be a carry or leaning heavily on your right-click damage late-game. Medallion of Courage offers -6 armor to a single target, has better range than your auto-attack, and gives you a solid armor boost in the meantime for a lot cheaper.
This is the time when supports, especially Vengeful Spirit shine. While carries and mids are busy hitting creeps in their lanes you'll be looking for any opportunity to brutalize people.
After you've grabbed your starting items (hopefully being able to afford a smoke) head to your lane. I won't really cover level 1 ganking since it can be pretty risky and can require a non-trivial amount of coordination and sometimes the right conditions.
While in your lane you'll do the usual denying and harassing where you can. If your lane partner(s) can line up an easy kill let the creep wave push up your lane and lead off with your Magic Missile and then Wave of Terror. Pretty straight forward. Around level 3-4 is when I'll usually leave my lane to start roaming for an early kill.
Be careful about leaving your lane if your partner is playing too risky or has poor lane presence i.e. Spectre or Morphling. Let them know you're leaving and to be careful. Most players should notice and play safe and enjoy the solo exp, but some will still demand to run up for last hits and get themselves killed.
I usually move to about midway between my T1 and T2 tower and check the status of my mid lane. If it's a hero that can make an early kill happen ( Storm Spirit, Tiny, Drow Ranger, etc.), has a good skill build/enough mana pop Smoke of Deceit and head to the mid letting mid know you're rotating. Wait on the high ground on the enemy side of the river and let the creep wave push up. Most inexperienced mid players (and some experienced) will move up with the creep wave, at this point start moving in behind them and lead off with Magic Missile into Wave of Terror and start right clicking. This should result with an easy kill for your mid.
At this point (if you didn't die) you should have enough gold to buy observer wards or some Boots of Speed. Use your regen and head back to your lane if it needs help or continue to roam looking for easy kills on lanes that have pushed close to your towers.
Remember you don't need to wait to get your Boots of Speed or finish your Ring of Basilius before you start wrecking people.
Make sure you keep as much vision around important parts of the map as possible. If your early game went well you can aggressively ward the enemy jungle to keep tabs or keep up defensive vision for your farming carry if you have one.
At this point around level 8-11 your team may start grouping up and pushing towers. All depending on your team composition. If your team is pushing as 4-5, follow them and scout high ground with your Wave of Terror and be careful about your positioning. Staying a bit behind your carry at this point is a good idea in case of a needed emergency Nether Swap.
If your team is splitting up to push lanes or needs more time to farm in the case that the early game did not go well, make sure to keep lanes that are not being farmed by your carry pushed off your tower with Wave of Terror but be mindful of where the enemy is. As with all supports keep an eye on the mini map and go back when you start to lose tabs on the enemy otherwise you're a free kill.
At this point it may be effective to team up with a couple teammates and look for a smoke gank if you can be sure you won't walk into 4+ heroes out of nowhere.
Vision rules apply as usual.
By late game you'll ideally be moving with your team making the most of your Vengeance Aura but you could be possibly pushing lanes safely with Wave of Terror and Necronomicon if need be.
At this point a level 3 nether swap can be very strong. Late game teamfights can often revolve around key pick-offs. When trying to break the enemy base use your creep wave or Wave of Terror to gain vision of the high ground. If you see someone out of position close to the tower you can go for a swap for you team to get an easy kill while you (hopefully) Force Staff yourself back to the safety of your team. This strategy also applies when defending your T3 towers.
Vengeful Spirit is a great support hero and excels at early game aggression. While she can be played as a lane support I think that style of play fails to take advantage of her high early game damage. I usually watch passive Venge play and think to myself that she could be doing so more and be a lot more scary. I don't agree with her capability to be a (semi)carry. Her skill-set require her to be at awkward ranges to get off enough right-clicks, and offers more to an overall team as a teamfight support.
A good early game for Vengeful Spirit will often make the transition to mid and late game for her team very easy. By keeping the enemy mid or carry down early they will have to take more risks to find levels and farm later. Risks are what a good Vengeful Spirit player will capitalize off of.
I hope this guide has been helpful for anyone interested in one of my favorite and most successful heroes.
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