Venomancer/Guide

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Gameplay[edit]

Playstyle
Venomancer minimap icon.png Venomancer is a support hero who can deal tremendous damage over time with his spells. He also possesses strong push and counter-push potential in his Plague Wards, allowing him to defend towers and high-ground as well as take enemy towers by himself.
Pros Cons
  • Can deal tremendous amounts of damage when his spells are combined.
  • Strong slows and DOTs make him great for early ganks
  • Wards provide lots of utility like free vision, push/counterpush, and a basic ability to jungle
  • No hard disables
  • Generally poor survivability
  • Has mana problems early and mid game
  • Large portions of his damage can be removed with items like Pipe of Insight or Black King Bar

Generic/Support Venomancer[edit]

All three of Venomancer's spells are worth maxing out early. As a support Venomancer, your greatest addition to the team in the early game comes from Venomous Gale's slow and considerable damage, while your attacks are unreliable at best. keep in mind that Venomous Gale is one of the three abilities that allow "natural" denies (with attacks) and better opponents WILL use this feature to deny you gold and experience, even in the middle of a fight. As a support, your greatest addition to the team in later stages of the game comes from the vision provided by your Plague Wards and they should be maxed out second to increase their durability after you've died.

Focus on the cheaper items as a support. Sometimes nobody on your team will have built a Mekansm icon.png Mekansm, which is a reasonable choice on Venomancer. You will need Arcane Boots icon.png Arcane Boots to sustain your spells' heavy cost, which will also help out your team. And they can also be disassembled for an Aether Lens icon.png Aether Lens or a Lotus Orb icon.png Lotus Orb. Eul's Scepter of Divinity icon.png Eul's Scepter of Divinity is also a good choice to solve your mana problems and the early Wind Lace icon.png Wind Lace is always nice, or alternatively, Drum of Endurance icon.png Drum of Endurance.

Force Staff icon.png Force Staff and Blink Dagger icon.png Blink Dagger is always interesting on a support, the latter as a tool to land Poison Nova on as many enemies as possible, the former more versatile.

There are few scenarios where you shouldn't consider Aghanim's Scepter icon.png Aghanim's Scepter on Venomancer at some point, and/or Veil of Discord icon.png Veil of Discord, usually before the scepter since the build-up is nicer.

Mid/Pushing Venomancer[edit]

It is very reasonable to aim for early towers with a mid Venomancer that maxes out Plague Wards first. This scenario rests on your opponent's inability to deal with your wards, and you should give up on trying to push with them if he can out-range them and kill them quickly (Sniper minimap icon.png Sniper and Drow Ranger minimap icon.png Drow Ranger come to mind). As much as possible, you don't want to be feeding free gold and Xp to the opposing team. To this effect, you should wait at least until you have 3 points in wards to start pushing, as the level 1 wards will die in at most two auto-attacks, and the level 2 wards don't do much better. Therefore, you might as well take an early point in Gale to help secure a kill or gank a lane with a trusty Haste Rune minimap icon.png Haste Rune.

As a mid Venomancer, your goal should be able to secure early team fights with the massive damage from Poison Nova, and you should consider rushing an Aghanim's Scepter icon.png Aghanim's Scepter. Bottle (Full) icon.png Bottle is rarely a bad idea on the mid lane, but you'll have nearly enough mana regen to spam your wards with a Ring of Basilius (Active) icon.png Ring of Basilius so you can also opt to skip the bottle.

Similarly, Veil of Discord icon.png Veil of Discord will help you secure the early teamfights.

Safelane/Farming Venomancer[edit]

Venomancer is mostly seen in the position one or two in the professional scene. Since most professional players know what they're doing, it's an option that should be treated with respect.

Worse players will underestimate the damage dealt by maxing out Poison Sting early. But you should never leave your Plague Wards at a single point as it's a free source of gold and experience for your enemies, and it will also push out the lane. As a carry with low movement speed and no mobility whatsoever, you may opt to skip the earlier teamfights and therefore skip out entirely your ult until level 9 or 10. And you can also skip out Venomous Gale since you won't have enough mana to spam it.

Since you're suddenly focusing a bit more on right clicks, plenty of items become good choices, though the previous ones remain note-worthy. Mekansm icon.png Mekansm, Veil of Discord icon.png Veil of Discord, Eul's Scepter of Divinity icon.png Eul's Scepter of Divinity, Blink Dagger icon.png Blink Dagger are still good items, and Aghanim's Scepter icon.png Aghanim's Scepter should still be purchased at some point, rather sooner than later.

Manta Style icon.png Manta Style is an expensive, usually ineffective choice on a support Venomancer, but it's decent if you're in the safelane. Don't forget your illusions benefit from Poison Sting. Dragon Lance icon.png Dragon Lance is a good early item and can be further upgraded into a Hurricane Pike icon.png Hurricane Pike if you need the mobility provided by the Force Staff icon.png Force Staff. Eye of Skadi icon.png Eye of Skadi fully stacks with Poison Sting and will help you kite melee carries and chase low-mobility enemies.

An early Blight Stone icon.png Blight Stone will help you take down a tower when it's under siege by your wards. The debuff lasts for a long period of time, not unlike your passive. As such, it becomes really important to try to hit every enemy hero ONCE to apply both debuffs, before focusing on a single target. And don't forget your Plague Wards benefit from a reduced version of Poison Sting that stacks (once) with your attacks' version of it.

As for boots, everything gets the green light. You can choose to keep them brown until you upgrade them to Boots of Travel 1 icon.png Boots of Travel. You can go for Arcane Boots icon.png Arcane Boots so long as you plan on doing something else with the Energy Booster icon.png Energy Booster, like an Octarine Core icon.png Octarine Core, or upgrading them into Guardian Greaves icon.png Guardian Greaves. The rest are just as good.

Ability Builds[edit]

Generic/Support Venomancer
1234567891011121314151617182025
Venomous Gale icon.pngPlague Ward icon.pngVenomous Gale icon.pngPoison Sting icon.pngVenomous Gale icon.pngPoison Nova icon.pngVenomous Gale icon.pngPlague Ward icon.pngPlague Ward icon.pngTalent icon.pngPlague Ward icon.pngPoison Nova icon.pngPoison Sting icon.pngPoison Sting icon.pngPoison Sting icon.pngTalent icon.pngUnknown icon.pngPoison Nova icon.pngTalent icon.pngTalent icon.png
Mid/Pushing Venomancer
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Venomous Gale icon.pngPoison Sting icon.pngPlague Ward icon.pngPlague Ward icon.pngPlague Ward icon.pngPoison Nova icon.pngPlague Ward icon.pngPoison Sting icon.pngPoison Sting icon.pngTalent icon.pngPoison Sting icon.pngPoison Nova icon.pngVenomous Gale icon.pngVenomous Gale icon.pngTalent icon.pngVenomous Gale icon.pngUnknown icon.pngPoison Nova icon.pngTalent icon.pngTalent icon.png
Safelane/Farming Venomancer
1234567891011121314151617182025
Poison Sting icon.pngPlague Ward icon.pngPlague Ward icon.pngPoison Sting icon.pngPoison Sting icon.pngPlague Ward icon.pngPoison Sting icon.pngPlague Ward icon.pngVenomous Gale icon.pngTalent icon.pngPoison Nova icon.pngPoison Nova icon.pngVenomous Gale icon.pngVenomous Gale icon.pngTalent icon.pngVenomous Gale icon.pngUnknown icon.pngPoison Nova icon.pngTalent icon.pngTalent icon.png

Talents[edit]

Hero Talents
3x Venomancer Plague Ward icon.png Plague Ward HP/Damage25+800 Poison Nova AoE
15% Spell Lifesteal20+7s Poison Nova Duration
+12% Poison Sting Slow15 Gale Hero Impact Summons 2 Venomancer Plague Ward icon.png Wards
+90 Gold/Min10-8 Venomous Gale CD
Notes:
  • The spell lifesteal talent stacks additively with other sources of spell lifesteal.
  • The spell lifesteal talent heals for 3% from non-hero units. Treats creep-heroes as creeps and does not heal off of illusions.

Tips & Tactics[edit]

General[edit]

  • While his spells possess a large amount of raw nuking power, Venomancer lacks immediate killing power, and does not have any hard disables. Always attempt to kill enemies with the aid of teammates, as they can stun the enemy and finish them off in situations where the foe may otherwise easily escape.
  • In general, Venomancer should be played as a pushing support who provides utility to his team, rather than as a fighter, due to his general frailty and low movement speed. As such, many of the more expensive recommended luxury items that focus on physical damage output should not be built at all, as they provide little comparative benefit and do not synergize well with Venomancer's skills. Instead, focus on building mobility and utility items that help your team without requiring you to jump into the fray outside of casting your spells.
  • As an agility caster, Venomancer suffers from severe mana problems. It is recommended to focus on increasing the size of your mana pool and purchasing mana regen items when possible. Due to the high mana cost of Poison Nova, you need to carefully manage your mana so that you can cast it in a teamfight.

Abilities[edit]

Venomous Gale[edit]

  • Venomous Gale applies a strong slow on any enemies it hits, significantly reducing their movement speed.
  • Venomous Gale is one of the best ranged slows at level 1 since it cuts enemy movement speed in half, making it powerful with just one value point in the laning stage.
    • If you have a tri-lane that has reliable damage output, putting Venomous Gale on a target can ensure a First Blood on the enemy offlaner.
  • Venomancer's mana pool at level 1 allows him to use Venomous Gale twice.
  • Enemy heroes afflicted by Venomous Gale can be denied by their allies, preventing Venomancer and his team from profiting from their death. Try to prevent affected enemies from escaping, or try to ensure that their teammates cannot arrive in time to help them.

Poison Sting[edit]

  • Poison Sting applies a movement speed slow and damage over time to Venomancer's attacks. Half of the damage from this ability, as well as the full slow, is also applied to Plague Ward attacks.
  • Because it applies a slow and deals magical damage over time with each attack, Poison Sting is a good spell to max out early on. Venomancer can use his attacks to harass enemies and deal large amounts of damage without having to expend mana, and the slow stacks alongside Venomous Gale, meaning that even a single value point can greatly increase Venomancer's disable potential.
  • As both the damage and duration of the spell increase in tandem with levels, Poison Sting deals exponentially more damage as it is leveled up. Combined with Plague Wards, it is possible to place a "permanent" movement speed penalty and consistent damage over time on enemy heroes in the area.
  • Remember that the damage from Poison Sting itself is not recognized by the game as player damage, and thus enemies can still use their Blink Daggers or regen items even while under the effects of its damage. Make sure to regularly attack enemy players with your right-clicks in order to inflict player damage on them.
  • Be careful when trying to apply Poison Sting to enemy heroes with your attacks. Venomancer's attack range is quite short, so it is easy to accidentally put yourself out of position.
  • When killing creep waves or neutral camps, attack each creep once at the beginning to apply the Poison Sting debuff to all of them. This drastically increases the amount of damage you can do to them, as they all are taking damage over time right from the beginning, increasing the net amount of damage you do.
  • The idea behind leveling this ability to boost the effectiveness of your Plague Wards is that it allows them to deal the damage over time after you have left them in place and moved on. When using them in active pushes or defense, Venomancer can apply his own Poison Sting to enemy creeps, overriding that of the Plague Wards. But if he needs to go elsewhere after deploying a cluster of wards, or cannot get close to creep waves due to the risk of being initiated on by enemies, then they can benefit from Poison Sting and whittle down creep waves more effectively.

Plague Ward[edit]

  • Plague Ward is Venomancer's signature ability, allowing him to place a large number of wards in a short duration that augment his firepower and provide vision.
  • Plague Wards deal weak damage in sparse numbers and at early levels, but their power becomes significant once 3 or more skill points are placed in them and they are massed in one location. If you are employing an early push strategy, it is wise to max Plague Wards first in order to put as much cheap Physical damage on the field as possible.
  • Venomancer's attack range can effectively be increased by 1000 by casting Plague Wards at their maximum range. While Venomancer's attack range is only 450, he can place Plague Wards up to 850 range away, which can attack targets up to 600 range away, boosting his striking range to 1450.
  • Plague Wards deal Piercing damage, which means that they deal increased damage against lane creeps but are less effective against towers and siege creeps. They are best used to quickly remove lane creeps from the field so that friendly creep waves can more easily reach the enemy tower.
    • When pushing a lane, try to place your initial wave of Plague Wards just outside of the enemy tower's attack range. This way, you can safely mass them in order to make short work of the enemy's creep wave as they approach, as well as delay the creep wave at that location and give your creeps time to move forward.
    • Once your creep wave moves forward to attack the enemy's tower, only then should you place your second wave of Plague Wards within range to attack the tower. Without cover, the tower can make short work of your Plague Wards, preventing you from massing them. Try to place your ward cluster on the opposite side of the enemy tower, in the direction of the enemy's base, so that they attract the enemy creep wave's aggro and hold them in position, preventing them from attacking your creeps and defending the tower.
  • Due to how frail they are and how little damage they do at level 1 and 2, it is not recommended that you cast Plague Wards too frequently during the laning stage, as they will only provide gold and experience for the enemy. As well, while they are spammable and cost small amounts of mana, placing enough to cause any meaningful amount of damage costs significantly more mana.
  • If farming jungle camps with Plague Wards, avoid placing them as the ability comes off cooldown inside the camp itself. This reduces the amount of damage that the wards can do, and can block the camp from spawning if the wards persist at the minute mark. Instead, place a cluster of wards outside of the camp and then aggro the creeps into your wards. This concentrates their firepower and reduces the amount of damage you take, and allows you to use the same ward cluster to work down two or even three neighboring camps simultaneously by pulling them into one location where the wards can attack them and automatically aggro them back with the poison damage.
  • Use Plague Wards constantly in order to provide vision of your surrounding area, especially when across the river and inside enemy territory. You can use them to scout out areas behind trees and up cliffs to ensure that enemies cannot initiate on you easily.
  • When chasing an enemy that is attempting to run away, constantly put Plague Wards ahead of them to maintain sight. This also helps in applying constant Poison Sting damage, slowing their movement speed, and potentially blocking their pathing.
  • You can place Plague Wards within juke paths to block the enemy team's movements if you are fighting in the jungle. This can be used to either stop the enemy from juking by closing off the path that they want to take, or to prevent them from pursuing you after passing through a narrow path by blocking it.
  • Remember that you can control your Plague Wards as immovable units. This can be useful if you want to change attack targets, stop a Plague Ward's auto attack or deny friendly creeps and runes, and even destroy the Aegis of the Immortal icon.png Aegis of the Immortal.

Poison Nova[edit]

  • Poison Nova is a tremendously powerful debuff that can deal large amounts of magical damage to the enemy over time.
  • While it lacks immediate punch and does not contribute much to a fight at the start, Poison Nova can put its victims at extremely low health after a few seconds, securing kills and allowing your team mop up and take map objectives afterward.
  • Beware that Poison Nova is easily Venomancer's most expensive spell, and casting it can be very costly. Try to manage the mana that you expend from your other spells carefully, as spending too much mana may result in being unable to use your ultimate in a teamfight.
  • Even if the enemy activates spell immunity before you can cast your ultimate, keep in mind that the debuff is still applied to them, and they start taking damage immediately once their spell immunity expires. While spell immunity effectively wastes a few seconds of your ultimate, it can still deal a lot of damage to them.
  • Unless you have teammates who can follow up, do not use Poison Nova out of spite if you are about to be killed, as the cooldown is very long and it does not result in any kills unless the enemy is affected by other damage-over-time debuffs. The only exception to this is if you have Aghanim's Scepter and are level 16 or higher, as the cooldown is then reduced to below your respawn duration.
  • Remember that Poison Nova can never bring an enemy below 1 HP by itself. Therefore, you should try to apply Venomous Gale or Poison Sting to your opponents immediately before or after casting Poison Nova, as both debuffs last as long as Poison Nova itself and can help guarantee that they do not survive the Poison Nova.

Items[edit]

Starting items:

  • Tango icon.png Tango regenerates health, allowing Venomancer to stay longer in lane without going back to the fountain.
  • Healing Salve icon.png Healing Salve restores health as well.
  • Animal Courier (Radiant) icon.png Animal Courier ferries items to teammates.
  • Clarity icon.png Clarity is highly recommended in the laning stage, as Venomancer is highly dependent on casting spells in order to be effective. Venomancer's base mana pool and intelligence growth are quite poor, and casting Venomous Gale once at level 1 drains more than half of your mana pool.
  • Observer Ward icon.png Observer Wards are a core requirement as a support. While you can place Plague Wards to scout enemy movement, they are limited in vision, duration and sight range, and can be far more easily spotted and destroyed.

Early game:

  • Magic Stick icon.png Magic Stick provides good regeneration, especially if you are laning against opponents who keep casting their abilities.
  • Boots of Speed icon.png Boots of Speed are important to get early on Venomancer, as his base movement speed is quite low. More mobility allows you to position yourself for your spells, particularly getting within range to cast Venomous Gale.
  • Sentry Ward icon.png Sentry Ward is crucial on Venomancer as a support item. As he can place Plague Wards through terrain and fog of war to get vision, he can easily place Sentry Wards alongside them to de-ward enemy Observer Wards. Since Plague Wards are summoned units, he can "set and forget" them after finding an Observer Ward, rather than risk getting ganked by staying to de-ward.

Mid game:

  • Magic Wand icon.png Magic Wand gives attributes, and health and mana restoration for emergencies.
  • Power Treads icon.png Power Treads are a good purchase as the extra attributes can be used either to increase your intelligence to make casting easier or to increase your strength to give you more survivability.
  • Force Staff icon.png Force Staff is useful on Venomancer if you are having trouble farming a Blink Dagger. The increased mana pool helps greatly with his ability to cast spells, and the item's active ability serves as a useful escape mechanism on a frail hero without escape abilities.
  • Town Portal Scroll icon.png Town Portal Scroll is necessary on virtually all heroes, but is important in Venomancer's case due to his ability to show up to teamfights to cast his nukes and slows, and defend a tower and counter-push at the same time. As well, his low mobility and lack of escape abilities means that having a TP scroll on hand at all times should be the case.

Late game:

  • Aghanim's Scepter icon.png Aghanim's Scepter greatly increases the killing potential of Poison Nova: it can deal tremendous amounts of magical damage to the entire enemy team, making it perfect for initiations when assisted by teammates.

Situational items:

  • Veil of Discord icon.png Veil of Discord provides attributes and armor for Venomancer as well as the item's active, Magic Weakness, which increases the effectiveness of all of Venomancer's spells and even his passive. Though not as powerful as Aghanim's Scepter regarding Poison Nova, it is much cheaper and easier to build. Combining both can result in an astounding amount of damage over time, and also benefits teammates if you have a caster-heavy lineup.
  • Eul's Scepter of Divinity icon.png Eul's Scepter of Divinity gives a lot of mana regeneration, some movement speed and intelligence, eliminating your mobility and mana issues almost entirely. It also makes positioning for casting your spells easier by disabling an opponent for a short time, and can be used to temporarily save yourself after casting Poison Nova amongst the middle of the enemy team.
  • Blink Dagger icon.png Blink Dagger is the best choice if you are your team's main initiator. Use it to position yourself before casting Poison Nova and/or Venomous Gale.
  • Shadow Blade icon.png Shadow Blade gives more damage, more attack speed and a useful escape mechanism. You can also use its ability to initiate on the enemy team and cast your ultimate.
  • Butterfly icon.png Butterfly is a very expensive item and generally not recommended when playing as a support. It drastically increases Venomancer's attack speed and damage, as well as giving him evasion and a small amount of armor, allowing him to weather physical attacks better and apply Poison Sting to multiple targets over a short amount of time.
  • Orchid Malevolence icon.png Orchid Malevolence solves all of your mana problems and gives you more physical damage per second. Additionally, the silence can be used to disable enemies, which is useful both as a semi-carry and support.
  • Manta Style icon.png Manta Style gives Venomancer more overall stats, as well as movement speed. Its active can be used to remove debuffs from yourself, and the illusions can assist in applying slows to enemy targets.
  • Drum of Endurance icon.png Drum of Endurance gives Venomancer stats across the board, and the increased movement speed can offset his low mobility somewhat. The extra attack speed also helps him apply his Poison Sting more easily.
  • Octarine Core icon.png Octarine Core is a highly expensive item, but can give Venomancer many strong benefits. The item grants increased HP and mana, giving Venomancer more staying power. More importantly, the cooldown reduction allows Venomancer to place Plague Wards much more frequently, and the spell lifesteal combined with his powerful damage-over-time spells, particularly Poison Nova, give him immense survivability in any fight as he can regenerate health almost as quickly as he takes damage.
  • Gem of True Sight icon.png Gem of True Sight is a stronger permanent investment but also risks surrendering the gem to the enemy if they can successfully kill Venomancer.
  • Arcane Boots icon.png Arcane Boots are highly recommended on Venomancer, as his ultimate costs a large amount of mana and his mana pool is otherwise extremely limited. As a support, you also help your team by being able to replenish their mana as well as your own, allowing you to cast your spells more often.
  • Ghost Scepter icon.png Ghost Scepter is very helpful for giving Venomancer protection against physical damage. It can be used to buy yourself some time if you are jumped on by the enemy team in a gank or teamfight, or allow you to survive long enough to cast Venomous Gale after using your ultimate.
  • Glimmer Cape icon.png Glimmer Cape can be a very useful utility item. The magic resistance gives Venomancer survivability against magic nukes, while the attack speed facilitates the utility of Poison Sting. The active can be used to initiate with Poison Nova if a Blink Dagger or Force Staff is unavailable, and can be used to shield yourself or a teammate from magic nukes, or as an escape tool if the enemy has no detection.
  • Rod of Atos icon.png Rod of Atos gives Venomancer a lot of health, a lot of intelligence to increase the size of his mana pool, and a long range root that can help him with initiating and ganking. The active allows Venomancer to set up his Venomous Gale.
  • Shiva's Guard icon.png Shiva's Guard is expensive, but provides Venomancer with many strong benefits. It gives him a much larger mana pool to use, allowing him to better utilize his spells, and gives him armor for resisting physical damage. The auras add to his ability to slow enemy heroes, and the active can be used in conjunction with Poison Nova to slow enemies enough to catch them in its radius, as well as add an additional movement speed slow on top of Venomous Gale and Poison Sting.
  • Scythe of Vyse icon.png Scythe of Vyse is a very farm-intensive item to purchase, however, it permanently solves all of Venomancer's mana issues while also giving him an instant hard disable that he can cast on the enemy in a teamfight, even in the late game.