Warlock/Guide

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Gameplay[edit]

Playstyle
Warlock minimap icon.png Warlock is a powerful spellcaster capable of turning the tide of teamfights, bringing Hell powers with his abilities, Fatal Bonds his enemies to suffer with the same catastrophic fate. He is almost entirely dependent on good positioning, due to lack of front line abilities, but has great cast ranges on his abilities, so he can disrupt enemies from a safe distance. Warlock also offers a heal that can also damage enemies, doing a fine job as a lane partner. His ultimate, Chaotic Offering, calls down a powerful summon along with a spell immunity piercing stun that covers the battlefield almost entirely.
Pros Cons
  • Many teamfight abilities.
  • Has a good heal/damage ability.
  • Good area damage with Golems.
  • Huge area slow in Upheaval.
  • No escape ability.
  • Mildly low mana pool.
  • Upheaval requires channeling.
  • Ultimate has long cooldown.

Support[edit]

Warlock is generally played as a position 4 support, due to his lack of nukes and the long cooldown on his ultimate. His main purpose is to counter-initiate with a Chaotic Offering--> Fatal Bonds--> Upheaval combo, and to help push with Golem. Support Warlock usually buys Arcane Boots icon.png Arcane Boots and/or Mekansm icon.png Mekansm to sustain health and mana of himself and teammates, including Golem. Then, he generally works toward Aghanim's Scepter icon.png Aghanim's Scepter and Refresher Orb icon.png Refresher Orb to further increase his teamfight presence with extra Golems. For the ability build, you want to max out Shadow Word and Fatal Bonds first. You can choose to have a value point in Upheaval if you want some sort of disable to keep enemies in range of the Golem or when your teammates do not have follow up disables of their own.

Ability Builds[edit]

Support Warlock
1234567891011121314151617182025
Shadow Word icon.pngFatal Bonds icon.pngShadow Word icon.pngFatal Bonds icon.pngShadow Word icon.pngChaotic Offering icon.pngShadow Word icon.pngFatal Bonds icon.pngFatal Bonds icon.pngTalent icon.pngUpheaval icon.pngChaotic Offering icon.pngUpheaval icon.pngUpheaval icon.pngTalent icon.pngUpheaval icon.pngUnknown icon.pngChaotic Offering icon.pngTalent icon.pngTalent icon.png

Talents[edit]

Hero Talents
Spell Immunity for Warlock Golem icon.png Chaotic Offering Golems25+25 Warlock Golem icon.png Chaotic Offering Golems Armor
300 Shadow Word AoE20Summons a Warlock Golem icon.png Golem on Death
-7s Shadow Word Cooldown15+60% XP Gain
+150 Cast Range10+4% Fatal Bonds Damage

Tips & Tactics[edit]

General[edit]

  • Warlock has strong teamfight presence and can shift the tide of engagements against multiple foes. While he does not possess any immediate single-target hard disables or instant-damage nukes, his abilities provide powerful area disable and crowd control.
  • Despite being an intelligence caster, Warlock has very respectable strength growth, giving him strong survivability against magic and pure damage nukes. However, he struggles against physical damage with low armor and agility.
  • Because he relies mostly on casting spells in order to be effective, Warlock should build items that provide him with more mana, mana regeneration, and mobility. Having a sustainable source of mana allows Warlock to remain active on the map to support his team, and mobility allows Warlock to more easily position to cast his spells. Once he meets his minimum requirements, he can focus on building utility items to help his team, and survivability items to ensure that he does not die before getting his abilities off.
  • Keep in mind that Warlock's abilities have long cast animation, 0.5 seconds on all but Fatal Bonds. Therefore, you should plan and position yourself ahead of time to use abilities effectively.
  • In general, Warlock should be played as a safe lane support hero rather than as a core farmer. Although he can scale better than most other supports due to the nature of his abilities, he is more dependent on levels than on gold, so foregoing farm in favor of supporting can still allow him to contribute to his team.
  • As Warlock does not have an escape, you should pay close attention to the minimap and general vision to avoid ganks.
  • Warlock can often turn the tide of teamfights, so always carry a Town Portal Scroll icon.png Town Portal Scroll to offer your assistance.

Abilities[edit]

Fatal Bonds[edit]

  • Fatal Bonds allows Warlock to link multiple enemies together as they share damage taken.
  • Prioritize leveling Fatal Bonds if you intend to teamfight as the ability shares damage taken.
  • Fatal Bonds binds units closest to the target, so try to use it when enemy heroes are clumping up away from creeps.
  • Fatal Bonds has a long cast range of 1000 units, so Warlock does not need to get close to use it.
  • Fatal Bonds damage is reduced by each individual target's resistances, so dealing reduced damage to an enemy with high armor or magic resistance will not propagate that reduction to other affected units. Similarly, dealing large amounts of damage to an enemy with little armor or magic resistance will not amplify the damage shared by a more resilient enemy.
  • The damage has no maximum range, so it can still deal damage to fleeing low HP enemies if they are linked to a hero still in the fight.
  • Fatal Bonds can stack, so you can apply another instance and have each unit take extra damage that any one of them takes.

Shadow Word[edit]

  • Shadow Word can heal allies or damage enemies and can disable a Blink Dagger icon.png Blink Dagger for 12 seconds.
  • Shadow Word has a high mana cost at level 1 but does not heal or damage a lot, so you should avoid using it and wait until later levels.
  • Though Shadow Word can heal a single ally by more than 500 HP, it takes time to do so. Therefore, you should use it as early as possible to protect the target from burst damage.
  • You can use Shadow Word on spell immune allies, such as those with an active Black King Bar.
  • Avoid using Shadow Word to damage in the mid to late game, as it does little damage spreading out over time. It's best to use other abilities to help your team do damage or use it to heal teammates.
  • Shadow Word can help Warlock win his lane by either casting an offensive Shadow Words to harass, or by sustaining Warlock and his allies with healing.
  • Use Shadow Word on allied units to help them tank towers or Roshan icon.png Roshan.

Upheaval[edit]

  • Upheaval is a large area slow with a very long cast range, capable of inflicting an increasingly powerful slow from up to 1850 range away.
  • Despite its long cast range and wide radius of effect, Upheaval's slow takes time to build up, and ramps up very slowly at early levels. Try to avoid channeling the spell unless it is at least level 2 or 3, as it is otherwise a waste of mana.
  • Keep in mind, Upheaval becomes stronger based on how long it is channeled, not how long an enemy was standing in it, and that the slow sticks on the target up to 3 seconds after leaving the area.
    • Therefore, it is more effective to preemptively channel Upheaval where the enemy wants to pass through to give it time to build up, rather than casting the whirlpool on top of a foe's current location, since they can simply walk away before they can be slowed too much.
  • Upheaval can be used as a ganking disable once it has at least two points put into it, and combined with a leading stun to give the slow time to build up.
    • Provided that Warlock's teammates have enough damage output, slowing the enemy down can be much more beneficial than attacking.
  • Abuse Upheaval's long cast range to prevents the enemies from finding and interrupting Warlock by using it behind teammates, from inside the treeline, or on high ground.
  • Upheaval's primary use comes right after initiating or counter-initiating with Fatal Bonds and Chaotic Offering, as Warlock can use the slow to greatly hinder enemy heroes' ability to escape while the Golem attacks them. The enemy may choose to expend one of their disables to interrupt the channeling or choose to try to focus down Warlock while he is vulnerable, so make sure to position appropriately.
  • Self-casting Shadow Word prior to channeling can also aid in survivability during Upheaval.
  • In a pinch, Upheaval can be used to cover retreats, or for area denial. Casting the spell on an area that the enemy wants to traverse can give them pause, as walking into an active Upheaval will slow them down much more than if it was cast on top of them. This can be useful for giving teammates space to run away, or for preventing the enemy from entering an area that they wish to go (such as pushing up high ground into your base, or into/out of Roshan's pit).
  • Beware, Upheaval is a percent-based movement speed slow, and as such can be ignored by certain abilities such as Stampede, Shukuchi, Surge, and so on. Be sure that you know what abilities the enemy has that can ignore Upheaval's debuff, and plan accordingly.
  • Upheaval gets stronger over time, so it can be used preemptively before a teamfight if you have a low level in it.

Chaotic Offering[edit]

  • Chaotic Offering is Warlock's most powerful teamfight ability, as it will stun all enemies in the impact area through spell immunity, and summon a Golem to do his bidding.
  • Because of its wide area and long cast range, Chaotic Offering is best used when the enemy is grouped up and trying to deal with Warlock's teammates. Interrupting the enemy's actions will give allies an opportunity to land further nukes and disables.
  • Fatal Bonds is a strong complement to Chaotic Offering, as both abilities have similar cast ranges. Inflicting the enemy with Fatal Bonds can magnify the amount of damage the Golem deals with Permanent Immolation and Flaming Fists due to the area-of-effect nature of both abilities.
  • Use Shadow Word on the Golem, in order to heal it and prolong its lifespan. The longer the Golem is alive, the more damage it can deal.
  • When chasing fleeing heroes with your Golem, do not stop to attack them. Instead, keep it moving with them, so that the Permanent Immolation can do its damage.
  • Do not let the Golem die needlessly to the enemy due to the high gold bounty it gives.
    • If it is the last remaining unit for your team in a fight, have it flee unless you can ensure a kill.
    • Having it die against creeps or towers is better than allowing an enemy hero to last-hit it.
  • Be aware that Chaotic Offering has a very long cooldown so you may need to wait until a moment in a fight where an area stun is helpful.
  • Use Chaotic Offering in conjunction with Upheaval to both stun the enemy and prevent them from escaping afterwards. The stun also helps with Upheaval by providing a little bit of time for it to grow stronger.
  • The Golem has very high regeneration, so it can regenerate any damage it takes from heroes and be ready to help again if you take it out of the battle for a few seconds.
    • The regeneration can also be used to tank damage from towers, so if you are able to kill an enemy hero with the Golem at level six, you can then immediately push the tower.
  • When used with Refresher Orb icon.png Refresher Orb and/or Aghanim's Scepter icon.png Aghanim's Scepter, Warlock can summon multiple Golems.
    • Permanent Immolation's damage is not reduced by Aghanim's Scepter, so ensure that the Golems are near as many heroes as possible.
    • Flaming Fists's damage is not reduced by Aghanim's Scepter either, and it also does damage in a 300 radius.

Items[edit]

Starting items:

  • Tango icon.png Tango regenerates health to keep Warlock and allies in lane.
  • Healing Salve icon.png Healing Salve also restores health.
  • Clarity icon.png Clarity regenerates mana so Warlock can keep using Shadow Word at the beginning of the game.
  • Iron Branch icon.png Iron Branch provides cheap attributes and builds into Magic Wand or Mekansm.
  • Observer Ward icon.png Observer Ward gives vision that may spot incoming enemy ganks.
  • Animal Courier (Radiant) icon.png Animal Courier ferries items to teammates.

Early game:

  • Magic Stick icon.png Magic Stick sustains Warlock with burst health and mana restoration so he can survive or use more abilities.
  • Boots of Speed icon.png Boots of Speed grants movement speed bonus so Warlock can get into position to use Shadow Word or Fatal Bonds to secure kills or save allies in time.
  • Town Portal Scroll icon.png Town Portal Scroll gets Warlock to the right place to gank or counter gank with his abilities to damage or save allies.

Mid game:

  • Magic Wand icon.png Magic Wand also restores health and mana in burst, as well as giving some attributes.
  • Arcane Boots icon.png Arcane Boots replenishes Warlock's and allies' mana so they can stay on the map..
  • Glimmer Cape icon.png Glimmer Cape grants invisibility and magic resistance to Warlock or allies so they can escape; the item also works when Warlock is channeling Upheaval.

Late game:

  • Aghanim's Scepter icon.png Aghanim's Scepter allows Chaotic Offering to summon two Golems, boosting overall damage in teamfights as Permanent Immolation and Flaming Fists do not get their effectiveness reduced.
  • Refresher Orb icon.png Refresher Orb allows Warlock to use Fatal Bonds and Chaotic Offering twice, increasing the damage done on enemy targets. The item also boosts Warlock regeneration so he can keep using abilities without going back to base.

Situational items:

  • Urn of Shadows icon.png Urn of Shadows grants attributes, mana regeneration, and ability to heal or damage as Warlock participates in ganks.
  • Force Staff icon.png Force Staff allows Warlock to get in position to use his spells, as well as having utility in positioning teammates and displacing enemies; it can even be used on Golem to help it to chase fleeing enemies.
  • Ghost Scepter icon.png Ghost Scepter counters enemy physical attackers so Warlock can escape or use abilties without getting killed.
  • Solar Crest icon.png Solar Crest buffs armor, attack speed, and movement speed of allies or Golems; it can also reduce armor of enemies and Roshan.
  • Drum of Endurance icon.png Drum of Endurance gives Warlock additional attributes. The active increases movement and attack speed to aid allies and Golems in teamfights.
  • Mekansm icon.png Mekansm helps Warlock and teammates with heal, armor, and health regeneration so they can survive in teamfights.
  • Eul's Scepter of Divinity icon.png Eul's Scepter of Divinity improves Warlock's movement speed, allowing him to position in fights and ganks, and provides intelligence and mana regeneration so Warlock can use abilities liberally. The active gives him a disable to use against enemies, or can be used on himself to provide temporary invulnerability while removing debuffs, such as silences.
  • Rod of Atos icon.png Rod of Atos roots enemy target from great distance so Warlock's allies and Golems can focus their attacks. It also boosts attributes to make Warlock more survivable.
  • Lotus Orb icon.png Lotus Orb strengthens Warlock with armor and regeneration; the active dispels and gives an ally a shield that reflect target abilities, which may discourage enemies from focusing them.
  • Shiva's Guard icon.png Shiva's Guard increases survivability with armor and attack speed reducing aura, as well as intelligence so Warlock can use all of his abilities with Refresher Orb. The active movement speed slow may also help keeping enemies within range of Upheaval and Golems.
  • Scythe of Vyse icon.png Scythe of Vyse gives Warlock a large boost to mana regeneration and attributes, especially intelligence. The Hex ability instantly disables an enemy from range, greatly reducing enemy teamfight potential.
  • Octarine Core icon.png Octarine Core reduces the cooldown time on Warlock spammable abilities and allows him to have Chaotic Offering available on a more regular basis. Additionally, Warlock can lifesteal from damage done by Fatal Bonds and Shadow Word, increasing his survivability in fights.
  • Guardian Greaves icon.png Guardian Greaves, upgraded from Mekansm and Arcane Boots, gives Warlock strong teamfight contribution as well as opening up an inventory slot. The self-dispel allows Warlock to remove debuffs from himself, such as silences that are preventing him from casting his spells.