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Skywrath Mage/Guide

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Strategy
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Gameplay[edit]

Playstyle
Skywrath Mage minimap icon.png Skywrath Mage is a very strong nuker whose spells allow him to deal tremendous amounts of magic damage to enemy heroes. If left uninterrupted, he is a force to be reckoned with and is capable of destroying enemy heroes by himself.
Pros Cons
  • High burst damage from spells
  • Long cast range
  • High mana pool
  • Low cooldown on abilities
  • Very fragile
  • Low armor and health
  • Extremely mana dependant

Support[edit]

Carry[edit]

Ability Builds[edit]

Generic Skywrath Mage
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Arcane Bolt icon.pngConcussive Shot icon.pngArcane Bolt icon.pngAncient Seal icon.pngArcane Bolt icon.pngMystic Flare icon.pngArcane Bolt icon.pngAncient Seal icon.pngAncient Seal icon.pngTalent icon.pngAncient Seal icon.pngMystic Flare icon.pngConcussive Shot icon.pngConcussive Shot icon.pngTalent icon.pngConcussive Shot icon.pngUnknown icon.pngMystic Flare icon.pngTalent icon.pngTalent icon.png

Talents[edit]

Hero Talents
+600 Mystic Flare Damage25+300 Gold/Min
+15% Ancient Seal Magic Resistance Reduction20Global Concussive Shot
+1 Arcane Bolt Per Cast15-8s Ancient Seal Cooldown
+30% XP Gain10+20 Movement Speed
Notes:

Tips & Tactics[edit]

General[edit]

  • Beware that Skywrath Mage's extremely low strength and agility gives him very little HP and armor, resulting in severe vulnerability against physical damage. The combination of low HP and high nuke damage also renders him vulnerable to reflected damage, meaning that enemies who buy a Blade Mail icon.png Blade Mail can cause him to connive in his own destruction if they have more HP than him.
  • Due to the long cast range on his spells, Skywrath is capable of casting his spells on enemies safely from behind his allies, in order to mitigate his frailty. As such, positioning is very important as inadvertently getting too close to the enemy can result in his demise. His high base movement speed and near-instant cast animations allow him to take advantage of his long range, however his moves must be planned and calculated as his slow turn rate counteracts this.
  • Skywrath Mage has the third-highest intelligence growth in the game, which means that his mana pool is often large enough to accommodate all of his spells. However, beware that this can be turned against you depending on the enemies you are facing, as certain abilities are particularly effective against Skywrath Mage, such as Nether Ward, Mana Void and Mana Burn. Plan for counters against such situations if needed, and be prepared to purchase items to shield yourself from such abilities.
  • Due to the potency of his nukes, Skywrath Mage is capable of being played in a number of ways.
  • In the most general case, Skywrath Mage is a potent safe-lane support. He can spam Arcane Bolt to harass the enemy offlaner away while dealing respectable amounts of damage, and can slow them from range and silence them during kill attempts. As a casting support, he is capable of dealing large amounts of damage relying only on his spells, meaning that he can be effective with just levels.
  • Due to his strong nuking power, Skywrath Mage can be a very potent mid-laner. His ability to wear down his lane opponent from range, as well as disable and burst them down with his spells, can make him a powerful threat in almost any match-up. With good gold and experience gain, Skywrath Mage's spells can become a force to be reckoned with, allowing him to burst down and kill enemy heroes with relative ease.
  • Skywrath Mage's combination of high movement speed and powerful nuking ability make him a strong roamer and ganker. Possession of a long-range slow in Concussive Shot and a silence in Ancient Seal allow him to apply disables to enemies and burst them down with his spells, especially if combined with a partner with disables. As he requires experience and gold to avoid falling off in the late game, getting early kills can help him to remain a powerful threat throughout a match.

Abilities[edit]

Arcane Bolt[edit]

  • Arcane Bolt is a low-cost spammable targeted nuke that scales with Skywrath Mage's intelligence.
  • Arcane Bolt is a very strong harassment spell that also serves as a substitute for physical attacks with enough intelligence. It can become a very powerful and spammable magic nuke past the laning stage as it grows stronger alongside Skywrath Mage.
  • In the laning stage, Skywrath Mage can use Arcane Bolt to easily harass his lane opponent out of the lane, as its low mana cost and low cooldown allow him to use it extremely frequently. As it is a single-target spell, it does not draw aggro, so it can be cast without fear of inadvertently pushing the lane. However, beware that consistent use of Arcane Bolt will quickly build up charges for enemies' Magic Sticks, so balance your use of the spell accordingly.
  • The scaling nature of Arcane Bolt makes it a strong magic nuke at all stages of the game, as it is one of very few magic nukes that gains power alongside Skywrath Mage. Building powerful intelligence items boosts Skywrath's base damage, the size of his mana pool, and the amount of damage that Arcane Bolt deals, making him a strong threat the more farm he has. The scaling nature and low cooldown of the spell, 2 seconds at level 4, allows Skywrath Mage to use Arcane Bolt as an augmentation for his right-clicks, nuking down single targets very quickly as long as he has enough mana regeneration to keep up. This allows Skywrath to push creep waves or farm most neutral camps very quickly, giving him levels and gold.
  • Keep in mind, prolonged use of Arcane Bolt can drain your mana pool alarmingly quickly, even if you have already purchased many intelligence items. Mana regeneration is a necessity if you want to be able to cast your other spells when they are needed.
  • Unlike most other targeted abilities, Arcane Bolt cannot be disjointed, and will continue to follow its target and eventually damage them even if they blink away or turn invisible. You can use this to hunt down evasive targets, as the projectile provides flying vision as it homes in on its target.

Concussive Shot[edit]

  • Concussive Shot automatically launches a magical projectile that homes in on the closest enemy hero, damaging and slowing them, and their allies around them.
  • Its long cast range allows Skywrath Mage to use Concussive Shot to slow an enemy from a great distance away. As it also homes in on the closest available target and has an instant cast time, the spell can be used as an initiating spell to slow a target at the start of an engagement, a finisher to catch a fleeing enemy who has escaped beyond the range of your other spells, or as an escape by slowing the closest pursuer without breaking stride.
  • If enemies are clumped up due to being affected by an ally's crowd-control spell (such as Vacuum, Berserker's Call or Reverse Polarity), casting Concussive shot into the group can allow you to damage and slow multiple enemy heroes with a single cast.
  • Concussive Shot will not target illusions, making it a powerful hero detection tool. If you are facing an illusion-based hero such as Phantom Lancer minimap icon.png Phantom Lancer, Chaos Knight minimap icon.png Chaos Knight or Terrorblade minimap icon.png Terrorblade, using Concussive Shot will cause it to automatically home in on the real hero, provided that they are the closest target for the spell. If the spell fizzles, then it means that the hero is not present. This can also be used to counter Manta Style icon.png Manta Style by pinpointing the real hero among the illusions.

Ancient Seal[edit]

  • Ancient Seal is a long-ranged targeted silence ability that reduces the magic resistance of its target.
  • Ancient Seal's magic resistance reduction is one of the strongest in the game, beaten only by Pugna minimap icon.png Pugna's Decrepify. It allows Skywrath Mage to continue to deal tremendous amounts of magical damage even in the late game when enemies' health pools get large enough to shrug off most other magic nukes.
  • Ancient Seal is a strong ability for countering enemy mages who rely on casting their spells to be effective in teamfights. Its long cast range allows Skywrath to silence them from relative safety, and increase the damage they take from Skywrath's spells in order to permanently remove them from the field.
  • In the early game, it is recommended to take at least one value point in Ancient Seal, as a 3-second silence can prevent gank targets from casting their escape spells or counter-disabling, on top of greatly increasing their vulnerability to allies' initiating magic nukes as well as those of Skywrath himself. A 30% magic resistance reduction is enough to almost completely negate most heroes' base magic resistance, allowing them to take almost full damage from allied magic nukes.

Mystic Flare[edit]

  • Mystic Flare bombards the target area with numerous waves of magic damage, dealing a large amount of damage that is split evenly amongst all enemy heroes in the area.
  • Mystic Flare consumes a significant fraction of Skywrath Mage's mana pool, but is one of the most devastating magic nukes in the game and has a very short cooldown for the amount of damage it deals. Properly used, it can allow Skywrath to kill almost any hero in the game when combined with his other spells.
  • Mystic Flare's damage is unreliable, as it only deals damage so long as the enemy is within its small radius, which can be escaped as Skywrath does not have any disables that can completely immobilize a target. In general, it is best to set up your ultimate by casting Concussive Shot to slow the target first, and then add another slow or disable if possible (such as Rod of Atos or Scythe of Vyse) to reduce their mobility further. The best course of action is to let a teammate disable the target through a root, taunt or stun, so that they are unable to move at all for the duration of the ultimate.
  • Keep in mind, Ancient Seal not only increases the damage that the target will take, but can prevent them from casting any escape spells that allow them to displace themselves outside of the field. If a stun is not available, then casting Ancient Seal on top of Concussive Shot can help to pin the target down.
  • Remember that Mystic Flare distributes its damage evenly among all heroes in the field, but ignores illusions. As such, it is strong against illusion heroes (on top of Concussive Shot allowing you to reveal the true hero among the illusions), but also allows its damage to be more than halved by another enemy player or two stepping into the field to split the damage. This makes Mystic Flare unusual for an area-of-effect spell as it is strong for killing lone targets but is weak against groups of enemies.
  • One of Mystic Flare's greatest weaknesses is that Force Staff can be used on its target in order to almost immediately push them to safety. This makes Scythe of Vyse ever more invaluable as a disable tool and emphasizes the spell's single-target nature, as using the spell on an enemy who does not have any nearby allies prevents them from being Forced to safety, and Hex prevents the target from using items as well as spells, preventing them from using their own Force Staff on themselves.

Items[edit]

Starting items:

  • Tango icon.png Tango gives health sustain to Skywrath Mage and to lane mates who are constantly getting harassed by the enemy.
  • Healing Salve icon.png Healing Salve restores health to Skywrath Mage and allies.
  • Clarity icon.png Clarity ensure that you do not run out of mana while laning. Due to how spammable Arcane Bolt is, having the mana to use it consistently can allow you to harass and zone out your lane opponents.
  • Iron Branch icon.png Iron Branch gives a helpful boost to all your attributes for a cheap price, and later build into a Magic Wand should you need one.

Early game:

  • Arcane Boots icon.png Arcane Boots should be purchased as quickly as possible, as they expand the size of Skywrath's mana pool and allow him to replenish a portion of it occasionally (as well as that of his allies).
  • Magic Stick icon.png Magic Stick can instantly restore some of Skywrath's health and mana. The health replenishment is crucial given his very small health pool, while the mana replenishment can allow him to cast one or two more spells in an emergency.
  • Null Talisman icon.png Null Talisman provides an assortment of attributes, most important among them intelligence, giving Skywrath Mage more mana, more damage, and increasing the power of Arcane Bolt.

Mid game:

  • Magic Wand icon.png Magic Wand grants all the same benefits of Magic Stick, along with attributes and larger charge storage. If Skywrath is given low farm priority, building one of these is cheap and effective.
  • Eul's Scepter of Divinity icon.png Eul's Scepter of Divinity is a good utility item that is also cheap and easy to build. It provides Skywrath with more intelligence and mana regeneration, and the increased movement speed allows him to chase and flee much more effectively, compounding his already impressive base movement speed. The active can be used as an interrupting disable, something that Skywrath Mage otherwise lacks, or can be used to give himself temporary invulnerability (such as to prevent himself from being damaged by an enemy Blade Mail icon.png Blade Mail) while also dispelling debuffs from himself (such as silences).
  • Rod of Atos icon.png Rod of Atos boosts Skywrath Mage's health and intelligence, both of which are extremely important. Its active ability can root a target from a very long distance away, allowing him to keep a single target in place for Mystic Flare.

Late game:

  • Aghanim's Scepter icon.png Aghanim's Scepter is a powerful item in that it allows Skywrath Mage to zone out enemies for a significant amount of time with Mystic Flare. When used in choke points like small ramps or between trees, enemies have to either stay back, allowing Skywrath Mage to escape, or cage an enemy in, or go through and take heavy damage and risk their lives. It is also very strong when combined with long disables like Chronosphere, Sacred Arrow or Adaptive Strike (Strength), capable of mowing down even the tankiest targets.
  • Scythe of Vyse icon.png Scythe of Vyse is a costly item, but one which is very strong on any support hero. The great amount of intelligence and attributes greatly benefits Skywrath Mage, and the scaling mana regeneration allows him to sustain his mana pool. Most importantly, the active is a very strong hard-disable that can set up kills for his spells, or for allies to focus the target down.

Situational items:

  • Ethereal Blade icon.png Ethereal Blade, while expensive, serves dual purposes for Skywrath Mage. Used offensively, the active ability can inflict tremendous nuke damage to an enemy due to Skywrath's high intelligence gain and weaken their magic resistance, stacking with Ancient Seal to increase the target's vulnerability to his nukes. Used defensively, it can provide Skywrath with immunity to physical damage for a short time, though it can be left as a Ghost Scepter icon.png Ghost Scepter if farm is an issue.
  • Force Staff icon.png Force Staff is a strong utility item on any support, and synergizes with Skywrath Mage's needs. It provides him with instant mobility, allowing him to re-position to cast his spells against the enemy, or to aid in escaping from enemies; it can be used to this end on allies as well. The item's bonus intelligence gives Skywrath more mana, base damage and strengthens Arcane Bolt, and the health regeneration keeps his meager health pool topped up.
  • Bloodstone icon.png Bloodstone is a very powerful item on Skywrath Mage, and can be built up by disassembling your Arcane Boots. It grants him a greatly increased health and mana pool and powerful mana regeneration, increasing his staying power in fights and keeping up with the mana cost of his spells.
  • Shiva's Guard icon.png Shiva's Guard gives Skywrath Mage a large amount of intelligence as well as powerful survivability against physical damage. The aura can help him to contribute more in teamfights, and the armor can help keep him alive for longer as his agility gain is among the worst in the game.
  • Veil of Discord icon.png Veil of Discord is a cheap purchase that grants Skywrath Mage with strong benefits, particularly boosting his intelligence and giving him armor and health regeneration. The active can weaken enemies' magic resistance on top of Ancient Seal and make them more vulnerable to his magic nukes, as well as those of his allies.
  • Dagon 1 icon.png Dagon synergizes with Skywrath Mage's ability to nuke down targets by giving him even more magic damage and increasing his intelligence.
  • Octarine Core icon.png Octarine Core allows Skywrath Mage to take advantage of his tremendous nuking power and spammable spells. The item gives him more intelligence, as well as mana and health, increasing his battlefield presence. The cooldown reduction and spell lifesteal allow him to use Arcane Bolt much more frequently and increase his survivability by replenishing his health as he deals damage to the enemy with his spells.
  • Aether Lens icon.png Aether Lens can be easily obtained through disassembling Arcane Boots. Besides providing extra mana regeneration, boosting the cast range on Skywrath Mage's spells allows him to bombard the enemy from even farther away, extending his safety radius.
  • Blink Dagger icon.png Blink Dagger greatly increases Skywrath Mage's ability to position himself for casting his spells, allowing him to extend the range of his already long-reaching spells. It can allow him to get the drop on enemies and nuke them down with very little warning, or escape from pursuing enemies provided that he can activate it before taking player damage.