Dota 2 Hero Guide – Venomancer

Lesale Deathbringer, the Venomancer, is a ranged agility hero known for his kit filled with area-of-effect poisons, that deal magic damage over time. Every part of his arsenal allows him to apply potent toxins onto enemy units, slowing them down significantly while also killing them slowly but painfully.

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His first ability, Venomous Gale, is widely considered to be one of the best Level 1 slows in the entire game. Upon casting, Venomous Gale causes Venomancer to eject a ball of poison in front of him, intoxicating all enemy units in a straight line. Venomous Gale applies a whopping 50 percent movement speed slow on impact—a value which is constant throughout the game regardless of how high the ability’s level is. This makes it incredibly useful in the early game, and is typically used to secure kills in the lane before most sidelane heroes reach Level 6.

Image via Valve

Poison Sting, his only passive ability, sits in the second slot in his kit. Poison Sting adds a poison effect to Venomancer’s regular physical attack, which slows up to 17 percent of the affected unit’s movement speed while also dealing damage over time. Poison Sting is what makes Venomancer truly irritating on the field of battle, allowing him to constantly annoy enemy heroes with ticking damage while also disabling any Blink Daggers that might be around.

His third ability, called Plague Ward, summons an immobile unit that attacks enemies that walk into its range. Aside from its obvious role in pushing objectives such as towers and barracks, Plague Ward is also quite useful in teamfights, thanks to Poison Sting propagating to every single one—albeit at half of its effectiveness. Plague Wards alone can easily prevent certain heroes from escaping Venomancer’s clutches, while also serving as forward scouts thanks to their field of vision.

And finally, we get to his ultimate, and one of the most fearsome area-of-effect skills in the game: Poison Nova. Upon casting, Venomancer unleashes his strongest poison into the air, covering a large area around him in the process. Poison Nova lasts for a ridiculously long time, applying up to 90 damage per second for 18 seconds. Although it doesn’t deal lethal damage (Poison Nova will always leave at least 1 HP), it still does a truckload of damage over time—which definitely helps in large scale engagements. In fact, Poison Nova alone can slowly turn a fight in your team’s favor, provided that you and your team are able to drag the fight out long enough for the poison to really work its magic.

Venomancer’s kit makes it clear that he is meant to be played as either an initiator or a utility support, with certain items greatly increasing his effectiveness. When all of his spells are combined, he can deal exorbitant amounts of magic damage, while simultaneously crippling heroes that are dependent on movement speed. Unfortunately, he does have his fair share of weaknesses as well. Though his slows may be strong, none of his abilities serve as hard disables at all—making it easy to escape solo gank attempts by simply using a Town Portal Scroll as soon as he casts his spells. He is also quite squishy, which makes him a very valuable target to enemy initiators. His biggest weakness, though, has to be the fact that all of his damage can be mitigated or blocked entirely with items such as Black King Bar and Pipe of Insight.

Venomancer Skill Build

Because of his versatility and design, Venomancer has the ability to take on a few different roles—ranging from farming core to utility support. This opens up just as many different skill builds for him, which players can choose from depending on each team’s draft and the overall strategy that they’re aiming for.

The most common route involves placing Venomancer in the utility support slot, which entails taking care of a lane partner by harassing lane opponents out with Poison Sting and clever use of Plague Wards. Both are highly efficient methods of boxing enemies out, allowing your carry or offlaner to farm in peace. That said, however, neither Poison Sting nor Plague Ward should be maxed out as a support—but rather Venomous Gale should be given priority. This is because Venomous Gale is used to secure kills in the lane—and coupled with its great scaling, it means that getting it to max level as soon as possible is worth it when playing support.

Another option is to stick Venomancer in the safe lane, which is a choice that many professional players make at the absolute highest levels of competition. Although it is unorthodox to do so for most players under Immortal rank, it is still an option that should be respected. This route discards the early game power of Venomous Gale and exchanges it for heavy investments in both Poison Sting and Plague Ward.

This build also focuses more on farming for right click damage, which means that players who choose to go this route should avoid participating in teamfights early on. Therefore, we recommend not taking Poison Nova until at least Level 11.

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Our recommended skill builds, therefore, are as follows:

Support

  • Venomous Gale
  • Plague Ward
  • Venomous Gale
  • Poison Sting
  • Venomous Gale
  • Poison Nova
  • Venomous Gale
  • Plague Ward
  • Plague Ward
  • Level 10 Talent: -8 Venomous Gale CD
  • Plague Ward
  • Poison Nova
  • Poison Sting
  • Poison Sting
  • Poison Sting
  • Level 15 Talent: Gale Hero Impact Summons 2 Wards
  • Poison Nova
  • Level 20 Talent: 15% Spell Lifesteal
  • Level 25 Talent: 3x Plague Ward HP/Damage

Safe Lane

  • Poison Sting
  • Plague Ward
  • Plague Ward
  • Poison Sting
  • Poison Sting
  • Plague Ward
  • Poison Sting
  • Plague Ward
  • Venomous Gale
  • Level 10 Talent: -8 Venomous Gale CD
  • Poison Nova
  • Poison Nova
  • Venomous Gale
  • Venomous Gale
  • Level 15 Talent: Gale Hero Impact Summons 2 Wards
  • Venomous Gale
  • Poison Nova
  • Level 20: 15% Spell Lifesteal
  • Level 25 Talent: 3x Plague Ward HP/Damage

Venomancer Item Build

Venomancer’s arsenal of items will largely depend on what build the player is going for, with the support route favoring utility items (which, of course, fits the utility support role) and the core option going for pickups that increase the effectiveness of his regular attacks.

For the former, we recommend starting out with a pair of Arcane Boots, which solves your early game mana problems as a support that wants to spam out Venomous Gale and Plague Ward. Arcane Boots also has the bonus of being an item that can be disassembled later in the game, in order to build it into an Aether Lens plus a boots upgrade.

Going into the mid game, a Eul’s Scepter of Divinity would be a fantastic choice for support Venomancer. Not only does it give you a much-desired hard disable (remember that Venomancer has none), but it also increases your passive mana regeneration and your movement speed—both of which Venomancer really appreciates. If you need instant mobility, then either Force Staff or Blink Dagger should suit your needs. Be sure to choose carefully between these two items, though, as hastily going for Blink Dagger could very well come back to haunt you if the enemy team has several ways of disabling it.

For the late game, you will want to maximize your magic damage through the use of things like Veil of Discord or Aghanim’s Scepter. Veil of Discord has the benefit of affecting all of your magic damage, as opposed to Aghanim’s Scepter affecting only Poison Nova. That said, Aghanim’s Scepter does decrease Poison Nova’s cooldown, which means you get to fight more often. It really depends on the outlook of the game, and how difficult it would be to build a Scepter in the first place.

On the flipside, the safe lane Venomancer route involves getting attack speed items and pickups that enhance his regular attack somehow. Manta Style and Hurricane Pike both come to mind, with Manta in particular synergizing supremely with Poison Sting due to its nature as a propagating ability. Your illusions are able to apply it as well, which is just great. Hurricane Pike, on the other hand, allows you to outrange any hero—while keeping vision over them using your Plague Wards.

In deep late game situations, an Eye of Skadi would be quite tempting. Not only does it give you a massive boost in stats (and therefore survivability), but it also stacks directly with Poison Sting—except that Skadi’s slow goes through magic immunity as well. We implore you to at least consider it if the game goes really long.

Venomancer Combo

Though Venomancer has different skill builds and playstyles available to him, his combo in a teamfight remains largely the same. It just boils down to what you have available at certain stages of the game.

If you are playing support Venomancer, then you will likely have access to all your active abilities before the late game. In that case, you’ll want to either initiate teamfights yourself (with Force Staff/Blink Dagger) by going in with Poison Nova and Venomous Gale. Of course, you should try to use Veil of Discord beforehand, if you have it. Once that’s done, your job is pretty much over, but you should try to place Plague Wards in key spots throughout the engagement. Chasing stragglers shouldn’t be very difficult for you thanks to your slows—at least, until magic immunity comes into play.

For core Venomancer, you will likely have fewer active abilities to work with due to the nature of your skill progression—at least until the mid to late stages of the game. Your focus should lean more towards using your attack enhancement items, such as Manta Style or Orchid Malevolence. Of course, this doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t use your abilities when they are available, so be sure to use your cooldowns accordingly.

Venomancer Counter

Because of his kit being made entirely of spells that deal magic damage, magic resistance, magic damage block, and complete spell immunity are the three best counters to anything Venomancer can do. Without the ability to deal the bulk of his damage, Venomancer becomes a sitting duck, who can only defend himself through his regular attack and his Plague Wards. Hood of Defiance, Pipe of Insight, and Black King Bar all provide these things in one form or another, so you should implore your offlaner or supports to purchase these items against a team with Venomancer.

Failing that, drafting heroes that can outrange his abilities or turn them against him is also a good idea. Terrorblade is particularly great against Venomancer, thanks to Reflection applying Poison Sting onto him. His Metamorphosis and illusions from Conjure Image will also make short work of Plague Wards, which adds further to his farm thanks to the attached gold bounty. Sniper can take potshots at Venomancer and his Plague Wards as well from a safe distance.

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