Dota 2 Hero Guide – Visage

Visage, known as the Bound Form of Necro’lic, is a ranged intelligence hero with an unorthodox design. Rather than fitting into the archetype of squishy glass cannons packing tons of magic damage, Visage is actually a very durable hero thanks to his above average strength gain and the protective properties of his passive ability Gravekeeper’s Cloak. Gravekeeper’s Cloak surrounds Visage with a barrier that reduces incoming damage, though the reduction gets smaller the more hits he takes in a certain time period. Eventually, each “layer” of this barrier regenerates, as long as Visage isn’t taking damage.

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Combined with the rest of his kit, Visage is generally played in a far more aggressive manner than heroes in his class, with players endeavoring to constantly be on the hunt for enemy heroes. This is facilitated by his three other abilities: Grave Chill, Soul Assumption, and Summon Familiars.

Grave Chill is a targeted spell that steals a unit’s movement speed and attack speed, and transfers it over to Visage. Visage then gains an additional 32 percent movement speed, alongside a flat attack speed increase of 64 for a few seconds. This ability allows Visage to effectively chase down his prey, while also slowing them down for the rest of his team. In addition, the stolen attack speed allows him to dish out a surprisingly decent amount of physical DPS for a ranged intelligence hero.

Image via Valve

Soul Assumption is one of the most potent early game nukes in Dota 2, and it forms the core of Visage’s ganking power. Whenever heroes in the nearby area take more than 110 damage in a single instance, Visage is granted one Soul Assumption charge—capped at six charges at Level 4. For every charge stored, Soul Assumption deals 65 damage, in addition to a base value of 20. This means that at max charges, Soul Assumption deals 410 damage, which is equal to a Level 1 Dagon. This makes Visage incredibly dangerous in the laning phase, especially once he hits Level 7.

Summon Familiars, which is his ultimate ability, creates two controllable flying units that deal a fixed amount of attack damage depending on the level of the ability. Visage’s Familiars also have the ability to turn into stone, landing on the ground and stunning enemy heroes for a short time in the process. While they are in Stone Form, the Familiars are completely invulnerable, and regenerate their health very quickly. Summon Familiars rewards Visage players for their micromanagement, with particularly skilled players having the ability to chain stun multiple enemy heroes over several seconds. The Familiars are also typically used to take down objectives, making Visage a pretty decent pusher.

Unfortunately, the Familiars are also part of Visage’s weaknesses. Should they die in combat while Summon Familiars is on cooldown, Visage’s overall power drops dramatically. Moreover, his Familiars are valuable targets for the enemy team, as they give 100 gold each to whomever lands the last hit on them. Being quite level dependent doesn’t help either, with Visage being mostly unable to recover from a poor early game.

Visage Skill Build

Visage is blessed with enough versatility to have at least two different skill builds, with each one serving a distinct role. The traditional path involves going the support route, which is what Visage is typically known for. This path involves maxing out Soul Assumption at Level 7, in order to assist in ganks and teamfights as soon as possible. Of course, this requires a suitable lane partner to go with—preferably one that can deal the necessary amount of burst damage to get Soul Assumption to its maximum charges right away.

A single point in Grave Chill is enough to get you by in the laning phase under this role, since it only scales in terms of its duration and cooldown. The stolen movement and attack speeds remain constant no matter what level it’s on, so it’s best to leave it alone after the first level. Getting Gravekeeper’s Cloak to max level is far more important for survivability, anyway.

On the other hand, the carry Visage route does max out Grave Chill in the laning phase, alongside Gravekeeper’s Cloak. This is meant to help exert dominance over lane opponents, whether you choose to play in the safe lane or as the solo mid. Soul Assumption should be skipped until both Chill and Cloak are completed, as most of your early game damage will come from your regular attacks and rotating supports rather than burst damage. Regardless of your chosen path, however, Summon Familiars takes priority over anything else at Levels 6, 12, and 18.

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Our recommended skill builds, therefore, are as follows:

Support/Ganker

  • Grave Chill
  • Soul Assumption
  • Soul Assumption
  • Gravekeeper’s Cloak
  • Soul Assumption
  • Summon Familiars
  • Soul Assumption
  • Gravekeeper’s Cloak
  • Gravekeeper’s Cloak
  • Level 10 Talent: +125 Cast Range
  • Gravekeeper’s Cloak
  • Summon Familiars
  • Grave Chill
  • Grave Chill
  • Level 15 Talent: Soul Assumption Hits 2 Targets
  • Grave Chill
  • Summon Familiars
  • Level 20 Talent: +60 Familiars Movement Speed
  • Level 25 Talent: +1 Familiar

Core

  • Grave Chill
  • Gravekeeper’s Cloak
  • Grave Chill
  • Gravekeeper’s Cloak
  • Grave Chill
  • Summon Familiars
  • Grave Chill
  • Soul Assumption
  • Gravekeeper’s Cloak
  • Level 10 Talent: +125 Cast Range
  • Gravekeeper’s Cloak
  • Summon Familiars
  • Soul Assumption
  • Soul Assumption
  • Level 15 Talent: Soul Assumption Hits 2 Targets
  • Soul Assumption
  • Summon Familiars
  • Level 20 Talent: +60 Familiars Movement Speed
  • Level 25 Talent: +1 Familiar

Visage Item Build

Fortunately for Visage, his typical core items serve pretty much both roles equally well, with a few exceptions here and there. In the early game, a Ring of Basilius and a Medallion of Courage will give you all you need, particularly in terms of armor and passive mana regeneration. The Medallion’s flexibility is also quite nice, giving you the ability to help your allies by giving them your armor or hinder your opponents by taking theirs away. Your own Familiars will also appreciate this, since their only means of damaging heroes is through their regular attacks and the damage from Stone Form.

Going into the mid game, you will want to purchase a pair of Power Treads, which will give you the attack damage and additional mana to go along with Grave Chill’s attack speed bonus. And as always, Treads switching is nice, and can mean the difference between life or death in a teamfight. Afterwards, we recommend upgrading the Medallion into a Solar Crest, which will give you the same benefits but with increased armor and mana regen. You also get the passive evasion to top it all off, which is important for keeping your Gravekeeper’s Cloak charges high.

If your team is in need of more pushing power, picking up a Helm of the Dominator would be a good idea. Not only does it give an attack speed bonus to your Familiars (via the aura), but it also allows you to control a neutral creep, which can help quite a bit when it comes to taking objectives.

Once the late game rolls around, you can choose to purchase an Aghanim’s Scepter, which will give you an additional Familiar to work with. This effectively increases your Familiars’ burst damage by half, which can very well be the deciding factor in a gank attempt. You also get an additional 1.5 seconds of stun time with a third Familiar, which you can truly abuse if you have the micro to make it work. You might also want to consider a Rod of Atos, which gives you a long range root versus heroes with built-in escape mechanisms. Once the target is rooted, you can follow up with your Familiar’s Stone Form in order to keep them locked down for an absurd amount of time.

From there, the shop opens up to give way for situational pickups. Assault Cuirass makes you extremely hard to stop, as it gives you tons of armor on top of your Gravekeeper’s Cloak. It also boosts your attack speed significantly, which can help in deep late game situations. Orchid Malevolence synergizes well with Grave Chill and your Familiars’ attacks, thanks to the damage amplification mechanic of the active ability. Oh, and it also silences your target so that they end up completely helpless. Later on, you can upgrade it to a Bloodthorn if you have the money. Bloodthorn’s version of the Orchid active ability even allows your Familiars to hit for critical damage, which can really help you tear your enemies to pieces.

A Scythe of Vyse is also a fantastic pickup for Visage, as it adds an instant hard disable to go along with the Stone Form stun. You also get a massive increase to your mana pool and mana regeneration from it. Shiva’s Guard can provide plenty of utility for your team, greatly hampering the enemy carry’s ability to hit their targets by slowing their attack speed.

There are other choices in the shop that you can pick up depending on the outlook of the game, and this freedom is one of Visage’s greatest strengths. Use your creativity and imagination well.

Visage Combo

Because of his micro-heavy design, Visage’s teamfight combo can be somewhat hard to pull off at first—but it’s actually simpler than one might imagine. You’ll want to initiate with either Grave Chill or your Familiar stuns, depending on how close you are to your target. Either way, your goal is to keep that target locked down, either by chain stunning them or keeping them slowed down so that they can’t escape.

Follow up with your physical attacks to build Soul Assumption charges, then finish them off accordingly. Be sure to use your support/utility items as needed, especially when it comes to assisting your teammates.

Visage Counter

Knowing that Visage is quite dependent on his Familiars to be at full power, it stands to reason that heroes that can get rid of them quickly would be very effective against him. Axe’s Berserker’s Call forces the Familiars to attack him, which in turn will trigger Counter Helix. The damage from the latter will kill them off before they are able to get into Stone Form.

In the same vein, heroes like Gyrocopter, Luna, Timbersaw, Medusa, and Drow Ranger with Aghanim’s Scepter can use their split attack mechanics to bring down the birds. Luna in particular can also quickly remove Gravekeeper’s Cloak in the blink of an eye, thanks to her high agility gain and the bounce mechanic from her Moon Glaives.

Other than the above heroes, picks that can overwhelm Visage’s Gravekeeper’s Cloak with illusions, clones or damage over time abilities also do well against him. Chaos Knight can blow him up with Reality Rift and Chaos Strike once he has his Phantasm illusions out, while Terrorblade and Phantom Lancer deal consistently high physical DPS to him once they are able to catch up. Meepo and Arc Warden counter him in much the same way. Heroes like Huskar, Jakiro, Viper, Venomancer, and Alchemist, on the other hand, rely on their tick damage abilities to strip Visage of his protection.

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* FirstBlood® is NOT AFFILIATED, AUTHORIZED, LICENSED OR ENDORSED by Dota™, Dota 2™, Steam™, Dota 2™, the Dota logo® and Steam™ are trademarks of Valve Corporation.

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