Vile versatility: A guide to Venomancer

Venomancer Venomancer is a spell-heavy agility hero, a rare combination that makes for plenty of possible item builds and high versatility in terms of positions. Ever since receiving his talent tree with 7.00, his ability to adapt to different roles has been even further strengthened. Here is an overview on how to master this unique hero.

Successful pubber

Venomancer has been a fairly successful hero across pub matches for the last couple of patches. Despite not receiving a lot of attention, his win rate is around 52% in all skill brackets except for the 4-5K bracket, where he sits at 50,80%. In 5K MMR and higher, he posts the 17th highest win rate of all heroes at 52,82%. 7.05 has not altered his success in any way, which makes sense since his last direct changes date back to 7.03.
A lot of this sustained success comes down to his versatility. Venomancer is played as a safe lane carry, mid laner, off laner, jungler and as a greedy position 4 support. In the mid and safe lane, he benefits his team by being a fairly independent core thanks to his strong harass and lane control capabilities with the help of Plague Ward Plague Wards. Because he needs close to no help in the laning stage, he frees up a support to help out other lanes or roam around the map in order to create an advantage. 
Venomancer's win rate over the last 30 days, image courtesy of Dotabuff
When run in an off lane position, he can either be utilized as a sidekick in a dual lane setup or as a solo laner. In the first case, his slows make him a viable partner to every hero who needs to keep up or close the gap to enemies in order to deal damage. Once caught out of position, there is no escape with Venomous Gale Venomous Gale applied. The spell provides 50% movement slow at all levels, making it one of the best level 1 spells in the game. 
This level 1 value is also his main strength as a support in the laning stage. Later on, a support Venomancer focuses heavily on the damage output of his ultimate. Therefore, getting Poison Nova Poison Nova off in a teamfight while hitting as many enemies as possible is his main task, resulting in a preference for mobility oriented builds over survivability. 
In a solo off lane situation, Veno typically sits back, leaching experience while securing occasional creeps with the help of Plague Wards. The wards can also be utilized to disrupt pulls and stacks, which allows him to stay in a safe position near the tower with the lane pushing out. Additionally, you can use Plague Wards as an early warning system for incoming ganks and rotations. This vision and information advantage makes Veno especially valuable in high level games. 

Skill builds


The choices in terms of skill builds on Venomancer heavily depend on the role he is taking. For the core positions in mid and safe lane, Venomous Gale Venomous Gale and Plague Ward Plague Wards are typically the first abilities to get maxed out. While Gale is probably the most important tool in terms of kill potential in the early stages, Plague Wards desperately need levels to be effective.
Image courtesy of Dotabuff
This makes skilling them an “all or nothing” deal. Early level wards deal very little damage and more importantly, have very little health points. This can make them an easy prey for laning opponents, who can gain a decent chunk of extra farm from low level Plague Wards. With higher levels, the HP combined with the larger damage output makes it much harder if not impossible for opponents to take down the wards, while also making them much more viable in fighting and pushing situations. 
When facing a matchup that is capable of taking down even high level Plague Wards, it is often a wise choice to skip them in the laning phase entirely and instead opting to max out Poison Sting Poison Sting, which can also enhance your damage output quite significantly, since both the duration and damage per second scale with extra levels.
Not only his spells allow Venomancer to adapt to many different scenarios, but also his talent tree. Almost all of his talent choices are worth considering, which shows in a fairly even distribution across pub games. At level 10, he can chose between 30 extra movement speed and a 30% experience gain. While the ever viable option of moving faster gets chosen in 45,1% of pub games, 54,9% opt for the enhanced experience gain. This talent has contributed a lot to Veno establishing himself in core roles. While several professional teams experimented with mid and carry Venomancer before 7.00, the trend never caught on. Ever since, core Venomancers have been a fairly common sight. 
Talent usage on Venomancer, Image courtesy of Dotabuff
Due to the popular  Hand of Midas build, Venomancer can gain levels extremely quickly, which bodes well for a spell-oriented hero. Additionally, his potential to transition into a right-clicker is decent, since he has the trump of being an agility hero and also having another ace up his sleeve later on in the talent tree. At level 15, the choice is between 150 additional cast range and 200 health, with 67,3% of pub players choosing the spell range. The next choice at level 20 further enhances Veno’s right-click prowess, with the option of picking up 75 damage
This is a huge amount of damage, especially for an agility hero whose attack speed is naturally scaling. Therefore, 72,7% prefer it over the 15% magic resistance. The final talent upgrade is either multiplying the damage and health of Plague Wards by three or reducing the respawn timer by 60 seconds. Both of these options grant great value, with one making for very short death timer and the other granting enormous pushing/counter-pushing potential.

Item builds

The typical item builds for Venomancer reflect the dual threat of spell and right-click damage he poses. As already mentioned,  Hand of Midas is a staple of almost all of his builds, since he scales very well with levels and maximizes the Midas use with his enhanced experience gain. Besides that, a mobility item is a must have.  Blink Dagger is a common pickup, as well as  Force Staff and  Hurricane Pike. The latter also comes in handy when transitioning into a more right-click oriented build.
When it comes to the spell damage side of things,  Veil of Discord and  Aghanim’s Scepter are great options, since Poison Nova is a very large part of your damage output. As a follow up,  Octarine Core is a common choice. Not only does it lower the cooldown of your spells, but also of active items such as Blink Dagger. Additionally, it grants you spell lifesteal from the high amount of magic damage the hero does. 
Image courtesy of
When it comes to enhancing your right-click capabilities, stat-oriented damage items such as  Butterfly and  Eye of Skadi are popular on Venomancer. The Skadi slow also combines nicely with the slows of Venomous Gale and Poison Sting. Besides the damage factor, both of those items also boost Venomancers survivability. Another popular choice especially for off lane Venomancers are team-oriented items such as Guardian Greaves and Pipe of Insight. 
As you can see, Venomancer Venomancer is one of the most versatile heroes in the game, which explains his current success in pub games of all skill brackets, with item and skill builds that can adapt to almost any situation. His combination of damage output and utility value can also be the foundation of your pub success, no matter the MMR!
AuthorKardinalR Date27 April 2017, 10:49 Views13298 Comments0
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