Hello and welcome to this beginners guide to Lesale Deathbringer the Venomancer. Featuring 3 active abilities (Q, E and R) and a passive ability that buffs up his damage and kiting ability, Venomancer is one of the strongest push heroes in Dota 2 throughout most portions of the game when given the space to ramp up his farm and Plague Ward count. Venomancer is an Agility hero that plays as sort of a caster/carry hybrid due to his abilities dealing lots of magic damage over time and having good attack range with a favorable BAT (base attack time). The hero on his own is relatively squishy and fragile if you are able to close the gap on him.
His highest asset is his incredible kiting and chase potential due to the fact that his Q (Venomous Gale) and his auto attacks as well as Plague Ward attacks slow enemies from the passive W slow (Poison Sting). A good Venomancer is always at the edge of a given fight lumping in and out of battle while offering massive utility, DoT (damage over time) and disruption for his allies (biggest point preventing enemies from using Blink Daggers).
The hero is relatively straight forward to play even for newer players as it’s easy to dominate a lane with Plague Wards if the enemy is unprepared to deal with the early pressure coming out. Venomancer is a highly flexible pick able to operate in almost all roles and positions depending on what the team needs.
Abilities and usage:
Q – Venomous Gale – Point and click skillshot that fires a projectile in the target direction, damaging and slowing enemies on impact as well as applying an additional slow and damage over time for 15 seconds. Venomancer’s main engage/disengage spell that can solo kill many heroes in lane if maxed early on. The ability has a relatively high mana cost at 125 so avoid spamming it early on before you have a mana regen item as you will find Plague Wards (E) much stronger in lane and is the main focus point of this Venomancer Dota 2 guide.
One of Venomancers biggest strengths is his ability to farm up a ton of networth early on and come out with an unstoppable push in the midgame given the correct setup. Additional casts on the same target refresh the duration of the spell.
W – Poison Sting – Passive ability that adds bonus on hit magic damage to Venomancers auto attacks as well as Plague Ward attacks. Applies a movement speed slow as well that lasts 15 seconds on max level. Has incredibly good synergy with his Q and if you’re playing a kill lane skipping Plague Wards (E) can force an enemy to totally dodge the lane if you’re teamed up with an aggressive partner. Subsequent attacks on the same target do not stack, only refresh the duration of the slow and DoT. Compared to Venomous Gale (Q) Poison Sting damage ticks in intervals of 1 second compared to the 3 second damage interval on his Q.
E – Plague Wards – Venomancer’s most iconic spell that makes the hero really hard to deal with in the hands of a skilled player. Point and click ability that places a Plague Ward at a target location. Has a low manacost at 20 mana at all levels and a cooldown of 5 seconds making the ability extremely spammable at all portions of the game. Plague Wards have a certain amount of hp, can be attacked by enemies and they attack the closest target to them or the target Venomancer is currently targeting.
This Venomancer Dota 2 guide focuses on maxing this ability early and dominating the lane for increased networth starting from the midgame point. 3 levels in Plague Wards at level 5 can cause a stack of 4-5 wards placed in the lane to act as a defensive barrier as well as an offensive pushing squadron. Always look to have wards in choke points during the lane so they can scout out any incoming ganks and roaming enemy heroes. Always look to position the wards so that you can walk around them if engaged upon allowing your godlike kiting abilities to take place. When your creep wave has a catapult always place Plague Wards with the catapult next to the enemy tower to give it support. This playstyle is Venomancer’s bread and butter to take an early 5 minute T1 tower.
R – Poison Nova – Venomancer’s ultimate that fires a circle of poison erupting from himself and spreading outward. Enemies hit by the Poison Nova take massive per second (40/65/90 – more with Aghanim’s Scepter and talents). This ability makes Venomancer one of the strongest AoE damage based heroes alongside heroes like Leshrac and Invoker. Poison Nova’s only downside lies in the fact that it’s damage can’t be lethal (necessary to keep it balanced) so you will need to land his Q or a few auto attacks after you’ve hit Poison Nova to make sure the enemy dies in it’s duration.
This ability works really well with Spell Lifesteal and minus Magic Resistance itemization allowing Venomancer to soak up a lot of damage during a teamfight if you’ve hit multiple enemy heroes with it. But be sure not to overstep your welcome as you still are that squishy backline nuisance to the enemy team.
Gameplay and itemization:
As mentioned beforehand under no circumstances should you look to be in the front lines with this hero (no matter if core or support). Always look to have some Plague Wards between you and the enemy as they will slow them down and deal damage, allowing you to reposition and take good advantage of Venom’s long fight skillset. Mobility items like Blink Dagger and Force Staff are almost always needed even if the enemy has no beefy frontliners simply because positioning is everything on this hero. A Venomancer that’s properly positioned throughout a fight will easily deal more damage in the given fight than the rest of his team combined.
Since Venomancer is also a pretty strong tempo hero a Hand of Midas is core on this hero allowing you to easily progress in farm and items. Most of the time Venomancer’s focus on the spellcasting part but auto attack damage is also a viable way to play this hero if your team lacks physical dps. Good offensive items on this hero are: Eul’s Scepter of Divinity, Hurricane Pike, Blink Dagger, Veil of Discord, Orchid Malevolence, Aghanims’s Scepter, Bloodthorn, Shadow Blade, Octarine Core, etc. Most of these item choices give mixed stats and suit Venomancer in his hybrid playstyle.
On the defensive note, good item choices are: Ghost Scepter, Glimmer Cape, Butterfly, Rod of Atos, Ethereal Blade, Shiva’s Guard, Linken’s Sphere, etc. Again, a good portions of these item combinations gives mixed stats, something Venomancer really likes while buffing up his survivability and mobility. Damage comes naturally to this hero for most portions of the game and the main focus point should be on how and where you are positioned throughout the fights.
Counters and synergy:
- Huskar – the Sacred Warrior loves playing against Venomancer as his natural tankiness and resistance to spells gives Venomancer a hard time coping against him at all stages of the game. Coupled with the fact he can also close the gap on Venom easily, this hero is the go to counter pick for Lesale Deathbringer.
- Dark Seer – Dark Seer stands a hard time against Venomancer 1v1 but his Surge spell (E) gives the target unit max movement speed for a prolongued period of time leaving Venomancer really susceptible to ganks of there’s a Dark Seer on the opposite team. Not to mention his ultimate Wall of Replica can create an illusion of Venomancer that is also able to apply the passive slow and DoT.
- Abaddon – the Lord of Avernus is a nasty one if you’re up against him simply because his Aphotic Shield (W) acts as a dispel (removes most debuffs upon cast – can be cast on allies) and is on a short cooldown making Venomancer’s kiting much more bearable. Abaddon’s ultimate when activated turns all incoming damage into healing for a few seconds so in case he ever gets too low from all the magic poison damage he can just ult and heal back up the other way.
- Underlord – this beefy strength hero works wonders for a Venomancer on his team because he has multiple ways of creating zones of control the enemy can’t use. Pit of Malice (W) is the strongest point which blocks off a targeted area on the map and roots anyone who enters it (can root multiple times per cast). Underlord simply allows a Venomancer to position and play far more agressively than usual.
- Drow Ranger – Precision Aura (Drow Ranger’s E) gives all allied range units an increase in attack damage. This means both Venomancer and his Plague Wards get buffed up a ton when there’s a Drow Ranger on the team. These 2 heroes when teamed up can lead to deathball stomp games that end in under 20 minutes because of the incredible pushing power of this combination.
- Visage – the Necro’lic is a wonderful combo with the Venomancer because he offers a lot of control (slow and multiple stuns post level 6) and burst damage. Coupled with Venom’s high DoT and Visage’s high burst this lane combination is up there among the strongest. Bonus points goes to the fact that Visage is also an excellent early/midgame pusher allowing this type of draft to stomp games relatively easily if the enemy is not prepared.
Although this hero looks simple on paper and plays so for most parts of a given Dota 2 game, his skill ceiling can be incredibly high with the proper use of Plague Wards catching your enemies off guard and in unexpected locations. Relatively straight forward item choices as well make the hero not too painful to learn and play and you will have a blast most of the time as the enemy team is caught raging and frustrated because they aren’t able to close the gap on you and die to your wards and poison.
In my opinion, Venomancer is a solid pickup for a newer player as he is not incredibly complex in his core but in order to be played effectively you need to have good awareness and positioning, something that will always be needed if you ever end up playing a higher level game of Dota 2.