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    Dota 2 – A rising hero in the meta

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    When you think of offlane heroes, you probably think of strength heroes. Well this post isn’t about a strength hero, it’s about an agility hero! Your favorite type of offlane teammate, the one who builds like a carry because their primary attribute is agility.

    The hero? You may have guessed it based on the image. It’s Venomancer! This hero has been one of the strongest offlane heroes you can pick in your pubs since the Outlanders update was released.

    At the time of this writing, he’s sitting at a 52.38% win rate with an 8.26% pick rate in the Divine/Immortal bracket on the Dotabuff meta page.

    In this post, we’ll talk about why he’s so good and popular playstyles.

    Hero match ups VS Venomancer

    One of the reasons Venomancer is doing well is because he’s strong against more popular meta heroes and weak against unpopular heroes.

    In the best versus section, heroes in this list include Tiny, Clockwerk, Templar Assassin, Doom, Ember Spirit, Ursa, Keeper of the Light, and Riki. How often have you seen one of these heroes in your games? I’m guessing pretty often.

    Whereas in his worst versus section, heroes in this list include Broodmother, Arc Warden, Dark Seer, Terrorblade, Sniper, and Medusa. These heroes aren’t picked often in the average pub game.


    Venomancer is one of the most versatile heroes out there. There may be a few items that are popular on the hero but there isn’t any item you would say is a must build.

    In the past month according to his hero page, the top five most purchased items on Venomancer (not including Magic Wand and non-Guardian Greeves boots) were:

  • Veil of Discord
  • Aghanim’s Scepter
  • Force Staff
  • Spirit Vessel
  • Guardian Greeves
  • This doesn’t tell the whole story though because there are 19 different items being built on Venomancer with over 100,000 games. There is a lot more variety in Venomancer’s build compared to a hero like Enigma where only 5 items are purchased in more than 100,000 games.

    My personal favorite build that I found works well is rushing Aghanim’s Scepter. If you can get an Aghanim’s Scepter before 20 minutes, that makes it very hard for the enemy to team fight against you because the damage output is too high. With this build, you can just walk into the middle of a fight, use your ultimate, take your hands off the keyboard, and watch as your team chases the enemy down.

    Build style

    In the builds page, the skill build with the highest win rate and the most popular build both focus on maxing Poison Sting by level 7. In the 7.23 patch, a new effect to Poison Sting was added: it now applies HP regeneration reduction.

    This is quite a large addition. Poison Sting is now one of the most powerful lane harassment spells in the game on a hero who was already great at lane harassment. HP regeneration is hugely important in the early laneing phase. The spell only requires auto-attacks as well so you don’t even lose mana when applying Poison Sting.

    The rest of the build focuses on maximizing Plague Wards. The most popular build gets Poison Nova at level 6 but the highest win rate build gets it at level 8. Venomous Gale is skipped entirely other than one point at level 2. This makes sense, considering Poison Sting is now the more impactful spell.


    Talent-wise, people generally agree on which route to take.

    At level 10, 74% take +90 GPM and 26% take -8 Venomous Gale CD. Surprisingly though, -8 Venomous Gale CD wins 1.1% more often.

    At level 15, 77.4% take Gale Hero Impact Summons 2 Wards and 22.6% take -12% Poison Sting Slow. The more popular choice only wins 0.7% more often.

    At level 20, 74% take +7 second Poison Nova Duration and 26% take 15% Spell Lifesteal. 15% Spell Lifesteal wins 3.2% more games though.

    At level 25, 63.5% take 3x Plague Ward HP/Damage and 36.5% take +800 Poison Nova AoE. The more popular choice wins 1.4% more often.

    Final thoughts

    The alien banana man is one of the easier heroes to play and one that’s pretty fun. One of my favorite Dota 2 moves is to initiate a fight by absorbing as much attention and damage as possible and then dying for my team. This is something Venomancer excels at especially if you can land a good ultimate.

    Do you guys enjoy playing with/against Venomancer? Anyone have any tips or insights in their games with Venomancer? What do you think about the new effect on Poison Sting?

    As seen on Dotabuff

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