[Skill Build Analysis] Venomancer

Venomancer has seen one of the biggest improvements in public win rate in 6.79 and is quickly becoming one of the most dominant supports in competitive Dota with a 58% win rate and the 5th highest pick rate.  Given all the attention he’s receiving, I felt he was an ideal subject for the latest SBA, especially considering how much his skills have changed in the last year.  Between 6.74 and now, the damage on level 4 Poison Sting has increased from 140 to 300, and the scaling on Venomous Gale has changed from 100/170/270/350 to 25/200/375/550.  Those are pretty big damage swings, so how have players adapted to the changes?

First, here’s a quick rundown of the abilities we’ll be examining:


The 6.79 changes:

– Poison Nova no longer ignores invis/fogged units
– Venomous Gale no longer ignores invis units
– Venomous Gale damage over time rebalanced from 15/30/45/60 to 0/30/60/90
– Poison Sting duration increased from 6/8/10/12 to 6/9/12/15
– Poison Sting dps no longer dispels healing or disables dagger
– Plague Wards now have Poison Sting for 50% of the damage at the current skilled level (When both Venomancer and a Plague Ward affect a target, only the highest dps is applied)
– Plague Wards XP bounty increased from 12/12/25/25 to 20/25/30/35

And finally, as a reminder, Skill Build Analysis generalizes hero builds into a primary and secondary skill.  For Venomancer, a Q->W build would be a build that maxes Venomous Gale first (like 4/1/1/1 by 7) and then maxes Poison Sting next (So 4/4/1/2 by 11).

When it comes to builds, Veno players are all over the place:


There’s no clear consensus at any skill level, though Poisonous Gale -> Plague Wards and Plague Wards -> Poisonous Gale are the least popular builds at all skill levels.  Also interesting is that the overall distribution hasn’t changed that much compared to 6.78 with the largest gain going to Ward builds in VH despite Ward being the only skill that didn’t receive stronger scaling in the patch.


So after all the changes, what is Veno’s strongest skill?  Well, all indicators point to Poison Sting.


Note all the top performing builds in VH.  Poison Sting (W) is the strongest primary by over 3%, and in the other two trees the Poison Sting is the dominant secondary (Q->W and E->W).  (And for what it’s worth, this appears to have also been the case in 6.78


Based off this, I suspect that the strongest Veno build is 1 point in Gale early for gank attempts, then max Poisonous Sting followed by Plague Ward (such as 1/4/1/1 by 7, then 1/4/4/2).  This build has the highest overall win rate in both High and Very High, and it gives Venomancer a lot of neutral killing potential in an environment where supports are often starved of XP due to the 6.79 nerf to the pull camp.  Venomous Gale builds aren’t bad though and can likely sync well with certain playstyles, but Gale builds should still max Sting relatively early.

I guess that’s pretty brief, but there’s not much more to say.  Hopefully you all find it satisfying enough after the hiatus.  Keep a lookout for something big coming later this week, and maybe something on Earth and Ember Spirit soon, API permitting.

6 Responses to [Skill Build Analysis] Venomancer

  1. Venomancer is exactly the type of hero where your skill build analyses are most useful, as all his skills are useful early on.

  2. Kappalike says:

    Putting 2 points in gale is also
    nice, it adds a 30 dps dot

  3. Pantalaimon says:

    Veno builds suffer from that good kind of problem where you want to max everything. Not surprised that Sting + other is generally the most advantageous build (particularly for support veno). I would not max sting though, ever, just take it to 3, as by that point in the game it has less of an impact and you could gain more with a fourth point in wards or another point in gale.

    You generally crush people in lane economically with Sting (and OOV for comedy bonus damage) and they never recover, whilst your carry player has a much nicer time farming because of it. Then in the mid-game they can exert their gold and xp advantage. Y’know, if carry player is doing their job properly..

  4. Brood_Star says:

    One thing I noticed trawling through dotabuff is that one build seems to outperform the rest:


    There are regular builds at 70%, then there’s the Ward/Sting build that’s used in competitive at 71.5%, then there’s the max Gale build at 73%. I know one shouldn’t read too much into these things since it’s very dependent on a lot of factors like “this is a niche build for pro players who look like they know what they’re doing and perhaps they’re also solo mid”, but it got me looking into the changelog and Gale was buffed to do a whopping 550 damage.

    I was left wondering if perhaps Q builds are strongest and that maybe you don’t really need to max wards – maybe two or three will suffice to ensure they don’t die. However, your results seem to clash with my hypothesis completely.

    • phantasmal says:

      I don’t consider dotabuff builds trustworthy. As far as I know, they’ve never clarified how the builds are calculated, and there’s good reason to suspect that they are, at best, terribly misleading.

  5. > I suspect that the strongest Veno build is 1 point in Gale early for gank attempts, then max Poisonous Sting followed by Plague Ward (such as 1/4/1/1 by 7, then 1/4/4/2).

    I have used this build in 15 of my 17 games of Venomancer, since I read this analysis and my win rate is now at 76%. (2800 MMR)

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