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.