Great thanks to Beast_Pete(you can find him here) for that nice guide. I wish you good games. Let’s see how to play good with Visage, the Necro’lic
I’d like to greet everyone who is reading this guide. Originally I’ve written this guide because HiT0Mi stopped updating his. I learnt the basics from him so I want to thank him again for teaching me how to play this hero.
Back in 6.32b Visage was one of the scariest picks in leagues and tournaments. He was capable of farming up a Radiance, Travel and two Hearts in like 50 minutes in an even game. After that getting a Dr Aegis was a kid’s game.
Later his return-damage was nerfed (28% -> 20%), he was more easily killed and he didn’t own that hard in team fights as before. Also new viable picks came in (Chen era with early push, more ganks, less farm), that seemed to be stronger than building up your team around Visage.
In 6.50 he was redesigned into a much different hero, but with some similarities remaining to the old version. Soul Assumption was turned into a powerful passive ability, Grave Chill became a viable spell early game thanks for the lower mana cost. However, the biggest change was with Gravekeeper’s Cloak that became a team-healing aura instead of remaining a return-damage aura. In my humble opinion this remake was more of a buff than a nerf and allows Visage to become a more versatile hero.
â”œPros and Consâ”¤
- Good soloer (high damage, high regen)
- Good pusher (thanks for revenants)
- Good tank (thanks for his aura and the farming abilities)
- His revenants help a lot in observing the map
- Noobie-friendly (in pubs with just auto-attack you can easily get a Relic in like 15 minutes)
- No disabling abilities (only a slow)
- needs survivalability boost or else he gets raped easily
Skill build justification:
- Maxing Soul Assumption first: this ability allows you to last hit and deny more easily, harass heroes with high damage and regenerate HP fast. There can be no reason to delay this passive ability that helps your early game the most, especially as it’s mostly useful in your lane and lategame in teamfights when dozens of units die around you.
- Taking Grave Chill as second priority: this spell became much more useful since its manacost was lowered drastically. The amount of lanecontrol it gives early game and ganking potential it offers later is undoubted. It is much more useful than your second passive ability, which becomes more useful as your HP goes up and the amount of team-clashes increase.
- Putting points on Gravekeeper’s Cloak instead of Attribute Bonuses: at the time you can finally decide on wether to increase your attributes or put points on Cloak, the latter is to be chosen as team collisions become more frequent and your HP becomes higher as well, therefore Cloak becomes more beneficial regarding EHP (effective health points).
- Revenants all the time: revenants are crucial part of both your early game rune-control and lane-control. One of the most important part in the game is controling the runes and knowing when heroes are leaving their lanes. Revenants are similar to free observer wards, so you definitely have to get them as soon as possible.
â”œCore Item Buildsâ”¤
2* Bracers (1020)
Boots of Travel (2700)
Total Cost: 15165
2* Bracers (1020)
Boots of Travel (2700)
Total Cost: 14260
Item build justification: these two builds are identical to each other. The main difference is when to go with which build. The first one is for ideal games, when you are either let farm freely or when your allies own your opponents too much, which result in freefarm as well. An early Radiance will make a big impact on your late game inventory and will allow you to diss out more damage early on.
Desolator is a good alternative in case you are owned too much in the lane. It has much cheaper components than Radiance’s Relic and still it owns your targets. Now that Visage has no orb abilities, Corruption seems to be the best orb choice for him, especially if…
… you go with Cuirass as second main item. It allows him to tank much more. High armor and Gravekeeper’s Cloak gives a really high EHP lategame and nice auras as well. The -armor aura stacked with Corruption’s -armor is a devastating combo especially in ganks and teamfights. The high IAS plus Grave Chill’s IAS bonuses will cover your lack of attack speed, too.
Eventhough I said, Cuirass is the second main item, there is still one recipe to complete before completing the afformentioned item. Boots of Travel is an extremely useful tool in ganks and when you get ganked. It also boosts your farming and pushing potentials and is a much more benefical item to Visage than Power Treads is. Buying a Platemail before Travel could be well reasoned in case your armor isn’t high enough to survive.
Boots of Speed (500)
Heart of Tarrasque (5500)
Total Cost: 14779
Item build justification: this build focuses on surviving in early game, letting you “spam” revenants and giving you and your birdies a really high armor and the ever-useful AoE heal. Later on farming out Radiance will become quite easy and from that on it’s like no effort to get further more items. No need for Guinsoo as you’ll have enough mana anyway. The Meka-Heal is quite useful for your whole team in team fights and it will be really hard to kill you in ganks. This build has not been tested by me in the new version, but others said it still works. The obvious synergy is there with Cloak-heal and Meka-heal, while RoB and Mekansm give you the armor, you may focus on HP more than with the former two builds. With this build you become more of a supporter and a tank in your team, while still having a nice DPS.
Mana Regen Items
For a very long time I dissed all kind of mana regen/INT items, even Guinsoo as well. I still think, that he really does not need such items, because even in early game, you should be able to handle your manapool especially now that Grave Chill costs less and Soul Assumption became a passive skill. Guinsoo is a nice and powerful item on you as for any other INT heroes. Skadi gives a nice HP boost, but it’s way more expensive than Heart. However now that Visage lost an orb, he may gain a new one, and the Frost Attack is a nice orb paired up with Grave Chill. Linken’s gives minor HP boost compared to Heart, and although the fast-cooling spellblock could be useful it just doesn’t block enough spells and you could spend that money on much more benefical items. Guinsoo for example gives way more INT and DPS overall. Necronomicon is a nice item, as it gives both STR and INT and the nice little necro minions, however it is to be gotten by one of your supporter teammates, as for DPS and mana Guinsoo or Orchid is far superior and to health, Heart is also a superior item over Necronomicon.
Damage and IAS items
Depending on game situation and how much you own should you get further more damage or IAS. Basically you need to have at least one damage item (Desolator or Radiance) and then if you are owning much, get even more items to boost your DPS. Recommended DPS items in order: Radiance, Desolator, Assault Cuirass, Guinsoo’s Scythe of Vyse, Monkey King Bar (against teleport escapes and channelers), Buriza-do-Kyanon (especially with the Deso+Cuirass combo), Orchid Malovalence, Skadi (antiDPS+gank). Choose one depending on your situation.
Hood of Defiance, Curiass and Other Damage Reduction Items
With the new Cloak you lost your return-damage and therefore you may increase your damage-reduction. Hood of Defiance is a nice item early game against nukers, however I would much rather get HP to compensate the lack of survivalability in early game as it is useful against physical harassment as well. 2 Bracers and/or a Vit Booster is much useful for you than a Hood. Ring of Basilius, Mekansm, Assault Cuirass or a simple Platemail on the other hand are great to your health especially as the game drags on.
Black King Bar
This is a no-brainer item: if you are chain-disabled and cannot diss out enough damage because of dieing too early, then the avatar is a much needed ability for you. BKB should be gotten after your first damage item against line-ups that consist of too many disablers.
Last hit – Deny – now that Soul Assumption became a passive ability, it finally allows you to deny well even before level6. Doign both last hits and denies is ridiculously easy with Visage. For you last hits are more important, because you need to farm up fast and the only wayyour lane-opponent can prevent your Soul Assumption to proc is either making you retreat or denying his own creeps. From level 6 you can finally deny and last hit at the same time! Just order your bats to attack one creep, while you are attacking another one.
Harassing – because of the new SA, you are not able to do orb-walks anymore, but you can still harass well enough from level3. You need to make sure you’re not autoattacking your opponent, because the creeps will both attack and block you. Always attack, then move a bit to the side and then attack again, a bit like orb-walking, but not as agressively. With your high damage and your high HP regeneration, you are able to constantly harass your enemy, so don’t ever forget to do so.
Farming with Revenants – when a creep is on red/orange health, you can start hitting it with your bats and yourself. It’s nearly impossible to deny a creep that you started focusing (unless you screw up and attack too early/late). For more imformation move on to the “How to use your Revenants?” section.
Scouting with Revenants – have some of your revenants hold their position at a good ward-place. When you reach level6, then summon 2 bats and order them to move above the cliffs near the two runes. You can see the good scouting positions in a dedicated section for “Scouting with Revenants”.
Neutraling – as your revenants are going to be the focus of the creeps most of the time, you can stay out farming at the forest for a very very long time if not forever. Whenever one of them dies just summon another one to replace it. You can have your revenants farm neutrals while you are faring in a lane, but this is recommended only from level11. There’s also another exciting way of neutraling, creep pulling with your revenants. This way you can help your ally Lina or Leshrac farm a bit faster when they are going home for refilling their HP or picking up some items. For more detailed information refer to the “How to use your Revenants?” section.
Chill-Chase – at higher levels and especially if you have a Boots of Travel, chasing becomes quite easy for you. Just cast Grave Chill on one of the opponents and perform orb-walk, which will allow you to stand in the way of the fleeing rout and autoattack (chill gives IAS as well). You can as well use Grave Chill for escaping from ganks or other bad situations.
Meka-Heal – you’re probably going to have a lot of spare mana if you go for Basilius-Mekansm. When you are on low health and especially in a team fight your allies and you get dealt a lot of damage, then cast it. It’s a no-brainer. If you farm with your revenants, you might need it in early-mid game to use Mekansm on your creeps. From level16 they will rarely die while farming, so Meka-Heal is mostly useful when heroes like Leshrac or Lina nuke your bats while they don’t have magic immunity.
Multi-Farm – it means that you have to seperate your creeps from your hero. Especially useful and effective from level11 when your creeps can tank more and deal more damage. Have them neutral or farm on a lane, while you are farming elsewhere or participate in teamfights. It’s not that hard to concentrate on using them, just let them autoattack if you don’t have the micro to last hit with them while you are giving commands to your hero. If you don’t have to concentrate on your hero, then try to last hit with the revenants.
Laning 1v1 – try to concentrate mostly on last hits and denies at level1 and from level3 start performing the Orb-walk harass. If you manage to get your opponent back and eat tangos, you’ll have a free time farming in your lane. Until you reach level6, you should be sending back your opponent as much as possible, while you are collecting loads of golds. Once you have your ulti you should send two bats to scout the runes. 3 Revenants should be enough for you to collect most of the last hits and denies. It’s really hard to out-micro a Visage as those bats make it much easier to farm and deny. When you push too far away or enemies are coming to gank you then go to the forest and farm some neutrals. I prefer to solo at middle on the Sentinel side so I can get the two trolls and the kobold every minute, after two creep waves passed. When you reach level11 you should still stay at middle as you need to farm up loads of golds. If you are not ganked often, just keep going to the neutrals to evade ganks. If they try to push the middle lane then call your friends to help you out. After the push is over you are to farm on.
Laning 1v2 – this is a bit different situation than the 1v1 laning. In this case you might have an even easier time as your opponents will be on lower level and if they have no disable or not even a single nuke then basically you are free to farm. Try to harass one of them from level3 and see if does anything. If they are careful enough then don’t be agressive, they might kick you in the nuts. Especially against a lane with disables and nukes you should rather be concentrating on last hitting the creeps. This is all about farming instead fo dominating the lane-opponents.
Farming Up – if you prefer the Radiance rush and especially if you are playing against a less organized team, you may stay in your lane farming freely forever. It’s a no-brainer, just concentrate on last hits and don’t destroy the tower early on. It will push back the creeps all the time, so you don’t have to come out of the range of your tower, or at least not far away from it. From level11 you may send your bats neutralign or pushing a different lane while you are still doing the same old boring but extremely joyful last hits. Once you have Radiance you really should be performing the Multi-Farm technique as your immolation and high damage will already be enough to farm fast at a lane or in the forest.
Ganking – you are not really a ganker unless you get Guinsoo as your first major item. You don’t have a disable, but Grave Chill is an awesome ability for chasing (Chill Chase). When you can finally perform Multi-Farm then you may leave your lane to kill heroes without losing on much creeps to farm. Basically your role in a gank is to slow down the target and deal as much damage on it as possible. If you have Radiance then just stay nearby and let your immolation burn him/her to hell.
Being Ganked – this is a more complex part, so I’m going to write a lot. Evading ganks is very important, this is why bringing TP scrolls and farming in the woods with your hero is very important. Having some birdies scout or placing observer wards is crucial as well. But what are you supposed to do when you fail to notice the opponents coming for you, in time. You need to realise in the matter of 1 or 2 seconds what you are allowed to do. If you can hide behind the trees and teleport away, then do so. If you are far from a hiding spot or have no teleport scroll, then cast Grave Chill on one of the approaching heroes. Try to move away immediately so that you can either flee straigth away or juke them in the forest. Having your revenants may help you as they might get into the clicks of your opponents, so it becomes a bit difficult to focus you. Or if there’s a hook or elune’s arrow approaching then they might hit a bat instead of you.
Pushing – pushing with Visage is really easy. Especially once a BoT is applied on him his revenants push one lane, he pushes a second himself and the third is pushed by the rest of the team. When you have to join them, you just teleport in. You can put the opponents under big pressure by pushing multiple lanes and if you can keep them under strikes at their base, the revenants will push inside at another one. If one of the enemies leave to defend against the bats, you may go in 5v4. Having one bat with you all the time is recommended as it gives a huge line of sight and can keep track of your opponents’ move which is important when you try to jump on them.
5v5 Fights (Defensive) – try to push a different lane with your revenants, putting the opponents under pressure this way, so they can’t stay at your base as long as they want to. Let your AoE nukers in the front of the uphill or the side of an outer-tower so they can clear the creep waves. When the opponents initiate then jump in, so you can tank damage and return it back to your opponents and letting your Radiance burn them with immolation. Casting Grave Chill in prior of jumping in is crucial because first of all your DPS and MS will be boosted up, while the target of the spell will have a much less DPS and won’t be able to flee if you were to kill him. So to sum it up, just wait and let the opponents initiate unless you have a good initiater, and then you jump in.
5v5 Fights (Offensive) – you are quite good at initiating thanks for your tanking abilities and Grave Chill. If you are comfident enough then run in, cast Chill on their DPS hero or the hero with some nasty disables, so that your allies can follow you up and cast their ultimates. Gravekeeper’s Cloak is really powerful when you get focused between 5 enemy heroes. Nothing big difference between the defensive and offensive 5v5 Fights as you still have to initiate or run in after your initiator with a Grave Chill and meanwhile pushing with bats on another lane.
â”œHow to Counter Visageâ”¤
Eventhough the Necro’lic is a feared enemy in a long game, the fact is that he is an INT hero without disables which makes his survivalability quite low against disablers and chasers in early game. He is prone to ganks especially if noone is placing wards and if he is using his creeps more on farming than on scouting (which is a bad decision from the Visage player but it may happen). Of course they still help him out a lot by increasing his line of sight (LoS), but once caught by a disable and some nukes follow up, he is dead. He is item dependant, so try to gank him as many times as possible or it might cost the loss of the game.
For 1v1 situations AoE nukers or heroes with better harassing (not too much examples) are going to outlevel him. Heroes like Tinker, Leshrac, PotM, Lina, Shadow Fiend, Viper have the chance to beat him in 1v1, although only Tinker and Viper are the really feared heroes, the rest can be outplayed a bit more easily.
However if someone picks Visage, send a dual-disabling lane against him (i.g: SandK + Lina or Sven + Leshrac).
For late-game Necrolyte, chain-disable and permbashers (Void) are the ones that will be able to take him down. Necrofather’s ulti is a great spell against heroes who are stacking HP. Void is a great lategamer who can beat anyone in 1v1 fights and with his Chronosphere he is deadly in teamfights as well.
â”œWhen to pick Visageâ”¤
In my humble opinion, Visage became a viable pick for league and tournament play after 6.50 was released. His potential of farming up items fast, scouting the whole map, giving a huge ganking advantage over the other team by the revenants, being a good ganker thanks for his target-slow and countering massive AoE line-ups… well if that’s not enough to be a league-star then nothing will ever be. In public and casual games, he is an even better hero to use.
So when to pick Visage?
- If fragile nukers are being picked that can be easily chased down with Grave Chill.
- No Viper, Tinker or Enchantress are being picked.
- Earthshaker is picked!
- If you think that the AoE damage-potential of your enemies would be too high in teamfights
- If you join a public game and want to win for sure
â”œHow to use your Revenants?â”¤
Scouting – it’s very important that you always have at least two if not more of your bats on scout over some of the more busy areas of the map. I’m going to show some of the best places to send your bats to. Of course you may find newer and better places all the time depending on your opponents.
Rune-control – I have been doing this for quite some time, but Nova’s thread reminded me that this should be included in my guide as well not just in replays. If you hit the runes twice (or once with level16 bats) then you can easily control who picks it up. If you see an enemy approaching it, then hit the rune and it gets destroyed. It will be very annoying for your opponents.
Neutraling – during the early game while your revenants are still fragile and especially if you don’t have armor giving auras, you need to micro with your bats. If one of them falls to red-health then move it back and let another one get hit. Of course you may sacrifice one or two of them as you will be able to resummon them and their sacrifice will mean bonus health regeneration to you thanks for Soul Assumption. Later you will be able to go on your own while your bats go to the forest to own, the neutrals. Don’t send them to the ancients alone as they will be too powerful for them. With this, you can farm constantly and really fast.
Multilane-pushing – this is an easy and rewarding strategy. Select 3 or more revenants and get them push a lane, while you are pushing another one on your own or with your allies. It allows you to put your opponents under heavy pressure (less pushing, less ganking) and earn you hundreds of golds in like no time.
Microing against AoE-nukers – heroes with AoE nukes will be a nightmare for you in early game as they will terminate all your bats easily and get rich fast. With only one spell they may hit you, your bats and your creeps. You have to make sure, this doesn’t happen. Of course with Soul Assumption you will regenerate a lot of HP and get a higher damage, but it’s better if force your opponent to decide. To decide wether to hit you, your bats or your creeps. This can be done if you order your bats to – let’s say – the left, you go to the right while your creeps remain in the center position. This way your enemy needs to decide what to hit (most of the times it will be you), so you will have less creeps dieing and less gold being given to your opponents.
â”œVisage’s Role in the Teamâ”¤
I wouldn’t say he is a tank anymore although with Cloak he still has a high EHP, this role of him disappeared along with his return-damage. He is a pure carry with extremely great scouting and pushing powers which allow his team to gain control over the whole map very easily.
He is to solo and level up as fast as possible, so that he can summon revenants for your team. Also with a fast relic/radiance he can become unstoppable lategame, so allowing him to solo and farm a lot is crucial for your whole team.
After leaving lanes, he still needs to farm as much as possible, mainly in the forest while potentially becoming a ganker. This means, that you should stay around your allies and run around in the enemies’ forest while killing all the neutrals. Of course you are to farm on lane as well, it is up to game situation.
In team fights he is a pure DPS hero and anti-aoe element. End of discussion.
â”œSuggested 5v5 Line-upsâ”¤
Line-up for 6.50 – coming in the near future
Dark Seer + Lich | Visage | Enigma + Magnus for 6.48b
I think this a very strong line-up in the current league map. The Seer+Lich lane is very tough with a slowing nuke, a pulling nuke and an AoE DoT ability. The bottom lane has a stun and a nuke for controling their lanes, while Visage is possible to dominate many kind of lanes or just simply stay alive farming up.
The ultimate combo is Vacuum+Reverse Polarity+Chain Frost+Black Hole and Visage running in dealing out a butt load of damage thanks for Grave Chill and Radiance. If some opponents are still alive, then you can easily chase them down. Especially with the now so much liked massive AoE line-ups, Visage is a thrilling hero.
FFS vs hb
[ Clan/Team Name - Sentinel ]
[ Clan/Team Name - Scourge ]
FaP vs IaD clanwar – version 6.48b
FaP_vs_IaD_Visage.w3g ( 591.19k ) Number of downloads: 939
Magnus + Dark Seer top
Lich + Magina bot
Sven + Leshrac top
Zeus + SandK bot
This one was a friendly clan war between FaP and IaD.
I solo against Mirana. I manage to outmicro her and from level6 my revenants help in watching the runes which allows my allies to get them. Whenever the creeps push too far I go to the nearest Sentinel neutral creeps to kill them, which allows me to farm constantly. I get Ring of Basilius and Mekansm quite fast which allows me and my revenants to stay alive for a very long time and getting my Radiance at the 30th minutes mark. I call it the oldschool Visage as I used to play with this build in 6.32b. Watch how Cloak owns the Scourge once. (not just once )
DotA 4v5 Visage Retech Game triheart – version 6.43b
DotA_4v5_Visage_Retech_Game_triheart.w3g ( 1.47mb ) Number of downloads: 1414
Prophet + THD (+ Leshrac) top
Bristle + Omni top
Panda + Ogre bot
Link to the replay parsel for some interesting datas.
This game was an IH where the regular posters of the Hungarian DotA Site participated. I solo middle against Priestess fo the Moon. Unfortunately our Leshrac gets dropped at around the 12th minute, which made it clear we have really low chances to win this game, but we still wanted to continue, or else we could not rehost as some of the guys would have went to bed sleeping instead.
But this replay is still worth to watch and actually this will teach most of you the most efficiently as I manage to make a 44-40 creepstat at around the 18th minute getting my Relic a bit later and the Radiance at around the 24th minute mark. Here you can see how effective the revenants really are even on their first level. Basically I was twice as effective in farming/denying than my opponent which wouldn’t have been possible without the bat companions.
Note that my K/D ratio wasn’t 2-10 but 4-3 not dieing until about 58 mins or so. The replay parcel is off sometimes and it even mixed up the teams this time with some colours as well. It was an -sprd so I bet that’s why.
Note, that the next replay was played with previous Warcraft patches and with the 1.21b patch you can’t watch them anymore, unfortunately. Refer to this topic to see how you can watch it.
ToG vs Fakkerz scourge won – version 6.32b
ToG_vs_Fakkerz_scourge_won.w3g ( 933.26k ) Number of downloads: 1561
Rhasta + Morph top
Chen + JÃ¼gger bot
Lich + SandK top
Bane + Pugna bot
This one was a group match in the Second Hungarian League.
I’m soloing against Maiden at mid and outmicro her. When I nearly had the money for Midas my hero gets stuck and I was really afraid of dying, but “luckily” I gained control back over my hero and go back for a fountain trip and buy Midas. In early game we do 2 effective ganks at mid and I am free to farm. We defend middle lane successfully and I manage to farm up for Radiance by level 14. My first death occurs at the bottom lane when we try to take out the second outer tower. After some nice kills we manage to take control over the map and destroy all their other towers. Then at the 44th min you can see a really nice kill, check it out.
After that kill we manage to take out their 3rd tower at top, but unfortunately our Pugna gets dropped out. From that on we won’t win any team gang bangs and we need to stay back to defend. But then suddenly everything goes upside down… thanks for the imba tank Visage.
Final item build: travel, midas, radiance, heart, heart (sacred relic in chicken, ~4300 golds in pocket).
â”œQuestions I won’t answerâ”¤
Q: Do images benefit from Gravekeeper’s Cloak?
A: No, they don’t. They have a fake aura.
VIII. Concluding Thoughts
If you think my guide is not working and there’s a better build and strategy please provide a replay to prove your arguments or else noone will believe you. Also I don’t want to waste my time on people that critize my guide just to critize and not for helping out me and the readers. I’m open to any build and playstyle recommendations.
â”œB. Latest Updatesâ”¤
- Updated the whole guide accordingly to the changes in 6.50b (2008.04.20.)
- Added a new build and a replay (2007.09.10.)
- Removed some sections; added IV. Counters and Usage (2007.05.22.)
- New replay; strategy walkthrough revamped; some further updates (2007.05.08.)
- Many many many updates with a new replay as well (2007.01.18.)
- Many typos fixed; made the alternative items/skill-builds more easily recognizeable (2006.11.14.)
- Guide is complete (2006.11.13.)
I hope that I can help out many players with this guide in the tournaments and inhouses they are participating. I think that Visage is a very good pick for clan wars and IHs and I know that you, the reader will think the same way too after trying it out. Please let me know what you think about my guide. Constructive comments are always appreciated.
- Credit goes to:
- HiT0Mi for his Visage guide which taught me how to use this hero
- the NPC guys (Grujah, whifrA, Jagan, harby, nekdolan) for the games we played together
- clan ToG for the cool games in the second Hungarian League
- clan compLexity; I have always liked your strategies and gamestyles
- theMaelk for the constructive feedback