Tempo Meta: Core Venge

Image by matenai and AbyssFX

Not so long ago we discussed picks that are great at opening up the draft. Flexible, multi-purpose heroes can mislead the opponent and leave a greater amount of options for the team. One such hero is Vengeful Spirit.

Traditionally played as a support, the hero had a small resurgence in the core role around TI6. Naturally, she was a niche core pick for a handful of teams, but the playtime she got was enough to highlight her ability to be a strong tempo-controlling first position hero. Slightly over half-a-year later, she might be making a comeback into both professional and pub metas.

Reading the Changelogs

The original change that prompted the support-core transition for the hero was introduced in 6.85 with an increased Agility gain. That change has put her on par with several other, more conventional cores such as Clinkz and Luna.

After that, the hero was slightly rebalanced, receiving a situational Aghanim’s upgrade and getting a small nerf to Intelligence growth.

In 7.00, Vengeful Spirit received a peculiar talent tree that gave her clear and equally appealing alternatives for both core and support roles:

Most notable, however, was the scale of these talents—Vengeful Spirit has one of the best passive stat growths in the game, which coupled with the availability of an early +25 AS and +8 to all stats, can transform her into an above average right-clicker who can take a punch.

At level 20 the core build is further facilitated by +65 damage talent, which is among the highest for ranged heroes. Keeping in mind massive Agility growth and the potentially strongest base-damage increasing aura in the game, it was only natural for the hero to return.

Meta Changes

The popularity resurgence is hard to solely attribute to the changes to the hero herself, however. While the hero can become one of the strongest right-clickers in the game, she lacks flash-farming capabilities, frequently leaving her with a single option—teamfights.

It so happens that the current meta heavily favors tempo. A smaller advantage is likely to lead to a bigger one and this cycle can be excruciatingly difficult to break. Unlike Vengeful Spirit’s typical competition of Luna and Drow Ranger, she excels at securing an early-game advantage, regardless of conditions.

Her stun and armor reduction have arguably higher utility in the skirmishes in the beginning of the game, while her stat growth secures her safety—despite being a ranged agility hero, she is surprisingly tanky.

Moreover, she is at least on par when it comes to securing early-game objectives. In the later stages of the game, Drow gets some global presence, while Luna simply melts barracks, but pre-level 15 Venge buffs her damage and damage of her allies enough to go toe-to-toe with competition. And these early objectives can be the most crucial ones, since the monetary gains can propel the whole team towards tempo control.

Core Build

Our series of blog posts about core itemization has become slightly outdated with the changes to Helm of the Dominator, which, despite the nerfs, remains one of the best early-game purchases. To understand why this item is good and why it is good on Vengeful Spirit specifically, you can read through our previous blog post.

The later build for the hero remains extremely flexible and mostly depends on the opposition. The only core items the hero should generally always go for are HotD and Dragon Lance Dragon Lance—everything else is optional.

The same flexibility is also seen in her ability builds. Traditionally, core Venge maxed out Magic Missile Magic Missile first, but with the addition of talents and increased importance of early-game skirmishes, it is no longer the only option.

There is no need to max out a single skill, before going for the next one, at least not on Venge. Depending on relationship between your item and level progression, going for early Vengeance Aura Vengeance Aura is an option. Alternatively, in a team with high physical burst potential and against a tanky enemy composition, getting extra levels into Wave of Terror Wave of Terror can be equally beneficial.

Her Place in the Meta

It should be obvious by now, that the hero rightfully deserved a highlight. Her ability kit along with relatively straightforward playstyle made her one of the scariest heroes to face in pubs. While she is at her best in <2k bracket, sitting at 54.17% win rate, she is no pushover in higher skilled games—for 4k+ games her win rate is at roughly 53%. What is interesting, is the increase in popularity of the hero in the higher brackets. The hero is significantly more popular in the 5k+ games, than she is in <2k. Better players seem to have noticed the potential behind the hero and currently experiment with ability and item builds.

Vengeful Spirit is not a flashy hero. She doesn’t have a high skill ceiling or skill floor, but she is reliable and flexible. Her stat growth and her kit allow her to be the hero 7.02 truly needs—simple, yet effective and deadly.

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    very situational i guess, no flashfarming ability and is single target. maybe if we get an aghanim's rework like drow


      1 st
      cannot beleive


        Nice article




            Core Venge rules.

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              Echo sabre dark seer please


                When I see axe i choose veng best counter ever :)

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                  core venge? venge`s power is swap.

                  Фейри Тейл ! Чувак=)

                    Я всегда так играл и выигрывал!!!!

                    Cat Chan Guy

                      Core venge? Not on my team plx, I enjoy the ez mmr.


                        People are stupid....core venge is great....people dont like change i guess lol....ive been winning with core venge for awhile now...check my profile i always win core venge

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                          @JANDA CRISPY ~ but why? She is so tanky herself, why you spend gold on that item?


                            core venge was a thing back in dota 1, i don't know about other region used venge as another role but in my country venge used to fill mid role. thats why i confused when i started playing dota 2 people started playing venge as a support-- but is pretty good though, i have a pretty good winrate with venge.

                            Brock Hall


                              Swap is a powerful skill because it is flexible. It's great for pickoffs, putting a hero in a bad position. It's great to swap out your core, saving their life. But you can also escape by swapping yourself out of a situation. It's kind of like using blink strike or phantom strike on a friendly to escape.


                                @smax actually I gave her vanguard coz I tanked my team up with her passive and vanguard that's my version of support venge

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                                  Core venge = instant report and mute


                                    huh, why you guys so mean. Totaly strong hero with a lot of potencial; played it like 1-2 years ago without those GUCCI talents - and it was pretty good, ofc feelsbadman when domintaor is nerfing but venge is still OK; she's early push strats and early fights always GUCCI c;

                                    The Choice Is Yours

                                      Blackopf ewr

                                      Frozen Spider

                                        There's literally no point of playing Venge as core damage dealer, aside from misleading opponent by a versatile pick. She's too strong as a support, all her bonuses are team-wide, and there are far better carries than her without her drawbacks (to name a few - short attack range, no AOE whatsoever, situational support-oriented ult)


                                          Personally, i kinda have a problem making venge a core, as her farming ability is a bit underwhelming. But maybe building the right build and always active in a fight can make the difference, maybe....


                                            Did core venge ever win at TI? The only core venge game I remember was a decisive loss

                                            ( o Y o )

                                              Just the way you are.

                                              R E J E C T E D

                                                I think the problem with venge core is that she cant carry the game solo no matter how good you are. She doesnt farm fast like a medusa, have no high burst dmg like a shadow fiend, and no big aoe dmg like gyrocopter. However, the point in picking a venge core is trying to do mind games with the enemy team while doing a multi core oriented lineup. So if you are first picking a venge carry in a 2k pub, you'll probably going to be a support instead of a carry.

                                                Brock Hall

                                                  Just so everyone knows, by level 8, without items or talents, VS has the highest Agility of any hero. 27 base with 3.3 gain. 3rd highest base, 2nd highest gain. You're not picking her for a late game situation, ie a farmer. You pick her as a core to fight early because she can tear through the competition with minimal items, capitalizing on the fact that she has more damage than any traditional farming carry would have at that time. It's very similar to how you do a small amount of farming with drow, then quickly transition to a five man situation, mowing down objectives.


                                                    Totally agree with Brock Hall above. And yes, usually you need second core as well to cover for venge's weaknesses. But in 1-1 fights she is usually stronger than most other cores at all levels. At level 25 she has 450-500 damage +crits (if you go crits) and very high attack speed, yielding one of the highest single target dps of all heroes. She is good at pickoffs (cant really run from her ult) and if your team can force enemies to focus someone else - she will end any fight in 5-10 seconds.

                                                    Del Rey

                                                      how to ez lp:
                                                      1. pick venge
                                                      2. go farm
                                                      3. enjoy 20min lost game
                                                      4. ????????????
                                                      5. PROFIT!!!!!!!!!

                                                      ME WIN KIEV MAJOR

                                                        Lol go check my last ogre magi game, this venge carried the game like brock said


                                                          I don't understand venge carry, venge farmer, venge support no good anymore?


                                                            venge carry is famous even dota 1 and even in heroes of newerth. venge is played as carry long back from version 5 to 6 until dota 2 was made.


                                                              only kids who started playing dota at 2010 never knew that venge carry exist before. try her in midlane and see how she wrecks your famous shadow feed and injoker in lane.

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                                                                2010... grow up men you guys too old play a game haha

                                                                Dodong Bot

                                                                  VS POS 1 is very situational but especially good when paired up with Ogre.


                                                                    venge is best picked carry when theres a drow support on your team. the two aura together is so op, especially when venge gets farm and gets lvl 25, and drow has frost arrows in lane.

                                                                    Brock Hall


                                                                      There is little reason why the two can't be dual cored. Neither DEMAND TONS of farm, so you can stick Venge in midlane and maybe give her a support. Both are early game so you can get them up to six then team up for burning towers.


                                                                        If we talking about ranked mm, i would prefer picking venge first, ofc its for her versatility as of now she can be a carry (which is hard imo due to her lack of farming mechanics) or semi-carry or going full support depends on your team picks.

                                                                        Most likely you can't get the first pos, if you play in sea, but just try to communicate the draft if you really wants to be the first pos and you know well to play with the tempo, explain the idea.

                                                                        If your team has a carry drow, then being a semi-carry/semi-support venge is alrd strong as hell. Getting 2 relatively cheap items, Power treads + HoTD + precision aura + vengeance aura + wolf aura alrd makes your venge hit like a truck. But, make sure someone on your team picked a 5th pos support for wards.

                                                                        If you had no drow, and get a melee carry like juggernaut on your team then go for 5th pos support. Get 1 item : aether lens . And boom your juggernaut will never fall, at least if he is in your ult range and not pushing by himself on the other side of the map (lol)


                                                                          venge does not need farming tool as her item costs cheap to dominate game from early and snowball to late. she is deadly as slark when got an early sb and paired with desolator she can mostly 3 hits position 4-5 enemies easily.


                                                                            Lol she is op if farmed enough at max level,
                                                                            My last game she survived a double rp and killed the whole team after with satanic on low life
                                                                            Her items:
                                                                            Treads, butterfly,mkb,satanic,hurricane pike
                                                                            Seeing a possible nerf to ber str growth if she gets picked enough


                                                                              I should always remind myself to not read the comments on db articles


                                                                                not 1st

                                                                                🔚 DonE-

                                                                                  @bloodeagle i agree very situational pick, there are much better ranged hero to fit the carry role


                                                                                    I think venge (on this thread) same with drow you know what I mean right (the damages) but lot of dota players don't know how play drow as well as venge eventhought they were ez heroes to play

                                                                                    (sorry about the English)

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                                                                                      The article said Venge 'core', which is not necessarily have to be 'carry' (post 1). Why is everyone talking as if she must be played in post 1..?

                                                                                      There are three different cores in a team:
                                                                                      Post 1. Carry
                                                                                      Post 2. Mid
                                                                                      Post 3. Offlane (Hardlane)

                                                                                      And by means playing Venge as a 'core', you still have two other cores to complement her, and she doesn't have to be the post 1. She can fit quite well as an Offlaner, or a situational Midlaner (when there is no other capable ranged hero in your draft).

                                                                                      And with the latest update on the hero, Venge is now capable enough as a 'core' in this meta. With her high stats growth, vengeance aura, stun, DPS, +damage and +atkspeed talent tree. She only lacks flashfarm capability, unlike Templar, for example. So playing Venge core, you'll tend to be more farming the enemy heroes (ganks/war) after level 6 rather than farming creeps, as she is scaling faster in early game than most carries, though maybe not as high as them in the later stages. So you will avoid dragging the game for too long.


                                                                                        Usually when my team drafted around a core Venge, we make it a priority to have a lineup with strong early-to-mid game potential and overwhelm the enemy with 4-man pushes at around levels 8-12; and around that time give our other carry space and time to farm efficiently. Using Venge as your ONLY carry is risky af.

                                                                                        Since Venge herself already has strong lock-down potential, I usually pick supports with strong sustain skills (i.e. Omni, Dazzle, or Chen) or reliable crowd control abilities (i.e. Warlock, Tide, Enigma, or Disruptor). But almost all the time we aim for a 25-35 min gg in situations like this.


                                                                                          Vengeful Spirit has been created and built in order to fit for the support role, not for the carry one. Do you want to build her as carry? Feel free to, but you are gonna win only versus opponents who do not know how to deal with it. It's not how the hero is supposed to be played. Same goes for carry Omni, support Kunkka ecc.


                                                                                            Used to play venge as core awhile ago, but now I dont feel like it anymore.


                                                                                              Venge has insane projectile speed, making it super easy to last hit with her, similar to Sniper or Gyro. However, she won't farm too well until you get either Yasha or some other either damage or AS item. Maelstrom works pretty well too.
                                                                                              But in the end, she can stand with any other AGI core if built right.
                                                                                              Riskier builds like Dragon Lance + Moon Shard + Daedalus makes great use of her fast projectiles, stun, anti-armor and aura and tears lesser enemies down before they can even adjust. Getting those items, however, needs a team who doesn't expect 24/7 support from her. Which she shouldn't do, anyway, imo. There's much more suitable heroes for hard support role.

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