Silencing the Naysayers

For the longest of times, Silencer has been looked down on. He’s had little to no presence in the professional scene, but recent trends have shown greater interest in the hero. In both pro games and pubs he is played in a variety of roles, with a greedy position four, poor five and mid being the most prevalent.

Silencer is also a rather “weird” hero. He can scale incredibly well, but his skillset doesn’t do much in early skirmishes, nor does it really help in prolonging the game. As a support he is a below average ganker and a mediocre babysitter. So what made the hero click to justify 14 picks and 14 bans during the DAC?

Meta Change

Ever since the rework of Curse of the Damned into Arcane Curse Arcane Curse back in 6.86, the hero didn’t see much change. There were a couple of small buffs, but they were very minor and his talent tree doesn’t seem exceptional either. His comeback into the meta should be largely attributed to the changes in the overall environment of the game.

There were several major global changes to the game as a whole in the last several months. Highground got a lot harder to breach, but the importance of tempo is at an all time high since TI4. Split-pushing is almost dead, which means teamfights are more important. Finally, more easily acquired resources on the map mean teams can be slightly greedier than they used to be.

It created an opening for a huge variety of heroes, most of whom have largely been discussed at this point. However most of them fell into the category of “catch”-initiators. Not survivable enough for the offlane and not strong enough to jungle from level 1, heroes like Slardar found themselves roaming the map, applying pressure in the strategic points, and stealing enemy bounty runes. But Silencer is very, very different.

Support Silencer—Poor Man’s Warlock?

Most of the time what a team wants from their support is utility. Silencer has a massive utility ultimate, but that is more or less the full extent of the hero. Arcane Curse and Last Word deal respectable damage, but their effects are delayed, can be played around, and generally feel rather unreliable.

Given how the hero is rather underwhelming at ganking and might have trouble getting his levels through early kills, it must be the case that his ultimate has that much value. And in theory it certainly does—it is a great follow-up for an initiation that doesn’t allow the enemy to respond. It is also a decent counter to the enemy follow-ups.

In practice most of that holds true, but with one major caveat—Silencer is useful only once every 130 seconds. In a sense, he is similar to Warlock, who is another greedy support who recently entered the meta. Unlike Warlock, however, Silencer doesn’t offer sustained damage or pushing potential. So what does the hero offer?

Support Silencer—Why Does it Work?

Silencer loses to Warlock in terms of lane sustain, damage output, and pushing potential. He more or less breaks even with Warlock when it comes to interrupting strong channeling spells through BKB, but where he really excels is at catching highly mobile heroes and forcing them to stay close.

He is also a much better harasser—Warlock can offer more defense for his core, but in a more action-packed laning scenario Silencer will deal a lot more damage and will keep the enemy second-guessing their actions. Moreover, early point in Glaives will allow him to auto-attack the enemy without aggroing the creep lane.

These two points are essentially what make Silencer a viable alternative to Warlock. And the previous points about higher focus on teamfights and higher amount of readily available resources are what make heroes like Warlock and Silencer viable in the meta in the first place. It is a condition within a condition, yet the requirements for both these conditions are frequently met in the current patch.

Core (Mid) Silencer—Does it Work?

Silencer is also sometimes played in the mid lane as an auto-attacking core. His utility, cooldown reliance and many other aspects covered in the support section still hold true, but with more gold and experience the hero can start becoming a very late-game potent carry.

He is also quite strong in 1v1 scenarios. He can harass with or without drawing aggro, which is a much bigger deal than it seems. Silencer also has full 600 attack range and a very annoying harassing spell which punishes enemy retaliation.

That said, he is also an extremely vulnerable target, with below average MS and low starting armor and HP values. Lack of mobility spells don’t help his case either, hence a babysitter may be required for the hero in the mid lane. Moreover, he can’t flash-farm so he is extremely reliant on the early game to get an edge and start snowballing, otherwise he will lose the farm war and can quickly become irrelevant, especially once enemy cores get their BKBs and enemy utility heroes get their Greaves and Lotus Orbs.

And, once again, heroes in Dota do not exist in a vacuum, and when picking Silencer mid carefully consider whether there is a better alternative, since in many cases there will be one. As mentioned previously the main selling point of Silencer is his combo-breaker potential and catch versus highly mobile heroes.

Silencer is not the most reliable hero, he doesn’t deal the most damage and doesn’t offer the highest utility, regardless of his role. But in specific scenarios against certain enemies, he can be the absolute best pick and when he is, he is unrivaled at what he does.

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44 comments
Ghastly Wail

    I kinda like him.
    But well, never thought he's the right choice to pick.

    MuDKiPz

      2nd im so happy naw

      This comment was edited
      ḈћæФsþђΞяe ㊙

        Some things can also be explained by TRENDS and not necessarily coming into meta. DAC featured a range of teams unlike Valve Events, teams which have practiced different Metas and under different Trends. Not being a cynic and not that there's anything wrong with it but Almost All Top Tier Teams don't play around with heroes which can be countered by OTHER Top Tier Teams, they don't take needless chances n am always impressed by Top Tier Teams who pick experimental (in pro-scene) heroes even when playing against another such teams.

        Foolish Samurai

          silencer isnt a support fuckwit

          Switters

            I spam him way too much tbh, but I find him fun to play.

            I'm almost always in pos 4/5, so when playing with strangers, I pick him because I know I will always have some chance to transition if I need too. I also think people undervalue Arcane Curse. I cant count the times I get a random kill 30 seconds after a fight.

            Its can also never really be that bad to pick a global silence up, though I admit I am guilty of sometime picking him only to wake up and realise I have forced the core into needing to pick a hero with a stun.

            MohaDs

              He is fun and is needed in some cases but not a go for pick hero and his talent tree isn't that good

              Jetpack Vujicic

                whenever an enemy silencer got his refresher, i just say 'fuck it we gg'. i hate core silencers

                smax

                  The good thing about silencer is that you can start him as a support and later transition into a core role if things go well. If you like to play aggressive it should suit you.

                  Z0mBi3

                    super strong pick in pubs and I do agree that he fits more as pos 3 or something rather then main carry or the reliable core. He is of good use with his skills and he can always scale and become a carry if needed.

                    Purged

                      I was playing silencer back when his q drained mana, he was one of the best heroes at driving heroes out of lane. Good times.

                      This comment was edited
                      Fight Machine

                        He is a good counter to magic heavy lineups. His pure damage scale with attack speed and intelligence. His stats gain is among the strongest too.

                        Steph Carry

                          Can someone explain why Silencer has a good "catch versus highly-mobile heroes"? How does he chase down mobile heroes/what can he do against a mobile hero that is fleeing/pursuing?

                          ♏ikeeCS ツ

                            ^^ global silence followed up by his "last word".
                            effective against mobile heroes with spell such as Akasha, AM, Puck, Ember, Weaver, sometimes slark, uhmm....what else.....
                            "countered" by BKB, Manta, Eul, or even blink.

                            Edit : I'm not really sure if Global silence dispellable by BKB, Manta, or Eul.
                            Maybe someone below me could help

                            This comment was edited
                            Fight Machine

                              Mobile heroes either have high base movement speed like Luna or[and] have mobility spells like Void. Silencer has a slow, long range pure auto attack and two 6 seconds silences.

                              Meric x Jabroni

                                Good harass early on, and on paper his utility looks good. But once enemies get Eul/Manta/BKB he falls off badly.. unless you stolen enough int for your Glaives to matter. Wish his Q drained mana again. That was annoying back then.

                                This comment was edited
                                Range Creep

                                  silencer is a good support that can transition into a right clicking core in late game especialy if u stole much ints.. His rnge and pure damage is good

                                  Dog

                                    Global silence will silence a spell-immune hero, but is dispellable with bkb.

                                    ILYSM

                                      "Split pushing is almost dead" according to the April 9th update giving towers increased armor with more heroes in its range, no split pushing is not "almost dead"

                                      mECh-

                                        The good thing with Global Silence is, even they buy BKB, you'll still be silenced.

                                        HatsuneMiekuah

                                          Mr steal your intel lul. i had an ultimate shitfest in 1k mmr in this match i even get nearly get 2 int per min in this match lul

                                          https://www.dotabuff.com/matches/3084314034

                                          EnOc}{...Fog

                                            yes,split pushing is viable again..
                                            and NP is back !

                                            JAR IS  BUDDHA

                                              I feel the writer is writing just to write some more blog posts.........

                                              Wonder what he wants to explain.

                                              But I agree rat is a very sad stray currently. If they bunch up, the map changes and hero changes make sure that you can't mount a defense. Pretty sad yes

                                              Merrky But Around A Lone ...

                                                Good read but why is the picture of dragon knight?

                                                a kitten

                                                  Thanks for the breakdown, it's really helpful to place why I've felt like I've had a mixed experience with Silencer since 7.00.

                                                  You've inspired me to give Warlock a look now, too. Cheers.

                                                  ShiftingSkys

                                                    That is not DK o.o Silencer is a boss Love the hero. Especially Mid. You don't feed get some LH and stay relevant youll be aboss by 40 min.

                                                    Sebastian

                                                      Too you a while to get silencer is imba dude @kawaaiii

                                                      (|/) 0_o (|/)

                                                        I've had ridiculous success with silencer over multiple accounts in brackets from 1 to 4k mmr. If not attacked head-on, he can easily harass the whole trilane into the jungle, and if he has a hero to help in the offlane - good luck trading hits with him or attempting to come close. What's even more funny, even without any items he can still out-damage most cores in early and mid game, so I strongly disagree with the 'low damage' statement. Me and a friend of mine often pick the stupid squishy offlane of necro+silencer, but most of the times efficient enough to remove enemy carry from the game unless 4 people commit to ganking the lane

                                                        Smartporn

                                                          Silencer losing his ability to burn enemy mana.
                                                          Now this hero isnt good anymore.
                                                          Some carry have manta and bkb. So silencer ss ability not work well and long CD make it worse.

                                                          Dildo_Shwaggins

                                                            I routinely pick him and play solo off lane, enemy team never knows how to deal with it. Can completely shut their safe-lane down, farm freely, pick up an early Rod of Atos and then start murdering errrrryone.

                                                            Mind

                                                              i have a good winrate win him and i playing only mid - its a good counter for comboes and Good iniciator (ultimate starting fights )
                                                              needs lots of farm in early game
                                                              Good counter against enemy like morphling or invoker who cant deal with him

                                                              TheBomb27

                                                                Moreover, early point in Glaives will allow him to auto-attack the enemy without aggroing the creep lane.
                                                                should say
                                                                Moreover, AN early point in Glaives will allow him to auto-attack the enemy without aggroing the creep lane.

                                                                Brock Hall

                                                                  I feel like it's a shame the hero hasn't had success in the carry role, because looking at his skills in a vacuum I would've absolutely guessed that he is a carry. The skillset really feels like it would be best utilized as a magic dmg drow that mows heroes instead of towers. Instead he is played either support or a pseudo OD mid, and neither seem to really fit the hero well. Being so dependent on mana in every stage of the game to put out damage is not something a 1 position is usually tasked with, and that dependency closes a few doors that traditional carries can keep open.

                                                                  It's really a shame, because in concept Silencer sounds like such a great carry.

                                                                  www.menangqq.space
                                                                    This comment was removed by a moderator
                                                                    דָּוִד

                                                                      Nortrom is my personal most hated hero in the game. Super annoying in the laning stage and one of those "press r to f*ck up people" heroes. It all starts already with his design and playstile. I could vomit if I just see him even if he's on my team. Please no Silencer meta in competitive matches! :/

                                                                      TAPOPS Mengembara Satu Ga...

                                                                        one of my highest winrate hero. great aggresive support that late can become a carry ny only increasing his attack speed thanks to the permanent int steal through out the match.

                                                                        Don't panic

                                                                          GDE PEREVOD ALO, 2 STATYA BEZ PEREVODA

                                                                          Фалес из Милета

                                                                            изи перевод

                                                                            Greenday

                                                                              midone's invoker make silencer useless. midone join war just after the global silence. he just need some hero who can survive in war longer like tanker hero such as centaur and after the global silence end, he wipe every single one off them who survive. wadaplay.

                                                                              The cake is a lie

                                                                                Silencer is really strong mid-laner,especially versus intelligence heroes(his Q is nightmare for invoker for instance).He is ok support,strong at lane but has no lock-down and if he gets initiated on(and he get's a lot since he is one of the main targets),he dies like instantly.The best part about him is that he can transit from babysitter support to strong late game carry.However,he was far stronger when his Q drained mana

                                                                                INTERISTIL

                                                                                  his aghnim upgrade are really not worth it after icefrog nerf the extra 1 sec duration from his agh upgrade

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