Io, the Guardian Wisp
How to use this guide
This is not a step-by-step guide to how to play Wisp and what items to buy and when. It is a discussion of the strengths and weaknesses of the hero, and of items that may or may not be of benefit to him. Every game of DotA presents different situations, and it is up to each individual player to find what works best for him or her in any given situation. That said, hopefully this guide will present some interesting ideas about the hero, how to use him and about item selection in general, and will stimulate your own thinking about this and other heroes and how you might try to play them.
Str: 17 +1.9
Agi: 14 +1.6
Int: 23 +1.7
Attack Range: 525
Attack Animation: 0.15/0.4
Casting Animation: 0.01/0.51
Base Attack Time: 1.7
Missile Speed: 1600
Sight Range: 1800/800
ē Wisp is a Str hero but his starting Str is quite poor compared to all other heroes, and the worst of all Str heroes. His end-game Str is not much better, weighing in at just below average compared to all other heroes.
ē Wispís Agi is his lowest stat at all levels. His starting Agi is quite poor compared to all other heroes, seeing a minor improvement, but still ranking poorly, in the end-game.
ē Wispís highest stat is Int. His starting Int is quite strong; the third highest of all Str heroes and 8th highest (=) overall. His end-game Int, however, comes to rest at average compared to all other heroes.
ē Wispís starting armor is as poor as it could possibly be at 0.
ē His movespeed is about average.
Improves the movement speed of Wisp and a targeted ally hero for 12s or until the tether breaks. Briefly stuns enemy units that touch the tether. Transfers effects of Overcharge and Relocate to the allied hero.
Summons 5 spirits that encircle Wisp for 6s or until they explode. The radius of the circle that they orbit can be increased or decreased, causing them to spiral out or back in. The spirits cause minor damage to creeps and more damage to enemy heroes, exploding when they hit a hero and slowing in a small AoE for 3s.
Increases attack speed at the cost of 2.5% current HP/mana per second. Toggled on and off. Attack speed bonus transferred to a tethered unit.
Teleport to anywhere on the map for 12s. After 12s returns you to where you teleported from. Takes tethered units with you, and brings tethered units back after the 12s.
Wispís role. What can he do?
Heís a support hero. His tether ability can help his allies escape or chase. The overcharge buffs an ally heroís attack speed. Relocate is versatile and can be used to rescue allies, save himself and facilitate ganks. Spirits adds to his chasing and escaping ability, and gives him something to defend with against creep waves if need be. His primary role is support in hero battles.
General Items Discussion
Items are used to make the hero better at what he/she does. This might mean making up for weaknesses in the character, enhancing strengths or adding more functions. We will look at various items that may work well with Wisp, and discuss their advantages.
First, we should ask some questions:
What are Wispís weaknesses?
> his low HP, HP regen and Str-based damage
> his shocking armor and poor natural attack speed
> possibly his average mana and mana regen later on
> his lack of farming/creep wave killing capacity
> the HP/mana drain from Overcharge
What are his strengths?
> his ally enhancement abilities (+attack/movement speed)
> his mana pool and Int-based regen early on
> his chasing ability
> his rescuing ability
> his team-fighting ability
Now, we discuss these aspects in more detail and consider item properties that may be useful to Wisp.
ē Firstly, note that a lot of time playing Wisp will be spent on positioning. This means a lot of clicking to make sure the tether on an ally doesnít break and to stun enemies with the tether. The only time Wispís auto-attack will noticeably come to bear is if you are pushing a tower, or if Wisp is alone and defending, pushing a lane or farming. When you are chasing, rescuing or escaping (which we have established are Wispís main roles) you wonít be auto-attacking. Realising this, we may discount items based on auto-attacking (so orb items, possibly items with damage bonuses, attack speed items and such).
ē His HP, HP regen and damage from Str is low throughout the game, so we may choose to compensate for this weakness with items. We could go with flat HP boost items, flat HP regen items, or items that increase Str (and indirectly boost HP and HP regen, as well as damage). Since damage from Str gets applied on Wispís auto-attacks, we donít need to worry about it as much.
ē He has very poor armor, which we may try to improve if we can. We can do this indirectly through Agi (at a low rate) or with flat armor boosts. If we do choose to improve his armor, weíll try to use a flat boost and avoid Agi since we donít need the attack speed.
ē His mana pool and mana regen from his Int is quite healthy early on, and his need to use his abilities will not be great either. His Overcharge and Tethering abilities are hero battle abilities that will come more into play later in the game. His Int then decreases relative to other heroes later in the game, so our preference should be mana regen items earlier, and Int bonus items later.
ē His only AoE source of damage is his Spirits, which inflict low damage to creeps anyway. He may need another way to damage a group of creeps to enhance his defending and lane pushing ability. Even though we have decided that it is not his primary role, you never know the situations you may find yourself in in any given game.
ē He can expect to be at less than full health and mana much of the time due to his valuable Overcharge, so both HP and mana regen may be important. These can be gotten directly, or indirectly from Str and Int boosts.
ē Besides the short stun from his tether and the 3s slow from his exploding Spirits, he lacks the ability to slow, stun or disable enemy heroes. He is a support hero who doesnít need to focus very much on his own attacking, so some snaring or crowd control items may be worthwhile.
ē He is like a battery that you attach to a strong allied hero to make him even stronger, so you donít want him dropping like a fly and cutting off the energy source. This may necessitate some survivability items to keep him in the enemy battles where he is meant to be.
ē He is a good chaser with his Spiritsí slow, made more so by the added muscle of his tethered ally and the mutual movement speed bonus, not to mention the tether stun. We may want to enhance his chasing ability even further with items. For the same reason, he is a good escaper and rescuer.
In summary, Wisp will probably need items that:
> tank him up, and especially increase his HP regen
> give him a flat armor boost
> increase his mana regen early-mid game, and increase his Int later
> are a source of AoE damage in some way
> disable a single target
> make him faster, and/or make enemy heroes slower
Items of choice
We have several candidates here. They are:
Aim to finish this later when the Int bonus is more needed. The plate mail may come quite early as he needs armor right from the get-go. The active helps his chasing by providing another source of slowing escaping heroes besides his Spirits. It also provides him a much needed source of AoE damage to help with defending against creep waves or pushing lanes should the need arise. It also gives him a little extra punch with neutral farming if it arises, and the reduced enemy attack speed aura is a decent team ability to defend or push with.
Eulís Scepter of Divinity
Our disable item. Itís cheap to make, and gives us our early mana regen in the Sobi Mask and Void Stone components. The movement speed bonus aids in chasing and escaping, two of his major roles, and the disable can be used to buy time in rescues involving the 12s ulti countdown (more on that later), and also in chases and escapes.
Our tankiness. We forgo the indirect HP, HP regen and damage bonuses from a Str item to just get the flat bonuses to HP and HP regen and the chance for damage block. The item is useful for chases where tower diving happens, and makes him tankier to damage without turning him (expensively) into a tank when he is a support caster who just happens to be a Str hero.
Any starting items desired
Itís my belief that the range of starting items (of which I consider Bracers, Nulls, Wraiths, and Magic Stick to be part) are all valid choices and should be left to personal preference, though donít overdo it. No more than one or two are necessary, and you can get away with none with careful play. Also a matter of personal preference is starting regen items (Clarity pots, Salves, Tangos, Magic Bottle, Soul Ring). Get whichever ones you are most comfortable with.
Urn of Shadows
An early game item with a lot of potential. You get your mana regen early as we require, and some instant tankiness from the Str bonus which doesnít go astray. Can be a substitute for a Bracer or other starting item. It is weak enough stat and price-wise to be a matter of personal preference, but if you like it to death, like myself, I highly encourage you to get it.
Ancient Janggo of Endurance
This item is good. You can tank up early with the Bracer component, and finish it off relatively quickly to have a good team support item with auras that stack with bonuses provided by his tether and overcharge and an active that aids his chasing and escaping.
Power Treads (Str)
Our boots. We donít need the movement speed boost and damage from Phase Boots, as we have the movement speed boost from his tether and we arenít relying on his auto-attack to do damage. We donít need the expensive Boots of Travel when he has a teleporting ability (albeit one that returns him after 12s). Arcane Boots might be ok, but weíre addressing his mana regen in other ways already. We need another source of Str to up his valued HP and HP regen. It also moderately increases his damage and attack speed without making a big deal out of it like Phase Boots. I think this is a good middle ground choice of boot that meets his needs.
At this point, we are looking good for the early-mid game. We have covered all the needs we earlier identified, but what about later on? The only late game item we thus far have is the Shivas, so we need somewhere to sink our money in order to stick those last few pushes, mount that valiant defense, or simply have fun after all that farming.
Heart of Tarrasque
Always a safe bet. You can count on being sufficiently tanky after getting this. It is quite expensive though.
Guinsooís Scythe of Vyse
If you were having any problems with mana or mana regen, they are now over. I would recommend getting this if the team needs it, more than as a first priority.
Another source of AoE damage to help with defending or pushing. Also helpful when chasing. A great item, but Wisp is probably at risk due to his naturally low tankiness of not getting the full benefit from the AoE damage.
Not bad. Adds another source of HP and mana regen, but rather expensive. Being primarily a hero fighting character, he is liable to get up his charges on this quicker.
OK items and situational items
Ring of Basilius
A cheap starting item that gives mana regen and a quick armor boost. However, the mana regen takes the form of a brilliance aura that isnít as significant on a high starting Int hero like Wisp as it is on a lower Int hero. There also isnít a need to make a Vlads since Wisp is ranged. Still, a cheap and viable item if you like it.
Hood of Defiance
Up against magic-using heroes? Scrap the Vanguard and get this instead. You lose the HP bonus but get more HP regen, and 30% spell resistance instead of the chance for damage block. Also consider upping to a Pipe of Insight. You will get some more HP regen, and with his tethering you will frequently be in position to pop off the magic barrier ability to good effect.
This is actually not too bad a choice considering his support role, but the stat bonuses are a little mild for the cost, and it only gives a small HP regen aura; no mana regen (and the active costs mana). Still, if you like this item, it might be worth grabbing.
Eye of Skadi
The chasing item. The stats are great, but we have already established that Wisp has too much positioning and moving to do to be attacking enemies normally often. Though it is probably the best orb to get if you want to get one, it isnít worth it compared to the other items on offer.
Items to avoid
Any orb items
As stated before, Wisp isnít going to rely on his auto-attack that much, and though Overcharge will increase his attack speed significantly, he has too much moving and positioning to do to get good mileage out of an orb effect.
Very expensive and kind of unnecessary. Yes, it provides the HP and mana regen, but so do other more useful items. Getting stunned or disabled isnít as tragic for Wisp as for other heroes such as Ursa who rely on being able to attack normally over a period of time.
Excellent mana regen, but he doesnít need the attack speed, and the Int bonus isnít as good as Shivas or Hex. All in all, not worth the high price.
Medallion of Courage
Good stats on a cheap item. Bad active on a hero with the worst armor in the game.
Stunning items: MKB and Cranium Basher
Heís not relying on his auto-attacks.
This item is ok for aiding in pushing and defending, but the component items arenít necessary. The +26 Agi is kind of wasted, and the other bonuses donít justify it over, say, a Shivas which also helps pushing and defending.
Armlet of Mordiggian
A bit of passive armor and HP regen, and the active tanks you up, but it also drains your HP. Youíre already eating an HP drain off your Overcharge. We donít need to add another one.
You donít need it. Youíll have enough movement speed from your tether and other items.
Poor Manís Shield
Cheap and early damage block. Unnecessary Agi bonus and we will more than likely be getting a Vanguard anyway.
Not really needed, but it wonít kill you to get it if you want to have it.
Wispís ulti is probably his most versatile and complicated skill to use, so I will dedicate a section here to going over the various uses of it.
The ulti can be used to:
> rush to the aid of an allied hero in danger when Wisp is healthy. Preferably tether another healthy ally and bring him for back-up. Then tether the wounded ally and attempt to escape the danger while awaiting the 12s return. A disable like Eulís can be used on an enemy hero to buy some time to escape after teleporting in.
> escape to the fountain to heal over 12s when Wisp is in danger. Preferably tether an ally at the fountain if possible for the return journey.
> escape to a healthy ally somewhere on the map when Wisp is in danger, bringing that ally back for back-up when the 12s are up
> assist in a gank in progress or participate in the initiation of a gank by tethering an ally to the gank site, dishing out pain, then breaking the tether (unless your tethered ally is wounded) before the 12s are up so that your ally may remain to continue the battle
> tether an ally and teleport to a building in trouble to defend. Help defend then break the tether so that your ally may continue defending while you return
> tether onto a nearby wounded ally and teleport somewhere safe, breaking the tether on arrival so that your wounded ally doesnít return with you
> relocate yourself to a distant shop to buy items
> relocate into neutral creep areas and use the 12s to scout for enemy heroes
This is a non-exhaustive list. There are so many ways to use this skill. The most important thing is to watch your tether and make sure you donít transport your allies undesirably.