Invoker: one of the most daunting heroes to pick up and learn in all of Dota 2. In a pool of more than 100 heroes, Invoker is the only one with ten different spells to his name, only two of which he can have access to at any given time. Though not the absolute most mechanically demanding hero (that title belongs to Meepo), he is still not for the faint of heart or those with less than a few hundred hours logged into the game.
Players who do brave his extreme learning curve, however, are rewarded with one of the most versatile spellcasters ever. Invoker has a tool for almost every in-game scenario, and has the ability to carry entire teams despite not being a traditional physical DPS carry hero. His damage output is actually quite fearsome, thanks to spells like Chaos Meteor and Deafening Blast—as well as the passive benefits of Exort.
When his primary teamfight spells are on cooldown, he can switch to more utility-oriented abilities like Ice Wall and Alacrity. If he is ever caught out and needs an escape, Ghost Walk is there for him. Well-timed and well-positioned Sunstrikes are also extremely satisfying, and we have no doubt you’ll feel nothing but satisfaction every time you land one.
Fancy a go at the flashiest mage in the world of Dota 2? Read on, if you dare.
Invoker Skill Build
Our recommended skill build is as follows:
- Level 10 Talent: +30 Chaos Meteor Contact Damage
- Level 15 Talent: +1 Forged Spirit Summoned
- Wex until Level 19
- Level 20 Talent: Cataclysm (spawns two visible Sunstrikes next to every enemy hero on the map)
- Quas until maxed out
- Level 25 Talent: Radial Deafening Blast (makes Deafening Blast spread out in a circle)
Invoker is an incredibly fearsome laner, when built to focus on the Exort reagent in the early game. His attack damage scales very well with each level invested into Exort, which helps greatly when it comes to harassing your opponent out of the mid lane and when going for creep kills. Meanwhile, points are also invested into Quas, in order to provide much-needed passive health regeneration in lane. Quas also gives you access to Cold Snap, which helps you apply even more pressure when harassing your opponent.
One must keep in mind that Invoker is a gold and experience-dependent hero, which means that getting as much farm out of the mid lane as possible is one of the keys to success. The Exort build allows you to dominate the lane with superior attack damage and access to a summoned unit in the form of Forge Spirits. With the lane in your favor, you can get your core items up very quickly, and snowball heavily in the mid-game. You can also help your teammates secure kills in the other lanes, by combining Sun Strike with any stuns and/or disables that they might have.
Wex is taken much later on—around Level 15 when Invoker is geared up a bit and ready to take on teamfights. Wex unlocks powerful spells designed mainly for five-on-five engagements: Chaos Meteor, EMP, and Tornado are all found in the Wex family. Ghost Walk is also unlocked by Wex, but requires you to sacrifice a significant amount of snowball potential by delaying Quas and Exort skill points. We don’t recommend this, as you should be relying primarily on map awareness and/or Observer Wards from your supports.
Invoker Item Build
For an Exort Invoker, the item progression will be pretty straightforward. The goal is to get a Eul’s Scepter of Divinity for the early game, since it provides a handy disable (or a protection effect if used on Invoker himself), a good amount of passive mana regeneration, and additional movement speed. That last one is especially valuable for Invoker, who moves very slowly with his 280 base movement speed.
Eul’s also helps set combos up on single targets. A popular combo is to use its active ability on a key enemy hero, followed up with Sunstrike, Chaos Meteor, and Deafening Blast—but more on this in a later section. All in all, Eul’s is a great choice for Invoker, as it covers a lot of his needs and weaknesses all at once.
Boots of Travel is another fantastic item for Invoker, since it allows him to split push with Forge Spirits and easily join teammates for teamfights even when he’s busy farming. The huge boost in movement speed is always welcome, and so is not needing any more Town Portal Scrolls for the rest of the game.
For the mid game, the item you are definitely going to want is the mighty Aghanim’s Scepter. Not only does it give you a ton of extra stats, but it also reduces the cooldown of Invoke by four seconds. That’s a massive amount of time when you need to fire off a lot of spells in quick succession. In addition, it upgrades all three reagents by one level, making your spells just a tad bit more effective even after they’re maxed out. Invoker experiences a large power spike upon obtaining this item—and the earlier you get it, the better.
From there, your item choices will branch out depending on what your team might need and what the opponents have in their lineup. If you need instant disable, consider a Scythe of Vyse. If you’re in need of mobility and quick positioning, a Blink Dagger might serve you well. An Octarine Core would allow you to be active more often thanks to the reduced cooldowns on your spells. Black King Bar is another option against disable-heavy teams—though with Invoker already needing every inventory slot that can be spared it’s not exactly the most efficient item for him.
Refresher Orb is a high-risk, high-reward item. Sure, having the ability to pull off two full combos in a teamfight would devastate the opposition, but the gold cost involved should be considered very carefully first. Also, Refresher Orb means nothing if you get disabled before you can even pull off your double combo.
A note on Hand of Midas: normally, Midas would be a good farming item for Invoker. But in the current metagame, Midas is just totally outclassed by other farming items like Radiance or Battle Fury. Obviously, the latter literally does not work on Invoker, while Radiance is best reserved for illusion heroes for the most part. The game has been heading in a much speedier direction as of late (Patch 7.18), which leaves little room for a Midas pickup. Just buy Tomes of Knowledge if you really need the experience boost.
Invoker Spell List
Knowing all ten of Invoker’s spells is vital to success with him, as they all serve different purposes. Some are just straight up damage abilities, while others provide you and your teammates some much-needed utility and control.
Here is the full list of Invoker’s spells, and the reagents required to Invoke them:
Cold Snap (QQQ)
Used to lock single targets down with repeated damage and staggered stuns. Whenever the target takes damage and the “snap” cooldown timer isn’t active, the target takes a small amount of additional damage and gets stunned for a few milliseconds. On paper, the stun seems very short—but is actually incredibly effective in practice. All attributes (stun trigger cooldown, damage, debuff duration) improved by Quas.
Ghost Walk (QQW)
Invoker turns invisible, while also slowing enemies around him down based on the current level of Quas. This spell also slows Invoker himself down based on the current level of Wex, but does increase his movement speed significantly when Wex is at least level 4. Keep in mind that this does apply particle effects to those that are slowed, which makes it obvious that a Ghost Walking Invoker is nearby.
Ice Wall (QQE)
Places a line of solid ice in front of Invoker, perpendicular to him. The wall slows enemies down by a huge amount based on the current level of Quas, while also damaging them over time based on the current level of Exort. Very potent; use often when in need of something that prevents targets from simply running away from you after Cold Snap runs out.
Invoker creates an electric charge in the target area, which explodes after 2.9 seconds. Once it does, the charge removes mana from all enemy units based on the current level of Wex, and damages them for 60% of that amount. 50% of the mana burned this way is returned to Invoker, if the mana comes from an enemy hero. Fantastic teamfight spell if you have a good number of points in Wex, as it practically acts like a silence effect if successful.
Your primary setup/initiation tool for teamfights and ganks. Tornado’s range increases with every level of Wex, and its lift time increases with every level of Quas. Can be used to set up engagements from very far away given enough levels of Wex, and has a handy basic dispel to boot. It even deals a pretty good amount of damage, also based on Wex.
Places a buff on a single allied target, giving them a significant boost to attack speed and attack damage (based on Wex and Exort levels, respectively). Great for pushing towers and barracks when coupled with Forge Spirits, as well as for simply making you or your hard carry more effective. If you find yourself with some time to cast this in the middle of a teamfight, do so—it could help turn the tide or increase your advantage if you already have one.
Sun Strike (EEE)
Projects a ray of light onto the battlefield, which comes crashing down in a small radius after 1.7 seconds. Deals catastrophic damage of the Pure type (unaffected by magic resistance of any kind), based on the current level of Exort. Obviously, Sun Strike is very difficult to hit accurately, so make sure to tell your teammates to let you know if they have any good targets rooted or stunned for an easy kill.
Forge Spirit (QEE)
Summons one (or two, if you have the level 15 talent) ranged creep, which deals attack damage based on the current level of Exort. Also melts away the armor from enemy heroes with each successful attack, taking away one point with a maximum of ten. As mentioned, Forge Spirits are good for split pushing, especially when combined with the mobility of Boots of Travel. Also incredibly potent against heroes when combined with Cold Snap.
Chaos Meteor (WEE)
Pulls a burning meteor out of the sky, which lands on the battlefield after 1.3 seconds. Any enemy units caught in its path will suffer tremendous amounts of damage on contact, based on the current level of Exort. The meteor’s fire continues to burn them should they stay in contact with it afterwards, with the resulting debuff stacking fully with itself. The meteor also continues to roll forward in its original trajectory, with the total distance being based on the current level of Wex. Devastating when used correctly, Chaos Meteor is your main source of damage during teamfights.
Deafening Blast (QWE)
Sends a shockwave forward in a small cone, knocking back any enemy units caught in the wake while dealing damage and disarming them. The knockback duration and distance are based on Quas, while the disarm duration and total damage are based on Wex and Exort, respectively. Essentially a nuke that has additional utility tacked onto it. Massively useful against fragile hard carries, who will be unable to retaliate with regular attacks after getting hit.
Naturally, Invoker’s many spells are designed to complement each other in several ways. While they are very effective on their own, combining their effects makes for an even more devastating kit. In this section, we will go over the most common combos and how to apply them in your games.
- Cold Snap + Forged Spirits
A simple combo that makes it easy to trigger Cold Snap’s stun. The stun also allows the spirits to catch up with the target, especially when micromanaged.
- Tornado + EMP
Need to gank a particularly slippery but mana-dependent hero? Use this combo to divest them of their energy before they can blink or otherwise jump to safety. Also great for teamfights in general as an initiation.
- Tornado + Chaos Meteor + Deafening Blast
Deals massive amounts of area of effect damage, and can win teamfights outright if all three spells land decently well. Do note that you should skip the Tornado entirely if your draft contains a hero like Magnus, especially if they are able to use their initiation abilities to hold targets in place. This is done so that their stun durations aren’t wasted by the Tornado lift.
- Ice Wall + Chaos Meteor (+ Cold Snap, Deafening Blast, Sun Strike, or EMP)
Keep targets in place and kill them good with this combo. Ice Wall and Cold Snap alone already deal quite a bit of damage, but the third component of the combo (which will depend on the situation and/or which cooldowns you still have available) will help secure the kill.
- Alacrity + Forge Spirits
Help your team take objectives without putting yourself in too much danger with this one-two punch. Cast Alacrity on one of your summons, then sick ‘em at the nearest creep wave or tower.
Even though Invoker is flexible and versatile, he isn’t foolproof—just like any other hero in Dota 2. There are still definite counters to him, from the obvious like Anti-Mage to the more subtle like Templar Assassin. In fact, it is actually surprisingly easy to draft against him, thanks to the myriad of viable counters.
Keep the following list in mind if you feel like playing Invoker, because with the right draft, it is remarkably simple to shut him down in lane. Some heroes can do so on their own by outlaning him, though others will need to rotate to the mid lane in order to help out. Either way, though, the heroes on this list have very effective kits against Invoker’s own.
The most obvious counter. Barring Sun Strike and EMP (which drains Blink mana), Anti-Mage resists every spell in Invoker’s repertoire, and punishes his use of abilities with Mana Void.
Doom’s ultimate takes Invoker straight out of the teamfight for a very long period of time. Buy a Linken’s Sphere if he’s giving you trouble.
- Faceless Void
Time Dilation punishes Invokers who cast their spells in rapid succession, slowing him immensely while freezing everything that happens to be on cooldown.
- Night Stalker
Both Void and Crippling Fear are designed to counter fragile spellcasters, which Invoker happens to be one of. Night Stalker will rotate often to your lane—especially at night. Play more defensively against a team with this hero in its lineup.
- Nyx Assassin
Unbeknownst to the less-experienced, Nyx is actually the best counter to Invoker. Mana Burn alone destroys him in lane, and prevents him from casting his best spells early on. Spiked Carapace can be used on a lot of Invoker’s area of effect abilities, and both Vendetta and Impale are good for ganking him early and often.
Every single one of Silencer’s abilities is strong against Invoker. Curse of the Silent and Last Word punish spellcasting, and Glaives of Wisdom’s passive component means that Invoker cannot afford to die often in his presence. Global Silence is the icing on the cake against Invoker, should he dare to initiate on Silencer’s team.
- Storm Spirit
Storm Spirit has a hard time laning against Invoker, but can jump him from multiple angles in the mid game with Ball Lightning. Orchid Malevolence, a core item for Storm Spirit, is a problem for Invoker as well.
- Templar Assassin
Refraction helps Templar Assassin win the creep kill war in lane against Invoker, and protects her from a lot of his offensive spells as well. Furthermore, TA players will typically purchase BKB, which gives them full protection against anything Invoker can throw at them.
- Juggernaut and Lifestealer
Both of these heroes receive honorable mentions for having built-in magic immunity—both of which are cast instantly at the press of a button.
All of these make it abundantly clear that Invoker is not a hero to be trifled with—both by opponents and by the player picking him up in the first place. He is hard to learn and hard to master in almost equal measure, and quite frankly, it will take many long hours to accomplish both.
But if you have the guts and patience to learn the Arsenal Magus and his spellbinding ways, you will be rewarded handsomely. You will be the envy of your peers as well, especially when you hit those flashy combos or Amer “Miracle-” Al-Barkawi level Sun Strikes. And trust us: the feeling of satisfaction is worth all the effort.