Friday, July 5, 2013

Let's Play (Part 5) Vengeful Spirit


Every week or two I generally try to play a new hero to discover what it’s like playing it, and in this series of blogs I will make a post on my experiences with it.

Vengeful Spirit card art (Steam)

Vengeful Spirit (Shendelzare)

Shendelzare, the Vengeful Spirit, is based off the Spirits of Vengeance, spectral beings summoned into existence by the Warden (Maiev Shadowsong) in Warcraft 3.

In DOTA2, the Vengeful Spirit is the quintessential support hero, able to boost the physical damage output of her team's carries and manipulate the position of friendly and enemy heroes with her swap ability, recklessly putting herself in the line of danger for the good of the team.

The Vengeful Spirit has recently received substantial buffs to her base stats and stats gain, giving her respectable HP and damage even without items. She currently has a very good win rate (8th out of 111 heroes) yet isn't picked very often. She is easy for new players to play, having a simple skill set, but veterans who take the time to master her will be rewarded with a hero with surprising depth that can dramatically influence the course of the game.


Her ultimate, Swap - allows her to swap positions with another hero at great range. It is one of the strongest initiation skills for isolating and killing an enemy carry or initiator.

Her high stat gain and low farm dependance make her a good aggressive support hero, with the ability to contribute substantial DPS throughout the game.


Poor attack range limits her ability to harass and fight effectively.

Low defensive abilities - her single target stun is short ranged and low duration, leaving her less able to protect herself and others. This impacts her throughout the game, from the laning phase to the team fights later on - it's no point boosting the physical damage of your team if they're getting chain disabled and you can't really stop that from happening.

Wave of Terror vs Vengeance Aura

Wave of Terror contributes more damage, and the debuff will stick on the enemy even if you die. Vengeance Aura is simpler to use as it requires no casting and doesn't cost mana.

Some maths to consider.

Wave of Terror physical damage increase (-5 armor) in the following scenarios

Early game (5 armor typical) = 30% increase
Mid game (12 armor typical) = 21% increase
Late game (20 armor typical) = 16% increase

At first glance, the numbers of Vengeance Aura seem superior (36%) at all points in the game. However, if we take into account the 90 pure damage dealt to the target and the fact that Vengeance Aura only affects base damage, Wave of Terror pulls ahead. Say at mid game the Vengeful Spirit is at level 9 (remember she might be position 5 so she's behind in levels) and she's got a choice of maxing either Wave of Terror or Vengeance Aura.

A level 16 Sniper on her team without items has 84 damage. Assuming he uses Str Treads for survivability, Shadow Blade and Daedalus increase his damage damage by 103 - taking into account his Headshot passive increases his average damage by 36. The Sniper's total average damage before criticals is 223 - this whole amount gets affected by the minus armor effect of Wave of Terror (21% increase of 223 is effective damage increase of 47), while only the base 84 damage gets boosted by the Vengeance Aura (36% increase of 84 is only 30)

Not only does Wave of Terror increase the DPS of your team by a larger amount it also does 90 pure damage upfront. It also gives vision of the entire area it affects (1400 range) making it useful for scouting, stopping jukes, and checking uphill spots.


Not much to say about this, except that it will get your team a lot of long range pick-off ganks in the mid-game, and hopefully by late-game when you start using it in team-fights you'll have a Force Staff to give yourself that added survivability - you want to stay alive to contribute with your spells and aura.

This skill is only as good as your creativity and map awareness - being aware of where enemies and allies, and knowing when it is safe to initiate with this, and how to save allies from death.


Shendelzare has great synergy with physical DPS oriented teams. If your team is primarily composed of magic damage dealers, you will find that two of your skills are of limited use.


None, really - you don't really counter-pick a support, you counter-pick the team Shendelzare is supporting. Physical damage oriented teams tend to be built around fragile late game carries (Shadow Fiend, Gyrocopter, Luna, Drow), so a gank oriented lineup can keep them suppressed and hopefully end the game before it gets late.

Item build

There's really only two items which stand out for me - Medallion of Courage, because she needs some mana regen, she's naturally tanky so she wants to capitalize on that with some armor, and most importantly, that -6 armor debuff it can put on synergizes really well with her Wave of Terror - because of how armor mechanics work, stacking armor debuffs makes them even stronger. Getting this item early will put some enemies into a negative armor situation.

Force Staff is just overall great for mobility - for getting up front into the fight to use her relatively short ranged stun or swap, or for escaping out of the enemy team after swapping their carry out into your team. This will also take care of your hp regeneration needs as a support. Force Staff can also be used to trap enemy melee carries on cliffs - during a fight, just use Force on yourself to mount a cliff, then use Swap on the enemy melee carry.

As the Vengeful Spirit is both item independant yet has good stat gain, her pool of possible item is much wider than most heroes. She basically builds whatever the team needs - if necessary, she can build more support items like a Mekansm and Arcane boots, or if that angle is covered by some other hero, she can build more DPS oriented items like Power Treads and a Desolator (for maximum damage) or Sange and Yasha (to further secure mid-game dominance in her roaming role).