Image by Crowntail
Over the last couple of months, Weaver was getting progressively more popular and successful, especially in the higher level brackets. However, this is not the only reason we want to discuss the hero today: Weaver is also one of the invisibility heroes in the game who might not be a bad fit for a beginner player. Today, we would like to look at why Weaver works well in higher-level games while also discussing how he can be a good hero for newcomers.
Over the years, Valve and IceFrog have mastered the secret technique of making heroes look stronger, while not necessarily making them much stronger in reality. In a sense, it is a way to change the meta or increase the popularity of a hero without disturbing the fragile balance. 7.28 for Weaver was exactly that: a seemingly powerful new option that added much higher potential teamfight presence and multi-hero attacks, but without changing how the hero works in most games — a “notice me” buff.
We are not arguing that the Aghanim’s Shard for Weaver is weak. In fact, it is pretty strong, no matter how you look at it: the reduced cooldown on the Swarm, coupled with the ability to latch onto invisible enemies and provide extra DPS is a good upgrade. Most of the time, though, the game doesn’t get to or doesn’t develop into the kind of game where it is mandatory.
Instead, what made players realize Weaver was a great hero were the new items. Falcon Blade is definitely the big one: we predicted the item to be a lot more ubiquitous than it is and we were wrong. Still, a stat-agnostic Ring of Aquila substitute finally found its niche on mana-hungry Agility cores who really don’t mind being able to spam abilities to farm, while having some extra HP to survive ganks.
The second big one is Gleipnir: an item which at first glance doesn’t make much sense on Weaver, compared to Mjollnir, but one that is undeniably much better in terms of raw stats it provides. In fact, even the active component can be very important when playing against mobile and elusive heroes.
Weaver has a strong power spike in midgame where he can kill most heroes, as long as he can keep up; and he can keep up with pretty much any hero without strong mobility abilities. Gleipnir solves this problem as well while paying for itself in terms of mana: it costs a lot to use (200 mana), but it gives 20 Intelligence, so as long as Weaver has decent mana regen, he should be able to use it. It so happens, Falcon Blade is exactly that.
In one of our previous posts, we touched on the idea of Invisibility heroes being a bad fit for newcomers and we stand by it. That said, it is still a Dota mechanic and some interaction with it is necessary, for holistic learning of the game. We believe Weaver to be a good fit for getting acquainted with it.
Weaver’s invisibility is considerably more aggressive, compared to other invisibility heroes: to fully utilize it, a player is incentivized to get close and personal to an enemy. As such, in its default state, it is already showcasing to the player that invisibility is not only an escape tool but is also an initiation tool as well. In fact, in higher-level brackets, this is the primary use for Invisibility, along with undetected rotations.
Moreover, the same ability is also Weaver’s escape tool, but it works by also providing Weaver with extra mobility. We are not certain the mobility aspect is going to firmly register as the primary factor in escape, but we hope so. Invisibility can work as an escape: even the best players sometimes run out of detection and sometimes the hero with detection is the first one to die, but it becomes less and less reliable, as the level of opponents increases.
Finally, we got to how Weaver is actually played right now and it is pretty peculiar. No one is playing him as a glass cannon anymore. Previously, players tried to leverage his innate mobility and Time Lapse to survive, building tons of damage and fully utilizing the burst of Geminate Attack. Nowadays, it seems, the playstyle is different.
The Falcon Blade gives Weaver HP. Rod of Atos, a Gleipnir Component, gives Weaver HP. Power Treads potentially give Weaver HP, as do other popular items, such as S&Y and Eye of Skadi. The hero also typically gets +11 Strength at level 15, which, once again, gives the hero HP. Weaver might not be the tankiest of Agility heroes in terms of stat growth, but it doesn’t prevent players from building him as an elusive tank.
While this build severely limits the hero’s damage output and burst potential, it increases his survivability by a lot. It is hard to connect onto Weaver: he is fast and invisible after all. Even if you do, unless you burst him outright, he is going to Time Lapse back. Catching Weaver twice and dealing enough damage twice, while you are slowly losing armor to the Swarm and getting entertained by the rest of the enemy team as well can be very, very problematic.
Moreover, it’s not like Weaver can’t kill enemy supports without DPS items. It is going to take longer, but Weaver has decent Agility growth, negative armor effects and Double Damage every three seconds. Even without going full glass cannon, the hero can’t be ignored. He will be annoying and he will be a threat. With an elusive tank build, your job is to survive and poke the enemy: the damage will eventually add up.
Weaver is one of the most unique heroes in the game right now. An invisibility hero who isn’t actually an invisibility hero. A mobile hero without actual mobility spells, just haste effects. A DPS carry, who doesn’t go typical DPS items and instead focuses on survivability. An overall pretty annoying hero, who really fits into the current meta and can work in and against most lineups.
What do you think of Weaver? Do you agree he can be a good fit for newcomers, or do you think he is better left for veteran players? Share your thoughts in the comment section below.