Middle Skywrath Mage is probably the most fun hero to play in Dota 2. This hero can easily dominate his lane against pretty much any other midlaner, with very few exceptions. His insane magical damage output and decent basic movement speed allow Skywrath Mage to be very active and kill opponents all around the map.
Cheaters and boosters prefer to play Skywrath Mage to get easy wins, but we assure you, after this guide you will not need cheats to destroy your opponents on this hero!
This hero is very simple to play and very effective at the same time. If you seek for a fun hero you can use to enjoy games and improve your MMR at the same time – Skywrath Mage is a perfect hero to select for this task.
Table of contents
- Starting Items
- Early stage of the game
- Mid stage of the game
- Late stage of the game
- Common mistakes
- Tips & Tricks
Skywrath Mage has a specific item build, which differs from other intelligence midlaners. Your goal is to get yourself the maximum amount of intelligence and use it to apply pressure on your opponent in the lane. Your starting item build should be: x4 Mantle of Intelligence and an Iron Branch. Make sure to ask your supports to pull you at least one Tango.
Having Iron Branch is very important, as this item allows you to use Tango without leaving the lane and also double the healing effect of it.
Early stage of the game
For a midlaner, laning stage starts with a creep block. Good or bad creep block can potentially decide an overall outcome of the laning stage. Do your best to block creeps as efficiently as possible.
If you play for Radiant, you should always try to perform ‘Arteezy block’. To make it, you should go to the small texture shown in the screenshot.
By moving to the top of this texture, you will make creeps walk in one direction, and it will be easier for you to block them.
The first thing you need to do at the beginning of the laning stage is to check the items of your opponent. Use gathered information to your advantage. If the enemy midlaner has a very low amount of healing items, with a little pressure, you will be able to zone him out of the lane.
The laning strategy for Skywrath Mage is very simple. Your goal is not to spend too many resources until you reach level 3 and get two points in Arcane Bolt. By the time you get it, you should also complete your first Null Talisman. Once you reach these conditions, start spamming your opponent heavily and apply as much pressure as possible on him.
Since the enemy midlaner will most often have a very low HP, you will have the upper hand in power runes control. Skywrath Mage can benefit from having absolutely any power rune during the laning stage and also has decent movement speed to take them and return to the lane quickly.
At level 6 do not rush to skill Mystic Flare. This spell requires a lot of mana to use, which you don’t want to do in the early stages of the game. It is more effective to max Arcane Bolt and Concussive Shot. Even 4 4 0 0 build can work quite well in most games.
Your skill build can vary depends on your match-up, just do not skill Mystic Flare too early and make sure to max Arcane Bolt and you will be fine.
Mid stage of the game
In this stage of the game, you will need to use your hero to his full potential. Make effective rotations around the map and gank vulnerable enemy heroes. Try to force fights around enemy Towers, so once you kill one or several enemy heroes, your teammates will be able to take down enemy objectives.
Encourage your teammates to use Smoke of Deceit more often. With good initiation, Skywrath Mage can easily burst down any hero in Dota 2.
Good positioning is essential for Skywrath Mage in fights. This hero can deal a lot of damage but is very vulnerable at the same time. You will always be number 1 priority target to kill in fights, you should always be aware of that.
Your item build can vary depends on your own preferences. Even though Rod of Atos recommended in our guide as your first major item, you might as well go for any other situational item you find useful. Aghanim’s Scepter, Blink Dagger, Yasha and Kaya, Force Stuff, Veil of Discord, Eul’s Scepter of Divinity and even Scythe of Vyse – any of these items can be very good to get as your first item. Just think of which item will be more useful to get in every game you play.
Late stage of the game
The key strength of Skywrath Mage in the late stage of the game is his ability to burst down enemy heroes instantly. To do it effectively try to use Smoke of Deceit effectively at key points of the game.
With each death of enemy hero or heroes, your team will be able to secure very important objectives, such as Roshan or Barracks, which can lead to an easy victory.
Aeon Disc can be a key item to get on Skywrath Mage in the late stage of the game, as it will protect you from attempts to kill you first in team fights.
1) Spending all mana at the beginning of the laning stage. Do not waste your resources until you reach level 3 and get two points in Arcane Bolt. Until that point, you should use your spells exclusively to ensure last-hits of ranged creeps.
2) Keeping a bad positioning in fights. You should never run in front of your teammates or allow enemy heroes to walk on you easily. Skywrath Mage has a very little amount of armor and health. Try to position yourself behind your teammates in fights and use them as a shield to protect yourself.
3) Not controlling power runes. Skywrath Mage can benefit a lot from having the most power runes. Apply maximum pressure on your opponent before power rune spawns to be able to take them easily.
4) Not moving around the map in the mid-stage of the game. Skywrath Mage is a hero who needs to have an advantage over his opponents to have an easy game. Make sure to make effective rotations and apply pressure on enemy heroes all around the map.
Tips & Tricks
1) Improve your skill through watching streams, videos or replays of professional players, who pick this hero.
2) Black King Bar can be very useful if you play against either Nyx Assassin or Pugna.
3) If your opponents try to counter you with the help of Blade Mail, you can easily dodge returned damage with the help of Eul’s Scepter of Divinity.
Skywrath Mage is basically a space creator, who barely takes any farm from the jungle and has insane killing potential. His downsides are very low amount of HP and armor and inability to push towers. This hero can benefit a lot from having allies, who can provide disables.
Based on this, carries with good late-game potential and ability to clear jungle very fast are very effective in combination with Sky. Naga Siren, Anti-Mage and Terrorblade are likely the best options.
Any offlaner, who can frontline can be quite good. Beastmaster and Centaur Warrunner are the best options, as they can also provide some push potential and disable.
Shadow Shaman and Nature’s Prophet are excellent options as supports, as they can provide tower damage and assist you in killing enemy heroes.
The most annoying heroes to play against as Skywrath Mage are Pugna and Nyx Assassin, as they can hurt you a lot with the help of Nether Ward and Mana Burn. Very often, you will be forced to buy Black King Bar to counter them.
Broodmother is probably the only hero Skywrath Mage can’t lane against in the middle lane. Very low armor makes Sky very vulnerable to spiderlings and he also doesn’t have an ability to defend a tower from them.
Centaur Warrunner can be quite annoying, as he gives his team an ability to jump on you in fights with the help of Stampede.
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