|Shuttle and loom, I weave your doom|
Yet one game I was forced to use him in an offlane thinking that he has a decent invisibility spell and all I was asked to do that game was survive and yet after dominating the lane I started to see just how powerful Weaver can be if used properly.
Still Weaver isn't exactly for everyone so you should pick him if you
+ Like being aggressive and chasing heroes
+ Can last hit very effectively
+ Are good in chaotic team fights
+ Have good map awareness
+ Like taking calculated risks
You shouldn't pick Weaver if
- You aren't good at playing carries
- You have a "better safe than sorry" attitude
- Can't tell if an area is warded or the enemy has true sight
- Too timid to make dives or big plays.
Weaver ( as of patch 6.81 which this guide is based on) thrives on being barely alive and kiting the enemy with his huge mobility and forcing them to run around in circles after him, he is amazing in fights where you can Shukuchi everyone, come out and do a couple of hits then repeat the cycle all over again. He can't stand toe to toe with Phantom Assassin but he can keep her at a distance while dishing out damage till she's low enough to be killed. It takes quite some time and effort to master Weaver but hopefully this guide will give you some advice on how to play him.
Picking a lane.
The safe lane (bottom for Radiant and top for Dire) works well for a Weaver who wishes to carry, so long as you have access to the side shop you can get most of your early game items from there and you have a lot of space to move about it. The only issue is that I think if you're going to use a carry then there are better options than Weaver who can handle himself alone and doesn't need any babysitters.
Carry Weaver is fine but personally the best lane for Weaver will always be the offlane since you will have a lot of room to move around, you don't need anyone to support you (although that would be nice) and getting fast levels on Weaver is extremely important since a maxed out Shukuchi is lethal while a carry Weaver has to share his Exp with two supports and takes time to level up.
Before that Weaver could summon 8 invisible Shades that were used to scout an area, they were also nice for the vision they provided but completely useless late game.
The current Swarm is pretty amazing, it provides an armor reducing damage over time spell to all enemies it manages to latch on to, it triggers every 1.35 seconds and since the bugs deal physical damage they become stronger as they reduce the enemy armor. Another huge advantage is their ability to provide vision of whoever they latch on and this allows Weaver to chase very efficiently.
If the enemy decides to get rid of the bugs they must attack them with 4 hero hits or 8 creep/tower attacks, so you can throw the bugs and tower dive easily since it will take the towers a long time to focus on you, plus enemies have to choose between running away from you (impossible with Shukuchi ) and taking more damage from the bugs or trying to destroy the bugs while you attack them, a very fun win-win situation for you.
Bugs provide around 30 gold if they are destroyed so don't use them unless you have a goal, just throwing them out and giving free gold to the enemy is a big waste.
Weaver's best and most versatile skill, providing zero collision, maximum movement speed, invisibility and 150 magic damage to whoever you touch, that's quite a lot of benefits for only 6 seconds of cooldown and 60 manacost.
Shukuchi really makes Weaver what he is, unlike other carries who can provide very little in early teamfights Shukuchi allows Weaver to move in and out of the battle, damaging all the enemy heroes without putting himself at risk, and the 150 magic damage adds up when you're doing it every 6 seconds. Not only that but you move at max movement speed and cannot be slowed by anything, so if you're hit by Venomancer's ultimate or something like that just Shukuchi and you can run away fine.
Early game it can be used to harass the lane and secure last hits, especially when you're facing a strong tri lane. Weaver has quite low base damage early on so using Shukuchi guarantees him some gold so long as you don't charge headlong into an enemy's sentry ward.
It's an insane escape mechanism, probably one of the best if not the best outright, with Shukuchi you can split push late game and get away with it easily.
Weaver's steroid spell is quite lack luster when compared to other heroes, every 2.5 seconds you deal double damage and that's it really. GA is interesting because even though you attack enemies twice, you won't be dealing double effects (Manaburn, Criticals) you instead proc your effects on the first attack only and the second one won't trigger anything.
You should also remember that there is some travel time between the first and second attack,Weaver sends out one hit and when it lands he sends out the second attack, this "delay" between attacks can sometimes cause enemies to escape due to long travel time between Weaver and his target, so be sure to be as close as possible to the enemy when this procs.
Weaver's ultimate seems quite underwhelming at first, you go back in time 5 seconds keeping all the gold and exp you have without any change to your cooldown and that's all. Not much is it?
Well it kind of is actually, firstly by going back 5 seconds you can cover quite a big distance, Shukuchi has a 4 second duration so if you Shukuchi and run in a direction, then you Time Lapse you'll be going back a pretty far distance, and this is incredible during split pushing since it allows you to push really far ahead of your creeps and when the enemy shows up you simply Time Lapse away to safety, not as amazing as split pushing with Furion but very effective nonetheless.
Combat wise this is quite impressive as well, sure you're not doing some big AOE ultimate that stuns and does damage (Magnus, Tidehunter) but what you are able to do is waste a lot of the enemy spells, if they focus on Weaver and can't burst him down then Weaver can just Time Lapse and recover all his life while the enemy sits around with all their spells on cooldown. No other hero apart from Skeleton King has this sort of ability to make the enemy forced to focus all their attention on bringing you down while at the same time worrying that if they don't do it fast enough you'll just Time Lapse or Reincarnate and devastate them.
* One point in Geminate Attack at level 2 since you won't be spamming Swarm early on and it allows you to harass the enemy easily every time the it is off cooldown.
* Not many people take Swarm at 4 and max it at 10 but they should, more Swarm levels give you a lot more damage and duration as well as reducing the cooldown of the spell by 3 seconds per level. The increase to duration is most significant as it lowers the enemy armor more and provides you with vision for a longer time. Think about it would you rather have 20 seconds of swarm in a team fight or just 8?
* Geminate should be maxed out by 14 when your physical damage is starting to become quite dangerous and you are on your way to your first damage item.
* Lastly and this really doesn't even need to be mentioned, take your ultimate whenever you can, the mana cost is huge at level 1 and the cooldown is also quite annoying. Upgrading it especially at level 11 is incredibly important, going from 150 to 75 mana cost only will save your life many times in the future.
Core item build
These are the core items that you should get early game, you could consider others but I find that these 3 offer the best combination of regen, stats and damage.
Magic Wand: Such an incredible item on every hero really, a huge burst heal of 225 as well as some decent stats for pretty much no gold cost at all. Some people might consider just leaving it at Stick and not upgrading since you will sell it eventually but I think spending an extra 300 gold for the upgrade is well worth it
Power Treads: The choice of boots is a hard one for Weaver since both Power Treads and Phase Boots are superb for him, Phase offers you 24 damage which is really good when you remember that Geminate doubles all the damage you have, so you can do an extra 48 damage thanks to Phase while PT at most offers you 16 ( 8 from agility) which is only 1/3 of Phase. Still PT is far more flexible since it can offer you a decent amount of life and don't forget that attack speed adds quite a bit of DPS. All in all both boots are very viable but I see PT's as being slightly better.
Ring of Aquila: A very decent amount of stats and rushing an early Ring of Basilus is very easy as well as providing mana regen for the early game, you might choose to not upgrade all the way to Aquilla but it's a small step from RoB to Aquilla and it's almost always worth it.
After completing your core you should aim for these items, it's unlikely you'll be able to buy all of them every game but getting 2-3 should be quite possible if you're farming well.
Linkens: this should be the first big item you aim for after your core 3, it provides insane regen which allows you to spam all your spells throughout the game and the extra stats are all very useful for Weaver who has quite pathetic stat gain. The magic block means that enemies can't just pop out of Invisibility and silence/stun you since they will have to go through Linkens first and that gives you a good amount of protection which thanks to 6.79 you can even use on allies to save if they are the ones who are getting focused on.
Desolator: When it comes to damage items there are a lot of possibilities for Weaver yet I think the best one to rush after Linkens is always Desolator as it's quite cheap for only 4100 gold, provides good amounts of damage and reduces the armor of anything you attack by 7. The armor reduction works great with your swam which not only amplifies Weaver's damage but his allies as well. Lastly Desolator is your best item choice for split pushing and can help bring down buildings really fast.
Butterfly: After Desolator the choice of next item becomes a bit tricky, you can either go for Butterfly or Heart and most of the time I'll aim for Butterfly first since it provides both damage and survivability for Weaver, it's not too useful though if enemies are using magic damage but by the time you start building Butterfly magic will become a much smaller threat and physical DPS should be what you try to avoid. Skip this though if you see that they have a Monkey king bar though and just get a Heart.
Heart of Terrasque: Nothing provides as much raw survival as Heart does (1060 extra HP is just crazy) and after getting your damage items it's often times best to get as tanky as possible since the longer you live the more damage you will do and the easier it is to Time Lapse if you get in trouble. A Weaver with 1500 HP might be brought down with one hex but a Weaver with 2560 will have a much better chance of surviving and getting out of there. The regen is also incredible since Weaver can dodge damage easily and that means it should be working even in team fights.
While I believe the above items are perfect for pretty much all the games you'll play there are other items you can consider that might fit your play style more.
Poor Man's shield: Quite a cheap item and one that is somewhat decent against physical harassment early in the game but gets quickly outclassed as it doesn't really block enough damage (just 10 is barely anything) provides no regen and the 6 agility isn't much to write about. Completely useless against any type of magic damage which is the biggest threat early in the game.
Urn of Shadows: Not really an item you expect on carry heroes but it does work decently on Weaver as you'll be involved in a lot of kills with him which will allow you to use Urn to either heal yourself or to help you chase the enemy. The bonus mana regen is quite good though not really enough to satisfy Weaver's needs if this is the only Mana regen item you will get and lastly 6 strength is decent early on.
Drums of Endurance: Not really an item I like to have on Weaver personally although I do see other people building Drums, they provide a good amount of stats but at almost the same cost as an Ultimate Orb and the speed bonuses are somewhat useless, 5% movement speed is nice for supports but not if you have Shukuchi and honestly what's 5 more attack speed going to do?
Medallion of Courage: Quite a decent item on Weaver thanks to it's active skill which reduces enemy armor by 6, this along with Swarm makes every attack seem like a mini-nuke early game. Good Mana regen as well but for some reason I am not much of a fan of items with active skills on Weaver.
Black King Bar: For anyone who doesn't like Linkens then you should go for BKB which provides decent magic immunity which gets weaker with every usage, personally I rarely get BKB on weaver myself but I do see that it has it's uses, I just prefer the extra regeneration and magic block from Linkens which can sometimes be more useful than BKB especially later on when it only provides 4 seconds of magic immunity.
Monkey King Bar: An Alternative to Desolator, it does provide more raw damage and the chance to cancel channeling spells is always useful, however it's more expensive than Desolator (5400 to Deso's 4100) and unlike Deso it doesn't increase your allies damage nor bring down towers faster. All in all I always prefer Desolator except in very rare situations against multiple evasion heroes such as Phantom Assassin and Brewmaster.
Radiance: Not as prominent as it used to be for Weaver back in the old days, the AOE burn is nice and works well with Shukuchi but it is so difficult to farm early one and requires a huge investment to get which can be hugely delayed by one or two ganks. It's a very powerful item but when do you get it exactly? before anything else would make you way too squishy to survive anything and after 20 minutes it doesn't quite have the punch it needs to be very useful.
Manta Style: Another Item I don't recommend on Weaver yet I should discuss since I've seen some people get it on him, firstly while the Manta split is good for removing debuffs like silences other than that it doesn't provide you with anything useful, the images are weak as Weaver has sucky stat gain and they are often left behind since you will want to use Shukuchi and move around a lot in a team fight and slow weak images aren't going to be useful at all. You'll do far more damage with a MKB or a Desolator in your inventory than Manta.
Tips and Tricks
1- Even in level 1 you can use Shukuchi to farm creeps easily, it does 90 magic damage and other heroes won't be able to deny you, plus the invisibility means they can't target you when you dive in for some gold. Just be careful about sentry wards and you should be able to farm in any lane.
2- Weaver is an excellent split pusher due to his high mobility and escape mechanisms, you should exploit this late game by using a Desolator to push even faster.
3- Time Lapse sends Weaver where he was 5 seconds ago, regardless of distance which means you can use Time Lapse quite creatively in some situations, such as teleporting to the base to pick up your items then using Time Lapse to return to the lane you were farming in. Or using Time Lapse the moment you return to life and it will allow you to go back to the spot you died, this is useful if you're caught out and your team still wants to fight as you can then buyback and use time lapse to help them.
4- Dusts and other forms of detection spells like Track and Amplify damage can be very annoying to deal with but using Time Lapse just as you're hit by them allows you to remove all debuffs, so next time you're Dusted just Time Lapse and use Shukuchi to run out, this either forces enemies to bring a gem to kill you or two Dust carriers.
5- Swarm reduces more armor as time goes on, so the longer you wait in-between attacks the more damage you deal, this is useful in fights where you really don't want to reveal yourself or chases where every attack matters, Shukuchi as close to the target as possible, hit them when Shukuchi wears off then use it again as soon as you can to keep chasing.
6- Because Time Lapse returns you to your state 5 seconds ago it's often times best to conserve your Magic Wand charges till after you use Time Lapse. If you use your wand then TL you won't have any charges in it.
7- Similar to what I just said, don't use Time Lapse in the middle of your Shukuchi as you'll lose the invisibility and you won't be able to use Shukuchi again for a few seconds. Best method is to always use Time Lapse first then go invisible.
Abaddon is such an amazing partner to have for Weaver thanks to Aphotic shield, it allows you to dive past towers early game without worrying about dying and if it pops then it's just more damage to the enemy. Aphotic shield also removes debuffs like Track so you won't have to waste your Time Lapse to get rid of it, good heal also and unlike other supports Abbadon can focus on his attention on keeping Weaver alive due to Burrowed time.
Dazzle is another excellent support for Weaver due to having a really good slow that deals physical damage which scales well with Weaver who can reduce the enemy armor. Infact all of Dazzle's damage is physical so Swarm is incredible for him and he in return provides a spammable heal as well as making Weaver practically unkillable thanks to Shallow Grave and lastly Swarm and Weave are a perfect combination.
Vengeful Spirit is a very offensive option to have with Weaver in a lane but she also works very well since she has a damaging stun early game to deal damage, more armor reduction that works with Swarm and her aura is very useful for Weaver since Geminate attack means the bonus is doubled for you and lastly Swap can get you out of sticky situations when you need it.
Weaver's biggest enemies are those who have long lasting silences as you really need to be able to use your mobility to move around in a fight, if you're standing still unable to do anything but normal attacks you'll fall down fast.
Silencer is probably the strongest counter to Weaver in my mind as everyone of his spells is very annoying to deal with, Curse of the silent forces you to either spend your mana or lose it along with some life and early game you simply can't afford to spam your spells since you just don't have the regeneration to support it, forcing Weaver to play very passively. Last word is a either a 6 second silence or a 6 second silence AND disable which are both lovely options and if you die near Silencer you'll have less mana to play with later. Lastly Global Silence means Silencer is a threat no matter where he is on the map so good luck dealing with that. Best solution is to get a BKB against him and pray the player who is using him sucks.
Skywrath Mage is another annoying dude with a long duration silence, he also has a lot of burst magic that can make Weaver's life a living hell thanks to all that burst damage. BKB nullifies all his damage though so you should aim for it if you ever face this guy.
Puck is another strong counter to Weaver since he has a lot of burst damage as well as a silence that keeps Weaver locked down, thankfully though Puck himself is very fragile if caught out and BKB nullifies all his damage.
Doom counters the world and Weaver is no exception, get a Linkens to block his Doom and hopefully you'll be able to survive.
Valve for making this awesome game, Dota 2 has come a long way thanks to these guys
My brother for encouraging me to finish this guide and giving me a title to go with it.
Big green pepper for the amazing art at the start of this page.Yoshitsune-sama for recommending Medallion on Weaver, an item I completely forgot.
Steelvan for reading and giving me advice.