Today’s Support group is about our favorite floating ball of light, the hero formally known as wisp, the one, the only Io. Especially with the little… guy… about to win the next Arcana (hooray supports!) I think now is the perfect time to introduce you to another character in our Support Group. In support group we aren’t here to tell you how to play or the best build, we just want to get you interested in new characters and talk about how to support your team with them.
I want to lead out this by saying, don’t try to run a pug match as Io. I mean… you can, but he needs to be on a coordinated team to be most effective. It is absolutely possible, but in a normal pug game you will have a rough time trying to make use of Io. I’ll get into why in a bit, but don’t say I didn’t warn you.
Io, or wisp for you dota hipsters, is interestingly a strength hero, and once you learn more about him it will make sense, but for the time being.
Tether: Io latches on to an ally granting them both additional movement speed. For every 1 point of health or mana Io gains, the target gains 1.5. Any enemies that cross the tether line are slowed for up to 2.25 seconds. The tether lasts twelve seconds, and can be canceled manually or if the units get too far apart. This ability is actually the easiest of Io’s kit to talk about, but it’s still pretty tough to get just right. So our little ball of light grabs hold of an ally, and they both get to run around a little quicker. But what is most important is that if Io heals himself, his ally gets healed for even more! A simple tango can dump health on to a tank, some guardian greaves can save a fight, and just a few strength items can get most allies healed up to max health in no time. The movement speed slow on an enemy is a nice bonus, and can be used very effectively during ganks, but the main use of this is for the stats, and regen… oh and its used in his other abilities.
Spirits: Five happy little particles dance around in a circle with Io in the middle. If any spirit collides with an enemy hero it explodes, dealing damage in a small area. Creeps take a small amount of damage from the spirits, but don’t cause them to explode, however after 19 seconds the spirits will explode if they haven’t already. Io can control the radius of the spirits with another set of abilities that are only active after this is activated. This ability is actually really good for a few reasons, first the damage it can do to a creep wave is decent if you are just trying to get a wave ready for your core to clear. Second, if you are helping clear waves or jungle camps the spirits are a great early detection for enemies, giving you and your ally a good amount of “safe” room before to respond to ganks. Last, they can help when you are chasing down an enemy, to provide a good way of dealing damage hopefully preventing a blink away.
Overcharge: Io toggles on an ability that drains its health and mana for 4.5% per second, gaining a bonus of attack speed, as well as damage reduction. If Io is tethered to an ally, the ally gains the bonuses without paying the health or mana. As any Armlet Huskar player can tell you, managing a toggle ability during a fight can be rough, forgetting to activate it can leave you at a disadvantage, but forgetting to turn it off is even more of a problem since it will leave you without health or mana anyway! The key is to use it at the right times, and the best way to learn when the right time to use it is to practice! I wish there was a better way to learn or an equation that would find X, but you need to feel it!
Relocate: Io and any ally who is currently tethered relocate to any location on the map; after twelve seconds the spell expires and Io, allong with any tethered to him return back to the original location. This is the cornerstone of his kit, and one of the most powerful spells in Dota 2. This ability can set up ganks, save allies, and change the tempo of a fight. It’s hard to express just how powerful this ability is, but let me show you a video of it being used flawlessly!
Using relocate saved his ally from a gank, then using the scroll he was able to save himself right afterward. This is why you need to be in constant contact with your team to best use Io. Relocating around the map is worthless if your ally doesn’t know you are moving them, and since half of its use is for ganking you need to have everyone prepared!
Just a wisp on the wind
The hardest part about Io is… everything! The character requires lots of communication, proper itemization, and lots of practice to be played at even a fraction of his usefulness. Despite being a strength hero Io is easy to burst down, and since relocate always brings you back to the original location even saving an ally can land you in the hotseat for an easy kill. Playing Io means you aren’t playing for yourself, you are playing for your team, and that can be the hardest part of all for some players. I really love that this character is up for winning an Arcana, and can’t wait to see what the artists do with him (seriously hes a ball of light, what can you do to spruce that up?) but I have a feeling that a lot of players will jump into a game as him and have no idea what they signed up for. Most Pug players expect to play as Micheal Jordan, and Io is a Scottie Pippen. He’s incredible, but he’s not the superstar of the team. If you are alright with that, give him a shot, and let me know what you think!