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Dota 2 - Pro Tips For Playing Wisp/Io

Updated on March 14, 2014

1. Tether to an ally whenever possible

With only 40mp cost, tether grants your ally 1.5x the amount of HP/MP Io is regenerating, not to mentioned the extra 17% movement speed. At level 1 without any item, a full duration tether grants your ally:

  • 12 HP (More survivability on lane)
  • 18 MP (More mp to spam skills for last hit or harassment)
  • ~50 movement speed (A free boots of speed! Mobility to last hit/harass or to chase/escape enemy)
  • Lower chance of getting ganked (Enemy will be more cautious to walk into tether slow)
  • Kill potential (100% slow for enemy who wander too close)

2. Tether positioning

  • Ideally, the tether should be parallel to the creep line. This will prevent enemy melee heroes from coming in for last hits.
  • If enemy come in too close, Io or ally can move forward a bit to get the tether slow and harass them a bit.
  • If Io and ally are dominating the lane, they should go past the creep line.
  • However, if Io is losing the lane or up against heavy nukers, Io should be a bit conservative as he is very squishy

3. Make sure your HP/MP is not full

Your tethered ally regenerates only when Io regenerates. Your tethered ally will not regenerate if Io has full HP/MP. Hence picking a point in overcharge early on is important as it allows Io to lose some hp/mp.

One of the best way to heal your ally when your hp is full is to urn yourself and activate overcharge (an urn last 8 seconds, so ensure you have the appropriate time left on your tether for maximum benefit)

If you are not seeing numbers, you are doing something wrong
If you are not seeing numbers, you are doing something wrong

4. Ask your ally for regen items

With tether everything is worth 2.5 times more:

  • Tango heals 287 HP (172HP on ally and 115HP on Io)
  • Salve heals 1000HP (600HP on ally and 400HP on Io)
  • Clarity recovers 250MP (150MP on ally and 100MP on Io)

It is very hard for enemies to keep up with these insane regen, hence Io and ally should keep on harassing enemies or even trading damage until the enemies are out of regen items. Then Io and ally will easily have lane dominance.

5. Using spirits to zone out enemy

Nobody wants to eat a spirit in their face. So use that to your advantage during laning stage. This can effectively zone enemy heroes out of experience range and give your ally free reign over last hitting

Io's spirit automatically trigger the flee response from players, just like the real spirits!
Io's spirit automatically trigger the flee response from players, just like the real spirits!

6. Using spirits to jungle

Spirits can also be used to jungle, making sure that Io doesn't leech experience from the core. Just activate spirits to the minimum range, stand close to the creeps and the spirits will haunt them to their deaths. Remember that Io can be quite squishy early on to tank creeps, so you might want to wait until almost the end of the spirits to go close to creep just for burst damage.

They didn't stand a chance!
They didn't stand a chance!

Here are some cool tricks about pulling and jungling as a wisp, it is not advisable that you do these in normal games as a wisp main role is to support and buff up your ally. However these tricks could come in handy for special situations.

7. Using spirits to farm/push lanes

At level 4, every time the spirits passes through a creep, it does 26 damage. That will be 130 damage over a period 5 seconds to every creeps, without even taking into account the spirit burst damage. This can effectively clear out creep wave and it is fairly easy for Io to get the last hit with this skill.

It takes Io about 10 seconds to clear a creep wave, even without spirit burst
It takes Io about 10 seconds to clear a creep wave, even without spirit burst

8. Pressing In / Out twice to make your spirits stop at a location

Instead of pressing spirits out (default key "F") and spirits in (default key "D") alternately to make the spirits rotate at a certain radius,you can press spirits out once to increase the radius, then pressing it again to stop it from expanding. This allow the spirits to rotate at any radius besides the minimum and maximum range, very useful when you are chasing enemy.

The spiritsout icon will have a green border when the spirits are expanding. Much like Morphing's Morph.
The spiritsout icon will have a green border when the spirits are expanding. Much like Morphing's Morph.

9. Abuse instant regen in teamfight

Stickcharges, mekanism, bottle, soul ring and arcane boots can be use to provide burst regen for your tethered ally. This can be used to trap your enemy into thinking that they can kill your ally. When they are in too deep, activate those burst regen and turn the tide around. Just make sure Io's HP/MP is low enough to provide those regen.

Soul Ring + Mekanism is a great combo to quickly lose HP on Io in order to provide burst heal for your ally.


Half to full in an instant
Half to full in an instant

10. Time your overcharge

Overcharge doesn't have an activation cost. Activating it right before enemy skills hit will ensure you and your ally take 20% less damage without expending too much.

11. Instant tether to an ally after teleporting from fountain

Right after teleporting or relocating from the fountain, there are a few seconds when you still have fountain regen buff. Instantly tether to an ally grant your ally those extra burst regen. Just remember to activate your overcharge if your hp/mp is full. It is also a good idea to activate your spirits at the fountain for maximum benefit.

12. Soul ring + tranquil boots combo

Soul ring + tranquil boots combo makes Io a mobile fountain at the early stages of the game. Constant 18HP regen and 225MP burst mana for the tethered ally whenever they need it.

Image from Dota 2 Library
Image from Dota 2 Library

13. Exploiting level 2 spirits

From level 2 onwards, spirits have longer duration than cooldown. Activating spirits (default key "W") again when the spirits are active will burst the current spirits and resummon new ones.

Na'Vi Dendi effective usage of relocate and spirit bomb

The faceless ball?

Which direction is Io facing?

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      nick 4 months ago

      ty very nice strategy

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      Unknown 10 months ago

      Thanks for the info

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      Kim 3 years ago

      Amazing tutorial! thx!