Wraith Pact is a mid to late-game item which received multiple buffs recently. The cost was reduced to 4000 gold, thanks to the recipe cost reduction to Vladimir’s Offering. The aura’s radius was buffed along with its mana regen and lifesteal. Boasting an impressive 67% win rate in pubs for being so cheap, other items that have similar win rates are Heart of Tarrasque, Eye of Skadi, and Octarine Core, all of which cost significantly more gold. As if ignoring the item’s success in pubs, it's been almost unseen in pro matches. Is this because the item is bad? Or have players not had enough time to learn about the utility of the item? I’d argue it's a mix of both.
Wraith Pact should be bought on support heroes because none of the components are beneficial for core heroes. Offlane heroes trying to stack auras could buy the item to upgrade an already purchased Vladimir’s Offering; however, modern offlaners don’t buy Vladimir’s Offering often. Instead, offlane heroes try to scale into being a 3rd core hero with items that help their own games, e.g. Black King Bar, Refresher Orb, etc.
Since 7.31, Pugna’s Nether Ward reduces enemy magic damage in its AOE. This in conjunction with the buff to Decrepify, has turned the hero into a menace. Pugna was heavily contested across all DPC regions as a position 5 and remains a high-priority pick/ban in games.
Wraith Pact pairs nicely with Pugna due to the extra damage reduction from the Totem’s aura. Additionally, support Pugna does not have a lot of mandatory items which gives you the freedom to slot a Wraith Pact into your build.
Visage is another strong contender to use the item with success. Visage naturally buys Vladimir’s Offering, but upgrading into a Helm of the Overlord isn’t appealing since the creep doesn’t have free pathing like familiars.
Visage has plenty of damage reduction for himself thanks to Gravekeeper’s Cloak. Piling the damage reduction aura of the Wraith Pact totem makes the gargoyle practically unkillable.
Here's a match where Tundra.33 rushes the item on Visage to great success.
Now that I’ve laid out some potential buyers of the item, when should you buy a Wraith Pact?
This item is strong if your enemies don't have Black King Bars or if their Black King Bars are at a short duration. Unfortunately, enemies are not affected by Totem’s damage reduction aura if they are magic immune. This is probably a good thing otherwise this item would be really overpowered! If you’re the kind of person to lament the lack of BKBs in your pubs, Wraith Pact is the item for you!!
The item gets vastly better if your opponents’ heroes can’t shoot multiple attacks quickly to kill the totem. The totem is pretty hard to kill (requires 5 attacks from heroes to kill), especially if there’s a lot going on in chaotic team fights. However, certain heroes can very easily break the totem thanks to their abilities. Wraith Pact’s sworn foes include: Snapfire’s Little Shredder instantly killing the Wraith Pact, Lina’s Fiery Soul combined with her long attack range makes it easy for her to target the totem, and Wisp’s overcharge which gives themself and another team member a significant amount of attack speed to delete the totem.
Wraith Pact can be devastating against a few heroes: Void Spirit, Death Prophet, and Hoodwink. Void Spirit gets disrupted by Wraith Pact as the hero is very reliant on its burst damage in team fights with no way to destroy the Totem. Hoodwink depends on their burst damage, despite the hero’s high range, they prefer to play outside of vision and in the trees. Trying to attack the totem forces Hoodwink into the open, leaving her easy to gank.. Death Prophet severely struggles against Wraith Pact because of a weird (maybe unintended) interaction with Exorcism. The spirits from exorcism can target the Wraith Pact totem, however, they don’t damage the totem wasting the attack. Furthermore, Death Prophets build BKB early on, which leads to shorter BKB durations early in the game. Death Prophet does lots of damage which can be mitigated through damage reduction.
This item is situational but under-purchased. At the end of the day, Wraith Pact’s greatest weakness is that in many situations there are better uses for 4000 gold. However, percentage damage reduction of all types is rare and should not be underestimated.
Hopefully, now that teams have gotten time to adjust to the changes that were brought in 7.31c we’ll start to see more Wraith Pacts during the Stockholm Major.