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Nevermore the Shadowfiend Guide by NXM.NunnoX

Monday, September 22nd, 2008

This guide was created by NXM.NunnoX. Good job!

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I have decided to write a guide for the Nevermore, the Shadowfiend because he is one of my favorite heroes in DotA Allstars, and in my opinion, very hard to play. His primary nuke can be devastating, his Necromastery can destroy last hit depending heroes and his ultimate also can be devastating. Now that sounds a little bit to imbalanced, but it isnt. Shadowraze definitely requires some skill(although not as much as most think), Necromastery requires some serious last hit skills and his ultimate is only useful if timed correctly and if you are able to use it. His ultimate needs an item. Let it be Lothar’s Edge or Black King Bar.

The Shadowfiend should be played as a carry hero, so farming and staying alive are very important for him.

Skill Build

Level 1. Necromastery
Level 2 and 3. Shadowraze
Level 4. Necromastery
Level 5. Shadowraze
Level 6. Necromastery
Level 7. Shadowraze
Level 8. Necromastery
Level 9. Presence of the Dark Lord
Level 10 and 11. Requiem of Souls
Level 12 – 14. Presence of the Dark Lord
Level 15. Stats
Level 16. Requiem of Souls
Level 17 – 25. Stats

Additional notes

Getting Necromastery at level 1 is a must, but you can switch the order of Necromastery and Shadowraze thereafter. It depends on your lane control. If you aren’t able to get any creeps, level Shadowraze as soon as possible. If you just have too few damage to do anything against your enemy, level Shadowraze. If your opponent isn’t in your lane quite a while (example: when you solo Beastmaster, he ganks a lot) level Necromastery.
You can get Requiem of Souls at level 9, and Presence of the Dark Lord at 10, it doesn’t matter at all.


This build is the cookie cutter build, the build that always should be used. Shadowraze is your primary weapon of achieving lane control, but don’t underestimate Necromastery. Requiem of Souls is a good ultimate, yet not so devastating as many think. At level 1, it sucks, it deals less damage then Shadowraze then so you’d better use that mana for Shadowraze.

Item Build

This actually is the main reason why i decided to write this guide. So many items work on the Shadowfiend. I think the best idea to get to a decent item build is thinking in steps, so let’s start:

Step 1

The very first step is buying 2 Circlets and 2 sets of Tango’s, that is for me the ideal start on the Nevermore.
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Darkterror, the Faceless Void Guide by Nekdolan

Saturday, August 9th, 2008
This guide was provided by Nekdolan. Thanks.
Darkterror Faceless Void Dota Allstars Art

Table of Contents:

  • Introduction
    • Links

  • Analysis
  • Mechanics
    • Items
    • Skills

  • Skill & Item Build
    • Skill Build
    • Item Build
    • Used Items
    • Situational items
    • Rejected Items
    • Dream Build

  • Strategy
    • Early Game
    • After MoM
    • After Butter
    • Using Time Walk
    • Proper Chronoing
    • Chrono Pictures
    • Art of Ganking

  • Teamplay section
    • Supporting heroes
    • Chrono heroes

  • Enemies and Things to Avoid
    • Things to Avoid
    • How to deal with?
    • Bans

  • Replays
  • Credits

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Updated soon….

I write this section because many people get the wrong idea about faceless. In short words: darkterror is a melee agility natural basher hero with a range of 128, and a blink ability. He also has a mass disable spell once in 2 minutes after level 6. The fact that he is an AGI hero with natural bash makes him the best hero for permastun. Every point of AGI has multiple effects towards damage, since it makes the bash occur faster. He has the time-walk ability so he can bash anyone, and position chrono perfectly. Faceless becomes truly imbalanced after midgame due to his passive abilities. Similar, but stronger than Naix, since he rapes naix easily. And like naix he has an extremely hard early game. He has no nuke, no ranged damage or healing ability. His passives are hardly effective on this level and TW doesn’t give any damage either. This isn’t a problem if you play pubs, and won’t be a problem in most IH-s, but when you face a fully cooperative team, you will mostly beg for boots in the end.

In Cal or in Clan wars you will get raped before you get your first item. Soloing is impossible, and the hero you team up with will have a hard time too since faceless will be a burden on him. For example: faceless teams up with lich, and goes against a tinker lina combo. The first time faceless tries to give a last hit he receives a stun, a laser, a rocket and 4 hits. That’s more than enough to kill a hero with low base hp. If you cannot be any help for your team early game at least don’t feed the enemy! With a little xp you can farm neutrals to get your first items, and also you can farm on empty lanes for a while. Faceless doesn’t need many items to become imba. He only needs the time to get the few important ones.

Thanks to our annoying permastun, and to the 5 second disable, along with the fact that we fight melee range, we will get the most concentrated fire. Even combos like CM+avatar or Enigma+avatar won’t work against faceless, because both his ulti, and melee bash works against magic immune units. Yes you can’t bash Engima since black hole sucks you in, but chrono still works against it! The enemy will disable us as fast as possible since they know we have time walk to escape. Stun, guinsoo, stun etc., and we will die if we concentrated on just damage items. Of course if we place our chrono properly we will rock with high dps, but what about the time when chrono is on CD? And what about our teammates? Our team benefits from chrono the same way as we do!

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Mask of Madness:

The buff lasts 12 secs for 25 mana and it has a CD of 30 sec. You will receive 20% extra damage when berserk is on. You will gain 75% IAS and 15% MS. This buff cannot be removed by purge (small satyr, diffu, or naga), or by magic immunity (BKB, repel)! Lifesteal is an orb effect that will override any other orb on faceless. It has top priority. The amount of life you steal depends on physical damage and it will increase if you get a critical. You cannot steal life from illusions.


Since its last buff, Butterfly gives 30 AGI 30 IAS and 30% of evasion. Evasion and Backtrack stacks with diminishing returns which mean when you are attacked there’s 47,5% (with lvl 3 Bactrack) chance that you won’t receive damage. Doom or hex will disable evasion!


Gives 20% chance to deal 2.2* of your normal damage. Critical is phisical damage so it incrieases the amount of lifesteal you recieve. When attacking a unit that has blade mails you won’t recieve extra damage, if you hit him with a critical strike. Criticals stack with diminishing returns just like backtrack and evasion in case you have two items or skills that gives the abbility. When both criticals occure on the same attack you will only get one of them, but both will be shown as red numbers in the game.


Time Walk:

  • Level 1: 120 mana, 13 cooldown, 700 cast range, 300 AoE, 10% slow.
  • Level 2: 120 mana, 13 cooldown, 900 cast range, 300 AoE, 20% slow.
  • Level 3: 120 mana, 13 cooldown, 1100 cast range, 300 AoE, 30% slow.
  • Level 4: 120 mana, 13 cooldown, 1300 cast range, 300 AoE, 40% slow.

It has a short casting time when void raises his hands. When you travel you become invulnerable so you won’t take damage and cannot be targeted. It won’t remove rupture. Although the effect remains while you travel you won’t be damaged at all. This skill is similar to morphling’s waveform, but you won’t loose the control of the hero when you use it. When TW is finished there’s a small period when you cannot issue commands to faceless! Since you don’t have channeling spells just repeat the same command until void moves again. TW can be used under some spells like: ensnare/bite and those that are similar to these two.


  • Level 1: 10% chance.
  • Level 2: 15% chance.
  • Level 3: 20% chance.
  • Level 4: 25% chance.

Whenever faceless receives damage (if the damage is above 6) there’s a chance that this skill will trigger and that it will heal void back. It works against all types of damage except: sunder. This skill won’t evade stuns even if the damage is backtracked! Silence and Doom and hex won’t disable this skill! Actually nothing can. Bactrack is one of the most relaiable skills of dota! A disabled skill (most passives can be disabled) has a chane of 0% to work while BT 25% from level 7 till the end of the game.

Time Lock:

  • Level 1: 10% chance per attack. 40 damage.
  • Level 2: 15% chance per attack, 50 damage.
  • Level 3: 20% chance per attack, 60 damage.
  • Level 4: 25% chance per attack, 70 damage.

It is the same as melee bash. The damage it deals is magical and avatar can block it, but the stun effect will work even if it doesn’t deal damage. The effect lasts twice as long on creeps and half on Roshan. Since the damage is magical you won’t get return damage when it triggers (except your base damage). Doom disables this skill and any other basher in your inventory.


  • Level 1: 3 Seconds, 150 mana, 165 cooldown, 500 cast range, 425 AoE.
  • Level 2: 4 Seconds, 175 mana, 165 cooldown, 550 cast range, 425 AoE.
  • Level 3: 5 Seconds, 200 mana, 165 cooldown, 600 cast range, 425 AoE.

This spell has a 0.5 casting time and there’s another little pause before it will stop the units. This spell only stops units and will never stop spells. Of course it will stop channeling since it is the same as a long duration stun. Avatar won’t work against this either. This skill won’t stop: omnislash, wards and spirits (like Exorcism) after they’ve been casted.

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    1. Time Walk
    2. Time Lock
    3. Backtrack
    4. Time Lock/Time Walk
    5. Time Lock
    6. Chrono
    7. Time Lock
    8. Time Walk/Time Lock
    9. Backtrack
    10. Backtrack
    11. Chrono
    12. Backtrack
    13. Time Walk
    14. Time Walk
  • Skill Build

We get one level of time walk, since better players will normally nuke the hell out of faceless. With this we can get to safety if that happens. The reason why we get it one the first level is simple: god teams may try to do a three man gank on level1 to get an early first blood. If we don’t want to help them in any way we should get time walk first. You can get another lvl of TW on lvl 4 or 3, if you think it’s necessary. Level 1 range is half of a blink, while lvl 2 is almost the same. Blink has a maximum range of 1000. Having time walk doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be cautious!
This is the standard offensive build. With a fast mom and boots we can own in 1v1 situations thanks to time lock. We get one level of backtrack just in case. It’s better than stats. We should get a level 2 TW if level 1 isn’t strong enough to survive! Some may disagree with maxing Time Lock first, but there’s no better skill build in my opinion. I tried to max bactrack first, but it doesn’t help much. For a nuker to kill us with one, or two spells doesn’t mean much. Even if you are lucky and bactrack the first nuke you would still die from the second. At this time of the game you don’t posess the HP and other items (BKB, Butter) to make use off this skill. Time Lock on the other hand helps with denying, last hitting and especially harassing. With the Heroes huge base damage and the added Time Lock damage (wich is magical) you can deplete the opponents hp in seconds. Even if you won’t get the chance to do that Time Lock is still more usefull to kill neutrals, since you can clear creep camps faster, and bash lasts twice as long on creeps than on heroes.

Item Build

This is my standard build I’ve been using for a year now. Wraiths, mom, treads were very unusual back than. Times have changed, but this guide is still the same. The concept is pretty obvious. Since faceless is a bad farmer we get cheap and effective items. Going for big ones is too risky. Of course not any cheap item will be qualified as good. As a bashing hero faceless needs IAS>MS>HP>DAMAGE. Faceless concentrates more on 1v1 and has to find a way to separate a hero from the enemy team so he can own it with bash. That’s where chrono and our temammates will help. Never forget that bash deals extra damage so IAS isn’t just for the stun effect, but to kill faster. In 1v1 we need IAS to dissable the enemy. Secondly we need MS so the opponent won’t run away (or if he does we can still catch it). We don’t need max MS just more than the enemy has since bashed targets won’t move. Still a target that is faster than faceless cannot be bashed. Also faceless is an AGI hero so he lacks hp, and even the most carefull player will be nuked by the enemy. (especially if the enemy is someone named zeus). We have to survive the first wawe of nukes and own the enemy while their spells are on CD. Even though the importance of HP and Damage are low we will start with wraiths since it incrieases our lane management abbilities. Boots is needed for obvious reasons. After that we get mom since it’s a core item and farming up 2000 gold without mom will be much more difficult later. With Frenzy and boots we will be much more faster than any hero that time can be. After that we complete treads since it’s to good for 1000 gold and doesn’t wastes item slots (like hyper). The main item is butterfly. I can’t imagine any situation where this item isn’t the best choice for faceless. It gives all the things faceless needs (except MS): IAS, damage and EHP (evasion, armor). Of course evasion and armor won’t work against nukes so the next item will be heart. If nukes aren’t difficult to handle (our team is filled with dissable, or the enemy has few strong nukers), than we should go for pure damage. In short: get buriza than!

Used Items
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Yes, yes ror is great, but not enough to survive. Tangoos regenerate faster and can be used for other purposes. Like destroyng eyes of the forest or eating yourself out of sprout. It can be used in curtain neutral creep camps to spwan more neutrals.

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You won’t time lock anyone if you don’t have the proper IAS to do it! Agility is very effective on this hero, while the difference in hp between the amount bracer and wraith gives, isn’t really needed! You could say that hp is better since I get mom, but the thing is faceless normally doesn’t have the luxury to use it! Even if he manages to survive with frenzy, that won’t be beacuse the incrieased hp from barcers. Faceless lacks offensive power and not deffensive!

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Do (real)pro players get MoM ? Yes they do! Check out the replay between MyM and SK located at the bottom of this guide. Why do they get it? Let me explain: Void is a bad farmer, and MoM is the cheapest possible IAS for him. 75% IAS for 1950 even beats treads! Time Walk costs too much mana (unlike blink), and slow doesn’t lasts long enugh for you to bash effectively. With frenzy & treads you are faster than any other hero with BoT (except Chaos Knight). Also chronosphere costs a lot of mana, that we cannot spend for TW. The lifesteal is good for lane control. Void can regain its hp by killing neutrals. What about the extra damage ? Okay there’s a very easy tactic to avoid the extra damage: don’t activate mom! WTF? Yes no extra IAS and MS that way. There are a lot of situational spells in Dota, that are really good dispite being situational. Double Edge or LVL? Death and the list can continue forever. Use it when it doesn’t means instant death, and you on the other hand can get the kill. Faceless void’s all four abbilities support the avoidance of the extra damage: time walk to escape, backtrack to avoid the damage, time lock since disabled target cannot hurt you and chrono for the same reason.

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Get treads later, if you can complete butter fast! Ok I understand, that BoT beats this item. Yes it does, but due to the need of other items the number of games you will get BoT is around zero. Sometimes you cannot use mom. For example when the enemy attacks in larger groups, or when chrono is on CD. If the attack is broken you can use mom to chase, but what happens till then? You get your ass kicked because you don’t have the IAS to bash? Or you run away ? Let’s pretend that you bought one of the components of butterfly instead of treads. Eaglehorn costs triple but gives 10% less IAS while quarterstaff costs the same but gives 25% less. You can stick to boots hoping that one day you will have the oppurtunity to upgrade it to BoT, but I will stick to treads. MoM has been buffed recently. I advise to go for the AGI, though switching to INT or STR before a large battle is reasonable. Have more HP when you have to tank, or mana if you need some to cast chrono/time walk.

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Butterfly is the best item for faceless. It gives IAS, damage and survability since backtrack stacks with evasion (47,5%). With frenzy, treads and butterfly our IAS will be enough to own anyone in 1v1. Also the 60 damage it gives helps a lot under chrono. Some people prefer radiance instead of this item. I think they make the wrong decission. Radiance is a very good item, but there are a lot of reason why you shouldn’t get it on void. First of all farming 3800 gold is risky and slow for void. Radiance gets weaker with every minute of the game. It gives no survability (7% evasion), and no IAS!

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You can get the vita booster any time of the game, if needed (lina/lion) What is more imba than 47% evasion and 2000 hp? 47% evasion and 3000 hp! Which means only about every second hit will damage us. 3000 hp with evasion is the same as 6000 hp. Like a big fat butcher with lots of IAS, life steal, and permabash. Nukes become weak late game too. Heart is the most effective item for us to become the ultimate hero of the game. We have the time to kill enemies due to ‘permabash’, and the only thing we should fear is dieing before that time ends. Think about a bristleback that has chrono, tw lifesteal and permabash and doesn’t have to turn its tail on you. Imba isn’t it? After heart I suggest you go for buriza!

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Heart will make faceless the best tanking hero of the game, but in case we alredy have a tank like Axe or Bristleback we should concentrate on damage. As long as you can use chrono effectively team battles will start from 4v5 or 3v5 from this point on, since noone can stand long against the damage of frenzy+treads+butter+buriza+time_lock. Remeber that you get double the amaount of lifesteal when you hit a critical strike! After buriza the game should have ended, but in case the enemy can still hold you back with mass dissabling spells you should get a BKB, so your strong damage potential won’t go to waste.

Situational Items
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You should buy it, if you manage to farm it in 12 minutes. I have my doubts doing that with the game’s worst farmer, but that’s just me. Remeber that going for midas first means getting mom second. Midas is a great item, but it delays the build even if it buys itself back!

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This item is needed! Unless we want to loose thanks to BD we will have to buy it. Always have one after you completed the base (mom+treads) item build. For defense purposes this item is better than travel since it gives 99999 armor to the tower where you land. When all item slots are filled sacrifice one of your items (or drop it at the fountain) so that you can have another scroll. If you still have one of the first towers you may use it for push. Remember blink (time walk in this case) in the forest and use tp scrolls to escape is great way to survive ganks.

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Gives 10 seconds of pawnage. This item would solve most of voids problems. It is up to the situation whether we should get it or not. If you don’t feed and become imba you won’t need it. If you feed you won’t have the money for it. That’s how I see it. I recomend to get it against chain stuners (disablers) like tauren or Rhasta!

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It costs a lot, but recent changers made this item worthy. Even so BKB is a better choice, but there are situations where BKB is actually a bad choice. Namely when omni supports you with repel. Why would you get 10 sec if you cen get 20? The real question is why would you get linkens when you have 20% of magic immunity!? The answere is simple. There are some spells that go through repel, but won’t go trough linken! Namely: purge (diffu or naga), Primal roar, Doom. Any kind of purge will remove repel, but if linken is charged repel will stay on you! Doom dissables evasion and passive bash (like timelock). You see Linkens spell block can be trigered with less potent spells, but if you have repel on that won’t happen!

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One of the best items of the game. The teleport is perfect for farming and for BD. It helps a lot. With frenzy on you will have godlike move speed. Since you have Bash, TW and Chrono you won’t really need the MS, but it’s still nice to be faster than any other hero. The only problem with this item is it’s cost and that it takes away the free slot for treads. For early game it’s better to have treads. You have more benifits from the IAS boost since you have a passive BASH. Later you may buy a travel and sell treads, but keeping both footware in your inventory is a good choice too.

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By Popular demand. This item is a solid DPS item and can be really usefull whenn we have a Dark Seer in our team. He casts vacuum after chrono and gives an Ion shell and ‘voala’, a tripple kill in less then 3 seconds. Remember that Cleave goes through armor, but depends on the primary targgets current armor. Try to target the hero with the lowest armor to get the most cleave damage! Having a Magnataur in your team also helps a lot to get heroes in the desired postition. Magnataurs damage buff is also a nice addition to cleaave more. Even without Magnus or Darkseer BF is still valid, if the opponent has many melee heroes. Get this item after Butterfly and remember that critical strike can be cleaved! So the next obviues choice would be Buriza, if you need more damage. Sidenote: you cannot lifesteal from cleave damage.

Rejected Items
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This item seems to be a winner, but it’s not! All heroes can carry with radiance, but 99% of them can get it faster than void. Question one: is radiance an item that can be delayed? Ok maybe we get it in time. In that case let’s compare it to butterfly. Butterfly gives damage IAS and survability while radiance only damage. Question number two: Did we pick void for its insane permabash and bactrack abbility, or to have a good carry for radiance? Yes, yes, but with radiance you can farm better! Void is a bad farmer so he needs it (interesting thing to say after 5K gold). With lots of IAS you will have all the last hits when creeps collide. Question number three: can you kill more creeps than all of them? With one butterfly and any kinf of lifesteal you can kill Roshan without loosing hp. Question number four: Can you do that with radiance? No you can’t and that shows how much stronger butterfly is compared to radiance.

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Among damage items it is the weakest and cheapest. Since we alredy have time lock the ministun effect isn’t needed. It’s not a bad item, but butterfly and buriza beats it. Butterfly because of evasion and IAS. Buriza because critical damage is phisical and it incrieases lifesteal. Ministun (like bash) is magical damage so no extra lifesteal is granted.

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Images won’t get stuck in Chronosphere, which is good. The fact that they trigger fake bash makes this item to be used only during chrono’s on. Melee bash cannot be blocked except for this method, and the units that make fake bash are illus (spotting the real hero is easy). You would rely on an ulti with one of the longest CD. Not good, and the orb effect suggests not to get MoM. Illus won’t get backtrack, only the evasion from butter. Still this item is as good on void as on any other AGI hero (since other AGI heroes don’t have bash, and you won’t have it either if you buy it)!

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Another item with an orb effect. Maim is totally useless thanks to our bash, and time walk ability. Frenzy gives 5% more MS, and because we have TW we can catch heroes even after it is over. Stats and damage is nice, but there are better items for same price. 5500 gold = heart !

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The following word will represent my opinion on this items, when it is bought in order to increase the chance of bash produced by faceless:


If you don’t agree, than first: Think about the fact that none of the faceless void guides support it. Second: 2 bashers on magina gives a total of 27% chance while voids passive gives 25%. Third: the bonus damage is magical that doesn’t synergies with anything. Four: perfect permabash is a lame idea that owns only in some pubs. There are at least 10 more reasons I could think of right now, but I don’t think it is necessary to write it all down.

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Very popular on void, but it’s not as good as many think. Compared to butterfly it gives less damage, less survability and less IAS for a hihger price. If that would not be enough, it is epecially weak on void thanks to backtrack and his high armor. If you get butterfly it will be weaker thanks to evasion. Also with treads+mom and butterfly you will have plenty of IAS. Basically it stupid to raise voids armor or magic resistant. Due to Bactrack and Butter’s evasion void’s EHP is increased by 25/47.5 percent, but it doesn’t stack fully with AC or Hood. When the damage is avoided (backtracked/evaded) the armor and resistance bonuses won’t count at all. The only good way to further inriease void EHP is to incriease his HP. So get vanguard,heart or amlet but not AC!

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Early Game

Take the upper lane on scourge, or the lower one if you are with the sentinel (If there’s no solo mid you can go there too!). The next thing you should know is creep controlling, which is essential for voids lane management. The most important thing next to denies, and last hit is this! Creep control is about to lure the creeps under your tower using their scripted AI. This will screw the enemies framing, since they won’t be able to last hit effectively. The next part is very important! There are only two guides including this that explains. Remember this is not creep pulling!

Creep Lure Technic:

Basics: creep, and tower AI: If you are close to the melee creeps, and you issue an attack command against the enemy hero the creeps will start to attack you. Because of that your own creeps will attack the other creeps. If the creeps are close to you, and the tower isn’t attacking the enemy hero they will follow you even if the tower is hitting them. The towers priority is: those that attack the allied hero, the one that attacks the tower, the one that is close. This is all you have to know to accomplish the following movements:

  • If enemy creeps, are coming for the tower, and your creeps are still far, then: Stand next to the tower with the Hold Position key and when the creeps get close start to run backwards until you reach your own wave. If the enemy attacks the tower the tower will fight back, since no one else is hitting it, and you are already far away.
  • If the fighting is close to your towers attack range then you could lure the creeps by attacking the hero (you don’t need to hit him!) and running instantly backwards. This will draw all creeps towards your tower thanks to the simple AI. If you are close enough to the creeps they will attack you, even if you targeted the hero on the other side of the map.
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    You can see that this trick is pretty useful. Sometimes I start it from halfway between the two towers, and end up farming at my own tower. I haven’t seen anyone do this in games, so I think players don’t really know about it. We may receive some hits by luring the creeps, but it is regenerated pretty fast and backtrack might evade it.

Depending on the heroes you face, and the players agression you have to play a passive or a farming style. Passive style is used to stay in XP range and out of spell/attack range. It’s a playstyle ment for calm players, who can wait until the creepwawe reaches their safety zone (tower) where they can farm a bit. When using this style you have to match your movement to the enemies and maintain the distance, as much as possible. Otherwise your ass will be owned by nukes. Time walk can save you one time, but it doesn’t give you any hp regen to stay in lane longer. Remember this: you may loose more by being greedy epecially when one creep kill means half of your hp! If the enemy group consists of melee heroes or if they don’t play agressively, than you can use the farming playstyle. Concentrate on lasthits and lane deny. As long as no creep can be last hitted attack your own creeps under half hp to draw the lane towards your tower! You can try to harass, but since void is a melee hero he may attract unwanted creep agro. To avoid this don’t attack the enemy until your in range and attack only once!! If it’s a bash than go behind the enemy and attack again when creeps won’t agro anymore. If it’s not a bash than go back farming and wait for another chance.
Help your ally if possible. You can time walk to an enemy slowing its move speed so that your friend might escape. Be careful this is a double edged sword, since the next target is obviously you! Never stand still! Move forward and back or move vertically, but try to remain in xp range. Standing units are targets. They get easily ganked, harassed, hooked. You can use time walk to avoid some annoying spell like the lich or Yurnero’s ulti, and it’s good (yet expensive) against impetus.

After MoM (mid game)

You can do three things at this time: push/farm neutrals/gank

With frenzy you should be able, to get some kills, and it is also perfect for killing creeps. If the wave is already at the enemies tower, than go and kill some neutrals. If they try to gank you while you are killing neutrals (they have wards), don’t worry! With time walk you should be able to get away. Help in team fights, but don’t die if possible! So how to farm with faceless exactly? If we are alone we use mom to get ALL of the creeps that come. Because of the high IAS we will get the money for the creeps without bothering with last hits. If you have time to farm, and you see no chance to be ganked than you can bother with last hits. If you don’t kill creeps enugh you won’t farm anithyng before you are ganked. Simply start frenzy when the first creep gets below half hp. This will push our lane towards the enemy. As I sad earlier when we get close to the enemy ,go back and farm neutrals. Remeber that farming neutrals actually heals void! The amount healed is atleast half of void’s total health, but usually more! During your period of neutral creeping, the enemies will most likely push back, and when the creepwave gets big enough go back there, and start the process all over. If someone is farming alone on your lane you should kill, or send him back to the fountain using TW, Chrono and frenzy. Or gank him if you are no match for him. Go back to the fountain if you need items or if you really have no other choice! If two heroes are farming in your lane than I suggest to choose another lane where you can dominate. Gank is optional at this time.

Farming neutrals:

The true power of mom is farming, and farming fast so that you can move on to the next creep camp. We will do this pretty often if there are no free lanes for pushing. The reason why mom is better than hom is that you can kill any neural without loosing hp at a relatively low level. Berserk can be used more often than transmute and you can kill bigger neutrals with it. Always keep one finger on “w”, so in case you are ganked you can escape instantly! The damage from ganks (if avoided with TW = you didn’t die) can (should) be regained by killing neutrals. After that go back to push…


Running away with MoM? It sounds stupid, but it’s pretty effective to save your ass. First you Time-walk away and after that you maintain the distance between you and the enemy with frenzy. Since it gives you insane MS and lasts as long as the time-walk’s CD you just have to run for 10 sec and TW again.

After Butter(late game)

Stick with the team! Towers and creeps, can no longer damage us so we should tank damage, so that our creeps will go to the enemy tower with full hp. With proper chronoing, and good team members we can defeat the enemy at their own towers. If the attack is finished and our team is retreating, and we have half of our hp, than we should kill some ancients to regain our hit points. It is unlikely for the enemy to go there, when they need to push back the creep waves, even if, they get there: you always have time walk.


With butter you can solo roshan without loosing 1 point of hp! That’s because roshan no longer has return damage, and the lifesteal from mom will be greater than roshan’s damage output. Roshan is the same as a strong carry hero late game. Killing roshan 1v1 without loosing hp shows the effectiveness of void against heroes of that type. If the enemy team is killing Roshan you can chrono them so you can kill him instead of the enemy. Do this when Roshan has nearly no hp left. Even if you cast chrono late you can steal the aegis and time-walk away. This is nasty, but actually void is nasty hero to begin with.

Using Time Walk

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When chasing an enemy use time walk to block his path. When running away, use any possible terrain obstacle to loose the heat. The slow effect can help you deploy chrono properly. Always think forward! Try to guess the enemies movements, and don’t use it if you are in disadvantage, because of hero numbers. Time walk makes you invulnerable, but you can still use items like MoM. Be a chicken! If you are ganked while having a teammate with you, then use it to get away, if the success rate of survival is below zero. That probably means, that your friends get killed, but loosing money is so bad for the lame farmer item dependent void, that we have to make sacrifices. Plus only heroes with blink abilities can be chickens, and void alone can decide the faith of the game.

Spell dodge: Dodging needs three things: no lag, good timeing and a lot off luck. Even though it’s hard to do it’s still more reliable than backtrack! Just remember that if you try to use time walk over the casting range void will start to walk instead of casting. Some spells may hit even if we manage to escape, iff the effect has a longer delay than the time faceless is invulnerable. On the other hand some spells can be avoided without having good timeing since they need to search for targets over time! Omnislash for example or chain frost. Some spells work on invulnerable heroes too! There are two that I know off: hook and Nether Strike.

dota allstars example

The difference between Time walk & blink:

Although time walk is similar to blink, the differences between the two spells are very important. Blink spells have lower CD, mana cost and no slow effect. In addition if a hero blinks in to fog of war the enemy won’t be able to trace him. Time-walk shows the direction in witch void travels, so fast heroes like balanar can still catch them! To avoid this there’s a simple, but effective trick: If you can travel to the other side of the forest, don’t do it instead TW in the forest itsealf! Since both the forest and the other side is in fog of war for the enemy, the will think that you escaped to the other side, and will continoue to pursue you there. When the coast is clear you can get out of the forest, or use a TP scroll before that. There are spots in forests and on hills, that can be only reached by time walk/blink and thoose around it cannot see this place (normally).

Proper Chronoing

Our goal is to freeze as many enemies as possible. If we can freeze a tower by freezing others, than we should do it, if it’s not ours. You should know that the chrono’s casting range is increasing by level, and there’s a little casting time when void raises his hands. Before you use it hit ‘c’ to see the area of effect, and then right click to cancel it. If you use it after Time Walk, than void might not cast it, because TW-s order canceling effect (the same reason, why level 1 sucks). To avoid this hit ‘c’ and after that left click, and repeat this until you see the bubble. Kind of a stupid way to do it, but it is effective and you can adjust the chrono every time you recast it. To adjust chrono don’t bother with the circle you see! Instead concentrate on the units highlighted in green. Because of the strange shape of the circle some highlighted units won’t be affected, since they aren’t in the circle. This only happened with me once, so don’t worry. The more time it takes to place chrono the less effective it will be. Don’t place it if the heroes are too far on the edge of the AOE. This ulti is too good to make one waste. Try to cast chrono so that your team will benefit the most. That means place it as far from than as you can. Ranged heroes can attack the hero in the middle. This is important, so never forget! Placing chrono so that your melee heroes can attack the enemy stuck on the edge is too risky. Always make sure that you catch all the heroes you wanted. If you miss one, than attack him, if your teammates can deal with those caught in chrono. With permabash you can own everyone in 1v1 so this is the best you can do, since chrono blocks the way for your teammates.

Who to attack first?

When chrono is placed, and we managed to capture more than one hero, we have to decide which one to get first. Even without chrono we can decide which enemy to attack, since we can get anywhere with time walk. With bash we can disable this hero, so which one to choose is important! So the list goes by this: I. Disablers/stunners, II. Damage dealers, III. Tanks, IV Heroes with Blink. You might also get a hint by reading the “things to avoid” section.
Chrono has great synergy with: Omnislash, Macropyre, Mass Serpent Ward, Exorcism, Poison Nova, Death Ward and with Epicenter plus blink. Here’s some extra inf thanks to Rémi “strikes_ is right about Radiance’s immolation, it doesn’t damage freezed units inside Chronosphere, regardless of the position of Radiance-equiped hero (inside or outside the sphere). The same for similar spells such as Infernal’s immolation, Razor’s Stormseeker, Leshrac’s Nova, Pudge’s Rot…”

Art of Ganking

First of all know that ganking won’t give you the same amount of money, which you would gain by farming. Gank is optional.. sometimes it worth it sometimes not. Since you have TW as an escape skill you can farm lanes in a relatively safe status. Ganking-time starts when you have mom. Ganking is not the same as freezing people with chrono. First of all chrono doesn’t last long enough, and secondly it costs too much mana which you will need for TW. Don’t start the gank with TW! Just go there, and start hitting one of your opponents. Since in ganks you have the advantage of numbers he (or them) will try to escape. If he doesn’t flees he will be owned by your teammates. If the enemy can overpower your team, than cast chrono. That is not necessary in most cases, so if you see that the enemy is trying to escape than activate berserk to catch them (no extra damage while you chase). If you still can’t get to them, than cast TW to slow them, and to bash them into tiny pieces. Remember this: never start with chrono unless it’s a team battle or you need it to overpower the enemy. You will loose many kills if you can’t support your timewalk spell with mana! Also if the enemy is lucky enough to reach their tower you will need chrono to freeze both the tower and the hero. You can’t do that if it’s on CD. With lifesteal you can regain much of your hp under chrono. This is the last reason why you shouldn’t rush casting it. Chrono will be great later when teams will move as one, and heroes will have insane DPS, but till than bash and time-walk is much more effective, because of the small number of heroes in one place. Don’t forget: the best way to make a successful gank is called cooperation!

Chrono Pictures

Chrono explained in high detail!

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Supporting heroes

Void is very weak early game, so he will need someone to look after him in higher level games. Most healers can support faceless, but some of them are better than the others. Void needs a pusher tactic to farm without problems so spells that can push a lane or destroy a tower are welcome as well!

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My personal favourite. He has a strong healing spell and can summon an infenal later. Rain of chaos can help you to deploy chrono easier or to finish the remaining heroes. Since other team members will concentrate on AOE damage fatal bonds is going to be deadly. He’s the best lane partner for void. Even with that sad he is also a good mid solo, so we should let him do that to get an early infernal!

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Another great healer. Sadly he doesn’t have the mana early game to help much, but later he will be very usefull. Not a good choice for a lane partner in my eye. With repel void won’t suffer from frenzy anymore, and he cannot be disabled by most of the stuns in the game. Phisical immunity is also neat, and the heal can save your ass if used right! Remeber that purge can remove repel (while it doesn’t affect avatar) so we should focus heroes with diffusal blades. Note that omni can cast repel on an infernal and if it gets purged it will survive!

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This guy is sick. He is a good lane partner, deny machine and healer. His ultimate works great on FV. Since darkterror is a lousy farmer to begin with loosing gold is the main problem in games. The poison and armor buff is also nice. One last thing: his heal works on units with magic immunity (like repel). Yes it does and it’s pretty good to use it that way!

Chrono heroes

Chrono heroes are the ones that need a long duration AOE disable to work properly, but in return they can deal lots & lots of damage. Since chrono can stop chanelling spells some heroes won’t work properly with faceless. Enigma or Cristal Maiden for example. Although Witch Doctor’s ultimate is also chaneling he can use it from the outside of chrono. Still he isn’t the best choice for a chrono kill! The problem is, his ultimate will only hurt heroes wich means the creeps there are unnafected. That may sound good, but we need to clear the creeps fast, so that Lich can finish the job with his ultimate. If not Lich that Juggernaut should be the one to end the combo, since he is unnafected during omnislash (no extra slashes though)!

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Good old sand king. In the old days chrono+epicenter was one of the best combos in dota. Today he’s only the third best damage dealer. First of all he needs 2 secs to chanell. Even at best he can only rely on chrono for five secs. After chrono is over epicenter won’t be finished and the enemy can bling away. Also he is a melee hero wich has the same disadvanteges as void during early game. And his stun cannot be used during chrono since it will make the targets invulnerable till your ultimate is over!

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He is absolutely the best! His ultimate lasts 5 secs on all levels, and he doesn’t have to blink in to use it! He can cast dual breath from the outside and can deal damage with his attack. Has a nice disable for the aftermath. The problem of his ultimate was always the long duration, and that it didn’t slowed or disabled the enemy (unlike epicenter). With the treant protector this ultimate is devastating, but chrono is better for the same purpose.

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Normally I wouldn’t suggest a hero with a channeling ultimate to be a good ‘chrono hero’, but Vol’Jin is an exception. As you should alredy know wards won’t be frozen under chronosphere, so Death Ward works perfectly as long as the hero is not inside of chrono’s AOE. This guy is probably the hardest hero off dota so I don’t recommend to be used by anyone. His curse and ward needs very good timeing to be effective, not to mention that he is a weak (low hp) hero to begin with. He has a dissable that can be used to push lanes and a healing spell so he can be good support like shadow priest.

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Things to Avoid

Disablers (silence, hex, stun, doom, smoke):

We won’t be able to cast TW to get to safety, if we get too many of these. We will loose our awesome Chronosphere too. Get BKB if this becomes too troublesome. Doom is an exception since it disables items too along with stun and evasion except backtrack (hallelujah). To tell you the truth I never bought BKB. Backtrack works fine, and if we concentrate on hp we should survive no matter how many stuns we receive. Disable can make you useless. A damage void can be easily killed outside chrono with the help of these. Remember that hit-points and backtrack are the only things you have in all situation. Silence, hex, doom, smoke cannot disable backtrack the n.o. skill of void.

Melee damage counters (blade mails, Kentaur, Tiny, Anubarak, Roshan):

This is a real pain especially if frenzy is on. Avatar blocks return damage according to the mechanics forum. So buy BKB if they go mass blade mails. Tried it, and worked pretty well, although normally a game won’t last long enough to get it. Buying Heart also helps with return damage and stuff. This is the main reason why a damage void will suck in higher level of games. Like PA he will die due to his own damage. As I sad avatar blocks it, but you won’t be able to get BKB if you go for damage, and you will have to activate it during chrono. Never forget that the damage from blade mails can be greater than your own damage! The armor blocks much of your damage, but you will get back the full amount (X percent of it) in magic damage!

How to deal with?
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Chrono freezes everyone, even invisible creatures. That’s good, but we can’t hit something we cannot see. Without true sight it is difficult to kill one of these heroes, but not impossible. Under chrono heroes cannot become invisible, not even Riki. We have to lower the opponent’s hp, so that when we cast chrono we can finish the job. Usually at half hp enemies won’t use their escaping skills, so wait until the enemy becomes orange.

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Most nukers are easy to take down. INT heroes with low hp are free food for void from mid game. I have pointed out everything people should now about early game, so I won’t include that part. Stuns are pretty bad for void, and nukes have pretty good damage too. Of course there’s always a chance to backtrack the damage, but don’t put your life on it if possible. Time walk is a more reliable skill to avoid spells especially nukes. How? I never saw someone place a nuke behind his own hero, so all we have to do is: 1. get in spell range 2. time walk behind the enemy 3. have perfect timing.

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The trick is similar like when we face invi heroes. We have to use chrono before or after the enemy produce illusions/splits. With ‘after’ I mean use it when the spell is over. Buy a gem when you face PL, and follow the earth panda since panda will be there when his ulti is over. PL’s illusions will die in chrono, because the time elapses. Cast it when you already know which one is the real. Naga has some annoying spells so the best would be is to kill her before chrono ends.


Acording to league rules teams can ban 3-3 heroes on each side, before they pick their own. It is safe to assume that, if you pick void into your team you will be relying on his late game power. To be effective late game we have to ban heroes that can prevent him from farming or heroes with powerfull disables:

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One really anying hero he is. His summons scouts the forests the place we will be 50% off the game. His piggy is a true pain in the ass, but the most problematic spell of his is Primal Roar. It drops heroes out of Chrono and stuns you even if you have avatar on! This hero is a: must ban! Still you should levae him second or last since the enemy might ban him before you.

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A gay lane controller and early game hero killer. His disables makes children cry and he can roam freely in our neutral camps thanks to his ultimate. He is a real threat to faceless early to mid game, but later on he is barely noticeable. NA should be the last ban since many teams will ban him first.

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There’s only one reason why this hero is a ‘must ban’: Global Silence! With Time Walk and Chorno’s level3 range you can disable anyone in 2000 range. Preventing him to do so is like preventing riki to become invisible without using true sight… It’s hard unles you have a global effect of neat silence. Silencer is usually my first ban since he is the less risky of them all and most teams today won’t pick or ban him.

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Supported replay I. Random CW on GGC

Same boring, but effective pick as always. Wl, lesh, sp, omni, fv VS zeus, potm, lina, sk, kenta. In the end after I completed my butterfly the opponent sad that lina had to leave in 5 minutes. So we decided to end the game in 5 minutes and I went beyond godlike. The End.

Supported replay II. Clan War with Void (6.48b)

This replay shows how faceless void and his team should play in high level games. Bans were: NA/BM/Silencer/Mirana (don’t remember the rest ). Both teams had one carry, luna and faceless. The opponent had an early game dominance tactic while we picked a push tactic. They had more kills, but we destroyed more towers. The game draged on with Sentinel pushing and Scourge dominating. Luna became strong thanks to her farming. She farmed twice as much as I did with faceless, but still I was stronger with half of the money she had!

Picks were: warl.gif tsou.gif spri.gif void.gif omni.gif vs lool.gif lina.gif sven.gif luna.gif tpro.gif Our pick was simple and effective. We had many push supporting spells like infernal, diabolic edict, guardian angel, shadow Wave. Thanks to theese heroes the lane was pushed forward while faceless could farm neutrals. Of course there are other major factors that led to this lineup: with repel and berserk (mom) faceless is unstopable. Repel can protect an infernal from atleast one purge charge (no damage, but repel is dissabled). Leshrac’s ultimate becomes really effective when used in combination with repel or chronosphere. And last, but not least we have shadow priest to protect faceless from unwanted harm and gold lost.

Supported replay III. Clan War with Void (6.48b)

Similar to the replay above. Picks were: warl.gif tsou.gif spri.gif void.gif omni.gif vs lool.gif lina.gif sven.gif gorg.gif potm.gif . This game was a bit harder than the previous. The enemy destroyed many off our towers in mid game, but the team managed to hold them off. Later my teamates attacked while I farmed in the forest and in the end carried us to victory. Even though we were behind with the kills we managed to win, again. This is the strength off this tactic!

unSupported replay MyM vs SK

TFL Playoffs Overall Finals : SK-Gaming (SK) vs. MeetYourMakers (MYM). This replay doesn’t represent my strategy. Well the playstyle is the same, but the itembuild is different. The build consists of pure damage items and MoM. That’s why I linked this replay here. MoM is viable for higher level games!! I get butter, heart to support mom, but in the replay team members support void. I’m not satisfied with the effectiveness of this build.

This game is the part of the tradtional games of the retech forum. You could say that it’s a high quality inhouse game (witch it is!). The game mode was -sprd shuffle players & random draft. I was lucky since I was able to get my hands on void. At first I lane with Chen, before he leaves to get some neutrals. After that I solo and hold back the enemy effectively. Later I gank the enemy with chen and pretty much dominate early game. Some well placed chronoes give us the advantage over the enemy, while the rest end in diseasters. I get seven kills before I complete butterfly, mainly thanks to the great work of Jakirto from my team. We push the main lane and reach the base of the enemy! We are winning, but sudenly my friend lags out, and we are pushed back pretty fast. Also acidentaly I buy eaglehorn isntead of messer wich becomes a fatal mistake and we loose in the end.

Huskar, the Sacred Warrior Guide by Eozm

Wednesday, August 6th, 2008

Huskar the Sacred warrior avatar

Updated for 6.53

Table of Contents

  1. Introduction
  2. Skill Build
  3. Item Build
  4. Burning Spear and Helm of the Dominator
  5. Skill Strategy
  6. Combat Strategy
  7. Laning
  8. Farming
  9. Jungling
  10. Ganking
  11. Team Battles
  12. Replays
  13. Conclusion
  14. Change Log
  15. Credits

1. Introduction

So far, there are two excellent Huskar guide. I’m sure that by the time you read my post, you already read theirs, so I’m guessing that you know the basics on how to play Huskar.

My previous Huskar guide focused on the generality of Huskar, including his stats, skill explanations, early to late game strategies, etc. However, through comparing my guide with the other two guides, I have realized that my guide was too similar to theirs and it was just a simple hybrid which wasn’t quite unique. This guide will focus more on the actual strategy section such as laning properly or how to gank/counter-gank, etc.

Due to shifting my focus on the strategies, I will not have many, if not, no images at all in this guide. This guide will also be text heavy. However, if you truly wish to improve your skill on Huskar, do proceed onto the guide. My second aim in this guide is that in the future, Huskar will be chosen more frequently in higher-level games.

If you wish to read a more detailed guide in terms of general Huskar, read Afterburn’s Guide to Huskar, the Sacred Warrior. If you wish to see an abridged guide on Huskar, read Complete Idiot’s Guide to Sacred Warrior.

2. Skill Build

For complete details about Huskar and his skills, click here.

Level 01 | Burning Spear
Level 02 | Berserker’s Blood
Level 03 | Berserker’s Blood/Burning Spear
Level 04 | Burning Spear/Berserker’s Blood (opposite of level 3)
Level 05 | Berserker’s Blood
Level 06 | Burning Spear/Life Break
Level 07 | Berserker’s Blood
Level 08 | Burning Spear/Life Break
Level 09 | Inner Vitality/Life Break/Burning Spear (do not take Burning Spear if you took Life Break earlier)
Level 10 | Life Break/Inner Vitality
Level 11 | Life Break
Level 12 | Inner Vitality
Level 13 | Inner Vitality
Level 14 | Inner Vitality
Level 15 | Stats
Level 16 | Life Break
Level 17-25 | Sats

This skill build is for people who loves to play aggressively and enjoys flexibility. Berserker’s Blood is maxed out first as the passive bonuses are great! With level 4 Berserker’s Blood, Huskar can have +56% attack speed and +56 damage at 58% health. Burning Spear will then be maxed to maximize the Huskar’s harassing cability. Some people prefer to take 1 level of Inner Vitality at 4, but I find this entirely useless as it only regenerates around 85 hp including Huskar’s natural regeneration. Furthermore, it can only be casted once. I prefer to take extra damage over time than a mere 85 hp regeneretion, since I recommend that you get 3 sets of tangoes. With this build, early game kill will be guranteed as long as you play smart or your allies stun/slow the enemy.

If you plan to jungle, then follow the skill build in the Jungling section.

3. Item Build

In my opinion, Huskar is a very flexible hero. He can either be a ganker, a semi-carry hero, a tank or a hybrid of everything. Therefore, Huskar’s item build may vary on personal preference. In terms of orb-effects, the only viable options seem to be lifesteal or corruption. The strategy I will focus on is both Burning Spear and lifesteal as they seem to be the best options for Huskar. The most important items on Huskar is Armlet of Mordiggian and Helm of the Dominator. As long as you get those two items, I don’t really mind which item you get for my strategy.

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Boots of Speed is a no-brainer. Bracers are gotten in order to keep your health high after you cast your Burning Spear or Life Break since the backfire damage does affect Huskar significantly. Helm of the Dominator is used for dominating creeps for easier kills as well as lifestealing your life back after ganks or when you have to fight a hero who has higher health. Armlet is just a must. It synergizes really well with Huskar. The additional 25 strength will allow his Inner Vitality to heal faster after deactivating the Armlet. Also, the attack speed bonus and damage bonus synergizes really with Huskar’s Berserker’s Blood. The degeneration can be countered by Inner Vitality or lifesteal.
Alternate/Luxury Item Build

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Personally, I prefer Boots of Travel over Power Treads. Boots of Travel will allow you to push/defend more easily as well as give you more mobiliy to farm or gank. Satanic is for higher lifesteal towards late game where you won’t have to dominate creeps for kills since there will be more team battles. Assault Curiass is for the armor bonus and negation and the nice attack speed bonus. Very useful for tanking damage and supporing allies with the aura. Get Black King Bar if you get focus fired by nukes and disables. With this item, it is possible to kill an entire team alone! The 3 damage item is up to you. Get Buriza if you want higher lifesteal from the critical. Get Monkey King Bar if there are channelers. Get Radiance if no one has it since it will help in pushes/defences.

Once again, I do not like to post an item build. This is what I typically get, so please do not argue with me about the item builds. I don’t really mind what you get, as long as you get Armlet and Helm of the Dominator.

4. Burning Spear and Helm of the Dominator

I have been frequently questioned about maxing Burning Spear when I suggest Helm of the Dominator as core items. Here is the reason why.

When Burning Spear level 1 hits a target 5 times, the additional damage will be 180 damage. However, at level 4, the additional damage is 360. The basic math craft is: 5 x [Burn damage (6, 8, 10, 12)] x 6 (time).
This is excluding the magic reduction and natural/item regeneration. For example, if you hit a target once who has Ring of Health, you will only do 4 additional damage per second or so. However, if you hit the same target twice, you will be able to do around 11 damage per second. And so on. What I’m saying is, 180 (125 for say with magic reduction and natural/item regeneration) is caused by level 1 Burning Spear. However, level 4 Burning Spear will deal around 315 damage when the target is hit 5 times minimum.

Since my item build suggests Helm of the Dominator, you will have a pretty decent disable. Go with troll as ensnare is the easiest disable as it locks the target down for 2.5 seconds and this skill is targeted. Not to mention your own disable: Life Break. Hitting your opponent with Burning Spear constantly until the hero dies is fairly easy. In addition, even if the hero gets away with 200 or so life, the maxed Burning Spear will most likely kill the hero.

Honestly, I rarely find that I have to retreat before actually killing the hero by damage over time, since my enemy just decides to fight me despite the burn damage, meaning that the burn damage can stack easily. Even if my enemy starts to run, I can easily disable them as long as they’re not super fast or goes invisible. Who knows, maybe the approximate 209 damage difference caused by maxing Burning Spear can actually get you a kill if your enemy does decide to go invisible or super fast at 200 life. Happened many times in my life!

I will try to get screen shots and matchcraft tables as soon as possible.

5. Skill Strategy

There are so many ways to use Huskar’s skills to their max potential. Here are some combination of skills that I’d like to point out. These are just basic skill strategies.
Dominate Disables

Make sure that you dominate neutral creeps with disables. Huskar’s only disable is his ultimate, so the dominated creeps are really beneficial for Huskar. Here are some neutral creeps and their abilities.

Centaur – Stun and Endurance Aura. Also can tank damage.
Furblog – Slow which gives 150 damage. Useful in early game. Also can tank damage.
Dark Troll – Ensnare and ability to raise skeleton armies.
Ghost – Frost attack. Very useful throughout entire game
Hellcaster – Very low life, but has purge. Get this guy against self-buffers or summoners.
Alpha Wolf – Not really a disable, but the command aura is nice.

Harass your enemies using Burning Spear. Either manually cast it or auto-cast it. Try not to auto-cast it during early game as it attracts creeps. Note that once you get lifesteal, or any other orb effect, Burning Spear can only take effect if you auto-cast it. Manually casting it will use the item orb such as lifesteal. My point is, once you get lifesteal, you must auto cast to harass.

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Notice how Afterburn (Huskar) used Burning Spear to attack his enemy Balanar. After getting hit by some spears, even if he was able to lose Afterburn, the damage over time from the Burning Spear granted Afterburn a kill! This is why I said Huskar loses too much harassing capability without his Burning Spear.
Burn and Blood

As you get damaged, your attack speed and damage will increase. Use it to your advantage! Harass your enemies and let them attack you. Never be afraid to let your blood spill.
Break, Blood and Burn

If you cast your ulti, you will lose life. This will give you bonus in attack speed and lifesteal. Also, the ultimate will provide you with a slow, so auto-cast your Burning Spear and harass them as much as possible.

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Afterburn (Huskar) casts Life Break on Lanaya then casts Burning Spear to damage her. With the slow and the damage, along with backfire, Afterburn was able to get a kill because of the burn damage and the increased damage from Berserker’s Blood.
Heal/Double Heal

You can either cast your Inner Vitality or just lifesteal. Inner Vitality is Huskar’s healing skill which requires mana. The heal is based on the primary stats, so the higher the primary stats, the better the heal. This should be casted on ally tanks or carries, or self for extra safety in team battles. If you want to regenerate really fast, cast Inner Vitality and lifesteal. Don’t forget that the regeneration rate will increase when the target’s health is below 40% health. In Huskar’s case, when he is below 40%, his Berserker’s Blood will be at max, so you will regenerate really really fast. Trust me.

In one-on-one combat, try to use this when you reach 40% of health, because if you cast it in the beginning, the enemy realizes your regeneration rate is high, so s/he might just run away. In addition, fighting without Inner Vitality in the beginning in 1 on 1 and dropping your health by 40% means that your opponent will think that he can own you as you only hav such few healths. Furthermore, if more enemies come after a 1 on 1 battle, the faster regen can keep you alive and you can either bait for your allies more safely, or just run away until the target gave up on you or whatever. Sometimes though, it is advisable to cast it in the beginning. I never found any reason to, so I rarely casted it in the beginning of a 1 on 1 fight. Don’t forget, if Armlet is on, you will have higher regeneration as Unholy Strength provides +25 strenght!
Golden Rule: Armlet of Mordiggian

This item will provide you +65 damage, +25% attack speed, +25 str, +475hp when activited. When deactivated, it will provide +9 damage, +15% attack speed, +5 armor, +3hp/sec. Always turn this on when you are fighting heroes. Also, this is a great Art of Mindgame tool. Use the 475hp to your advantage. When an enemy with low life is chasing you, use it and kill him! Furthermore, when running away, you can use this to get life boost and run like mad! Again, turn it on in a battle! Always turn it on!
Life Break

This is Huskar’s ultimate which will eat away 40% of your enemy’s current health. Thus, Huskar cannot kill using this skill as a nuke. This skill provides 50% slow for 5 seconds, which is great as Huskar can harass the enemy while he is slowed. Use it on tank or carries as they are number one priority in team battles. Golden rule is that when you are about to die, you either cast it on green hp hero, or cast it on any hero around you who will not die in next 2 seconds so that your ally/ies can pawn him.

6. Combat Strategy

A good player needs to know the abilities of every heroes in DotA. Also, a good player has good map awareness and know which allies are near you and which enemy heroes are missing. Most importantly, you must have experience. Here are some other imporatant facts which you must drill into your minds when playing Huskar.
Health Management

Always manage your life. Although Huskar is stronger when his life is low, this is only up to 58% of health. Even this might still be dangerous against nukers. Managing your health is as important as farming! Managing your health also means that you determine whether you are still good for one more fight, or whther you should return. Always try to bait for your allies. Don’t be a fool though! Manage your health!
Trading Hits

I see so many Huskar players run away when they have low health and are beinga attacked by enemies. That is no way to play Huskar. Never be afraid to trade hits with your enemy when the opportunity arises. Your stack damage from Burning Spear is very signifcant. Enemies will, in most cases, underestimate the burn damage and the Berserker’s Blood. The lower your life, the stronger you get. Use it to your advantage. There is no reason why Huskar should be afraid of getting hits! However, be reasonable and manage your health.

IPB Image

In this image, notice how Afterburn (Huskar) has critical health, but still approaches enemy Lich who has Frost Armour and half health. Afterburn stood ground and fought, and the outcome was that Afterburn was richer in experience and gold, while Lich died.
Studying Your Enemy

Know your enemy, his skills and his items. Also watch the way your enemy plays. Does your opponent last hit/deny very well? Does he know when to retreat when you go up to him? Determine the level of his skills. You need to empathize and predict your opponent’s movements. Always, constantly check his health, mana and items!
Aptitude, Assurance and Aggression

The three mental A’s you need to have. Aptitude. Be smart, and play smart. Know wheter you can fight your opponent. Predict your opponent’s move. Assurance. Be confident. Never be a chicken and back away when you can just stand your ground and still make it out a live by the last hit from Burning Spear. Aggression. Be aggressive. Never hesitate to harass when the opportunity arises.
Chasing Your Opponent

If you don’t have any disables, try to cancel your animation. If you don’t have lifesteal, this is much easier. Just manually cast your Burning Spear on your enemy and click where he will run to directly after Huskar attacks. If you must auto-cast, then as soon as Huskar attacks, click next to the hero or the hero again.
Animation Canceling/Orb Walking

Well the general idea is that when your hero casts a spell, the animation takes place. Once the effect of the spell has occured, there is some delay time from casting, such as backswing. This signifcantly wastes time when chasing or running away. In order to cancel the animation, you must issue another command such as moving or attacking. By doing so, the new command will cancel the delay and perform the new issued command. Orb walking is manually casting your spell that can be auto-casted to not attract creep aggravation.

For Huskar, since he only has an average movement speed, you should cancel the Burning Spear animation. Simply, after Huskar casts his spear, click on the designated location where your opponent will go to. Once he starts moving, click on your target again to cast another Buring Spear. He also has a small delay time after casting Inner Vitality/Life Break/Unholy Strength (from Armlet) and this might change his target. Make sure you click on your target after activting your skills.
Creep Advantage

Usually the case is, if your life is lower than your enemy’s, he will get greedy and chase you, regardless of your creeps attacking your enemy. Just try to let him attack you until your creeps arrive. When the creeps arrive, cast Inner Vitality if you have, Life Break your opponent and keep attacking the hero with your creeps using lifesteal. In most cases, you will live and receive +200 gold or so. Don’t forget the 3 A’s!

Don’t forget, Huskar has excellent regeneration. Not only from Inner Vitality but also from lifesteal. Use it properly as stated in the Combo section above.

7. Laning

Huskar is an overall a pretty balanced hero. I believe that he is capable of any lane situation as long as you play correctly. Huskar’s main role is harasser and farmer. Huskar does need to farm a bit for his items, such as Armlet of Mordiggian and Helm of the Dominator, etc. Honestly, there are just too many combinations of lane partner/enemy(ies) you can encounter. I can’t really cover much on laning. However, whatever the case is, always last hit/deny creeps. Here is the general concept.

1 on 1
This is probably the easiest. Just harass your opponents by manually casting Burning Spear so that you do not attract creeps. You will be able to dominate your lane if your enemy is a melee hero. You might also be out harassed if your enemy is a nuker or long ranged harasser such as Silencer, Enchantress, Leshrac, etc.

1 on 2
This might be tough or it could be really easy. If the lane is double nuker and double stunner, either ask for lane switch or lane partner as you will be out harassed. If the enemies are both melees, it will be much easier as you can just harass both. I cannot really cover much detail on this as there are too many combinations of heroes. Just basically play safe, smart and know when to harass. Watch your opponents and determine whether they have good cooperation or not. If they are very uncoordinated, the case usually is that you will be able to dominate your lane.

2 on 2 or 2 on 1
This is like 1 on 1 lane except you have an ally. Again, watch your opponents’ cooperation. Try to go for a kill if your ally is a disabler. Coordinate properly with your ally and try to go for a kill!

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Afterburn (Huskar) was harassing Lanaya at level 1 using Burning Spear. She was forced to stay away from the creeps, making her unable to farm. This is why Huskar’s Burn is such a great skill early game to establish lane control.

8. Farming

Basically, there are three ways Huskar can farm.

Creep Killing
The general concept is that Huskar can farm better with lower life as Berserker’s Blood will increase his attack speed and damage, giving him better ability to farm. Huskar’s attack animation is nice and his base attack time is quite low as well. Make sure you can dominate your lane so that you can farm more easily.

Hero Killing
Hero killing isn’t really considered “farming” but I just included it here as killing heroes give you gold. Try to kill heroes as much as possible to get money for your items. But always work within limits! Don’t go killstealing without permission!

Neutral Creep Killing
I only do this when dominating creeps and killing the creeps that I have attracted or just simply getting my life back. However, if you decide to go jungling, then this will be your main early game farming method. See below to learn how to Jungle with Huskar.

9. Jungling

With the permission and help from Sonicspear and Xenterex, I have included a Jungling Section. I personally don’t do this, but if you really enjoy jungling, then go ahead. This requires a different Skill Build though, but still follows the Item Build recommended.

Assuming that your ally buys a chicken for the team, buy 3 Circlets of Nobility in the start. Creep pull the camp at x:45 and x:15. If you have any spare time, you can either kill the easy camp, or attack the hard camp. Sonicspear advises that you go for the easy camp unti level 3. In 15 minutes, you should be able to have 4 Bracers and Boots of Speed. Also, because of Huskar’s Berserker’s Blood, he is capable of taking the hard camps from lower level.

Here is the recommended Skill Build for Jungling Huskar.

Level 01 | Berserker’s Blood
Level 02 | Inner Vitality
Level 03 | Berserker’s Blood
Level 04 | Inner Vitality
Level 05 | Berserker’s Blood
Level 06 | Life Break/Inner Vitality
Level 07 | Berserker’s Blood
Level 08 | Inner Vitality

And so on. Raise Burning Spear when you decide to start ganking heroes. Sonicspear and I both agree that with this, you should follow the recommended Item Build suggested, which includes Helm of the Dominator as lifesteal is needed.

Here is a replay to help you by Sonicspear. Attached File Sonicspear_Huskar_Jungle.w3g ( 67.67k )

This is a replay by Xenterex, with normal mode. Attached File Huskar_Xenterex1.w3g ( 76.3k )

10. Ganking

Huskar is capable of solo ganking hero from level 1 due to his stackable orb-skill which. However, I suggest you farm your items up first before you go for hero kills. Also, use domination to your advantage. I see so many people in pubs get Helm of the Dominator and never dominate creeps. Disables are your friends! Huskar doesn’t have disables until level 6 or whenever you decide to get Life Steal.

Determining the Role
Huskar can have many different roles depending on his item build. He can either be a tank, a carry, a ganker, a supporter, or everything! This might depend on your allies and enemies. Just know which role you are going to be and adjust to that.

Before Ganks
Know your hero and know your enemy. Check his items, levels, skills he raised, health, mana. Those are the must. Also, see which hero is up against you. If he is a nuker, just play with aptitude. It’s always great to have allies such as dominated creep or actual ally!

During Ganks
As I have stated previously in the Combos and Combat Strategy sections, just trade hits and be smart. Predict your opponents movements. Heal yourself if you need to. Know which orb you want to use. Aptitude, assurance and aggression are the mental keys to your victory. Don’t forget, stupidity is not aptitude!

After Ganks
If there are enemy heroes missing, then either go back to the fountain if you have critical life or go near your ally for safety and/or Double Heal yourself. Mostly, the enemy heroes are coming to get you with greed. Now if it is one hero that is gone, and you know you can fight again, then do so. Enemy heroes will underestimate Huskar’s regeneration and will regret it.

11. Team Battles

Team Battles occur during big pushes, usually in the middle lane. Here are some helpful tips.

Determining the Role
Just like above. Huskar can have many different roles depending on his item build. He can either be a tank, a carry, a ganker, a supporter, or everything! This might depend on your allies and enemies. Just know which role you are going to be and adjust to that.

Before Team Battles
Know the roles of the enemies. Decide which hero to take out first. Just like ganking, know your opponents’ items, skills, health, mana, levels, etc. These are crucial as knowing these can affect your battle significantly. If there is tank or carry, know when to cast Inner Vitality before engaging. If this is unnecessary, save it for later.

During Team Battles
You will mainly use Life Break during this stage in order to take out either the carry or the tank. Most of the time, the carry will have BKB on, so either save it until it finishes or cast it on a different hero. Make sure that you take out the pesky carriers before you shift focus on anyone else. Don’t forget aptitutde, assurance and aggression!

After Team Battles
Heal your allies and heal yourself by lifestealing. Keep pushing and know when to return. If all enemies are alive and most of your enemies have regenerated, then stay. The cooldown time also affects them as much as they affect your teammates’. It is advisable that you push as much as possible before retreating.

12. Replays

The English spoken is quite different as I played Malaysians (I’m Korean).

The replay might not showcase my strategy, as I have hard time playing good games.

I was finally able to play an okay game. It had many noobish deaths. Check it out! Attached File Garena_Huskar.w3g ( 824.16k )

Here’s a 1.22 patch replay by ha107642 using my playstyle. I haven’t been able to obtain 1.22 patch as of yet. I’ll upload his replay. Attached File n1huskar.w3g ( 465.84k )

13. Conclusion

To me, Huskar is a very fun hero to play with. He isn’t your typical strength hero, nor is he your typical troll. He is the only troll with self confidence issues. If you wish to play well, you need good teammates who has great general knowledge of the game and knows what they are doing.

The main reason why I have changed my guide was because I wanted my Huskar guide to be focused more on the strategy. Many people tend to have this thing with not reading the “strategy” section of many guides as they are very dull and boring and doesn’t outline specific strategies. I hope that my guide helped you. However, if you disagree with my playstyle, then that’s fine with me. Don’t forget, this is my strategy. I strongly encourage you to try your own strategies and create different ways of playing this great hero.

I’m not sure if this quote exists in the world. Someone else probably said it, but this is why I thought of while writing this new guide. Practice makes Permanent. Keep practicing, but you’ll never be perfect, which is why you will practice forever. However, the skills you have obtained through your effort will be permanent. All you need to do is drill in the concepts in your mind and practice! I hope you enjoyed reading my text-heavy, image-less guide and still learned something out of it. Comments and feedbacks please! Thank you!

14. Change Log
5/25/2008 – Guide Finished
5/27/2008 – Edited Item Justification part along with the In-Depth Skill and Item Strategy, Inner Vitality part.
5/30/2008 – Edited In-Depth Skill section and added new replay!
5/31/2008 – Rewrote entire guide to shift focus on strategies more than anything else.
6/01/2008 – Changed text colors and re-formatted table of contents. Erased Enemies section.
6/02/2008 – Added Jungling section.
6/05/2008 – Added Burning Spear and Helm of the Dominator section.
6/07/2008 – Edited Laning section. Added Animation Canceling in Combat Strategy. Edited Conclusion.
6/18/2008 – Edited Animation Canceling/Orb Walking section in Combat Strategy section.
6/24/2008 – Added screen shots with permission from Afterburn.
7/06/2008 – Due to popular demand, added my Item Build.
7/26/2008 – Added a 1.22 replay that was played by ha107642. Many thanks to him.

15. Credits
All my friends for disliking Huskar which made me use him lol.
Kalorful for writing Complete Idiot’s Guide to Sacred Warrior.
Afterburn for writing Afterburn’s Guide to Huskar, the Sacred Warrior.
Afterburn, again, for providing me with screen shots.
Sonicspear and Xenterex for providing the Jungling section.
ha107642 for providing replay for 1.22 patch.
Gotank for the first actual in-depth criticism.
Jthy for moving the guide to appropriate location and adding my guide to list of complete guides.
All the people who read this guide and commented on it.

Kardel Sharpeye,The Dwarven Sniper Guide by Widjayaman

Monday, August 4th, 2008
IPB Image

Range: 550 | | Move Speed: 290 | Primary: AGI
Str: 16 + 1.7 | Agi: 21 + 2.4 | Int: 12 + 2.6
Damage: 36 – 42 | HP: 454 | Mana: 208
HP Regen: 0.73 | Mana Regen: 0.65
Attack Speed: 1.34 (+ 21% IAS) | Armor: 2

“Kardel Sharpeye is a testament to his name and race. Using only his finely honed skills of marksmanship and his trusty rifle, he systematically destroys his opponents from afar. Taking great care to aim for the most vulnerable of areas, he is capable of severely injuring an opponent, and with a little extra time, has been known to simply dispose of an enemy in a single shot. His rifle is equipped with a secondary barrel, capable of launching a short burst of shrapnel at close range, causing massive damage.”
Table of Contents

.: I. Introduction

1. Pro & Cons
2. Why play Kardel?

.: II. Skill Descriptions, Build, and Explanations

1. Descriptions
2. Skill build & explanation

.: III. Item Build and Justifications.

1. Core Items
2. Order of Items
3. Core Items Justifications
4. Optional Items
5. Other Items & Mathcraft

.: IV. Strategy & Discussions

1. Early Game
2. Mid Game
3. Late Game

.: V. Allies and Enemies
.: VI. Countering Kardel
.: VII. Replays
.: VIII. Conclusion

.: I. Introduction :.

Welcome to the latest revision of Widjayaman’s Kardel Sharpeye guide. As many of you know this guide has undergo many, many changes as DOTA continues to evolve. I’ve never expected the guide to last this long to begin with, so I am very grateful that my contribution to the DOTA community has been helpful to many of its readers.

The latest map of 6.42 changes DOTA as we knew it quite drastically. Behind us are the times where a carry hero farmed all game for the prized Aegis-Rapier combo to take over the game. Matches are aimed to be more team oriented now than ever, and match length is getting shorter & shorter. As our understanding of the game continues to grow, its is of course necessary to reflect the change in this guide.

The purpose of this guide is to help players to have a better understanding on Kardel and what I feel is the most effective way to play this hero. I play DOTA for fun and only have limited time to do it, so if you feel the urge to criticize the guide because I’m not a IHL/CAL player then don’t bother reading the guide since Im not going to join any of that any time soon.

A brief history of the guide: Back in November of 05, DP lacks guides in general that of decent quality. I was still very new in DOTA (started playing September 05) and Kardel was my first hero. I wrote this guide solely because I liked Kardel a lot. This guide later was premiumed after the first hero guide contest (despite finishing second to SebastianBach’s doombringer guide) and thankfully still remains there until now. Am I pro? Not at all. However, I have spent numerous hours to research and playtest the guide and I consider myself to be decent when it comes to writing guides & communicating my thoughts ( if you remember way back then in 05, the majority of other guides were just horrible) I’m very happy to see more and more instances where better players finally take the time to write guides which are aimed for higher level play (which were a rarity back then). This is a continuing growth process to DOTA community and things will only get better.

CAUTION: A guide should apply for situations where players are of somewhat marginally equal skill and where teamwork are reasonably potent. In game where you own so much because enemies feed you, would you even need a guide? NO. Go naked rapier and you would probably still win. In a game where your teammates are total noobs, keep feeding, and you are constantly targeted in team battles, would a guide help? NO. Therefore, please proceed with such mindset.

[ 1. Pro & Cons ]


  • Longest range in the game
  • Excellent harraser, last hitter, & denier
  • Near invisible bullets (without any orb)
  • Excellent finisher with long range nuke
  • Innate (!) Bash
  • Extremely low cooldown ultimate


  • Weak, weak, weak.
  • No natural disable or escape mechanism
  • Low base damage
  • DPS Hero without Steroid spell
  • Movement speed on the slow side

[ 2. Why play Kardel? ]

The first thing we need to get out of the way is why should we pick Kardel? What makes him stand out above the rest? In general, ranged Agility heroes are meant to be a late-bloomer, item dependant, DPS hero. However, most DPS heroes have some kind of steroid spell which makes them extremely dangerous in combat. Think of Clinx’s strafe, Razor & Viper’s frenzy, Troll’s rampage. Kardel does not have a steroid-like spell, which makes his job of dealing damage harder. So why should we pick him?

I think the first obvious advantage Kardel has over other heros is range. He has the LONGEST range in DOTA. He can shoot at towers without getting hit. Add to the fact that he has a very fast attack animation (3000), Kardel is an excellent harasser, last hitter, & denier. The next this is obviously ‘Assassinate’ one of the best finishing move in the game. With long range of 2500, you can assassinate running away enemies with the click of a button. This makes Kardel an excellent ganker as well,

Therefore, your role in the team is first and foremost a damage dealer. Early game you should focus on harassing your enemies with your long range and getting last hit and denies. As the game progresses, you become a damage-dealer & ganker, quickly running in & out of battle and finishing up escaping enemies. You will help your TEAM to victory.

.: II. Skill Descriptions, Build, and Explanations :.
[ 1. Descriptions ]

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ScatterShot | Mana Cost: 120 – Cooldown: 12 – Casting Range: 750 –Casting Time: around 1 second – AOE: 200
Fire a ball of shrapnel on the air which promptly explodes, dealing damage in target area. Each pellet deals 10-25 physical damage.
Level 1 – 8 Pellets.
Level 2 – 12 Pellets.
Level 3 – 16 Pellets.
Level 4 – 20 Pellets.

Scoffed by many and loved by others, Scattershot remains one of the love/hate skill in the game. You either love it or you don’t.

  • The pellets deal PIERCING DAMAGE, which deals deals 150% to creeps, 50% to heroes BEFORE armor reduction, and a measly 35% to buildings.
  • Its casting range is actually longer than a Tower’s range, so you can cast it without the tower shooting at you back provided you have line of sight of the tower.
  • Scattershot at level 4 will kill a ranged creep instantly.
  • Don’t waste it on heroes. You most likely will deal more damage by plainly shooting at them.
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Headshot | Passive
Giving chance to stun target for a short duration and dealing bonus damage.
Level 1 – 30 damage, 25% chance, 0.1 second stun.
Level 2 – 30 damage, 30% chance, 0.1 second stun.
Level 3 – 40 damage, 35% chance, 0.2 second stun.
Level 4 – 50 damage, 40% chance, 0.2 second stun.

Excellent skill. Very annoying to enemies and it has a high percentage of happening. Basically a mini-MKB. It actually deals longer stun duration than MKB, but it gives you less bonus damage.

  • Headshot is considered a ‘Ranged Bash.’ The damage is hero type physical damage, that means it’s not blockable by magic immunity and it’s reduced by armour type hero resistance and armour value. The stun is blockable by magic immunity.
  • Which means, Headshot will trigger Linken’s disentangle and cooldown, allowing you to then assassinate an enemy hero with Linken.
  • BKB will ONLY block Headshot’s stun, but the bonus damage will still goes through.
  • Headshot works on your own creep, which is excellent for denying.
  • When you have MKB and both stun occurs at the same time (which is highly unlikely, but possible), the latest skill learned or item acquired will override the other. For example, if you Learn Headshot level 12-15 and then acquire MKB at level 16, when both stun occurs you will deal only MKB’s damage and stun duration.
  • Regarding Headshot + MKB : Remember that Bash stacks diminishingly.
  • One thing to point out is that Headshot is extremely useful to cancel Chanelling spell.Sand King doing a Burrowstrike – Epicenter combo? Start shooting at him and pray that Headshot kicks in.
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Take Aim | Passive
Permanently adds attack range.
Level 1 – Adds 55 range.
Level 2 – Adds 110 range.
Level 3 – Adds 165 range.
Level 4 – Adds 220 range.

The skill that gives you the longest range in the game, Take Aim is a skill that is useful at all stages of the game. Having more range gives you both offensive & defensive advantage, as you have an edge in reacting to the enemy.

  • At level 4 this skill makes your range 770
  • To be able to shoot outside of Tower’s range, you only need level 3 Take Aim.
  • Some people have argued that getting Level 4 Take Aim too early will give you problems with getting Experience. This is NOT true but it can happen. The Experience AOE is 1000 and your range is only 770. But when you are shooting the melee creeps from 770 away, the range creep will probably be outside your EXP range.
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Assassinate | Mana Cost: 175/275/375 – Cooldown: 30/20/10
Take time to draw the bead and then deals a large amount of damage at a long range.
Level 1 – Deals 355 damage at 1500 range, 1.7 seconds casting time.
Level 2 – Deals 505 damage at 2000 range, 1.6 seconds casting time.
Level 3 – Deals 655 damage at 2500 range, 1.5 seconds casting time.

The signature skill of Kardel. This is the targetting spell with the longest casting range in DOTA, which makes this one of the ultimate KS-ing skill. A proper use of Assassinate also makes or break a Kardel player. Ask yourself, are you the kind of player who will cast assassinate when your 4 other teammates are already surrounding this enemy hero to death?

  • Without any other Magic Reduction item, Assassinate will instantly kill enemy heroes below 266 / 378 / 491 HP at appropriate levels.
  • Note the casting time of 1.7, 1.6, and 1.5 seconds respective to their levels. Do not foolishly cast assassinate in the middle of enemies to shoot a running enemy because a stun will cancel your assassinate and probably you’ll be killed too.
  • Targeted enemy hero will have a buff status on its hero status saying that he’s about to be assassinated.
  • Assassinate’s cooldown was nerfed some version ago into 30/20/10 (before it was 5 seconds at level 3!)
  • When you’re invisible and you cast Assassinate, you will remain invisible until the last moment before your bullet fires.
  • Assassinate has a semi-true sight effect, which means you can target a wind walking away Clinx/Gondar/PL/Any other hero with lothar and it will still hit them. Note that neither you or your allies can see the enemy, only the spell does.
  • You must actually have vision of the hero to be able to cast it. This means either one of your ally / creep must be within range of that hero or you can plant observer wards to give you advantage.
  • Linken completely blocks Assassinate. Make sure Linken is on cooldown by either shooting at him a few times until Headshot fires or having your teammate cast a spell on the enemy first.
  • Just like any other ultimate, you can target an enemy with activated BKB but it will deal zero damage. Don’t waste it.
[ 2. Build & Explanation]

1.Take Aim
2. Headshot
3. Take Aim
4. Headshot
5. Take Aim
6. Assassinate
7. Headshot
8. Take Aim
9. Headshot
10. Stats
11. Assassinate
12-15. Stats
16. Assassinate
17-20 Scattershot
21-25. Stats
  • Take Aim & Headshot are interchangeable. Usually when the enemy in my lane is range / nuker I will go Take Aim first, and the other way around when the enemy is melee. Giving your more distance not only keeps you further away from harm’s way, but also allows you to harass a lot better because you can now shoot an extra shot or two before the enemy is outside your range.
  • I suggest you take stats points in level 10, and 12-15 before you take Scattershot. This of course can be flexible depending on game situations.. but on most games you’ll need to buff yourself up a little at this stage of the game. +10 all stats will help immensely.
  • Scattershot is suggested to be taken around level 17-20. OMG NOOB Scattershot sucks oneoneleven last hit is more g0su ~ I’ve heard it said. If you hate it so much, go ahead and skip it. I never said that Scattershot should replace last hitting, however there’s no denying that Scattershot accelerates your farming because you can clear a wave / neutrals camp, and switch to another location quickly. The argument that it pushes the creeps too far to the enemy tower is correct. Yep, you DO want the creeps to move forward in this case, since its progressing toward late game.
  • As expected, get assassinate whenever available.
.: III. Item Build and Justifications :.

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[ 1. Core Items ]

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[ Boot of Travel – Bracers – Desolator – Butterfly – Heart of Tarrasque ]

[ 2. Order of Items ]

Circlets, Tangos
(optional) Sobi Mask / Ring of Regeneration
Complete 2 Bracers & Boots
2 Mithril Hammer, Desolator Recipe
Boot of Travel Recipe
Eaglehorn, Quarterstaff, Butterfly Recipe
Reaver, Vitality Booster, Heart of Tarrasque Recipe

[ 3. Core Items Justifications ]

So long, Aegis-Rapier. The latest changes in DOTA have make Aegis-Rapier build infeasible for many heroes, even so for Kardel. He’s still pretty fragile with Aegis. Without it? There’s just no way I see this build to be feasible at this point.

IPB Image Boots of Travel | (2700)
Boots of Speed (500), Recipe Scroll (2200)
+90 Movement Speed
Teleport ability

I’m going to quote Beast_Pete’s clinx guide:

Boots of Travel gives the ultimate map control for a hero and its team: teleport. It’s true that Treads gives a better DPS thanks for the IAS, but as you won’t have a free slot at the time you buy Travel or Treads, you won’t have a slot for TP Scrolls. Also, tp scrolls allow you to teleport only on structures, while BoT allows you to teleport on creeps as well, which offers offensive uses of the item as well.

Simply put, Boot of Travel gives you unmatched flexibility to join battles / pushes / ganks / defense. Moreover, being one of the most targeted hero, this item is very vital to your survival. I will go into more explanation in the other items section.

IPB Image 2 Bracers | (1020)
2 Circlet of Nobility (370), 2 Gauntlets of Strength (300), 2 Recipe Scroll (350)
+228 HP; +78 MP
+0.36 HP/sec; +0.24 MP/sec
+6 damage, +6% IAS
+0.43 armor

Pretty straight forward starting items. 2 Bracers will replace Sange of the previous build. In addition it also gives a little mana.

IPB Image Stygian Desolator | (4420)
2 Mirthil Hammer (3220), Recipe Scroll (1200)
+60 damage
-6 armor to enemy target, 5 second duration

Corruption is the Orb of choice and here’s why: By the time you complete Stygian, you are no longer a solo hero. Face it, Kardel is not meant to be a 1v1. You are now helping your team in battles, pushes, ganks, and defense. Desolator helps your team termendeously in reducing enemy’s EHP, and it fits your role as a damage dealer. Your long range also helps you to stay out of trouble YET still contributing a great deal im team battles. In addition, the hammers in themselves are good value damage items.

IPB Image Butterfly | (6350)
Eaglehorn (3400), Quarterstaff (1150), Recipe Scroll (1800)
+60 damage
+60% IAS
+4.28 armor
30% Evasion

I expect Butterfly to be nerfed in the near future because as it is right now it’s a very good item that almost all AGI heroes are going to get. However this item will probably remain in the item build. Because of Boot of Travel, you desperately need the IAS and +60% is indeed nice. Evasion helps you up a great deal since you are so fragile, and gives you a decent amount of damage. Great item on Kardel as of 6.42.

IPB Image Heart of Tarrasque | (5500)
Messerschmidt’s Reaver (3200), Vitality Booster (1100), Recipe Scroll (1200)
+965 HP
+12.05 HP/sec regeneration

I think I’m going to get a lot of flak for getting Heart of Tarrasque but keep in mind first of all that most games will end by the time you finish your Butterfly. If the game is still going on, at this point your priority should be to increase your EHP. With Aegis gone, Heart is the obvious choice to toughen you up.

[ 4. Optional Items ]

IPB Image
[ Hand of Midas - Hood of Defiance – Buriza-do Kyanon ]

IPB Image Hand of Midas | (2010)
Gloves of Haste (610), Recipe Scroll (1400)
+30% increased attack speed
Activate: Transmute

With the game going at a faster rate, I feel that Hand of Midas is no longer mandatory. This is especially because you are rushing desolator as your first big damage item and Hand of Midas can delay it eventhough you will ended up getting your money back. One thing for sure, it does replaces your missing IAS from not getting Treads. And if you use it on every cooldown, you will get your money back in less than 30 minutes.

If you do decide to get Hand of Midas, please complete this ASAP to maximize its return.

Here’s the table with your top 8 bounty:

IPB Image

Therefore, it is a general rule that if feasible, go to the neutrals and convert the higher level creeps mentioned above for more gold. If you are transmuting normal creeps, transmute the range creep as they +10 more gold on average than the melee creeps.

IPB Image Hood of Defiance | (2350)
2*Ring of Regeneration (2*375), Planeswalker’s Cloak (650), Helm of Ironwill (950)
+8 HP/sec
30% spell reduction

Its pretty odd that they make Helm of Ironwill a part of this item when the armor bonus is gone afterward. I think they might as well replace it with recipe scroll. However, this item is your winning ticket against hardcore nukers. If you are facing more than 1 nuker in the enemy team, I suggest you replace 1 bracer with this item instead.

IPB Image Buriza-do Kyanon | (6200)
Crystalis (2350), Demon Edge (2600), Recipe Scroll (1250)
+75 Damage
20% Chance 2.2x Damage Multiplier

I doubt 99% of games will reach this point, but should it happen, I think Buriza is the natural choice at this point to amplify your DPS.

[ 5. Other Items & Mathcraft ]

IPB Image Orb of Choice?

Desolator is preffered over S&Y and Skadi because the other two does a crappy job in boosting your DPS, simple as that. With the game designed to be faster, it is important to boost your damage as early as possible, thus makes it non-viable to go either S&Y or Skadi anymore. Yes I do realize that Desolator ‘reveals’ your bullets, however at this stage of the game you are no longer playing Hide-and-Seek anymore. Moreover, Desolator is cheaper than both S&Y and Skadi

IPB Image Where did you go?

Yes, we finally do away with MKB, after I give in to the fact that its not the best DPS item on Kardel because he already has Headshot. You are not getting 30% chance of +90 bonus damage anymore, instead only 18% ( (100%-40%) * 30% ). The principal is similar to why heroes with innate criticals should not get Buriza.

IPB Image Which boots?

I am really struggling with this. Being a DPS hero without Steroid spell unlike Clinx, Razor, & Viper, I am really leaning toward Treads to give you the much needed IAS boost. However, ultimately, the unlimited teleportation wins out. In addition, +30 IMS is more crucial than +35% IAS for Kardel, being one of the slower heroes. I understand this point might be debatable, but game experiences should tell you that map control is the upmost importance in winning the game.

IPB Image Are you sure Desolator is better than all of these?

Since I know I’m getting a lot of flak for the Desolator choice Lets take a moment and throw some numbers around to see whether it’s really worth the hype I’m making it to be.

How important is keeping your shot ‘invisible’?

This seems to be a good half of the argument against Desolator, that it ‘reveals’ your attacks. We all know Sniper has a very subtle attack animation, which allows him to land a few shots before being detected by enemies. By ‘revealing’ your shots, the argument is that enemies now will focus fire you.

My take on it is this: Are the enemies only going to focus fire you if your shots are visible? Personally, if there’s a Sniper in the enemy team, I’m going to make sure we focus fire on him no matter what, whenever possible. The only time ‘invisible’ attacks helps you is in hiding your location IF you are out of enemy’s sight to begin with. The most common real-game situations that this applies to are in defensive situations, as in offense you will probably be in the main lane, and in ganks there’s no point to be hiding.

If you are backstabbing an enemy from the trees and you are alone, invisible attack wouldn’t help much because he will try to locate you in the trees and rape you then. If you have an ally(es), invisible attacks wont matter because they will hopefully take the attention away.

My personal conclusion is this: Invisible attacks is nice, but sacrificing it for corruption is more than worthwhile.

Can you give me numbers to chew on?

We’re going to look at some numbers & formulas to see whether Desolator is really that effective in boosting your DPS. Thanks to the Dota simulator in this forum, we have the attack-per-second number. Please don’t be intimidated by the formulas, they are quite simple if you take the time to look at them.

I’ve seen numerous ways people present the DPS calculation, however the most accurate numbers in my opinion is how many HP/sec does the enemy lose? This is ultimately what determines how fast you are killing them.

The simplified formula to determine loss HP/sec is X / ( 1 + 0.06B ), where X is your DPS, and B is the enemy’s final armor.

Lets assume the target has 10 armor, this means B will be 10 without Desolator, and 4 with Desolator.

Lets assume that Kardel is level 16 with 2 Bracers. His damage will be 83. Without any other IAS items, he is dealing .97 attack per second.

Headshot gives 40% chance of 50 damage which translates to 20 damage per attack.

Desolator | (4420)
Total damage = 143, Attack Per Second = .97
Gross DPS = (143+20) * .97 = 158.11
Target will lose 158.11 / (1.24) = 127.51 HP/sec

MKB | (5400)
Total damage 158, attack per second = 1.05 ( after 15% IAS )
MKB gives 18% (because of headshot) * 90 = 16.2 per attack
Gross DPS = (158+20+16.2) * 1.05 = 203.91
Target will lose 203.91/1.6 = 127.44 HP/sec

Buriza | (6200)
Total damage 158, attack per second = .97
Buriza gives 20% chance for 2.2X attack, which equals to 6.2 attack for every 5 attack, which equals (6.2-5)/5 = 24% bonus damage per attack.
Gross DPS = ( (158 * 1.24) + 20) * 0.97 = 209.44
Target will lose 209.44/1.6 = 130.9 HP/sec

Butterfly | (6350)
Total damage 143, attack per second = 1.32 (after 60% IAS)
Gross DPS = (143+20) * 1.32 = 215.16
Target lose 214.16/1.6 = 134.475 HP/sec

S&Y | (5100)
Total damage 115, attack per second 1.18
Gross DPS = (115+20) * 1.18 = 159.3
Target lose 159.3/1.6 = 99.56 HP /sec

Skadi | (7050)
damage 108, attack per second 1.11
gross DPS = (108+20) * 1.11 = 142.08
Target lose 142.08/1.6 = 88.8 HP/sec

As you can clearly see, Desolator is clearly the best DPS item for your money. The only item that give you more DPS is Buriza & Butterfly, and both of those costs almost 2K more gold than Desolator. And we havent even talked about the fact that reducing armor also amplified the damage of your teamates.

I wont bore you with more formulas, but after you have Desolator, Butterfly is your best DPS item. If Sniper if level 22 and the enemy now has armor of 12, getting Butterfly make Sniper deals 269.14 HP/sec loss, while MKB and Buriza give results of 234.88 HP/sec and 265.64 HP/sec respectively.

IPB Image I dont care what you say! I absolutely hate Desolator! My teamates are all nukers! I cant give up my invisible shots!

Whatever your reason is, there’s bound to be some of you who refuse to get Desolator for one reason or another. If you must skip Desolator then I suggest an alternative, and that is to rush Butterfly followed by Buriza-do Kyanon. 1v1-wise, this combo actually deals a little more damage than Desolator+Butterfly combo (for almost 2k more gold, of course). Remember that on Sniper, Buriza is always going to give you more damage than MKB, especially when you get it as a second DPS item.

.: Strategy & Discussions :.
[ Early Game (Levels 1-8) ]

Early game is extremely crucial for Kardel. If you feed from early on, its extremely difficult to play catch up with your team.

When the game begin, get your Circlets & Tangos and see if you can get mid lane. You can even solo mid if you are comfortable with your teamates. If you are playing pub, let your teamates know that you want them to holler if any hero is missing. You are very fragile and an early game gank would easily kill you.

Do not be afraid if you find yourself soloing against 2 heroes, especially if not both of them are nukers / range. You should be happier if neither of them have nukes.

You should be able to easily assess the skill of your enemy from the first couple of waves. How do they attack? Are they randomly attacking or are they last hitting & denying? What happen when you land a shot on them, do they immediately retreat (cautious), do they attack back (aggressive), or do they just stand there as if nothing happen? (dumb)

Establishing your Early Game dominance.

Kardel is one of the better Lane Controller because of his superior range and his annoying Headshot. Beat your enemies to Last Hit & Denies. Harass them when they try to land last hits. If he does not have a nuke, he will probably move back, at which point you then go to the side of your melee creeps and continue to attack him if he comes back. This way you are pushing your enemy outside of the EXP range, which results in him being underleveled.

If you see that a nuker is moving toward you, move back. This requires you to have a basic knowledge of what spells your enemy has and how much mana they have & whether they can afford to cast their spells on you. If you are facing Ogre Magi or CM for example, and he/she is moving toward you, you can probably assume that he/she’s going to fireblast/frost nova you, therefore move back. You have superior range, so you shouldn’t be having lots of trouble. Hang back a bit and consume your Tango if you’re in trouble.

If you are in red health, assess your opponents whether he has the capacity to kill you with his spells. If you have a nuker in your lane, its not a good idea to hang around, retreat to your fountain & heal. Buy a town portal and teleport back to your lane.

Using your range for your advantage

If you are in mid lane, it is a good idea to get obs. Ward to grant you vision of the uphill. I think its still worth it eventhough wards are very expensive now. Why? Because this makes it easier for you to control your lane because eventhough you have range, its doing you no good if you cant seem the enemies because they are out of your sight. I’ll post a screenie when I have time.

Early Game kill with Take Aim, Headshot, and Assassinate

The fun begins when you hit level 6. Quickly check your enemy’s health and whether you can finish him with assassinante. If you are soloing on the side lanes and your enemy is hanging around with half health and he is NOT a nuker / without escape mechasnism and especially melee, you may try to backstab him from these following spots:

IPB Image

Just go right behind him with sufficient range and start shooting at him. Make sure you predict the creep wave (do not attack when the creeps are gone as that means the new wave is coming and will attack you). If he runs away and you cant catch up then cast your assassinate. Remember that level 1 assassinate will kill enemies when he’s below 266 health providing he has no planeswalker cloak. However, to be safe, wait until his health go down to 250 because it will regenerate by the time your bullet is leashed.

A side note, since runes are available every 2 minutes, check the time and plan your backstab accordingly. A double damage / haste / invible runes can translate into a free kill as well.

IPB Image

In the example above I just started shooting at Bloodseeker when he came close to the creeps. You cant see it too clear in the first picture, but Headshot actually kicked in which helped me to take his HP down. Sensing danger, he ran away, which of course, is too late. smile.gif

Some things about assassinate:

  • Do not use Assassinate to KS, for goodness’ sake. If your SA ally has been blink striking Zeus and there’s no way Zeus’s gonna escape, then don’t even try Assassinating him.
  • Give kills to whom kills belong and your teammates will respect you for that.

  • Because of your Assassinate’s range, Observer wards can be extremely useful.
  • Although you have a far Assassinate range, you will lose your target if he moves out of your line of sight into the fog of war. Therefore, planting wards at strategic locations will definitely help you out. Please give me some time to find a proper screenshots to illustrate this. The basic principle is to put these wards in locations where your enemies will likely pass when they run away.

  • Assassinate is also good to be used to soften up heroes when you know you cant take them 1v1 and you are alone.
  • When you’re defending that tower and your allies are busy elsewhere, Assassinate the pushing enemies to soften them up. Hopefully you made them rethink their plan.

Once you get your Boot of travel, look for opportunities to help your teamates in battles. Should your enemies try to push the mid lane early, teleport to help your ally and hopefully net some kills from fleeing heroes.

[ Mid Game (Levels 9-16) ]

Nothing much change in the gameplay in mid game. By this time assess whether your team is losing or winning, or whether the game is stale.

If you are having trouble with your mana, its advisable to grab a Sobi mask ~ it will help.

Be very wary that you are most likely the prime target of ganks. Most enemies will target you for ganking at some point in the game, especially when you’re pushing alone. Most enemies will target you first in team battles. Anticipate this beforehand & let your teamates know. I actually feel when that SA / Clinx backstab you in the midst of team battles, its better to run INTO the battle rather than trying to leave the scene because most likely your teammate wont run back to help you out when they’re busy in a team battle.

As soon as you have Desolator start sticking together with your teamates, as corruption is meant to be shared.

Scattershot-ing wisely

Once you have level 3 Scattershot (whenever it is), you may start using it to clear creep waves or neutrals. Scattershot is one of the most newbie-friendly skill, however it doesn’t meant that there’s not a wrong way to do it. To do a proper scattershot at the creep waves, you need to have proper positioning and timing.

IPB Image

First, notice the first picture. Ignore the X as it was confirmed that it doesn’t mean anything. cattershot’s damage is simply random in an AOE of 360. Just make sure to get all the creeps inside the circle.

Secondly, do not blast your scattershot immediately. This is probably the biggest mistake scattershot users do because by doing so your creeps will KS you. Wait until the creeps engage, and weaken the enemy creep by manually shooting at the every creep once and then immediately release your scattershot after counting to three.

The last part is to always check your mana pool to make sure that you have enough to Teleport away should you be backstabbed.

Scattershot should NOT replace last-hitting. This is especially crucial early game as you want to keep the creeps on your side as much as possible. This is why we delay Scatter until mid-late game. Use it to clear neutrals, or to clear creeps quickly before retreating / teleporting to join pushes / defenses.

Scattershot is excellent for defense. You should be leaping for joy when a Broodmother / KOTL / Enigma is pushing with all their minions as Scattershot would wipe them out very quickly.

Assassinating Wind Walking enemies

When you play Kardel and your enemies are Wind Walking heroes like Clinx, Gondar, or any hero with invisibility, do not fret. Although in 1v1 you’re very susceptible to Backstab, in team battles you will put an end to their royal plan where they think they can just run away whenever they want with Wind Walk. How so? Because Assassinate sees the invisible. This applies to Clinx, Gondar, SA, Rootfellen, Broodmother, POTM, and any other heroes with Lothar. The key is to make sure you target them JUST AS they are windwalking / going invisible.

IPB Image
[click image for larger picture]

In these screenshots, I & my ally SK were pushing the Bottom scourge towers & Gondar came to defend.
In the second picture you can see that Gondar, sensing that his chance to win the battle is slim, decided to WW away. He thought he was safe, however you can see from the status bar that he’s about to die. I targeted him for an Assassinate. So he did die.

Backstabbing Lone enemy

As you farm in early mid game stage, watch for enemy who is foolish enough to push too deep by himself. In high level matches this wont happen, but in lower level ones this OFTEN happen, so keep your eyes open. The following screenshot illustrates a perfect backstab attack.

IPB Image
[click image for larger picture]

In the first screenshot you see where I am in the map (notified by the red dot.) I was farming at the bottom lane when I saw Razor pushing by himself. I made my move and prepare to backstab him.

On the second screen you see we engaged. I get a few shots at him before he saw me there and the tower was helping me out too. A perfect set-up.

The third screenshot you see Razor realizing he’s got no chance against me and the tower and run away.

Notice from the map that I’m very far behind him but since I have vision I have no problem casting my assassinate.

The Art of Tree-Shooting

What is Kardel’s role in team battle? You should have discovered it by now. Your role is to stay away from the main battle while taking your enemies down one by one and unleashing Assassinate to finish running heroes. One way you can do this nicely is by what I call ‘Tree-Shooting’ This is feasible before you complete your Desolator that ‘reveals’ your bullets.

Tree-Shooting simply means shooting from the trees. The idea is that WHENEVER POSSIBLE, don’t shoot from the main lane that’s visible to your enemies, but shoot from unsuspectable locations instead. You have 770 range and some that can go pretty far. This can be done effectively when you are defending enemies’ push or attacking with your team. With your near invisible shots in the middle of chaotic battle, most enemies wont realize that you were there, slowly killing them.

IPB Image
[click image for larger picture]

In the screenshot above, Lycan was charging to my noob ally Medusa, not knowing I was there to defend him. I asked medusa to purge him while I kept shooting.

Finally realizing that I was around, Lycan tried to back off. It was of course too late. happy.gif

Tree Shooting can be done in various places in the map. Be creative, and look for spots behind the trees before you go into battle. The following are some spots that are pretty common, obviously there are more spots in the Sentinel section for this.

IPB Image

The spots with yellow dots are the area you can shoot from in team battles. Make sure that you are coming in from directions where your enemies cant see that you are there.

[ Late Game (Levels 16-25) ]

Hopefully you are close to finish your butterfly at this time. Continue to do what you are doing, play smart, don’t go gung-hoo as you are still the number one targeted hero in your team regardless.

The Art of mind games
As you organize your pushes there’s bound to be times where its just not going well as planned. Enemies ready to defend at their towers, all AOE spells casted, one of your ally misclicked and ran into the enemies & got killed, you name it. Which then usually resulted in a retreat. This is when mind games comes to play.. because what you want is for your enemies to THINK that you are retreating, when you are not.

The basic principle is never go home empty handed. Empty out your mana before you retreat to the fountain & heal. Always cast assassinate if possible before you retreat.

If your team is retreating after pushing mid and the enemies are pushing back, check if there’s one of them with low health for assassinate. Level 3 assassinate can kill enemies with 491 HP and its not uncommon in the excitement of the battle for enemies to continue to chase eventhough he has lower than 500 HP when he thinks he has his allies to protect him. In that case, make it look like you are retreating, but go the the river instead (make sure they don’t see you) as follows:

IPB Image

Then if they are not chasing you to the river (most likely they wont), aim your assassinate to the low-health hero. After you net your kill teleport yourself into safety.

A well played early-mid game ensures a pleasant late game play, a confucionist once said. If you deny/harass effectively and getting kills plentifully, late game play should be a breeze for you. Remember your role is to be your team’s damager from AFAR. Let your tank / assassin barge into the battle first and support them from a distance. With your high damage, you should be able to help your team to victory.

.: V. Allies and Enemies :.
[ Good Allies ]

There are plenty of allies Kardel can work well with. A tank like SK, Lucy, Centaur, or Leviathan will drive the attention away from you. However there are some specific ones worthy to be mentioned.

IPB Image

CM, Traxex, & Rhasta are ideal lane partner with Kardel because of their disable / slow. You should be able to kill enemies when you are paired with any of these three. Just shoot shoot shoot while they are disable, and assassinate if they runs away.

SA + Kardel combo is very fun because as SA chases down the enemy, you can unleash your Assassinate to aid him.

[ Worst Enemies ]
IPB Image

Ah, where do one begin. Kardel’s low HP makes him an easy target if you don’t play carefully. In fact, most guides list Kardel in the ‘free food’ section because well, he’s simply fragile.

Clinx, SA, PA, Magina, SB, Ursa, Balanar, Lycan. There is almost no way that you will be able to engage them 1v1 when they get a head start on attacking you. Therefore be very careful, always watch the minimap to get an idea where they are. If they are nowhere to be seen, then be extra cautious and stick with your allies.

Countering SpiritBreaker – SB is truly one of the cheapest hero in the game. To counter him, first you need to stick with your allies. Secondly you need to cary a Town Portal scroll with you all the time before you have your boot of travel. Watch your status frequently so you know when you’re being charged. When you see that happen, Immediately Teleport yourself back to safety. If your allies are near, then call for help, and as soon as he appears proceed with the gank.

Countering Sand King – Sand King and his BurrowStrike – Epicenter can be definitely be a pain to low HP agility heroes such as Kardel. Do remember however that you have Headshot which cancels his Epicenter if it hits when he’s stil casting it. So look at your situations. If it is 1v1 and its still fairly early game, immediately run out of his Epicenter range. If its late game where you have higher AS or you have no chance to survive anyway, then immediately start shooting at him and hope that Headshot will cancel his ultimate. Seen this happen many times before. If he has BKB on, well just don’t get near him.

Countering Juggernaut & Luna – Stick with your alies / creeps to soften up their ultimate. If you see Juggernaut start to bladefury and you have no allies, immediately teleport to safety.

Countering Nukers – Hood of Defiance.

.: VI Countering Kardel :.
Having problems against a good sniper player? Here’s a few suggestions:

1. Take away Kardel’s range advantage
Unless you’re clearly dealing more damage per second, do not attempt to go gungho on a range duel vs Kardel. Backstab is the most effective way to kill Kardel. This can be done by the old-school surprise attack from behind, Invisibility, or blink.

2. DO NOT let him farm.
I am extremely pissed everytime we lost a game to enemy team that has a beefed up sniper who’s killing us because he was allowed to farm all game & my teamates didnt want to gank him. Initiate ganks to sniper – he’s weak & has no escape mechasnism, make life hard for him early on.

3. Take precautionary measures to counter his ultimate.
This is extremely hard to do in team battles since thats Kardel’s specialist. A good Kardel player will most likely get 1 kill from his assassinate in a team battle. But when going 1v1 and your HP is red, you know that running away is useless. Therefore, as soon as he stop shooting and assumes sniping position, use that window of opportunity to disable him. Hex & stun would cancel his ultimate and then you can run away. You can also get Linken or BKB and use that to block assassinate. Lastly, you can also try to get outside of assassinate’s range provided that none of his allies are chasing you. Also if any of your teamates own Mekasm tell them to use the heal the moment you see yourself targeted. There should be time to do this as assassinate has pretty long casting time.

4. In team battles, identify locations where Kardel might shoot from & target him first.
This is extremely important. If Kardel does not modify his shot, you will most likely not notice him shooting at you while you’re focusing on the main lane. In fact, I would recommend to send out a scout, prefferably a disabler / nuker, to go around the main lane where the team battle is about to assemble and surprise Kardel there.

.: VII. Replays :.

Attached File Sniper_Carry.w3g ( 690.93k ) Number of downloads: 3302

QUOTE(Chameleon12 @ Apr 24 2007, 06:00 PM) *
I like this guide so here’s your replay. Couldn’t get a scrim game cause no one on my team wants me to use sniper, but this one’s quite good for a low level game.

Other than me, the best score on my team is 4-10. Average is around 2-12. I go around 27-7. We eventually lose, but the game shows the build etc. Use it if you want.

.: VIII. Conclusion :.

This section marks the end of this guide. I sure hope you have find it useful and better than before. Thank you for all of you who have supported me all these days to keep going, this is our guide together. Please check back as I will continue to update this guide. I welcome constructive criticisms with open arms and ignore ignorant flamings mercilessly. Happy Sniping.

Azwraith, The Phantom Lancer Guide by ~HoneY~

Thursday, May 29th, 2008

This guide was created by ~HoneY~

Dota Allstars Azwraith the Phantom Lancer

1. Introduction.
2. Stats.
3. Skills.
Manta Build-
4. Skill Build.
5. Core Item Build.
6. Justification of Item Build.
Skadi Build-
7. Skill Build.
8. Core Item Build.
9. Justification of Item Build.
10. Luxury Items.
11. Other Items.
12. General Strategy.
13. Best Enemies.
14. Worst Enemies.
15. Good Allies.
16. Screenshots.
17. Extra.
18. Replays.


Phantom Lancer Stats Dota Azwraith Phantom Lancer

Azwraith the Phantom Lancer is one of the best lategame heroes in Dota Allstars if played properly and an excellent pusher. Fragile and weak early game but capable of producing an army lategame. He is not the best hero-killer, however you can still get some kills.


Range: 100 | | Move Speed: 290 | Primary: AGI
Str: 18 + 1.5 | Agi: 23 + 2.8 | Int: 16 + 1.7
Damage: 45 – 67 | HP: 492 | Mana: 208
HP Regen: 0.79 | Mana Regen: 0.65
Attack Speed: 1.31 (+ 23% IAS) | Armor: 2.2

To check out Complete Stats click here.

-Cool model and icon based on Kimahri from FFX.
-Good survivablity thanks to Dopplewalk.
-Fun to confuse your enemies and make them waste their skills on illusions.
-Good base damage and agility growth.

-Low base movement speed.
-Weak early game.
-Low HP.

From this we learn that Phantom Lancer has a very good agility stat growth and consequently he has good armour and attackspeed. He also has an alright intel growth and his mana pool is sufficient for his two active abilities. On the negative side, his str growth is very low (one of the lowest in DotA Allstars) and so he also has very low HP.

Spirit Lance (T)Dota Allstars Phantom Lance

Throws a magical lance at a target, slicing it and slowing it down for 3 seconds.
Level 1 – Deals 110(82.5) damage and Cripples for 10%.
Level 2 – Deals 150(112.5) damage and Cripples for 20%.
Level 3 – Deals 215(161.25) damage and Cripples for 30%.
Level 4 – Deals 310(232.5) damage and Cripples for 40%.
Mana Cost: 140
Cooldown: 9

A good nuke and slow spell that deals decent damage. Helpful through out the game as the damage is still not too bad lategame and the slow is very helpful in both chasing heroes and preventing heroes from chasing you and your allies. Numbers in brackets refers to damage done after magic resistance.

Dopplewalk (W)

Azwraith Dopplewalk

Allows the Phantom Lancer to become invisible for a period of time, leaving behind a duplicate of himself to confuse enemies. 10% movement bonus at all levels.
The Dopplewalk image lasts 20 seconds, and invisiblity and movement bonus on Lancer lasts 12 seconds.
Dopplewalk image deals 25% damage and takes 300% damage.
Level 1 – 150 mana.
Level 2 – 120 mana.
Level 3 – 90 mana.
Level 4 – 60 mana.
Mana Cost: 150/ 120/ 90/ 60
Cooldown: 30/25/30/15

A very helpful surviving/chasing/ambushing skill with a low mana cost at level 4. The image created helps in making a large image army lategame. Care should be taken when using this skill as the duration of invisibilty is not as much as Windwalk and Vendetta, it is only 12 seconds. The cooldown is pretty long at early levels so take care not to use it much incase you need to suddenly escape, eg. you get ganked. This move should not be used as a harrassing skill early game except when you feel relatively safe and have a ally around, or the enemy hero has no stun skill. The speed boost is also helpful when chasing heroes.

Juxtapose (X)

Dota Juxtapose

Whenever the Phantom Lancer attacks he will randomly create a duplicate of himself. Limit of 8 images.
Duplicates last 15 seconds, deals 25% damage and takes 300% damage.
Level 1 – 3% chance.
Level 2 – 6% chance.
Level 3 – 9% chance.
Level 4 – 12% chance.
Mana Cost: N/A
Cooldown: N/A

A unique passive skill that causes confusion and chaos at lategame. Azwraith is usually able to create a large army of images very quickly thanks to this skill. It is very rare to see a good Phantom Lancer lategame without any images around him.

Phantom Edge (D)

Gives the Phantom Lancer an edge in combat by allowing him to evade attacks and increasing Juxtapose’s image generation. Additionally, it enables his images (including Juxtapose image, Dopplewalk image, and Manta Style image) to generate their own images.
Level 1 – 5% evade, 3% chance illusions will duplicate, 2% increase in Juxtapose.
Level 2 – 10% evade, 5% chance illusions will duplicate, 4% increase in Juxtapose.
Level 3 – 15% evade, 7% chance illusions will duplicate, 6% increase in Juxtapose.
Mana Cost: N/A
Cooldown: N/A

A nice passive ultimate that aids in your production of images greatly. Also gives decent evasion to both you and your images.

Manta Build.This build is more for pub games, where you can get some early-mid game kills by ambushing heroes that are farming alone. This build allows you to get some kills, but you must also farm to became the effective late game hero PL is. Neglecting farming and only going around trying to get kills is not recommended.

4.Skill Build.

Level 1:


Level 2:

Spirit Lance.

Level 3:

Spirit Lance.

Level 4:


Level 5:

Spirit Lance.

Level 6:


Level 7:

Spirit Lance.

Level 8:


Level 9:


Level 10:


Level 11:


Level 12:

Phantom Edge.

Level 13:

Phantom Edge.

Level 14:


Level 15:


Level 16:

Phantom Edge.

Level 17:


Levels 18-25:


Why did you get Spirit Lance and DoppleWalk early game ?Spirit Lance is learnt at early game as it does good damage and it is useful for harrassing and may also get you some kills if you have a lanebuddy. DoppleWalk is very good for escaping and ambushing and can be used for harrassing if you are near your own tower. Dopplewalk is learnt at level 1 for emergency use.

Why not just 1 level of Dopplewalk for escaping ?

The manacost of level 1 DoppleWalk is 150 and you may not have enough mana to use it in emergencies whereas level 4 DoppleWalk has a manacost of only 60. It also lowers the cooldown. Since this build focuses on getting some early kills, Dopplewalk needs to be maxed early on.

No Juxtapose early game ? ZOMG!!!11!!! you’re a n00b !!!

Why would you level up Juxtapose early game ? You’re barely attacking and so won’t produce any images. The images that you do produce will deal like 15 damage, which is worse than creeps.. dry.gif and they will die in two or three hits.

Why did you get only 2 levels of stats at levels 9 and 10 ? Leveling up more stats is much better than Juxtapose because your images are still too weak !!!

Although that may be true, images are very helpful in farming. When you have 3 or 4 units attacking a single creep it is almost guaranteed that you will get the last hit. They also greatly help in pushing and help you to take out towers and thus earn a large chunk of gold. They also help in neutral creeping, which is a necessary task for Azwraith.

Why did you get 2 levels of stats ? Juxtapose is much better !!!

It adds a nice boost to all attributes and helps increase your HP, damage attackspeed so that when you do get Juxtapose you create images much faster and they are stronger and more helpful.

Why did you learn only 1 level of Juxtapose and then Phantom Edge ?

Phantom Edge does not grant the real PL a chance to make illusions unless you already have atleast 1 level of Juxtapose. So learning 1 level of Juxtapose is worthwhile so that when you do learn Phantom Edge you get all the benefits possible from it.

5.Core Item Build.

Total Cost = 16 770 gold.

The basic order should be 2 Bracers, Boots of Speed, Diffusal Blade, Yasha, Reaver, finish Manta, Boots of Travel, finish heart. That is the usual order for when I play but It may differ slightely in each game depending on how well you are farming or how many Purge charges you have left.

*Note: Upgrade Diffusal Blade to Manta only after you have used up all the charges, or you feel that Purge is no longer helpful to your team and that you need the pushing power Manta gives you. Sometimes getting Heart before Manta is better.

6.Justification of Item Build.

Boots of Travel is good for PL. A great boost to your low movespeed, and the Teleport ability is very helpful for pushing and defending lategame. Much better than Treads.

Bracers for the extra HP and stats early game.

Yasha is the best way to increase the damage and attack speed of both you and your illusions. It also gives 2.3 armour and 5% movespeed to both you and your illusions. Very good item and very effective for its cost.

Diffusal Blade/Manta Style is the number one orb effect for PL and it is a must have. Your images burn mana. At lategame with 5 illusions and yourself attacking a target you will burn 6 x 36 = 216 mana for each attack. Purge from Diffusal Blade is also very helpful. The stats and HP from Manta also benefits illusions.

Heart is an excellent item, giving both you and your illusions what you desperately need, HP. Gives 965 hp and excellent regen. Makes your illusions stronger and able to tank towers/heroes/creeps for much longer.

Why not get Yasha first? Why get Diffusal Blade first?

Purge will be more helpful for both you and your allies than Yasha slight damage and MS boost.Upgrade to Manta Style only after you have used up all your purge charges or you feel that you no longer need purge and need extra images to start pushing better.

Why not get mass Yashas instead of a Butterfly ?

Yes, I know two Yashas are much better and cost effective than a Butterfly, however they take up 2 item slots and you need other items aswell by lategame. Why buy an extra one or two Yashas if they are going to be sold as soon as you can afford an Eaglehorn. People will also argue that you do not need the evasion from Butterfly as you already have 15% evasion from Phantom Edge, but why wouldn’t you want an extra 15% evasion for both you and your illusions?

Skadi Build.
This build is more for serious games, where you can support your allies with Spirit Lance. With this build you get no/few kills early game and your main goal is to rush your Radiance. After Radiance, money starts coming in real fast and you can build up your Skadi pretty quick. This build makes you an excellent pusher and you become one of your teams most important heroes lategame.
7.Skill Build.

Level 1:


Level 2:

Spirit Lance.

Level 3:

Spirit Lance.

Level 4:


Level 5:

Spirit Lance.

Level 6:


Level 7:

Spirit Lance.

Level 8:


Level 9:

Phantom Edge.

Level 10:


Level 11:

Phantom Edge.

Level 12:


Level 13:


Level 14:


Level 15:


Level 16:

Phantom Edge.

Level 17:


Level 18:


Level 19:


Level 20-25:


Why do you max Spirit Lance early game ?Spirit Lance is learnt at early game as it does good damage and it is useful for harrassing and may also get you some kills if you have a lanebuddy.It is your only nuke and is very effective early game.

Why just 1 level of Dopplewalk for escaping ?

Since this build does not focus on getting early kills/chasing heroes only one level of Dopplewalk is sufficient for escaping emergencies.

Why do you get stats at levels 4 and 6 ? Juxtapose is much better !!!

It adds a nice boost to all attributes and helps increase your HP, damage and attackspeed so that when you do get Juxtapose you create images much faster and they are stronger and more helpful. Survival is the most important part in this stage of the game and the extra HP from stats is needed to increase PL ’s low HP.

Why did you learn only 1 level of Juxtapose and then Phantom Edge ?

Phantom Edge does not grant the real PL a chance to make illusions unless you already have atleast 1 level of Juxtapose. So learning 1 level of Juxtapose is worthwhile so that when you do learn Phantom Edge you get all the benefits possible from it.

Why did you max Dopplewalk at levels 17,18 and 19? Why not leave it till levels 23,24,25 ?

This is the part of the game where you may need to chase fleeing heroes more often, after team battles/encounters. The much faster cooldown will will be necessary as you may find yourself in trouble more often than in earlygame. Also, you can use the Dopplewalk illusion to help you create many illusions much faster. By this stage of the game, you should have your Skadi, so your HP is pretty high hence getting stats is not that crucial.

8.Core Item Build.

Total Cost = 16 095 gold.

The basic order should be 2 Bracers, Boots of Speed, Radiance, Point Booster, Boots of Travel, finish Skadi. This is not a set order and should be modified to suit different conditions for each game.

9.Justification of Item Build.

Boots of Travel is good for PL. A great boost to your low movespeed, and the Teleport ability is very helpful for pushing and defending lategame. Much better than Treads.

Bracers for the extra HP and stats early game.

Radiance is excellent because of the Immolation. Images do not get the +60 damage but they do get the immolation. Excellent when pushing as immolation will cover the whole lane and all the enemies.

Skadi is for all the stats it gives, which makes PL and his illusions very versatile. Illusions do not slow but it is still worthwhile as illusions can hit the enemy while the real PL slows them down.

Starting Items.

For starting items I suggest 2 sets of tangos, 2 clarity potions, a gauntlet and an ironwood branch. Tangoes for hp regen, clarity potions to keep mana up to harrass with Spirit Lance. Gauntlet is better than more branches as it can later be upgrade to a bracer and PL does not really need anything early game besides HP. PL should not be buying chicken, let your teammates do that. PL needs to save as much gold as possible to farm for his late game items so he can own later np.

10.Luxury Items.

Buriza is worthwhile, but only after Heart and Butterfly. Images do critical, althouth the criticals deal much less damage (a % of the real PL’s critical depending on what type of illusion they are) You do not really have to worry about your higher critical damage giving you away because PL usually has so many images and it is very difficult to tell which PL got that certain critical, especially when all the PL’s are moving and other actions are occuring in battles.

Heart is an excellent item, giving both you and your illusions what you desperately need, HP. Gives 965 hp and excellent regen. Makes your illusions stronger and able to tank towers/heroes/creeps for much longer. A second Heart makes your images very tanky and pushing will be a breeze as illusions can tank so much tower/hero/creep attacks. A third Heart however, is not recommened because 3.5k HP is sufficient and other attributes such as Attack speed and Damage are also required to make PL fully effective.

Butterfly is good because it gives a nice 30 agility. The 30 agility results in 4.29 armour, 30 damage and 30% attack speed that both you and your illusions benefit from. Also gives evasion of 30%, higher than your evasion from Phantom Edge. Make sure you get Eaglehorn first, so that images get benefits aswell straight away. The 30 damage and 30 % attackspeed don’t help your illusions, but it still is a great item.

11.Other Items.Power Treads.


Boots of Travel are a necessity on PL. He needs the Teleport ability to defend/push and to increase his and his images pathetic base MS. Power Treads are not a good item for PL. The attack speed does not benefit his illusions, the movespeed is also too little. PL is a pushing hero and he has low base movespeed of 290. BoT are much better than Treads on PL.

But this item helps in making images faster in ealry game because of the attack speed increase !!!
Yes it does, but remember, we are not trying to make illusions early game and so it is not needed.

Cranium Bashers.

Not a good item on PL. Illusions do not benefit from the extra damage and the tiny extra HP is hardly noticable. Images do not Bash. The blue swirl thing appears, but the enemy is not stunned. For this item to be effective, you require more than one and why would you waste gold and item slots for items that only help in a 1vs1 situation. Do not get this item, you are not Magina nor are you Troll.

Nulls and Wraith Bands.


Bracers are much better than Null Talismans or Wraith Bands for almost every hero, including PL, in almost all situations. You have two active spells and together they use 200 mana, you have sufficient mana to use them without any extra intel items, hence Nulls are unnecessary. Bracers are much better as they give you much better survivability and HP, the thing PL desperately needs more of. However, if you are in a easy lane and do not get harrassed much then Wraith Bands will be a good option instead of Bracers as they provide good damage and are cheaper.


The empty bottle is a very good item that has become vastly popular in recent times. It provides excellent HP and Mana regen aswell as the ability to store ruins. Bottle is a good item for almost any hero and PL is no exception. Since rune whoring is left to the ganker of the team, (eg. Veno or Vengeful or w/e) it is not really a good idea to whore all the ruins with PL, nevertheless a decent regen item.


Vanguard is not really a great item for PL. PL’s main concerns are AoE spells which wipe out all his illusions and Vanguard does nothing to help this except for the increased HP which can be achieved by Bracers for a cheaper price and extra stat boosts aswell. The damage block is rather unneccessary, especially since illusions don’t get it. To sum it up, Vanguard is a early tanking item and PL is a lategame hero, it simply slows down his core items and is not needed.


Images do not benefit from the bonus damage, nor do they cleave. The HP and Mana regen is nice, but it is not wise to spend this much money on an item for such few benefits. Do not get this item.

Monkey King Bar.

Not a good item for PL. Images do not benefit from the 75 bonus damage in DotA Allstars, nor from the 15% attackspeed and they dont ministun and deal the bonus 100 damage. If you want to increase your DPS, get a Buriza. Do not get this item.

Dagger of Escape and Lothars Edge.

You already have Dopplewalk as your escape mechanism, you do not need either of these items.

Orb Effect Items.

Manta Style and Eye of Skadi are the 2 best orb effects on Phantom Lancer, getting any of these would be a sub par build and you wouldn’t be playing Phantom Lancer to his maximum potential.

Multiple Yashas.

Although the movespeed does not stack on neither you nor your illusions, an extra yasha is still alright. Yasha is the cheapest way to increase agility. Two yashas cost 4100 gold and give 32 agility whereas an Eaglehorn costs 3400 and gives 25 agility. Instead of getting a Butterfly, you may want to just get another Yasha, this is only when you think you can end the game quickly. If you think the game is going to last longer, do not waste money on a second yasha and just save up for an eaglehorn as it gives more benefits. Two extra Yashas is not very wise, as having 3 Yashas in your inventory is wasting half your item slots for only a little damage and attackspeed. If the game goes on for a long time, you will have to sell the Yashas to make room for better items, so it is a waste of gold.

Aegis Divine Combo.

Since you have to kill Roshan to get Aegis this combo is no longer viable. PL has great difficulty soloing Roshan because of Roshan’s anti-illusions aura, which owns PL like np.

Hand of Midas.

Images do not benefit from the attackspeed increase. By mid game, with your high base damage, good attack speed and a decent amount of images you will have no trouble farming. Do not get this item.

Vladmirs Offering.

Images do not lifesteal, even though they have the shiny animation on them. They do not benefit from the 5 armour. Asking a melee ally to get this item would be much better, as you need all your item slots to buff your images.

12.General Strategy.

Concerning lanes, PL should go either top or bottom.PL does not need to solo and would do much better with an ally.If you are very good at last hits/denies then you could solo if you want, but it is not really recommened.

Play safe, do not tank creeps and don’t rambo. Try to last hit and deny as with any other hero. Take note that PL’s attack is slightly delayed, meaning the damage he deals occurs slightly after he actually attacks.
Don’t spam spells early, use tangoes and mana potions whenever necessary, however be conservative. If your ally has some stun/slow/nuke, try to net some kills.

Basic Tips

It is possible to dodge targetted spells and any effects they cause with good timing. Spells like Magic Missile and Storm Bolt that have a projectile can be dodged by using Dopplewalk at just the correct time. If timed correctly, neither you nor illusion will be damaged or stunned. This rather difficult to time and you should practise dodging projectiles to become more profficient at it.

In battles with other heroes try and use Dopplewalk at the right time to make them waste spells on your illusions rather than on you or your allies. Since most players will use their ultimates only when they think they will get a kill, (eg. Finger of Death, Doom, etc) you should use Dopplewalk when you have yellow HP. If you Dopplewalk straight away then they will most likely not waste any spells as a few hits on the illusions and they will realise it is not the real PL. You can also evade spells by using Manta Style’s Mirror Image at the righ time, this requires practice aswell as good instincts.

If you get ganked, don’t Dopplewalk straight away unless you are being ambushed by multiple heroes that have many disables/stuns. Hit the hero a few times and then Dopplewalk as your HP starts to drop a little bit, this way they will use spells as they think it is the real PL and you will have caused them to waste their spells. Use Spirit Lance on them to fight back and if they have low HP you may be able to get a kill, show them that the predator has become the prey.

Spirit Lance has a pretty long animaton time, PL jumps in the air, throws his lance and then lands back down. You can animation cancel Spirit Lance to save time and help when chasing heroes, simply give PL another order as soon as the lance has been thrown and he will move straight away, saving time.

When getting chased after just having killed a hero during late game and you have an army of illusions with you do not send all the illusions back to base. Split your army up, send some illusions in each different direction and hide yourself among on of the groups. This will increase your chance of escaping as the enemies will not know which group to chase.

When pushing the towers/rax, most likely the enemy will be waiting for you and they will be ready to use their AoE spells to destroy your army of illusions. To counter this, send in your illusions in groups or spread them out a bit so that not all can be wiped out with a single AoE spell. Also, don’t forget to send your illusions to keep a look out in the area to prevent your team from being ganked by heroes hiding in the forest or coming from behind, etc.

By late game, PL will usually have atleast 3 or 4 illusions with him most of the time, you can use these illusions for blocking the path of the enemy if they try to chase your allies or to block their path when they try to run away, simply use the illusions to stand infront of their path and block their way the same way that you would creep block. This is rather difficult to do and requires heaps of practice aswell as good micro.

Manta Build.

Early Game. Levels 1-8.

If you are soloing and you are versing a low hp hero it is still possible to get First Blood. When the enemies HP is about 2/3 thanks to harrassing from Spirit Lance, Dopplewalk behind them. Make sure you control your Dopplewalk illusion so that they do not know you are invisible. Just send your Dopplewalk illusion back, but still in exp range, and make it hold position. Move it forward and back slightly to make him think it is the real you, not an illusion. Once the creeps have passed and start attacking each other, break invisibility by hitting him and use Spirit Lance, keep hitting and chase untill you can use Spirit Lance again. Hopefully this will get you First Blood or atleast an empty lane to farm in as they go back to heal.
Do not chase near tower, slow movement speed + low hp = certain death for you.

If you are solo and versing 2 heroes, just play defensivly and don’t go for early kills. Our goal at this point in the game is to stay in lane as long as possible and farm as much money as possible.

Mid Game. Levels 9-16.

By level 11/12 you should have your Boots of Speed, 2 Bracers and parts of/maybe all your Yasha. With average hp, decent movespeed, good attack speed and a nice nuke/slow you can get a few kills.
Using Spirit Lance twice on a hero will do 460 damage, AFTER magic resistance. This is about half of the total HP of most heroes at this time, not to mention it also gives you 6 seconds of slow to keep hitting them.

If you see heroes with low hp and no disable/slow (eg, Sniper, Razor, Zeus,etc.) then you can probably kill them. Dopplewalk when you are near them, but not near enough for them to see your illusion, we dont want them to know we are nearby, invisible or not. Once you are close to them just use Spirit Lance and keep hitting them, chase, use Spirit Lance again and another few hits will get you a kill most of the time.

If they are a low hp hero but have a stun or disable (eg, Vengeful Spirit, Crystal Maiden,etc.) then Dopplewalk and send your illusion to go near them at the same time as you. This will cause them to use their stun/disable on your illusion, after they do, Spirit Lance them and start hitting them. If they don’t use any skills on your illusion, then Spirit Lance and fight anyway, you have a good chance of winning and you can Dopplewalk away if things turn out bad.
Don’t try to ambush heroes with 2 or more disables ( eg, Lion, Rhasta, etc.) If there are no low HP heroes farming by themselves then simply go to a lane and farm. If the level 1 towers are already down, then go farm neutral creeps.
Don’t worry about getting ganked, simply Dopplewalk and run away if you do get ambushed. Try to get enemies to waste their spells on your illusions whenever possible. One way to do this is to use Spirit Lance and then very quickly Dopplewalk, they will think it is the real PL since you just used a spell. If the enemies get wards to counter your Dopplewalk, by yourself a gem and go ward hunting.

You can ambush/Gank but don’t make it your priority, keep in mind that you have to also farm so that you can be a monster when lategame comes. Of course this does not mean just farm farm farm, if your teamates ask for you to come help push or if the enemies are attacking your base towers then ofcourse go and help. Help your teammates in ganking heroes, you have 2 slows, use them. Don’t always use Spirit Lance to last hit, use it for the slow so your allies can whack the hero too, not just so you can last hit. Help your allies if they are being chased, slow the enemy with either Purge or, preferably, Spirit Lance as it is not limited to 10 charges.

Late Game. Levels 17-25.

After your 10 charges of Purge have been used up, or when you think its about time to get Manta, upgrade Diffusal to Manta. With Manta and Phantom Edge PL will be an insance pusher. With Boots of Travel and your illusions it is your job to teleport all over the map and push down towers and cause confusion in team battles, aswell as dealing damage.

Skadi Build.

Early Game. Levels 1-8.

Early game don’t try and get kills if you are soloing unless the enemy in your lane is not so good. If you are soloing against 2 heroes then definetly don’t try, PL is much to fragile early game. If you are with an ally you can get a few kills by using your skills together, communication is the key. Basically just try to farm as much as possible, the success of this build relies on how fast you can finish Radiance.

Mid Game. Levels 9-16.

By mid game, you should have saved up 2.8k or so gold, continue to farm untill you have your relic and eventually Radiance. Don’t go hunting heroes unless your allies come to your lane to gank, simply keep farming. If farming in your lane is not an option simply go to another lane or go neutrals. Use your Dopplewalk Illusion to tank the neutrals for you. If the enemy team are doing a 5man push, going to defend is not always the best option. PL early game is rather useless with no AoE and such low hp. Only go to defend if they are attacking the base tower and there is a chance they might take out your rax. If they are only pushing the first or second towers then continue to farm. The faster you finish Radiance, the better, you will become helpful after you have Radiance. After you have Radiance, you can contribute to your team’s pushes and you will be able to farm much quicker. In team battles, make sure either you or your illusions are directly in the mid of the battle so that all the enemy heroes will be hit by Radiance’s Immolation.

Late Game. Levels 17-25.

Skadi shouldn’t take too long to farm and once you have it you will be very strong. Buffed stats, frost attack, many illusions and Immolation will mean you will be a great pusher. Teleport around the map and push lanes, you illusions can survive after you TP away, just control them and make sure they are attacking the creeps and they should spawn more illusions, in this way you will be able to push 2 lanes at once. Basically here, just push, own take out rax, gg.

When you are killing a hero keep the real PL attacking him to slow him down and control half your illusions to also attack him. The other illusions should be sent infront of the hero to try and box him in, this is will allow you to have way more hits on the enemy and with Spirit Lance’s slow and Frost attack the enemy should rarely get away.

13.Best Enemies.

What makes him a threat is his range, when you Dopplewalk and go near him, he becomes very easy to kill. Low hp, no disable/stun and slow movespeed make him an easy target.


Low HP, slow ms, no stun/disable make him an easy target. Tricking him into wasting his spells on illusions by sending them in first is also a good idea.


Low HP, slow ms, no stun/disable make him an easy target. Lategame he can be a real threat though, especially with the Chain Lightning from Mjollnir, which is a popular item on him.


Low HP and damage means he is only strong when he is lifestealing. Attacking Illusions does not let you lifesteal so basically, as long as he is attacking an illusion, he should go down fast.


Low HP, slow MS and after you have burnt his mana away, useless. Send illusions to wherever you think there may be mines to trigger and waste them.

14.Worst Enemies.PL, like most illusion heroes fears AoE nukers the most and so they are his worst enemies. These are your specific problems though. Heroes with Cleaving/Splash damage are also a threat, as they can clear your images very quickly.

Although only seen once in every 90874908120938 games, this hero is a real problem for Azwraith. Shockwave is a spammable, AoE nuke with a low mana cost. Empower + Cleaving = Bye Bye images. Reverse Polarity also rapes all your images and stuns you for a long time for enemies to focus fire on you. At lategame, even if you burn all his Mana he will still be able to take you down because of cleaving and his high HP. Don’t try to take on Magnus by yourself.


His spells destroy all your illusions and deal considerable damage to you aswell.Without Mana hes pretty useless. Lategame, with Manta and Heart, your images should be strong enough to survive his combos and burn his mana rendering him relatively useless.

Tormented Soul.

With three AoE spells and another spell that hits multiple targets, hes a real threat to PL. Lategame he won’t be that much of a threat if your tank enough to survive his AoE spells for a bit because he doesn’t have that much HP nor armour and can be taken down pretty fast.


Early-Mid game his 2 AoE nukes will hurt you a lot and at lategame his craggy exterior will stun you and your images a lot due to your fast attack speed. By lategame he will have a base damage of +200 and armed with a Hyperstone or 2 he will plough through your images easily and can take you down even if you burn his mana. His high HP is also annoying. Don’t try and fight him alone.


Berserkers Call and Counter Helix together will absolutely rape you. The more images you have attacking him, the more times Counter Helix will trigger. Don’t try to fight him unless you have decent HP (+2500). His Culling Blade will also kill you instantly before you can Dopplewalk away.


All his skills deal damage to an area. His Burrowstrike + Epicenter combo will tear you and your images apart. Whenever you see him about to use Epicenter, quickly use Spirit Lance on him as it has a mini-stun which will cancel Epicenter. Lategame, when you have enough HP and good manaburn, you can fight him and force him to return to heal or use his Sandstorm.


God’s Strength and his cleaving attack is horrible for PL. Don’t forget to Purge him when he activates God’s Strength to negate his huge damage increase. His High HP and good armour make him hard to take down.


Every heroes worst nightmare. He will Bloodrage himself and tear your images apart, and for every illusion he kills he heals his HP thanks to Bloodbath. Rupture cannot be cancelled by neither Purge nor using Manta Style. Don’t try to fight him by yourself.

Nerubian Assassin.
His combo is painful and his manaburn prevents you from Dopplewalking away. Not only that, his Spiked Carapace results in you and your illusions taking lots of damage every time you hit him.

Dragon Knight.
He has a decent AoE spell and when he is in his Elder Dragon Form he has splash damage. (Red Dragon deals 100% splash damage and Blue Dragon deals 50% splash damage.)

Blademails and Battlefury(on melee heroes of course) are good counters for PL aswell. If the enemy heroes get a Blademail, be careful when attacking them as you will take considerable damage aswell.

15.Good Allies.Since PL has no disable/stun skill and has slow movespeed, heroes that can provide him with a disable are very good allies as it gives him time to burn the mana of the enemy and surround them with images. Here are some of his best allies.

Naga Siren.

Together you can form a large army and since she usually gets Manta Style aswell, you will have about 10-12 illusions that all burn mana. Her 5 second ensnare will provide you with enough time to attack and produce many images to surround the enemy hero. With all their mana gone and because they are surrounded by illusions, its a sure death.

Treant Protector.

Overgrowth is the best disable skill in the game. It provides you and your images 5 seconds to attack and keep attacking all heroes that were trapped, burning their mana and surrounding them with illusions.


Excellent pushing together with treants and illusions. Sprout an enemy hero with PL and watch chaos unfold as the enemy hero gets raped by numerous illusions.


In this pic, I just used Spirit Lance on the Enemy Lion and I begin my chase.

I continue to chase, even past the tower as I know I can use Spirit Lance again soon.

I Dopplewalk to chase slightly faster. He is about to enter his base when I throw the second Spirit Lance.

The lance leaves him with a tiny bit of HP and my Illusion gets the final hit and I level up.

I ambush a Veno and throw a Spirit Lance.

I chase and use Purge on him.

The cooldown of my Spirit Lance is finished and I use it again.

The result ? A dead Veno and 100 gold for me.


Here I will mention some extra tips to remember while using the Phantom Lancer.

-Don’t forget to use your illusions to keep an eye out for Runes in the river, if you are nearby.

-When you are playing a team with a Techies and your team is afraid of taking that DD rune in the river because it might be mined, simply send an illusion to run past and trigger any land mines or stun mines. Use your illusions to trigger any land/stun mines that may be on hills/cliffs and at your secret shop aswell.

-Purge is not only for slowing down an escaping enemy, it can be used to remove many positive buffs from enemies and many negative buffs from your allies. Some of these include God’s Strength on Sven, Amplify Damage from Slarder and Guardian Angel from Omniknight.

-Using Manta Style’s Mirror Image will also remove many negative buffs from yourself. It can remove Slarder’s Amplify Damage and you can free yourself from Naga’s Ensnare with it. It does not remove Rupture, you will still be ruptured after using Mirror Image, but your images won’t be ruptured. Does not remove Doom, you cannot even use item effects while doomed.

-Voodoo from Rhasta, Lion and Guinsoo’s will instantly kill an illusion.

-Roshan has an aura that kills all illusions and when you attack Roshan you will not create any illusions.

-Not all your illusions deal the same damage. Dopplewalk images deal 25% damage and last for 20 seconds, Juxtapose images deal 25% damage and last for 15 seconds and Manta Style images deal 40% damage and last for 20 seconds. All these images take 300% damage.

-Images don’t heal at the fountain nor do they get healed by Mekansm, however they still get the armour increase.

18.Replays.Here are some replays of me playing PL. Keep in mind that these are just pub games and I’m no chu or coL.fear so don’t expect super high level play. That been said, they are still alright and they show most of the skills required to play PL effectively. The PL.IH is of higher quality then the others and shows players with better skills.
Note that I have 3 accounts and I play the PL in each game, except the last one. The last game features Yoshi[P] from team Pandemic playing PL, it also features other famous players such as inDe_eD and MYM|Maelk. He goes a slightly different build of Radiance + Manta and note that this is a replay for version 6.41.

Attached File pl_shortgame.w3g ( 370.39K )
Attached File pl_long_game_.w3g ( 756.7K )

Attached File PL_average_game.w3g ( 516.57K )

Attached File pl_skadi_build_.w3g ( 414.33K )

Attached File PL.IH.w3g ( 714.5K )

Attached File Yoshi_P__PL.w3g ( 1.95MB )

Well thats my guide, I hope It was at least a tiny bit useful. Please post comments and replies, I’m open to suggestions and other opinions.

Everyone that will read or post in this guide.
MB for everything.
RuptureMan for helping me to test things and proof reading.
DotaPortal, for hosting this guide and being an awesome website.
Myself, I rock.