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guide to shadow fiend

July 13, 2016 by Gil Bot
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Build 1
Build 2

standard build

DotA2 Hero: Shadow Fiend


Purchase Order

starting items #1

starting items #2

early game item selection

core items

Late game item selection

situational items



Hero Skills

Shadowraze

2 3 5 7

Necromastery

1 4 6 8

Presence of the Dark Lord

9 12 13 14

Requiem of Souls

10 11 16

Talents

15 17 18

Introduction

Hi this is Gil Bot bringing u my second guide which is how to play SF or shadow fiend. My first guide (http://www.dotafire.com/dota-2/guide/guide-to-anti-mage-25089) which is the guide for anti-mage went out great in my opinion so i think it is a good idea to create another one. Im a somewhat decent SF user in my opinion and i have a 67% win rate with this hero which is not the best but still decent in my opinion.

About the author

Well my name is Gilbert. I've been playing dota(1 and 2) for almost 7 years but during my first 3 years i just play the game because i have nothing to play since i got bored in my other games. I forgot the time when i started playing dota 2 but as far as i can remember i started playing dota 2 because of way spectre's appearance changed from dota 1 to 2 hahaha. I'm just an average player as of now but im willing to share my knowledge to the community.

About the hero

Nevermore, the shadow fiend is a ranged agility carry hero that is one of the most interesting heroes to use. Unlike other carries, he can dish out a large amount of magical damage using his spells, giving him massive farming potential as well. He acquires dmg on every unit he kills , which gives him souls that gives him bonus dmg (he can carry 36 souls or 46 with aghs) but he loses half of these souls upon death which means death is one thing you'll avoid as SF. Using sf to his full potential requires timing, good positioning, good map awareness,good judgement and confidence as well. Shadow Fiend is a character that is easy to learn, but difficult to master - His innate survivability is low, and survivability is crucial to maintain his power to the fullest without needing constant farm, but on the hands of the right players, he will easily be among the most impacting heroes in whatever game he is in.

Pros / Cons

Pros

Insane farming capabilities

Gains dmg from kills

Provides a free armor reduction aura to the team

Can deal lots of magical and physical dmg

His ultimate is just so good

Can be a carry or a utility hero



Cons

Not a hero for beginners

Requires a lot of knowledge in the game to use him well

Gank Magnet (i feel a lot of people feels so much satisfaction from killing a shadow fiend)

Low HP and starting armor

No escape mechanisms

Loses dmg upon death

When to pick or not to pick sf?

When to pick sf?

When your teams needs a carry or a utility hero that can handle the midlane

When your team needs something to force and win teamfights

Your confident on your skills as a midlaner

You can handle ganks effectively (expect lots of people will try to gank you a LOT)

When your team needs a midlaner that can be greedy and not focused in ganking (sf is not a ganker)

When not to pick sf?

U suck at lasthitting

U can't handle ganks

Your team needs a ganker

You are not good in positioning

Your judgement is poor

Skills



Shadowraze

Description

Shadow Fiend razes the area in front of him, dealing damage to enemy units in an area.

Damage: Magical
Cast Animation: 0.67+0
Distance: 200 (near shadowraze), 450 (medium shadow raze), 700 (far shadowraze)
Radius: 250
Damage: 100/175/250/325
Cooldown: 10
Manacost: 90

Notes:

1. All three Shadowraze spells are always on the same level. Leveling one of them automatically levels the others as well.
2. Shadowraze (Near) blasts a 250 radius area 200 range in front of Nevermore upon cast. This means that it can hit units up to 50 range behind Shadow Fiend, and up to 450 range in front of him.
3. Shadowraze (Medium) blasts a 250 radius area 450 range in front of Nevermore upon cast. This means that it can hit units from 200 to 700 range in front of Shadow Fiend.
4. Shadowraze (Far) blasts a 250 radius area 700 range in front of Nevermore upon cast. This means that it can hit units from 450 to 950 range in front of Shadow Fiend.

This is the radius of a shadowraze.

Your first shadowraze (your Q or Z raze) can hit enemies from 50 units behind SF and up to 450 units in front of SF.

The line 1 is the line between the AOE(area of effect) of your near and middle raze which means any enemy unit on the line 1 can he hit by both your near and middle raze.

This raze is the least used raze in my opinion since it is very risky to go closer to the enemy team especially in teamfights to land this raze because u are too fragile to do so. U can still use this raze anyway if the enemy comes too close to you, or using an initiation item (e.g. blink dagger or shadow blade) then using this raze.

This is your middle or medium raze. U will use this raze a lot since the range is almost the same as your attack range (500). This raze can hit units from 200-700 distance in front of SF.

Units standing in Line 1 can be hit with near and mid razes.

Units standing in Line 2 can be hit with mid and far razes.

Keep the Line 2 in your mind since enemy units standing in the Line 2 can be hit by your mid and far razes, allowing you to clear creep waves instantly from a far distance. U can use your attack range as a mark (attack a creep from your maximum attack range then blast the others with your mid and far razes) since anything within your attack range can be damaged by your mid and far raze.

This is your last raze, the far raze or for me, my C raze. This raze can hit units from 450-950 units in front of SF.

This raze as u can see, does have an extremely long range which offers u a lot of uses like:

1. Nuking enemies from a safe distance.
2. Sniping fleeing enemies that you can't chase.
3. Stacking creep camps.

All these three razes does have a fixed distance which means you need to position yourself very well to aim these razes effectively. And since u have three razes with independent cooldowns, hitting enemies with three of these razes will deal massive magical damage in the early game (but most of the time u will manage to use two razes, the mid and far raze). Mastering how to land these razes is mastering 70% of the hero in my opinion which will intimidate players that are new to this hero but with practice, u will realize your efforts are paying off.



Necromastery

Description

Shadow Fiend steals the soul from units he kills, gaining bonus damage. If the killed unit is a hero, he gains 12 souls. On death, he releases half of them from bondage.

Max Souls: 18/24/30/36 (Can be Improved by Aghanim's Scepter. 22/30/38/46)
Attack Damage per Soul: 2
Ability: Passive

Notes:

1. Can get souls from every unit, including wards and allies, excluding buildings.
2. Despite the visual effects, Shadow Fiend instantly gains the soul and thus the damage of killed units.
3. The number of current souls is visible on the status buff icon (very useful so u can know how much souls u have).
4. If Shadow Fiend has an odd number of souls upon death, the number of lost souls is rounded down. This means that he never can lose all his souls. He still keeps 1 soul, even when dying while only having 1 soul (just make sure u won't be shut down to the point u have only one soul or else expect your team to report you XD).
5. The more souls Shadow Fiend has, the more red particles fly around his chest area.
6. The maximum possible amount of souls with each level of Necromastery provides 36/48/60/72 (Can be Improved by Aghanim's Scepter. 44/60/76/92) bonus damage.
7. When dying while holdingAegis of the immortal, no souls are lost.
8. The extra souls fromAghanim's Scepter do affect the number of lines created by your ultimate (i will discuss this later).

This skill makes SF strong even with just a few levels. This allows you to get dmg from every killing blow u do (even denies will give souls but only deny if you think u won't miss a lasthit). Once you rack up a decent number of souls, u can almost lasthit and deny every creep, giving u an advantage from the enemy. The only catch is when you are killed, u will release half of the souls u are holding, causing you to spend time gathering souls again but using shadowraze makes harvesting souls from creeps so easy.



Presence of the dark lord

Description

Shadow Fiend's presence reduces the armor of nearby enemies.

Ability: Passive
Radius: 900
Armor Reduction: 3/4/5/6

Notes:

Notes:

1. The armor reduction debuff lingers for 0.5 seconds after getting out of range.

2. Has no effect on enemies that have no vision of Shadow Fiend (although it still shows a debuff icon on them).

3. Stacks with other armor-reduction auras and items etc(e.g.Assault Cuirass,Desolator etc)

4. Disabled by break (e.g.Silver Edge,Shadow Demon's Demonic Purge)

A simple yet useful skill to have. Having this in combination with Necromastery allows SF to dish out considerable dmg even w/o almost investing in dmg items. Very useful especially for dmg reduction focused teams.



Requiem of souls

Description

Shadow Fiend gathers his captured souls to release them as lines of demonic energy. Units near Shadow Fiend when the souls are released can be damaged by several lines of energy. Any unit damaged by Requiem of Souls will have its movement speed and attack damage reduced. Lines of energy are created for every 2 souls captured through Necromastery. Requiem of Souls is automatically cast whenever Shadow Fiend dies, regardless of its cooldown.

Damage: Magical
Cast Animation: 1.67+0.77
Damage Lines Travel Distance: 1000
Damage Lines Starting Width: 125
Damage Lines End Width: 425
Damage per Line: 80/120/160
Damage & Heal per Line on Return: 0/0/0 (Can be Improved by Aghanim's Scepter. 32/48/64)
Move Speed Slow: 25%
Attack Damage Reduction: 50%
Debuff Duration: 5
Cooldown: 120/110/100
Manacost: 150/175/200


Can be Improved by Aghanim's Scepter. Causes Requiem of Souls to return back to Shadow Fiend. The wave back to Shadow Fiend deals less damage, but heals Shadow Fiend for all the damage it dealt.

Notes:

1. The Requiem of Souls lines are slightly conic to the end, this width is greater on higher levels of Requiem of Souls.
2. At max level the lines start at 125 and end at 450.
3. The lines also have a travel distance that grows with higher levels, 1025 at max level.
4. Lines travel at 700 Units per second.
5. While casting Requiem of Souls, Shadow Fiend gains phased movement, this allows for the max damage comboes like Euls.
6. When hit by a line at max level, enemies take 160 magical damage and are affected with a Requiem of Souls debuff that lasts 5 seconds.
7. Said debuff reduces the enemy movement speed by 25% and their attack damage by 50%.
8. On death, Shadow Fiend automatically releases Requiem of Souls, the effects are the same and the spell is always casted, regardless of its cooldown. This post-mortem Requiem of Souls takes place after the loss of 50% of your necromastery souls.
9. This means you can have up to 9 lines (from 18 souls) on a death Requiem of Souls.
10. Can deal up to 1440/2160/2880 (Can be Improved by Aghanim's Scepter. 1840/2760/3680) damage to a single unit (before reductions), if all lines hit.


Finally shadow fiend's ultimate, requiem of souls is one of the best ultimates (and ultimate names) in the game. After a 1.67 delay, shadow fiend will release all the souls he gathered as damaging lines for every 2 souls he has (meaning it will create up to 23 lines if u have max souls with aghs) which damages all enemies that get hit by the lines, slowing them and placing a debuff that reduces their base attack dmg for a whopping 50% (so even you didn't dish a large amount of dmg, the dmg reduction is still a HUGE factor to consider). Despite the effects, the lines start in the very center of Shadow Fiend's collision box, this means that if hypotethically Shadow Fiend would be inside someone else, they would be hit by all 18 (23 with Aghs)lines of Requiem of Souls (that's why eul's or shadow blade is good for SF). U can use this for solo pickoffs (i will discuss it later) if u think u don't need your ultimate for early fights. But usually in the late-game u will save this for fights since the dmg and dmg reduction is very good. Even though u can blow one people in a fight with this, it is recommended to use it in a way that all enemies will be hit by the souls to decrease their dmg output. Using this in fights requires u to be in middle of the fights most of the time , so tanking items likeEye of skadi can be bought to ensure u will cast your ultimate without getting killed in fights.

As u can see in the model, the closer you are to SF the more lines will hit u (which means u will receive more dmg).

These items will help you in getting solo pickoffs using your ultimate:

Shadow Blade

This allows you to sneak on your target to land a requiem without them knowing your using on them until the very moment that your souls will explode and they can't do anything because most likely they won't live to tell the tale. But this is quite hard to pull off against targets that are constantly moving.

How to pull off this:

1. Hide in the fog of war and wait for your target (use that time to calculate whether u can kill him/her in one blast of your ult since u can't afford to hang on for too long especially when you are on the enemy territory.
2. Use your shadow blade then sneak up next to him.
3. Wait him/her to stop (e.g. farming creeps etc)
4. Go right on top of him and use your ult (if he/she moves, stop ur ult by pressing "S" then move again right on top of him/her.
5. Use ur ult.
6. BOOMMMM!!!
7. Use your razes or auto-attacks if needed.


Eul's Scepter of Divinity

This is my favorable item in the two listed. Using this on an enemy hero will sure they will stay in place to allow u to use ur ult right in front of their eyes (the only things they can do is use their bkb if the have one to avoid the dmg, just themselves get creamed, or hope that your timing will be wrong). Using this is kinda tricky though because if u use ult even just 0.5 secs early, ur ult will do nothing. But the results especially when combined with blink will make your heart scream in joy, trust me (especially if u successfully pull it off for the first time). Works best withblink dagger.

How to pull this off:

1. Find an enemy target.
2. Blink next to him/her then use your eul's on him/her.
3. Go to the bottom of the tornado created by ur Eul's
4. Wait for at least one 1 second then use your ult.
5. Watch as he/she lands to you as you unleash the **** out of him/her (feel free to scream "****KKK YOU!" even in your mind if u can't hold your feelings).
6. BOOM!
7. Use your razes or auto-attacks if needed.

or

1. Find and enemy target.
2. Sneak closer to him (use the trees and fog of war).
3. Eul's him/her.
4. Wait for 1 second at least then blink right on the bottom of the tornado of the eul's then cast ur ult immediately.
5. Watch as he/she lands to you as you unleash the **** out of him/her (feel free to scream "****KKK YOU!" even in your mind if u can't hold your feelings).
6. BOOM!!!
7. Use your razes or auto-attacks if needed.

the second option for the eul's is my preferable since it allows you to have a 100% perfect positioning because u will blink in the middle of the tornado instead of walking.

Skill Builds

The "bottle rush build"

Only go for this build if u are in a horrible lane and u want to get your bottle as fast as possible. Since your going for the bottle rush build, you will skill shadowraze at lvl 1 that deals 100 dmg to get the first few lasthits until you obtain your bottle.

The standard skill build

This is the skill build that you will go in almost every game. Skilling necromastery at lvl 1 will compensate for your early low base dmg by lasthitting and denying creeps (even though if u are a beginner or ur foe in lane is a skilled player, u will have a hard time gathering the first few souls).

But these two skill build will still leads to one way which is maxing shadowraze at lvl 7 then maxing necromastery at lvl 8. Then proceed to take your lvl 1 presence of dark lord at lvl 9 then take ur ult at levels 10 and 11 (u can take ur ult at lvl 9 though but getting the presence of the dark lord is sometimes the better choice). Then max ur presence at lvl 14 then take one point of stats then take another lvl of ur ult at lvl 16. Then take stats up to lvl 25.

Items


Starting items #1 (1 Wraith Band, 1 Faerie Fire, 1 Branch, 2 pooled tangoes)

This is my favorite starting item build on the ones i listed. This gives you decent right click power and gives u a decent regen to start (u can eat one branch using your tango to double the regen which basically is the same as having three tangoes since u will use one of the 2 pooled tangoes for double the regen it gives).

Starting items #2 (1 Wraith Band, 1 set of tangoes)

This build is much like "my teammates don't give a **** about me so i have to buy my own tangoes" starter pack XD. Well this is the build u usually will go especially in solo matches where u will usually find a lot of players that don't wanna share their blessings to you. But the dmg you will get from this item build is still decent anyway.

Starting items #3 (2 Branches, 2 Pooled tangoes)

This is the "bottle rush build" so don't go for this build and skilling necromastery or else you will have a very low dmg which will give u a hard time getting souls. Use this item build if u are in a horrible lane and u want to get your bottle as fast as possible. The extra 525 money means your only 2-3 lasthits away from your bottle in which your lvl 1 raze (100 dmg) will help u to get those lasthits.


Early Game Item Selection

This is the first item you will buy after your starting items (even there are cases you will ferry a salve for the money you get from the bounty rune). This item used to be one of the most sufficient items for sf since before the bottle nerf and the raze nerf, this item heals for 135 HP and 70 mana per charge but if nerf by a lot (only 90 HP and 60 mana now) but is still a good item for SF anyway since u will use a lot of mana from spamming shadowrazes and this item helps you sustain yourself in the lane by bottling runes and bottle crowing.

Simple Trick: When your teammate TPs into your lane, quickly pass your bottle to them as soon as they teleport into your tower. Doing this will refill your bottle because the TPing hero will carry the fountain's Rejuvenation Aura for a short amount of time (this Aura is the reason why your bottle refills when you returned to the fountain) but be sure do execute this trick quickly or else it will fail. If your teammate is fast enough, he can quickly give u a free charge of your bottle by using CTRL+hotkey of the bottle then clicking on you but doing so will not lose any charge of the refilled the bottle since the bottle will refill itself again.

Runes

This is the rune the Singsing hates so much, the bounty rune. This can be a decent source of gold and exp (the first bounty rune doesn't give any exp anymore :( ) but it doesn't help u for having kill opportunities on the opposing laner since it just gives you gold and exp (well the extra exp can be handy especially if your near to reaching a certain lvl) but it still refills your bottle it is not bad at all. If you want, you can leave this to your supports instead since the extra gold and exp is a blessing for them.

This is a good rune for SF since using this coupled with your high attack dmg from necromastery will make u a scary hero for trading hits. This is also a good rune if you recently died and you need the extra dmg to start picking souls again. Helps also when you decide to rotate in the side lanes (but not the best rune for that job).

The rune of haste or S4's rune. This rune is one of the best runes to get if you are planning to rotate into the sidelanes to help your team a bit since with this rune you can land razes easily since almost no one can outrun u if have this rune. Rotating into the sidelanes with this rune almost ensures a kill (unless your teammates are very dumb :( )

The second rune that Singsing hates (****ing yellow runes for yellow people!) XD. Many inexperienced people think this rune is nonsense but it is not since it offers you vision by scouting the illusions this rune will make (requires a bit of micro), or you can fool enemies buy using these illusions to bait enemy spells etc.

So why Singsing hates this useful rune? Maybe because Singsing, as u can see from his streams will almost always gank after getting a rune and this rune is not a ganking rune or maybe because this is color yellow like the bounty rune XD.

The best rune for ganking and killing your opposing laner since this allows you to sneak close to them to land the razes of your life (u can even score a 3 raze combo if your timing is right) which secures a kill in most cases unless your opponent has a decent escape mechanism. Good rune for 1v1 solo mid situations as well.

Note: u can use this and immediately use 1 charge of your bottle during the fade time (it won't dispel your invisibility) to have extra HP and mana for the kill which makes a difference between a successful gank and a failed gank with you dying instead.

This is a sustaining rune since using this rune will heal ur HP and mana to its maximum percentage. Having this rune allows you to spam your spell then healing afterwards. Just be sure you will not get too cocky (watch the 1v1 solo match by mushi and dendi) with this rune.


A pretty mandatory item for all heroes in the early game. But since SF has no escape mechanism early on having the extra movement speed can be life-saving for many situations.

Not the item that you are looking for unless your aiming to buy amekansm for your team. A good pickup against heroes that tend to buyblight stones as their early source of dmg (e.g.Templar Assassin,Windranger).

Usually u will buy this item as soon as you get the first bounty rune to have extra sustain in the lane but still a good pickup in times you are ganked but managed to survive but u didn't want to go back to your base (or u can ask a roaming support to heal u with their salve).

Another cheap but useful item to have since having these can be life-saving in some situations. Increases your EHP against magic dmg like (e.g.Zeus's Arc Lightning,Lina's Dragon Slave etc.). Gives also a cheap source of mana regen which is nice for a hero that spams spells like shadow fiend.

A useful item for sf since the extra MS plus your boots will help you to escape by running away from danger (even though it doesn't work most of the time). But the most important reason that you will buy this because u will turn this into aat some point.

I usually get this item only when im losing the lane and the best thing to do is to push the lane. Still a good source of armor, mana regen and dmg. Just turn the aura off if u are not planning to push the lane.

A cheap item that increases your dmg by a bit. A nice pickup especially when coupled with yourPresence of the Dark Lord. But i usually sell this in the mid-game since i rarely purchaseDesolator on SF.


Core items


One of my favorite items to buy on SF. Many people think that someone buys eul's because they ONLY want to do the "eul's combo" on sf but this item offers so much use for SF. Buying this will remove those pesky silences and debuffs that are used on u (even though some of the debuffs can't be dispelled), will give u almost unlimited mana for spamming raze because of the mana regen it provides and also gives u invulnerability by using it on yourself to prevent the enemy from focusing u if needed. The +40MS is also good for a hero that doesn't have an in-built escape mechanism like SF. This also allows you to temporarily remove and enemy from a fight to set up with your razes or ur ult or your teammate's spells.

If u forgot the "eul's combo" for SF, u can find it in the "SKILLS CHAPTER".

The boots that I buy on sf in most of my games (I only don't buy this if I'm snowballing too hard and buying BoT's will be the better call). Gives you amazing stats for its cheap price. Remember to tread switch into blue especially when your using the "eul's combo" since it will save a lot of mana. But tread switch into green treads when healing yourself by e.g.Bottle.


The almighty TP scroll. Be sure to have at least 1 one this in your inventory (i prefer having two for unknown reasos XD) because for a measly 50 gold, u can instantly teleport to your friendly tower that can be useful when assisting your team in pushes, fights or just for farming purposes. I can't stress how important this item (even though u will eventually forget this item when the time u buy your BoT's).


BLINK DAGGER OR SHADOW BLADE


This two items provides SF with the thing he lacks, an escape mechanism to save his pitiful *** full of souls from enemy heroes. But much like your lovelife XD, in the long run you will only choose one of them (even though there are some situations I bought the two in a game XD) because it suits your needs. Each of this item has its own pros and cons which I will discuss now.


Pros

Offers better mobility and positioning

Cheaper than shadow blade

Useful especially when following up to your team's initiation (imagine when yourenigma lands a 5-manblack hole and you can't come to use your ult in time because u bought shadow blade and u have to walk)

Style Points!!!


Cons

Can't be used when being attacked by the enemy (unless you disjoint their first attack)

Doesn't give any stats


Sorry for being biased but I prefer to buy blink more than shadow blade since i prefer going utility SF rather than going for carry SF in most of my games. I just love the ability to land sick razes and to use the "eul's combo" with style.


Pros

Gives you dmg (and an awesome Break ability when u upgrade it to Silver Edge)

Works better in especially in low MMR games (since people rarely buy sentries or dusts)


Cons

Countered by detection

Doesn't offer too much mobility (the extra MS when activating is nice but not very nice)

Doesn't offer style points :(


I only buy shadow blade if I'm going carry SF or if I need the Break of the Silver Edge against a certain carry like Bristleback, Phantom Assassin, Spectre etc. or if I need to abuse the enemy teams lack of detection. U can still use this for the "eul's combo" but it doesn't offer style points which is one more reason I like buying blink more than SB.

A cheap mid-game item if your planning to be online in the mid-game. Gives a slow but the truth is the slow in not reliable. This item can be considered as the cheap version ofEye of Skadi.

This item coupled with your Necromastery and Presence of the Dark Lord will allow you to hit like a truck. This item is one of the best late game item to buy if your playing a carry SF. This item does wonders with lifesteal items likeSatanic.

Another item that gives SF dmg but this item grants survivability in the form of evasion. Buying this is a bad choice if the enemy team have multiple MKBs. Still can give u and extra escape mechanism by using its active ability to grant u extra MS boost in exchange of losing the evasion during the duration of the ability. A good item for both carry and utility SF.

An item that u will not buy in most cases but still a good item to have since it stacks with your Presence of the Dark Lord and giving u a LOT of armor. But if your team does have a much more decent AC carrier like (e.g.Sven,Tiny etc.), just let them by the AC for ur team. The extra attack speed is also appreciated for SF.

A must item for utility SF in my opinion. Since u won't focus on dmg items, having the ability to collect more souls will come in handy. And buying this item will allow u to deal more dmg since u will have more souls and making the souls from requiem to return on SF much likeRazor's Plasma Field (I always dream of SF's ult to be like this, volvo <3) that deals less dmg (40%) but each line of soul will heal SF upon returning to him, allowing SF to heal to full HP if u hit enough targets with your ult. This item for me is theSatanic for utility SF.

An item that I rarely by on SF and pretty much every hero that I use (exceptTemplar Assassin) since buying this on SF will only give raw dmg which is nice but SF needs HP to dish out the necessary dmg he needs which this item doesn't give. Still a good item to have if ur running an armor-reduction team. But if your teammate can buy a deso for u so u can benefit from the debuff without actually buying it yourself, just have your teammate buy one for u.

One of the best tanking items if not the best tanking items for both utility and carry SF in my opinion. This item gives amazing stats plus a BKB-piercing slow that allows you to kite BKB carries in the late-game but the fact that this item stacks with Satanic is the reason u will buy this for Carry SF most of the times since this coupled withSatanic and your massive rightclick dmg will allow you to wreck havoc while still having the necessary HP to fight like a man.

A good item for both carry and utility SF. The illusions u can create with this carry the Presence of the Dark Lord debuff which means they will push faster than a normal illusion. A great item to have since it gives decent stats, MS, AS, and the ability to disjoint projectiles if ur fast enough and to dispel some debuffs.

Buy this item only if the enemy team has some sort of evasion that negates your dmg output (e.g.Phantom Assassin's Blur,Windranger's Windrun,etc.) but if your only looking for RAW dmg, buying aDaedalus is the better choice.

More attack speed! A decent choice if your dmg output is already high but your attack speed is kinda lacking. The extra night vision also helps in pushing but generally you will buy this as a 7th item to have some sort of extra attack speed that doesn't consume a slot buying consuming it.

A great survival item to have when your using a carry SF. This item will allow you to heal yourself with just 2-4 hits depending on your dmg output. But buying aBKB is sometimes necessary since better players will most likely will kite u when u activate this so u won't heal urself with the enough HP u need. Works best with BKB and dmg items like Daedalus etc.

Usually bought as a 8th item to spend your extra gold. But u can buy this as your 7th item if you need to help you comrades in fights deep inside the jungle (since there will be no allied creeps to TP into).


Situational items


Another item that is good for SF since usually u will go to the middle of the fight to cast your ult off but being chain stunned and get beaten to death won't allow u to do the job but having this on SF will block most of the spells that will cause u problems. I recommend that u should not buy this too early or you will find yourself having a 5 sec BKB in the late game which is not good. Consider buying this ONLY if u need the magic immunity.

Another cost efficient item to buy on SF since it gives extra HP and mana regen and a bit of dmg for a cheap price and having your auto-attack range being extended to 640 which allows for better kiting purposes.

One of my favorite items for utility SF since going utility on SF means focusing on stat based items instead of raw dmg items. Having one of these gives you an extra source of magic dmg that u can use for finishing heroes plus u can use this on yourself and on your teammates to protect them from physical dmg but beware since casting this will make the user receive extra 40% magical dmg.

The holy Arteezy Midas. I only buy this item if I can finish one in 4-6 mins. A good item for utility and carry SF it will give a boost in exp and gold. The extra attack speed also helps a lot.

Gives amazing mana regen, stats and some survivability for SF but only consider this if your having trouble with single target BKB-piercing spells like (e.g.Legion Commander's Duel,Beastmaster's Primal Roar etc.).

An item that is good for utility SF since farming one will give your supports a free slot and allowing them to save money since you can farm one very fast. Good for deathball strats since the extra sustain and armor will help a lot.

One of the best items that an utility SF can buy. Allows you to cast your BKB twice in a fight or more important, cast your ult two time which more likely will win the fight for u. Works best withAghanim's Scepter.

Basically a better version ofEul's. A nice item to have on utility SF since the insane mana regen will allow you to spam razes without worrying of having your mana drained and having the best disable in the game will be a nice tool to have on your disposal.

There are only two reason to buy this item, either you u bought aand you have some extra money to spend and you want an upgrade for that or u need the Break ability to make easy work on certain foes like (e.g.Bristleback,Phantom Assassin,Spectre etc.)

Gameplay

After buying your starting items, walk now and head for the rune u want to take but it is a good idea to have your supports check the area first since they will plant the wards anyway. Then decide if you can take the rune safely (DON'T GAMBLE FOR THE RUNE, IT IS JUST A RUNE SO DON'T BE LIKE THOSE LOW MMR PLAYERS WHO PICKS ALCHEMIST AND STANDS ON THE RUNE SPOT AND TRYING TO GET THE RUNE EVEN IT GETS HIM KILLED IN THE PROCESS XD) by standing on your higher grounds so u can see whether there are enemies nearby. Then if the place is cleared by your supports quickly get the rune and head to the mid lane to body block the creeps (asking for your supports to block it immediately is good since u are getting the rune u will most likely block the creep wave when they reach your first tower but if your support blocks it since the time they spawn you will most likely have the uphill advantage).

Early Game

This will be the time that you are most vulnerable to ganks since you only have a very low HP coupled with a low armor and no escape mechanism, almost any gank attempt will most likely kill you in the process so be extra careful, be alert on the minimap to see incoming ganks and stand in your high ground, try to grab your first souls without getting out of position. U can also try to land some auto attacks on your opponent but don't trade hits unless u are on your high ground since standing on ur high ground means that they can miss for 25% of their attacks and most likely will aggro your creeps into attacking him as well. After you got your lvl 3 try to be a little aggressive but don't get too cocky. If the opponent is a melee hero, u will definitely have the advantage because u can harass them with auto attacks and blast two razes at them (possibly 3) as they try to lasthit but if your opponent is a ranged hero, try to be harass but in a safe since you can't handle both creeps and your opposing laner harassing you in the same time. Just continue to farm safely and harassing with razes and your auto attacks (it is a good idea to lasthit a creep and harassing the enemy in the same time by using your razes) and if your enemy gets too cocky, calculate if you can kill him without getting killed. But your main focus in this stage of the game is FARM since your earl game farm is one of the aspects that will dictate on how good or bad your mid-game will be. Remember that RUNES SPAWN EVERY TWO MINUTES (0:00,2:00......) so if you think a rune is going to spawn soon, quickly blast your razes to clear the enemy creep wave and try to get the rune (only gank if u got the right rune) you will most likely prevent you opposing laner from contesting the rune since spamming razes will push the lane to their tower thus preventing them from reaching the rune in time. Once u managed to obtain a LOT of souls, make the enemy feel that this is your lane now by smacking him/her with your auto-attacks and denying a LOT (since u have already a high amount of dmg, u can almost get every lasthit and deny in the lane)

Early Game Stats

Kills: Kills doesn't matter a lot during this time. But if u managed to get a kill or two then good job!

Deaths

0- :Excellent
1-2:Still quite acceptable (depends if u managed to farm) since facing against a hard laner will most likely will give u at least 1 death in the early game
3-onwards:Your feeding dude :(

La***** (in the 10 min mark)

70-100+: Excellent creepscore, congrats bro!
40-60: Not good enough, u can do better then that
0-30: Bad

So how to achieve a 70-100+ lasthits in the 10 min mark?

1. Try to get every possible LH in your lane.
2. Stack neutral creep camps.

STACKING

I can teach u some of the things I know about stacking but u can also find another guide for that since there are a lot of better guides out there (I'll try to create a guide for that maybe in the next few weeks) but i hope u will find this part useful since I love stacking using SF since u can't always rely on your team to stack for u.

Stacking means hitting a creep in a certain neutral creep camp then walking to make the creeps chase you and since neutral creeps spawn every minute provided there are no units present in camp's box (any units that are present in this area will prevent another set of creeps from spawning). The creeps will follow u making them leave the area and causing another set of creeps to spawn causing the creep camp to have 2 stacks of creeps instead of one stack but there are some things that may prevent a creep camp from stacking.

Things that may prevent a creep camp from stacking

1. A unit standing in the camp's box (the box is an imaginary line that is bigger than the actual camp but u can view this through warding) during the spawning of the new creeps.
2. Hitting the creeps in the wrong time (too early or too late).
3. Walking the wrong path (this may seem crazy but some creeps quickly retreat back to their camp if u walk the wrong path thus preventing the stacking of camps).



This is the new dota 2 map with the creep camps being labeled by S for small camps, M for medium camps, L for large camps and A for ancient camps. I will tell in what time you will attack a creep from each camp to stack them effectively.

RADIANT CAMPS (FROM LEFT TO RIGHT)

First large camp- 55 seconds then walk away in the downward path.
Ancient Camp- 53 seconds then walk away from the camp (no required direction, just walk away from the camp).
Second large camp- 53 seconds then walk upwards (as far as i remember there is a group of trees in your path. Go to the right side of that tree group then proceed going upwards).
First medium camp- 55 seconds then walk upwards and back to your lane.
Second medium camp- 53 seconds then walk away from the camp (no required direction, just walk away from the camp).
Small camp- 55 seconds then go right (or u can cut a tree in the back of the camp and make the creeps follow u on that path outwards).
Large camp- 55 seconds then walk downwards.

DIRE CAMPS (FROM LEFT TO RIGHT)

First large camp- 53 seconds then walk away from the camp.
Small camp- 55 seconds then walk outside the camp then turn right.
First medium camp- 53 seconds then walk right.
Second medium camp- 55 seconds then walk upward.
Second large camp- 53 seconds then walk away from the camp.
Third large camp- 55 seconds then walk downwards.
Ancient camp- 53 seconds then walk left.

Well since I didn't searched any of these and just based this on my own experience, there is a chance that this will work or this won't work. As i told u guys before, there are better guides for this but i just shared my knowledge to u so pls don't give me rude comments about this part :( but kindly inform if any of these timers work (it will help me a lot).

So mostly you will stack the camps that are near to your lane but if u came across a camp while strolling around u can stack it if it can be stacked but if u have to wait for at least 20+ seconds before u can stack just leave and clear other camps.

SO WHY STACK?

Well stacking means increasing the gold that u can get from a certain camp but having too many creeps can cause u serious dmg in the early game if u are not careful but since SF can clear stacks easily with raze, u can achieve the 10-12 LH per minute pretty easily.

WHEN IS THE PERFECT TIME TO STACK IN THE FIRST 10 MINS?

In my opinion stacking at minutes 2:53-2:55 (depending on the camp), 4:53-:4:55 (depending on the camp), 6:53-6:55 (depending on the camp) and 8:53-8:55 are best times for stacking since runes don't spawn at minutes 3:00,5:00.7:00 and 9:00 anyway.


Mid-Game

This is the time u will be the most dominant, u can even be classified as one of the most
dominant heroes during the mid but this can only be achieved if u have a good start in the early game so ur farm and levels will dictate how well will u do during this stage of the game. Be consistent with your farming but find solo pick-offs using your ultimate. But just don't ransack the jungle, pushing lanes will be better since ur razes can clear creep waves easily and escaping is not much a problem if u managed to buy a shadow blade or a blink dagger.

How will u spend your time in the mid-game?

80% - farming
20% - either joining fights or dead

Yes, SF is a farming machine. Since he is not that dominant in the late-game, acquiring the necessary items in the mid-game is essential which means FARMING A LOT. Don't take fights that are not favorable to your team.

Joining fights

Joining fights using SF requires good judgement, timing and patience since even the slightest mistakes can lead to your death. Usually this are the things u will do during mid-game skirmishes.

1. Try to judge whether u can win the fight (if not tell your team to retreat and go back to farming/pushing other lanes.
2. If u can win the incoming fight, hide from enemy vision and wait for your initiator to start the fight or wait the enemy team to initiate on your team.
3. Find the key target (the enemy initiator or the enemy carry) and try to eliminate him/her using your ultimate.
4. Try to back of a bit if the situation is bad but if not, just go to your next target.
5. When ur playing a utility SF, always use your mek on ur teammates (don't be selfish)
6. Win the fight then go back to farming (but if the fight suddenly goes wrong because of u or ur teammates fault, retreat and go back to farming).

Sometimes it is a good call to leave a teammate or two behind if u can't save them because of the risk that u will be killed but if u think u can save them and win the fight, try to help them safely but sometimes having a sacrificial lamb is good rather getting ur team get wiped or in short "SOMETIMES WE JUST HAVE TO CUT OUT LOSSES".


Late-Game

During this stage, u should be extra careful since most carries can outcarry u at this point. It is a good idea to use ur ult in a way that all enemies can be hit by the soul lines and receive the debuff since the dmg is not a big deal at this point (but u can still deal serious dmg especially if u are playing utility SF). Using razes in fights is not that necessary since your auto-attacks will deal more dmg than your razes at this point. But still try to fight using the steps i mentioned during the mid-game part but don't do the "#3" unless u are pretty confident u can pull that off and survive. U will definitely spend more time pushing sometimes it is good to push and let let your team fight some small skirmishes but be sure u can join 5v5 fights since ur ult will help a lot.

Midlane Matchups

In this I discuss some of the midlaners u may meet in the lane and i will try to explain if u are strong or weak against these heroes and i will give some suggestions on how to deal with those heroes that u are weak against.


U can easily outlane this guy since he pretty garbage in lane (he can only useto try zone u out, has low armor and he is a melee hero. Just prove to him that u are the BOSS in the lane by smacking him with your auto-attacks and blasting him with razes. Just don't stand inside his Acid Spray until u have decent levels and FOR ****'S SAKE DON'T TRADE HITS WITH HIM INSIDE THE ACID SPRAY. Be try to be more active in pushing the lanes since he relies on runes to sustain his early mana pool. It is a good idea to steal bounty runes from him since this runes gives him a solid chunk of gold. Try to delay his items by massive denying, shutting him down or if u can, stealing his jungle stacks with shadowraze. The only point that he can try to fight u is when his ult is ready. This guy is just not strong without his ultimate. U might require anMKB if he goesRadiance.


This guy may be weak in the early game, but as soon as he acquire his items, u will feel how it is hard to catch this guy. Early game, u can harass him well since he does have a lower range than u but be careful of thisOverload-boosted attacks since those attacks will definitely hurt. U may win the lane and get a kill on him but as soon as he reaches lvl 6, he can kill u even if u a lvl ahead of him.

How to deal with this guy:

Just respect his ability to kill u if he has sufficient mana to do so which means being aggresive by beating the **** out if him when he is low on mana and playing careful if has sufficient mana to kill u. This guy can snowball faster than u so deny most of his early game farm. U may require aScythe of vyse against this guy if ur team doesn't have enough lockdown for him.


Can be classified as the "Queen of the midlane" which is not a good news for u. She has a decent attack dmg, very good projectile speed and a range of 600 so expect a LOT of lasthits being denied by this ginger *****. She has a decent nuke but u can still push the lane better than her but avoid getting hit by herPowershot since it will hurt a lot and avoid bad positioning because she can abuse it with herShackleshot and she can towerdive u without getting damaged by the tower using herWindrun that gives her 100% ****ING EVASION!

How to deal with this ginger *****:

Try to land cheeky harasses against her if u have decent souls since she does have a very low armor. Be extra careful during the mid-game since unlike u, this redhead can do serious work even with just mediocre farm. And once she gets her items, she can make quick work on your souly *** by tying u into a creep or tree then using her ult on you. MKB counters her hard since MKB makes her evasion useless and Linken's disrupts her combo.


This hot chick may look extremely attractive but don't get fooled by her looks since she is one of the heroes that can counter you. Landing a raze or two, even three won't doany dmg to her if she has herRefraction active and allowing her to get closed can chip at least 25% of your health in the early game with herMeld-boosted attacks. Even u might think u have the advantage since she is almost the same as a melee hero, she can harass and deny while still harass u in the same time with the help of herPsi Blades. And once she reaches lvl 6 a kill an u is almost 100% guaranteed unless she played too cocky and make some serious mistakes. U can't wait her to be strong enough since it is very common for her to 3-shot u during the mid-game where her attacks skyrockets.

How to deal with this hot chick:

Try to harass abuse her almost non-existent range but still stay away from her line of sight to avoid her Psi Blades. Lasthitting against her will be tough since Refraction gives her a high chunk of dmg for 6 attacks (OH WAIT SHE CAN USE THIS BONUS DMG FOR DENYING BUT IT WONT REDUCE THE 6 CHARGES OF HER BOOSTED ATTACKS). Makingher harass u using the creeps will hurt so much since Psi Blades deals pure dmg and creeps are lest tankier than u do so her attacks will do better in that way instead of her directly attacking u. Ask a support to place a sentry in your lane to clear her traps and allowing u to see her if she decides to use her Meld to hide. Respect the fact that she can and will always try to kill u (JUST TRUST ME BECAUSE I EVEN USE HER TO COUNTER SHADOW FIEND PICKS MOST OF THE TIME). An earlyBuckler orMekansm helps a lot against her dmg output.


This queen can kill u as early as lvl 2 trust me. Since u are pretty garbage in the lane until lvl 3 or higher, she can abuse it by landingShadow Strikes on u which hurts a lot and slows as well which allows her to pound u with her auto-attacks. At lvl 6 she almost has a guaranteed kill on u since her combo is mostly enough to kill u.

How to deal against this queen:

Try to avoid harass as much as possible and keep ur health pool high (bottle crowing helps a lot). She can push the lane strong enough but u can do better even though this doesn't stop her from getting the rune she needs because she is one if not the best heroes for contesting runes and rune control with herBlink. Once u got enough souls, u can trade hits with her since her HP and armor is very low allowing u to shred her with just your auto-attacks. She can deal tremendous amounts of dmg during fights using her skills (her ult goes through BKB) and u can basically can't catch her easily unless she blinks in and get chain-stunned or if she runs out of mana. A naturalScythe of vyse carrier so beware. An earlymek can negate her dmg output by a lot and can save bot only u, but ur team as well.


Lots of people may think that this guy counters SF but hell no, he doesn't counter SF, it just depends of the skill of both the two players. Yes his combo can easily kill u especially when he reaches lvl 6 but he is a garbage in lane because he is melee, does have a low armor, no creep wave pushing abilities, and can't contest runes because he is too slow to do so.

How to deal with this guy:

He is pretty easy to render useless for the entire game. He is mana-starved most of the time so denying him the runes that he needs will cripple him a lot forcing him to go back to the base. Just be aware of hisMeat Hook since if he misses his hook he can't do anything to kill u. Ask a ward from ur supports and plant it on his high ground to see incoming hooks and his positioning. Be aware and report immediately if he is missing in the map since he is a dedicated ganker. U can pretty much trash him in the lane since with a couple of souls u can deny him the farm he needs to buy his early items and just in case he manages to hook u, having this souls will allow u to manfight him. Stay behind creeps during early levels to prevent him from killing u. If u managed to shut him down which is easy to do, he is pretty much out of the game but if manages to rack up many kills, buying a BKB or Linken's will help.


Another matchup that will be decided by the skill of both players. This thing may look very cute but this thing has the ability to shut u down in the early-game. Trading hits with this thing is very hard since good puck players will attack u and as soon as u attack them, they will usePhase Shift to dodge the your attacks and razes. And having a decent waveclear that is almost good as yours and better rune control than u makes this thing extremely irritating in the hands of a good player.

How to deal with this...uhmm..thing:
Illusory Orb is very easy to dodge (just walk sidewards) but this thing can dodge your razes too with a well-timedPhase Shift but u can bait him from using it by canceling your raze as soon as he tries to dodge it and since Phase Shift can't be canceled, this thing can't do anything to stop it and u can use your razes as soon as this thing comes out. Having a very,very low HP and armor allows u to shred this thing if the player is not careful enough. But respect his burst dmg output but if the player makes an awful mistake, there is not much thing he/she can do to stop u from beating this fairy dragon's ***.


One of the strongest heroes in DOTA 2 in the right hands....period there's a lot of possible things that he can do, so much that i can't think of where am I gonna start...period.

How to deal with this narcissistic mage:

This guy is just too strong in the right hands and he can easily trash u in the lane. Just be familiar of his skill build so u can know what skills he can use to u. But whatever skill build he decides to do,Cold Snap is one of the skills u will try to be aware of since even the slightest creep aggro can make this skill powerful. Deny him the farm he needs, play your best because even if he u manage to make a kill on him or two even three, he can easily comeback in the right hands and just respect the fact that he crushes enemies during big fights with his abilities. Buying aBKB is almost required against this guy since even in the late-game he can cream u with his combo if the player is good.


Even this guy got nerfed, he is still force to reckoned with. Don't take him so easily or u may find yourself with almost zero mana and he once he acquires his items, he can shred u so easily. He does have a very high base dmg OH AND HE CAN STEAL YOUR INT TO BOOST THIS EVEN FURTHER, so expect to have your farm get denied by a lot. Luckily his attack range is somewhat low and he doesn't have some sort of pushing abilities but be careful because if u let him farm, he can destroy u and your team pretty easily.

How to deal with this guy:

Trust me bottle crowing will help. Stack a lot so in case u get shut down in the lane u can comeback by clearing stacks. Try to zone him out with your razes since he is pretty papre just like u do and gank him a lot to deny his farm since he is not a hero that can comeback after an awful start (he can still do so, but he is not good at it since OD like to be ahead). But if he manages to snowball, there is no much thing that u can do against him. Magic immunity and silences screw him a lot. Try to focus him in fights.


It is rare to see this hero since he requires micro, but seeing one in the midlane can be quite challenging. He can secure his farm by making u miss ur attacks and if u can't trade hits with him because of hisDrunken Brawler that gives him evasion and critical strike chance and he can slow u by using his, allowing him to pummel u down. At lvl 6 he has a guaranteed kill on u using his ultimate. Late game he is not a big deal for u but he can still wreck havoc especially in 5v5 fights.

How to deal with this guy:

Since u can't harass him effectively because of his tankiness and evasion, using your razes will do the trick and since he is melee, u can blast a raze or two when he tries to lasthit. Just be careful when he reaches lvl 6 since he can towerdive u and render ur TPing mate useless for 6 seconds while stunning and beating the **** out of u. Buying an MKB is a great help against him evasion.

Closing notes

This is my guide to SF. I hope u find this guide useful

Please comment for any good ratings, mistakes, suggestions etc.

This are the list of some good SF players

OG.Miracle-
Na'Vi.Dendi
Secret.Arteezy

THANK U FOR READING THIS GUIDE AND I HOPE THIS WILL HELP U TO PLAY SF BETTER :)

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