Hello and welcome to Nubtrain's guide to Shadow Fiend, my favorite hero of all time. A hero that requires a high skill cap to play well. Shadow Fiend is an amazing powerhouse, possessing early - mid game dominance with a strong presence late game. With three powerful Shadowraze that deal 300 magical damage each and a game changing ultimate Requiem of Souls, Shadow Fiend is a force to reckon with. Shadow Fiend is also an amazing farmer and ganker, that is if you can land Shadowraze...
It is said that Shadow Fiend has the soul of a poet, and in fact he has thousands of them. Over the ages he has claimed the souls of poets, priests, emperors, beggars, slaves, philosophers, criminals and (naturally) heroes; no sort of soul escapes him. What he does with them is unknown. No one has ever peered into the Abysm whence Shadow Fiend reaches out like an eel from among astral rocks. Does he devour them one after another? Does he mount them along the halls of an eldritch temple, or pickle the souls in necromantic brine? Is he merely a puppet, pushed through the dimensional rift by a demonic puppeteer? Such is his evil, so intense his aura of darkness, that no rational mind may penetrate it. Of course, if you really want to know where the stolen souls go, there's one sure way to find out: Add your soul to his collection. Or just wait for Nevermore.
Making steady progressions to the structure/look of the guide
The three Shadowraze spells do not share a cooldown, so theoretically you can deal 900 magical damage at level 7! (Before base spell reduction) Do not use rank 1 Shadowraze at all, it's a waste mana. Two auto attacks are more than enough to do some harassment until you have rank 2 Shadowraze. Learn to conserve mana and do not spam Shadowraze.
Shadowraze nukes in front of Shadow Fiend, meaning you need to be facing the target. There is around a .5 second animation delay casting a Shadowraze so you also need to properly time too. Practice makes perfect...
Shadow Fiend steals the soul from units he kills, gaining bonus damage. On death, he releases half of them from bondage.
12 souls per hero kill
12 souls per hero kill
12 souls per hero kill
12 souls per hero kill
1 soul per creep kill
1 soul per creep kill
1 soul per creep kill
1 soul per creep kill
Take as first skill so you can stack souls earlier when you land last hits. When you die you will lose half the souls you have. That means if you had 36, you're going to have to farm about 4 waves of minions. Should be no problem farming souls back with Shadowraze but do keep death to a minimum. You can take souls from minions and enemy heroes. You also take the soul of your friendly minions and heroes when you deny them. Killing a hero grants 12 souls instead of 1 so getting a kill will be a big lead over your opponents. Once souls are maxed though, it's nearly useless...
Notes: Stacks with other armor reducing orbs/auras/effects.
Requiem of Souls - ULTIMATE
Description: Captured souls are released to deal massive damage and slow nearby enemy units. Requiem of Souls creates one wave of damage for every 2 souls stored by Necromastery. The closest enemy units are hit the hardest and has a 1 second cast time before it is activated. Upon death, a 2nd Requiem of Souls will be released dealing half the amount of souls.
80 Magical Damage per line
120 magical damage per line
160 magical damage per line
Area of Effect Ultimate
Area of Effect Ultimate
Area of Effect Ultimate
Area of Effect
Slow/Attack Damage Reduction
15%, 5 second duration
20%, 5 second duration
25%, 5 second duration
The damage dealt is equal to the number of souls stored with Necromastery. Requiem of Souls explodes waves of damaging lines around Shadow Fiend with 1 line per 2 souls stored for a total of 18 waves of lines. The closer the enemy is to the center of eruption, the more lines will hit and that means more damage. Lowers both movement speed and attack damage of units in a radius of 700. Requiem of Souls has a 1 second cast time and breaks invisibility when casted. It's possible to do full damage with Requiem of Souls if you have either Shadow Blade or Phase Boots; stand on top of the enemy then ultimate.
Patch 6.75 added a passive mechanic to Requiem of Souls, when you die you release another Requiem of Souls dealing half the amount of souls you have. Great addition to Shadow Fiend for taking out near dead opponents if they happen to take you out. Reminds me of some Borderland 2's shield effect.
Landing Shadowraze and Requiem of Soul - IN PROGRESS
Landing Shadowraze can be difficult to master since it requires good positioning and timing to get all three to land. In a typical scenario, you'll be getting off Shadowraze W and R the most since they're the medium/long ranged ones. Shadow Fiend has a pretty long cast animation so you have to factor in animation canceling especially if you're chasing someone.
(Q) - The least used out of the Shadowraze buttons since it's at near melee ranged. It's also the easiest to land since it's shot in front of you, simple as that.
(W) - You can use your auto-attack range to help you indicate how far this raze will land. Your auto-attack is at a range of 500 and raze(W) explodes at 450 so with it's 250 AoE you'll definitely land at that range. If you understand that then raze(W) is also quite easy.
(E) - The longest range and possibly the harder out of the three to land. It's great if you want to stay away at a long distance to farm or harass if you feel there could be a surprise gank on you.
Landing a Shadowraze on an enemy requires you to think at least 1 second ahead of where they'll be. For example if enemy hero is going from X to Y you need to take notice of their movement speed and animation then understand how fast you can react with the right Shadowraze.
This guide is based on maintaining dominance with good ganks and good farming. You need to solo middle lane to have higher level advantages and (sometimes) easier farm. There are three lanes to go to and middle lane makes it much easier to gank either side. Shadowfiend has very strong middle lane presence by fighting back any pressure while defending against pushed waves of minions by properly landing Shadowraze. Last hits very well once souls start to build up and can gank as early as level 5. Personally like to start ganking at level 6, that's when I buy Boots of Speed but if a lane needs assistance, help them.
The side lanes are ok for Shadow Fiend as long as you have a good partner that has a reliable stun. You'll have extra protection but also double the pressure, I would use the sideline item build.
Your support should have bought a courier and with that your very first purchase should be a Bottle. There are some players who like to buy Bottle as a start off item and that's a terrible choice. If you chose to take Bottle first instead, you will lose the sustainability and damage needed.
Sustaining in lane is so important and as you can see, with x2 Tangoes/ Healing Salve is far superior, plus you also have bonus stats. You'll also have a much tougher time trying to last hit minions unless you plan to waste mana blasting minions when you can instead raze the enemy hero.
You can skip Black King Barand get it later if you're not getting killed/focused down as much especially if you went Shadowblade
Provides amazing mobility with a lot of movement speed which Shadow Fiend loves and opens more opportunities to push/gank a lane around the map. With the high movement speed you'll be able position yourself faster to land Shadowraze. This fits into Shadow Fiend's playstyle, from mid-late, your job should be causing a ton of destruction until your hard carry can carry... unless you've ended the game already. Boots of Travel are also very good at defending multiple lane pushes coming from heroes like Nature's Prophet, Tinker, Lone Druid or Enigma.
A second option if you cannot get Boots of Travel quickly enough. Helps alleviate a bit of Shadow Fiend's squishy problem and helps with mana management if you know how to use tread switching
A third option which will greatly help you position your Shadowraze and increases your chasing potential. If you can get this rather early it will help you last hit much better if you were having a hard time getting farm before! Although it doesn't provide as much movement speed as Boots of Travel, it's less than half the price!
If the game still continues, the rest of the build depends on your game. If there are a lot of heroes who have low armor like Lion, a good choice is Desolator. If enemy heroes have Butterfly, counter with Monkey King Bar, read below for more information.
Item Build Progress
This is a typical item build scenario but you can change it up depending on your game and how it's played out.
At this stage, it will depend on the game you're playing. This is how I build against the enemy team, you can build differently if you want but this is how I do it!
Manta Style is a solid choice as a major 5th item in any situation. Provides the needed movement and attack speed whiling helping you push a lane. If you're lucky you can make some lucky dodges!
Situation #1: Strong Auto-Attackers
If enemy team has strong AUTO-ATTACKERS, I'd buy Ethereal Blade to survive attacks from heroes like Drow. Deals damage proportional to how much AGILITY Shadow Fiend has and sends both you and your target into an etherael state. In the etherael form, both you and your target unaffected by auto-attacks and take increased magical damage. A good combo against etherael'd enemies with Shadow Fiend is, Ethereal Blade -> Black King Bar -> get closer to etherael'd enemy -> Requiem of Souls -> Profit. It's a bit risky if you get Ethereal Blade when they have strong abilities like Lion's ultimate Finger of Death but that's why you activate Black King Bar before or after you've used it. Buying a Butterfly further increases your survivability and boosts the power of the e-blade.
Situation #2: Dealing with Evasion and High Damage
Get Daedalus, Eye of Skadi or Satanic against beefy heroes like Centaur. Heroes like Centaur and Axe will probability have a lot of armor and crits from Daedalus will bypass it. Buy Eye of Skadi to kite the tanky heroes or outlast them with Satanic. By late game your total attack damage and attack speed should deal more than your Shadowraze's overall output so you should only use Shadowraze is if you can hit them with auto-attacks.
Both choices are perfectly fine, just depends on your playstyle and your team. If you have teammates that can initiate with you like Tidehunter then Blink Dagger is better because you'll need that immediate initiation with Requiem of Souls and deal as much damage as efficiently as possible.
If you don't have someone like that in your team, Shadow Blade is a safer choice but costs more. Like I said in the Luxury Items section, replace Blink Dagger during late game if they start targeting you more. You're going to be hard to catch with two clones and invisibility backup'd up with spell immunity.
Items that increase your stats, increase your base values. (Derp) Those items will benefit from other items which provide a percentage boost like Soul Ring or Drow Ranger's Trueshot Aura. Depending on your main attribute, you can gain two bonuses instead of one. For example if you're a strength hero like Slardar, Heart of Tarrasque will increase both base Health AND base damage but if you're not a strength hero, you will only gain an increase to base health.
AGILITY = Each point of AGILITY increases your base attack speed by 1%(additive) and increased armor of 0.14 per point. If you're an AGILITY hero, each point of AGILITY increases your attack by 1.(additive)
STRENGTH = Each point of Strength increases your base health by 19 points. Each point of Strength also increases your base HP regeneration. Here is a link to how base hp/mp regeneration works, different for every hero, playdota.
Intelligence = Each point of Intellect increases your base mana by 13 points. If you're an Intelligence hero, each point of Intellect increases your base attack by 1 point. Each point of intellect also increases your base mana regeneration.
Item's like Monkey King Bar will only increase your attack as BONUS attack and items like Bloodstone will only increase your HP/MP as BONUS HP/MP.
You need to last hit as much as possible while keeping your lane pushed back enough away from your own tower. If you let your tower hit creeps it will become more difficult to last hit minions and if you wait to last hit, the hostile minions will attack your tower instead. If enemy minions are attacking your tower, push back with Shadowraze AND auto-attacks. Only push back enough so you don't go to the enemy's side unless you want to gank or bottle rune.
Shadow Fiend's weakest stage of the game is between levels 1-4, since Shadow Fiend has a low att.dmg and zero-little souls; he'll have a hard time farming. If the enemy mid hero denies you with ease and out-lanes you then you're in trouble. Shadow Fiend starts to build momentum around level 6+ but if you're ganked and outlaned, you're going to be non-existent. If you're having trouble last hitting, start using Shadowraze to get at least 2 creeps per raze and you'll be fine.
Every two minutes starting at 0:00, a random rune will spawn either top or bottom river and please take advantage of that because with the haste or Double Damage rune you can gank as early as level 3. As Shadow Fiend you should be able to get Bottle between 2-5 minutes of farming and once you have your bottle, keep checking for runes. As you soon you have your Boots of Speed, you should start ganking.
Time is Money
Here's a warning, balance your time between ganking and farming, DO NOT waste time. A good example of wasting time is when you're waiting at top but enemy heroes are hugging tower or wait for everything to setup. Everything should have been setup before hand because you have pinged to gank or told teammates already. With time wasted you could be farming an extra wave or picking up a new rune.
Be aware of your positioning, if you're caught in a bad spot and you do not have Black King Bar; you're dead. Make sure you got teammates to back you up when you blink and ultimate, you're like a balloon, easily popped.
Here's a proper full length guide to the basics for any hero from this very site, DOTAFire, very detailed and polished, I highly recommend checking it out.
Another good mini-guide from a user at solomid, explains many of the essentials to be a good MOBA/ARTS player. Very well written guide so credit to whoGGie at solomid.
Here's a video showing common ward spots. If your teammates are being a-holes buy 1 set of wards yourself so you can have vision over rune spots.
In team fights you literally want to be the center of attention. I recommend blinking next to the closet enemy that is as close to the center of the fight as possible. If you can't do that prioritize blinking next to an enemy hero and cast Requiem of Souls. Even if an enemy hero is not as close as you want it to be, Requiem of Souls still does a good amount of damage, as shown here.
I will rank runes based on overall effectiveness for Shadow Fiend. (My opinions based on the games I've played)
I will provide an example of each rune in action later on in the future.
Haste - Provides a 100% bonus movement speed for 30 seconds. Maximum movement speed is 522. Believe it or not haste helps land your Shadowraze easier because you have a faster time to adjust your positioning. Also gets you as close to the enemy as quickly as possible especially if an enemy player happens to escape.
Invisibility - Grants invisibility for 45 seconds. This rune competes with haste for rank 1 in runes but after invisibility is gone, you can't chase if an enemy happens to get away. Provides an excellent setup for ganking! Tip: As soon as you pop invisibility, immediately use 1 charge of Bottle and it will not break invisibility. The bottle charge is being used during the fade time and you're not considered invisible yet.
Regeneration - Regenerates 100hp/67mp per second for a total of 30 seconds. If you do take damage the regeneration buff will dispel. When I play Shadow Fiend I rarely go back to base so having the regeneration rune gives me a huge advantage throughout the game. I personally like to waste all my mana by clearing creep waves before I use Regeneration. Regeneration will not break unless you take damage so if you get stunned by Shackle Shot or another ability that does not have damage, Regeneration will not stop until finished.
Double Damage- Buffs your hero and any illusions within 500 range 100% damage for 45 seconds. This only increases your base attack damage so bonus attack damage items like Monkey King Bar will not get the increase. Items like Butterfly that has +30 AGILITY will double with Shadow Fiend attack since AGILITY bonuses increase BASE damage. I rank this 4th because Shadow Fiend has a weak base damage and most of the time you're casting Shadowraze so in terms of overall usefulness it does not compare to Haste or Invisibility.
Illusions - Creates two replicas with the current condition of yourself. So let's say you have 50% health, the illusions will also have the same amount. Each illusion takes 400% damage and deals 50% of the total damage you deal. The least useful out of the five runes. Does provide scouting information or get enemies to waste mana on it. Sometimes get the opposition to waste ultimates but that's a small chance. Also good when you want to push a lane and helps to last hit.
These are the heroes that I think are best paired with Shadow Fiend, either they setup Shadow Fiend's Requiem of Souls easily or have great synergy. Everything is my opinion and if something else works for you, fine by me. These are only a small list, understand why they're good allies!
By far one the best team-mates in my opinion since Tidehunter has abilities that synergize very well with Shadow Fiend. Tidehunter's ultimate, Ravage, has an amazing 826/925/1025 AoE stun at level 1/2/3. The stun lasts 1.5/1.8/2.25 seconds at level 1/2/3 so that gives you more than enough time to blink into enemy's position and ""ravage"" them with your ultimate, Requiem of Souls. Tidehunter also has another ability, Gush that does a long range nuke that slows for 40% and reduces armor by 2/3/4/5 at level 1/2/3/4. The armor reduction stacks with your aura Presence of the Dark Lord for a total of -10 armor! So that target will drop like Snorlax when focused down.
One of the strongest heroes and works well with Shadowfiend. With Tiny as your teammate you do not have to farm Blink Dagger at all IF you want because all you need is Tiny to Toss you at an enemy and then blow them up. Tiny does more burst damage than Tidehunter with the Avalanche and Toss combo; both abilities has shorter cooldowns but has smaller AoE. I personally think Tiny is a bigger threat than Shadow Fiend early game due to stuns and insane burst damage so that's a great distraction from you. Tiny can also fill the Hard Carry role if needed for late game insurance!
A great semi-carry, initiator and ganker that possesses one of the best ultimate's in the game. Mirana can cast a global invisibility called Moonlight Shadow that helps setup any fight. Enemy teams have to either waste gold buying items to reveal you or wait for the silent but explosive surprise. Imagine having Tiny and Tidehunter ambushing a team, they will melt. Mirana provides utility from her ultimate and a long ranged skill shot Arrow that sets up strong ganks. A good Mirana can change the course of the game with great ganks and initiation, Mirana is strong in any team.
An amazing pusher and has a disruptive ultimate, Black Hole. If Enigma can land a properly placed Black Hole, enemies will be trapped and be silenced throughout the duration. Enemy heroes cannot use items during this time so they cannot use Black King Bar. Enemy units will be pulled to the center of Black Hole so that's perfect with Requiem of Souls. Since Black Hole needs to be channeled, Enigma can easily be interrupted from an outside source but this forces that enemy to focus on Enigma instead of you. It's a win-win situation no matter how you look at it!
A very strong carry that forces the opposing team to waste money on Necronomicon, Gem of True Sight, Dust of Appearance and Sentry Wards. Riki has a powerful Smoke Screen ability that blinds and silence enemy units. Smoke Screen has a mini-stun and slow enemies within a 250/275/300/325 AoE at level 1/2/3/4. This is a great counter against those who has a bash ability like Slardar or Faceless Void and great against caster heroes; renders them useless. Enemy heroes will definitely try to run out of the Smoke Screen so I recommend Stealth Assasin to target key players then as soon as Smoke Screen is set down, blink and destroy. If you have other heroes that can keep opponents within Smoke Screen you will win the fight. Great at setting up ganks at all times. Stealth Assasin is a hard carry so while you dominate early-mid game, he'll secure the match-up.
Great ganker and initiater with Blink Dagger who can become a very strong carry. Sladar has an ultimate that stacks with Presence of the Dark Lord, Amplify Damage that will reduce enemies' armor by 8/12/16. This means that at level 16 the enemy (or enemies) with Amplify Damage will have a total of -21 armor and -28 if either of you have Desolator. That is an insane amount of damage on one hero. Slardar acts as a huge distraction as he either runs in with Sprint or jumps with Blink Dagger to land Slithereen Crush. Enemy heroes will either choose between killing Slarder who is bashing away their allies or target you as you finish casting Requiem of Souls. Very strong and disruptive hero who can be a tanky carry. Here's a link to how armor and damage works at playdota.
An amazing support hero who can initiate instead of you taking that risk. Possesses a strong stun called Magic Missile and has two abilties that synergies very well with Presence of the Dark Lord. The first is called [[Vengeance Aura and the second is Wave of Terror; all in all provides a strong offensive setup. If you're building an aura stacked composition, then these two heroes are a perfect choice. Vengeful Spirit is also an amazing roamer so she can help you gank mid-lane to gain further dominance.
Here is my list of heroes that I find that rivals or possibility stronger than Shadowfiend's mid lane. Like I've wrote before, this is my opinion and if you feel differently then by all means, that's fine. This is NOT an extensive list and realize that these heroes are just harder to deal with, not insta-win against Shadow Fiend.
An incredible hero that farms to no end while being very tanky. Doom Bringer has high sustain thanks to Scorched Earth and has strong auto-attacks making it very hard to last hit. Will rip any hero to shreds with his ultimate Doom. Doom Bringer's ultimate will bypass Black King Bar's protection so you MUST avoid at all cost because it will silence your abilties AND items. With LVL?Death Doom can destroy you at right levels while farming easily with Devour. I recommend doing your best outlast-hitting him and calling for ganks. If you let Doom Bringer farm the game will be over or painstakingly hard since he's a powerful tanky carry mid-late game. You must protect your hard carries like Rikimaru or Morphling because they're your only chance to kill Doom Bringer once he is farmed. Doom Bringer can easily make the game a 4v5 with Doom.
A good mid opponent that requires almost as much skill as Shadow Fiend. You can easily out-farm Pudge but be cautious. A good Pudge will easily rip you apart if you're not positioned carefully. Deny, outfarm and call m.i.a on Pudge and then the only thing you should worry about is a random Meat Hook. You can avoid Meat Hook by standing behind your ranged minion(s). Another tip is to buy a set of Observer Wards and place one outside of enemy tower's range to help avoid Meat Hook. Try to keep lane equilibrium in your favor because getting closer to his tower makes you an easier kill since he'll run up and begin to Rot. Meat Hook and Dismember bypasses Black King Bar protection so you need to avoid his reach. You won't take damage from Dismember if you have Black King Bar activated but the timeout is sometimes all their team needs. A good Pudge is just as strong as a good Shadow Fiend with the similar weaknesses.
Pretty good mid-lane opponent with a very strong passive called Tidebringer. It's a free once-in-awhile cone cleave and deals bonus damage along with Kunkka's attack. When Tidebringer is off cooldown, use this chance to farm or get a kill on him. You can harass Kunkka when he goes for a creep kill with Shadowraze(E) since you'll be able to avoid his Tidebringer's range. Avoid Torrents or many or might face a ship to the face afterwards at level 6! You should be able to gank much easier than Kunkka since both his spells are quite hard to land.
Very annoying middle opponent because minions will not defend you if Viper orb walks with Poison Attack. Viper can kill you if you let him harrass you so play defensively and only fight back with Shadowraze(E) and (W). (Throw in some auto-attacks when he turns back) Manage your mana but keep puncturing his health with Shadowraze(E) until he runs back to base. Focus on lasting hitting creeps and if you push the lane Viper will take the chance to kill you with Viper Strike. If he does use Viper Strike, use Town Portal Scroll to avoid death if you have a good amount hp; if not immediately fight back and hope to get a kill. Viper is also as squishy as Shadow Fiend so take full advantage because if you harassed back with Shadowraze(E), he'll think twice about killing you. Viper's ganking is stronger than Shadow Fiends' but cannot counter-gank as good as Lich. Viper is squishy and can only fight back when he's in attack range so his enemies will use that chance to kill him.
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