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November 19, 2012 by Trigg3r
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Build 1


DotA2 Hero: Slark

Purchase Order


Early Game



Offence Luxury

Defence Luxury

Hero Skills

Dark Pact

2 4 5 7


1 8 9 10

Essence Shift

3 12 13 14

Shadow Dance

6 11 16


15 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25


Hello, I am Trigg3r and this is my first Dota 2 guide.
I am writing this guide on Slark for two main reasons. Slark is an incredibly fun albeit odd hero to play and can become a black cloud of death for the unprepared, however he is also one of the easiest controllable, squishy and counterable heroes in the game. The main reason in writing this is that I did not see a guide posted that explained my playstyle, or one that focuses on his initiation ability and the power of Dark Pact.

With that being said, allow me to introduce you to My Nightcrawler.

Role and Positional Play


Slark excells at being able to quickly position himself most anywhere on the map and create an advantage for your team, he is an extremely powerful 1 v. 1, through the use of Essence Shift and Shadow Dance. He is also able to function as an adequate semi-carry given moderate farm.


Slark's play style requires him to be able to transfer between lanes or sneak up on an any with great speed, as such he requires the movement speed from his ulitimate in order to gain that positional advantage.

Slark should take solo off lane or safe lane with a jungler. He can also succeed well solo mid, but should avoid tri-lanes as it will take much longer to reach level 6 leaving you attempting to gank higher level opponents.

Skill Build

I prefer to build Dark Pact > Pounce > Essence Shift.
Maxing Dark Pact first allows Slark to have good burst on a low mana, low cool down, you may also max Pounce first, although if you miss your pounce your damage is significantly hindered.

I do not max Essence Shift until last because it only increases the duration of the AGI steal and I would much rather secure early and mid game kills with burst then trying to right click without damage items.

Play Style

For Slark to be effective at controlling the enemy team and to take advantage of his ultimate passive abilities, he needs to remain out of sight. Quickly entering into the fight for a kill and leaving just as quickly, fear is your best friend.

Keep an eye on your orb effects and notice when your ultimate passive is not functioning, chances are there is a enemy ward nearby. Alert your team or de-ward yourself.

Dark Pact is your main antagonist early game, it has a 2s delay before the damage is pulsed in an 325 AoE around Slark. You want to be ontop on your enemy after the 2s. It is also extremely versatile as a survival ability in that when it pulses it removes most debuffs from Slark, most notably it removes Dust of Appearance.

To achieve this combo, adjust your line to ensure Pounce will hit, activate Dark Pact (2s delay), and then activate Pounce. If done correctly, when Pounce hits your enemy Dark Pact will pulse.
Right click the remaining HP of your target.
At max level Dark Pact and Pounce have a 6s and 8s cool down respectively. Should your opponent survive your initial strike, repeat the process. Keep in mind the need to predict disables and use your Dark Pact.

Shadow Dance
Shadow Dance allows Slark to maintain invisibiliy (not invunerability, you are still squishy!) while attacking and using abilities. Slark also gains his passive movement and HP regen when activated permitting the enemy does not have an Eye or Sentry Wards, remember to Dark Pact off the Dust.

Using Shadow Dance enables you to secure a kill by chasing down an enemy, turn the fight in your favour when a gank turns into trading blows (the enemy is unable to attack you unless they have vision) or my personal favourite Team fight initiation.

Team Fights
Generally a role not taken by many Slark players, however given adequate follow up, or a vision crippled team. Slark is able to use his Dark Pact > Pounce > Shadow Dance > Dark Pact (debuffs) cycle to enter/initiate into a team fight deal moderate AoE damage, debilitate a Hero's stats and effectively leave and return to the fight.

Target Priorities

While ganking this build is most suited to picking off supports or other medium-low HP heros, much like any other ganking hero a quick kill is a good kill and leads to less complications and less effective counter attacks.

However, late game and given the above team fight strategy Slark is able to debilitate an enemy carry very effectively.

Early/Mid Game
Attack Priorities
Supports > Low HP Heroes > Tanky heroes > High HP Heroes

This is assuming solo or duo ganks. If you really need to shut down the enemies farm you should gank them regardless of this attack priority.

Late Game/Team Fights
Attack Priorities
Carry/DD > Tank > Support > Fleeing in terror

The purpose behind this is Essence Shift, late game your attack speed coupled with your AGI steal allows you to quickly reduce an enemy's Max HP, MP, Armour, attack speed and damage.

Support and Low HP Target's are not prioritized because, hopefully your initial Dark Pact AoE followed by your teams team fight will be enough to secure kills.


Starting items are fairly standard for melee, a buckler is recommended to mitigate most early harass.
If solo lane, or expecting more harass I suggest completing the Poor Man's before the ring/stick.

Depending on your farm a Soul ring can be substituted for the Magic Stick for more on demand Mana.

Diffusal Blade is my preferred first item, As is allows an on demand slow and burns mana, Sange and Yasha is interchangeable at this point.

Complete your Power Treads, if you had a good start finish off your poor mans (assuming you have one pair of slippers) if not, save your shield for a potential Vanguard.

By this time in the game you can build an Armlet, I aim to have this completed by the time I put my 3/4 point into Essence Shift. At this stage in the game your burst is not enough to secure a kill and you are going to start taking some damage. Armlet provides some much needed HP, great attack speed and damage. Also the HP drain is negated by Shadow Dance.

Situational Items
Orchid is by far my favourite additional pickup because of the mana regen and that bonus damage! Coupled with a Diffusal and Essence shift, this makes short work of any attempt to escape you.


Please keep in mind that this is my take on Slark, there are many different builds, play styles and items you can use in the course of a game of Dota.

If you took the time to read my walls of text, please also take the time to comment on my guide. I prefer intelligent, well rounded criticism and will take it to heart to improve my writing and my guide(s). If you choose simply to flame, please do not be surprised if I choose to ignore you, return fire or simply feed the trolls. Caged creatures need to be maintained as they are incapable of taking care of themselves sufficiently.

Guide Discussion
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Quote | PM | +Rep by Trigg3r » November 21, 2012 9:26am | Report
I do intend to add a Friends and Foes chapter, hopefully I will have some time to edit and try some suggestions this weekend. I did mention in the Play style chapter that Dark Pact removes dust, I'll edit it to bold.


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Quote | PM | +Rep by Wulfstan » November 21, 2012 11:33am | Report
Allegiance wrote:

Can Dust be dispelled by Dark Pact?
never tried this tbh :o

Yes.It does,if it pops up at the status bar,it can(and it does duh).Even Doom can be disspelled if you cast Dark Pact before he targetted you.


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Quote | PM | +Rep by StevenLK » November 21, 2012 1:46pm | Report
Dark Pact is a rigged spell if you time it well and get hp like Vanguard and/or Sange and Yasha or else hes just too squishy.


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Quote | PM | +Rep by Malphas » November 23, 2012 12:04pm | Report
how would u cancel a stun with DP if ur already stunned? i can see this maybe if u see skeleton kings stun coming in and then u cast it before it hit u, but say for like DK, how would that work? im oretty sure it cant if ur already stunned.


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Quote | PM | +Rep by Trigg3r » November 23, 2012 2:17pm | Report
Malphas, you need to anticipate when the stun will be coming towards you and use Dark Pact preemptively. There is a danger in this of course, when entering into a team fight or ganking in using it purely for damage or defensively and using it too soon leaving you vulnerable.


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Quote | PM | +Rep by Thaneos » November 26, 2012 2:30am | Report
So I've just read your guide. Being that Slark has been one of my mains since his release in Dota 1 however many years ago that was (at least 4-5 years ago) I feel I need to disagree with you on a few points.

1: armlet is a terrible item for him and does not stack all that well. Slark does need str items for the most part and you simply lose to much hp that you cannot really afford in team fights.

2: Although Vlad is a good item, Mask of Madness is much better for Slark. The 100 attack speed buff plus 25% move speed increase synergies perfectly for him and helps burst down and chase enemies. As far as the 35% damage taken, his Shadow Dance pretty much negates this and it can be activated while his ult is active, plus add a Butterfly and now you have 35% dodge chance further lowering the damage taken from MoM. Not to mention the extremely short cooldown of his ult which makes it a much better item than vlad.

3: Skull Basher should always be a core item for Slark, the bash passive and damage lets you take almost any champion 1 on 1 even 2 on 1.

4: Dark Pact is as far as I am concerned a very situational skill. If after you get Shadow Dance and you find enemy team is using dust o counter it then yes by all means put 1 point into it to counter the dust. It however does not work for sight wards and or a gem of true sight. Not to mention being as squishy as Slark is you can't really afford the damage it does to you as well as enemies. You are much better off leveling your stats before Dark Pact, unless like I said you need to point a point in it to counter dust but you should never put more than one point in for that.

5: Lastly Orchid and Eye of Skadi ........ I don't even know what to say here besides /facepalm. There is simply no reason what so ever to ever build either of these items. Slark is agi and although the attack speed on a orchard is good the int is so not worth it, and mana should not ever be that much of a issue. Eye of Skadi lol wow... I guess the 25 to all attributes is ok and the extra health and mana (if you used that much mana on him which you really shouldn't be) A Butterfly synergies so much better with him then either of those items giving slark everything he needs 30 damage, 30 attack speed, 30 agi plus 35% dodge which helps mitigate the damage taken from a MoM. I simply do not understand why you buy either of these items, and how you could not have a Butterfly in your item list.


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