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.
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.
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.