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28 Votes

Analyzing competitive plays with Nyx Assassin, by Peppo_o'Paccio

March 7, 2014 by Peppo_oPaccio
Comments: 18    |    Views: 119618    |   

Build 1
Build 2
Build 3

Trilane hard support

DotA2 Hero: Nyx Assassin

Hero Skills


1 3 5 7

Mana Burn

2 12 13 14

Spiked Carapace

4 8 9 10


6 11 16


15 17 18


This is probably the only guide on this website that shows the "support Nyx", probably the top pick of these last months.

Anub'arak the Nyx Assassin is an agility Hero who can properly work as a ganker, but he's mainly picked in torunaments for his almost unbalanced skill set for a support Hero: his Impale works as a great initiation and chainstun ability for trilanes, his Mana Burn annoys enemy casters and prevents solo laners to escape, his Spiked Carapace scales amazingly well and works wonders in teamfights and his Vendetta is probably one of the weirdest and most effective "nukes" you've ever seen.

What do I mean with Analyzing competitive plays? I like watching competitive tournamentes, and while doing so I almost unconsciously learn the best top picks and skillbuilds of the current meta: Nyx Assassin is a Hero with huge potential, and I'm making a guide for this Hero because there are no "serious" guides for him. Also, I love supporting (both playing the hard support and the Mekansm support roles) with almost all the Heroes.

Useful Terms and Links

Creep stacking: to attack a neutral creep camp at the right time (about X:53) and let them follow you so that a new group of creeps will spawn besides the one that were following you.

Creep pulling: to "drag" a neutral creep camp to your lane at the right time (about X:16 or X:46) to make your allied creeps attack the neutral camp.

Creep blocking: to place yourself in front of the incoming creep wave so that when they will reach the enemy creeps you'll be closer to your tower. Fundamental in mid lanes.

Warding: to place Observer Wards for various reasons, such as rune controlling, enemy spotting and defending.

Dewarding: the act of placing Sentry Wards in order to spot and destroy the enemy Observer Wards. Usually this is not done in low-skill public games, since almost no-one places wards.

Ganking: to kill an enemy Hero (or two) in a numbers advantage.

Pros and Cons

  • Ridicolously item independent
  • One of the strongest trilane supports
  • Can easily outlane a solo laner by himself
  • Can be played in mid or off-lane if needed
  • Can play the whole match with just Arcane Boots and wards
  • Fairly squishy
  • Low mana pool
  • Easily the first target in trilane fights
  • Somehow dependent on Arcane Boots


This can be considered Nyx Assassin's bread-and-butter spell, as it's the main reason why he's picked: it consists of a big stun with scaling damage and pretty big range.

You can't directly select the target of your stun like Lion's Earth Spike, so try to aim it like you do with Jakiro's Ice Path instead of clicking directly on the enemy.

If you succesfully initiate a gank in your trilane use Mana Burn directly after this ability: by doing so, the enemy won't (likely) be able to run away with his skills and will take more nuke damage.

This ability has a small cooldown time: if you've just used your Impale and the enemies dive in your lane thinking they're safe, use it again after the short cooldown ends and let your teammates follow up with more stuns and damage.

Another skill that gives a very strong early game to Nyx Assassin and an easy laning phase for his team's carry: Mana Burn can be used both as a damage tool and a mana-drain tool, resulting succesful in both its tasks.

The main targets you want to aim for with this skill are the enemy INT supports: it deals damage and drains mana equal to five times the intelligence of the target Hero. Plus, these kind of supports ususally have a low HP pool too, so you will force them to use consumables.

This is especially useful against solo laners: you can easily shut down a Dark Seer, Queen of Pain or even Batrider if you keep draining their mana and dealing damage; by doing so you'll grant a ridicolously easy early game for your carry and easy kills for your trilane.

Try not to steal kills with this ability: use it right after your Impale so that you won't accidentally do so.

Spiked Carapace is often overlooked, but it's surely as effective as Nyx's other skills: the damage reflection may seem "selfish" for a support, but you forgot the best part which is a stun that lasts more than the one from Impale when both skills are maxed out!

In the laning stage, always put an early point into this skill: you could reflect an autoattack from the enemy support/solo laner which can lead to an easy gank for your team, or you might avoid enemy ganks by just activating it and walking away.

When teamfights start, if you don't have a Blink Dagger Vendetta + Spiked Carapace is the default combo: you can even work as a proper initiator by doing so, considering that you can chain its stun with the one of Impale!

This skill has a very low mana cost: you should always have mana for it unless you granted a kill by using one of your other skills.

As I said before, this is a very effective and weird ability for a support Hero: you can treat it as a nuke, but remember that it deals physical damage, which is not reduced by magic resistance but by armor.

When you reach level 6 you won't probably be laning anymore, and this ability is a good roaming tool: as long as you have mana, you can grant easy initiations and ganks in your team's favor.

The cooldown time of Vendetta is somewhat low, so you can use it whenever you feel you can pull off a gank and you'll still have it off cooldown for escaping purposes.

While putting levels into this skill, the bonus damage scales along with the mana cost and the duration of the invisibility: at the beginning it lasts for 20 seconds only, so use it carefully! On the other side, while maxing it out you'll consume a whopping amount of mana by using it.

Items Explanation: Trilane Hard Support

More often than not, Nyx Assassin takes the role of the team's hard support in competitive matches: given little to no experience and absolutely no gold he can still be a threatening Hero in trilane fights and counterganks.

You might want to know the most common warding spots and to improve your map awareness (so you will use your TP scroll wisely) before trying this, that's why I consider this build for intermediate to competitive players.
But, if you are new to this hard-supporting role don't be afraid to try this Hero: in a few matches you'll become a ganking and warding master!

Starting items

Choice 1

Of course, as you are the hard support you don't need items that give stats at all (unless you buy them to make another item later), so you can freely spend 300 gold on Animal Courier and Observer Wards, which will help your team a lot.
One set of Tangos is the most efficient heal you can get with the remaining gold: it heals you for a smaller amount of health than an Healing Salve, but you can use it to break trees and spot hidden Observer Wards that block your creep pulling camp. Nyx has good HP regen early on, so you won't usually need a Salve.
A triple Iron Branch will be used to make a Magic Wand later on, but it's not mandatory: sometimes I buy a Salve and save the remaining gold, sometimes I buy an extra clarity, sometimes I buy Gauntlets of Strength.
Talking about the Magic Stick, it is strongly recommended if your trilane (including you) will face another trilane: you don't need to upgrade it into a Magic Wand straight after you buy it because the sustainability it gives is ok for its cost. You can also buy it if you're against a solo laner that spams his abilities: Batrider, Dark Seer and Tidehunter are some examples.

Choice 2

This is the other way to begin your match: it's strongly recommended that your team has at least one set of Sentry Wards in a safe trilane because the supports' experience and gold rely on creep pulling. If you can't creep pull because the enemies have blocked the camp with a ward you'll lose at least 2 levels of experience and a minor amount of gold.
The Iron Branches are there for cheap sustainability and because they're very cost-efficient, nothing else to say; the set of Tangos is useful for the same reasons as above.
Next, we have a Clarity potion: you'll need just one of them because most of the time you should creep pull and stay away from the lane, so that your carry gains double experience. But, if you're facing an aggressive lane (or if you're against two pub players), you might need another Clarity instead of the Iron Branch to let you spam your Impale and Mana Burn from behind.

Early game items

Wards. Yes, wards. That 150-200 gold is a minimal cost even for a Hero that doesn't kill a single creep in the whole laning phase, and it's surely worth it: you ward a place behind some trees, see the enemy Pudge coming for a gank and... Boom! He gets Disrupted and chainstunned. A 150 gold item for a ~500 gold (divided between the firendly Heroes that got kills and assists) kill.
For the same reason, you can use a 200 gold item to avoid more than one ~500 gold kill for the enemy.

Nyx Assassin is a very mana-intensive Hero, so you must get your Arcane Boots as soon as possible: start from the Boots of Speed and keep on warding and counterwarding. If you finish them at about 10-15 minutes, then you're fine.
Observer Wards and Sentry Wards are a must if you want to win your match: take them at about the 5:00 minute mark and don't be afraid to leave your lane while warding if you're sure that your enemy won't be able to gank you when roaming.
Also, don't forget about the Magic Wand which is the best item for burst HP and mana. Since you'll need the extra mana, you'd better take it.
A Town Portal Scroll can't be overlooked: it's so useful that you might end up getting more gold by teleporting and doing kills/assists than by creep pulling.


If your carry is free farming and you can go to gank other lanes, in the early game you can use a Smoke of Deceit on you and the other lane support and gank the enemy mid or solo laner: if ganking mid, a kill is almost always ensured if your mid laner helps both of you. You might end up destroying the enemy tower straight after it, too.

This is always needed when there are invisible enemy Heroes: sometimes it's better than using a Sentry Ward, but don't oversetimate it as it's easily counterable in the mid-late game ( Manta Style and Diffusal Blade, for example, can purge the "debuff" from the dust). A must-have if you're going to destroy (or you already have destroyed) a tower and the enemies have invisibile Heroes.

Mid game options

Again, never forget about wards. The more wards you have, the more you are useful for your team: if you have, for example, a Force Staff you may save yourself from a Tiny that has just killed your teammate, but with an Observer Ward both of you would have stood alive, maybe you could have even got him killed.

These are extensions, don't buy all of them! Pick just one of these items if you are playing ok or buy even two of them if you feel your team has the upper hand.

This is one of the best items a support Hero can buy, especially if he needs both health and mana regeneration: Anub'arak, having a small HP pool and poor mana gain and always being there when a gank opportunity shows, is a perfect Hero for this object. 90% of the time, competitive players buy it in conjunction with the Arcane Boots.

The Drum of Endurance is a pretty good item on possibly every Hero, but especially on squishies and chasers: Nyx really benefits from it and you can buy its cheap components separately.

Remember that the useful aura will affect the entire team and that you can use the active ability for chasing, having an advantage in teamfights or destroying a tower.

If you get focused to much in teamfights or you can't escape alive after a 1vs1 gank, you must save some money for this: it's fairly cheap and gives good stats along with an interesting active ability. Never underestimate this item!

This item has only two downsides: first, it's made of one item (so you can't buy its parts separately); second, if you try to teleport to base while this item is active you'll return in your normal form; but still, the active ability is too valuable not to get it.

This item is the most used one for Nyx Assassin, competitive-wise: you can act as your team's main initiator if you can get enough farm (maybe jungling a bit, creep pulling or getting kills) and if you can stay alive after using your Impale + Spiked Carapace combo.

It's strongly recommended to have a big/full mana pool before buying this, so an Urn of Shadows coupled with your Arcane Boots should be taken before this. I've seen some teams running Anub'arak with just Arcane Boots, Magic Wand and Blink Dagger, but you will quickly run out of mana unless you have a high level.

One of my favourite items on Nyx Assassin, it gives you everything you need: a bigger health pool, more mana to cast your spells and two warriors that help you in ganks and pushes. If your team needs some pushing power and you're doing well, you should spend some money on this.

Also, if you upgrade your Necronomicon to level 3 you will spot invisible Heroes, don't forget it! Plus, while adding levels you'll add more strength and intelligence to your Hero, too.

If you're having a hard time getting so much gold (which is about 80% of the time), don't even think about getting this item first: you could get a Drum of Endurance or a Ghost Scepter before aiming for your Necronomicon.

A pretty weird utility item for Nyx Assassin, but it does work: sometimes I see competitive players picking up this item first, mainly for escaping purposes. It's not entirely situational, but if you don't need it to escape from a Sprout, an Open Wounds or a Kinetic Field you could spend your money for a Blink Dagger.

Don't forget that you can use it on your teammates too, so make them run away from the enemy Venomous Gale and counter-initiate in your favor. Also, you can use it to push enemies in unreachable spots or over cliffs so that they will be away from the fight, though it's very difficult.


If your team is opting for an armor-reducing strategy (see Dazzle, Weaver, Templar Assassin or even Slardar) you should consider this item over your Urn/Drums: it gives the same mana regeneration as the Urn and adds armor points instead of strength. You'll probably end up picking stats items straight after this anyway, as you will still need more survivability.

I really like getting this item even if I don't want to buy a Drum of Endurance: it gives cheap stats for a very small amount of gold. Also, you can use your Gauntlets of Strength to make this if you don't want to sell them.
I almost always buy this before going for an item that doesn't give many stats such as a Force Staff or a Blink Dagger.

Obviously, pick this item against those invisible Heroes that can be very succesful if not stopped ( Riki, Bounty Hunter, Clinkz...): you might want to give the Gem to your team's carry/tank because you'll be one of the first Heroes to be focused in teamfights.

Late game items

As always, never forget about wards: especially in late game, a pair of defensive wards can let you escape if you see five Heroes coming for you while you're solo pushing.
In this stage of the game the Observer Ward spots are very few (mostly on the high grounds in both Dire and Radiant jungles), so with a pair of Sentry Wards at the right time you will almost surely destroy some observers.

If there are many melee autoattackers in your team, you should think about this: it may not seem so useful, but especially if you want to kill Roshan more quickly this is the way to go.

Don't buy this for the lifesteal only: remember that it gives a lot of useful stats for its price and it's one of the few lifesteal items that actually makes you more survivable! Plus, if you buy this you let your melee carry farm for damage-increasing items and save one of their item slots, so they don't have to buy lifesteal items.

You don't usually see Nyx Assassin players go for this item because it requires a lot of gold, which you will reach less than 10% of the time. But anyway, if the match lasts for a lot of time this is one of the three expensive items you should look for: the Hex is just too good, and it synergizes well with your other abilities.

Also, the bigger mana pool will remove all of your mana problems and the huge amount of stats it gives is always good: if you're planning on buying this, go for the Ultimate Orb first.

Always use this on the enemy carry right after initiating, so that he can't pop his Black King Bar and your team has 3.5 seconds of easy fight.

Another good but costly item that fits well with Anub'arak is Shiva's Guard: it gives you intelligence and makes you less vulnerable to physical damage, while slowing the attack speed of the enemies.

The main reason why this item works well with Nyx Assassin is that you can use it after your Vendetta and nuke down everything: the movement slow is very handy and the damage can be easily combined with Impale and Mana Burn.

A very situational and expensive choice for high level plays: if your team needs that magical damage amplification for shutting down a carry more than a hex, this item can be considered.

Don't take this if you haven't bought a Ghost Scepter in the mid game: with less gold you can even take a Shiva's Guard, which has almost the same (or even more) usefulness in teamfights and gives you intelligence, too. Plus, as you are not an autoattacker you don't really need the massive AGI increase, though it's never wasted on an agility Hero like Anub'arak.

Last thing: Use this item straight after your Vendetta damage or your Impale, as it will make you immune to autoattacks and will aplify your magical damage to that enemy, too.

This is actually a "quick" late game item: its main reason is to give an enormous mana pool while having more disables in teamfights; if you are one of the main initiators of your team this is mandatory.

You will solve all your mana problems and the speed increase will make chasing much easier, but it doesn't give stats at all and, as you are an AGI Hero, it doesn't add damage either. Nonetheless, this item contributes a lot in teamfights and can be even used for ganking.

Remember that you can cyclone yourself if you get caught in a bad situation: you can even use your Blink Dagger or Vendetta straight after it if you time it well.

Items Explanation: Off-Lane

When competitive teams instapick Nyx Assassin, he might not be the right Hero to support their trilane: in this case they choose to put him in the off-lane, so that they have a good and reliable ganker. In pubs you always see this Hero going mid and aiming for a fast Dagon, which kind of summarizes this type of playing style.

This build is pretty easy to use even by new players, but you must be able to survive the lane you're facing and time your ganks to grant a bigger advantage: I consider this viable for beginners to competitive players, not for people with 5 hours of playtime but for someone that can actually get last hits and use the abilities accordingly, which isn't that difficult anyway.

Starting items

Bottle rush

These ones are probably the most common items for a mid Hero except Invoker or pub mid laners ( Sniper, Morphling, Drow Ranger...).
The Tango gives you sustainability (very useful since you are melee and will get harassed a lot) until you get that ~240 gold for your Bottle.
Three Iron Branches can be built into a Magic Wand later and offer good stats for a cheap price.

Off-lane choice

If you're off-laning you will need a lot of HP regen in order to stay alive: a Tango and a Healing Salve aren't enough, you should spend at least three items worth of money for regen. Nyx's base HP regen is terrificly high, but you can't rely on it too much.
The Stout Shield is actually a pretty solid choice: it mitigates a lot of damage as you're melee and costs a mere 250 gold. Always buy it on any melee off-laner.

Early game items

If you're playing the mid role, you always want to rush a Bottle: the tiny mana pool and poor damage resistance and health make this item even more appealing. Consider Bottle crowing if the enemy is so fast they always get the rune before you.
When you're off-laning, picking a Poor Man's Shield as soon as possible makes a lot of sense: as you're an AGI Hero (so your armor rating is decent) and your HP regen is pretty high, it's like a very cheap Vanguard. Some people still get a Bottle when off-laning, but it's not always worth it.
Boots of Speed are your next priority: they're always one of the first items to take and can make the difference while trying to escape or grab a rune.
Another useful item is the Magic Wand, especially against spammers: it removes all those Iron Branches from your inventory and adds an active ability that more often than not can save your life or let you deal the killing blow with your nuke.

Core items

At level 6, you should be farming for your Arcane Boots: their active ability is the best you can get for a pair of boots, and it gives the average movement speed.
The next item, the one that makes you probably the best gank-based initiator, is a Blink Dagger: the usefulness of this Hero would just be ganking Heroes (with the risk of being spotted and die!) without it, which is good for the mid game but not so much for the late game. With the Blink Dagger, instead, you can initiate from a very long range, land Impale on two or three enemies and let your teammates follow up and win the fight.
If you're playing in pubs and just want to be a feared ganker 1vs1, you can go for a Dagon, especially if playing mid: it deals insane burst damage to the enemies and, as you reach level 3, you can keep it for the entire game. Remember not to buy its recipe more than three times in this stage of the game, as you will need survivability or something that enlarges your mana pool or gives better teamfight capabilities.

Core Extensions

As the game progresses, the enemy carries and autoattackers will become much more powerful: you, spending a lot of gold on an item that doesn't give health points or armor, would have low HP and be one of the main targets. With the Ghost Scepter you'll get some useful stats and the active ability will let you escape from those kind of situations.

You can upgrade it into an Ethereal Blade if you want, but I rarely recommend doing so.

A very good item that boosts up your intelligence and doesn't give any stats, but can be actually used to escape: the main purpose of it is to run away from those abilities like Open Wounds, Sprout, Kinetic Field, Power Cogs and so on, but the extra mobility coupled with the Blink Dagger is also one of the main reasons why it's so good on Nyx Assassin.

You can use it on your allies, too! If they get caught with the aforementioned spells, Force Staff them to safety (as long as they're facing your team).

For the same reason, don't be afraid to use it on the enemies: if you see a solo Hero coming towards you, pull them to your team before they can react. With a bit of luck you can pull them into unreachable spots, too.

Eul's Scepter of Divinity will remove all your mana problems if you still have any, and can be used to isolate a target for ganks or to transform a 5vs5 fight into a 4vs5 for a limited amount of time.

Use it on the enemy carry if you want an advantage in fights, or use it on a squishy Hero (an INT support, preferably) if you want to isolate and kill him: with your teammates, this will be a piece of cake.

Remember that it gives movement speed, too: it can be very useful if the enemies have chasers or if you need more speed for your ganks.

I always think about Vlad's when I'm playing a utility Hero, especially if melee, and Nyx is no exception: it costs a mere 2050 gold, is made from cheap components, scales into late game and helps all the melee Heroes in your team.

Don't buy this for the lifesteal only: remember that it gives a lot of useful stats for its price and it's one of the few lifesteal items that actually makes you more survivable! Plus, if you buy this you let your melee carry farm for damage-increasing items and save one of their item slots, so they don't have to buy lifesteal items.

Late game items

This is probably your main choice if you have done well in the ganking phase and you have a low-level Dagon: adding points into it will make you able to scale into late game without having autoattack power.

However, if the enemies bought a Pipe of Insight or something else to lessen your nuke damage you might want to opt for different items (see below).

The Scythe of Vyse is considered by many the "best" item in the game: the Ultimate Orb gives insane amount of stats and should be the first part of this item to take.

Use this item after Vendetta if you are ganking Heroes with Blink abilities ( Queen of Pain, Anti-Mage but even Faceless Void or Mirana) or long stuns/disables ( Dragon Knight, Lion, Bane, Shadow Demon...) to ensure a kill. In teamfights, obviously focus the enemy carry.

Another good but costly item that fits well with Anub'arak is Shiva's Guard: it gives you intelligence and makes you less vulnerable to physical damage, while slowing the attack speed of the enemies.

The main reason why this item works well with Nyx Assassin is that you can use it after your Vendetta and nuke down everything: the movement slow is very handy and the damage can be easily combined with Impale and Mana Burn.

If your team is doing so well that you don't need Vyse or Shiva's, you can opt for this: it's almost a situational though, if you have a team full of autoattackers and the enemies have many single-target nukes you'd better buy something else.

Epecially if you have a Ghost Scepter, this item offers a lot of agility (which increases your amor, too) and useful stats along with an active that can be used in two ways:
  • For escaping just like with the Ghost Scepter, by double tapping it;
  • For nuking and amplifying nuke damage, using it on an enemy.

Last thing: Use this item straight after your Vendetta damage or your Impale, as it will make you immune to autoattacks and will aplify the magical damage dealt to that enemy, too.

Another very particular item: it helps you in chasing and enlarges both your mana pool and your armor/attack speed, but you don't always need it. Try to aim for teamfight items first, if you already have them or if you don't need them you can buy this.

The Purge ability is very useful in some situations: if the enemies have an Omniknight or a Warlock, then you must go for this item. It also helps a lot in chasing and ganking, plus it drains a lot of mana if attacking the right target (the ones with a small mana pool, obviously).

Don't upgrade this unless you have already bought another late game item (such as a Scythe of Vyse): the agility and intelligence increases are negligible on this Hero.

In the later stages of the game you should be pretty farmed, having some items like Eul's Scepter of Divinity and Shiva's Guard that fix your mana problems. When you reach this stage, you might sell your Energy Booster disassembling your Arcane Boots for buying a pair of Boots of Travel, that will help you in both chasing and teleporting.

Especially after the tier 2 towers get destroyed, being able to teleport closer to the enemy base is crucial: if you want to push costantly this item is fundamental, as it makes you able to keep pressure on the towers.

Playing Style

In the right hands, Nyx Assassin can be the most powerful trilane support: your main job is to let your carry free farm and get free experience while defending him from the enemies, so you must stay at least 1200 units away from the creeps (so that you don't get his experience) and act only if the situation calls for it.
You have to focus on the other lanes too, because you might secure a gank by only teleporting there and using your Impale + Mana Burn combo.

This chapter will be divided in the following paragraphs to let you understand better:

Aggressive Trilane

A very nice lane for Nyx Assassin, you can get many kills by activating your abilities on the right targets: it is top for Radiant and bot for Dire.

If you need some examples of trilanes that work well, you can try with these ones:

  • Nyx Assassin - Bane - Juggernaut
    If you are comfortable with your lanemates, this will make tower pushes and kills very easy: Atropos can easily initiate from a distance with his Nightmare, so that Juggernaut can come closer to the enemy and use his Blade Fury dealing massive damage. Your Mana Burn will deal good nuke damage and will make your enemies run back to base or unable to use their escape abilities, while Impale is always good for counter-ganking and securing kills.

  • Nyx Assassin - Keeper of the Light - Kunkka
    This lane is best used when the enemies have a really farm-dependent hard carry: it focuses on denying all the enemy farm while costantly harassing with Tidebringer and Illuminate; just make sure that Gandalf doesn't hit creeps with his nuke and gives mana to you and Kunkka, and you're done. While getting kills, Impale + Torrent will always give an easy target for KotL's Illuminate: they can be used to push while going to destroy the tower, too.

  • Nyx Assassin - Gyrocopter - Brewmaster
    In this case, Gyro works as a nuking support: this lane is useful for fighting against a lane willing to fight your one, possibly with a carry that doesn't need much farm. With Brewmaster's Thunder Clap and your Impale you can grant huge AoE stuns and slows, while Gyrocopter's Rocket Barrage will be really feared by the enemies. His Homing Missile can be useful to make the enemies run away from their lane, too.

If the enemies start to creep pull, always go there to contest their farm! Even if you don't kill the creeps you will still be able to harass the supports that don't leave the creep pulling camp.

Using your Mana Burn is crucial in this lane: it can make the difference between killing a solo laner that can escape (such as Dark Seer and Windrunner) and letting them survive. If they're low on health don't be afraid to tower dive, if you need to.

Always see if you have time to place your wards, as they're crucial for your team.

Safe Trilane

This is the other lane you should be playing in very often, bot for Radiant and top for Dire.

Are you confused about the trilane partners that work well with Nyx Assassin? Then, here there are some examples:

  • Nyx Assassin - Undying - Gyrocopter
    This lane heavily focuses on getting quick kills and towers while letting Gyrocopter farm his core items: if the enemy team knows that they're going to lose their lane and put a solo Hero against you, you can focus on roaming. Otherwise, as soon as you catch the enemies in a bad position go with your Impale + Mana Burn combo and let Aurel Vlaicu spam his low-cooldown high-damage Rocket Barrage. Undying's Decay and Tombstone make everything much easier while granting an easy lane push if going to destroy a tower.

  • Nyx Assassin - Venomancer - Luna
    With this, your lane can heavily harass the enemies thanks to ranged attacks and poisonous hits, so the enemies have to be very careful and they know that; if you can use Impale on even an enemy close to his tower, the Venomous Gale and Luna's Lucent Beam and ranged attacks won't let them live. Also, Nyx Assassin and Venomancer make a pretty nice ganking combo, so spend some of your money on that Smoke of Deceit and go get some kills!

  • Nyx Assassin - Shadow Demon - Lifestealer
    This is probably one of the most popular trilanes, and there is a solid reason behind it: SD can easily start a fight with his Disruption and Soul Catcher, while Nyx's Mana Burn keep the enemies at low mana and force them to use their consumables; when you find an opportunity, Impale followed by Open Wounds will quickly kill a Soul Catchered enemy. The best thing is that you can actually Infest Anub'arak while using Vendetta, which leads to creative ganking opportunities.

When you're here, focus on creep pulling and roaming: you can't harass as you are a melee Hero, but you can still pull camps and deny creepwaves. Also, as you should be outside of the exp range the enemies will never be sure wether you're in lane or not, so you might roam and pull off an easy gank in mid lane because they thought you were still pulling in your easy lane.

The less experience and gold you have, the more experience and gold your trilane carry has: it's very common to find level 3 supports with a level 7 carry in competitive matches, and your Impale + Mana Burn combo works well at all levels. That's why Nyx is an awesome support Hero.


After some time, the enemy team will probably group up for destroying one tower: if so, quickly teleport there and wait for your friends to come.

If the enemy initiator has to blink before using his abilities ( Magnus, Tidehunter, Shadow Fiend...) you can try to use Mana Burn on them, so that they won't be able to cast anything.

When your team initiates use your Impale to chainstun only, unless you're the main initiator: for example, if Tide's Ravage gets 2-3 enemies wait until the stun duration is almost over and then use your ability.

Always try to keep your Vendetta for escaping or chasing, unless it's crucial for a good initiation: the damage bonus is so good for killing fleeing enemies, and the speed increase and invisibility come in handy for running away too.

Late Game Item Choices

This is one of the most important things as it classifies your level of experience as a Dota 2 player: there are some items that are easy to avoid in certain situations (picking Vladmir's Offering with a Wraith King in your team or a Ghost Scepter if the enemy team is full of nukes), but you should always look for the items your team needs.

  • The Urn of Shadows is the typical mid-game item for a hard support: unless someone else in your team is going to get it, always try to save some money for it.

  • If you are getting plenty of kills in your lane you can go to destroy the towers and get other pushing items such as Drum of Endurance or Necronomicon, so you can keep their lanes under pressure.

  • If you are having troubles with survivability always go for a Ghost Scepter or a Drum of Endurance which give good stats along with useful features and a relatively cheap price.

  • If your team always wins teamfights you can try to get items which make chasing those fleeing Heroes much easier: this is the situation in which Force Staff shines, maybe buy a Bracer right before it if you feel low in stats.

  • If you have three (or even two) melee Heroes in your team that don't have any sort of lifesteal, don't think about it twice and go for a Vladmir's Offering.

  • If you desperately need mana because of the enemy mana-burners ( Anti-Mage, Keeper of the Light, Lion...) then go for an early Void Stone that you can turn into either an Eul's Scepter of Divinity or a more expensive Scythe of Vyse.

  • If you are swimming in cash always aim for a Scythe of Vyse or a Shiva's Guard depending on the enemy team composition: don't buy these items if the match is even, because a less expensive item that you can get ~15 minutes before ( Force Staff, Necronomicon, Ghost Scepter...) can let you survive or even win a teamfight.

Friends and Foes


Nyx Assassin, being an extremely item independent Hero, can go well with anyone as long as he gets his Arcane Boots; you can go mid too, but it's riskier and situational in high level games: if you can't farm that Dagon soon you're going to lose the mid game.

Anyway, Anub'arak's lane partners are supports that can either initiate before him or chain their stuns and disables; also, a carry with high burst damage or another stun is recommended if going aggressive. The first line is for lane supports, the second line is for trilane semi-carries that usually go in aggressive trilanes:

Particularly, Shadow Demon, Bane and Rubick offer a great initiation tool (respectively Disruption, Nightmare and Telekinesis) that can easily start a trilane gank. Also, Keeper of the Light gives you free mana, which is very useful.

If you're playing in a safe trilane and you encounter three enemies against you, you can have good results assisting the following carries (the other trilane support should be one from the previous list):

Gyrocopter can't actually stun if not with his unreliable Homing Missile, but the burst damage of his Rocket Barrage is too powerful not to be mentioned. Also, Lifestealer actually has a slow, but it's so good that it can be considered as useful as a stun.

Heroes that you're useful against

When you're against a solo laner, the best thing you can encounter is one of those enemies that heavily rely on their skills (and thus on their mana) to escape from ganks. The following Heroes will have to be very cautious against you, or you'll burn their mana in a bunch of seconds making ganks very very easy:


In teamfights focus on the most squishy INT support of the enemy team, that you can kill with one timed combo. Just remember to always take a look at your mana, you don't want to use your Vendetta and become visibile without being able to Impale:


Nyx Assassin has two type of foes: the ones that reveal his position while invisible and the ones that screw up his combo or silence him:

Doom Bringer

Videos of Competitive Matches

Trilane hard support

No Tidehunter vs Fnatic - Game 1 (The Defense 3): Fly from Fnatic playing as Nyx Assassin in a trilane.

No Tidehunter vs Fnatic - Game 2 (The Defense 3): EternaLEnVy from No Tidehunter playing as Nyx Assassin in a trilane.

Mid lane

Team Empire vs No Tidehunter - Game 1 (RaidCall EMS One: Grand Final): Scandal from Team Empire playing as Nyx Assassin in mid lane.

Team Liquid vs Mousesports - Game 2 (Bigpoint Battle: Grand Final): Korok from Team Liquid playing as Nyx Assassin in mid lane whitout Dagon.

Vote My Guide!

This build has been published in the new Steam Community "guides" section: vote it from here if you want to see it in game!

Closing Words

This is the first guide of this website about the supportive Nyx Assassin that we all see in competitive games: this guide is still a work in progress, and I'm planning to add videos, screenshots and different builds.

I hope that you all will begin to enjoy the supportive role as much as I do, it's really rewarding! Just make sure that your carry isn't a Russian pub player that can't last hit with Tiny.

Update History

2-17-2014: Improved the off-lane/mid build and added extra explanation in the paragraph.
12-27-2013: Updated this guide following the 6.79 patch; fixed the broken images.
2-25-2013: Added the "Videos of Competitive Matches" chapter.
2-25-2013: Added the "Useful Terms and Links" chapter.
2-23-2013: Added the "Items Explanation: Mid Lane" chapter.
2-22-2013: Swapped the current skill build with the alternative one.
2-22-2013: Added Ethereal Blade between the late game items.
2-21-2013: Written the first part of the guide.

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