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25 Votes

Balanar, Hunter in the Night

December 1, 2011 by dresmasher
Comments: 6    |    Views: 70837    |   

Hunter in the Night

DotA2 Hero: Night Stalker

Hero Skills


1 3 5 7

Crippling Fear

2 12 13 14

Hunter in the Night

4 6 8 9

Dark Ascension

10 11 16


15 17 18


The Night Stalker is a very strong ganking hero that shines the most early-mid game and can continue to maintain a strong presence even in late-game due to his passive and two active skills.
His name in DOTA is Balanar.

Heroes that can gank early game and if successful can be quite effective late-game are called semicarries. They will be able to carry your team to victory only because of the fact that they ganked the enemy team so much that they are just underleveled and underfarmed by a huge amount compared to you and your team.

Keep in mind however, if in your ganks you don't manage to kill their carry often, a semicarry will most of the time fail against a true carry like say Leoric in late-game. But if you have a strong early game and a proper lineup, you should be able to finish the game before the enemy carries come online.


Void - a very useful nuke that has a ministun which can interrupt channeling spells like TP scrolls. It is quite spammable & deals 335 magical damage to it's target when it's maxed out, that is around 251 damage after taking into account hero natural magic resistance (25%), it also slows it's target attack speed by 35% and movement speed by 50% for 4 seconds at night and 2 seconds during daytime.

Crippling Fear - this is basically a silence skill, during nighttime it silences your target for 8 seconds when maxed out and also causes them to miss on 40% of their attacks. Very useful skill which can be used to cancel channeling spells like Sand King's ultimate, Witch Doctor's Ultimate & Enigma's Ultimate. It is also quite effective at keeping high damage dealers like Sven and Slardar down due to the 40% miss chance.

*TP channeling is not canceled by silence

Hunter In The Night - this is what makes the Night Stalker a very deadly hero. This passive gives you +35% movement speed and +75% attack speed during nighttime. The bonuses themselves are huge granting him the characteristics of a early-game powerhouse, it's only drawback is that, of course, it is only active at night, so during the day, you are left weak, but his next skill makes up for it in utility.

Darkness - this skills costs no mana and turns the day into night or if cast during nighttime, prolongs it. Since most of his skills are most effective during nighttime this is a welcome addition to his already powerful skillset.

Laning before the first night | Runes

I focus on maxing out Void first for the burst it offers and secondly Hunter in the Night for the movement/attack speed boost it offers, sometimes you might find yourself forced to get one early level of Crippling Fear if the enemy team has lots of disablers or blinking heroes, so don't hesitate to change your skill build as you see fit. Examine the enemy lineup and adapt, this is what DOTA is about, adapting to your enemy.

I always take solo mid with Night Stalker for the huge experience boost in the early game which allows him to offer strong ganks during the first night.
Maintain lane control with Void once it reaches level 2 and rune ***** as much as possible, do not be reckless about wasting all of your mana, always keep some for at least 1 cast just in case of a unexpected gank from the enemy team.


Balanar is a quite strong hero for mid and should be able to handle decently just about any mid laner due to Void. Getting the runes before your enemy does plays an important part on how your laning is gonna go, take runes even if you don't have a bottle, just don't let the enemy take them.

Runes spawn top or bottom every 2 minutes, there are currently 5 rune in the game that may randomly spawn.

Illusion - one of the most hated early game runes on most heroes, due to the fact that it does not help most heroes early game in their ganks, the illusions however can be used as wards and placed inside enemy woods or kept on the side to see incoming ganks. Very useful rune during lategame pushes.

Invisibility - good rune, makes ganking very easy, useful during all the stages of the game.

Double Damage - the perfect rune for Balanar and many other early gankers during early game, the damage boost assures fast kills. Useful during all the stages of the game.

Haste - not as good as Double Damage during the night, but much more useful during the day, if you manage to get one of these during the day, you can go ganking even though you don't have your skills at their full potential, your speed along with one of your allies should be able to kill one enemy heroes without too much trouble. Useful during all the stages of the game.

Regeneration - if you are having problems early game on your lane, the enemy must be pushing himself hard to keep you down, that means his mana is low an his hp is probably not on full either, finding one of these Regeneration runes early game can really put the enemy hero at a high disadvantage and give you the upper hand easily allowing you to continue spamming your Void on a already vulnerable hero. Effective during all stages of the game.

Ganking during the first night

Once the first night comes, go back home and get your boots, tp scroll and maybe a health potion if you have enough cash, look at the allied lanes and see which one is gankable, tp to the second tower if you need to, so the enemy does not see you coming, or to the first if the lane is pushed enough.
Proceed to initiate with Void and then if skilled, cast Crippling fear on the enemy disabler, always go for the low-hp and always go for carries in your ganks, if you can't manage to catch the carry take whatever you can.

Avoid dying during your first gank in nighttime or you're going to have a hard time recovering.

Keep ganking until the first night finishes. After a gank, if you lack mana or hp, go home, heal, get another tp and go gank again.

Rinse and repeat.

After the first night

If your ganks have been successful, you should have your treads and urn by now and you can start farming that Point Booster for your Aghanim, since during daytime, a Night Stalker without his ult cannot do much else than farm.

Go back mid and resume your farming, always keep a TP scroll in your inventory along with a Health Potion, always watch the minimap, you never know when your allies will need help if they are getting ganked, and counterganking can give you some easy kills if the enemy overextends.

If you got your ultimate by now, and it is level 1, you should have a easier time counterganking, and if you are feeling confident you can even do a fast gank during the small nighttime that your ultimate offers at level 1.

I do no recommend using Darkness at level 1 during nighttime to prolong the night since it's duration is so tiny that it's nearly unnoticeable, it gets much more better once it reaches level 2.

Mid game | When to pick Balanar

As you may have noticed by now, the first night means a lot to a Night Stalker, it pretty much tells you how effective is the hero (and the player) that you picked against the enemy lineup.

When to pick Balanar

If the hero offers nothing to aid killing the enemy heroes then he is deemed useless in that match-up.

Now I will talk a bit about when is the Night Stalker actually a good pick and when he is less effective.
This a very important part of DOTA that many people seem to miss completely and blame it all on the player skill level which to some degree is true, but not entirely.

Balanar is effective against squishy skill dependent heroes, that's why he has a silence and a channeling canceling spell.
Here are some examples of heroes for which Balanar spells nightmare in-game most of the time:

I'm sure you have noticed their common weaknesses straight away, they have low hp and are useless without their skills, that's easy kills for Balanar.
It is true that some of them are quite evil on the lane, against Balanar, but in here, we strictly looking at them on how they would do in a teamclash where the enemy team has a Balanar.

Here are some example of heroes Balanar couldn't care less about:

They are hard to kill, and are still quite effective without casting anything.
Yes of course, sometimes getting a silence on Tidehunter can make a big difference (if nobody focuses him and triggers his Kraken Shell that is), but then again that is highly situational and in some cases, even a waste of time to focus these heroes first. Always go for the squishies and/or for the enemy hero that is destroying your team, like a Riki for example.

Here are some heroes that even though Balanar is quite effective against, so are they against him.

Not as squishy as most intelligence heroes, he can take quite a beating and live to tell the story because of his Surge skill. His Vacuum can also be an annoyance when trying to hunt down his teammates, and Surge can be casted on allies as well.

Although she goes down fast if you manage to catch her, she can be quite annoying if she manages to cast Windrun before you silence her. If you happen to hunt her teammates, her stun and long range nuke can prove quite deadly.

Similar story with the others, but he is quite defenseless if caught, on the other hand, his fissures can be really annoying when you are trying to kill his teammates, so make sure you take him out of the picture first before trying anything.

Yes he is squishy and yes you can kill him fast, but if you don't, and you are ganking his teammates, his ultimate can make your towerdives problematic, his Holy Persuasion can take away a kill from you in the blink of an eye as well. If you do kill him however and he has creeps, then he's only half dead, so he still is effective.

Once the night comes again, you know what to do...
By this time, if you are playing against decent players, they probably planted some wards on the sides to see you ganks coming, but if you can with TP scrolls, you won't really be bothered by that.
Continue building your Aghanim's Scepter with the income you get and don't forget to prolong the night with your level two Darkness if you think you need a bigger night.

Items choice

Early game
- 2 branches
- 2 bracers
- 1 healing potion
- 1 set of tangoes

The branches are usually meant so that you can get and finish a magic wand later if required, but branches sell back cost is quite decent and can be used on most heroes early game for the status they give and sold back later.

The 2 bracers are there to give you damage and hp and should be later be turned into a Urn of Shadows. Whenever you buy early game items, think in advance what you are going to do with the later, don't buy items that you'll only keep early game and sell them later on that are not cost effective (except maybe a quelling blade).

The healing potion and tangoes are there to give you some hp if the enemy mid laner is harassing you a lot and you can't manage to get or find any runes like Regeneration

Core items
- Power Treads (STR)
- Urn of Shadows
- Aghanim's Scepter

Power Treads are the obvious choice for the increase movement speed and hp boost.

Urn of Shadows is there because it can be used as a nuke and can heal you in the same time, this saves space by not having to carry those health potions around all the time. The mana regen is welcome as well.

Aghanim's Scepter gives you unobstructed vision at night, this means you turn into a living ward, your ganks can't ever go wrong with this and your team will never be caught by surprise when pushing lategame. It's build up also helps your early game a lot, the Point Booster and Ogre Axe give you a big hp boost and the Staff of Wizardry gives you a decent mana boost.
I see this item as core simply because vision in DOTA is quite important, especially against enemy invisible enemies, get a gem with that Aghanim and during the night, those silly high damage dealers are going to get it bad every time they happen to be around the Stalker.

As you may have noticed, this item build is quite cheap and in my opinion realistic, these are items that you should be capable of getting in most of your games without too many problems, from here on, it all depends on your enemies.

I'm not going to start suggesting expensive items for the hell of it and I'll let you decide which items are optimal under the circumstances that you find yourself into.

Late game

There isn't much to say, if you've been doing well and your teammates as well just gather up and start pushing the lanes together.

Avoid dying alone or pushing with missing members, if you had a strong early-mid game there is no reason why you should give up your advantage late-game by doing silly stuff like giving the enemy stupid kills (like chasing a target deep inside enemy territory or maybe even base diving...) or letting them farm. If your team is ready then push, if not and you have late-game assured then keep them safe and push once they are ready. You could still gank a bit but lategame most teams tend to keep together so you'll quickly find yourself outnumbered and killed.

*to be edited*

need to add
- items when things go bad
- heroes balanar hates facing
- notes about the author
- WHB|syndereN Night Stalker style - small discussion on Eul's

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