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Chaos Knight 7.19c - Item and Skill Guide

November 6, 2018 by Blex12
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Build 1
Build 2

Standard Build

DotA2 Hero: Chaos Knight

Purchase Order

Starting/Early Options

Early Game Options

Core Item Options

Extension Items

Very Late Game


Hero Skills

Chaos Bolt

2 13 14 16

Reality Rift

1 4 5 7

Chaos Strike

3 8 9 11


6 12 18


10 15

Hero Talents

-7 Reality Rift Armor Reduction
+2 Max Chaos Bolt Duration
+150 Gold/Min
Reality Rift Pierces Spell Immunity
+15 Strength
12% Cooldown Reduction
+20 Movement Speed
+5 All Stats

Chaos Knight 7.19c - Item and Skill Guide

November 6, 2018


This guide is currently an in-depth look at items and skills for CK, based on over 200 games of my own and hundreds of pro replays watched.

I'll eventually expand it to include strategy, tips and playstyle throughout the game as well as hero match ups, counters, etc., but I wanted to get it out there as is while I work on all that.

How to Use This Guide

The first build section contains all competitive options for starting, early game and core items on CK. You can click over to the second tab for sample builds against various line ups.

The skill an item sections contain many spoiler tabs so that you can skim over quickly, or dive deep into the details.

Skill Build Explanation and Exceptions

CK actually has some of the most flexible skills in terms of the order in which to take them. While the build provided works just fine, below I'll explain more of the nuances of picking the right skills in the right order.

You can find complete details on CK's skills here.

For a discussion of how to think about CK's skills and how they scale, open the tab below.

Spoiler: Click to view

For an in-depth discussion of how to choose skills at each level, open the tab below.
Spoiler: Click to view

For a discussion of CK's talents and which to choose, open this tab.
Spoiler: Click to view

Item Explanations and Exceptions


I trust that not everyone will spend the time reading through the nuances of when to get each item and why. For that reason, each item section will contain a short overview and a longer (optional) discussion for those really interested in understanding the nuances of itemization on CK.

I'll also give a quick overview here at the top for quick reference.

Basically your first significant item will be Power Treads, followed by either Armlet or Echo Sabre depending on how the game is going (and with a few exceptions).

Next you'll generally want to pick up Manta Style, Heart or Shadow Blade, again with some exceptions.

As the game progresses, you'll need to adapt to the conditions presented, making sure to balance damage, survivability and mobility.

Starting Items

Below are the viable builds for starting items in different situations, starting in rough order of most-least common.

1. Standard build used by most high level players on carry heroes.

2. For very aggressive lanes where you expect to be killing your opponents

3. Good if you don't expect to be able to reach the side shop to get your Quelling Blade and want to buy it right after getting the bounty runes.

4.Good for passive farm lanes where the enemy can't easily harass you.

For for details on starting items, open this tab.
Spoiler: Click to view

Early Game Options

You have several options for you first few significant items, which again should be chosen based on how your lane is going and what you'll be facing later.

In most cases, Power Treads should be picked up as quickly as possible. These will give you a big early boost in HP and damage, making it much easier to win fights in your lane. If you're planning on picking up an Armlet, however, it's sometimes best to pick up a Helm of Iron Will first to avoid having to ferry so many regeneration items to yourself.

There's a good reason why Armlet is the most common core item on CK: it has an easy and useful build up, all its stats are beneficial, and perhaps most importantly your Phantasm illusions keep the buff without losing HP. It's perfectly suitable to get as your first major item in most games.

For further discussion, click below.
Spoiler: Click to view

Drum of Endurance is a viable alternative to rushing Armlet or Echo Sabre. While it's a much weaker item in terms of stats and often less impactful later on, it's very cheap and quite strong in early team fights.

For further discussion, click below.
Spoiler: Click to view

Get Hand of Midas if you're having a really easy start and can get it quickly and without setting yourself back as a potential threat against enemy heroes.

For further discussion, click below.
Spoiler: Click to view

Core Items

Get Echo Saber after Armlet, or skip Armlet and get it as a first item if you're having an easy time in your lane and farming well.

For further discussion, click below.
Spoiler: Click to view

Shadow Blade solves many of CK's mid-game problems such as trouble initiating on squishy heroes that stay in the back of during team fights, and lack of a reliable escape. It also allows him to farm more aggressively, solo gank effectively and chase down fast heroes who might otherwise just outrun him.

For further discussion, click below.
Spoiler: Click to view

Blink Dagger may at first seem redundant on CK, but it's incredibly important for getting to squishy supports and glass cannon carries in the back lines. Think of it as extending your Reality Rift range by 1000. Against heroes like Sniper, Winter Wyvern and Warlock who love to stay in the back and cause problems, Dagger makes you much more dangerous and effective.

For further discussion, click below.
Spoiler: Click to view

CK is one of the best Heart carriers in the game since it gives him both a huge amount of survivability and a ton of damage via boosting his illusions. It also synergizes extremely well with Armlet, allowing you to leave it on nearly 100% of the time and quickly regenerate after Armlet's inevitable drain during fights.

For further discussion, click below.
Spoiler: Click to view

Getting Manta Style quickly is a great option if you're having a good game and don't urgently need another item like Heart, BKB, Blink or Shadow Blade. Heart is better if you need raw HP to survive, but Manta is better for dealing with Silence and other dangerous debuffs, and more difficult for the other team to deal with if they lack wave-clear.

For further discussion, click below.
Spoiler: Click to view

Extension Items

Assault Cuirass is one of the best raw damage items for CK and provides a ton of survivability vs physical damage. It synergizes with Reality Rift's armor reduction, helps your team, and helps you mow down towers even faster.

For further discussion, click below.
Spoiler: Click to view

Black King Bar is most useful when you can't seem to play around the other team's heroes in team fights with other items. If you simply can't get into battles without being chain-disabled and having your illusions quickly cleared, BKB is by far the best solutions.

For further discussion, click below.
Spoiler: Click to view

Linken's is a rare but surprisingly strong pick up vs powerful single-target spells like Doom, Sunder and Reaper's Scythe. Along with good use of Manta Style, Linken's can make you incredibly hard to silence or disable. It also provides a nice stats boost.

Linken's is best when there aren't a lot of weak, low-cooldown spells on the other team to trigger it, but there are a few very strong ones. It's also more viable when you got a quick Echo Sabre or Drum of Endurance rather than Armlet, as the regeneration from Heart will be less essential.

All that said, in most games you'll want to get Heart or BKB instead.[/spoiler]

Silver Edge is a strong all-around item for CK, providing him with a good initiation/escape as well as surprisingly good stats for an illusion hero.

For further discussion, click below.
Spoiler: Click to view

Halberd is a nice when you'd benefit from both evasion and disarm. However, other items are often better since CK tends to have little trouble dealing with the kinds of heroes you'd want to disarm.

For further discussion, click below.
Spoiler: Click to view

Skadi is your late game all-in-one item. It gives around 800 HP, a big boost to your damage through stats and the slow makes your illusions nearly impossible to get way from.

For further discussion, click below.
Spoiler: Click to view

Very Late Game

Bloodthorn is the ultimate damage item for CK. While Scythe of Vyse and Abyssal Blade are typically better choices when you need another disable, Bloodthorn is a good option if you really need the raw damage or True Strike. Consider Bloodthorn vs non-BKB-using high-evasion heroes, or vs ultra-tanky heroes that can't be more easily handled with Silver Edge.

A strong utility item when you need to shut down skills and items that causing problems (say, Ghost Shroud) or deal with mobile heroes perhaps with Linken's. Often you can still deal with these heroes with Blink Dagger, Shadow Blade and/or some teamwork, but Scythe will still be an optimal item choice in many long games.

Abyssal Blade can be a good option vs other hard carries and BKB users. Abyssal makes you a nightmare for heroes like Drow, Ursa, Troll and Lifestealer, and along with Echo Saber, the passive bash also makes it much less likely heroes will escape when you use Reality Rift.

The drawbacks to Abyssal Blade are that it's ridiculously expensive and it's most useful against heroes that CK tends not to have much trouble against anyway.

Refresher is the ultimate luxury item on CK because it'll usually be kept in your backpack until you need your ultimate a second time, essentially making it your 7th slot item. Furthermore, it requires a major mana item to use effectively, such as Skadi, Linken's or Scythe of Vyse to use, so it can't be picked up too early.

Still, if you find yourself with extra gold late into the game, being able to use Phantasm twice constitutes a huge power spike.

Believe it or not, a Moon Shard held in your inventory is actually the best late-game damage-per-gold item on CK when Phantasm is up. That being said, other items like AC, Manta and Bloodthorn provide other useful perks and tend to be better choices until you're reading to buy/use a Moon Shard late game.

For further discussion, click below.
Spoiler: Click to view

Boots of Travel are mainly only needed when you need to be able to split push or capitalize on team fights won far from the enemy base. There are certainly games in which Boots of Travel are game-winning, but in most games it's best to leave them until you've bought all the other items you need.

Rare/Situational Items

Solar Crest and Medallion are interesting options on CK, as they synergize with his armor reduction and his already-high damage. Solar Crest can also serve as a way of dealing with evasion heroes like Windrunner.

That being said, like Halberd, picking up utility items like Solar Crest can sometimes sabotage your ability to farm quickly, snowball and carry.

MKB's True Strike transfers to your illusions, allowing you to easily crush heroes that rely on evasion to survive. It's best vs evasion heroes who are also likely to get BKB, such as PA, or heroes who buy both Butterfly and BKB.

That said, MKB adds no survivability and virtually no damage to your illusions so it should generally be avoided in favor of other items. Bloodthorn is a much stronger item if the enemy doesn't have a means of dispelling it, as it adds a huge amount of damage and the ability to silence. Solar Crest's 40% accuracy is also enough to crush squishy heroes with blind or evasion skills.

Battle Fury is only needed on CK vs illusion/summon heroes or when your team has limited wave clear options and you've lost several barracks. It's one of the few ways CK can deal with mega creeps or heroes like Phantom Lancer.

Like Battle Fury, Mjollnir should generally be avoided on CK simply because other items benefit his illusions so much more. That said, Mjollnir is good for dealing with Phantom Lancer and perhaps other illusion/summon heroes. It also provides 75 attack speed, which does boost your the damage of your illusions quite a bit. Still, it should be bought very rarely and only in very specific circumstances.

Butterfly is a nice option if another hero on your team got Assault Cuirass and you think the evasion and extra attack speed would be beneficial. It's also a nice item to have if you're 6-slotted and want to drop your boots, as the Flutter ability can help compensate.

This will likely be the most controversial item mentioned, but it's actually quite good on CK. Necronomicon provides the exact stats CK needs early game (strength and mana regen), benefits greatly from Reality Rift's armor reduction, speeds up CK's farm, increases his early kill potential, and later helps deal with wards.

Additionally, it shuts down most easy counters to CK. Squishy heroes that rely on invisibility get eaten alive, and Purge counters of of CK's most hated skills and items like Ghost Shroud, Wind Run, Decrepify, Ghost Scepter and Guardian Angel.

All the said, the drawback of Necronomicon is that it can slow your scale into an unstoppable carry. While a CK with a fast Armlet, Echo Saber and Heart might be landing triple kills, a CK with Necrononicon 3 and working towards his next big item probably will not.

Force staff is a nice solution to Linken's Sphere since it's cheap and also useful for initiating, escaping and catching mobile heroes. It can also be helpful vs specific abilities like Riki's Smoke Screen.

In most cases, however, Blink Dagger and Shadow Blade are better options.

Items to Avoid

I'll only include items here that may initially seem like a good idea but actually aren't.

CK should use illusions and disables to deal with other hard carries. There is virtually never a situation in which Heart, Abyssal Blade or BKB aren't better choices than Satanic.

Simply put, there are other items which are better for increasing your damage output. Assault Cuirass, Manta Style and Bloodthorn are all better options.

SnY Provides pretty much everything Chaos Knight needs... so why the hell would I say to avoid it? Mainly because there is virtually no situation in which either Manta, Heart or Skadi isn't a better choice. Manta provides much more utility and damage output mid game, whereas Skadi provides much more HP, more damage and a more reliable disable late game.

CK doesn't have a reliable enough regeneration skill or big enough mana problems to warrant an item like Soul Ring. His mana needs can be managed with Magic Wand and perhaps Drum or Aquila, then Echo Saber later on. Considering CK's limited farming abilities, devoting 900 gold to an item he doesn't really need can be a significant setback.

Desolator simply isn't efficient for increasing CK's damage since the 50 damage doesn't transfer to your illusions. You can get more armor reduction for 1200 gold with a Medallion, or just wait for Assault Cuirass.

Power Treads are simply too good to pass up on CK. He benefits tremendously from strength and attack speed, and is already one of the fastest heroes in the game. If you're having trouble with mobility, Drum of Endurance, Blink Dagger or Shadow Blade are all good options.

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