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18 Votes

Chaos Knight 7.22 - Item and Skill Guide

June 8, 2019 by Blex12
Comments: 0    |    Views: 77787    |   

Standard Build

DotA2 Hero: Chaos Knight

Hero Skills

Chaos Bolt

4 13 14 16

Reality Rift

2 5 7 8

Chaos Strike

1 3 9 11


6 12 18


10 15

Hero Talents

+10s Phantasm Duration
+10% Chaos Strike Chance
Reality Rift Pierces Spell Immunity
+0.75s Min/max Chaos Bolt Duration
-3s Chaos Bolt Cooldown
-75% Phantasm Illusion Damage Taken
+225 Reality Rift Target Pull Distance
+22% Chaos Strike Lifesteal

Chaos Knight 7.22 - Item and Skill Guide

June 8, 2019


This guide is currently an in-depth look at items and skills for CK, based on over 300 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.

Points by Level + Exceptions

1 - If you're fighting over runes at level 1 or going for first blood, get a point in Chaos Bolt here. If not, get Chaos Strike.

2 - If you're in a side lane, get whichever skill you didn't get at level 1. If you're in the mid lane, you should have skilled Chaos Strike at level 1 so you'll often want Reality Rift at level 2 to secure last hits on creeps you otherwise would miss.

3 - A second point in Chaos Strike is generally best here because it's lifesteal is quite useful for trading hits with your opponents and sustaining yourself by hitting creeps. That said, in very offensive lanes you can get

4 - At level 4 you should always have 2 points in Chaos Strike, and generally one in each of your other skills.

5 - Generally you'll want a 2nd point in Reality Rift here to max it earlier, but in hard lanes you may want a third level in Chaos Strike

6 - Phantasm

7 - See 5.

8+ - Ideally you'll want Reality Rift maxed by level 8 so that you can jump several times in early fights. This is especially true if you're in the mid lane because you'll be the highest level hero on your team and more capable of killing 2-3 heroes. That said, there are some games (especially when playing in the side lanes) when you'll want to get your 3rd and/or 4th point in Chaos Strike first, either to help you sustain in a hard lane or if your teammates have plenty of disable.


Three of CK's 4 talents are usually easy choices.

For the level 10 talent you should pick 5+ to all stats to improve your damage and HP, and help remedy your early mana issues. If you compare the cost of a Wind Lace to that of a Bracer, it's clear that stats are a better deal for CK.

For the level 15 talent, 15 strength is best. While 12% cooldown reduction is nice, the huge boost in CK's damage and survivability from the strength is far too good to pass up.

The level 20 talent is the only situational one. Reality Rift Pierces Spell Immunity is essential vs enemy carries who are likely to build BKB. You simply can't be effective when you can't use reality Rift on a hero you need to kill. That said, you should take the +150 gold/minute talent whenever possible. If the enemy carry is a Phantom Lancer, for instance, he's unlikely to get BKB and it's much more helpful for you to have extra gold. Normally this duality works out pretty well: vs heroes like PA, Shadow Fiend and Drow you simply need to be able to jump on them and they'll die, even if they're slightly more farmed than you. Vs heroes like PL, you really need the extra gold to compete.

For your level 25 talent, the armor reduction is almost always better. Remember that the stun talent only adds 1 second on average. The exception is if you're playing vs many squishy heroes that are simply difficult to lock down, like Ember, Windrunner and Weaver. In this case you may want to consider the extra stun duration.[/spoiler]

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.

Here's a quick overview:

Basically you'll almost always want Magic Wand, Power Treads, Armlet. Drums are usually the best choice either before or after Armlet since they're very useful for avoiding being kited and are also the most effective way to solve CK's mana problems. Midas is also a good early option in some games.

Next you'll generally want to pick up Heart, Manta Style or Assault Cuirass. If you're having trouble getting into fights without getting chain disabled or without your illusions dying, Blink and BKB are good options here as well.

As the game progresses, you'll need to adapt to the conditions presented, making sure to balance damage, survivability and mobility. Generally speaking though, you can't go wrong with Heart, Skadi, Manta and AC.

For more details, open this tab.
Spoiler: Click to view

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.

Magic Wand is simply the best way to solve CK's mana issues in most games. While it can be enticing to just go for the strength and simplicity of an extra Bracer, you will likely miss kills because of lack of mana.

Bracers are somewhat weak in the current patch and on a hero like CK, often aren't useful enough to displace items that build into core items. For example, if you're planning on Drums or Armlet, you can pick up a Crown or Gloves of Haste, both of which have a similar impact to a Bracer. That said, there's nothing wrong with getting a Bracer or two, especially in games with a ton of early-game magic damage flying around.

In most cases, Power Treads should be one of the first items you pick up, especially in the side lanes where they can be bought at the secret shop. These will give you a big early boost in HP and damage, and cycling between stats can be quite helpful as well. If you're having a particularly easy lane, grabbing Midas first is often a good choice.

Hand of Midas is a strong item on CK because it speeds up his lackluster farming and the attack speed substantially boosts his damage output because it transfers to your illusions.

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

Drum of Endurance provides a nice cheap stats boost and a nice boost to your team. While less cost effective than Bracers and Armlet in terms of damage, Drum is a great team item and provides some much needed intelligence and mana regen.

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

Core Items

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

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

Like Blink Dagger, 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

Extension Items

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 or BKB. Heart is better if you need raw HP to survive, but Manta is better for dealing with silence, root 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

Assault Cuirass is one of the best raw damage items for CK and provides a ton of survivability vs physical damage. It synergizes CK's high damage and HP, and provides a huge boost to your team that often goes unnoticed.

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

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

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.

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

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.

Items to Avoid

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

Echo Saber is now almost perfectly redundant with Reality's Rifts maim, so the main benefit of the item is now null. Furthermore, since CK's critical strike is now on a timer, the second attack is less useful.

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.

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.

Considering CK's limited farming abilities, devoting 900 gold to an item that isn't essential is too much to ask. Mana issues are better handled with Magic Wand and perhaps a Drum or a few clarities.

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.

Phase boots aren't bad on CK but with armor not translating to illusions and attack speed synergizing poorly with Chaos Strike early on, Treads are generally better.

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