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9 Votes

Community Guide to Spectre (Safe Lane)

January 21, 2021 by Hades4u
Comments: 2    |    Views: 103676    |   

Spectre Safe Lane

DotA2 Hero: Spectre

Hero Skills

Spectral (Innate)

Spectral Dagger

1 3 5 7


8 9 11 13


2 4 14 16

Shadow Step

6 12 18


10 15

Hero Talents

+5% Dispersion
+30% Haunt Illusion Damage
+12% Spectral Dagger Slow/Bonus
+350 Health
+80 Spectral Dagger Damage
+15 Desolate Damage
+4 Health Regen
-4s Spectral Dagger Cooldown

Community Guide to Spectre (Safe Lane)

January 21, 2021


Hey everyone, welcome to this beginner's Spectre guide. In this guide, we'll be going over all the essential info you'll need to get started with Spectre. This guide is aimed at lower level play or for players unfamiliar with the hero.

This guide was written with contributions from community members like you! Thank you to the following DOTAFire members for contributing to this guide:

Please feel free to leave any comments or suggestions if you have feedback on the guide. Without further ado, let's get started!



Spectral Dagger - Useful for chasing enemies or escaping, as the trail allows Spectre to pass through terrain. Target an enemy for a guaranteed hit, or target the ground to launch the projectile the maximum distance (which is usually better as long as you don't miss). Avoid spamming this ability early since it has a very high mana cost.

Desolate - Attacking an enemy that is not within 500 units of one of their allies will deal bonus damage on every hit and reduce the target's vision. This makes Spectre much more dangerous against isolated targets that are away from their creeps & other allies. Also works on creeps, so it can help with last-hitting and clearing jungle camps. The damage is pure, so it'll hurt any target regardless of their armor. This passive also applies even if you miss your attack. Doesn't affect buildings and also ignores buildings and neutral creeps for the purposes of determining whether an enemy is isolated.

Dispersion - Grants passive damage reduction and reflects a portion of damage taken to nearby enemies. The reflected damage isn't split among nearby enemies; they all take the full damage. Damage reflection is more effective at close range.

Haunt - Casting this will summon an uncontrollable illusion next to each enemy hero that will attack them with reduced damage and increased damage taken. The illusions last 5/6/7 seconds or until killed, and also ignore terrain by default. You can cast Reality (D) to switch places with a Haunt illusion, allowing you to instantly transport yourself across the map to gank or countergank enemy heroes. You can keep casting Reality as many times as you want until all the illusions are gone. Once you have Haunt, keep an eye out for opportunities around the map to secure kills or join fights where you can turn the tide.

Max Priority


Put points into R whenever possible. Max Q first for kill potential (and AoE damage once you have enough mana to use it for waveclear & jungle farming). Max W second for higher damage or E second for more tankiness. I usually prefer W unless I'm having a rough game. A second point in E early game can help mitigate some harass while you're still farming your initial items.


+5 All Stats - All Stats is always a safe option since you're playing an all-in hero.

-8s Spectral Dagger Cooldown - This is my preferred talent since it increases your ability to chase down enemies or run away if necessary. +12 Desolate damage isn't too bad but it's not always easy to catch enemies alone.

+400 Health - As nice as the +14% slow/haste on Q would be with the previous talent, it's often a bit greedy. 400 health is always going to be useful, so I'd recommend it unless you're sure you can get away with the lower health pool.

+5% Dispersion - This is the most generically useful option even if it's not flashy on paper. 5% of enemy damage at level 25 is a lot of damage, and it both makes you tankier and increases the damage taken by enemies from the reflection. Haunt damage isn't as reliable in my experience, since it's gated by a long cooldown and the illusions can die pretty quickly.


Starting Items

Quelling Blade is highly recommended to improve your early last-hitting. It quickly pays for itself by securing you extra last-hits. Health sustain will help keep you in lane longer to pick up farm safely, but Mango or Iron Branches are also viable substitutions.

Early Game

Boots of Speed are useful to pick up early since they make you safer against ganks and improve your followup on any plays made by your support or mid laner.

Soul Ring lets you burn a bit of your health to cast basically one Spectral Dagger for free. The difference between being able to cast Q and not being able to cast is huge for Spectre, especially in the early game. Against enemies with minimal health sustain, this can also allow you to use Q to harass from range when you have Soul Ring available. Soul Ring also enables you to use Q to farm jungle camps without running out of mana. You can Q through multiple camps at once to speed up your farming.

Wraith Band and Magic Wand are efficient early game items that can serve as a stop-gap until you can finish your Radiance or other core items. Magic Wand is especially effective against enemies that spam spells early, so feel free to pick up an early Magic Stick in those situations.


Power Treads offer the most raw attack speed and damage (from agility) out of all the boots options. Remember to switch to Strength to give yourself a little extra HP when you're in danger of dying, and switch to Intelligence to regenerate mana if you're low. Most of the time you can sit on Agility though.

Radiance drastically improves Spectre's farming speed which helps you hit your other item spikes much faster. It also works with your illusions and makes you even harder to kill due to the extra miss chance. Generally there should only be one Radiance on the team, so check with your teammates to see if anyone else is planning on buying one. If you aren't getting a Radiance, you can pick up Manta Style and Maelstrom to help you farm instead.

Manta Style is great in general on Spectre, but it's especially nice when paired with Radiance. With it, you can farm multiple areas of the map at the same time to ramp up your scaling even faster. Manta's also a nifty in-fight tool since you can dispel a lot of annoying effects on yourself and add more illusions into the mix to make it difficult for enemies to properly target you. You can pick this up before Diffusal Blade in more passive games where the extra farming speed is more valuable than the pick potential.


These are really nice for chasing enemies and are actually my preferred boots, even though Power Treads give better raw stats. Between Spectral Dagger and Phase Boots, you'll have a ton of movement speed for chasing or general map mobility. These boots become better the more successful ganks you can pull off and are a must-have against slippery heroes.

Diffusal Blade has two big draws. First, the manabreak passive on this item works with your illusions from Haunt and Manta Style. Second, the active slow gives you a lot more ganking power, making it really difficult for enemies to escape between Haunt, Diffusal Blade and Spectral Dagger. This is a great way to take control of the mid game by constantly picking off enemies.

A fairly cheap defensive option with flat damage block as well as HP regen. The regen is more useful if you don't have the luxury of farming with Radiance, since you'll be taking more damage when farming jungle camps. You can also pick this up early to help survive the early game while you're farming for Radiance, though keep in mind this will delay your power spikes.

A good purchase if the enemy team is focusing you. I tend to buy this item a lot since Spectre's great scaling basically guarantees you'll start getting focused eventually.

This is a situational counter to strong defensive items like Aeon Disk and Ghost Scepter / Ethereal Blade. Your kill potential is heavily reliant on basic attacks, so disabling these defenses on a priority target will make killing them much easier. Casters often rely on items like Glimmer Cape, Scythe of Vice and Force Staff for personal defense, which makes them very vulnerable when they're muted.

Maelstrom and later Mjollnir are an alternative source of waveclear and jungle farming speed if you aren't picking up Radiance. If you do get a Radiance, I wouldn't bother with this one.

Spectre actually gets pretty tanky and her illusions cause a lot of havoc, so I don't build this item every game. It's still a no-brainer against teams that are really reliant on strong CC or magic damage though, so keep it in mind as an option if the active is bound to do work every fight.


A big boost to your health pool which is perfect once you have some damage and maybe a Blade Mail. You'll need to be a bit tanky as a melee carry in the late game, so the huge health boost is welcomed. The regen will also allow you to stay on the map for much longer periods.

This item is especially useful against basic attackers, but it's a solid damage item for any Agility hero, albeit a bit expensive. This is a good choice for one of your final item slots if you don't seem to need any other important items. Can replace Diffusal Blade in the late game if you need the inventory space.

The on-demand stun and bash chance adds some nice CC and disruption to your team fighting and ganking. This is a really good option for late game CC if you need it. It's also an easy upgrade from Vanguard if you bought it earlier. Can replace Diffusal Blade in the late game if you need the inventory space.

A big chunk of armor to counter physical damage dealers and a handy aura for your illusions and allies too. This is a no brainer if the enemy team doesn't have enough magic damage to threaten you. The combination of Dispersion, Blade Mail and Assault Cuirass will make you practically invincible against physical attackers.

A luxury item for consistent slows in the late game. I don't buy this item as often but it can add even more disruption to fights and it gives a well balanced set of stats. If you're not under a lot of threat, you might be able to slip this into your build.

Aghanim's Scepter is a great late game item as it skyrockets your global presence. You'll no longer need to blow a 2-minute cooldown Haunt just to gank a target. You can also pick this up earlier if you need to catch annoying split-pushers like Tinker or Nature's Prophet.

Extra Gold?

Moon Shard can be consumed for extra attack speed once you're at full items. An ally can also purchase it for you if you're still working on your main build, so don't buy it if your teammate already used one on you.

Boots of Travel and Boots of Travel 2 are great assets in the late game since they'll let you cross the map very quickly, especially after a death and/or a buyback. The higher movement speed is also pretty nice. Late game you'll have a ton of DPS items and Power Treads won't be as crucial to your damage, so feel free to switch them out once you have enough gold.

Early Game

Early Laning

As a safe lane carry, Spectre's early laning phase is pretty basic. Your job is to get as many last-hits as possible and stay healthy so you can remain in lane and farm for a long time. Spectre's early game isn't fantastic, so don't expect to put on loads of pressure on your own. That said, some lane dominant supports can definitely set up kills for you if the enemy overextends, so keep an eye on what your support is doing so you know when to follow up.

Spectral Dagger costs a ton of mana early game, so don't use it for something trivial like harass or a small bit of CS (unless you have Soul Ring). It's important to have enough mana for at least one Q in case your team needs you to join a fight, or you get ganked and need it so you can ignore terrain and escape.

Your followup to plays made by your teammates will largely be limited to extended fights or all-ins. If you commit the mana to Q an enemy, you usually need to kill them or at least take down a big chunk of their health to make it worth it.

Power Spikes

Once you get level 6 and have access to Haunt, your ability to contribute to fights improves a lot. Haunt provides an instant gap-closer on any enemy hero from anywhere on the map, so while you continue farming, keep an eye out for fights around the map that you could swing in your team's favor. You can always use a teleport scroll to get back to lane. Try to only cast R if it'll net you a kill or assist, since it has a long cooldown.

In most games, Radiance will be your first big item spike. The consistent AoE damage will allow you to push waves and clear jungle camps very quickly, which nets you faster gold and XP and makes it easier for you to jump into fights without falling behind on farm. Spectre has the luxury of being able to power farm while still maintaining her presence on the map due to the threat of Haunt, so be sure to maximize your gold income whenever there's downtime. You can always just press R to join your team if you're needed.

If you're not going for Radiance, your first power spike would be Diffusal Blade since the added slow will make your ganks much stronger. Keep an eye out for overextended enemies or if you can create a numbers advantage with your teammates to force a fight.

Mid Game

Keep Up the Farm

As stated earlier, Haunt gives Spectre the opportunity to constantly farm whenever there's downtime in a game, since she can join fights from anywhere on the map. That said, the cooldown is quite long, so make sure you don't press R until you're sure you can make a difference. Until then, push out waves and clear camps with Radiance.

If you aren't building Radiance, you'll want to still find as much farm as you can, especially lane farm. Jungle camps will take longer to clear without Radiance, though you should still have some time to spend clearing Ancients at least. Manta Style will improve your ability to farm in multiple locations, whether you have Radiance or not.

Don't Get Caught

Spectre is a great late game carry, but you won't reach your final items if you die repeatedly in the mid game. Use Spectral Dagger and teleport scrolls to evade enemies that try to collapse on you. In emergencies, you can even use Haunt to change your location by casting Reality to swap to an illusion close to a less threatening hero.

Spectre is a great followup hero since both Haunt and Spectral Dagger offer great mobility and target selection options. Don't feel forced to start fights where your team isn't at some kind of advantage. If possible, it's better to push out a creep wave and force an enemy to deal with your creeps, then use Haunt to join your teammates if they start a fight while that enemy is absent.

You'll win more games if you're consistently farmed every game rather than participating in fights that are doomed. Don't join fights where you don't have a decent chance of winning or at least getting a kill or two safely. If your team makes a mistake and gets caught out, judge whether you can actually help them before pressing R. If you can't, it's better to make sure your flow of income doesn't stop. Using a teleport scroll to defend a tower can be appropriate (if it's safe) rather than blowing your ult cooldown on a lost fight.

Late Game


Roshan's Aegis of the Immortal drop is a huge asset to whichever team secures it. Late game, when a single team fight can decide the game, this is an important objective to contest (or sneak) when possible. While Haunt can be used to gain vision of the pit (assuming there are enemies in there), it's a huge cooldown so it's best if one of your teammates can check it with one of their abilities instead.

If your team manages to secure Roshan, it'll usually be you who picks up the Aegis, unless someone else on your team is more fed than you. In some cases it may be better on one of your squishier teammates if you're unlikely to die in fights, but in general it's pretty nice to be able to play really aggressive in team fights with a guaranteed revive backing you up.


As a melee carry, you'll be in the thick of things in most fights. Radiance and Dispersion will provide a little AoE damage while you're close to enemy heroes, but most of your damage is still single-target, so you'll need to pick your targets carefully. Good times to use your ult (or Q, Phase Boots or any other mobility) to go after an enemy is when one of your teammates lands a CC on a vulnerable enemy. Same thing goes if an enemy is mispositioned (like a squishy carry or support being isolated from their team.

If you can find a spot to hit a target with Desolate, that's great, but in many fights that won't be easy. Instead, just hit someone you can kill quickly and use your items like Msnta Style and Blade Mail to protect yourself when you dive into the enemy team.

Remember to keep an eye out for enemy defensive items like Glimmer Cape and Ethereal Blade so you don't overextend thinking you can kill an enemy that still has an ace up their sleeve.

Item usage

Item usage can make or break a game in late game team fights. Here are some tips for some of Spectre's most common late game item actives:

Use the active to cleanse yourself of debuffs and/or to confuse enemies that rely on single-target DPS so you aren't easily focused. With items like Blade Mail and Heart of Tarrasque, you won't usually be in danger of dying right at the start of the fight, so saving this active for a strong debuff may be a better call. It's also good to use the active when you're close to a priority target to get the extra DPS from the illusions.

Crowd control and major nuke spells are the main things to avoid with this active. You'll need to use it before you get CCd, so don't be afraid to hit it a bit early against fast-acting CC. If the enemy CC is predictable, save it for when you're under threat and use it reactively.

Use the active on yourself or another melee ally near enemy heroes. Be careful of Blade Mail, as the damage dealt by this item will be reflected back to you.

This is your trump card to bursty or high DPS heroes that try to focus you. Try not to pop the active too early since the enemy could wait out the effect and focus you down after it ends. Some enemies have burst damage that's too quick to react to so you'll have to use it preemptively, but against predictable burst, you can use Blade Mail on reaction.


Buybacks are expensive late game but they can be a game changer. Try to hold onto enough gold for a buyback unless you can pick up a major power spike. Your inventory will often be full late game anyway, so there's no rush to spend your gold until you can afford a full upgraded item.

Since buybacks have a cooldown, make sure you use it at the right time. Don't use buybacks just to pick up farm, but do use it to protect your base or rejoin a team fight in progress.

If you have Boots of Travel or Boots of Travel 2, use a buyback in combination with the teleport to quickly rejoin fights happening anywhere on the map. This is really useful when trying to end the game since the enemy team will likely have some members who can buyback. If you die and then buyback and teleport back in, it'll help mitigate the advantage defenders have by being so close to their base. You can also use Haunt to rejoin fights after a buyback if you still have it available.


Thank you for reading this beginner's guide to Spectre! If you'd like to contribute to this guide, please leave me a comment in the Discussion tab with your feedback or send me a Private Message if you'd like to contribute regularly to guides like this. Everyone who contributes to one of these Beginner's Guides will be credited in the guide.

If you liked the guide, don't forget to vote and leave me a comment with your thoughts! If you have any suggestions, criticism or other feedback, comments of all sorts are appreciated. Good luck in your Spectre games!

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