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17 Votes

Cuttleboss’ Guide to Being the Pope (of Pestilence) [6.86]

January 20, 2016 by Cuttleboss
Comments: 12    |    Views: 97897    |   

Build 1
Build 2
Build 3
Build 4
Build 5
Build 6

The Indestructible Virus (Tank Oriented)

DotA2 Hero: Necrophos


I am Cuttleboss, I've been a public player throughout my Dota career, with only a little bit of knowledge about organized play. This is my second guide, to Necrophos, the deadly infection of a being, with a cool hat. Necrophos is a flexible hero who can be played as a greedy support, a tank carry, or just a ganking nuker. His talents lie mostly in teamclashes, and he is very strong through midgame and scales decently into late game. His power lies in his ultimate, which lets him gain momentum extremely well by removing enemies from the map for longer, and punish those who overdive as well to stop their momentum. Thus, he can be played as a position 2, 3, or 4, and more rarely in Position 1.

Oh, and by the way this guide is not concise, if you randomed Necrophos and are looking at this for help, this will probably not do too much.


December 22, 2015: Updated for 6.86. Partly Rewrote guide. Updated Build 1 to be Blade Mail based. Changed Build 3 to be the low farm build. Added Aether Lens to items and various builds. Nyx Assassin added to enemies. Added Artist Sourcing.
September 29, 2015: Updated for 6.85. Bloodstone, with it's massive nerfs, is finally out of this guide. Other writing changes. Mid Matchup segments removed for not being very helpful anyway.
May 18, 2015: Minor Fix in Magic Resistance Foes.
May 4, 2015: Octarine Core now works in the database. Added a little bit on Ancient Jungling.
May 3, 2015: Updated for 6.84. Completely redid a lot of the builds, as they were out of date and removed Mek as a core item. Added Lotus Orb, Solar Crest, Dagon, Guardian Greaves, and Glimmer Cape to Mid Game Options. Added Octarine Core, Radiance, and Silver Edge to Late Game Options.
April 1, 2015: Minor Writing changes, including update on Dagon description,. Oracle added to foes and friends. Sniper and Pugna added to enemies.
January 15, 2015: Updated for 6.83 patch. Pubs and Comp section was severely out of date. Diffusal Blade added to Mid Game Options.
November 15, 2014: Removed Blink Dagger and Hand of Midas from "Do Not Buy" section of items.
October 5, 2014: Updated for 6.82. Necrophos got his ultimate buffed, and indirectly nerfed with the Mek mana cost increase. Item Section on Mekansm updated. Crimson Guard added to Mid Game Options.
September 14, 2014: Updated the writing of the guide. Added Healers to foes. Added a bunch more to mid matchups.
September 1, 2014: Updated the guide layout to match the layout of my Sand King guide, updating visuals.



by Scaryzombi
"As simple as ripping out someone's heart"

Necrophos is quite straightforward as a hero. He lanes very easily with little effort, as skilling one point in Heartstopper Aura lets you win most lanes and you don't even have to do anything. He is a little hard to last hit with, but he gets rewarded in the form of sustain for doing so. Winning teamfights with him is very easy if you do not get focused down, as all you have to do is stand around and spam Death Pulse and Reaper's Scythe someone who is low on health, and then let your two passives do their work. Only part of him not entirely beginner friendly is the fact that he is prone to running out of mana, so you have to be good at last hitting to get mana back and just manage mana well to begin with. Fairly easy hero to pick up, but only has trouble when he has to deal with his weaknesses.

Strengths and Weakneses

Let's look at what Necro's good and bad at:

Pros: Why gonorrhea is good.
+ Very high presence in team fights
+ Powerful lane presence that overwhelms players who do not actively try to kill from early on.
+ Activates as a core pretty early with only a few items and levels
+ Death Pulse can create up to 400 hp spread per hero, higher than most nukes
+ Very powerful against tank heroes that don't rely on regen or magic resist.
+ Good sustain from MURDERING PEOPLE
+ Excellent at playing from behind due to punishing overdiving
+ Flexible in roles; capable of filling any role from carry to greedy support
+ Strong snowball potential due to Scythe keeping opponents off the map for an extra 30 seconds each death.
+ Good farming potential with his wave and stack clearing.
+ Due to KSing nature of the hero, usually has money, even in low farm positions.
+ Has a cool hat

Cons: Penicillin? no!
- Needs to KS his allies in order to play to his potential.
- Natural damage output rather lacking
- Needs fights to be a bit dragged out before he is truly effective; vulnerable to being focused down
- Quite Item and Level Dependent; not too much for a core, but very much for a support.
- Lacks natural durability beyond Sadist regen
- Has no low cooldown slows or stuns
- Everything about him is slow, his movespeed (290), death pulse speed (400), missile speed (900), he is even mentally slower than other INT heroes, with only 2.5 int gain.
- He is ugly, very ugly.

When to Pick?

So, with all these in mind, this is a list of when to and when not to pick Necrophos:

    Pick him if:
  • You have heroes that can protect you during team clashes, whether in the form of counterinitiation or buffs. (You are weak to being focused down)
  • Your team needs a hero that can lane well (both as a support or core, Necro's laning presence is impressive).
  • Your team has damage dealers (You don't deal that much on your own, you are a finisher)
  • The enemy team is full of tanky heroes (Necro's anti-tank power is great; high health heroes are hurt a lot by his heartstopper and Scythe)
  • Your team has enough crowd control. (Necro is a healer and damager, if this base is covered, he can do his job well)
  • Your team can push towers (because Necro has no right click)
    Do not pick him if:
  • You need a late game carry (Necrophos becomes active on the map after he gets his lane farm if he's played as carry, if he afk farms, he's easily outcarried)
  • You need a hard support (Necrophos is a bit too item and level dependent to be buying all the support items)
  • Your team needs a damage hero like Leshrac or Razor (Necro's overall damage output is not great, and does not work well unless he has someone to deal damage for him)
  • Your team lacks lockdown (No slows, and one stun only as an ultimate. It's no use when you can't keep the opponents down)
  • The enemy cores are highly reliant on magic resistance/immunity (Necro's damage is almost all magical, and well timed bkbs can destroy his game impact)

Skill Build and Abilities

Skill Builds are fluid. Necrophos has a leaning towards Death Pulse, because having that damage and slow as soon as possible is preferred. Picking Sadist or Heartstopper comes down to whether or not you will be getting last hits. If you're a support Necrophos, you prioritize Heartstopper or maybe even stats, if you're a mid necro, you pick up Sadist and do your Shadow Fiend style last hitting to support your health.

Skill Build A: Farming Core
1 Heartstopper
2 Death Pulse
3 Death Pulse
4 Sadist
5 Death Pulse
6 Reaper's Scythe
7 Death Pulse
8-10 Sadist
11 Reaper's Scythe
12-14 Heartstopper
15 Stats
16 Reaper's Scythe
17-25 Stats

Skill Build B: Lane Controlling Support
1 Heartstopper
2 Death Pulse
3 Death Pulse
4 Heartstopper
5 Death Pulse
6 Reaper's Scythe
7 Death Pulse
8-9 Heartstopper/Stats
10 Stats/Heartstopper
11 Reaper's Scythe
12-14 Sadist
15 Stats
16 Reaper's Scythe
17-25 Stats/Heartstopper

Let's briefly look at his abilities. If you want numbers, go view his wiki page.

Death Pulse:
Usage: Nuke, Heal, Pushing, Counter Ganks/Teamfights, Farming
Notes: This skill works as a large AOE version of Omniknight's Purification
The missile speed sucks ***, careful of fast heroes like Bloodseeker and speed boosting heroes like Dark Seer
Very Short Cooldown, spam the hell out of this skill on creeps when you have the mana
Instant Cast Time
The large health spread created by this skill makes it hard to fight you through much of early and mid game, especially if you can get 2 or more off.

Heartstopper Aura:
Usage: AOE Damage over Time, Harass, Farming Stacks
Notes: This ability lets you control a lane with minimal effort
Deals roughly the damage of a ring of regen's regeneration in lane
Later in the game, it deals much more damage to heroes with high health
This ability seems to scale based on its design, but against higher regen tank heroes (like Alchemist and Doom), it loses some power

Usage: Lane Sustain, Teamfight Sustain
Notes: This ability lets you heal to full mana after successfully scything a target
Helps you keep up in lane farming
The healing from this skill makes multiple kills in a teamfight can make you unkillable, as the health regen is 60 per hero at the highest level, which scales well with armor but not well with health.
Sadist is completely unpurgable.
This ability scales oddly, as the health and mana regeneration doubles on the 4th level from the 3rd level.

Reaper's Scythe:
Usage: Anti-Tank Nuke, Stun, Strategic Disable
[With Aghs]: Getting a game winning pickoff that the opponent can't buyback from, winning 2 teamfights with one scythe
Notes: This is good for stopping channeling spells like Fiend's Grip and Freezing Field, however, the primary usage of this skill is damage and to kill people, only cancel those big skills if there is no other way.
This skill is excellent to put opponents out of commission for long time all game.
You want to be sure you can get a last hit so sadist can let you capitalize on that death, so you will usually use this skill.
This skill has a cast time of 0.5 seconds, which is longer than most blink skills, so it may be hard to catch certain opponents.
Holy mother of god is this skill overpowered.

The Stages of the Game

Early Game:


(Source Unknown)
"Indeed! I can rule the universe from beyond the grave."

Before picking your items, you should first pick our which lane you would serve best on. Most of the time, the mid solo is preferred for you because early levels help you a ton to gain an advantage while Necro deals well with one single opponent, but you can also serve as a lane support to control a lane so your allied carry can farm, or you can play on a trilane. You can also farm safelane as a carry.

Dual Lane Side: Necro is quite strong in the dual lane setup, as having a partner to either farm or help harass is of great use to Necrophos. Your ally can be either ranged or melee. How much farm you get is entirely dependent on your partner and how farm dependent they are relative to you. If your partner is something like a Phantom Lancer, let him get last hits, but if your partner is a Crystal Maiden, feel free to take most of them from her. Necro is a strong lane controller because of his death pulse and heartstopper, so you be aggressive against most lanes and get away with pretty good results.

Aggressive Trilane: This is a viable way to play Necrophos, his sustained damage and heal can overpower a lot of enemy trilanes. Block enemy jungles, keep tabs on all heroes, shut down the trilane (or maybe solo lane) that you're against.

Defensive Trilane: This is a less viable way to play Necro, because he is a bit lacking with so little farm and levels, but he can do well against other trilanes that are not completely based on bursting, and his heartstopper and his death pulse can minimize the damage they can do. If played as the carry here, he can often dominate whatever lane he's against while getting good farm, meaning you can also run him with melee supports with much less risk.

Solo Offlane: Not a good option, Necro is slow, unless you are being placed here to counter a solo safelaner (like say Doom or Wraith King) it is generally not worth it to be placed here. However, in a solo vs solo situation, you are quite powerful. It can be done against a dual safe lane, but early boots is required.

Jungle: This can be done with good use of stacking and quelling blade to make it easy to stack multiple camps at once. Due to a combination of heartstopper and death pulse, Necro can jungle at a decently quick rate much like a Keeper of the Light can.

Solo Middle: Often the best laning for Necro. He can hold an advantage against many heroes because of his sizeable heart. It works like a reverse ring of regen, and solo tower diving you is a bit hard because of the high amount of HP spread created by Death Pulse. Necro also has strong enough sustain with Sadist if he lasthits properly, so getting a Null Talisman is a good option. Necro is too slow to contest runes against many hero and has trouble against many push based mids and smoke ganks, so try to keep your allies ready to tp and only contest runes if the enemy mid is very low on health. Get a Bottle if you're mid, you want to push the lane with death pulse and get runes to try to control the lane or get kills. Use your pulse to get last hits early, because your damage, frontswing, and missile speed is really bad and you may need to use low levels of death pulse in order to get some last hits. Use your early level lead and try to get a kill or two with scythe before enemy supports manage to get some magic resistance. Some heroes that are tough here are Templar Assassin, Razor, Viper, and Ember Spirit. You want to avoid these matchups if possible.

Mid Game:

by TrungTH
"Come and get it!"

Now that laning is done, you're gonna be heading out and taking part in either ganks or pushes, depending on what your team is planning. The strategy is simple, walk into the enemies, spam death pulse, and if there is someone low on health that you want to dispose of, you use your ultimate on them. Early game, while ganking, remember that Scythe has a 1.5 second delay before the damage is calculated, so if you can use that time to catch up and use a pulse, do not hesitate to do so. Your position in the team would likely be in the middle lines, between the front (Go ahead Centaur Warrunner ) and the back (Do ya thing Drow Ranger) (that is what middle means). You need to get as many people as you can with your death pulse to create up to ~2000 hp spread (275x5+130x5= 2025) every 5 seconds. If you survive long enough in order to scythe someone fairly early into the fight, you have often won that teamfight. Remember to Scythe to kill, an extra 30 seconds dead is amazing. Very importantly, position yourself in a way where you won't die, getting scythe off is very important as Necro no matter what position you're in. If you're a high position Necro, get some farm in between the ganks and pushes.

Late Game:
The strategy is much that same as it was in midgame, but now you've gotten less effective, as Death Pulse is not as awesome as it used to be. Go for pushes and try to force teamfights, it's still where you thrive, and late game, Reaper's Scythe is the most terrifying skill in the game, moreso than Doom even because of that added Respawn Time. You likely turned more carry-like in midgame, but late game, you move back into a more supportive role (kind of like Axe), and also, noteworthy is that unless you have magnificent farm, you are not nearly as tanky as you were in midgame, because you do not have natural scaling tanking skills like a Spectre or a Medusa. This is why you want to snowball in the midgame at some point. End the game when you can, pick off their carry with your ult, defend your base, these are your main uses once the game gets late.

Item Build


2 Iron Branches, Tango, Circlet or Animal Courier
These items give you what you need to build into a wand. Bottle rush is also an option. This is preferred for lower position Necroes.

Null Talisman, Tango
Alternate Start: This build will focus on getting more last hits, since Necro has bad damage, long frontswing, and slow projectile speed. This is the preferred build for carry or mid necro as his last hits are important.

Quelling Blade, 2 Clarity
Jungle Start: If you for whatever reason want to Jungle. The quelling blades let you clear and stack easily, while the clarities let you kill the big stacks with death pulses.

Early Game:

Boots of Speed, Magic Wand, Town Portal Scroll, Bottle if mid, Soul Ring (optional) (Wards?)
You need boots early often because you move slow. Wand is a fantastic item, especially since you stick around in the middle of teamclashes. Scrolls are needed to rescue allies (which you are fantastic at) and just be around. Wards are a rare pickup on Necrophos, but if no one else is buying them, they are needed. Bottle is often needed if mid, because of the constant rune system, but can easily be skilled in a lot of cases. Soul Ring can also be built, but it makes Necro rather fragile.

No real core items, instead, check mid game options to determine what your team needs most.

Boots Choices:
Arcane Boots: This works well, especially if you're pushing. It's also good because you can easily disassemble this to make Soul Booster, or it can be upgraded into the powerful Guardian Greaves.
Phase Boots: Pretty good choice if mana needs are covered. Phase Boots lets you actually overcome your terrible mobility to an extent. However, remember that casting spells removes the phase, so be careful.
Tranquil Boots: Armor and Mobility is useful for ganking. Not a bad choice.
Power Treads: Stat Switching can be helpful to give Necro extra mana or health, but the attack speed is not very useful for you. Underwhelming choice.
Boots of Travel: Good item late game, as it fixes Necro's lack of mobility, and is good for picking off opponent splitpushers. Also, being able to join a fight and turn it around, as well as scythe a key opponent can be game winning. Be sure to upgrade it if it gets really late in the game.

Mid Game Options:
Mekansm: A great item on Necrophos. The mana cost is a bit high. A solid choice in most games where you are being active very early on and want to take tier 2 towers. Also builds into Guardian Greaves.
Guardian Greaves: A very nice item. It makes you and your team quite tanky, and its a quick and easy dispel for those annoying silences. Very good pickup quite often, especially if people like to aim you, and that Sadist healing + the Guardian Aura keeps you safe when you're low on health but you've killed someone.
Pipe of Insight: A good pickup against teams that puke out AOE damage like a person with a stomach flu, like ones that include Zeus, Lich, and Earthshaker. Necro can build pipe in that situation, so it gives massive resistance to its carrier as well.
Crimson Guard: You are a viable carrier of this item. It works well against right clicker based teams, and can be considered an alternative to your core choices. It is quite useful, and combined with a Mek, can give a large edge in midgame teamfights. You do not carry this item perfectly, but it works fine on you. Beware of its long cooldown.
Eul's Scepter of Divinity: An extra disable that is cheap and can take care of your lack of channeling interruption outside of your ultimate. Extra movespeed is nice too, and can be considered a substitute to making you more tanky. Also is great for pickoffs and removing silences. This item will also purge Glimmer Cape's active off, which is nice.
Rod of Atos: This item fits well if your opponents are not all physical damage, and your team is not that great at chasing them, or you just want to be able to pick people off better. Don't get this if you're losing by a lot.
Force Staff: Sometimes, extra mobility can be helpful (especially against Riki and other high mobility melee carries), and the stats are useful too. Necro lacks chase power, this grants that as well as an escape. Keep in mind, just because you need to stay alive to be dangerous doesn't necessarily mean you need to tank up, sometimes the best option is a force staff to save yourself. This is the single best item to buy on a low income Necrophos, since it helps him survive to dish out his scythe with low cost.
Veil of Discord: This increases the damage you do by both Death Pulse and Scythe. It adds valuable armor and stats, creating a well rounded, cost efficient item for Necro, though much more supporty than most of the options.
Aether Lens: An effective item for Necro, as it gives very nice stats for him, mainly a large mana pool to cast level 2-3 Scythes and a ton of health regen. The big thing is the cast range increase however, letting Necro get 800 range Scythes, which probably means at least 1 more scythe that he would have missed without the Lens. Plus, it applies to all targeted items too.
Black King Bar: This will sometimes be needed against disable and even nuke heavy teams, especially if items like Blade Mail and Pipe will not cut it. You will often be a big target in fights due to the sheer danger a Necrophos of being left alive.
Glimmer Cape: Lots of magic damage in fights? This item will help, as well as make it harder to kill you for a nice low price too. Very effective against magical nukes, especially for allies.
Urn of Shadows: The stats are useful, and kills you should be getting should give this item plenty of ammo to heal as well as kill with its aggressive use paired with heartstopper. Helpful on Support Necros, but he may not get enough mana out of it.
Medallion of Courage: Good when inactive because armor helps you a lot. On the offense, Necro has little use for it, however, with a good right clicker, it can be very powerful.
Solar Crest: An even better Medallion. It makes you really tanky when inactive, or can make one of your friends super tanky if you're a support Necro. Also nice against carries vulnerable to armor reduction like Alchemist.
Blade Mail: A very good item on Necrophos, since it makes it into a dilemma, whether to die bursting him down or for him to kill you when you ignore him with the extra heals and heartstopping he gets to pull off. Especially good against glass cannons and nukers. Pairs well with Octarine Core.
Ghost Scepter: On the other hand, if physical dpers are way too powerful, you may need this to keep yourself alive. Great against Lycans and Storm Spirits.
Necronomicon: You have absolutely no lockdown so this item is less than ideal most of the time, but if your team needs to take towers and/or deal with major invisibility, you can use this, especially if there are some auras.
Blink Dagger: Necro usually cannot afford (unless you're stomping) to spend 2150 gold on an item that does not help his survival or help him make a huge impact in fights. Force Staff is usually better, but Necro is a slow moving hero, and the range of his ultimate is a bit of an issue, so this item has potential uses for pickoffs, snowballing, farming, and against Sniper.
Hand of Midas: If the game looks like its gonna go late. Necro struggles to have money later in the game and this will help him if the situation calls for it. However, an early Mek makes much more impact than this item, and it needs to be bought fairly early.
Orchid Malevolence: This is a pretty bad pickup most of the time. Unless you desperately need to stop a Storm Spirit or Weaver, and you cannot farm a Scythe under any circumstance, you should stay away, as the lack of survival and emphasis on attacking is just not for you.
Diffusal Blade: Man, this is really one of those rare buys. Yes, it demolishes Omni. Otherwise, Necro's lackluster right click doesn't have much use for this. Lotus Orb is better if you're not countering that guy or enemy glimmer capes.
Dagon: Well, if you drafted Necro, and then suddenly, you realized your team lacks burst damage, and the enemy team is full of squishy heroes. It's worth a buy. I would not be correct if I said its ineffective in unorganized environments. He can buy it, but he is far from the best hero to buy it. It's much more effective if a hero who's actually good with the item like Tinker or Nyx gets it.

Late Game Options:
Aghanim's Scepter: This item is incredibly powerful, especially late game, as stopping buybacks can win you a rax or even the game, and the increase to damage is not bad either (Kill threshold after base magic reduction goes down to 47%). Plus, stats are nice. Should be picked up at some point by every Necro at some point if game gets late enough.
Octarine Core: Very strong late game item here. Death Pulse can now be cast every 4 seconds, heals about 50 more hp for each hero hit. Reaper's Scythe cooldown also drops to 52.5. Lots of Mana as well, but does not provide needed armor, so its recommended to get some afterward. This item pairs very well with Blade Mail (healing back a quarter of the returned damage) as well as other active items, especially Boots of Travel.
Shiva's Guard: This is probably the best luxury. It provides a ton of survival from right clickers, and gives you greater teamfight presence. Keep in mind with how Sadist works, Necro scales much better with armor and magic resistance than health. Do not get if allies already got one.
Scythe of Vyse: Fantastic late game item against carries. This item simply rocks against the right opponents, and the stats are freaking amazing. Farming it is hard. Pairs well with Blink Dagger to get pickoffs late game.
Lotus Orb: Armor, Regen. What is this? Heaven? Also removes silences and prevents single target spells from hurting you without you hurting their casters back.
Linken's Sphere: This item helps against deadly single target initiation skills such as Doom, Nether Swap, or Viper Strike, though Lotus Orb provides the stats you'd prefer, its not always the best choice over Linkens. You will often by a decent priority target, and the stats are nice.
Heaven's Halberd: Gives good tankability and a useful ability against right clickers. It has easier buildup than Scythe. Good against non-bkb buying right clickers, like Sniper or Medusa.
Ethereal Blade: Ever heard of Overspecialization? Okay cool, here is something that can make Reaper's Scythe hilarious, especially combined with Dagon. Oh yeah, it's also an upgrade to the very useful Ghost Scepter.
Heart of Tarrasque: This item is the very best against pure/magical damage, as 1000 health is a ton. Heart does not help Necro as much as resistance items against non-pure damage, but regen is undeniably useful. Unfortunately, you are not mobile enough to use the regen to its full extent like a Weaver and Anti-Mage can.
Eye of Skadi: This item officially makes your auto-attack not useless, as you can now auto attack people while chasing them and the stats are fantastic. Useful against BKB heroes as well. 45 attack slow is very high, its almost a Hyperstone of reduction. Almost always a 6th slot item, there are many items to buy before getting to this.
Assault Cuirass: This can be bought for additional armor for your team, but you are not a good carrier, as your autoattack sucks.
Refresher Orb: Two Scythes in one teamfight!? (Or you can do it for two consecutive teamfights) This will rarely happen, and is extremely mana taxing, but hey, it will work decently with a Specter to put two major heroes out of commission. This kind of thing is what makes Necro easily the most dangerous hero late game, though Octarine Core is also nice for lowering the cooldown, so it may not be needed usually.
Silver Edge: Shadow Blade is terrible on Necro, the stats are of no use, and the mobility does not work for him due to his lack of big burst damage, and for Scything, both Blink and Force are better. However, Silver Edge actually provides some nice useful health to Necro, but also provides the amazing Break mechanic. Against Phantom Assassin, Phantom Lancer, and in Necro's case, especially Anti-Mage, you want this item to be able to actually control those heroes instead of cowering in fear of them.
Radiance: This is actually quite useful all game. This is a rare buy, but once you've tanked up, you can buy this and stand near the front and scout out enemy blinkers. You can give them hell with this, as well as annoy their entire team with miss rate. On Necro, it is totally okay to get this item later.

Do Not Buy:
Maelstrom, Desolator, Helm of the Dominator: To reaffirm: Your auto attack sucks ***, and attack modifiers do not make it better. It is much more practical to build utility or survivability.
Daedalus, Monkey King Bar, Skull Basher, Butterfly, Manta Style, Sange and Yasha, Moon Shard: Oh for crying out loud...
Vladmir's Offering: Leave this for pushers and for more supporty heroes than you. You need as much survivability as you can get your hands on.
Drum of Endurance: This item is a strong aura and one of the most cost efficient items in the game, but it's not particularly good on Necrophos. You are not the best carrier of this item, better left to someone like a Bounty Hunter.
Bloodstone: Necrophos has little use for this item. It doesn't snowball him nearly as much as it did before, and he doesn't need that much regeneration. Octarine Core and Shivas Guard just suit him better.

Major Extension Builds

Here are some sample item paths based on what type of stuff your team needs:

Tank Oriented (The Indestructible Virus)
This is the primary tank based fighter build for Necro. Blade Mail core item lets him survive long enough, or output a lot of damage with his health pool. Octarine comes next because it tanks up Necro and it synergizes with Blade Mail to increase Necro's survival. Shivas goes well afterwards to further the tanking, while also being an effective slow in teamfights.

or or then
Midgame Teamfight Oriented (The Pestilence Horseman)
This build is pretty standard, Guardian Greaves are the safest option, but the other two have their place too against certain teams. Then Shiva's gives you team presence and makes you hard to kill by attacks. This build is very centered on teamfighting and midgame pushing.

Low Farm Survivor (The Illusive Plague)
This is the build for low farm Necros. With Force Staff, Necro can still survive even if underfarmed and still get off his key scythes, while saving any allies that get initiated on. Ghost Scepter is the standard item afterward if survival continues to be an issue, but generally, it can be easy to transition out of this build into other builds, as not dying as Necro usually means you have a lot of money.

Pickoffs (The Swine Flu)
Necro is built around his ult, and this item build is one that disables people to make sure his ult will come out. Blink and Scythe (the item) is a very powerful single target initiation, especially late game against deadly escape based carries like Ember Spirit. The later items just increase the range and damage of the initiation and killing. This is to be paired with a mobile ganker who can follow the initiation.

Snowballing Nuker (The Black Death)
This is a snowballing build that is only effective in unorganized environments, and situationally, where extra burst damage is helpful. Blink is needed to get these kills. This is much the same as the last build, except a lot more independent, and far less effective as the game goes on.

Atos (Slow Grind)
This is a different build for snowballing, using Rod of Atos as its core item. It works to use the slow in order to get easy Reaper scythe kills on the enemy through much of mid game. It works like the pickoff build, but activates earlier at a cost to the later game.

Hero Interaction

Fellow Plagues: What helps Necrophos eat at the enemies

Aoe damage amplification is really good, and linking opponents that are connected by Reaper's Scythe can be quite devastating. His heal pairs well with Sadist stacks to make Necro very hard to kill, and Upheaval makes it easy to get at least one Scythe off in a fight.

Heal, magic immunity, and physical immunity will stop you from being obliterated in teamfights. Also, the slow from him is helpful for catching prey to Scythe.

Stampede allows you to position yourself if they jump on you, and to chase down opponents with your own lack of mobility.

You are a strong combo with him. Life Break + Scythe is devastating, and quite often, very funny.

Ancient Seal silences and amplifies damage, and it is one of the most powerful abilities in the game to combo with you. The stun with Scythe also allows Mystic Flare to do quite a bit of damage.

A vacuum to 5 man Death Pulse is useful, and Surge covers your biggest weakness of being slow as cancer.

He is a teamfighter, his burst damage usually brings enemy teams to low health, which lets you finish the job. Also, the ship cuts the damage you take by half for a long duration, which is useful for that tanking thing you do.

False Promise doubles heals. Also, makes you unkillable for up to 8 seconds, enough time to stop some hearts and cast your all important fight winning scythe.

The Susceptible to Diseases: The right targets to infest

Tanky Heroes: Heartstopper Aura will always hurt these opponents for the same amount, and Reaper's Scythe allows you to severely cut down the tanking power of these heroes because of the percentage based nature of it. Necro is an excellent Anti-Tank.

Hard Carries: These heroes need a ton of farm in order to come online. You can force teamfights early and push their towers in order to reduce the amount of time they have. Additionally, late game, it's these heroes who you will be scything most often in order to put them out of commission for about 120 seconds, more than enough time to make a major play. Beware of BKBs.

There is no hero that hates you more than Terrorblade. Sunder is his most important skill to stay alive, and your Scythe cuts its effectiveness down immensely. Pulse also rips his illusions to shreds through midgame.

Vaccines: The cure for your madness

(The 3 Ls)

Nukers: These heroes will stop you from creating much havoc in fights by taking you out of it almost immediately. Get a Hood of Defiance into a Pipe if this grows to be a problem, and health item(s) such as Eye of Skadi or Heart of Tarrasque after that if the nukes still hurt too much.

Magic Immunity: These heroes negate almost all of your damage. You can stun through it with scythe (in case they try to escape), but other than that, you cannot hurt these heroes. Lifestealer is one of the biggest problems because open wounds mixed with rage makes you into food. Get a Ghost Scepter to deal with him and Juggernaut. Enemies getting BKB is also a major problem for your damage output, as he only has heartstopper. However, Necro can survive 5 second BKBs usually if not initiated on, so the 10 second BKBs are deadly and if played properly, can completely defeat Necro.

Magic Resistance/Protection: These heroes have some major way to reduce the damage you deal from your death pulse and ultimate. Ember Spirit's does not scale, but is a nightmare to deal with throughout midgame. Huskar's Berserker Blood is really deadly, as it gets more potent the lower his health is. These heroes can be countered by buying a Medallion of Courage, because they all have low armor, so your allies can handle them.

Silence: You need to spam spells, not being able to do so will make you utterly worthless. If this grows to be a problem, a Black King Bar may be needed, but light silences can be handled with Euls or Lotus Orb.

Instant Healers: Your Scythe has a delay before it calculates the damage. A well timed instant heal can save an ally from being killed by your ultimate throughout midgame. Omniknight is the worst because he can repel them before the damage is done, completely nullifying your ultimate. If only you had Ancient Apparition's health freeze, speaking of which...

This guy's ultimate, Ice Blast, stops all regeneration, which is a serious issue for you, as Death Pulse's effectiveness has dropped by about 40%, and your stacking health regen from sadist is also gone when you scythe someone. He's one of the most fragile heroes in the game as well, so do with that info what you will.

False Promise prevents the target from dying, and also doubles healing. In order words, longer respawn and buyback disabling can be avoided, and well timed heals will save this target. He can also prevent scythe from doing any damage at all with Fate's Edict. Good ally, worst backstabber. Reaper him if you must, he is a decent candidate, since False Promise wins teamfights.

Nyx is a nuker hero who can sneak up on Necro and nuke him to death. He can respond to Death Pulse with carapace, Mana burn scales with your Int, your primary attribute and the stat provided by a majority of the items for Necro. Overall, a difficult foe for Necro, especially if Necro failed to snowball against him.

Nether Ward, thou art a devil, 1.75x your mana costs in damage. 323 damage per death pulse. Level 2 scythe deals 600 damage to you. Level 3 scythe is almost 900. Plus, the lack of a low cooldown stun means that life drain is also a nightmare. Hopefully your allies can take care of him and his ward. Euls is good too before he gets Aghs.

Sniper's a long ranged kiting bastard, your spells have kind of a short range, you don't have much natural armor either, you are better with nukes, and he also tends to build Manta so its harder to determine who to scythe. See what I'm getting at? Blink Dagger and/or Force Staff makes his life much harder however.

Oh god.

Please noo!!! (Wait until it [or all of them] are used, or get Euls if you must and purge it)

Necrophos in Pubs and in Competitive

"Hehe, no one will suspect that I'm really the most dangerous person on the map"

Necrophos is an absolute monster in public games. He has the an excellent winrate because of his powerful laning, strong ultimate and relative ease to play. Necrophos' setup wrecks the pub scene because pub players love to teamfight, it's fun, and they also love to disperse damage fairly evenly onto enemies, or just attack opponents in the frontline till the back, so Necrophos gets enough time to devastate entire enemy teams by not being shut down, kind of like a Zeus, another pubstomper who has a high winrate for the exact same reason. Necrophos is also not a flashy hero, and he's never the main carry, so even if the pub players plan to focus someone, it is rarely Necro, it's usually the carry or initiator. Necro manipulates the margin of error for the enemies because he punishes their mistakes harder than most heroes because of the added respawn time of Scythe, so its easier to retake control of the map if the enemies mess up.

And in competitive, he is not often picked, since he can be beaten by team coordination (in that he can be more easily focused down). He deals a lot of damage potentially and has strong laning, but his weaknesses are more significant in comp, so he is much rarer and less effective there.


When it comes to being a threat that grows over time, Necrophos is your man. His presence throughout the game is something that is to be respected. His talents lie in teamclashes, and he is one of the most terrifying heroes to face in one. Necrophos is a powerful pick in many games and one of the most feared heroes in the battlefield as long as he stands.

Sorry, this guide has no awesome visual story. Necrophos is not flashy, and it would just be "and then they didn't kill Necro for a good solid 15 seconds, and once I scythed one major character, they lost the teamfight".

If you enjoyed reading this guide, you may also enjoy my other guides:

Thanks List:
Fans on youtube for being cool.
Zotmaster and CrimsonQueso inspiring me to write guides
The various artists whose work I used in this guide.
And my Dota friends who I play with, you know who you are!

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