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Darkness Hungers

December 7, 2018 by Tdota
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Build 1
Build 2
Build 3

Offlaner (#3)

DotA2 Hero: Night Stalker


Purchase Order

Starting Items

Earlygame

Midgame

Lategame

Situational



Hero Skills

Void

1 3 5 7

Crippling Fear

4 13 14 16

Hunter in the Night

2 8 9 11

Dark Ascension

6 12

Talents

10 15

Hero Talents

-40s Dark Ascension cooldown
25
+140 Hunter In The Night Attack Speed
+40 Movement Speed
20
+50 Damage
+15 Strength
15
+15% Lifesteal
+200 Mana
10
+200 Health

Introduction

Night Stalker, also known as Balanar, is a strength melee hero infamous for reigning over Dota 2 nights. When picked in a game, this hero makes everyone care about the day and night cycle and he is unique in that. While he seems to be below a hero during the daytime (especially the first day), the wolf's howl releases the beast and he becomes the most feared one on the map.

Role


Night Stalker is a high-potential roaming ganker hero who does need a certain amount of farming and a normal experience gain in the early game to be able to snowball later on, so he's best to be played as 3rd role (offlaner) in a team but also would be a handy #4 in combination with a good draft or also can be a situational #2(midlaner).

Statistics


Starting statistics for the hero are pretty good, except the low intelligence and mana pool which are not really needed more for this hero. At level 1 with no items and buffs, he has 717 health points and 231 points in mana, about 4.9 points armor and 4.6 health regeneration, so with an early stout shield becomes one of the toughest heroes at level 1. The hero's strength/strength growth per level is high (as expected for a strength hero) with 23/3.1 points also relatively good stats in agility with 18/2.3 but poor when it comes to intelligence with 13/1.6 points.
Despite most heroes, he has reduced daytime vision (800) but has the highest night vision (1800).

Skills

After suffering a series of nerfs, at last, Night Stalker experienced two major changes in 7.20 patch which are considered great buffs, a rework to Crippling Fear and a replaced ultimate ability Dark Ascension with its talent option.
To have a quick preview, he has a mini-stun followed by a slow ( Void), a mobile AoE silence ( Crippling Fear), a strong passive ability giving movement and attack speed bonus at night which is also the hero's signature ability ( Hunter in the Night) and his Ultimate ability which turns the day into night and gives him unobstructed movement/vision with a decent attack damage ( Dark Ascension).
Now let's check his abilities with some key points.

Void


Your only nuke with a relatively good cast range and good damage growth per level. This is your ability to start the game with. Level 1 Void doesn't often worth using in the first day because it would deal about 34 damage points (considering halved to 45 and reduced by 25%) so as you've noticed, this ability usually needs to be maxed out first to be most effective.
During daytime, since it has halved damage with no mini-stun, don't use it carelessly unless you see the opportunity to close your gap and trade attacks with the enemy hero because there are really few heroes who can successfully trade attacks against NS and most of your opponents would avoid it. If you are in a ganking situation, it's important to be patient with your opponents and not to use Void too early or they will teleport away easily. Also keep in mind that the mini-stun interrupts channeling spells like Death Ward, Fiend's Grip or etc. and because you're on the frontline, you can easily reach those heroes causing the trouble.

Crippling Fear


A unique type of silence in the game! It's an Area of Effect silence so it cannot be dispelled and the only solution would be Black King Bar. Moreover, there are few AoE continuous silence sources like Static Storm or Smoke Screen and the thing is that enemies can walk out of them but Crippling Fear aura is set on your hero thus it has mobility, and you keep enemies silenced for the full duration by just chasing them, which is Night Stalker's favorite job and also remember if maxed out and used at night, it is the longest silence in the game (8seconds)! One level of Crippling Fear before level 10 is usually enough, then it would be postponed until level 13 is reached (surely there are exceptional situations). This ability helps Night Stalker to be fit for the frontline in teamfights and it's suggested to opt for the tankier item builds to survive if you have to maneuver between enemies with this ability for your team (for example, when your team lacks silence).

Hunter in the Night


A passive ability to dominate the map at nighttime! This ability is usually leveled up after and along with Void and even has priority in some situations. It's crucial to have at least one point in this ability before the first night at minute 05:00 (especially for a #4 Night Stalker who is expected to be underleveled). Most of enemy heroes can't resist against your attack speed and the movement speed bonus helps you to rotate and gank faster than anyone else.

Dark Ascension


The dark knight rises! Turn the day (if it's daytime) into night and benefit from your overpowered nighttime abilities whenever you want. Need more? Ok, here is 50/100/150 bonus damage to even tear apart enemy tanky heroes. Now you should be satisfied with it but good news is there's more. Unobstructed movement and vision to make sure nothing can stop you and there would be no juke plays by enemies.
The game timer won't be stopped when you activate this ability, so try to use it as soon as possible and keep it off cooldown, I mean you should manage to put yourself in a ganking/rewarding situation whenever you notice Dark Ascension is at hand; for example, you see that Dark Ascension is on cooldown for about 30 seconds so you inform your allies to push a lane and at the time they are about to take a tower, you would have your ultimate ready (so you can use it to scare your enemy and bag the objective safely or save it to surprise your enemies in daytime if they try to defend.), and at night, try to use Dark Ascension wisely, for example if possible, keep it ready to have the kill potential for an enemy carry or tank in the right moment, or to just prevent them from taking part in a fight because they should really care about your extra bonuses from your ultimate ability.

Playstyle

First Day


is a critical period and maybe the most difficult part of the game for a Night Stalker to get through. Most of the people that play NS for few times can't accept this fact that the hero is naturally weak during the first day and they want to pretend they are stronger than their opponent in the lane (something they used to do with other heroes) but they usually end up kicked out of lane or dying with no gain, then they get disappointed and nervous and would make unusual decisions just leading to a worse situation. As I said before, you are going to have a tough time during the first day if you have good opponents but remember if you can just draw with your enemy in your lane or even slightly lose the lane, you can still turn the tables on your opponents at night. You need to just pass the first day bagging enough experience and gold until you get to your power spike starting from minute 5:00.
As dual lanes are now the most common type of laning, it's not going to be difficult to at least draw your lane in the case that you are playing as position 3 or 4, and as #2 for your team in midlane, you will almost always be in a good condition if not being outdrafted. It was mentioned that the mid NS is a situational pick and it depends on both enemy heroes and allied ones. At first, you should know who the enemy midlaner is because you would have problems against most of ranged heroes (pick NS if you can counter them apart from laning phase for example against Storm Spirit) and also keep in mind that you can't do much against illusion-based heroes in enemy team like Meepo, CK, PL etc., when it comes to your allies, make sure that your team has enough pushing power or at least one of your supports can sweep a lane and benefit a lot from that XP in middle lane because you leave your lane to gank people for long durations and someone should defend the tower. If you are going to be #4 or #3 NS care more about the synergies in your team and make sure your teammates have stun or root to cover your weaknesses. In the offlane, use trees a lot for juking enemies because their better vision won't help them anymore, Void is a great ability at night but during the daytime, it's better to use it on enemy hero only when it helps with your positioning and you can hit some more attacks (thanks to your high HP and base attack damage and a relatively good starting agility combined with about 5 armor, enemy heroes are not interested in trading attacks with you 1v1).

First Night


The hero's power spike is in the early game, extending to midgame. The first night at 5:00 causes your passive ability to start shining and also with a full damage Void you will be a pain in the neck of your opponents in the lane. If you are not midlaner NS, in the beginning of the first night you can leave your lane to gank middle lane (which is recommended to be done with a Smoke) or your safelane and show your dominance. After a gank is done don't be too greedy for lane creeps and stay out of enemy's vision as long as possible until the next gank. In less than 2 minutes enemies will change their playstyle, become more conservative and play around their towers resulting in a better creep score for your teammates. Because of your tankiness, you can dive the enemy towers with the help of your allies (a #2 NS is much more comfortable with it). In your first two or three gank attempts, enemy would teleport to help their allies but even if they succeed, you can immediately rotate to another lane to gank another enemy who has to leave the lane because allies' tps are on cooldown and they are not as fast as you to arrive in time. Also keep in mind that if you have allies who can push early (like NP), join them or make space for them to take the towers with ease. Your opponents may tilt when they see their towers are demolished this early.

Tips To Continue


Second day comes and you become weak again but if you've done a nice job at the first night, you've already made the game-changing differences. Your allies would have higher levels and networths than their opponents and you may have more map control by taking a few towers. So your team is snowballing. Moreover, compared to the first day, now you have a pocket night! Even if you are a #4 NS, you'd have your ultimate ability available now. Dark Ascension guarantees your gank to be successful and secures taking more towers although keep in mind that when you activate it, enemies will obviously notice something's happening and flee, so if you want to kill specific enemy heroes (like a Spectre that has been privately trying to farm his items) activate Dark Ascension only when you are close enough to be able to cancel their tp.
Don't be overconfident after successfully diving towers 2 or 3 times. Enemy team would set a trap for you and dying even once to enemy core heroes would be a lot rewarding for them as you usually have a kill streak.
Before ganking, always check your allies' position and movement speed because you are much faster than most of them and would initiate a gank too early resulting in enemy's escape/tp before your ally arrives.
Throughout the game, try to prevent teamfights before taking advantage by solo ganks because there are many heroes that act better than you in earlygame teamfights.

Items

Let me skip the starting items which are mostly the same for many heroes, but you can use this advice: Buy a Stout Shield if you are #3 NS or if you would be harassed by a long range enemy who you can't trade attacks with (like Sniper), buy a Quelling Blade if you are #3 or #2 NS against enemy with high attack damage (like Tiny), prioritize buying Enchanted Mango over Clarity, buying an orb of venom while facing a speedy opponent allows you to keep attacking slowed enemy without using Void saving it to cancel tp.


Smoke of Deceit : If not you, then who?



Bottle: No matter which role you are playing, this item is incredible for NS allowing you to bottle useful runes for ganking although #4 NS is better to opt for this item only if being in a snowball situation. You can always fill it because the enemy supports usually don't dare challenge you for a rune.


Boots: Phase Boots give you some attack speed, more tankiness and the ability to run through units with extra movement speed and are best to be bought by #3 or #4 NS while a midlaner NS would benefit more from Power Treads 30 attack damage as a semi-carry. Early Boots of Travel can be bought by a midlaner NS to contribute in more ganks.


Urn of Shadows: A good item for any ganker with satisfying mana regen. Its upgrade, Spirit Vessel, is a strong counter against heroes that rely on healing (like Huskar)


Armlet of
Mordiggian: Best damage per value item for a strength carry, also making you tankier.


Drum of Endurance: An all-round team support item for an offlaner or a utility support. Boosts stats and gives movement speed and mana regen with an active for chasing or running away.


BKB: best choice against a team with a lot of disables


Skull Basher: due to your high attack speed at night, usually procs and it's like a slap in enemy carry's face if bought early. The upgrade, abyssal, makes you tankier and grants a bkb piercing stun.


Aghanim's Scepter: Gives full range unobstructed vision at night which is great for a team to plan for a gank or to clear the map combined with a gem. If you need it in a game, queue it as soon as possible.


Crimson Guard,Pipe of Insight,Vladmir's Offering,Assault Cuirass: Situational supporting items buy Crimson for early pushes or when the enemy team are more reliant on attack speed without high attack damage, buy Pipe against magical nukers (like Zeus), opt for Vlad's when you have many attackers on your team , AC makes your allies tankier and boosts your team's pushing power.


Blink Dagger: Helps you to blink into the enemy backlines but more importantly, you can activate Crippling Fear and then blink into enemy team, initiating a fight by silencing multiple enemies.


Shadow blade: Similar to dagger with bonus attack damage and attack speed but can be countered with true sight.


Heaven's Halberd: A handy item disarming enemy attackers and also boosting your survivability and damage output.


Blade mail: activate it while closing in on a squishy target with high damage output (like Sniper or Drow Ranger)

Matchups

Good against:


Heroes with escape abilities like Antimage, Storm Spirit, Mirana, Windranger
Squishy support heroes with channeling abilities, for example Crystal Maiden, Witch Doctor
Squishy backline heroes like Sniper, Drow Ranger, Tinker


Bad against:


Viper!
Illusion-based heroes, for example Phantom Lancer, Chaos Knight,
Heroes that inform your location like Bounty Hunter, Slardar


Works well with:


Heroes that benefit from the night too, for example Luna, Lycan
Strong early game pushers like Nature's Prophet, Abaddon

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