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37 Votes

''Deal with it'' - Shadow Demon

April 18, 2012 by Mr. Jack
Comments: 10    |    Views: 343534    |   

Build 1
Build 2
Build 3


DotA2 Hero: Shadow Demon

Hero Skills


1 3 5 7


4 8 9 10

Shadow Poison


Demonic Purge

6 11 16


12 13 14 15 17 18

Read before doing anything STILL WIP

This guide is still work in progress

this guide is still not 100%
there are a lot incomplete areas as well as TONS of spelling mistakes / formating still to be done.

The purpose of this guide is to give insight in the ways of playing shadow demon and his uses. I have played shadow demon for a number of games and I tried to include every possible skill/ item build even though I myself do not prefer some of them.

Also when writing this guide i have assumed that you have extensive knowledge about the game as well as some basic knowledge about Shadow Demon.
(a complete beginners section will be included in this guide at some point )



''Shadow Demon is a menacing and dangerous Intelligence Hero who is most powerful in the early game for his strong set of spells. Disruption will take an enemy out of the fight and make them face themselves, Soul Catcher can curse his victim with vulnerability, and his Shadow Poison can harass any unfortunate foe he encounters. Demonic Purge, his Ultimate is his key to a successful kill, he greatly slows down his fleeing victim and removes all buffs of his enemies, crippling and weakening them. His spells also serve as a great support for his allies as well as a great way to gank. With a great start, he can become a strong late game caster. Shadow Demon is recommended for Intermediate to Advanced Players''
-taken from dota2wiki Link

basically demon is a versatile hero who can be played in many ways which will be discussed further down this guide. Shadow demon is in no way an easy hero to play and his skillset requres you to prioritise in teamfight and make quick decisions.

A well played shadow demon is as usefull as a well played windrunner.

Shadow Demon pros and cons ;

good harassing potential
good starting armor
low cooldown abilities
certain builds have a relatively low mana requirement
powerfull ultimate
low cooldown ultimate

low hp pool
might run into mana problems
item dependant to be effective late game
magic wand counters poison
295 movement speed

Which build to choose

Deciding which build to choose depends on the lane you go into as well as the enemy picks when playing with shadow demon. There is a lot of room for changes in your skill build depending on how the game progresses, but generally you will max one of 3 abilities first.


This build is extremely efective early game and lets you easily kill enemies solo but looses in effectiveness quickly and might cripple you mid game if you dont manage to get kills and thus levels. maxing poison is never a good idea if you play hard support except in a 3 lane because if you are level 9-10 at 15- 20 min you are completely useless.
going for posion is viable if paired up with with heroes who have long slows or stuns such as , .
When going in the mid lane i most often find myself doing this build if i can out lasthit the enemy easily.
It is possible to last hit with poison if going solo in a side lane making it impossible for the enemy to kill you.
note that this build is mana intensive


this build is excells at harassment and denying exp to to the enemy mid hero. Although it lacks in solo killing power it transitions to mid game better then going poison build.
skilling Disruption past level 1 generaly has a lower DPS output then leveling Soul Catchersoul catcher past level 1 and is more mana intensive.

Soul Catcher

This build is best if playing as a support as it helps with ganks early and you are not useless eaven if underleveled due to the etxtreme dmg amplification.
Soul CatcherCatcher has strong solo killing power making this a well rounded mid lane build.
( [ > > >Soul Catcher>Soul Catcher> >Soul Catcher... ) is also a effective mid lane build.

Soul CatcherCatcher and Purge alone can deal a lot of damage and are the bane of agility carries such as stealth assasin /

Ability overview

cast time 0.3/0.5
The -disablehelp command will prevent an allied Shadow Demon from casting this spell on you.
Illusions will have all the aurase and orbs the targeted hero has ( radiance, endurance aura, etc.)

Extremely powerfull utility spell. can be used for a number of things but requries Prioritising what to use it for.

Do not waste it for harassing after early game,Because you might find yourself lacking it when necessary

Do not use it on low hp enemies / fleeing heroes unless there is no other way to catch up with them especially when you have alies with you because this can lead to you helping the enemy escape

use for :

    -early game harassment ( deny creeps while the enemy is disrupted or get close and rightclick when he comes out)
    -Initiating ganks
    -Ttemporarily removing enemy from a teamfight or gank
    -Saving alies from spells/ rightclicks
    -DPS boost when cast on alied hero (be very carefull with this)
    -Projectile Dodge

Soul Catcher

A unit affected by Disruption can be affected by Soul Catcher.

The damage increase of this ability is insane eaven at level one and is usefull throught the entire game. Although in team fights it is not always possible to use it on a specific hero due to the extreme AoE.

Always use this ability in ganks fights, it costs only 50 mana and can make the diferrence when going for a kill.


An powerfull but somewhat situational ability. very strong early game but quickly looses its effectivnes and becomes completely useless by mid/late game

Can be used to scout / grant vision over trees cliffs

Not effective in teamfights
It is an AoE ability but hitting more then one hero is rarely possible
Has a slow projectile speed and some degree of skill is needed when casting ( target infront of the enemy when he is moving in an certain direction to compensate for the slow projectile)
becomes harder to hit the faster the enemy hero is

An ability that has every thing in one : a slow, a purge , damage, low cooldown and low manacost.

One of the best ganking abilities in the game. early game it ensures kills versus enemies who do not have powerfull escape mechanisms

Has multiple uses in teamfights :
    crippling enemy carries
    dispelling gamebreaking buffs such as repel
    killing summons

playing shadow demon in the MIDDLE lane

Early Game :

when going in the miidle lane the first ting you need to do is to decide whether you test your luck and wait to grab the 00:00 mark rune or play it safe and creeblock the first creepwave in order to get a better uphill position.

If you get Illusion/DD rune/ Haste rune
Disrupt the enemy as soon as he steps in the lane and do a couple of lasthits when he gets out of disrpution, do not waste the ability if you are laning versus invoker or QoP/ mirana if you think they skilled blink/leap or invoker has quas

if you creepblocked you can either do the same as above only difference is disrupt and go behind the enemy as much as possible to maximize hits and not get enemy creep aggro. no ranged mid heroes will able to kill you if you decide to trade hits till death, if the enemy is melee harass and kite him as much as possible just be careful of the second creepwave ( be extra carefull when harassing rhasta or pudge not to get creep aggro bcause they can slow/cc you and the creeps will kill you.

Use shadow poison to interupt enemy salves and clarities and use disruption to deny creeps while the enemy is banished and try to get in 1-2 rightclicks after the disruption
if the enemy has a [item=Magic Wand]Magic Wand he can counter your poison hard and harassing with it is not worth it unless [item=Shadow Poison]Poison is level 3 at least and you don't miss poison stacks.

sometimes geting 2 levels of disruption is better then 1 level of soul catcher if there is no way to kill the enemy and you plan on going poison build.

POISON BUILD if you went for poison build harass with poison by getting 1-2 stacks then disrupting the enemy and doing 1 stack as soon as he is disrupted and 1 stack just as he leaves disruption

going for bottle is a good idea only if you are able to get the runes else save up for arcane boots.

the whole point is to deny the enemy as much exp and gold as possible by major harassement

go for runes when your lane is pushed out a bit or as soon as the creep waves meet in order to minimise exp lost, with a good rune you can net a kill as early as level 3

POISON BUILD when you hit level 6 if you have enough mana no hero without a good escape mechanism can survive your poison , disrput, poison, ult, poison, poison combo. dont forget that doing more than 4 stacks of posion is pointless if you are in range of the enemy

when you are 6 and have at least basic boots you can start going for ganks
follow some basic rules when going for a gank

    never go to gank a qop / storm / mirana / omniknight unless you have a allies with stuns in the lane.
    do not try to gank lanes that are pushed out close to enemy towers if your allies are unable to dive the tower
    ganking the long lane is ussualy easier.
    do not abbandon your lane if there is nothing to gank farming up your core is more important then running to the other end of the map and just sitting in the forest doing nothing

and allways have a TP scroll at hand to save allies and countergank.

Playing in the middle lane vs SPECIFIC HEROES

when playing versus pudge getting some Gountlets is a good idea
harass pudge at level one but avoid getting creep aggro at any cost if trading hits.
disruption will save you if you get Hook + Rot just make sure you disrupt pudge and not yourself
Soul CatcherCatcher is extremely effective versus pudge due to amplifying his Rot damage
Disrupting pudge might make him unable to land a Meat Hook if you micro the illusions a bit
Your main goal shoud be to hit level 6 before Pudge does and try to get a kill

every 1 hates to lane versus this guy and poison harass is ineffective versus him.
Disruption does wonders versus invo especcialy if he has exort orbs on him when this is cast
you can disrupt yourself when hit by to avoid getting harassed but time it right as it has a 0.3/0.5 cast time so his hits don't interrupt you

Playing versus a QoP is difficult as she can blnk away from disruption illusions and can grab your runes if you go for bottle

He cant do much untill he hits level 5 and it is possible to kill him before he reaches that point or at least cripple him with sheer harassment and/or denies.

more heroes will added here

playing shadow demon in the SIDE lanes

when going into the side lanes with shadow demon your main priority is to harass the enemy heroes as much as possible by using disruption and/or poison. your large base damage and range will let you do this easily.

SD is best paired up with heroes who have long slows or stuns such as , in ored for you to land as much hits as possible or stack up levels of shadow poison.
if laneing with an ally such as AA disrupting right after will ensure a stun

SD has a very small HP POOL and enemy lanes with powerful slows can kill you if you are out of position and there is no ally to help you and your disruption is on cooldown, as smart enemies will wait for you to disrupt someone and try to kill you immediately afterwards so make sure you are not alone when harassing

SD can solo the side lanes as well by going for the poison build and using shadow poison to last hit creeps from a safe distance
when doing this try to only hit the creep you want to lasthit in oreder not to push the lane

after getting level 6 you can either try to kill your lane opponents with Purge or start roaming
shadow demon is an excellent ganker as such he should try gank as much as possible after level 6

Shadow Demon MID and LATE GAME

there is not very much to be said here as every game plays out differently and there is no specific order in what to do
shadow demon versatility comes to play at this point in the game when the teamfights start to play out you want to be in every single one.
in team fights always prioritise who to use disruption on. never disrupt a enemy who is beeing focused down by your team. try to disrupt key enemy heroes who still have not used up their nukes or heroes who have strong rightclicks. never use your disruption in fights just because it is not on cooldown ( it is pointless to disrupt the enemy who has already cast )because you might need it few seconds later to save an ally or cath up with a fleeing hero.
a disruption in the right moment can turn a fight around.

Purge is best used on the enemy carry, there is nothing they hate more. note that you can disrupt an carry with on. he will be slowed but wont take any damage. other targets good for this spell are paper heroes who can rightlick or high mobility heroes suck as . try to pair up Purge with Soul CatcherCatcher if possible.

Never forget to use Soul CatcherCatcher even if you cant get the hero you want to with it, its better to use it and maybe you will get lucky.

shadow poison at this point in the game becomes useless as fights don't last long enough and sometimes it's just better to rightlick some 1 than to waste time trying to get some shadow poison stacks


Allies and enemies

to be done

Item Overview

First of all if things don't go well make bracers or eaven multiple also make items which come into smaller parts and are useful to the entire team such as Mekansm or Drums

always have a

Starting items breakdown

Geting a Ring as a starting item offers you extra armor when trading hits and harassing enemies another possibility is getting a Gauntlet if you prefer raw HP
Ring can be upgraded into Basilius or just sell the ring on your first trip to base as it is only a about 90 gold waste and that is 2 creepkils.

getting Branches is always cost effective even if you decide to drop them after 2-3 minutes and can be upgraded into Wand or Mekansm

Bottle urn and other miscelanous items

Bottle this item is only usefull if going mid and you can have some rune control. If you are unable to get runes getting bottle is not worth the 600 gold else either save up for Arcanes or get Wand, , first

Urn is most usefull if playing as a support but getting it in mid is also neat if you gank often but I would not suggest getting both urn and bottle as it will delay other items

Boots Choice

Arcanes. This are maybe the best boots on SD as they completely solve any mana problems

Treads.I find this boots the supperior choice to Phase Boots as SD has a very small HP pool and the strength from treads is better than the movement boost from phase as you will getting other mobility items

Tranquils This boots are a good choice if you cant save money for anything else or you are supporting a carry such as and you are not getting any lasthits

Core items

getting at least one of thiese is a must and maybe all 3 if you cannot save for something bigger as they come in small parts

Force staff This is the best mobility item for SD. it helps with positioning in fights and escaping from enemies also it allows you get get in range for Disruption and that gives you some initiating power as wells as catching up to fleeing enemies
only downside is that it doesnt help your low HP POOL
Dagger is also a possible choice although i personaly never get this unless I'm snowballing hard.

Drums is perhaps the best items for its cost and is easy to make as well. a great choice if saving up for Force staff is impossible or you are getting low farm due to being a support.
Drums paired up with Force staff makes it very hard for the enemy to kill you

Get Mekansm if you need more survivability in the form of HP. This item is the best choice as it givse 250 hp which is as much as as a vanguard, has the same cost and is usefful to the whole team, also it comes into small parts. Only downside is that it costs 150 mana. this is an useful item choice when facing or


the ammount of item possibilities for shadow demon is insane. decide what does your team need the most and buy accordingly.

Shiva. This item helps you with your survivability issues and give you more teamfight presence.

Scythe. You can rarely go wrong with this one after all it is an great disable. only downside is the ridiculous buildup

BKB. Shadow demon with his paper HP dies in a matter of seconds if stunned and a bkb can prevent this. an Sphere is an alternative, but i still prefer a BKB because perseverance is a waste of 1800 gold especially if you have .


Pipeif you enemy team has a large amount of nukes/aoe damage SD can get a pipe as he doesn't need more than his core build to be effective

Orchid get this for the ultimate solo killing power. nothing can survive your combo unless they have BKB at which point you die due to paper HP

NecrominiconNecrominicon useful against heroes with invisibility as well as ganks. best combined with Drums of enduranceDrums. although SD rarely gets a chance to solo gank enemies past early game this item can work out at least for pushing.


going for a carry build is never optimal unless there is absolutely no one else to do this, which i highly doubt. but its reckless and fun if you have good starting momentum.

BKB. Shadow demon with his paper HP dies in a matter of seconds if stunned and a bkb can prevent this and if you go carry you are likely to be targeted

Desolator. increases your damig by a lot for the cost because illusions benefit from this a lot. can be paired with Orchid for insane damage

Final Thoughts

damn this is harder than it seems
tnx for reading


15/04/2012 - guide started
16/04/2012 - published
16/04/2012 - added changelog
17/04/2012 - changed soul catcher build a bit

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