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39 Votes

Diremage's In-depth Guide to Nyx Mid

February 21, 2013 by diremage
Comments: 19    |    Views: 162957    |   


DotA2 Hero: Nyx Assassin

Hero Skills


2 4 5 7

Mana Burn

3 12 13 14

Spiked Carapace

1 8 9 10


6 11 16


15 17 18

Diremage's In-depth Guide to Nyx Mid

February 21, 2013


Are you tired of losing because your mid lane is a jerk and won't gank? Are you tired of playing Templar Assassin but still want to stomp pubs? Do you love dagon? Look no further; the answer is right in front of you. Hello, my name is Diremage, and today I present to you my first guide ever.

This guide deals with a MID Nyx Assassin. He has incredible survivability from the +3.2 Base Health Regen and Spiked Carapace, and once he reaches six, he could kill any lane easily.

Spoiler: Click to view

Pros and Cons


  • Can burst supports without any major items
  • Can kill anyone with dagon
  • Did I mention that Dagon is a core item?
  • Bane against intelligence carries
  • Almost never die with Spiked Carapace
  • Forces supports to waste gold on Sentry Ward


  • Countered by Sentry Ward
  • Useless mid-game without dagon
  • If you're silenced, you're dead
  • You might get tired of winning every single game
  • He has no cosmetic items
  • Needs good mana-management


  1. Nyx needs levels to kill, and the best way to get levels is mid.

  2. You will survive mid with Spiked Carapace and your base +3.2 HP regen.

  3. Rush Bottle, skip Arcane Boots.

  4. Leave lane and start ganking once you get Vendetta.

  5. A Vendetta -> Impale -> Mana Burn -> dagon can kill nearly every non-str hero.

  6. Get dagon by the ~15 mark.

  7. Win the game.


Starting Build

Nyx is fairly mana-dependent, and doesn't need TOO many items to be effective. Since you are taking mid, Bottle-rushing is the most viable option. Once you hit level 6 you can start ganking (possibly with the help of a rune) if you bottle-*****.

One of the biggest taboos I've seen in pub games is when mid heroes go STRAIGHT for a Bottle.

That is a big no-no. Why?

An early Bottle is bad because:
  • There is no point in bottling the 0 minute rune
  • You have no stats whatsoever, so you may miss crucial cs
  • Other people will see your noob mistake and start flaming you, making your game far less enjoyable

That is why three Iron Branch and one Tango is the best build if you want to go bottle mid. Not only does it provide survivability, it gives you extra attack damage to get that one last hit before it is denied by your important. The ironwood branches can be built into a Magic Wand, one of the most imbalanced items in the game for its burst heal/mana, and the Tangois there so you at least have some regen before your bottle comes.

If you spent your money wisely you would have 602-(3*52 + 90) 356 gold left, and since you gain ~ 1 gold per second you would only need around four last hits to buy your Bottle, just in time to bottle the 2 minute rune.

To recap, for starting items you should buy

Three of these. Iron Branch help with last-hitting and surviving.

One of this. Tango makes sure you don't get completely trashed mid before your Bottle comes.

And save the remaining money for
this. Try to get Bottle before the two minute mark.

Laning Phase

Magic Wand

Getting this before Boots of Speed is situational, but worth it if your opponent spams spells in the laning phase, like Zeus or Batrider.

Boots of Speed

Boots of Speed are core on any hero, Nyx Assassin is no exception. Good to get first against heroes like Drow Ranger or Viper. Be sure to have these before the six minute mark so you can go ganking.

Null Talisman

If you are feeling confident and securing kills here and there, grabbing a quick null mantle is great to augment your pitiful mana-pool, as well as building up to the most core item dagon.

Urn of Shadows

This item is a good pick-up, but only get it if there is no other healing support/ Urn of Shadows-carrier on your team. Rushing Dagon is far more important. Also remember that Urn of Shadows can be used offensively as well.

How about upgrading boots?

Nope. You are not a physical right-click carry, and you benefit from using your spells.
Items like Power Treads and Phase Boots grant additional DPS and some survivability. However, buying these items would delay you from getting your dagon, which is essential to get early so you can burst down heroes before they get too tanky.

Even though you are an agility hero, you are a caster.

Then how about Arcane Boots?

After playing quite a number of games with Nyx Assassin, I found that going straight for Dagon after naked boots to be more effective. People argue that Arcane Boots are a good pick-up, but after it got nerfed (a cd from 45->55) it is no longer viable. However, it is still core for a side-lane Nyx Assassin, because the Arcane Boots will still be useful for your laning partner. Frankly, with the regen from Bottle-whoring and the added mana from the Null Talisman it should be enough to keep you with enough mana. With the money you could use to buy Arcane Boots, snagging a Staff of Wizardry is a much more sensible choice.


Yep. No questions. Just get it.

Ignore the fact that this is only used in "troll games" and for ksing wimps, but Nyx Assassin is the only hero that dagon could be rushed on. It provides the mana you need to spam your spells, and gives you a ~225 damage nuke. When combined with Vendetta and Impale you can take down almost any hero in the game, especially squishy int supports.


Ghost Scepter

A Ghost Scepter is amazing on Nyx Assassin. It is good to build into Ethereal Blade, and use it in combination with Spiked Carapace to deal TONS OF DAMAGE to spellcasters.

Ethereal Blade

Upgrade this from a Ghost Scepter late-game against hard-agility carries. It works wonders in combination to your Mana Burn and dagon burst. Amazing utility but the cost is quite steep.

Blink Dagger

If your enemy supports bought 500 Sentry Ward, then this item makes sure you can still secure kills. Blink in with Vendetta and it'll do the same thing as walking in. Except you won't die. Also useful for catching up with heroes with blinks, like Anti-Mage


A Necronomicon is wonderful against lineups that need mana. Also, you can get it against invis heroes since a level three Necronomicon provides truesight.
Works great with aura heroes like Beastmaster or Lycanthrope.



More Dagon??!?!?! That's right; upgrading Dagon decreases its cooldown, manacost, and increases its burst damage. This ensures you can still burst down any hero late-game. Only get this if you're rollin' in cash.
Otherwise, there are better, cost-effective items that will increase your presence late-game.

Boots of Travel

You could upgrade you naked Boots of Speed to provide amazing counter-ganking potential and to catch up to your enemies.

Orchid Malevolence

Get this against heroes with blink or blink-like skills, such as Storm Spirit, Queen of Pain, or Antimage. Amazing utility plus it's 25% damage amp.

Scythe of Vyse

Luxury item, get it late game usually after Ethereal Blade. Always use it on the enemy hard carry.

Shiva's Guard

Great for escaping and initiating a teamfight after insta-gibbing an enemy hero. Get if the enemy has a lot of melee heroes.

Linken's Sphere

Get Linken's Sphere if there are enemy silencers, like Bloodseeker or Night Stalker. Without Spiked Carapace you are a dead bug; plus, it provides some sweet regen for spamming Mana Burn.



Ye olde nuke/stun. Has a long casting animation though, so it's harder to land.

Mana Burn

An amazing spell that allows Nyx Assassin to scale late-game. A killer to int carries/supports late-game, as well as mana-hungry heroes early-game.

Spiked Carapace

Quite possibly the best spell out of all. It allows you to solo-kill in the middle of 5 heroes and come out alive. Devastating against carries and nukes with long projectile animations.


Allows you to sneak around and set-up ganks without being detected. Vendetta is an offensive spell, not a defensive Shadow Blade, because it gives you extra damage coming out of invis.

Protip: Like Bounty Hunter's Shadow Walk, Vendetta can be casted while channeling a Town Portal Scroll. This is extremely useful in saving extra mana, since you will recover the mana Vendetta uses from the fountain regen. You can shift-click Vendetta AFTER tping, but it's inferior since you will lose mana at the lower levels of Vendetta
OR ?
It actually depends on the enemy team lineup. Keep in mind that upgrading Mana Burn doesn't increase its damage, but decreases its cooldown and mana-cost. If you are good at managing your mana and your enemy team is full of intelligence heroes, max Mana Burn over Spiked Carapace. However, if you want to have a bigger teamfight presence, max Spiked Carapace over Mana Burn.

Mid Lineups

So you're a mid melee hero. How in the world are you going to match up with the other midheroes in this game?


Difficulty: VERY ****ING HARD
You know what? You aren't gonna win this lane. Tower-hug once the Sticky Napalm stacks reach 3 or more. Get an early Magic Wand or Boots of Speed and skip Bottle, and instead save up for Arcane Boots. Why? Because if you get Boots of Speed early this ****ing hero will ****ing **** all of your ****ing face I'm not even joking because **** THIS GUY. **** HIM. You know what? ****. That's what. **** THIS ****TY GUY HE'LL DRAG YOUR ****ING *** ON A ****ING CLIFF WITH HIS ****ING BROKEN ULTIMATE Flaming Lasso HE DESERVES TO DIE IN A ****ING HOLE. Remember that Firefly has a ~40 second cooldown and take advantage of that. Try to spam Mana Burn whenever it is off cooldown and steal all his runes so he'll be just a useless ranged creep. Otherwise, just enjoy low priority for a couple of hours.


Difficulty: Medium
Bloodseeker won't be able to solo-kill you mid before his ult, so take advatange to farm up. Be sure to always carry a Town Portal Scroll by the time Bloodseeker get his ultimate [h1]rupture. Be wary of his silence, since you won't be able to use Spiked Carapace.


Difficulty: Medium
Clinkz has one of the worst attack animations so it's easy to reflect his flaming arrows. Grab a pair of sentry wards or dust to win your lane or to secure a first blood.


Difficulty: Medium
Invoker's basic attacks have a huge projectile animation, so you can reflect those with Spiked Carapace. You will have better last-hits than him for the first few minutes because of his low base damage. The only dangerous spell is Cold Snap, so just activate your Spiked Carapace and walk away. In this case it is worth it to take Mana Burn a bit later since Invoker isn't mana-dependent early-game.


Difficulty: Medium
Since Luna will skill Lunar Blessing at level 1, you will always get out-lasthitted because she has superior damage. However, take advantage of her short attack range: when she comes in to harass you pop Spiked Carapace and she'll take extra damage from creep agro. This also applies when she starts Eclipse to do massive reflect damage. Lastly, she is easily burstable at level 6, so take advantage of that.

outworld devourer

Outworld Devourer

Difficulty: Medium
Outworld Destoyer's strength comes from spamming Astral Imprisonment and getting a ridiculously high base damage. However, it takes a lot of mana, and since Outworld Destroyer has one of the highest starting intelligence in the game, it is worth skipping Impale at level 2 and going Mana Burn first. Use Spiked Carapace when he starts orb-walking with Arcane Orb to draw creep agro on him.


Difficulty: Medium
One Mana Burn and he's out of mana for a hook. So you win the lane.
However, he will out-last-hit you with Rot. Keep in mind that Spiked Carapace won't prevent you from being pulled in by Meat Hook.


Difficulty: Very Easy
Pugna has the highest int gain in the game, so your Mana Burn does an enormous amount of damage. Also, since his combo is Decripify -> Nether Blast, use your Spiked Carapace the moment you are Decripifyed to reflect an amplified Nether Blast. You can kill him easily at level 3 if you follow up with Impale.

Queen of Pain

Difficulty: Medium
You can dodge her Shadow Strike with Spiked Carapace; follow up with Impale to do tons of damage with creep agro. You can solo-kill her before level 6 if you use Mana Burn so that she can't Blink away. Make sure to always activate Spiked Carapace if she blinks in aggresively to reflect Scream of Pain.

Shadow Fiend

Difficulty: Hard
Try to get as many denies as you can early game, so he can't get high damage with Necromastery. It'll be easy because he has a ****py base damage at level one. Be sure to play defensive once he reaches level 5, as you will be dead to a couple of chained shadow raze. It is possible to dodge shadow raze since it has a fairly long casting animation, but he might just be getting the creeps instead of you. Kill him immediately once you get Vendetta because he is squishy, and he loses half the stack of souls in Necromastery.


Difficulty: Medium
Low base damage but ridiculous attack animation. He won't be able to solo-kill you early, but will be a pain in the *** later on. Focus on getting to six and killing him with a Vendetta combo. Once you see the Assassinate debuff on top of your status bar, always use Spiked Carapace, you have about a two second window to react. In many cases you can kill Sniper himself.


Difficulty: Hard
Tiny is the only hero with almost zero casting animation, and you won't have time to activate Spiked Carapace against a close-range Avalanche. Keep his mana down with Mana Burn and keep an eye on his mana pool. He has an obscenely high base attack so he will last-hit you earlygame, and he'll be hard to solo-kill later on.


Difficulty: Hard
Activate Spiked Carapace once he starts orb-walking so it will agro the creeps, and Impale afterwards to do more damage. Just survive until you get 6 and you can solo-kill him.


Difficulty: Easy
Since Zeus has a fairly horrible attack animation, he will last-hit using Arc Lightning. Reflect it with Spiked Carapace every time you see it bouncing between the creeps and you should win your lane easy.

Protip: If you're low hp and running back, and Zeus hasn't used Thundergod's Wrath yet, pay attention to his mana pool. Once it reaches near 225 immediately use Spiked Carapace so you don't die.


Early Game

Your role early-game is to get stay alive until you get your ultimate, Vendetta. Once you get it, you can start ganking.

Before your bottle

After buying your starting items, try to get at least 4 last-hits by the 1:30 mark to buy your Bottle. To make sure you get last-hits, just go walk in with Spiked Carapace activated. Don't fret if you get harassed, your +3.2 base hp regen and your Tango will keep you in check.

After your bottle

Once you get Bottle, use up all charges if you're low and check for the 2-minute rune. Luckily, your supports must've warded for you, pick it up so you can continue laning. By now you can spam Mana Burn to keep their mana pool low and deal a fair amount of damage. Continue to survive mid by Bottle-whoring until you get six. By this point you should have Boots of Speed and Magic Wand in your inventory already. If not, practice your last-hitting with bots.


The biggest thing to remember is that the 2-minute rune is of utmost importance. Usually if you get the first rune, you can get ALL the runes after that! If you have double damage you can push the lane to get the runes. If you have illusion you can use your illusions to scout the runespots. If you have haste you can get there faster than the enemy mid. If you have Invisibility you can set up ganks and have a back-up escape mechanism. A Regeneration rune makes your opponent's life miserables since you can spam Mana Burn and Impale. Remember, try to aim for every rune, and each rune spawns every two minutes. Getting the rune ensures that you can stay in lane longer and makes your opposing mid's life harder, forcing them to go back to base while you can suck up experience and gold. This is all to get your core items (dagon) and your ultimate, Vendetta, faster, so you can start snowballing. A lucky rune such as haste can ensure a solo kill mid or in your side lanes.

Mid Game

Your goal mid game is to kill everything and everyone, shut down the supports, the hard carry, everything.

Your first gank

Usually, you gank once the timer reaches 6:00 for three reasons:
  • It turns to night, so they can't see you coming
  • The six-minute rune spawns
  • You should have your ult at level 6, and they shouldn't
Bottle the 6-minute rune, and look for any targets below three bars of health. Usually, you can solo-kill mid at this point with your harass and Mana Burn, but if he's full/near the tower, go find some other lane to gank. PING the enemy you want to gank so you can alert your allies.

Use Vendetta in the fog, walk up to them and hit them once so you deal extra damage from the Vendetta proc.

IMMEDIATELY use Impale on the hero, and use a few right clicks here or there.
Clean it up with Mana Burn or with some help from your allies. And boom, your first gank! Pick up a Null Talisman or some observer wards and farm mid until your ult is back up again.

Picking up Steam

Continue the cycle and keep on ganking. You shouldn't be dying because Spiked Carapace should be saving your ***, and save up for a dagon. An ideal dagon would be around the 15 minute mark so its is guranteed you can kill any non-tank on the map and snowball. Keep in mind that you are not the carry; try to not take farm from your carry and focus instead on

farming the enemy supports.


During teamfights you would ideally scout the fog with Vendetta and potentially pick off any heroes before the fight starts, leaving it a 4v5. You will survive with Spiked Carapace and walk away without harm. However, be wary of Sentry Ward and pay attention to the inventories of enemy supports.

Late Game

By this time you should be farmed, with either a high-level dagon or other utility items like an Ethereal Blade. Instead of picking off focus on trying to take down the enemy carry first.

Go Roam!

You can pick off any support by now, and you can be permanently invis thanks to your level 3 Vendetta cooldown. Just hang around the enemy jungle or your own and ping out potential targets you can pick off; or just kill them yourself if you are confident enough.


By now you should have a level 5 dagon, and due to its drastically low cooldown introduced by the latest patches, it has transformed into a finishing nuke to a poke at the beginning in the fight. Right before you are about to engage fully, just use dagon on the enemy carry it will take down ~1/4 of his health.
Now if they have a hero dependant on mana SPAM your Mana Burn. It has an abysmally low cooldown (4 seconds) and does


IMO it is the most powerful spell late-game. For example, you can deal ~800 dmg to Queen of Pain late game and prevent her from using her blink. Use Mana Burn of carries if they have an escape mechanism, or an imbalanced ultimate like Reincarnation.
Use Ethereal Blade on the enemy carry to make sure he can't use physical attacks.

To the Ancient!

If you have been doing your job correctly, your 600-gpm Drow Ranger should be demolishing everyone because you helped her shut down almost everyone on the team.


Thanks to b nig for carrying every game I do well with Nyx Assassin.

  • 12/30/12- Guide Published
  • 12/31/12- Added Scythe of Vyse and Orchid to items section. Added Playstyle section. Colored stuff. Added TLDR;
  • 1/2/13- Added Queen of Pain and Bloodseeker to mid lineups
  • 1/3/13- Added Linken's Sphere and Shiva's Guard to items. Added Invoker to mid lineups. Corrected a few errors. Updated Intro. Added Pro's And Cons.
  • 1/8/13- Added Batrider and Sniper to mid lineups
  • 1/9/13- Added Shadow Fiend to mid lineups. Fixed Tiny and dagon tips.
  • 1/15/13- Added a section on Bottle-whoring. Fixed more icons.
  • 1/21/13- Added Protip to Vendetta
  • 2/21/13- Added Clinkz and Luna to mid lineups, fixed outworld devourer's icons, reformatted a bit.

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