Hello all! Welcome to my guide for Balanar, the Night Stalker! Balanar is a hero that does one thing, and does it very well. He's an incredible early ganker, and one of his biggest weapons is the psychological fear that he creates. But all that will be covered later in the guide, so let's start right in!
Of the Night Stalker, there is no history, only stories. There are ancient tales woven into the lore of every race and every culture, of an impossible time before sunlight and daytime, when night reigned alone and the world was covered with the creatures of darkness, creatures like Balanar the Night Stalker.
It is said that on the dawn of the First Day, all the night creatures perished. All, that is, save one. Evil's embodiment, Night Stalker delights in his malevolence. He created the primal role of the Night Terror, the Boogeyman, and as long as there have been younglings, his is the specter summoned to terrify them. This is a role he relishes, nor are these empty theatrics. He does indeed stalk the unwary, the defenseless, those who have strayed beyond the lighted paths or denied the warnings of their communities. Night Stalker serves as living proof that every child's worst nightmare....is true.
Balanar is a fairly unique hero. While other heroes rely on pure DPS, stuns, heals, illusions, Balanar has a much different playstyle. He's very meh during daytime (in-game of course) but becomes an absolute beast in the night. This is mainly because of Hunter in the Night, a passive skill that gives solid boosts to movement and attack speed during nighttime. Balanar has an excellent low cooldown nuke, [Void], that deals a large amount of damage and slows. Keep in mind that void's slow time is double at night! His main disable is Crippling Fear, which SILENCES and gives the enemy a sizable chance to miss. The miss chance and duration is longer at night. Finally, Night Stalker's ultimate ability is Darkness. Very simple, it pauses the game clock and makes the time of day "Dark", which counts as night for his abilities and reduces all enemy vision by 25%. But this is probably pretty boring just reading, so let's start playing!
First off, if you've never played Night Stalker before, I'd reccomend jumping in a couple bot matches set on easy (if you are new to DOTA in general) or medium. He has a bit of a learning curve, and you'll get curb-stomped in an online match if you do not know how to play him. It can be a challenge knowing when to pick Balanar. Don't pick him just cuz he's your favorite (goes for any hero). There are situations where it's a bad idea.
-Do not pick if your team has no carry, as you'll slaughtered past 30 minutes
-Do not pick if your team has no support, this should be obvious, even more so in public matches
-NEVER PICK IF THE ENEMY HAS 2 OR MORE HEROES THAT HAVE EARLY STUN/DISABLE/BURST. Examples are Lina, Lion, Disruptor (sort of). You'll get shut down very fast and they wont be that scared of you.
If none of this criteria is met, feel free to pick Balanar!
Once you're in game, ake a minute to notice the cool design/portrait and voice acting, I think he looks great!
For starting items, I always pick the same combo unless I try something new. I'll get a stack of Tangoes because they are incredible for shrugging off harrasment damage and actually combo well with Quelling Blade. (More on this later) The Quelling Blade is necessary for last hitting, as well as chopping down trees that to make new escape routes! This is something that not many people realize, you can actually shape the jungle to your will if you cut down some trees here and there. This allows you to pop out of places your opponent doesn't expect, and freak 'em out even more. Lastly, a Gauntlet of Strength is excellent for mitigating damage and will build into useful items later on.
After you've purchased all you need, I strongly reccomend skilling Void before anything else. It can be useful in an early first blood skirmish and you want it maxed ASAP. Talk to your team, try and get them to buy a courier. If they do, thank them and say GL HF to everybody. (Being a **** in-game will is not smart-never flame) Politely tell them you will go mid. If that pesky Drow won't budge, it's ok if you go safe lane, but mid is better IMO. Creep block if you want, but it's more important to get early rune control. Again, communicate with your team to gain control fast. Unless the run is regen you should always be taking it. Once the game starts, just deny and last hit as much as possible. Harassment is not advised, but if you see an oppurturnity, YOLO. It is important that you get as much gold/XP as possible before the first night.
FIRST DAY ITEMS
For the rest of the guide I'll be assuming your playing mid. As soon as you can, buy a Bottle. Excellent heal and rune storing is great. (ALWAYS CHECK DEM RUNES WHEN YOU HAVE A CHANCE, CAN'T EMPHASIZE THIS ENOUGH) You should also grab Boots of Speed before the first night, it helps fix your atrocious base move speed. You don't have to do that in order, but I don't recommend it. (Switch order if your in safe lane, because you can buy boots from the side shop) If you are farming really well, you can pick up an Urn of Shadows before the first night. It's a really good item for all heroes, but Night Stalker especially. If you are getting harassed, you might want to wait on the Urn and get Bracer. It's a surprisingly effective way to tank harassment. I don't expect anything else interesting to happen in the first day, so continue to the first night!
So you want to be a Night Stalker? Great, let's get started!
The first night is easily the most important time in the game for you. By far. By now you should have 3 points in Void and 2 in Hunter of the Night. You should also have a Gauntlet of Strength, a Quelling Blade and a Bottle. It's great if you have Tangoes left over, but it's more important to have full health so remember to use them. Remember to check runes! A bottled Double Damage can be the difference between a triple kill and an early demise.
As soon as night dawns, watch your wings unfurl and your mouth open wide. This is when your most dangerous so make the most of it. First step: select a target. Don't rush in blindly, you'll probably die. You aren't especially tanky, and your speed isn't insane, so don't tank unnesccary risks. The optimum targets are squishy carries ( Sniper, Faceless Void) or weak supports ( Keeper of the Light, Dazzle). You will want to plan your attack, try and time a gank with your teammates pushing a creep wave. Also let your team know who your going to kill so they can save you if things go bad. The easiest combo (and best, in my opinion) is to run in behind, Void to do massive damage and slow them, and then spam auto attacks. Don't worry if your taking tower hits, you should be able to escape. If your in immminent danger of dieing, save yourself. It's not worth getting killed for a first blood. You snowball quick during night, so do your best to get the kill. (This is where Quelling Blade come's in handy, cut an easy escape so you can survive) Your most powerful in the jungle, so try and force them in there. If you die, don't worry. Buy your life back and carry on. It's upsetting, but don't be discouraged, you can still have a great game. After your first kill, I like to go back to mid and check runes. Use your Bottle and Urn of Shadows if you have it, and then immediately select your next target. You should have leveled up Darkness by now, use it immediately. A simple rule is to spam it during night, and use it only to secure kills during the day. Rinse and repeat, and move on to the next section until night ends.
Good work! The most important part is over. If you did well, you should be at about 4-5 kills, 0-1 deaths, and 1-2 assists. This is a solid start, and definitely respectable. My personal record for night one is 11-0-2. This was partly because the enemy had an idiot Sniper that ate my voids and in general just fed my team, but nonetheless, a lot of fun.
- Urn of Shadows
- Boots of Speed
-4 Points in Void
-3 in Hunter of the Night
-1 in Darkness
If you have all of these or more, great! Continue! If not, just keep practicing. Keep glancing at this and other guides and you should have it eventually. Good Luck!
Alright, Day 2 is pretty simple. Stay in lane, farm, deny, check runes. Don't teamfight, you'll get killed. Just try and keep the level advantage you should have at the start of Day 2 and you'll be fine. This is a good time to discuss items throughout the rest of the game, as this part is pretty boring. I'll be doing this in an approximate timeline, so bear with me here, night is coming!
CORE ITEMS (Items you should buy ASAP and keep pretty much through the game)
- Phase Boots Excellent pick up for Night Stalker, just spam the boost and fly around the map. Not much else to say, use it when ganking as well. Power Treads are also a good choice, but this decision is pure personal preference. I like phase, but that's just me.
- Ogre Club Simply because it builds into scepter. If your having mana problems, replace with Staff of Wizardry.
- Force Staff vs Blink Dagger VERY debatable. Pure personal preference, more advanced players tend to pick Force Staff but it's up to you. I'm a big fan of the staff myself.
- Point Booster Again, builds into scepter. It's this or club. Or maybe both?
- Blade Mail Underrated item, it's just really handy to have. Funny, too, when you reflect damage and kill people with it.
There is a couple more choices, but these are the main ones. If you have any ideas post in the comments mebbe?
LATE GAME ITEMS/LUXURY/SITUATIONAL/COOL AND OP ****
- Boots of Travel Only get this if your rolling in dough, or your team has a lot of uber-mobile heroes such as Storm Spirit. It's useful to keep up, but really not necessary.
-Aghamanin's Scpeter Wow, this thing is broken on Balanar. Get it, and find out what it does. Not gonna spoil the surprise, but here's a hint- map hax.
-Abyssall Blade It's pretty good, get it if you like the effect.
- Heart of Tarrasque Again, really good, you can tower-dive with impunity. One of my personal favorites.
- Rod of Atos Same as Abyssall Blade. I like it, but easily substitutable.
- Black King Bar Awesome item if your getting stomped in teamfights. Just good in general. This is one luxury item that I usually get in all games.
That should do it for items!
Rest of the game is simple. Most of your ganking power is gone by now, so just stay with your team, silence targets of oppurtunity, nuke, and make sure to use your ultimate because of the vision debuff.
I've been playing DOTA 2 since Xmas 2013, and I think I have a pretty good handle on Night Stalker. This is my first guide, so constructive criticism is welcome! I don't mind downvotes, but I'd like a valid reason for it. Thanks for reading, and gl hf!
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