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11 Votes

Hear me, I speak for the Shades! By moodkill [6.82]

October 27, 2014 by Moodkill
Comments: 11    |    Views: 93416    |   

Build 1
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Focused on harassing early game, disabling later.

DotA2 Hero: Shadow Shaman

Hero Skills

Ether Shock

1 4 5 7


2 8 9 12


3 10 13 14

Mass Serpent Ward

6 11 16


15 17 18


Shadow Shaman also known as Rhasta is a great support and works well with almost any hero, he can also siege towers quickly with his ultimate Mass Serpent Ward and his disables are one of the longest in the game. He is a great hero from beginner to competitive plays and is also one of my favourite supports. I would like to recommend playing Lion if Shadow Shaman does not fit your playstyle.

So before I start going on with my guide, how does playing Rhasta feel? Does he suit you? When playing Rhasta you will
1) Feel REALLY really slow, because of your Crystal Maiden like movespeed.

2) Get impatient. Playing Rhasta is almost like Pudge while ganking, hidden from enemy sight you have to strike at the best moment.

3) Be poor. Unless your team has a hard support like Lion you WILL be the one who plants observer wards, sentry wards and of course carry a Dust of Appearance.

4) Get ganked a lot. Low health, slow movespeed and low armor will make you an easy prey.

5) Most likely feel unappreciated. I've played many games with Rhasta where I disable the Enigma right before he ults or even risk my life for my team carry and they don't appreciate it AT ALL. It really is frustrating but that's the life of a support right?

I can't cover how the feeling of playing Rhasta will be like but this is mostly taken from my personal experience.

Also he is great for solo supporting in pubs. Pick Rhasta more if you want to get out of trench mmr :D.

Pros and Cons

-Arguably has the longest disable in the game
-First bloods are easy with him
-Easy to play
-Works well with almost any hero
-Tower pushing can be done fast and easy

-Slow movespeed
-Mana hungry
-Might get aimed by heroes like Nyx Assassin
-Requires good team communnicaton

Rhasta's Arsenal

Creates a cone of ethereal energy that strikes multiple enemy units.
Range: 600
Starting Area Of Cone: 200
Distance Of Cone: 500
Final Area Of Cone: 300
Number of Targets: 1 / 3 / 5 / 7
Damage: 140 / 200 / 260 / 320

Mana Cost: 95 / 105 / 135 / 160 Cooldown Time: 8

This is your main lane harassment ability and nuke which is why I choose to max this out early. Don't fret to use it to get last hits in the mid lane as you will be harassing the enemy hero too, killing two birds with one stone.

Transforms an enemy unit into a harmless creature, disabling their attacks and abilities.
Range: 500
Duration: 1.25 / 2 / 2.75 / 3.5

Mana Cost: 110 / 140 / 170 / 200 Cooldown Time: 13

This is your initiation ability, the instant cast time makes it great for escaping and shutting down escape heroes like Storm Spirit. Keep in mind that the mana cost for this ability is rather high.

CHANNELED - Magically binds an enemy unit so that it cannot move or attack, while dealing damage over time.

Range: 400
Channeling Duration: 2.75 / 3.5 / 4.25 / 5.0
Damage Per Second: 40

Mana Cost: 140 / 150 / 160 / 170 Cooldown Time: 16

Shackles should be used after using Hex, the duration of this ability is almost as long as Fiend's Grip which makes him a great lane partner for heroes like Anti-Mage. The ability is channeling which means that moving or getting disabled while casting the spell would cancel it which leaves you vulnerable.

**After 6.82, the mana cost is pretty heavy so use this wisely.

Summons 10 serpent wards to attack enemy units and structures. The wards are immune to magic, and have a small area of splash damage that increases per level.
SCEPTER UPGRADABLE: Increases ward damage.
Range: 550
Serpent Wards Duration: 45
Serpent Wards Damage: 39-43 (85-90*) / 54-58 (105-110*) / 69-73 (125-130*)

Mana Cost: 200 / 350 / 600 Cooldown Time: 120

This is your ultimate, which deals HUGE damage. You can use it to trap people in the middle of the wards which is almost a confirm kill. Do not hesitate to use this against one person as securing a kill can change a game, also use it to siege towers quickly but keep in mind that each ward can be killed for gold. Also, you might see Mass Serpent Ward in competitive play being placed to kill Roshan and it is good because it deals a ton of damage especially with good armor reduction abilities.

Starting Items

Starting Items

Obviously you need this.

Stats are always good early game, and can be upgraded into a Magic Wand

Every team needs these and since you are the support, it is your job to get them

Early Game Items

A mid lane hero is usually recommended to get a bottle for various reasons such as rune dominance, mana for lane harassment and of course to survive in lane.

Shadow Shaman has abilities that eat up lots of mana so these are the standard boots of choice.

As an aggressive roamer in the mid lane, teleport scrolls are strictly needed for both ganking and escaping.

It can save your *** in many situations and should be built almost every game.

Core Items

Great item for initiating as well as escaping. Personally I love this item but it can be skipped in some situations but it still is a great item for Shadow Shaman

Since Shadow Shaman has an abysmal movespeed and low hit points, this item fits your every needs though remember that 1 team only needs 1 Drum of Endurance so make sure to inform your team that you are going for a drum.

No questions, GET THIS.

Situational Items

Insane pushing power and insane stats to top it off, this is great if your team has tons of supports and need you to push towers fast.

Double Mass Serpent Ward, HUEHUEHUE.

The extra movespeed and mana regen is great for Shadow Shaman. It also helps with positioning for Invoker or Mass Serpent Ward.

Teammates: "We are so gonna lose this game, enemy too stronk". Until, you TP into a creep and drop Mass Serpent Ward and win game. Still great item though.

Since Mass Serpent Ward does physical damage, it makes it even more painful and lets you clear roshan even faster than Shadow Shaman already does.

Every team should have this, if no one picks it up then you should.

It's great for disabling a right-click carry though most likely a strength hero in your team suits it better.

Once a chicken, always a chicken.

Great item in teamfights though you should only get it if the game drags out fairly long.

Great for saving teammates or yourself, and also if you trapped one of your teammates in Mass Serpent Ward, avoid being flammed and use it on him. This can be a possible replacement for Blink Dagger but the travel distance is not as far.

Must be shocked to see this built for a support BUT it is useful, kinda like getting BKB on Enigma or Bane. Once you get this your Shackles won't be stopped well unless you're under Doom of course.

My personal build

I sometimes build Tranquil Boots over Arcane Boots for the movespeed and quick health regen it provides and of course, a support usually doesn't have money to even upgrade boots.

So, when I said that I got Tranquil Boots instead of Arcane Boots you thought I had no mana BUT, Soul Ring solves the problem. Tranquil Boots will provide the health needed for Soul Ring so why not? Skip arcane only if your team has enough of them, most carry heroes cannot do much without an Arcane Boots.

These are the best boots to opt for Shadow Shaman but sometimes it's a bit too costly and you need to survive until you can get 1k gold which is why I have the Soul Ring + Tranquil Boots. If you can manage to get it early in the game then it's totally worth it but if by maybe the 15 minute mark you still have brown boots then it might be a little too late. ** Arcane Boots is always better than any boots except Boots of Travel for Rhasta but remember to always follow the situation.

For the core items, I would suggest choosing either Blink Dagger or Force Staff. Having both is great but it takes up too much inventory space to keep Dust of Appearance or wards.

Then comes the mid game items where I usually get Aghanim's Scepter first. Aghs is just so goood for Shadow Shaman for both pushing and in teamfights. After a bit of successful teamfights, I go for a Refresher Orb to seal the deal. I would use the mass serpent wards in teamfights then if my team won it, refresh the ultimate then use it to push and get rid of towers as fast as possible before the enemy respawns. Linken's Sphere is highly situational in case you want to provide the spell shield for a carry or to counter doom bringer.

What should I do now?

Early Game

In Mid

Harass, last hit, look for runes. Rinse and repeat. Though if you find a haste or invis rune, you can leave the mid lane and proceed to gank. Early ganks are always good.

In Lane

Harass, let carry farm, ward and secure kill when the carry wants to. As a hard support, you should lane with either the hardest carry or go in a tri-lane. There are times where the opponent might be harassing you really badly such as Skywrath Mage but don't worry, you can play VERY safely by tower hugging and hoping that the enemy makes an error.

After lvl6

In mid

Gank a lane that is having a tough time, after the lane is clear of heroes, push the tower with Mass Serpent Ward. It is also important that you call missing if you're laning against a Pudge to prevent free kills in other lanes.

In lane

Request for a gank or look for one, of course don't save your ultimate and use it when you should. You can also remain in the lane to keep your carry safe while farming. Also remember to keep your eyes on the map once in a while, the enemy might want to tower dive and you can instantly TP into the fight and prevent kills and also help secure some too.

Mid game

Teamfights should start now and also pushing at this point is also important, blink dagger comes in handy at this time where you can surprise your enemy though your team needs to be present with you. A main initiator like Tidehunter should go first to prevent you from dying the second you blink in. Remember to Hex any dangerous teamfight heroes such as Enigma or Magnus as they will screw your team up pretty bad.

Late Game

Not the best time for Shadow Shaman but Mass Serpent Ward is still good for tower destruction. A Boots of Travel might be handy for split pushing and an Aghanim's Scepter would further improve your pushing ability. Always stick to teamfights unless you want to play an hour long game and throw it.


Great Lane Combos

An Anti-Mage and Shadow Shaman combo is really good especially against a Storm Spirit, in these situations the alternate disabling build should be considered to secure kills.

Another good lane partner is Ursa, it's sort of like a Crystal Maiden and Ursa combo but maybe better because of the long disables.

Ward Trapping

I think I might have mentioned this a lot so this is how you do it the easy way. First, you have to Hex the enemy then trap with Mass Serpent Ward by clicking on the hexed unit. You can also use an Eul's Scepter of Divinity to make ward trapping even easier, make him fly up and just place the ward. Ward trapping isn't the easiest thing to do and may need practice and experience so don't expect to do it on the first try.


Since you are a support, most will try to gank you such as Spirit Breaker. What you can do is cast Mass Serpent Ward and proceed to Shackles then Hex if you have enough mana, this is where Medallion of Courage comes in handy as Mass Serpent Ward deals physical damage.
Hardcore Nuking

Shackles are really important now, hard nukers in dota like Skywrath Mage and Pugna requires the enemy to stay in one position that is: still. Imagine Pugna almost dying and suddenly you shackle an enemy then he proceeds to Life Drain the enemy till he has nothing left. Leshrac is also another good example for this combo.
Heavy Right-clickers

This is also where Shackles come in handy, a hero like Troll Warlord requires a lot of team support to let him right-click without the enemy escaping, Ursa is also a great example but for Anti-Mage if you babysit him enough he won't depend on you too much. Faceless Void is also another great example, now that purple frog doesn't need to Chronosphere just to get kills as you have Shackles and Hex, a total of a 8.5 seconds of disabling.
Yo Dawg I heard you disable a lot, so I gave you MORE disables

Imagine a team with Shadow Shaman and Lion, HUEHUEHUE. You Hex, he uses Hex too, you shackle, he then uses Impale and then the finger of death arrives. This combination will either force the enemy to buy Black King Bar or stay being disabled if you're in a low level pub game.

How to counter Rhasta

Some players might read guides just to learn how to counter a hero, so I'll just briefly list out ways to counter Rhasta.


Dominate the laning phase

Rhasta depends quite a lot on the laning phase to be either good or fair. As he depends on his level quite a lot to disable well, it is important to have a lane partner that can either save the carry in the lane or a disabler that can compete with Rhasta such as Lion.


Warn your allies if he's missing.

If you happen to dominate the lane or successfully kill Shadow Shaman in the laning phase, make sure to immediately warn your teammates not to go close to towers. Once Rhasta is dead he will either teleport back to lane or look for a lane to gank.


Shut him up.

During the mid game, more teamfights should start. Rhasta is very strong in teamfights unless you kill him quickly. Since Shackles is a channeling spell, it should be cancelled if it is targeted towards your team carry. An Orchid Malevolence or Scythe of Vyse is recommended to shut him up. A Silencer is also a good hero to counter Rhasta.


Wards must be planted.

Every team must at least have 1 or 2 wards planted somewhere on the map especially during the mid to late game. To prevent Rhasta from blink initiating, wards must be placed to know where that cheeky little bastard is.


Magic immunity.

Easiest way to counter Rhasta, make sure your carry has a BKB ready or at least an Omniknight in your team.


Check Roshan

Rhasta can kill Roshan fairly quick with his teammates, by checking Roshan constantly (assuming your team can do well in fights) you can do pick offs and kill the Mass Serpent Ward's for money.

Friends and Foes


Personally I like partnering with anti-fun best but other right-clickers like Drow Ranger work great too.

An infamous combo, easy first blood because of his spins.

These guys need a good lockdown to get those "hard to land" skills but of course will be very rewarding if done properly.

As mentioned earlier, you'll have lots of fun destroying low level pubs or even mid level ones with this combo.


Best friends, yet eternal rivals. Anti-Mage will screw you up pretty bad.

Can prevent you from initiating well and drain your mana in the early game. An example of a scenario is, Rhasta: Oh Nyx! I'm gonna shack.. STUNNED Spiked Carapace

As if you can't get any slower but silence!!??

You are the prey, he is the predator.

I hate this guy SOOO much, Doom completely shuts you down and wrecks teamfights.

*Le plants mass serpent wards, a wild Sniper appeared. *Right clicks with incredibly far range while your wards are idle. EZ MONEY

Nothing hurts more than being killed with your own spells or a Rubick that can use your spells better than you.

Last Words

Thanks for checking out my guide, hope it helps any new players learn more about him as he is a great support for beginners to use. Also, don't forget to upvote if you liked it and if you disliked it please leave a comment below for constructive criticism. As always GLHF ( Good luck have fun ), people need to start saying that more often.
*Cheers drunken haze

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