How to play Sven
April 1, 2018
Sven is the bastard son of a Vigil Knight, born of a Pallid Meranth, raised in the Shadeshore Ruins. With his father executed for violating the Vigil Codex, and his mother shunned by her wild race, Sven believes that honor is to be found in no social order, but only in himself. After tending his mother through a lingering death, he offered himself as a novice to the Vigil Knights, never revealing his identity. For thirteen years he studied in his father's school, mastering the rigid code that declared his existence an abomination. Then, on the day that should have been his In-Swearing, he seized the Outcast Blade, shattered the Sacred Helm, and burned the Codex in the Vigil's Holy Flame. He strode from Vigil Keep, forever solitary, following his private code to the last strict rune. Still a knight, yes...but a Rogue Knight. He answers only to himself.
This is the seventh guide I've ever created and I wanted to start with a short introduction about myself and the hero featured in this guide, Sven
the Rogue Knight.
I've been the Community Manager of DOTAFire since March 4th 2014 and I've started playing Warcraft III's DotA map back in 2007. In 2012 I've joined DOTAFire and a month later I've received a Steam invitation to play DotA 2 BETA, at the time you needed an invitation to play so I had to wait for a while to get one. :D
Right now I have over 3.500 hours played and I'm trying my best to climb up my MMR, currently sitting at about 5.000 MMR. I've used to play competitively years ago in some amateur 6.000 - 7.000 MMR teams and didn't focus too much on ranked matchmaking at the time, so hopefully whenever I have the chance to play I'll be able to improve more!
Alright, enough information about myself, let's go back to Sven
! This is one of my favorite core heroes and in my opinion one of the most fun heroes to play. He's very strong throughout the game and not that difficult to play, however, since he deals tons of damage, Sven
tends to get focused by the enemy team, meaning he must be played carefully and smart to reach his full potential.
At the moment I've posted this guide, Sven
had an average win rate of 50%, the win rates throughout 2.000 to 5.000+ being a little under 50% while the win rate of sub 2.000 MMR being a bit higher, surpassing the 50% win rate mark. This is because in < 2.000 MMR matches players don't know how to effectively counter Sven
, however as players progress in skill (2.000 > MMR) we can see that Sven
's win rate decreases since players tend to know how to deal with him.
Pros & Cons
When to pick Sven?
- Strong initiator
- High physical damage dealer
- Durable, high HP and armor
- Efficient farmer
- Great burst damage
- Can damage multiple targets
- Can be kited
- Needs Black King Bar in every match
- Relies on his ultimate to deal damage
- Low mana pool
- Relatively low attack speed
- Tends to get focused by enemy heroes
Taking all of the above into consideration, you should pick Sven
whenever you need a durable carry that deals heavy amounts of physical damage to multiple heroes. For instance, Sven
is great against heroes like Lycan
, Phantom Lancer
and Chaos Knight
, because he can cleave their illusions and units easily while surviving their attacks thanks to the armor granted by Warcry
. Also, as mentioned before, Sven
excels at dealing physical damage, meaning he's the strongest against heroes with low armor, such as Huskar
, and pretty much any support.
needs to be free in team fights in order to deal damage, disables can be quite a pain to deal with. Even though you're most likely going to get a Black King Bar
, there are stil heroes that can deal with you nevertheless. For example, Batrider
can all lock you down in fights by using their ultimates. In this situation, you can either pick another hero that won't get as focused or simply try to counter them with items such as Linken's Sphere
Thanks to Great Cleave
, the Rogue Knight is able to efficiently farm without having to purchase Battle Fury
. In this meta, most heroes will try to rush a Battle Fury
to get the farm going, but you already have your cleave and you can quickly farm neutral creeps and clear stacks. Oh, stacks, make sure to get some stacks up, maybe if you're lucky you're going to get matched with a kind support that'll help you with this! Make sure to be kind and stacks will come! :D
Skill & Item Build
- Storm Hammer
- Great Cleave
- Great Cleave
- Great Cleave
- God's Strength
- Great Cleave
- +8 Strength
- God's Strength
- Storm Hammer
- Storm Hammer
- +30 Movement Speed
- Storm Hammer
- God's Strength
- +25% Lifesteal
- +40 STR God's Strength
The build featured in this guide is the most seen build used by players both in ranked matches and in competitive tournaments. It's a very straightforward build that maximizes farm and durability. You won't deal that much damage in the early game, but once you've hit level 6 and you've gathered enough gold for some items, you'll be bursting your enemies to the death in the blink of an eye!
The first three levels it's best to place one point in each skill, starting with Storm Hammer
, since the stun might lead to an early first blood. All of your skills are useful so having them available in the early game is important. However, the first skill we're going to max out is Great Cleave
, as mentioned before, you're going to cleave units from the beginning of the game, meaning you'll farm much faster than your enemies. Make sure to get some neutral stacks in the forest, farming them is very easy and fast once you have your ultimate! Based on professional matches, having neutral stacks is a must to stay ahead and guarantee leverage over the enemy team.
Moving on, the second skill we're going to max out is Warcry
, because at its maximum level it grants 20 armor to you and your teammates, making you very resistant to physical damage. Also, each level decreases its cooldown which is always good! Don't forget, Warcry
is strong but it can be easily dispelled!
The last skill remaining, Storm Hammer
, is going to be maxed out last because the only difference the levels make is mostly the damage, which is not that important in the early stages. Since we're focusing on farming and staying alive early, Storm Hammer
is going to be maxed out last. It's a great skill though, always try to stun as many enemies as possible!
And of course, always put a point in your mighty ultimate!
Alright, let's also discuss Sven
's talents and which are the most effective ones.
At level 10 we have to pick between +2 Mana Regen and +8 Strength. Even though the mana regen sounds nice, it's not really that great. Having extra +2 Mana Regen means about +60 mana per second, which isn't that much in comparison to +8 Strength, which grants us damage, health and status resistance.
At level 15 we have the option to pick Storm Hammer
Dispels Enemies and +30 Movement Speed. Having the ability to dispel enemies is awesome since you can remove so many buffs off of them, but the extra +30 Movement Speed increases your mobility a lot and being able to stay close to your enemies in order to deal damage is more important. Pick accordingly!
Now the fun begins starting with the high levels! At level 20 we can pick between +25% Lifesteal and -5s Storm Hammer
Cooldown. As cool as the cooldown reduction sounds, we simply cannot ignore the lifesteal, it's just too good! It's going to greatly increase Sven
' sustainability in fights and further increase his durability. Great pick, no doubt!
And at last, the final talent pick at level 25, we can select either +40 STR God's Strength
or +0.75 Storm Hammer
Stun Duration. The stun duration won't make much difference, on the other hand the +40 strength bonus is HUGE, it increases your damage, health and status resistance by a ton and I believe this is one of the best talents in the game, amazing!
Let's begin with the starting items:
Standard starting item, it will block the damage received from creeps and enemy heroes, must have in the early game.|
Should be enough to provide you with early regeneration. Feel free to buy more or ask your support for some extra if you need to.|
Some extra regeneration complementary to Tango to keep you healthy during the early game. If you're running low, don't feel greedy to buy more. It's important to stay on the lane!|
A good item to have whenever you run out of mana. Grants you some health regeneration and instant extra mana whenever you need an extra stun.|
That's everything to say about the starting items, let's discuss further the core items:
The most picked up item on Sven. The attack speed boosts your damage output and you can switch between stats whenever you need more strength, agility or intelligence. Usually I take advantage of the strength bonus because it grants bonus health and damage, but keep in mind that you can also switch to intelligence to get a small boost of mana whenever you're in need.|
Mask of Madness
Great item that increases your mobility and damage output. Make sure to be careful when using its active ability! It silences and reduces your armor thus making you vulnerable despite the great attack and movement speed bonuses. Use this item while farming too, no only in team fights!|
Sange and Yasha
Even more strength and agility, but this time we're getting some other bonuses too. The boost in movement and attack speed will be great since Sven isn't that mobile. Sange and Yasha will make you more durable, it will increase your damage per second and it will improve your mobility. Perfect fit!|
Mobility is crucial on Sven, so make sure to pick this up to make initiation and retreat easier to execute. You can swap this item for a Force Staff if you're dealing against heroes like Clockwerk or Spectre, for instance.|
Black King Bar
Since you're weak against disables and magic damage, this is going to make your life much easier. You're going to be an almost unstoppable force when you have your magic immunity active, but beware because some heroes like Bane, Beastmaster and Batrider can still deal with you even when magic immune.|
That wraps up the core items, we'll see what we've got for the situational ones:
When your ultimate is active every hit counts. Having Echo Sabre ensures that you hit your enemies twice when you engage, dealing a lot of burst damage as the fight commences. Grants you stats, damage, attack speed and mana regeneration. Pick this whenever you're having trouble with dealing enough damage in fights; try to initiate with Blink Dagger, Storm Hammer and get as many hits in as you can!|
If you're against heroes with multiple targeted abilities that stop you from being effective in fights or when initiating, make sure to pick this item up. Don't forget that you can use Linken's Sphere ability on your allies as well!|
If your team doesn't have heroes that rely on invisibility, you can consider picking up this item. It will force the enemy team to spend gold on detection while it grants you an extra tool to initiate or retreat. Also, you can use the break ability of the Silver Edge to deal with heroes like Phantom Assassin, Timbersaw or Bristleback, since it disables their pesky passives.|
If you're having a hard time staying alive in fights, one of the best and most expensive options is Satanic. It will increase your damage, health and life steal greatly. Activating Satanic will grant you 175% life steal, meaning that a hit of 1.000 for instance would heal you for 1.750 health, amazing!|
One of the best agility items in the game, the Butterfly offers agility, damage, attack speed and evasion. Very situational, only pick up if you're dealing with multiple heroes that rely on attacks to deal damage. It will reduce their damage output and force them to get items with true strike like Monkey King Bar.|
And finally, the luxury items that you'll be able to afford after some farming:
Boots of Travel
The highest movement speed you can get from any boots plus the ability to teleport to allied structures and units. This is great since you can be where and when your team needs you. Be creative and map aware, because Boots of Travel enables you to have a greater dominance and presence over the map.|
Heart of Tarrasque
The best item for durability and health increase, the mighty heart! It grants 45 strength and 500 health, meaning a total of 1400 health and 32.14% health regeneration amplification. Also, whenever you're not in combat you'll receive a 7% max health regeneration, fully healing you in 14.29 seconds.|
An item that further increases your armor and attack speed while reducing the armor of the enemies, what could be better? It will greatly boost your damage output and increase the durability of your teammates!|
Whenever you're against heroes like Storm Spirit, Queen of Pain, Anti-Mage and so on, this is a great pick to shut them down and keep them under control. However, in the case of Anti-Mage at least, he will most probably pick up a Manta Style thus allowing him to dispel the silence. Keep that in mind!|
In the early game, your main objective is to stay alive and farm as best as you can. Use your Great Cleave
to easily farm the lane and whenever your lane is too pushed to be farm, move quickly to the nearest neutral camps and clear them off. Great Cleave
in the early game is also efficient at harassing the melee enemies. Whenever they get close to the creeps in order to farm you can damage them safely with your cleave. If your supports are around, together with your Storm Hammer
, you have a pretty good kill potential. Chain your disables together, use your Warcry
to chase and don't play safe if you don't have to! Once you hit level 6 and your ultimate is ready, you should use it constantly to either get kills or farm neutral stacks. It's very easy and fast to clear even ancient stacks, which can immensely boost your gold and experience per minute. As mentioned before, always use Mask of Madness
to farm faster, in combination with the bonus damage granted by your ultimate, gold shouldn't be a problem.
In the mid and late game your objectives are pretty much the same. Always keep farming but be ready and alert in case a team fight happens. You must be present in every team fight because you're the primary damage source of your team. If you have initiators in your team like Tidehunter
and so on, you can follow up their initiations or if your team doesn't have that great initiation potential, you can do it yourself by activating Black King Bar
and your ultimate, and then using Blink Dagger
and Storm Hammer
right after to get in, stun your enemies and beat them to a pulp.
Even if you have a strong kill potential, make sure to use your time efficiently and to not waste it. Some players tend to roam the map once their ultimate is ready in order to find kills, but in most cases they are not gaining as much farm and experience as they should have. Focus on your lane and forest and get some of your core items before moving around the map! Make sure to not waste time, if you've tried to kill an enemy hero around the map and it wasn't successful, farm the nearby creeps or neutrals in order to make up for the time you've invested in trying to get the kill. Make sure to do so safely!
You're the primary threat in the eyes of your enemies, so always be ready and predict what the enemies are thinking. They will try to use smoke and kill you before the fight begins so they have an advantage, but if you're playing smart you can either avoid them and waste their time, or you can lure them into a trap that turns into a successful team fight for your team. That's not all, whenever you're fighting make sure to pay attention to all the assets of your enemy team; disables, slows, everything they can use against you to prevent you from doing your job. They're most probably going to try their best to keep you locked down while they're either killing you or killing your teammates first. Always try your best to use the element of surprise and to pick only fights you're certain you can win.
There are going to be scenarios when the enemy team has stronger team fight and you won't be able to properly fight them. In this case, you're going to have to focus on getting kills on enemy heroes that are alone or out of position. See a lonely support on the map? Kill him and then fight. The enemy carry is split pushing? Smoke and get him killed before initiating on the enemy team. Having the numeric advantage is important and playing smart based on circumstances is important. This can also be used for objectives, once you've gotten a kill or two and your team is alive, you can get towers or Roshan.
Talking about objectives, I've mentioned this in almost all of my guides, once you've successfully won a fight it's crucial to do something with the time when the enemies are dead! Get towers, barracks, Roshan, remove the enemy wards and place your own, use the time you have as much as possible to gain even more advantage from winning the fight! Time and timing is everything in DotA!
Play, practice and learn from every match, don't play a single match without thinking what could've been done better!
Thank you for reading!
Thank you for reading my guide!
Thanks you for reading and please let me know what if you have any question or suggestion!
I hope you've enjoyed my seventh guide and I'll make sure to keep this guide updated as soon as the patches are released.
Good luck and have fun cleaving and bursting!