Hello there! I'm Idrumbat and I'll show you how to play CK in about 10-15 minutes. I'll be paying the most attention to item builds cause I've seen some very weird items that don't suit the hero while playing pubs and unfortunately the guides I've seen here also propose you some questionable items. Side note: English is not my native or often used language so don't mind some mistakes. Alright, let's go!
+ One of the most feared heroes early game: base stats and skills scream "kill everybody in sight"
+ Good carry which can also anti-carry
+ Is not only good in #1 role but can also be #2 or #3 albeit with less success
+ Strong in all stages of the game
+ Destroys the T4s and the Frozen Throne in one-two-three which is very important in late game and differs him from other carries
- Starves for gold and exp
- Starves for mana
- Low farming capabilities
- Rigid item build
- Should be babysat in safelane
- Well, he requires some luck
- Has to be ahead of the enemies to win as a carry
- BKB is needed in most games but it doesn't suit the hero in all aspects (mediocre stats, an item slot wasted and you can easily see the real CK)
* Illusion heroes are both good and bad: you can't see the real one but they're susceptible to AoE. However, with Manta you can go for a second round with your enemies.
* Rift is one of these few skills which put enemies out of their position. I play Dota for like 6 or 7 years and every since then I wanted Rift to pierce spell immunity. Now it's done and you can screw everybody up from early to late game.
* CK is one of the heroes that uses illusion rune really well. One of the reasons to buy Bottle.
First of all, depending on which lane you go to you buy different items. CK can go either lane but not jungle. He can play different roles but all of them require some money and exp. It's not recommended to play him as a support though he's able to do it. Early game means a lot for the hero; if you're playing roaming support or anything that's not #1 in your team and land 0 kills/assists you're going to face a hard game. If you're the main carry you should have like 70-80 creep kills up to 10 minutes. You should use all the possible strenghts of CK and the most obvious way to do it is to buy the right items. You shouldn't buy the same every game and every different role you play.
I usually play as a carry and buy some combination of tango/salve/branch/circlet/stout/quelling/gauntlets/ring of protection. The composition of these is determined by your lane partners and opponents. If you need to play safe you buy stout/ring of protection, stats and regen. If you're sure you wont face hard harass you can go quelling ring of protection stats tangoes. Branches are the best cost-wise items but they require some space. If youre in doubt what you'll face in lane you can go all around like 2 circlets+branches+regen. Luckily you have enough base damage to land a good amont of cs in early game. I advise you not to look at the mean number you see in the hero window but to count upon the lowest possible: it's not that high (49 actually). The reason behind this is that you have the most difference between the lowest and highest base attack damage of all the heroes (30). Even with Venge or Lina it's hard to cs properly and they have the difference of like 15.
Ring of Protection is for Basi ring which you'll buy later. I'm obsessed with effectiveness so I'm not going to waste a single item I buy. Later on (if playing roaming support) you'll disassemble Basi and go urn+drums. I'm a newbie on this forum so I gotta say I don't like the >>> between the pictures in item build section. They make me think I should buy items in that exact order. No, it's not fixed in my guide but there are exceptions which I'll cover later on.
As a mid you shouldn't buy bottle first. You don't have any spammable skills to kill creeps. Go the same items you would've bought as a safelane carry and buy Bottle asap but not at the start.
Starting build for roam should include oov (orb of venom) and either blight stone or wind lace. Fill the inventory with regen and branches for the gold left. Mind that blight stone effect isn't UAM and stacks with oov's slow. One of the reasons I'm putting a starting point in rift is that armor reduction from rift and blight stone stacks exponentially (advanced mechs wont be covered here). Boots of speed are too expensive and you already have enough ms to chase. Wind lace is situational if you face mobile heroes (luna or such).
Regarding the skillbuild, you should go either Bolt or Rift, Bolt preferred. If you're the roaming support you wont have enough mana for 2 bolts in a sequence but you would have it for a couple of rifts. If you're roaming in pair with someone rift is even more advised. It's purely offensive whereas bolt can be used to save someone or self therefore recommended for safelane #1 or mid #2 as a first skill.
You shouldn't expose yourself too much if you're the carry. Play safe lane and be cool-headed to turn every creep into gold. You starve it. Don't harass too much (and at all if you don't go stout shield - creeps will make you regret that). Don't push the lane by autoattacking creeps, bodyblock creepwaves as you have enough ms. Go midas asap, in some cases even before magic wand and boots.
In midlane, you're the one who sets the game pace. Pay attention to what's on the map and don't overestimate your power in the lane. You're still a melee. Use creep aggro often to pull the battle front to your tower. Like Pudge, you can try to kill cocky players if they extend too much next to your tower. Just rift and bolt and see them melt. Get yourself a bottle -> stick -> boots -> windlace -> bracer. I should mention that lace is less cost-effective than boots.
Roaming is the most challenging option you can go for but it's worth it if you can estimate your capabilities wisely. Get stick -> boots -> (windlace if you haven't bought it yet) -> basi ring. Your life is valued less than life of a carry but more than supports'. Don't ALWAYS try to kill and be killed. You can make enemy carry's life a hell or make him a breakfast in form of yourself.
#1 CK doesn't show up in fights so often as #2. But when he does he should ensure that he gets the kill. You max Rift first instead of bolt because of low cd. After you get midas prepare to play safe. There are different farming items, some of them require you to hit something to use the effect (radiance, mael, bf) but Midas is of a "click-and forget" type item which is rare in dota. You can farm or stay at base, the gpm and xpm given by midas would still be the same if you use it every time off cd. One more advantage tied to it (thanks to backpack feature which I consider too noob-friendly) is that late game you can use midas and put it in the backpack and farm on. You can't do it with battlefury or mjollnir or anything else. You won't sell midas until you fill your every single slot. Items you aim for are armlet, pt and SnY. I prefer to get that 25 str and armor before PT. In midlane PT are more important because of bottle (switch pt to agi then regen). SnY is THE core item for you along with armlet. It gives you everything you would ever want.
As a midlaner you max bolt first and there's one nuance that I want to note. You get Phantasm at 6 if you see the opportunity to push a tower or save the skillpoint until the next level. This is for advanced players because you can easily **** yourself up with skilling your spells when you already need them. Pushing a T1 at mid means way more map control than pushing T1 at top or bottom. It's worth your ult. You don't need to group up with your team if enemies are stupid enough. Or you can just kill your lane opponent via phantasm and proceed to tower. Drum will help you and your team in clashes. It's a perfect early game item for active CK players. Then you get PT, Armlet and SnY just like you would as a carry but pt beforehand.
Urn is cheap and powerful. You lack healing items and it's more suited to your roaming support role than bottle. I should note that magic wand is a no-brainer on every single hero. Now you try to get drums asap and then arcanes -> lens. Max bolt before rift and don't get phantasm as it only scratches. About the talent point @ lvl 15: it may seem that you need attributes but after you get your core items as a support you don't need to go like pipe hex etc. You're not a natural supporter so you should transit to another carry of your team. You will need gold and it shouldn't come from stealing creeps from #1-2.
Yeah, the saddest thing you encounter as CK is the need of BKB. You get it after sny then disassemble sny -> get manta -> halberd. Actually halberd is rather an item for #2-3 but you still have enough slots and the chances are that the game will be over until you sell HH and buy something better instead. But you're still a carry/anticarry and it adds to your potential. Travels are for when your towers are destroyed or the game requires it.
#2 buys the aforementioned HH and AC. You can still get AC as the #1 for sieges but it's kinda a team item and as #1 CK you should be as selfish as possible. So, AC, HH and Manta. Note that HH can be bought before manta if you need it as opposed to when you're the #1.
I already said that you should transition from support to carry late game. Buy armlet sny and else. HH is the priority. AC also fits there pretty well.
Some people buy heart on hardcarries but for me it's suboptimal even for CK. I want the best item I can buy and it's Satanic. Before Skadi if you find yourself killed too often. The argument "they kill me with disables" vanishes against the counterargument "you have BKB". If you don't know how to use bkb you're not playing properly. Get a heart but remember that even if you get 6 you will be killed just alike. If you're still in doubt you can always buy a reaver and decide what to get next, HoT or sata. Or Skadi right after reaver. PA is a pain in the *** with her evasion but every game I face her I destroy her with ult just like every other hero. The problem arises when she gets a bfly (and she would, believe me). Then you want an MKB, otherwise (if there's no PA) go Daedalus. Yeah, the crits counter-synergize. Yeah, the crit damage has been lowered over the past. But your speciality is burst damage and you want to keep it up until possible.
#2 CK doesn't have to put every coin into damage so he can surely go heart. Then skadi and your free slots are over.
There are various items which I don't buy. I put them in the hero builds in Sucker CK section. Here are the explanations:
Blademail - you don't want the spikes to show everyone where the real CK is. Also, the stats are laughable for you and illusions.
Blink - some people get it for roaming but lens are just better. You have long casting points and... blink ck? seriously? to escape? Leave it, you have rift.
Butterfly - I've seen it in guides here. The thing is, 1) you're tanky enough 2)you buy SnY -> HH which is BETTER 3) your illusions get 30 attack speed and 35% evasion for a million of gold. If somebody's attacking your illusions instead of you he's already dead. If verse, you disable him with halberd's Disarm.
Dagon - do I even have to say anything? If you read everything carefully this shouldn't be a question.
Deso - a harder choice for newbies (to get or not to). Yeah, I said I'm not gonna waste a single item (blight stone). But I also said that blight stone's effect is not UAM and Deso's, unfortunately, is. It won't work with Skadi and Satanic. If you want more armor reduction get medallion->AC. Besides the damage is only for youself not for the illusions.
Echo Sabre - a waste in the form of Oblivion Staff. Passive isn't needed as you have rift and stun. You rift, stun, attack and the passive's slow is gone wasted since he's stunned already. You're not Sven or Tiny.
Mask of Madness was a very situational mid game item when it didn't silence you. Now these times are over.
Radiance - what the hell.
Vlads - if you have units under control, you should boost them all! No. Shame on you. It's not even working cause of game mechanics.
Situational items to (maybe) go for:
Abyssal - Vanguard and Basher look ****py on you. There were times when it was built from basher and relic and Rift didn't pierce bkb but now it does. When you rift someone with your illusions he's trapped and that kinda counts (in late game).
Aghs - adding more time to cast it on yourself isn't good. If you're the support and have Drow+Morph in your team then sure.
Diffusal - afaik it used to have the same manaburn on hero and his illusions. Now it doesn't and its stats were nerfed. Very very situational item on support CKs.
Linkens - bkb.
Mjolnir - you can potentially confuse the enemy by putting charge on an illusion but if youre playing on that level you don't need any guide. Attack speed is wasted on illusions and you want point damage not aoe. However fighting naga or meepo would be fun with CK lol.
Silver Edge - for when nobody cares about sentries and you have bought all your items and have a space in your backpack.
There won't be any.