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8 Votes

Let's Play || Slark [ 6.86 ]

March 29, 2016 by Blubbles
Comments: 19    |    Views: 30604    |   

Build 1
Build 2

Carry ( Yes, Carry )

DotA2 Hero: Slark

Hero Skills

Dark Pact

4 12 13 14


1 5 9 10

Essence Shift

2 3 7 8

Shadow Dance

6 11 16


15 17 18

Let's Play || Slark [ 6.86 ]

March 29, 2016

Slark Overview


Little known to the inhabitants of the dry world, Dark Reef is a sunken prison where the worst of the sea-breed are sent for crimes against their fellows. It is a razor barbed warren full of murderous slithereen, treacherous Deep Ones, and sociopathic meranths. In this dim labyrinth, patrolled by eels and guarded by enormous anemones, only the vicious survive. Pitched into Dark Reef for crimes unknown, Slark spent half a lifetime without kin or kindness, trusting no one, surviving through a combination of stealth and ruthlessness, keeping his thoughts and his plans to himself. When the infamous Dark Reef Dozen plotted their ill-fated breakout, they kept their plans a perfect secret, murdering anyone who could have put the pieces together--but somehow Slark discovered their scheme and made a place for himself in it. Ten of the Dozen died in the escape attempt, and two were captured, hauled back to Dark Reef, then executed for the entertainment of their fellow inmates. But Slark, the unsung thirteenth, used the commotion as cover and slipped away, never to be caught. Now a furtive resident of the carnivorous mangrove scrub that grips the southern reach of Shadeshore, Slark remains the only successful escapee from Dark Reef.


Slark The Nightcrawler, is an agility carry that uses a hit and run tactic to tear up his enemies. Typically he isn't played as a full carry, more of a ganker that makes space for the "real" carry. Honestly I think it's a big waste of his potential. Yes, I'm going to get a lot of hate for this. Yes, I know he isn't Anti-Mage or Spectre. Yes, I'm aware he needs to snowball in order to be effective. BUT: That's why you're here isn't it? Get good with Slark from this guide, snowball and carry every time! It's that simple!

Slark is good because he can take an enemy down fast, get out for a bit, and immediately jump back in and take on another foe. Over the course of fights he can build up A LOT of agility (damage and attack speed) with Essence Shift which is where I think his carry potential lies. His other skills, Dark Pact and Pounce are tools for helping you to slide into the fight, lock down and burst down enemies, and get out with ease. Shadow Dance your ultimate, is yet another mobility skill. It passive gives you ridiculous regen and movement speed outside the vision of enemies, and lets you slip out of combat unharmed with its active. Your item selections are based around this idea of bursting down enemies fast, getting Essence Shift stacks, and mobility for jumping in and out.


  • High Basic Attack Damage
  • Can Lower Enemies Stats
  • Tears through tanks and squishes alike
  • Ridiculous Mobility / Escape
  • Can keep up and overpower other carries with some snowball
  • Fun
  • Can take most mids
  • Pretty low starting armor
  • Low right click without stats
  • Near 1v1 exclusive skills (can't team fight)
  • Horrible stat gain

  • You need a carry or ganker that comes online fast and can stay in the late game
  • You need right click damage
  • You need a hero that can kite non-mobile enemies
  • You need someone that can burst down heroes
  • You need a carry that doesn't need a ton of CS
  • Theres already 4 carries on your team
  • You have no supports
  • The enemy has a surplus of unpurgeable debuffs
  • You have enemies that can screw with your mobility or positioning ( Kunkka and X Marks the Spot, Disruptor and Glimpse, Dark Seer and Vacuum, etc.)
  • You have enemies with heavy evasion or right click reduction



After a short delay, Slark sacrifices some of his life blood, purging most negative debuffs and dealing damage to enemy units around him and to himself. Slark only takes 50% of the damage.

Dark Pact is your strong nuke that doubles as a strong purge. Although the meta right now is to max this first because it does more damage than Pounce, I max it last because I honestly don't use it for the damage I use it for the purge. It can remove stuns. Stuns are the bane of Slark's existence. They take away the mobility he so heavily depends on. This purges in .1 second intervals, so if you are stunned at any time during the pulses, it will be removed. Not to mention the removal of slows and other debuffs. It does have a fairly long charge-up time, so you have to anticipate negative effects beforehand in order to avoid them. For example, you're low health and up against a Wraith King, who is running at you. This is the time to pop Dark Pact so by the time he can throw the stun, you're already purging. As well is does some AoE damage to you and surrounding enemies, which does good damage with levels. Use it as a flash farming tool in the jungle when you have the mana pool to support it.


Slark leaps forward, grabbing the first hero he connects with. That unit takes damage and is leashed to Slark, and can only move a limited distance away from Slark's landing position.

Pounce is your omnipotent tool to get in and out of fights, and is extremely useful for locking down enemies while you slash away. It does a good amount of damage too so it can be used to quickly finish off fleeing foes. One of the most satisfying things in Dota 2 is landing a Pounce. I get a rush on it. It might take a bit of practice, but you should get a feel for how to land them. Typically just running straight towards them and Pouncing before they can juke does it. As well as an offensive tool it can be used as an escape or for plain mobility. That's where the challenge lies. Aiming it can be tricky, but like I said, you'll get a feel for it with practice. Note that it doesn't do a mini-stun or anything like that so enemies can still TP away.


Slark steals the life essence of enemy heroes with his attacks, draining each of their attributes and converting them to bonus Agility.

Essence Shift is a stat stealing passive that makes you such a hard hitter in long teamfights and 1v1 situations. Might not seems like a lot but it really builds up over time, especially when it lasts for 2 minutes. You get 3 damage per hit. They get 20 HP off their Max HP every hit. Five hits means 100 HP of their max, and an extra 15 damage for you. See? It's already starting to look overpowered. I max it first because having this between fights, and in long team fight is key. If you're going 5v5, and you weave in and out, thats a lot of damage to you and a lot of stats off your opponents. Use this damage left over from fights to push towers, clear neutrals, or get more pickoffs 1v1. Not much else to say seeing as this is a passive. Just max it first when you're going for a carry build.


When used, Slark hides himself in a cloud of shadows, becoming immune to detection. Attacking, casting spells, and using items will not reveal Slark. Passively, when not visible to the enemy team, Slark gains bonus movement speed and health regeneration.

Shadow Dance is the skill that gives you the incredible ability to hit and run so effectively. When away from enemy sight, you gain the regen that can keeps you in the fight. And when things are looking bad? Pop Shadow Dance and simply walk away. You can do anything you want while hidden in the cloud, nearly worry free. Going for risky kills should be a piece cake. The passive is the bigger deal in my opinion. Never again will you be low health. Never again shall you waste time trotting between lanes. Once you hit level six, this is where you start to shine, and dominate. Don't forget to pop this and TP out when things are looking bad.




An unconventional build yes. But not unfounded. It has successfully carried me through far more games than either of the following two builds. I think its strong suit is that to manages to go up against anyone, so your hunting pool is not limited to squishy supports and shadow fiends. The essence shift levels are not great in the early game, but as you carry those stack over from one skirmish to the other you can feel yourself hitting harder and harder, so you do truly snowball. With enough stacks you can hit much harder with a Pounce and couple right clicks than you can with a Dark Pact. You'll come into fights with the stack you need instead of that slow buildup when you hunt out a squishy.

The main negative here is the lack of Dark Pact wave clearing here, but the Hand of Midas does counteract that somewhat. If you're getting enough kills you won't need the jungle as much.


The preferred build amongst many players. It is currently the top skill build as of right now according to Dotabuff. The strengths here are the ability to flash farm camps and the strong burst that it provides. Very good for easily stomping squishes, although I think it loses it's potency around the 18 min. mark where heroes will start to tank up as they pick up items like Hood of Defiance. Also, in fights you will not be getting enough ES stacks in the period of time that fight is gonna last. Your buildup will be far too slow if you can't kill the target with that one or two Dark Pact(s) In short, good on squishes bad on everyone else.


Slightly outdated build. If you're not going for the ES levels, and you're going to go for the burst damage DP is typically better for bursting. This build is still effective if you are having a hard time keeping up your HP in fights. As well the damage will all be coming at one time rather than the pulses, which can be helpful. It runs into many of the ams issues as the previous. [60% winrate]


Slark Items are determined my a set of criteria: a) can it get me ES stacks b) can it help me be more mobile / kite c) does it contribute to my stats d) does it give me more lockdown or offensive power

HAND OF MIDAS - [8:00]
I like to get Midas on Slark because it helps him get to the Skadi faster, helps I'm get faster levels, and increases his gold without having to AFK farm. Any time not spent farming should be well spent hunting or taking objective. It gives some basic attack speed which is also great for getting more Essence Shift. Buy the recipe first if you can, since it can be hard to get it if you fall behind. Better to get it over with. Midas is optional but highly recommended. If you got a bad start or something, it is acceptable to just skip it and go Treads into Skadi.

EYE OF SKADI - [20:00]
Must must must get this on Slark, every single game, no excuses. Do whatever you have to to get it as fast as possible. It gives a ton of stats, which increases you damage, HP, and mana. It gives you a strong slow for kiting and getting ES stacks like never before. They will never escape against your already ridiculous mobility. It gives you raw HP and Mana on top of that. And it stacks with lifesteal. Theres really no reason not to get it. It is pretty expensive at 5.5k, so getting early kills is pretty essential if you want to get it within a decent timeframe

POWER TREADS - [4:00 - 20:00]
The boots of choice for Slark. Gives him stats and attack speed. What more could you ask for. Optionally you could stick with brown boots and upgrade into BoTs later on. If you don't know to much about tread switching : Switch to green for damage, red for HP, and blue when casting a spell. Hopefully you have fast fingers and can do this in a fight. It cycles Red > Blue > Green > Back to Red.

You can do some pretty crazy stuff with this in your arsenal. Just that much more mobility, and great synergy with Pounce. Almost guaranteed to land it every time by blinking in right next to them and jumping. Another great use is to use it while in Shadow Dance for a solid escape. Theres near no way they can deal damage to disable dagger. Using Dark Pact and blinking in as soon as it's gonna pulse is also a great surprise combo

Butterfly is an ideal late game / luxury item because it gives you all those things you're looking for. Damage (agility), attack speed, evasion, and movement speed. It gives you a total of 60 damage, so you should be melting enemies. Just perfect all the way around. Either Butterfly or Abyssal should be chosen immediately after Skadi. I'd consider this the "defensive" choice, since it gives you that evasion, and is ~900 cheaper. I'f you're against some heavy right clickers like yourself it might come in handy. The active can help when kiting offensively, or when transitioning between lanes.

The "offensive" post-Skadi luxury item. Having that additional 2 second stun, and on-hit 1.4 stuns in your toolkit is pretty insane considering you already have a ton of lockdown and damage. It's more offensive than Butterfly because it gives a passive 70 damage, and then and additional 120 damage when you bash. It does come in at a heavy 6.7k cost, so its definitely a item for when you're ahead and want to keep it that way.


Travel Boots, my favorites. A lot of the time I give up on buying other boot upgrades and go for these on most heroes because they do so much for so little gold. With a mere 45 second cooldown its pretty insane. Be anywhere on the map with ease, to farm, push, or pick off enemies. Not to mention the money you'll save on TP scrolls. They also give the most movement speed of all the boots, and seeing as your ultimate is percentage based, you get even more movement speed for chasing and ganking.

I don't even know why I should have to explain this. You can get BKB on any hero. It's magic immunity. The stats alone synergize with Slark, damage and HP. Usually it's not needed as Shadow Dance does the job for the most part, but if you are up against some severe AoE/non-point target (which can go into Shadow Dance) like Sanity's Eclipse or thundegod's wrath then it should be considered.

The old MKB. Provides mini bashes, which is great, but Abyssal already does that. the reason we get this is to hit those pesky evasion heroes. Slark is great at tearing up heroes with his right clicks, but he doesn't do so well when he misses them. If theres a Phantom Assassin or Riki or Talisman of Evasion carrier (etc.), you need to get MKB. Don't even think about skipping it. It gives great damage and some stun so it fits well into the build. You could even get it without evasion heroes. It also serves as a "Poor man's abyssal" at 5.4k gold.

This is pretty situational but it can come in handy versus other carries that can contest you in an outright brawl like Legion Commander or Phantom Assassin. If you're starting to get low, just pop Satanic and you'll be full health in give or take 3 hits. Pretty great. It gives you regular lifesteal, some armor, some damage, and a ton of HP. Once you get this you really can't lose brawls unless you are super behind. If you are low health and need some very quick HP, just casually pop on a neutral creep. This is especially helpful when being chased through a warded jungle.

Ive tried this in a few games and I have to say while it isn't practical it certainly is fun. In most situations, the Abyssal Blade will synergize much better, but if you are dealing with an enemy where you need them disabled as long as possible, this could be the way to go. It also greatly increases your mana pool which is somewhat mana-starved hero. It also gives some agi. and str. but not a large amount. Only buy if you're super ahead and just want to go outside the box and have some fun.

Really nice item on Slark because you just hit that much faster. You'll be reeling in ES stack with our fishy friend. Clearing neutrals will be a breeze and heroes will die all the more swiftly. Super nice for a sixth slot item, since you can eat it and buy another item after it.


I'm sure you will find plenty of guides that list this as a core item. Actually, nearly all of the guides i've seen, and the most voted ones, think this is a core. Don't. Its not that its a bad item, its that it's not as good as others. Especially since it doesn't hold up in the late game and thats the only time you'll be building it since Eye of Skadi will ALWAYS be your first item after Midas and Boots. Basically everything you get from this item, you have in Skadi, only much better for 1.5k more. A slow, stats, HP, all covered by Skadi. It does give movement speed but Slark is already so fast...

I've seen this item on Slarks and it just doesn't work. Doesn't meet the criteria in any way. You already have your ultimate which is just as good, and free. No point in wasting a slot on this. It gets outclassed by Satanic because Satanic is used in combat unlike Heart, and gives the HP which is the only other redeemable quality of this item on Slark.


Shadow Blade does have some pros and cons in comparison to Blink Dagger, but I would say most of the time that Dagger is the way to go. While Shadow Blade does have seemingly obvious synergy with Shadow, ultimately the things it provides are outclassed by Blink. Plain and simple, this is an item for bursting down squishies by slipping in and Dark Pacting them. Thats not what we're doing. We're getting up in the face of anyone, squishy, tanky, carry… and tearing them up. This is for escape, its for initiation and gap closing. And Blink begin on a shorter cooldown, and being to go over terrain, etc. makes it much better at intimating and gap closing.


Not much explanation here, just a simple form of regen in the early game in case you want to go around spamming Dark Pact or something like that. Do not buy Bottle if you already have a bottle carrier or Alchemist or something like that because you don't want to be fighting over runes.

Can be substituted for Poor Man's Shield if you think you might be having trouble with mana, or want some more stats. Obviously a bit more expensive than PMS, but sometimes it can be worth it. Especially helpful vs. squishy mana burners like Outworld Devouruer or Invoker. If you are going for it buy the Wraith Band instead of PMS.

This item is famous for its insanely cheap stats. It is very good on Slark since it gives you most of the stats you want like HP, Movement Speed, and Mana Pool. Combined with a Yasha it gives you just about equal stats to Sange and Yasha for a lower price. Buy it if you want to tank up or move faster a bit.

Ah good old magic wand. An invaluable item for a mere 500 gold. It can save you on many occasions when against spell spammers like Zeus or Bristleback. Even when not against spell spammers it is a viable pickup. It'll fall of in the late game but this trusty wand will always be there for you.



Be aggressive - Slark's laning has to be aggressive in order to work. You're squishy, and I believe the saying goes: "The best defense is a good offense". Basically describes the Slark play style. If you don't go aggressive, you'll take too much harass, and the enemy will take advantage of you - especially if they're ranged. Punish them for every mistake. The second they go a millimeter too far, Pounce on them, and try and get as much damage out as you can. The more they fear you, the more leverage you have over them. An example of a good time to go aggressive is the moment before they fall back from pushing. They'll be close to your tower, the creeps will have died, and there's a lot of space they have to cover before they are safely under their tower.

Only get the last hit - Just hitting a creep until it dies is what noobs do. Only go for the the killing blows in lane. Let the creeps do the rest of the work. If your enemy has half a brain they won't nuke the wave, because then it pushes the creeps towards you tower, which is your killzone. If you just go and whack the wave, you'll go the opposite direction, which is the last thing you want. Only push once you've gotten a kill, or if your opponent is missing.

Don't worry too much about CS - I know, this sounds counter intuitive because you're carry and fairly item dependant. But I think the more you think about "oh my god I dont have enough CS yet were gonna lose the lane" is just going to lower morale and make you play worse. Just sit back, and have a good time playing the ever-fun Slark. Sure it's nice to have items, but you don't need to much in the early game. Just focus on getting those kills and enjoy Pounceing on them.

Remember to gank / pay attention to the map - You have a lot of killing power compared to most heroes in the early/mid game. Use it to your advantage. If another lane is having some trouble with the lane or there's a low health enemy, nuke the wave with Dark Pact to keep it off the tower as much as possible while you're gone, then go and get some kills. Just don't stay too long and sap gold and exp. from allies. Get the kill and go right back to lane. As well you should have some proper wards on according runes and heavily-traveled spots. Watch those for incoming ganks, and rune-control.


Run and gun - Mobility is the name of the game. Slipping in and out of battle is the truest way to reel in (ha get it because Slark is a fish) a lot of kills. When you're in and fighting, the goal is to deal as much burst as you can in the time you have before you get bursted. You get as many ES stacks as you can. When you're out, the goal is to heal up, predicting where the enemy is going to be and being there. With the ES levels you will build up insane amounts of damage even when you need to exit the fight for a rather extended time.

Always be on the hunt - Your expertise is slipping around the map quickly and easily, hunting down anyone dumb enough to try to step one unit over where they're supposed to be. If theres squishy supports alone, a carry at half health, or someone sitting in their jungle - that's where you go. A shark can smell a drop of blood within miles? Slark can sniff out weakness across the map. If the opportunity presents itself, you're there. Never prioritize kills over helping your team to win a fight. Think of the bigger picture.

When you're not fighting, you're farming - I've seen too many allies in my 1000+ games just aimlessly wander around the map when there isn't an obvious team fight or chance to get a kill. The moment that there is nothing you can really contribute to, you are farming lanes, or jungle. You need as much gold as possible and you don't have time to just sit around twiddling your thumbs. Of course you need to make sure where you're farming is safe, and that you won't get ganked. If you're in jungle you need wards. If you're in lane you need wards. Once again, NEVER prioritize farming over helping your team with a fight. I don't care if you're three last hits away from your Skadi.

Know your limits, don't get greedy - Don't think just because you have ult, or your W, you are invincible. Sure it makes you more slippery but you're not invincible. Don't chase unless you are absolutely sure that you have the mana, cool downs, right click damage, etc. to kill them before you get killed yourself. If you got 200 HP don't dive the tower dumbass. If you are at the Tier 2 tower and they have already outrun you over the river, don't chase them dumbass. You cannot take on five enemies. No, I don't care if theres an easy kill right there. I kill is not worth a death. Because you just got that kill, which drives up the gold that the enemy gets for killing you. Don't be a dumbass. Don't get greedy. If you think you might die, don't do it.

Don't be afraid to push - Far too many allies of mine have thrown a game because no matter what happens, they just, won't, push. We could wipe the enemy and they would take 30 seconds just to group up in lane. You need to know when it is an good moment to push, and then act upon that. Good times include but are not limited to: just after you've won a fight and now outnumber or overpower your opponent, when the enemies that can kill you are on the other side of the map, when an ally creates space, etc.

Friends and Foes

  • Dispels / Purges
  • Disables (Stuns and Slows)
  • Damage Amps
  • Heals / "Diving" Skills
  • Will not interfere with farm


  • Burst Damage
  • Heal Stoppers
  • Silences
  • More Mobility Than You
  • Stuns


Conclusion & Changelog


I hope you enjoyed my guide, and hopefully you can appreciate how much time and effort I put into it, particularly the formatting. I know I'm probably going to get a lot of hate for my 'alternative' build.

I'll welcome input and constructive criticism if you have, Ill always be on the lookout to making this guide better, and updating it when needed. If you have any questions I'll try to answer them either down in the comments or PM.



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