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17 Votes

Live Long and (Make Them) Suffer

June 22, 2012 by kirbyruled
Comments: 7    |    Views: 94939    |   

Build 1
Build 2

Sans Bloodstone

DotA2 Hero: Necrophos

Purchase Order


Mantle of Intelligence
Iron Branch
Iron Branch
Iron Branch
Healing Salve




Phase Boots
Magic Wand
Force Staff


Blade Mail
Black King Bar
Eul's Scepter of Divinity
Gem of True Sight
Ghost Scepter
Heaven's Halberd
Linken's Sphere
Pipe of Insight
Rod of Atos
Veil of Discord


Aghanim's Scepter
Assault Cuirass
Boots of Travel
Ethereal Blade
Eye of Skadi
Heart of Tarrasque
Scythe of Vyse
Shiva's Guard

Always Carry (Post 6)

Town Portal Scroll

Example Final Items

Phase Boots
Force Staff
Scythe of Vyse
Eye of Skadi
Town Portal Scroll

Hero Skills

Death Pulse

2 3 5 7

Heartstopper Aura

1 12 13 14

Ghost Shroud

4 8 9 10

Reaper's Scythe

6 11 16


15 17 18

Live Long and (Make Them) Suffer

June 22, 2012


Hello and welcome to my Necrolyte guide! Necrolyte is one of the rarer heroes in DotA, seen by many as a semi-carry at the mercy of power creep and by others as a terrible support hero. And indeed he is a poor choice for support; although he is a great asset to his team, he is not a true support hero in any sense, and relies on farm and levels to empower him as a Death Pulse spamming, Heartstopper Aura wielding, Reaper's Scythe dropping machine of death. While I won't deny that Necrolyte isn't the best hero in the game (and could possibly use a buff or two), he is still plenty effective if played and built correctly.

Pros / Cons


  • Ranged (550)
  • Death Pulse is a spammable AoE nuke/heal
  • Nearly unlimited Mana with Sadist
  • Heartstopper Aura deals its damage through Magic Immunity
  • Heartstopper Aura and Reaper's Scythe allow Necrolyte to function as an anti-tank
  • Strong in team fights
  • Flexible item build
  • Very strong mid game/good late game (if farmed)
  • Viable mid hero/semi-carry


  • Weak base Strength (16), Armor (1.1) and Damage (44-48)
  • Unimpressive Intelligence growth (+2.5 per level)
  • Slow movement speed (290)
  • Slower than average attack and casting animations (0.53/0.5s)
  • Death Pulse has a comically slow projectile speed
  • Death Pulse encourages your team to pack together, potentially leaving you vulnerable to Echo Slam, Ravage, Overgrowth and such
  • Significant Mana problems before Sadist is maxed
  • Rank 1 Reaper's Scythe is pathetic (0.4 Magic damage per HP missing)
  • Not the strongest ganker, even if Reaper's Scythe is up
  • Below average laning phase
  • Frail hero who must be built tanky to succeed
  • Needs levels and items to be effective, yet widely misinterpreted by public players as a farm independent support hero


Thanks to BBCode, simply highlight any skill you want the numbers on! No need for me to copypasta anything. Ahem...

Death Pulse is Necrolyte's bread and butter skill for trading hits, farming and team fighting. It is fairly unique in that is a self AoE nuke/heal with a low cooldown. As impressive as that may sound, do keep in mind that this skill has a very high Mana cost and somewhat low damage/healing, particularly at lower ranks. Death Pulse has a pathetic projectile speed ( Puck is essentially immune to it) but is one of few skills (including Spirit Lance and Stifling Dagger) that cannot be disjointed by Blink-type skills, which is nice. Finally, Death Pulse is useful in lane but should always be used sparingly until mid-game when Sadist or Bloodstone is up.

Heartstopper Aura is the first of Necrolyte's two passive abilities. This isn't your typical aura, as it affects enemies rather than allies and is essentially a degeneration aura. Although this skill mostly exists for late game, a single point in Heartstopper Aura is a great investment, as you will likely be able to match or exceed your opponent's base regeneration with the 0.6% per second DPS of the aura so long as your enemies remain within 700 range. Heartstopper Aura has reasonable synergy with Death Pulse and provides a strong reason to build tanky on Necrolyte as it's strength in clashes scales directly with how long you can stick around for. Do note that Heartstopper Aura can kill and pierces Black King Bar, which can aid in cleaning up heroes who attempt to escape from fights with the smallest bit of HP remaining.

Sadist is Necrolyte''s second passive. Another somewhat unusual skill, Sadist rewards Necrolyte for last hitting by providing him Mana but exists more as a farming/team fighting (see Rank 4 of Sadist for why) boost than a core laning skill such as Necromastery, as thanks to the weakness of Death Pulse early game, Sadist is none too impressive early on. Still, almost infinite mana mid-game and beyond is very nice to have.

Reaper's Scythe is Necrolyte's ultimate and it feels good man. When you decide to let this rip, a giant green scythe of pure awesome descends on your designated target and deals Magic damage based on their missing HP. Since it deals only 0.4 damage per missing HP at Rank 1, Reaper's Scythe is similar to Rupture in that it lacks much bite to it at Level 6 and becomes much more effective when Necrolyte is Level 11/16. Reaper's Scythe is generally going to be used as a finisher for tanky or important heroes. Do note that while the damage will not penetrate Magic Immunity ( Black King Bar, Blade Fury, Rage, etc.) the 1s stun will, which means you can counter Black King Bar + Enigma or Shadow Fiend with this skill in a desperate situation.

Ultimately, Necrolyte is a rather atypical Intelligence based caster, Necrolyte has a synergistic skillset designed for dominating drawn out teamfights with Death Pulse and slaying beefy heroes with Heartstopper Aura and Reaper's Scythe. Sadist is essentially an extension of Death Pulse that has no other purpose for Necrolyte other than to provide him with insane amounts of Mana to finance the high cost of Reaper's Scythe and Death Pulse spam. It has significant returns in farming and team fights, however.

Necrolyte is one of many heroes in this game who have a rather static skill build. There are only two skill builds on Necrolyte that I would recommend, with which you should take depending on if you are getting a Bloodstone or not.

If you decide not to get a Bloodstone, I recommend a priority system of Reaper's Scythe > Death Pulse > Sadist > Heartstopper Aura > Stats. I start Heartstopper Aura at Level 1, however, due to how weak Death Pulse is at Rank 1.

With a Bloodstone in mind, I would advise prioritizing as follows: Reaper's Scythe > Death Pulse > Heartstopper Aura > Stats > Sadist. Not leveling Sadist is recommended to avoid an absurd excess of Mana after Bloodstone is complete, although Sadist can be skilled up over stats to any degree that you would prefer if you can make use of all that Mana.


Rule of thumb when spending your gold as Necrolyte: build to survive. Whether survival calls for HP, Armor, Magic Armor, Magic Immunity or kiting/disabling with items such as Force Staff, Ghost Scepter, Eul's Scepter of Divinity or Scythe of Vyse varies from game to game, and as such, there are a variety of paths to victory on this hero. Still, using the items I have listed as a source, I'll give you a rundown on when I think you should be getting want.

Starting Items

I start pretty much the same items every game on this hero; three Iron Branch, Mantle of Intelligence and Tangoes and/or Healing Salve. The Iron Branches simply go into Magic Stick when I get around to it, the Mantle of Intelligence boosts Necrolyte's low base damage a bit, and the regen is...regen. Other items that might be good to start include Circlet, Gauntlets of Strength or even a Clarity Potion or two as Death Pulse is costly early on.

Choice of Boots

Phase Boots are arguably the most well suited of all Boots to this hero. The extra mobility provided by Phasing is essential for juking and kiting common melee heroes such as Ursa, Phantom Assassin, Lifestealer and so on. Although the +24 Damage may seem wasted on a caster such as Necrolyte in reality it is a huge boon thanks Necrolyte's poor damage and animation. None of his spells are channeled as well, so even if autoattacking isn't your main focus, you'll be doing it all game long anyways.

Power Treads are perhaps the most reliable choice of footwear around. With proper micro of Strength/Intelligence swapping, they offer an unmatched combination of HP, Mana and physical DPS. The main issue with Power Treads is that they don't provide much mobility, which Necrolyte already lacks and would love to have some of. I tend to pick Power Treads if I am laned against a heroes like Storm Spirit, Queen of Pain and Mirana, all of whom have Blink-type skills to escape Necrolyte regardless of his choice of Boots.

Boots of Travel are generally the most effective and certainly the most expensive Boots in the game. As a high farming hero with strong lane pushing abilities thanks to Death Pulse and Sadist, Necrolyte can make great use of Boots of Travel by split pushing and using the active to join team fights. Still, having to save 2000g for 0 HP can be suboptimal in many cases and is generally only recommended if you get a great start or if the game goes on very, very long. In such a case, selling Phase Boots or Power Treads for Boots of Travel is an option.

Arcane Boots are a strong choice early game, before Sadist is leveled, as they grant you much more Mana to play around with, as well as an effective Mana regeneration of 2.44 if you use the item ability everytime it's up. I recommend building Arcane Boots if you plan on skipping Sadist and building a Bloodstone (see Build 2). but find them to be inefficient if you level Sadist at all.

Tranquil Boots are a relatively new item to Dota and the cheapest of all Boots. This item mostly exists as a lane staying tool/fall-back item. With Necrolyte's Mana/HP sustain through Death Pulse and Sadism, I wouldn't recommend this item. It is however, capable of being partially (350/525g) dissembled into Mekansm, making it a viable choice early game if you feel you could do with more regen in lane.

No Bloodstone Core

Magic Stick is a comfortably overpowered item that I get almost every game on almost every hero. It's essentially an improved Bracer with less efficient stats per gold which is more than compensated for by it's clutch active. This item is too cheap and has too good of a buildup for me to every really not recommend it.

Mekansm is a key item on Necrolyte. Mekansm offers Necrolyte passable stats before activated, but it's true strength shines in its active, with gives has strong synergy with Death Pulse; you can burst heal yourself and everyone around you for up to 380 HP, which is a pretty big deal. The active and the item itself also grant you a combined +8 Armor, which is very effective at mitigating physical damage. Although the active costs 150 Mana, it is easily paid off thanks to Sadist, making Necrolyte one of the best holders of Mekansm in Dota 2.

Force Staff is a trending item that I would also recommend on Necrolyte. I wouldn't give Force Staff any awards for it's inefficient stats, but the active is very versatile. My main use of Force Staff on this hero is as a kiting/escape mechanism, but it's also very effective in saving allies, chasing enemies, getting off last second Reaper's Scythes on fleeing targets and even forcing unaware enemy heroes out of position. It's also very effective against heroes such as Clockwerk or Pudge who excel at pinning down a single target.

What About Bloodstone?

Bloodstone is also an option for Necrolyte, bringing to the table decent HP and snowballing ability. Building a Bloodstone is best done early game and although it's buildup is fantastic, it's expensive enough to prevent you from making use of items such as Mekansm, which are distinctly more effective the earlier you acquire them. If you choose to go Bloodstone on Necrolyte, remember to skill Stats over Sadist for the additional bulk, you won't be needing the Mana of Sadist unless you fall behind.


Blade Mail is a supplemental source of Armor and a nice fallback item versus squishy, high DPS heroes such as Riki, Bounty Hunter, Phantom Assassin, Bloodseeker, Lina, Leshrac and similar heroes with telegraphed periods of attack.

Black King Bar can be taken as a counter measure to mass disables ( Lion and Shadow Shaman) or high Magic damage if your team isn't being blown up as well ( Pipe of Insight). Ignoring spells such as Epicenter, Ravage and the like feels great, at the very least.

Eul's Scepter of Divinity is a versatile item that mostly serves as a fallback to Scythe of Vyse. The disable can be worthless offensively (unless you are catching someone out of position and allowing your team to act) but it shines defensively as a 2.5s "you can't kill me" button with self use. The +30 movement speed ia also a major draw for this item, and cements this as a decent purchase versus melee carries.

Gem of True Sight is an all-purpose counter to wards or invisibility of all sorts, but is, well, dropped and usually taken by the other team if you screw up and die. Since a correctly built Necrolyte is a tanky hero and the backbone of any team, he's a natural Gem of True Sight carrier.

Ghost Scepter is a cheap and dirty counter to physical damage. It's obscenely effective against poor lineups that are lined with carry heroes, but can get you blown up if the enemy team has ample Magic damage and only a few carries. Regardless, I highly recommend this item against heroes like Ursa and Lycanthrope.

Heaven's Halberd is a rare yet great item for dismantling enemy carries. With +20 Strength and +25% Evasion that you aren't going to practically ( Butterfly) acquire anywhere else on Necrolyte, this is a strong item even without it's great active. Another strong buy versus carry heroes that can counter ranged carries ( Drow Ranger, Mirana, Viper) as well.

Linken's Sphere is a truly situational item with below average stats for its cost, best put to use against problematic spells such as Doom, Viper Strike and Nether Swap. When considering a Linken's Sphere, pay close attention to what spells the enemy is capable of throwing around; if they have easy solutions to your Linken's Sphere such as Arc Lightning, Stifling Dagger or Mana Drain, avoid this item.

Pipe of Insight is a potentially game breaking item that goes well with Necrolyte's survivability focus and Mana overflow. You or an ally should almost always pick up a Pipe of Insight when against high profile heroes with big AoE ultimates such as Earthshaker, Sand King, Tidehunter and Venomancer.

Rod of Atos is a new(ish) item with a strong buildup, fair stats, and good utility. It's a nice fallback item from Heart of Tarrasque as it also uses a Vitality Booster. Necrolyte can put this item's active slow to good use as he lacks any CC beyond the lowly single second stun of Reaper's Scythe.

Veil of Discord is another new item that is rather rare. Statistically, it offers a rare combination of Health regen, Armor and Intelligence which is decent on Necrolyte. The active gives you the ability to amplify Magic damage inflicted to enemies by 25% (effectively nulls base Magic resistance on heroes) in a fair AoE for 20 seconds. This has great synergy with Death Pulse, Reaper's Scythe and allies like Sand King, Lina, Leshrac and Zeus. Can also be used for slightly faster farming of lanes/stacks. Ultimately, Veil of Discord is a strong follow up item to Bloodstone that doesn't get enough use in general.


Aghanim's Scepter is a fair option on Necrolyte, as it buffs his Reaper's Scythe and offers reasonable stats. Minor Mana cost and cooldown buffs to Rank 1/Rank 2 aside, the main draw of Aghanim's Scepter is the stronger Reaper's Scythe, which is very effective against heroes with high HP.

Assault Cuirass is a decent choice on Necrolyte that I generally wouldn't recommend unless no one else on your team is getting one. If that is the case, however, Assault Cuirass is a serviceable pickup that is strong for resisting physical damage, buffing your team and pushing towers.

Boots of Travel was mentioned before, even in this capacity, but it still pays to remember that if the game is going very late, trading in your Phase Boots or Power Treads for Boots of Travels can have significant returns.

Ethereal Blade is an optional extension if you picked up a Ghost Scepter mid-game. While the +40 Agility on this item isn't going to provide much (other than +5.7 Armor), this item's active is still a great tool versus physical heroes; you kite them around with Death Pulse and when they close the distance, you simply Ethereal Blade -> Death Pulse -> Reaper's Scythe them for a satisfying finish.

Eye of Skadi is my favorite luxury on Necrolyte, and a superb choice on almost any hero late game so long as you have a gold advantage. The stats on this item are un-focused but high and the orb effect provides a strong slow that pierces Black King Bar, Blade Fury and Rage. A great choice for pressing your advantage or kiting melee carries late into the game.

Heart of Tarrasque is one of the most straightforward items in the game, providing unmatched +HP and regeneration. It's a strong pickup against any lineup without an answer tailored against tanky heroes [Malediction, Life Break and Feast, for example).

Necronomicon is an unusual choice for Necrolyte that I haven't got around to testing yet. The item offers decent Strength and Intelligence as well as versatile minions that can be strong for pushing, fighting or Roshan'ing. The main two problems with this item on Necrolyte are the required micro and his lack of slows/stuns (unlike strong Necronomicon carries such as Bane or Beastmaster), but you could do much worse.

Radiance is an item that offers no defensive stats but instead comes loaded with a face-melting aura that has great synergy with Death Pulse and Heartstopper Aura. It's a cute choice that is recommended if you have strong farm and/or are backed by heroes such as Omniknight, Dazzle or Treant Protector who can help you stay alive. Be careful not to get this if an ally is saving for one (common carriers include Spectre, Syllabear, Alchemist, Phantom Lancer and Bloodseeker).

Scythe of Vyse is an anti-anything item with one of the best actives in the game. This is best acquired as an answer to squishy, immensely threatening heroes such as Anti-Mage, Faceless Void, Phantom Assassin and the like, but can also be put to use in disabling and killing damn well near anything on the enemy team. The only drawback to this item is it's lack of strong defensive stats, lackluster buildup and very high cost.

Shiva's Guard is my preferred Armor item on Necrolyte. I highly recommend this item against heroes such as Riki or Lifestealer for its stats, active and aura, all of which are great against melee carries. The extra relatively low cooldown (30s) AoE nuke can be of use in farming and pushing as well.


Early Game

Considering his aforementioned farm/level dependency, Necrolyte really must be laned either solo or with a babysitter such as Crystal Maiden, Lich or Venomancer. Since finding a babysitter in publics can be hard amongst legions of Sniper and Bounty Hunter pickers, I find myself going solo middle with this hero much more often than not.

Solo Mid

So you've picked Necrolyte and decided to go mid. First step is to communicate this; just say "mid plz", "mid", or the timeless "mid or feed". Let's say you get lucky and nobody on your team counter picks you with a big last second Shadow Fiend pick and you get the position. Great! Now all you have to do is win your lane.

Well, sadly I can't teach you exactly how to do this every game, every time, but I can certainly offer some tips. For starters, consider Necrolyte's base stats/animation; with a low starting Damage and a lengthier than average frontswing, chances are that unless you play Lina every game, you'll need to adjust to a later last hit timing on this hero than what you are likely to be used to. Although you are mostly mid to farm rather than to gank, rune control should never be neglected and you'll probably want to get a Bottle as well. Despite his slow movement speed, Necrolyte can control runes effectively by pushing the lane out via auto-attacks and Death Pulse on the wave or two before a rune is about to come up (remember, runes spawn every two minutes, starting at 0:00).

Generally Necrolyte mid must be played defensively, especially if you are against dominant mid heroes such as Queen of Pain, Invoker or Viper. Be sure to watch your minimap as well, too much tunnelvision on lane control leaves you exposed to early ganks from roaming supports, gankers or junglers. While I'm not going to offer a comprehensive list of matchups for every hero that you will ever see mid, here are some of the more common ones explained.


Pudge is the most common hero in the game ( and a staple mid hero. Beating Pudge requires you to adapt to his game, which is unlike any other hero really; you must constantly position yourself so that creeps are in between you and Pudge to block Meat Hook while not letting him last hit/deny without going harassed. Since Pudge lacks any real lane control beyond kill attempts, this matchup can be very uncomfortable for newer players, since you can go from winning this lane to losing this lane in a single Meat Hook.

The best way to play with this matchup is to farm/deny while avoiding Meat Hook as I described pre-6. If he gets on you with Rot, you can Death Pulse him while backing off and throwing auto-attacks at his soft body. In more desperate situations where a single close range Meat Hook will kill, you may be able to kite him around your creep line to block the hook/overpower him with Death Pulse. After Level 6, you'll want to courier an Observer Ward to yourself and place it on Pudge's hill so that you can farm without fear of being pulled into his tower. If you avoid getting hooked and communicate properly with your team so that they don't get smashed by Pudge ganks, you may actually end up rather farmed come mid game. Reaper's Scythe is also a nice answer to Pudge in spite of Flesh Heap, as Pudge not only has a massive HP cont but also weakens himself for your pleasure with Rot as well. Do note that the majority of replays I posted below are against Pudge, so if this matchup scares you do check those out.

Invoker is another common mid hero; if you see an Invoker on the other team, there is a very high chance you will be facing him mid. A well-played Invoker is the complete package, and comes in either Exort + Quas or Quas + Wex variety. What these builds entail for you is slightly different, with Exort + Quas ultimately being much more threatening. If you see a Quas + Wex Invoker, you should just try to farm against him as he will most likely be leveling Quas first, giving him incredible regen.

With Exort + Quas Invoker significantly outsustains you and farms harder as well with a stronger animation/damage thanks to Exort. Cold Snap provides him lane control as well, as he can poke you with it and a few autoattacks for a small (100) Mana cost every now and then to wear you down, the combo Cold Snap into Sun Strike when you are around 1/2 HP for a kill. While this lane is certainly in Invoker's favor, it's important to not give up anything for free; unless he uses Cold Snap, you should meet his autoattacks with your autoattacks if you can. Use Death Pulse for trading as well. For all his strength as a mid hero, Invoker struggles to control runes as he lacks a convenient way to push lanes bar Forge Spirit which never seems to get used early game anyways. Phase Boots are a must to combat his absurd last hit/deny with Exort.

Bloodseeker is a pretty unique but rather common mid hero. His game plan is to free farm until Level 6 (with Blood Bath to ignore harass) and then kill you with Rupture. If he really gets off to a good start, you'll find yourself being frustrated left and right by denying, as he loves doing that too thanks to Blood Bath.

Ultimately, Bloodseeker's Blood Bath arguably exceeds the level of harass Necrolyte is really capable of putting out. Your best bet is to abuse Bottle + rune control + Flying Courier while autoattacking and spamming Death Pulse at him every time he comes near the creep line. With enough pressure he will break. If you can't dominate him mid, don't despair; keep a Town Portal Scroll on you as soon as he is Level 6 to counter Rupture and try to stay healthy. If he attempts to dive you with Bloodrage + Rupture and you aren't very injured beforehand, you should be able to survive six seconds than Death Pulse + Reaper's Scythe for an easy kill. Keep in mind that since he must farm in aggressive positions and lacks an escape mechanism, he's a very easy target for ganks if your team has anyone capable of providing them. Lastly, don't use Force Staff on yourself if Bloodseeker Ruptures you as you will take 120/240/360 damage for your troubles, potentially killing you or activating his Thirst.


Here are some public games I played that show off various item choices and scenarios. Do note that none of these replays feature Build 2 ( Bloodstone and in all of them I was solo mid.

Power Treads, Eye of Skadi after Core. I acquired Power Treads over Phase Boots versus Storm Spirit mid, as they offer more HP/MP and Necrolyte isn't catching Storm Spirit regardless. Eye of Skadi was my choice for EHP, kiting Spectre and Pudge while preventing escape from team fights.

Phase Boots, Eye of Skadi after Core. Phase Boots were grabbed for last hitting damage versus Huskar mid and to kite him, Omniknight and Spirit Breaker. Eye of Skadi was picked up for kiting/EHP/slow (my team lacked an abundance of reliable disable).

Phase Boots, no Mekansm, Scythe of Vyse plus Heart of Tarrasque after Force Staff. Phase Boots were again chosen to kite Pudge/melee. Scythe of Vyse was bought to counter their strong carry heroes ( Morphling and Invoker).

Phase Boots, no Force Staff, Scythe of Vyse + Divine Rapier after Mekansm. Phase Boots were selected once more to better kite Pudge, other items were taken for solo kill potential and simply to show off.


Guide published, partially complete.
Updated Skills, added Example Final Items for Build 1/2.
Updated Replays (with images), started on Gameplay, added shameless self plug for Steam ID/stream below.
Realized all of the changes listed above were not reflected in the live version of the guide (which is only based on "Publish" and not "Save").

Please feel free to comment, offer suggestions and critique or discuss my guide. If you have any questions about my guide or just this game (I'm a huge nerd), you are welcome to add me on Steam ( for answers/public games. And if you really can't get enough of me, you can follow my Dota 2 stream on TwitchTV (!

This is still a work in progress. Happy Necrolyte'ing!

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