Slark is an amazing hero in the right hands. He is good as far as I can tell at all levels in the game, as long as you take the right skill set with him. The first 5 games I've played with him I have pretty much dominated with this build, so it is tried and true. But you have to look out with him, cause he can get shutdown early game too, which offsets him for the rest of the match. Play smart, use your escapes, and this is a hero you can triumph with every game.
This build is an expansion on what i know about Slark already, and doesn't focus so much on his primary attribute, but more so into making him a more viable ganking hero that can do some ridiculous damage with some great debuffs.
Items for Slark offer great buffs, but really are not what makes him so dangerous, hence his small core item build.
Stout Shield: The one item he really needs, is Stout Shield. Early game and to mid game, Slark is incredibly squishy. This is due in part to his starting armor of 1. The shield really does help out with negating some of the damage you are bound to take with him.
Healing Salve and Tangoes: Needed to replenish his health, if your playing really aggressive with him, you WILL burn through these very quick, more so than usual for heroes.
Iron Branches: Gives him basic stat improvement.
Boots of Speed: Obviously needed to move around quicker, you wanna get these fairly quickly, as they will allow you to run in, hit a hero and steal his attribute points, then run out. Helps that they build into your Power Treads as well.
Poor Mans Shield: This increases upon his survivability, especially when taking damage from heroes early to mid game. the bonus agility is an aditional perk, while keeping the entire item at a very low cost, allowing you to build towards other items for mid game.
Power Treads: Obviously you want to get the basic essentials most characters can benefit from such as Power Treads. Goes without saying how these benefit Slark.
Diffusal Blade:This is the item that this whole build revolves around. This is great for Slark. It has that great passive that burns mana and health, and the active is a great way to debuff a fleeing opponent and slows them as well, giving you all the time you need to start wailing on them again. The agility and intelligence gain from this improves upon your armour value, damage, and attack speed, while also increasing your mana pool to let you cast more abilities as you see fit. Get this before you build your Yasha or Power Treads.
Yasha: Noticeably so, not SANGE and Yasha. You want this for all the perks it grants. %10 movement speed bonus, +16 Agility increasing his damage done/attack speed/bonus armor. If you max out his ultimate in addition to having this and Power Treads, you will move around the map at 522 movement speed when out of sight from the enemy.
Butterfly: The increase in base agility makes him a self reliant viable character when just running around. When ganking with him, the evasion comes in a lot of help to avoid those attacks on your squishy hero, and the bonus attack speed increases the ability to steal attributes from enemy heroes.
Abbysal Blade: I usually take this after I finish off my core items. The main reason is for the damage increase. this will take you from hitting at around 140 mid game to 240 with its 100 damage increase. The passive bash is great for stopping fleeing enemies, while the active Overwhelm improves upon your already great disabling and debuffing repertoire. Abbysal Blade is to Diffusal Blade as Sange is to Yashsa.
Sange and Yasha: Obviously this is to improve upon your Yasha. The maim is great for slowing opponents, stacks very well with Diffusal Blade, and improves upon your low health.
From what i have seen and used myself, this build works extremely well over other builds.
I have listened to the input to the guide and have altered the build to scale Dark Pact before maxing out Essence Shift. Still be careful when using DP before you get to level 6, as you will burning through your salves and tangoes quickly. Even a level 2 Dark pact at level 5 will still be causing you to lose 10 percent of your health, and if you have a level 3 DP at level 5 and use it you will be losing 16 percent of your health. This is damage your doing to your self, not counting in what you could be taking from any players around. Combined with his armor level of 1, which causes you to negate almost no damage, it is dangerous to use before level 6. But situations vary and you might see this as something very useful before so.
Putting points into Pounce allows you to have a very useful escape and when needed attack. As you can see the focus is on pounce until you can get it maxed out. this lets you do the most damage you can when leaping into a fight setting up your team for the attack.Stacking this with Essence Shift allows you to jump in and start stealing their attribute points, letting you buff yourself up and negative buff them. The more points in Essence the longer the buffs last on you and them.
Get your ultimate Shadow Dance as soon as you can and at every chance you get. When out of sight it allows you to move ridiculously fast (I usually move around at 500+ move speed with my build) and allows you to regenerate your heath as if you were in well or had a Heart of Tarrasque. That's just the passive! When Activated it makes you invisible, while creating a visible smoke cloud around you as seen by your opponents. Attacking, casting, using any other ability will NOT reveal you until the ability has expired. This is great because it also provides you health and speed if you need to attack or escape.
The way you should be using your abilities is as such when attacking...
Slark is a very straight forward hero. Once you learn the mastery of his skills, he is an extreme pain to the opposing team.
Be careful is the name of the game here. Don't let yourself get hit or you will start to see that precious green bar fade away. when you have an opening to tag one of their heroes and you have essence, take it. This burns their attributes for 15 seconds level one and gives your lane partner a chance to bash on them and cause some serious damage. Do this if you feel you can get away with it, try not to take any unnecessary hits in the process. AS Ive said Slark cant really take hits due to his low starting attributes and 1 point in armor. When you have pounce, due to its low mana cost, you can spam it a bit if you have an out. This will pin them in place allowing your lane partner to bash on them for 3.5 seconds. traditionally, when people see you land in the middle of them and take the damage, they tend to run and then realize they cant. This is not a guarantee though so be extremely cautious on how you apply this. Have Pounce on backup for any escaping (as it ignores terrain like force staff) or for a quick gank to pin an opponent(s) in place.
Now you can start to be a bit more aggressive. You can continue to sit in lane and push, or, if you have your ultimate, you can start roaming the map to assist in lane defense/offense or just looking for a gank. Still, while doing all of this being very cautious because if you don't have mana for Pounce to escape, you will get into situations that you will regret. When starting with initial team fights, your job is to jump in and pin their supports and weak heroes in place, allowing your team and you to bash on them. Or you can choose to pounce on their tanks or carries, pin them in place keeping them out of the fight allowing your team to deal with whom they want first.
Late game is the expansion of your middle game. By now you should be set with your skill build and items. In team fights you should be disrupting the opposing team and singling out who you think is necessary, whether it be a weak hero who needs to be finished off or a support that should be eliminated. The agility you are stealing should really put you over the top. It is not unusual to have over 160 agility at this point in the game. Keep looking for the people out of place, pick them off, and drive on to their ancient.
-Has the ability to be incredibly fast
-Great health regen
-The ability to pin opponents
-Low starting health
-Low starting armor
-Low starting attributes
-Doesn't do high damage till late game traditionally
All in all, I believe Slark is a very good hero. He is very good in the hands of a capable player. But not too good, he can still get shutdown if people know what they are doing just like a shutdown Riki or Faceless, becoming even more of a challenge to play with. Play smart, quick, and have good map awareness, this is a hero that will have you coming back over and over again.
As this is my first variation of Slarks recommended build, feel free to try this and let me know how it works out. Still tweaking things as things go, and thank you for all of your input!
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