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14 Votes

Necrophos - Creeping Death

May 14, 2014 by Sando
Comments: 22    |    Views: 85636    |   

Build 1
Build 2

Utility Carry

DotA2 Hero: Necrophos

Purchase Order


Healing Salve
Mantle of Intelligence

Core (1 Boots)

Null Talisman
Phase Boots
Power Treads

Extension Options

Black King Bar
Aghanim's Scepter
Rod of Atos
Veil of Discord


Boots of Travel
Heart of Tarrasque
Ethereal Blade
Scythe of Vyse
Shiva's Guard


Drum of Endurance
Ghost Scepter
Heaven's Halberd
Pipe of Insight

Hero Skills

Death Pulse

1 3 5 7

Heartstopper Aura

10 12 13 14

Ghost Shroud

2 4 8 9

Reaper's Scythe

6 11 16




Necrophos is an unusual hero, capable of offering huge sustain to his team, and constant attrition to the enemy. He's an extremely capable anti-tank, and can kill enemies so hard they can't even buy back. He offers considerable pushing and farming power combined with a big team fight presence.

Overall he's a very contradictory hero; he's not a true support or a genuine carry, he starts off incredibly squishy but is usually played as a tank. He doesn't appear to offer a lot of damage at times, but can quietly be extremely destructive.

Read on to find out more...

The Artist Formerly Known as Necrolyte

They had to change it for legal reasons, copyright with Blizzard or something. It's taken me the whole guide to actually get used to writing it properly. In tribute, here's a funny song by a strange little man who also changed his name:

Strengths and Weaknesses

+ Fantastic sustain from Sadist
+ Great teamfight presence with Death Pulse
+ Strong Pusher
+ Fast Farmer
+ Flexible role between carry and support
+ Massive damage potential with Reaper's Scythe

- Squishy without equipment
- Average stat gains
- Mana Dependent
- Lacks auto-attack damage
- Lacks slow, silence or non-ultimate stun
- Slow Movement Speed

Death Pulse

Death Pulse is a dual use heal/nuke that effects EVERY unit within it's radius (even if they're invisible). It has a high mana cost and a short cooldown, making it ideal for spamming when farming or pushing. The main barrier to this is being able to sustain the mana used - Sadist can help here, but you'll need enemy heroes or creeps to be dying for this to work.

When pushing this is easily supportable provided you have at least a few levels in Sadist, but team fights can be trickier, especially if you're in a low farm role. Don't be afraid to kill-steal with Reaper's Scythe in this situation if it will allow you to continue spamming pulses - it's really important:

Level 4 Death Pulse hitting every hero on both teams inflicts 5 x 275 = 1375 total damage, and heals your team for 650 total. This is roughly a 2000 HP shift between the two sides - you can do this every 5 seconds provided you have enough mana.

Be aware that the projectiles from Death Pulse are very slow (400ms), but they will always hit their target eventually. Unfortunately fast heroes or ones with transport spells are capable of outrunning them for long enough to potentially get healed enough to survive.

Heartstopper Aura

Heartstopper Aura is a powerful and unusual aura that scales extremely effectively into the late game. It uses HP Removal damage to constantly drain a percentage of enemy unit's maximum hitpoints away. This damage is not reduced by magic immunity, magic resistance or armour. However, it also won't stop people using potions or reset the cooldown on Blink Daggers.

This is another subtle but effective weapon in Necrophos's armoury - even being near him drains enemy health (or at least reduces their regeneration), making him a real threat in long fights.

In the early game it's quite common to put a single point into this skill, as it's the only period of the game where you're likely to have 1 or more enemy heroes constantly in range of it for a sustained period. However, be aware that it will also slowly drain the health of their creeps and push your lane out.

Early Game Example:

Against an enemy hero with 500 max HP, level 1 Heartstopper Aura inflicts 0.006 * 500 = 3 DPS. This may not seem like much, but it will put most heroes into negative regen, and inflicts 180 total damage over a minute if they stay in range for the whole time.

Late Game Example:

Against an enemy hero with 3000 max HP, level 4 Heartstopper Aura inflicts 0.015 * 3000 = 45 DPS. Over a 20 second engagement this would equate to 900 damage, provided they stayed in range for the entire time.



Sadist is the skill that ties the rest of your abilities together, and when you level it is usually reflective of your role in the team. It offers you a short (6 second) burst of extra health and mana regeneration every time you are responsible for any unit dying - be it last hits, denies or hero kills (which offer 10x the normal rate).

This skill can give you incredible amounts of sustain, especially when you're pushing big waves of creeps and stacking that bonus up. Hero kills also give you massive sustain, for example:

Level 4 Sadist will heal you for 6 x (4 x 10) = 240 HP, and restores 6 x (10 x 10) = 600 mana.

Even at lower levels, Sadist is pretty helpful at keeping you in lane (and makes you a reasonably competitive mid), provided that you are the farming hero. It's much less helpful if you're the support, as you'll just be picking up scraps on denies.

Reaper's Scythe

Reaper's Scythe is Necrophos's ultimate and signature skill. It has received various buffs in recent patches and now offers some extra utility in addition to it's brief disable and big damage.

While the 1.5 second stun time is useful and goes through magic immunity, the real star of the show here is the damage. It's all based around how much health the enemy hero is missing from their pool. Bear in mind that it inflicts Magic Damage, so can be reduced by items like Hood of Defiance and skills like Spell Shield.

You can see below the maximum percentage hero health you can definitely kill at depending on the level of your ultimate. This assumes standard 25% Magic Resistance.

Level (* with Aghanim's Scepter)
Max Enemy Hero Health

Reaper's Scythe has some extra utility too - any hero killed by it will have their respawn timer increased by 30% - an extra 27 seconds for a level 25 hero.

If you have an Aghanim's Scepter, then any enemy killed by it will also have their buyback disabled for the duration of that respawn timer. Try to save it for killing really important heroes in the late game.

Skill Builds

I've included a small selection of the more standard builds you tend to see on Necrophos and that work reasonably well.

The first big decision you've got to make is whether or not to take Heartstopper Aura at level 1 - if you're going to skill it at all early, then take it as soon as possible, as it's very dependent on inflicting damage over time.

It's especially effective against tankier heroes, who take proportionately more damage. Be aware that it will require more lane control work on your part, as enemy creeps will be damaged too.

Almost all successful Necrophos builds max Death Pulse first, it's mana expensive at all levels, but does much more damage at higher levels, and can frequently be the difference between deaths and kills.

Levelling Sadist is dependent on your exposure to last hits - if you're the farmer in any lane then you'll definitely want points in it sooner rather than later. If you're supporting a lane, a sneaky level at 4 is more usual, although you could even consider a 2nd level in Heartstopper Aura.

Generally speaking Reaper's Scythe should be levelled at every chance you get, although be aware of it's high mana cost at level 3 - you might have to delay it if your farm has been exceptionally bad.

What you need to know when Necrophos is on your Team

+ If he's got Sadist, try to let him get last hits and/or denies if he's low on health or mana
+ Taking kills with Reaper's Scythe is NOT kill-stealing, especially early in a fight
+ He's very squishy early game, try to look after him

- He can play as a support, but don't make him ward
- Don't build a Mekansm, he will do it
- Be aware, he will sometimes transistion from support to carry


This is one of the trickiest questions to answer about Necrophos - he's really quite difficult to place on the carry to support spectrum. Generally he can pickup any role from #2 to #4.

He's not suitable to be a #1 as he's sorely lacking in right click damage, even with good farm. Neither is he suitable to be a #5 as he needs equipment to be able to do his job of sustaining the team in the middle of a fight.

In more competitive games, he's most likely to lane solo mid, gaining access to farm and quick levels, before roaming to push and pickup kills with Reaper's Scythe.

As a support he's best played with a carry who has decent lane presence, and only requires a little babysitting to keep them healthy and unharassed while they farm. This allows you to pull, and stack up neutral camps for later flash farming. You're good at turning around situations, but not especially aggressive as a lane partner.

Regardless of role, Necrophos will almost always try to build survivability equipment - his starting role merely determines how much of it he gets, and how quickly. Thanks to Death Pulse and Sadist he has incredible flash farming speed, and can usually catch up pretty quickly given some time and space.


Necrophos starts out extremely vulnerable - he has poor movement speed and health, combined with no stun, slow or escape. His only real protection is good positioning, and the heal from Death Pulse.

However, as the game progresses, and he gains levels and equipment, he can become one of the toughest heroes in the game to bring down. Constant spams of Death Pulse, the sustain of Sadist and the hidden threat of Reaper's Scythe can turn around some extremely bad situations.

Necrophos's damage and impact all comes from long term presence in fights - he makes his whole team harder to kill, while constantly whittling away at the enemy's strength. He's not a "showy" hero in this regard, but can be extremely influential if he stays alive.

You need to stand as close as possible to the middle point of the fight, healing your team using Death Pulse and Mekansm while weakening the opposition. Strike down a dangerous enemy on lowish health using Reaper's Scythe, or even use it to restore your mana if necessary. With sufficient equipment you should be able to tank a considerable amount of damage while healing your team and hurting the opposition.



Your starting items will depend quite strongly on your starting role - if you're heading to mid, you'll generally want some additional last hitting power to get you rolling. A semi-support role usually requires you to provide either an Animal Courier or Observer Wards, in addition to some consumables and cheap stats from the Iron Branches.


A Mekansm is core on Necrophos regardless of role - he's an ideal carrier for it, and it greatly helps his survivability.

Your choice of boots and stats items will vary depending on your role and preference. Phase Boots can help your last hitting and give the burst of speed you made need to catch/evade an enemy hero. Power Treads help bulk out your stats and switching can provide additional healing from Sadist.

An alternative for support roles only is Arcane Boots which should help out with your mana supply, and also provide utility to allies. Support necros might also benefit from a Magic Wand to provide a few more stats and some emergency burst healing/mana.

Extension Options:

All necros need to increase their survivability ASAP, primarily by increasing the size of their HP and mana pools. This allows you for scope to soak up damage and then heal it through Death Pulse. Support necros often have to consider some cheaper options unless they get the chance to flash farm.

The Veil of Discord gives us additional magic damage (effects both Death Pulse and Reaper's Scythe), and builds out of your Null Talisman.

Rod of Atos gives us a strong slow for helping with both ganks and escape, and a strong set of additional stats for a good price.

Bloodstone is a lovely item on Necrophos, and I would recommend it if you don't feel like your team needs additional utility. It provides a large increase to your HP and Mana pools, regen that works well in addition to Sadist, and faster respawn times should you die.

Aghanim's Scepter is another good pickup, although it's most effective in the late game where buybacks and respawn times really, really matter.

Black King Bar is very useful when facing teams with a lot of disables or silence. You need to be able to spam Death Pulse during team fights, and pick your moment to use Reaper's Scythe. Also adds to your health pool.

Drum of Endurance makes sense as yet another stat booster, and a good aura for team fights. Not necessarily an essential pickup, but a very affordable one for support necros.

Ghost Scepter is another good support necro option. It provides a good set of stats at a reasonable price, and will protect you from physical damage for several seconds when you're in a tight spot. May be the difference between you getting off that vital Mekansm/ Death Pulse combo or not.


These are the items that best fit Necrophos's preferences - survivability and utility. While it's nice to boost up our intelligence to add a little more right click damage, even as a carry this is not your primary aim.

Boots of Travel provide a movement speed boost, but just as importantly a much faster way of getting around in the late game. You have substantial pushing power, so use it. Also frees up a slot in your inventory.

Shiva's Guard provides plenty of intelligence, but more importantly armour and an attack slow for nearby enemies. The active fits nicely with your usual positioning in team fights.

Heart of Tarrasque provides a massive boost to your overall HP, and additional healing should you ever need it. Makes you extremely hard to bring down.

Scythe of Vyse is picked up primarily for the utility of Hex, but does include some useful stats and mana regeneration too.

Ethereal Blade is rarely seen and best considered a "super luxury", after you're nearly 6 slotted with more important items. However, it offers considerable utility to your ultimate, damaging enemies and leaving them 40% more vulnerable to it's effects.


Guess what...? More survivability items! These items tend to have a place in specific situations rather than general pickups.

It's unusual to have your Pipe of Insight and Mekansm on the same hero, and you're always going to be making a Mek. However, pipe is a good item on you, especially if you've managed to get some more stats together post-core.

should be picked up post-core when faced with mass invisibility on the other team, or even if you just want more pushing power. It offers a nice mix of strength and intelligence, increasing our health and mana pools respectively.

Heaven's Halberd
may seem an unusual choice, but it's an excellent survivability item (strength and evasion) against right clickers, and also has active utility against out of control opposition carries.

Sample Builds


Super Tank:

Mr Aura:

Utility Build:

Super Nuker:

Good Allies

Your best friend in many ways - the combination of Life Break and Reaper's Scythe can be instantly lethal for even the tankiest hero. He'll very much enjoy the constant heals from Death Pulse, while he'll tend to draw enemy focus away from you.

The big magic multipliers from these guys are very handy when you're trying to land a good Reaper's Scythe.

More defensively minded heroes stack with you to help increase the length of fights and ensure each other's survival.

Enemies you Counter

Doom bringer

You tend to provide a reliable problem for most heroes and boost most allies fairly equally with the sustain from Death Pulse. It's when the enemy has a lot of tanky heroes that you really shine however - Reaper's Scythe really doesn't care whether you have 100/500 HP left or 4000/9000 - you're still dead.

You're also something of a counter to late game heroes, as you offer considerable push through out the game, and scale considerably better than most support/utility heroes.

Bad Enemies

Your best friend makes quite a bad enemy. You can survive better than most against his attacks once you have some farm together, but his magic resistance makes Reaper's Scythe ineffective.

The frostbite effect from Ice Blast disables healing for all heroes effected - this is very, very bad for your impact on team fights.

Any extra magic resistance that enemies have it bad news for you, reducing the effect of all your spells bar Heartstopper Aura. Anti-Mage's ability to burn your mana is also extremely unpleasant, as are heroes wielding a Diffusal Blade.

An odd matchup this one - he really won't enjoy Heartstopper Aura, and Reaper's Scythe can be pretty effective against him if he doesn't have too many stacks of Flesh Heap. However, he can potentially get a lot of resistance together, and can definitely eat you early game given half a chance.

Silence is really not fun, and you have no easy response to Curse of the Silent early on.

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