I believe that the common "banana slam jamma" build of Aquila>Treads>Drum>SnY>(Skadi)>(BKB)>Moonshard build lacks mobility and the utility needed to fit slarks kit. It goes all in on stats and places an emphasis on increasing your total HP so you survive more and farm more with Dark Pact, with less contribution to fights.
Slark needs 3 core things:
Mobility- "but he already has pounce"- this hero is reliant on long fights and pick offs. As slark, you need to play extremely smart in every fight. Weave in and out, regen with your ultimate, purge debuffs and stuns at the correct times, target and pick off the correct enemy(with bad burst or lockdown), and build stacks of essence shift. To be able to accomplish all of this, mobility plays a key role in allowing you to regen and pick heros off.
Survivability- This is important for most heroes, but especially slark, because he must commit for kills and initiate at times. In order to avoid being easily bursted, you need survivability. However, this is not equated too raw health. Slark can manfight most carries and physical damage dealing heroes with ease in the midgame because he gains essence shift stacks and can use his ult., so his main issue is being busted by nukers and being killed while disabled. However some physical damage sources can cause issues as well. To supplement slarks survivability needs this build recommends Cloak and Solar Crest. The Effective Health Points given from cloak in regards to Magic Damage surpasses bracer.
DPS- Slark is a carry hero that needs to provide DPS as all carry heroes do. This category is quite obvious and requires little explanation. To gain early dps this build recommends Solar Crest. It allows slark to solo kill the enemy carry faster reducing the risk of support reactions. Slark's DPS in the late game largely relies on essence shift, which is why slark should emphasize attack speed when buying late game DPS items. Eye of Skadi, Moon Shard, and Assault Cuirass are the best choices for maximizing slark's late game DPS for this reason.
The main premise of this build is that Dark Pact removes the Debuff from Solar Crest/Medallion of Courage. This means slark can activate it on another carry, pounce and dark pact and have a 20 armor advantage and large evasion advantage. By reducing the armor of the target, slark can more safely find pick offs that would have otherwise been impossible.
Because slark needs mobility and survivability, glimmer cap is the perfect item as it provides a time where slark can regen during a fight, adds a large amount of effective hp against magical damage, and allows slark to pick people off before they can react.
Both of these items can also provide increased utility in a team setting because they can both be casted on an allied hero to save them from physical damage or escape with invis. Both items have an excellent buildup in the early game with an early cloak to survive and sustain nukes, an early medallion in combination with dark pact can lead to much higher kill potential on the enemy laner and increased jungle efficiency by using the effect on neutrals and increasing mana regen.
This build is not as favored against a lineup with heavy pure damage, and if they have multiple sources of pure damage, then building raw stats is probably a better idea.
Dark Pact- Use this in the early game to farm creep waves and jungle camps. You need to max this so that you can keep up farm with enemy carries and deal more damage when you pounce them. You need to use this as projectiles fly at you, so don't use it at the beginning of the fight every time. Because it purges you, you can avoid stuns and other disables almost completely if you time it correctly. You should activate your solar crest on the target that you pounce on and dark pact the debuff off, putting you at a huge advantage in terms of physical damage, and setting the enemy back in health from the pounce and dark pact. The health you lose from casting this ability is offset be your ult in the early game for farming purposes.
Pounce- Use this to escape and to lockdown and nuke enemies for kills. Pounce up and down cliffs or into trees if they gank you in laning stage or pounce out of vision to regen with your ult then go back in.
Essence Shift- Skill this early if you know you get get hits off on the offlane like tidehunter, brood, bristle. In the late game, this is what makes slark a great carry. The more hits you get off on the enemy, the more unstoppable you become. You want to always be attacking enemies in fights to build up stacks. If abaddon or omniknight activate their ult, just keep on attacking them to build up stacks. Fight the enemy carry after you build up stacks and you will most likely win the fight. Of course building up stacks is not as important as taking out the enemy in a fight like you typically would, and you often have to make decisions. Once you build up enough stacks, you can even backdoor buildings and kill them at insane speeds. Because slarks scales so much with atacks, you should build attack speed items like AC, skadi and moonshard.
Shadow Dance- You want to get solo xp if you can in the laning stage so that you can get your level six early. The earlier you get it the more you can trade harass with the offlaner, because you can go out of vision and passively regen. It allows you to spam dark pact in the jungle and in lane for maximum farm, and allows you to take as much harass as you want without having to go back to base. You want to use your ult when you pounce on single target nukers like lina and kill them before they get their spells off. You should use it when fighting carries that you need to build up essence stacks on and avoid losing a manfight to. In fights you need to weave in and out of vision either with invis pounce or glimmer cape, so that you can sustain yourself throughout the fight.
This guide allows slark to go from being a "I solo win the game or am useless" hero. In ranked matchmaking, you sometimes will have a horrible lane that leaches xp and you get no farm. With these items, slark will still be able to have the utility and flexibility to help allies with glimmer cape and solar crest. You can cast it on the ally to save them or on the enemy to make sure they are bursted down. They allow slark to have presence and teamplay that will often surprise the enemy. Because slark typically must commit to go into melee range of the enemy team, this allows him to participate in early fights without committing so much. Tell your team to give you solo xp until level 6 and only come up to gank the offlane with a pounce+other disable combo. After slark reaches level 6 he has the flexibility of even leaving the lane for a very greedy support like visage and farming the jungle with dark pact. Always buy an Assault Cuirass if your team consists of a mid or offlane hero that uses primarily right clicks, and the enemy is full of right clickers. If they are all nukers or your team is already planing on building one, it is best to buy a Moon Shard instead. Communicate with your team if you think you can take roshan with your medallion/solar crest, as it gives you the ability to take roshan much faster and earlier.
Aquila is always needed on slark because it is very cost efficient for stats and slark relies on the mana to spam dark pact. Turn it on only when you want to push.
Treads provide slark with more health, DPS, and mana to spam dark pact, so they are the perfect boots for slark.
Midas should be bought only if you can get it before the 6 minute mark, because it is useful for reaching level 11 faster so that slark can regen faster with his ultimate and farm faster.
A cloak should be purchased early is your lane consists of magic damage.
Medallion should be bought as early as possible after these items, because you can take large camps faster with it, kill roshan early with it, and kill the offlaner with it. Because slark can purge the debuff, its main weakness when bought on carries is non-exitant.
Purchase Glimmer cape before upgrading medallion, because the evasion is not relevant until later in the game and is quite expensive. Glimmer cape gives opportunities to regen in fights, sneak up for pounce ganks on either the offlane, junglers, or enemy carry. It doesnt last long, but slark only needs a short time because his pounce covers so much distance. Glimmer cape also gives slark early attack speed which helps when building up stacks of essence shift.
You should typically buy Skadi before upgrading your medallion and after getting glimmer cape. Skadi gives slark a better mana pool to never have to tread switch or worry about mana at all. It also gives slark the DPS needed to kill enemies fast enough. It is far more stats to cost efficient than sange and yasha. Slark benefits from all the stats it gives and its attackspeed and movespeed slow synergizes with slarks passive and allows slark to outfight most carries.
Upgrade to solar crest when the game is late enough that you will use the evasion against enemy right clickers.
You want AC before moonshard if it is a good game for AC, because it is more cost efficient and provides so much if it fits the game. With AC, Skadi, and Solar Crest you have around 50 armor, making it impossible for them to out right click you.
Moonshard gives slark the essence shift stacks and pure dps he needs after AC.
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