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14 Votes

Nyx Assassin - Fear the Assassin Caste

October 5, 2014 by Zerak Kyria
Comments: 18    |    Views: 35567    |   

Build 1
Build 2
Build 3
Build 4
Build 5

Default Build

DotA2 Hero: Nyx Assassin

Hero Skills


1 3 5 7

Mana Burn

4 8 9 10

Spiked Carapace

2 12 13 14


6 11 16


15 17 18


Hello and Welcome to my guide for Nyx Assassin. Nyx is easily my favourite hero and to me, one of the best ganking heroes around that is capable of halting the other teams carry from farming if they are reasonably squishy. His role can vary but primarily he is a nuker/disabler.

What is interesting about Nyx Assassin is that he can be played solo offlane, solo mid or in trilane/dual lane. However rarely played in mid as their are far better options. What makes Nyx an offlane hero is his health regen at lvl 1 which is 3.2 (strength + base regen) so he can take harassment very well. More so, his ability Spiked Carapace enables him to halt the enemy from chasing or even killing him. Another reason why Nyx Assassin can go offlane is that he doesn't need farm and can happily sit behind creeps and try to deny if possible.


  • Gameplay noted as offlane, tri-lane along with mid are purely for early game.
  • Gameplay for mid/late game are very similar for Nyx so I have put them under 1 chapter each.
  • The snowballing build is there for if you are getting tons of kills and gold and you have no clue what to build.
  • You shouldn't follow this guide EXACTLY!!! You should learn to play Nyx Assassin as the situation requires.


Deep in the Archive of Ultimyr, shelved between scholarly treatises on dragon cladistics and books of untranslatable spells, there is an ancient tome of entomological curiosities. Compiled by scholars, the book describes the telepathic talents of the zealot scarab, a strange species of social insect with abilities unique to all the seven planes.

Unlike most grubs of his colony, Nyx Assassin did not arise from metamorphosis with the plodding thoughts and blunted appendages common to the worker caste of his kind. For his was a special transformation, guided by the grace of Nyx. He was the chosen one, selected from the many and anointed with an extract of the queen goddess herself. Not all survive the dark blessing of the queens chamber, but he emerged with a penetrating mind, and dagger-like clawshis razor sharp mandibles raking the air while his thoughts projected directly into the minds of those around him. Of all zealot scarabs, he alone was selected for the highest calling. After his metamorphosis, he was reborn, by grace of Nyx, with abilities which shaped him for one thing and one thing only: to kill in the name of his goddess.

Pro's and Con's


  • Heavy Nuker
  • High base health regen
  • Able to reflect heavy damage back against other nukers
  • Effective against int heroes
  • Good all round stat gain
  • Can initiate to a certain degree
  • Can go invisible with bonus move speed


  • Cannot deal with magic immune enemies
  • useless against durable heroes such as Axe and Bristleback
  • Mana dependent
  • Scales out late game without a finished Dagon or Necronomicon
  • Not many abilities to help the team as a support such as Dazzle or Crystal Maiden
  • hard to initiate if the enemy has good vision.



Range: 700
Radius: 125
Sun Duration: 1.27/1.77/2.27/2.77
Damage: 80/140/200/260
Mana Cost: 95/115/135/155
Cooldown: 13 seconds.

So Impale is Nyx's reliable stun. It's scales well in all departments so at level 4 it has a decent stun duration, nice bit of damage. The interesting part of this spell though is that the stun is not applied immediately, it is applied after the unit is thrown into the air for 0.52 seconds so it effectively has a stun that scales; 1.79/2.29/2.79/3.29 seconds. More so this can hit multiple units along the path that is selected.

- Impale targets the ground not units directly
-Deals magical damage
-Completely blocked by Black King Bar but not Linken's Sphere
-Spikes travel at 1600 movement speed
-Spell can be stopped with the "stop" button (which ever key you applied it to) during casting.

Mana Burn

Range: 600
Intelligence Multiplier: 3.5x/4x/4.5x/5x
Mana Cost: 100
Cooldown: 28/20/12/4

Nyx's second ability Mana Burn is your hard hitting nuke against int heroes. It does amazing damage at level 4 and has a really short cooldown (4 seconds!). It works by point and click an enemy hero and deals damage to them based on their intelligence multiplied by the level of spell (3.5/4/4.5/5) and then deals damage both to their health and mana of that amount.

-Magical Damage
-Targets one hero only.
-Blocked by both Black King Bar and Linken's Sphere
-Burns 26.8%/30.7%/34.5%/38.4% of the hero's mana if they have no flat mana bonus such as; Arcane Boots, Soul Booster etc.
-Only burns available mana so if they have only 20 mana it will only burn 20 mana and deal 20 points of damage to the hero.

Spiked Carapace

Duration: 2.25 seconds
Damage Returned: 100% of negated damage
Stun Duration: 0.6/1.2/1.8/2.4
Mana Cost: 40
Cooldown: 23/20/17/14

The unreliable stun for Nyx is Spiked Carapace. Why is it unreliable? Well quiet simply, the other team's heroes have to use a spell or hit you to actually trigger it. It also only activates once per hero so if the same hero hits you with a melee attack and then a spell during the duration, the first source of damage will be blocked.


-Only blocks player based damage, can't prevent tower, fountain, Roshan or creep damage
-Deals magical damage
-Blocked by Black King Bar but not by Linken's Sphere
-Doesn't prevent debuffs such as stuns, slows, silences etc.
-Silence cannot disable once activated
-Doesn't prevent hex's or any spell/item that doesn't deal damage.
-Prevents first instance of damage not the second or third from the same controller.


Fade time: 0
Duration: 20/35/50
Bonus Movement Speed: 16%/18%/20%
Bonus Damage: 250/400/550
Mana Cost: 160/210/260
Cooldown: 70/60/50

Your ult, Vendetta is the icing on the cake for killing lone heroes along with Dagon. It also is (in my opinion) the best invisibility spell because you get bonus movement speed, bonus damage when you attack to break the invisibility and a 0 second fade time. Not only that but at level 3 you can stay permanently invisible or time a lone kill so that you get 2 instances of bonus damage applied to the target.


-0 second fade time
-Deals physical damage and thus is not stopped by Black King Bar or Linken's Sphere
-Revealed after the damage is dealt not during attack animation
-Bonus damage cannot procure critical hits from Daedalus etc.
-Activating Vendetta doesn't break the channeling of Town Portal Scrolls

Friends, Foes and Heroes your love to verse.


Lifestealer is like your best buddy, he can Infest inside of you and gank together or even initiate together. Just let him get the kill, he kinda needs the gold.

Kablam! You're there, Storm's Ball Lightning in and the hero is taking a **** ton of damage. Really good for early-mid game. Late game they'll build Black King Bar and just walk away not caring.

Similar to what happens with Storm Spirit, you can surprise gank together with Puck blinking in. Get the picture?

Once again a similar thing to what happens with Puck and Storm Spirit except you can both stalk the prey.


So durable heroes. You cannot kill them. They will just absorb all the damage you throw at them and then turn around and start hitting you. Don't even try to solo kill them because it will never work. Trust me.

Ticking Damage. You cannot escape the fact that this is one form of damage which you cannot stop. Why? Because Spiked Carapace blocks the first instance of damage and lets through the rest there after.

Silence. The one thing which can make you useless. You rely so much on your abilities I cannot emphasize it enough. You're not a right clicker, you are an ability based hero.

Heroes you Love to Verse!

Outworld Devourer

So basically, As Nyx Assassin, you love versing intelligence heroes because your Mana Burn will hurt them and if they especially are squishy such as Pugna.

Core Item Explanation

Arcane Boots

So these are always the first thing you should pick up as a core item. Why? Because even though it says you are an agility hero, you really act more like an intelligence hero. You spam spells and nuke people to death and so you need mana for this. That's why you always get Arcane Boots, they give you more mana, and also a burst of 100 mana every 60 seconds. Beyond useful.


Dagon. One of the most enjoyable and best items for Nyx Assassin. It gives you a burst of damage depending on the level so you can finish off those lone kills of the enemy carry. Not only that but you can use it during a team fight to lower an enemy hero's health in an instant. You can also use it to finish off fleeing heroes if they look like they are going to get away, stealing farm from your carry is the worst idea ever.

Blink Dagger

Blink Dagger is a solid choice on Nyx Assassin due to the increase in mobility and if you have snowballed to a certain extent the threat of you appearing out of nowhere and nuking them to death. It also means that you can escape from ganks easier once you have stunned them all with Spiked Carapace.

Urn of Shadows

So the final core item that I shall discuss is Urn of Shadows. Why is this a core on Nyx? Well when you play in a tri-lane, you will be receiving no gold except from kill assists and you need an item for mana regen and health regen for the team. Urn of Shadows gives you this plus you don't want to be spending lots of gold on items such as Mekansm because you could be warding or buying a Blink Dagger.

Situational Item Explanation


So wards, the one thing Nyx can do as a support. I have decided to put wards under the situational item chapter because quiet simply, if you have someone else on your team buying wards then you don't need to unless you can ward better. Really, if you have wards already up, don't waste 500 gold buying more wards you don't need, save it for a Dagon or Blink Dagger.

Force Staff

So the Force Staff. It can be useful situations for Nyx and the team as there are better items than just rushing a Force Staff. It can be useful for escaping or in catching up to an escaping hero.

Eul's Scepter of Divinity

Eul's isn't really an ideal item on Nyx, however if you have tons of spare gold and you need to take the enemy carry out of the game for 2 seconds then by all means. The mana regen is also nice along with the active to evade more danger if the need be.

Orchid Malevolence

Probably My most highly recommended situational item for Nyx. It gives you the potential to kill those who have tons of health purely because you nuking power gains an additional 50% which can really hurt. Imagine a level 5 Dagon with deals 800 damage base. Then put another 400 on top of that. More so it allows you to solo out the enemy carry during team fights and silence them and hurt them :3.

Ethereal Blade

So Ethereal Blade is another good item as it gives you nuking power and also a way to escape or make your Black King Bar carry immune to damage to escape. It also means that your magical damage (everything but Vendetta) will hurt a solo ganked enemy hero.


so Necronomicon is useful as you don't have a massive game impact unless you keep the enemy carry under farmed or their supports dead. Necronomicon gives you a small amount of pushing power which means that you can clear creep waves faster/defend or get those extra hits on their tower to bring it down.

Medallion of Courage

so Medallion of Courage is highly useful but situational. gives you some mana regen which is nice but also allows you to reduce enemy armour. Nice for this combo --> reduce armour >> Ult >> attack them. You can also use this in ganks to make right-clicks do that bit more damage. Another reason for getting this could be an early roshan.

Gameplay | Offlane

Well here we are. Gameplay. Now there a couple of points I'd like to cover for Nyx when going offlane.

  • You do NOT need large lumps of gold
  • If you are trying to right click enemy heroes, stop. You're not there for kills.
  • Hang back, make them come through the creeps to try and hit you.
  • Be careful of ganks. If you get caught out and Spiked Carapace is on cooldown, you're dead.
  • Last hit when it's safe to do so; meaning don't go for last hits if the creep wave is a fare distance from your tower and the enemy mid-laner is missing.

Now into the details.
When you're going offlane you need to block the first wave of creeps. You're not going to get farm with your creeps close to their tower.
Now when laning against a dual or tri-lane's you must hang back just in exp range. If you do this, keep map awareness and keep vision of possible ganks. You'll do just fine. If you can get a couple of easy last hits, then do so. Otherwise try to deny creeps and harass the carry if they're going for a last hit with Impale, then try to deny.
You should be aiming for Arcane Boots first off because you can make it through mid game entirely with this item.
Also do note that although you may take harassment, you have a huge regen of 3.4 at level 1 so using Tangos when you're only missing around 100 health is not worth it, let your regen do it for you.

Gameplay | Tri-lane

So not often seen in a tri-lane, Nyx Assassin imo, has the capability of creating a defensive tri-lane where he can help keep carries such as Anti-Mage and Faceless Void safe and free to farm. The addition of Mana Burn can also help keep enemy heroes from using their abilities to control the lane or harass the carry.

Now when participating in a tri-lane, you should be pulling your creeps into a neutral creep camp to keep the other teams creeps closer to your tower so that you can get kills possibly on their offlane hero. This means you can get more farm for your carry and you can spend more gold on wards and other supporting items.
However do note that it is very important that you pull the creep waves as to increase the exp for you and your team mates instead of you all leveling up really slowly.

Gameplay | Mid-lane and Rune control

So why would you play Nyx in the mid-lane? He isn't a typical or that effective mid-laner. You really only use him in the mid position if you want to counter a intelligence hero by smashing them early game with Mana Burn to make their life hell or your team can get away with weaker mid-laner eg; they have a mid-lane DK or Magnus. So when your mid-laning you should be blocking the creeps on the first wave and harassing with Mana Burn early game so that they can't burn your mana. However if you're versing a hero that's harass has a projectile speed eg; Queen of Pain or Magnus putting 1 point into Spiked Carapace may be worth surviving the harass and giving it back to them. So whilst also laning, if there may be a last hit you may miss, use Impale to get it and try to avoid hitting all creeps as not to push the lane.

Rune Control

So rune control. Once you have your bottle you should ask your support(s) to ward one of the rune spots (preferably the one near roshan) as you will generally take the top rune to save time walking from lane. This time can also lose you levels and possible farm. So when the rune spawns AND you know which spot it is located at, use Impale on all of the creeps to push the lane, get you some exp that you would normally miss whilst collecting the rune. So what runes are good on Nyx and what ones are just there for early game? Here's a guide.

Rune of Regeneration
So regeneration. Really handy on Nyx as once you hit lvl 6 you can gank with ult and all spells, maybe even tower dive and then walk away with full health.

Rune of Double Damage
Not that useful post lvl 6 as you aren't a really a right-clicker so a DD is useless. You only want it before lvl 6 as to help get last-hits easier and if you're laning against a melee hero it can help with some right-click harass.

Rune of Haste
A good little rune which can help with ganks. Run in, stun, right click and chase till their dead or under tower. Helpful throughout the whole game. Also useful for escaping ganks.

rune of invisibility
Want to gank? Want to land the perfect Impale? Well this is really useful as you can get right in-close early game if they have no detection such as Sentry Wards and gank a lvl 2 offlaner. Do not try to escape with this as it has a 2-3 second fade time but do note you can activate items during the fade time so say you wanted to gank but you had ~100 mana, activate the bottle twice; once for invis rune and the second for some health + mana regen.

Rune of Illusion
Not that useful on Nyx as u can't make good use except for extra vision. I'd really only use it if you need more farm and to fill up bottle.

Bounty Rune
nice for filling that bottle and getting an exp advantage over the other mid laner. although you would get the same exp/gold if you don't leave the lane. Only good for filling up bottles.

Gameplay | Mid Game

So the mid game. You should be level 6 and close to your Arcane Boots. Get some quick last hits and then start roaming. To be effective as Nyx you have to organise ganks on heroes while they are still in the lane. Doing so, you should try to avoid spots where wards might be placed. An example scenario may be...

So you've just reached level 6 in the offlane and you see that your defensive tri-lane is pushed back against the tower with a dual offlane of Clockwerk and Windranger.
You quickly pick up a tp scroll in the side shop and then juke so that you can teleport away without the dual safe doesn't notice. You tp to the tier 2 tower on your safelane and then move into the jungle.
After you are near your pull camp, you activate Vendetta and have enough mana left for 1 Impale. You then let your team mates know to get ready to kill Clockwerk. You then move in behind Clockwerk, hit him with Vendetta and catch both Clockwerk and Windranger with Impale. Your tri-lane comes in and your carry gets the kill on Clockwerk with the two other supports nuking down and stunning Windranger for the carry to come and clean up.

That kind of thing is what you need to be doing all throughout the mid game along with helping with pushes.

Once you have a Dagon you can start roaming and hope to catch a support out and then you go in like so; Vendetta>> Impale>> Mana Burn>>Dagon and then Spiked Carapace if they try to stun or nuke you. But basically they should be dead from that.
When you are pushing, try to keep your mana stored so that when you encounter other heroes, you can stun, burn their mana and chase down with Vendetta if your carry cannot get the kill.

Also do note that if the tower is say 100 health from falling, tank the damage and let the carry get the final hit. Your hp regeneration is greater than theirs and if you die it is better than the carry losing gold.

Gameplay | Late game

Now I am not going to go over every single point for the late game due to the amount of variety that is possible. But rather, I am going to highlight your 2 late game item choices.


Now if you go for the level 5 Dagon, you must be sure it is the right choice. Only go for it if you need more hero killing power and that your team is not lacking pushing power. When using it, make sure that you target the carry because that 800 damage may be enough to scare the carry into running away and throwing the team fight. Or you need more power to get off solo kills or finish off running away heroes.


Now the second choice; a level 3 Necronomicon. By you getting this, you must be confident in the fact that you don't need to nuke down any of their heroes to win team fights or to secure kills. You will get a Necronomicon for the reason that you need more pushing power, or that your team wants to split push with you and another hero taking one tower, and the other three taking a different tower. Or you might get one for the true sight bonus but really one team mate should have Gem of True Sight by then.

Upcoming additions!

Some upcoming additions to this guide;

  • Anything else you want added? Just post a comment!

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