This is my third guide, and one for the hero I've played the most (over 60 times currently).
Slark is a fantastic ganker and an amazing escapist/survivor. He is a specialist in hit and run tactics, and he is a snowballing hero. He's also pretty cool looking.
Incredibly hard to kill from lvl 6 on.
Can take on pretty much any hero one-on-one and come out on top.
Has a great ulti that makes him untargetable, increases move speed when not around the enemy, and regen's hp at a ridiculous rate.
He's easy to get rolling.
He's fairly squishy before he gets his ulti, and can be easily prevented from snowballing if targeted hard at the start.
He can be easy to get overconfident with, which leads to bad decisions and deaths, which can lead to losses.
After a 1.5 second delay, Slark does 75/150/225/300 damage in a 325 AoE and purging debuffs on himself, but takes half damage to himself. The damage is done in 10 bursts, with each burst taking .1 seconds and purging each burst. You used to be able to deny yourself with this skill, but they removed that. :-(
It costs 55/50/45/40 mana, and has a cool down of 9/8/7/6 seconds. It's great for pushing lanes, doing damage in team fights or ganks, and can save your life if you use it properly. The way to use it generally is to hit it just before you [Pounce] on someone, as that way you will do the damage just a little after you land the tether. The other reason to do this is, the other hero's debuffs will be purged from you which will make the gank easier and less risky for you.
This is my favorite skill of Slark's. He jumps forward a max 700 units, and if he hits a hero at the end or in between, he tethers that hero for 3.5 seconds to that spot and does 70/140/210/280 damage.
It is pretty easy to land most times, but it can be dodged and fog of war does make it harder to land as well. Blinking and teleporting will break it, and you cannot tether magic immune units. Use this to initiate your ganks, or to run away when you are about to get ganked.
This passive ability is almost like an orb effect, except it isn't. After each hit on an enemy hero, Slark drains 1 from each stat, and gains 3 agility for 15/30/60/120 seconds. If you think of it this way, each strength you drain is 19 hp less they have, and each intelligence drained is 13 less mana pool. So it's like a built in Diffusal Blade that gives you even more attack speed and damage.
This ability is really why Slark gets so snowball.
His ultimate. For 130 mana, Slark becomes wrapped in dark clouds, which makes enemy hero's lose targeting and become immune to detection. You still know where he is as opponents can see the cloud, but they can't melee or specifically target him with spells (except AoE spells, or spells you can target the ground, such as Lion's stun). It lasts for 4 seconds and has a cool down of 65. It also passively gives you 3/5/7% health regen and 30/35/40% bonus move speed when unseen by the enemy team, which also includes when you are using the active part of the ability.
This allows you to roam quickly across the screen, and to not need health regen items like Tango, Healing Salve, etc, which saves you gold for damage items, and means that your supports also don't have to heal you, which saves them gold. I NEVER use this ability unless I am in trouble.
When used in conjunction with Dark Pact (to purge debuffs like slows) and Pounce (to escape from auto-attack range) it gives Slark amazing survivability.
For your starting build, you will need hp regen in the form of Tango and a Healing Salve, a Stout Shield to give you early survivability, and some Iron Branches for extra stats. As mentioned earlier in the guide, Slark is pretty squishy before level 6.
Your very next item will be to finish your Poor Man's Shield. This gives better block against enemy heroes trying to harass you out of lane, and gives you 6 agi, for more attack speed, armour, and damage.
The next item to complete is the Ring of Aquila. Slark has a pretty poor mana pool, but his abilities don't cost much early game. Unfortunately with the low cool down on them you use up a lot of mana quite quickly spamming them, so having the mana regen is definitely needed, but that should be all you need for the rest of the game. The extra damage, armour, and stats are definitely a bonus for early survival and ganking ability. At any time, you should feel free to sell your Iron Branches if it will help build this item quickly.
Power Treads are next. The stats and attack speed are the most needed out of all of the boots. Tranquil Boots aren't needed after lvl 6 because of the hp regen the ulti gives. The move speed from Phase Boots is gained from the ulti and therefore not needed, while I'd rather have the attack speed to drain more stats with Essence Shift than the base damage. Boots of Travel are nice for the Teleport ability, but by the time you have the spare cash, you will be going at full move speed anyways.
Sange and Yasha are next. Yasha gives you more attack speed, move speed, and stats/damage which help you gank, and Sange will give you enough hp to survive pretty much anything until Shadow Dance or Pounce are off cool down, while as well giving you an additional move and attack speed slow.
Crystalis is next. By the time you have this, you will be attacking so quickly that you will be getting a lot of crits, and your damage will spike hard. If you get to this point, you should be well on your way to snowballing.
From here, my next item is Butterfly. It will make you incredibly hard to kill and just a huge ganking machine with the attack speed and damage.
After that it really depends on what you need or want. Desolator is nice for taking down tanky heroes or towers. Daedalus will help with heroes with huge hp pools (think fed Pudges). If you're getting stunned or cc'd a lot, get a Black King Bar, or a Monkey King Bar if playing against Phantom Assassin or her ilk. You'll have plenty of gold for whatever you need.
One on one, Slark doesn't have many problems with most heroes.
Drow and Sniper can be hard to get to, but once you Pounce to them, you should kill them easily.
If Pudge can Hook and Dismember you early enough he can be an issue, but you should be able to survive barely and Shadow Dance away from him right at the end of the stun, or if you listened earlier, Dark Pact will remove the stun and you can run away for a few seconds, regen your hp, and Pounce back on him and take him out.
Lion can be a problem if he can get his stun, cc, and ulti down on you, but once again, if you used Dark Pact before you tried to initiate, the stun/cc will be purged and you can Pounce on him and kill him easily.
Warlock's Golems are a pain because of the stun and AoE damage they do, but Warlock himself is super squishy and has no escape mechanism.
Omnknight can be a problem, as his ulti prevents most of your auto-attack damage, and he can make himself and others immune to your tether, plus his AoE damage/heal is annoying as all hell.
Dark Seer is a huge pain early game, but late game he's nothing to worry about. The issue here with him is you need a good early game to start, so he's really the best counter I know of to Slark, as long as he can stay laned against him.
The truly best way to deal with Slark is to have wards in place and to call missing, so you know he's coming.
So generally the best way to play Slark is off lane, so you can use the trees to your best advantage for ganking. Go after the support in lane first, remembering to Dark Pact before you Pounce. Auto attack (you may need to right click again on them, as I often notice that he disengages after he pounces), steal stats, and they should be dead before or just after the tether wears off.
Run away from the carry, (I prefer to run towards my support in lane, as the carry will usually get harassed a little bit by the support) turn around, and Dark Pact and Pounce on him for a double kill with help from the support. Depending on who the carry is I may go for them first (say like against an Antimage or Phantom Lancer) as long as they are squishy hard carries early game.
If people are tower crashing to chase you, turn around and Pounce on them. You may die, but you should take them down with you, and if you're quick enough you may still be able to get away.
I have played Slark in safe lane, but it's harder to take advantage of the trees, but if the enemy team is getting close to your tower, use [Pounce] to tether them and take advantage of the extra tower hits to secure the kill.
DO NOT, for love of god, play Slark mid!!! You will lose. That is all.
Last hitting is pretty easy with Slark. He has good base damage and a fairly fast attack animation.
When trying to push lanes with Slark, run ahead of the creep wave, and right click the first enemy creep you see. While running up to him use Dark Pact. The enemy creep wave will surround you and then Dark Pact will go off, putting most of the creep wave at about 1/2 health, which should make them easy pickings for you, and increase your farm exponentially. Use Dark Pact for farming neutral camps as well. The low mana cost and cool down are optimal for it.
Match ID# 474417209. This is a perfect example of this guide in action. I ended up with 36 kills, 15 deaths, and 4 assists, a full 6 slots, and 10k gold. I was doing over 1k crits, and moving at max move speed when the enemy couldn't see me. I also got over confident and died a lot more than I should have, but we still won.
I hope you enjoy the guide, and that it helps you have fun and learn a new hero.
If you have any comments or questions feel free to post them, and I will try to answer them as best I can, or if they make sense I will edit the guide to include them.
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