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20 Votes

Redefinder's guide to Anub'arak

January 19, 2013 by Redefinder
Comments: 6    |    Views: 28420    |   


Hero Build

DotA2 Hero: Nyx Assassin




Hero Skills

Impale

1 4 5 7

Mana Burn

3 8 9 10

Spiked Carapace

2 12 13 14

Vendetta

6 11 16

Talents

15 17 18


Redefinder's guide to Anub'arak

Redefinder
January 19, 2013


Redefinder's guide to Anub'arak

Redefinder's guide to Anub'arak



I decided to make a concise guide for Nerubian Assassin since most of them on playdota.com are outdated. Many new changes came out in the new dota version. This hero was buffed in the most recent dota version. His ultimate cooldown was decreased which made his gameplay more flexible. Also, there are some things in those guides which I feel have been missed out, for example I haven't seen a word about Ethereal Blade. I will try to cover everything about NA's gameplay, item build and skills here. Note that this guide is for dota 1. Mechanics in dota 2 aren't completely identical to dota 1. It's either because it's an intended war 3 engine limitation fix or a bug (still beta...).

So what is NA's role? It's the all powerful burst-damage dealer. In other words, he is a caster. The interesting fact is that he is an Agility hero but specializes in killing with spells. He is not useless in late game though. He has a scaling mana burn spell which deals damage according to the enemy's intelligence, that's why he is mostly played against a team of casters and carries. However he can support nonetheless, by providing a long stun as well. He is also a good mid hero because of his "rune whoring" and ganking capability.

To play NA you need to have:
- Basic knowledge of Dota, NA is not newbie friendly. Most of his spells require coordination and proper targeting.
- Microing skills and Mana Management, all of NA's spells are active, this is not some right-click hero like Skeleton King. You will find it somewhat difficult to use these spells until you've mastered them.
- Map awareness, you won't be able to gank succesfully without this.
- Reflexes, similarly to Phase Shift, Spiked Carapace requires some fast fingers and reflexes to use effectively.
- And of course some Experience with playing this hero. Nobody can become a pro in only one day.




 

1. Skill Build

2. Skill Explanation
    - Impale
    - Mana Burn
    - Spiked Carapace
    - Vendetta

3. Item Build
    - Starting items
    - Core items
    - Luxury items
    - Rejected items

4. Strategy
    - Roles
    - Choosing a lane
    - Gameplay
    - Targeted Impale
    - Non-targeted Impale
    - Vendetta tips
    - Bluffing
    - Dealing with true sight
    - Escaping

5. Friends & Foes
    - Friends
    - Enemies/Special mentions
    - Item counters







    

 Good stats gain
 Scaling Mana Burn spell
 Can one-shot 99% of all intelligence heroes
 Low cooldown on all spells
 Best invisibility in the game
 Long disable
 Fairly good ms
 High base hp regeneration
 Has Blademail and Refraction
 Badass model ;)

  

 Fragile without survivability items like Vanguard
 Wards **** up his element of surprise in ganks
 Useless when silenced
 Can't clear creep waves too easily
 Mana dependent
 Melee for a caster hero
 Hard to master
 Annoying attack animation
 Mana burn wrecks him
 Countered by MR







1.
Get it to ensure a first blood or prevent a first blood.

2.
Used to deal with spell harasses early game.

3.
It hurts heroes (int ones even more) and they will lose their mana. Cast this spell occasionally to harass and prevent the enemy from nuking you. With the recent buff to NA it's actually worth maxing Mana Burn now as you get both the low lower cooldown and mana cost.

4.
Disable gets longer. We max this spell so we can have a long disable when we gank the enemy at level 6 with your ultimate.

5.
We max Impale to increase stun duration as well as damage.

6.
Skill the ultimate and go for a kill. It's important that the enemy doesn't see you casting this skill, else they will run away at their tower. Here's a trick, go near your tower, cast Vendetta, approach your target, hit with Vendetta and Impale + Mana Burn, then auto attack for the remaining stun duration. You can follow the enemy and cast SC at the right moment if he should escape.

7.
Now it will disable for 2.77 seconds (0.52 fly duration + 2.25 stun). The damage of this spell, however, is lower than other nukes (260).

8.
You only need 1 point of SC until later. The benefits that Mana Burn gives now are greater than just the stun time increase in SC.

9.
Maxing it. It slowly becomes a cheap, spammable efficient spell. Use it to shut down low mana pool heroes, damage high mana pool heroes, kill a fleeing hero. Sometimes you may have to check for the enemy's mana if it has casted a spell or two as Mana Burn won't do anything if the hero's mana is already depleted.

10.
Maxed. 100 mana cost for possibly a 250 or more damage nuke on int heroes. Also use Mana Burn (once or twice before Vendetta + combo) to weaken heroes so they get low enough to be killed by your combo!

11.
Increase in damage, lower cooldown but however duration is greatly increased. It was 20 before now it's 35. Gives you extra time to stay unnoticed while going for a gank.

12.
Stun gets longer, everything else remains the same. Survivability increases and kill ability slightly increases.

13.
We max it.

14.
Now with a 2.4 second stun and a nuke which grants 2.77 seconds stun you can chain-disable an enemy for up to 5.17 seconds which is no joke.

15. 
Stats is the only skill available at this level.

16.
With a decrease in cooldown and increase in duration, the cooldown of this skill is now equal to its duration. Besides ganking, you can now constantly use it to roam the map with increased move speed and remain unseen in the minimap.

17-25. 
This is all there is left.

Note: This is the most optimal build but you can take Mana Burn at level 2 instead of SC if: you're not in a position/situation to reflect anything and you rely on Mana Burn to get the kill against the running enemy; the lineup you're up against doesn't have anything significantly beneficial to reflect.






Impale


Type:
Targets:


Active
Enemy Units

Rock spikes burst from the earth along a straight path. Enemy units are hurled into the air, then are stunned and take damage when they fall.


Level

1


2


3


4

Mana

95


115


135


155

Cooldown

11


11


11


11

Range

500


500


500


500

AoE

125


125


125


125

Duration

2.25 duration of stun (excluding air time)

2.25 duration of stun (excluding air time)

2.25 duration of stun (excluding air time)

2.25 duration of stun (excluding air time)
Effect

80 damage and 1.27 total disable time

140 damage and 1.77 total disable time

200 damage and 2.27 total disable time

260 damage and 2.77 total disable time

Notes:
  • Damage type: Magical.
  • Hit units will fly for 0.52 seconds before the real stun is applied.
  • Distance traveled is 700.
  • The wave of tendrils moves at 1600 units per second.

Explanation: A simple impale skill which deals some damage and stuns. The damage is quite low compared to other nukes however the stun is longer than most normal spells in the game (2.77 seconds of disable, the units fly in the air for 0.52 seconds before the real stun is applied). Use this skill after Vendetta so the hero won't do anything while you cast your other spells (e.g. Dagon + Mana Burn). Apart from that it's also good in team fights for stunning multiple targets. There are two ways to cast this, targeted (on a single unit) and non-targeted (on the ground). Both ways have their pros and cons, for example a targeted Impale is more accurate but both types are blocked by Linken's Sphere in Dota 2. Remember that in 99% of cases you will have to target the ground, in the correct direction in order to stun multiple targets.




Mana Burn


Type:
Targets:


Active
Enemy Units


Destroys the target hero's mana equal to a multiplier of its Intelligence, and deals damage equal to the mana burned.


Level

1


2


3


4

Mana

130


120


110


100

Cooldown

28


20


12


4

Range

600


600


600


600

AoE

N/A


N/A


N/A


N/A

Duration

N/A


N/A


N/A


N/A

Effect

Burns Mana equal to 5 times the targeted hero's Intelligence

Burns Mana equal to 5 times the targeted hero's Intelligence

Burns Mana equal to 5 times the targeted hero's Intelligence

Burns Mana equal to 5 times the targeted hero's Intelligence

Notes:
  • Damage type: Magical.
  • Damage dealt is proportional to mana lost.

Explanation: A targeted mana burn skill. It scales very well into late game, deals a LOT of damage to int heroes. Can also be used on low int str heroes (like Axe, Centaur Warrunner ) to burn their mana thus preventing them from casting spells. Imagine a 150 int Pugna, it will deal 750 damage from only one cast. Not to mention the amplified damage with Ethereal Blade. Another thing to note here is that this spell is blocked by Linken's Sphere, so it's a good way to set it on cooldown and then use your combo, uninterrupted on a target. Mana Burn doesn't do anything if the target hero has no mana so you may have to check for the enemy's mana sometimes when you suspect it's empty and save yourself from some embarasment. Late game, when you have mana regeneration items you should tend to spam it.




Spiked Carapace


Type:
Targets:


Active
Enemy Units


When activated, Spiked Carapace reflects and negates damage dealt to Nyx Assassin (max once from each source), as well as stunning the source of the damage.


Level

1


2


3


4

Mana

40


40


40


40

Cooldown

14


14


14


14

Range

N/A


N/A


N/A


N/A

AoE

N/A


N/A


N/A


N/A

Duration

1 instance (per enemy) reflected or 2.75 seconds

1 instance (per enemy) reflected or 2.75 seconds

1 instance (per enemy) reflected or 2.75 seconds

1 instance (per enemy) reflected or 2.75 seconds
Effect

Prevents and reflects 100% damage, stuns for 0.6 seconds

Prevents and reflects 100% damage, stuns for 0.6 seconds

Prevents and reflects 100% damage, stuns for 0.6 seconds

Prevents and reflects 100% damage, stuns for 0.6 seconds

Notes:
  • Damage type: Pure.
  • The damage reflected is calculated after all reductions (magic resistance, armor...).
  • Will only trigger on damage caused by an enemy player.
  • The stunned unit will always be the enemy player's hero.
  • Will affect each enemy at most once.

Explanation: Your personal Blade Mail. Think of it as a hybrid between Templar Assassin's Refraction and Blade Mail which stuns. It's an active skill so you need some reflexes to use it properly to damage the enemy and keep your hp high. It's a very annoying escape/offensive/teamfight tool, abuse it.



Defensive

Use Spiked Carapace to stop spell harasses as well as hit them with their own spells. It shouldn't be too hard to "dodge" a Magic Missile, Storm Hammer, Mystic Snake or any other non-(almost)instant spell.

Spiked Carapace isn't very effective in-lane against harassers who spam attacks and wasting 40 mana for just 1 attack returned isn't very useful but if you have some support which refills your mana or big mana regeneration you can use it constantly return their attacks.


Animation Cancelling

Upon casting it, NA will play a short animation for a little more than a second, interrupting all other orders given. Simply click on the ground right after to cancel it to prevent losing time or recast the spell you wished to cast after Spiked Carapace.

Mindgames

Any decent or half-decent enemy will know that it's a bad idea to nuke a NA who has already activated SC. In other words, they will just wait for SC's duration to finish and then cast the spell. In most cases, you wouldn't want to activate SC until you see that the spell is being/about to be casted.

Special Mentions

Enemies carrying a Radiance or other similar DoTs will get stunned whether they like it or not. You can turn this into your advantage to chase them or evade those pesky chasers by stunning them every 14 seconds.

Early Kills

Enemies with strong nukes will try to harass in-lane to force you out of it or with an AoE spell try to farm creeps + harass. Use this to your advantage to remove a good portion of his hp and gain a kill opportunity, this will add up as a nuke so you can kill the weakened enemy with Vendetta + Impale + Mana Burn. This can be done with a well timed SC (such as when Earthshaker begins to cast Fissure his cast animation makes it obvious). Before the enemy realizes he made a mistake, it will be too late.

Examples

You are laning versus Pudge. Both of you are level 6. He decides to Meat Hook you and hides in fog, you realize this and pretend to be creeping and unaware of the hook. While the hook flies mid-air you activate Spiked Carapace negating the damage and returning it at him and his gank fails. Or you get hooked and activate Carapace while you are dragged. Rot or Dismember triggers Spiked Carapace and that leaves pudge with 2.4 seconds Rot on himself or more if you chain it with Impale.

You are ganking venge, Vendetta + Impale + Mana Burn leaves her at a sliver of hp. You don't activate SC until you see the Magic Missile stun animation triggering and she thinks you don't have SC skilled but by the time she realizes she shouldn't have stunned you it's already too late and she dies.

Zeus comes into the lane, both of you are level 6, he begins casting Lightning Bolt, as soon as the cast animation starts you notice that and cast SC. This takes away a fine 25% from his hp. Immediately after the damage is returned you go Vendetta, hit him, Impale, Mana Burn and bam, dead. This kill wouldn't have been possible without SC (Zeus would be left on 20-25% hp and could run/juke away past tower if you casted just Vendetta + Impale + Mana Burn).




Vendetta


Type:
Targets:


Active
Enemy Units

Allows Nyx Assassin to become invisible and gain a speed bonus. If Nyx Assassin attacks to break the invisibility, massive bonus damage is dealt with the attack.


Level

1


2


3
Mana

160


210


260
Cooldown

70


60


50
Range

N/A


N/A


N/A
AoE

N/A


N/A


N/A
Duration

20


35


50
Effect

Deals 250 backstab damage. 16% ms increase


Deals 250 backstab damage. 18% ms increase


Deals 250 backstab damage. 20% ms increase

Notes:
  • Damage type: Normal (Physical).
  • If Nerubian Assassin's invisibility expires, the bonus damage will not be dealt to the next target.
  • Nerubian Assasin is revealed when he damages the target, not at the beginning of his attack.
  • Has a 0 second fadetime.

Explanation: Probably the best wind walk spell in the game. Deals the biggest backstab damage and has a 0 second fadetime so you are invisible the moment you cast it, so you can dodge spell projectiles very easily. However at early levels it has high cooldown so don't play around with it using it to juke just a stun from one enemy or escaping death that could be prevented with Impale. If escaping with invisibility is a must to survive then use it. The main purpose of Vendetta is to give NA the element of suprise in ganks, your ganks should almost always begin with your ultimate. Vendetta in, stun, cast your combo and the guy will be dead before he can even recover from the stun. When you level it up to lvl 3, when the cooldown is equal to the duration you can use it as a roaming skill to move faster. Vendetta isn't just an opener as most invisible skills are, it's a nuke, so it's never uncommon to cast all of your spells and use it as a finisher.





Starting items


600 gold
  • NA doesn't have that warding skill anymore but it's still a good item to take on any lane, especially mid to gain that level advantage and start ganking as soon as possible.
  • Will regenerate your mana so you can cast your spells multiple times without having to leave the lane but to truly take advantage of it and its price early game you will need to capture a few runes and have decent mana management. Recommended item for mid lane.

OR



565 gold
  • This build aims for more survivability in-lane, Stout Shield reduces the damage returned from SC but that's not a problem since you'll want to return spells for offensive purposes. With NA's 2.5 base hp regeneration you can even take on solo hard lane and get some decent farm. Last hitting creeps has never been easier with Quelling Blade.
  • If you're laning with a carry or a semi-carry then do not get Quelling Blade because you'll want to leave the farm to him and the passive effect does not work on denies. Recommended starting item build for side lanes.


Core items


1450 gold
  • Increased mana pool and you will restore some of your mana.
  • Slightly better ms gain than Power Threads.
  • Since NA is a burst damage caster he is very reliant on mana. Without these boots early game he has a small mana pool which doesn't support casting all of his spells. Arcane Boots are the best boots choice for him.
Dagon
2805 gold
  • NA is one of the best Dagon carriers in the game. Provides even more burst damage and another weapon to NA's burst warfare.
  • Later on in the game amplified by Ethereal Blade making it even deadlier. Great synergy.
  • Do not level this item up. Ethereal Blade does the same thing (increases damage) and also gives you stats and you are able to counter dpsers with it. If you must have a level 5 Dagon then it should be late game when you have a LOT of gold to spare.
875 gold
  • NA is a ganker/support constantly roaming the map leaving the farm to his carry. This is an awesome item to get for him as a ganker and as a support since you will be able to heal yourself and your mates and best of all, it isn't disabled by creeps!
  • +50% mana regeneration. Even the smallest amount is useful on any caster hero.

OR

1725 gold
  • The aura synergies really well with Vendetta plus the whole team.


985 gold
  • Great aura. Stats, damage, armor, mana regeneration, what more could you want.


1400 gold
  • Unlike Arcane Boots they don't give that much mana, but they do give attack speed and stats so you could land more attacks on the enemy. I suggest setting them on int or agi, or when you're getting chased you can briefly change them to str to increase hp and chances of survival.

2700 gold
  • If you're playing against invis heroes and can't be bothered to buy truesight items then this is a viable item to get.
  • With the Second Necronomicon Warrior you will have 2 active mana burn spells and a passive mana burn which can be devastating for the enemy's mana.


Luxury items


4900 gold
  • Ethereal Blade is my personal favorite late game item. It deals so much burst damage game, it makes Mana Burn even deadlier than before and amplifies your other spells.
  • Another nuke and bonus damage to all your spells (except Vendetta) thanks to Ethereal Form.
  • Bonus agility, which is also more damage for NA (he is an agility caster, remember?).
  • Ethereal Form can counter physical damage and can save your butt from dpsers like Troll Warlord, Lifestealer.
  • Ethereal Form synergies with SC too, you receive more damage from nukes thus reflect more damage, in some rare cases this can grant you kills!
5050 gold
  • The best luxury item after Ethereal Blade. Some of you guys may think it's a bad advice to make this after EB, it's not. Farming it before EB will delay it and enemies will get more survivability. Your job is to kill them and disrupt their farm so maximizing your burst damage is a must.
  • What this item mostly does is let you spam your spells freely in late game, makes you tankier and the passive is incredibly good, which is greatly utilized by your ganks.
5175 gold
  • A defensive item, I would recommend building this if there are nukers or disablers on the other team such as Lion, Lina, Ogre Magi.
  • More hp/mana regeneration for casting spells.
  • One less harmful targeted spell on you.
5675 gold
  • Universal extension. An item suitable for every caster hero and NA is no exception. Get this if you're playing him as support.
  • Synergy with Impale and Spiked Carapace can result in up to 8.65 secs stun. Imba mana regeneration and nice stats.
4125 gold
  • Deals 30% extra magical damage which can finish off a hero if your combo didn't do that already but you must cast it before your combo. Get it when in the opposing team are those pesky blinkers - Anti-Mage and Queen of Pain.
  • Int, damage, attack speed and mana regeneration is just what a caster needs.
5500 gold
  • NA is very squishy, even to creeps, this will solve that problem. Doesn't grant mana regeneration like Bloodstone does but it does grant twice more hp and endurance.
  • Passive fountain-like regeneration. Increased survivability by a lot thanks to strength and bonus hp this item offers.

5050 gold
  • Faster chasing, confusion in combat and spell dodge due to Split Images. Nearly the same price as Ethereal Blade with a 150 gold difference. Quite a lot of bonus stats.


5750 gold
  • 25% slow is excellent for keeping up with your enemy in a gank. Tons of bonus stats. Synergies with ms giving items like Manta Style. You must not have another orb effect item in your inventory because Cold Attack is an orb effect and a buff placer to melee heroes.


2500 gold
  • In late game feel free to replace Arcane Boots with Boots of Travel. Ability to teleport to any friendly non-hero unit on the map making it excellent for stopping pushes, counter-ganking, ect. Good ms gain synergies with your ultimate.


Situational items


2200 gold
  • Get Blade Mail to counter dpsers such as Huskar, Troll Warlord. Already reflected damage by Spiked Carapace does NOT trigger Blade Mail in Dota 2.
  • Can cause havoc in teamfights, the enemy will have to decide if it will focus you or not. Gives bonus Damage, Armor and intelligence at a cheap cost. Low cooldown on the Active ability.
3300 gold
2350 gold
  • This is a nice item to have in many situations. The pseudo-blink can save you by forcing yourself through cliffs. It can also save you from some AoE spells. Some that I know of are Riki's Smoke Screen, Tauren Chieftain's Earth Splitter and more. Other than that you can use this to catch up to a fleeing enemy.
  • Cheap cost of 2350 gold means you will build it in a short time.
2150 gold
  • Might be useful at ganking to bring the element of surprise although you still have invisibility for that. Besides that, if you fail to kill with the Vendetta combo, you get another chance to kill the enemy by blinking next to it. A lot of heroes can make use of the blink ability and NA is one of them.
  • Has a defensive use too - another escape ability, blink can also be used to juke some targeted spells.
2050 gold
  • NA can get this if nobody else from your team is willing to make it. The lifesteal aura is useful in many ways. You and your team benefit from it, your creeps do too, they push farther. The mana regeneration, armor and damage aura are great even for ranged heroes who can't take advantage over the lifesteal aura.
  • And of course, it's cheap.


Rejected items


5150 gold
  • Having this on you is like typing in all chat: "Watch out guys, I'm about to gank you". The burn damage gives away your position and basically the enemy will know when to use Dust of Appearance. Also it's expensive. Bad item for NA.


5750 gold
  • Dps items suck on NA and the critical strike that this item gives doesn't benefit from Vendetta if that's why you were thinking was worth getting it for.


5750 gold
  • To proc the bash passive often enough you must have decent attack speed and to make use of it you have to keep attacking. Even so, NA specializes in killing with spells, not with auto attacks.





Roles


Ganker/Burst Damage Dealer. This is the most successful role, imo. You will get kills, just don't go abusing your high damage spells and start kill stealing. If you're ganking along with teammates, disable the target first and kill with your spells only if you think he's going to escape. You will be farming very little throughout the game and focus on ganking. The mid lane is best for this kind of role, since you'll level up very fast and have direct access to top and bot for ganking. But if there are other rune dependant heroes like Pudge, Shadow Fiend, ect. then you would just want to leave the lane to them and go top/bot.

Support. In this case, you're supporting your carry. Stick to that lane where your carry is farming and activate Spiked Carapace from time to time whenever a spell is thrown at you. Don't steal the creeps from your carry, he needs the farm more than you do. Occasionaly last hit creeps.

Choosing a lane


Ever since 6.74, NA can no longer scout, rune ***** and take on mid like a boss like he used to anymore. Sad but true. You can still go for Bottle early game but that part of NA is lost. Mid is a good option and has several advantages, access to two rune spots, more experience means you'll reach lvl 6 faster and start ganking sooner.

Gameplay


Early game. This is the farming phase of the game for NA and although he is a ganker, he still needs to farm his core items. So your performance in this phase will affect your future gameplay. Last hit creeps and deny to shorten your opponent's exp. If you are using a Bottle, for example if you lack hp but are at full mana cast a nuke at the enemy hero ( Impale or Mana Burn) and then use your bottle. This is called Mana Management. Quickly take the rune you spotted to refill your Bottle. When you hit level 6 you may want to attempt a kill on the mid hero. Assuming you have harassed him a lot he will lack hp, this will make it easier to kill him (especially if he's a str hero). The important part here is, don't let him notice you used Vendetta. Get away from creeps sight range and cast it there. Approach the enemy, hit with Vendetta and immediately cast Impale, now during the stun time first cast Mana Burn. Now for the second important part, don't just activate SC like a dumbass, wait until he decides to retaliate with a spell (wait for a spell or casting animation). Doing it the wrong way would mean that the enemy will just wait for the 2.75 seconds to pass and then use his spell. This will surely kill your target or at least giving him a trip to his base, thus underleveling him.

Mid game. It's time to gank all around the map. You should leave the farming to your carry now and just gank. Choose your targets carefully, ask yourself these questions:

- Is there an ally with powerful nukes/disables who can help?
- Is the target at full, half or red hp?
- Is the target near or away his tower?
- Does the target have an escape mechanism, say, some sort of invi and I don't have dust?

Check your mana before you gank. Look at your mana pool and think - will you have enough mana for a succesful gank? Also when you gank with Vendetta take in notice the cooldown of your spells. Is Impale/ Mana Burn on cooldown? For example, if you have used Impale and it's on cooldown wait for the cooldown to finish and then break invisibility. Vendetta's main purpose is to gank so try not to use it for a different purpose at levels 1-2 of it. Calculate the odds, see if you can stun more targets with Impale and escape, if going invisible to survive is a must, then in that case use Vendetta to escape.


This will be your killing combo in most cases:

1. Vendetta approach the target and strike him.
2. Do a targeted Impale to stun easier.
3. Cast Mana Burn+ Dagon (if you farmed it that fast).
4. Auto-attack for the remaining seconds of the disable
5. Activate Spiked Carapace when the enemy decides to retaliate, preferably with a spell.
6. If the target survived, you can follow it (without auto-attacking) to re-stun and secure the kill.


Late game. This phase of the game will wary depending on how well you did the last two phases. If you have farmed luxury items like Ethereal Blade, Heart of Tarrasque, Linken's Sphere then it won't be a problem one-shotting carries and int heroes and in some rare cases even tanks too. Mana Burn will now be like a secondary Dagon with very low cooldown, spam it if you can't kill with only one cast of it. Assuming you have Ethereal Blade now, your combo should be slightly different: Vendetta then Impale then the rest. But "Why Impale before Ethereal Blast, its damage is magical?" you ask. Well, it's safer to cast Impale before Ethereal Blast, between the time of your casts, in those miliseconds the enemy can react and escape you. You can choose to cast Impale after Ethereal Blast but I recommend in most cases that you do it this way if you haven't practiced this combo already. Otherwise, if you have practiced the combo I suggest this: there's a 0.52 second gap that should be followed to apply Ethereal Blast before Impale's damage takes place. It should be in the following order: Impale + a quickly casted Ethereal Blast + other.


Targeted Impale


As said earlier, there are two ways of usage of Impale: Targeted (clicking the unit itself) and Non-targeted (clicking the ground).

It's a lot easier to land a targeted Impale because your hero will turn around if the target moves for the duration of your casting animation and the spikes will always go at the direction of your target. You will want to use this type only when you want to kill a single target, preferably after Vendetta. There are downsides to this method, if you lose sight of the target (by invisibility or fog of war) during the 1.1 secs casting animation Impale will be canceled.


 
 
 

 More accurate, better for killing a single target
 It's easier to just click the target

 Can almost never stun multiple targets
 Interrupted if you lose sight of enemy



Non-targeted Impale


Moving onto Non-Targeted Impale, a more reliable choice. It's used when it comes to pushing and defending and if targeted on the ground right it can nuke a whole creepwave. It can save yourself or your allies from a whole team by providing a long stun. It's not blocked by linken and last but not least you can finish off a hero who went invisible. In teamfights, try to get all/most of your targets in a line, by that I mean moving to an ideal position where all/most targets can be stunned, then cast Impale on the ground. Here are some other cases in which you will want to use a non-targeted Impale:


Impale casted from up a cliff. Click on the ground and not on the target as it might exceed the 500 range (the max range which the spikes travel is 700).


Casted at roshan. Usually to delay the other team from killing roshan or make them think you are coming with your team so they would retreat.


When creeps move, right before they attack/face other creeps and regroup they move out in a line, this makes it easier for you to stun all creeps with Impale.

 Better choice in teamfights
 Doesn't matter if you have sight over heroes, it will hit them anyway

 It's harder to kill single targets because they might juke it by moving around
 Need some experience to use properly



Vendetta tips

  • Do not hesitate to break Vendetta with a spell (that you know will kill) if the target is low on hp and you know can't catch up to land the attack. Example: Ethereal Blade + Dagon on a retreating Spiritbreaker.
  • Know what you can kill from full hp and what not. Basically, Level 1 Vendetta + Impale + Mana Burn kills ~550 hp targets. Level 2 Vendetta + Impale + Level 1 Dagon + Mana Burn kills from ~1000 hp. Finally, Level 3 Vendetta + Impale + Level 1 Dagon + Mana Burn kills up to ~1600 hp. Note that these numbers are just approximate and are taken from my experience, assuming the enemy hero has 25% magic resistance. Heroes with increased MR or high armor will probably survive this even if their hp is below those values.
  • Because level 3 Vendetta's cooldown is equal to its duration, use it as indicator to know when it will end, so if Vendetta is about to end and you are approaching to kill a target but the ending will reveal you before you reach it, wait a little (out of the enemy sight), re-cast Vendetta and continue.
  • You can hit with a Level 3 Vendetta twice, a little more complicated to pull off but very rewarding when done (you can kill targets from full hp you normally couldn't), again use the cooldown as an indicator (strike 1-2 seconds before the invis ends and cast Vendetta 2nd time).
  • If your target has 1 ally near him, hit the desired target with Vendetta and cast Impale in a line so that it stuns his ally too, preventing him from reacting to defend your target.
  • If the target has more than 1 ally near him, follow it and wait for it to get some distance or completely separate from them, else there's a big risk you might not make it alive, even if you Impale stun everyone.

Bluffing


This is a useful technique. It consists of fighting the enemy to reduce his hp a value low enough through Impale + SC and later in the game with Mana Burn but keep your own hp on a safe level. The enemy will think it will be okay but what will surprise him will be your Vendetta. It's also safer because if backup arrives to help the hero during the process, you have your Vendetta ready to escape. Just look at this gif.


Dealing with true sight


This is the basic "attack from the bushes" combo to deal with truesight. For some targets you don't need your Vendetta, calculate whether you can kill without your ult. Works brilliantly against heroes who have high mobility/escape mechs ( Storm Spirit, Weaver come to mind) but think they can stay safe with gem. Surprise them from the fog with your ranged combo. Keep in mind that you are revealed when you cast spells or ranged attacks to an enemy but that won't be a problem since he will be stunned by Impale before he even sees you're there.


Escaping


Always chain-stun Impale and SC. If you can away with just SC on, activate it. If you're followed by a band of heroes use a ground Impale and stun as many as possible. When SC is on cooldown use Impale while waiting for SC's cooldown to end and vice versa. It's important that you don't waste either skills, an experienced NA who knows what he's doing can be very hard to take down. Never use Vendetta until the last moment your life is truly in danger, this is also part of mana management. That Vendetta you would have wasted when you could have escaped with SC might have gotten you a kill half a minute later. Ghost Scepter also has a very nice synergy with SC, they can't attack you but if they nuke you they will take the bonus damage.





Friends


 
Slardar, the Slithereen Guard
Vendetta hits extra hard on a target with Amplify damage. It gives such a big bonus to Vendetta's damage (8/14/20 armor) that you can solo kill targets early. Same thing goes for Medallion of Courage and other -armor items/heroes that Vendetta benefits greatly from early-mid game before heroes get their armor increased, whether it will be from items or skills.



Pugna, the Oblivion
He gives enemies the Decrepify debuff early. Impale secures the enemy's position long enough for it to be hit by Nether Blast and Life Drain. If you are getting autoattacked down he can decrepify you and if enemies try to nuke you, they will get an amplified nuke in their faces. Nyx Assassin + Pugna is a deadly combination.



Enemies/Special mentions


Magina, the Anti-Mage
He's as terrifying to you as much he is to intelligence heroes. As NA has a high mana pool, his ulty will rape you. Furthermore, his passive reduces all the magic you do him by a huge amount. 50% bonus magic resistance is just HUGE. And do I have to mention that every hero has a 25% base magic resistance? That's 62.5% in total, after calculations. Stay away from this guy, disable him with Impale and let the carries/dpsers in your team handle him. SC can block his ultimate, hard to predict but possible nonetheless.



N'aix, the Lifestealer
N'aix can slow you, then go magic immune and dps you to death. He relies on physical damage to kill. Ghost Scepter, Ethereal Blade, Force Staff are all your bestest friends when countering him. When ganking him make sure he is disabled as his Rage can interrupt your combo and the Ghost Form debuff is removed from him if he goes magic immune. You can also activate Vendetta to escape, provided he doesn't have any truesight. Don't bother activating SC while he's magic immune as neither the stun nor damage from it go through magic immunity, only the first attack will be "evaded" without stunning. He is also pretty bulky, has high str gain and is a common carrier of Heart of Tarrasque which eliminates all possibilities of ganking him late game if he gets his farm.



Huskar, the Sacred Warrior
Huskar is the most mana independent hero in the game, with only 1 spell that requires mana. Also, his int gain is low so Mana Burn will always go minimal damage. And his Burning Spears + Berserker's Blood is terrifying early game as he can kill you within seconds. Do not fear him though as these are not enough to classify him as "enemies". Spiked Carapace just adds one more counter to one of the many counters on Huskar's list, when he's charging activate SC and watch as his hp goes from full to half and you aren't effected at all, except for the slow. You don't even need to buy Blade Mail anymore to counter Huskar as most heroes do. Another counter is Linken's Sphere, it completely blocks his ultimate. And as a last counter I would say it's Ghost Scepter or Ethereal Blade. The ghost form from them will stop his physical dps and will further improve the taken/reflected Life Break damage, DO activate Ghost Form + SC for even more damage when given an opportunity.



Goblin Techies
Squee, Spleen and Spoon, the Goblin Techies
Mana Burn shuts down Goblin Techies early game and lowers his puny hp so NA is a good counter to him. Even though with Spiked Carapace, it's not a good idea to walk over Land Mines as you will block the damage from only one mine. Do walk over mines if techies is somewhere on the map with low hp though. If techies tries to plant a mine at your creeps/tower to farm/push the lane, punish him with Spiked Carapace. If his hp is low enough after that, follow up with Vendetta + Combo.



Lanaya, the Templar Assassin
Her combo, if activated at the right time can block ALL of your burst damage. This skill was buffed recently - 6 layers up from 5. She can also dish out a lot of damage with Desolator on you. Her Psionic Traps have a long casting rage so if she has a gem, you're in trouble. Psi Blades can also annoy the hell out of you in the laning stage. Don't give her a chance to activate Refraction. Just rape her before she can do anything. If you are unsure of whether she had activated Refraction or not click her and check for the buff. Also keep in mind that Diffusal Blade's Purge removes Refraction.



Nortom, the Silencer
Silencer is a pain in the *** to lane against with most heroes but not with NA. His high int gain and steal makes him a victim to Mana Burn. Spiked Carapace counters both Curse of the Silent and his reworked Last Word with one simple cast. SC will dispel CotS and at the same time return the damage from Last Word. If you are under any of both of his spells do not hesitate to cast SC immediately.



Puck, the Faerie Dragon
I think Puck deserves a special mention here. Puck was nerfed and buffed recently (more nerfed than buffed), he doesn't have Phase Shift autocast anymore so he can't dodge Mana Burn and Dagon anymore. Illusory Orb is a slow moving spell and you can run intentionally in it with SC on to damage Puck. Shoul

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