Sando's Concise Guide to Slardar
October 22, 2015
Welcome to my first "concise" guide, an attempt to give you the most important facts about a hero and some build ideas in a short format.
Today's guide is to Slardar, or ManBearFish. He's a strength hero with massive armour reduction that can carry strongly throughout the game. He's commonly used as a counter to invisible heroes, thanks to Amplify Damage.
Strengths and Weaknesses
+ Good burst physical damage output
+ Strong armour reduction
+ Mobile and tanky
+ Good base damage
+ Good starting armour
+ Decent strength and agility growth
- Very short range on abilities
- Item dependent
- Generally needs to snowball to be effective
- Some mana issues early game
- Can only output physical damage
In keeping with the concise theme, we'll be taking a short look at his skills. It's worth noting that ALL of his damage output is physical, so he can struggle against items like Ghost Scepter, and heroes with very high armour.
Your escape and positioning ability, it provides a useful and sustained burst of speed to get you where you need to be. The big thing to note here is that you take increased damage from every source for it's duration, so be very careful of activating it under the effects of DOT, or when expecting heavy incoming damage. Generally we want a Blink Dagger
anyway, to compensate for the short range of your abilities. Also be aware that strong slows will still cause you trouble.
We're not talking about his relationship with Naga Siren
now, but his main stun. It's a good AOE ability that can hit multiple opponents if you're positioned correctly. Also useful for speeding up your farming if you can cope with the mana loss.
Does exactly what it says on the tin. As you increase your attack speed, this becomes more and more effective, potentially letting you lock down a single target. Since it's physical, it can go through spell immunity.
This ability brings the rest of them together. It's a cheap and spammable ability that gives you true sight of the opponent, and reduces their armour considerably. This can massively increase the damage of your other attacks (up to about 65%). Be aware that it can be debuffed by Eul's Scepter of Divinity
, Manta Style
's build orders are fairly settled - you almost always max Slithereen Crush
first to allow you to get kills. Personally I like an early value point in both Sprint and Bash, although you might want to focus on Sprint more in a difficult lane, even potentially skilling it first.
Role and Playstyle
Slardar generally needs to be played as a core hero, either #1, #2 or #3. If you want armour reduction as a #4 or #5, pick Vengeful Spirit or Dazzle instead.
He's definitely not a conventional hard carry - he's a snowballer by nature as he can peak early and devastate the enemy team with ganks. His short cooldowns mean he never needs to be out of the action for long. However, I would add that he doesn't have to always be ganking - you can use Amplify Damage to farm big jungle creeps reasonably quickly, and should do so when attacking opportunities are limited.
He goes through a dip after the midgame when he can struggle against conventional carries who managed to get their farm together. However, he does pick up again later on if you can get an Assault Cuirass and abuse Bash to lockdown their most important hero.
Generally though, you want to successfully snowball and end the game relatively early as a #1.
has a naturally aggressive playstyle - you need to get right on top of people to do any damage, but you can really lay it on them once you do. Generally you want supports with good slows or stuns who can setup the chance for you to follow up with Slithereen Crush
. A few kills and plenty of early farm should allow you to pick up a Blink Dagger
Use this to pick up kills where possible, and be active around the map. You're not an AFK farmer and should be working with your team whenever you're collectively ready to fight.
Your main attack is generally to blink next an enemy hero from nowhere, stun them, activate your ultimate, and then quickly take them down. Use Sprint if necessary. This can also be used to initiate too, try to hit multiple heroes with your stun, and then take out the biggest threat quickly. Try to avoid using Sprint if possible.
Remember that with your ultimate, it should be easy to take down Roshan - blink in from outside the usual ward spots, and the Aegis will let you play even more aggressively.
Most of the early game choices are all about the usual challenges of playing a melee core - you need to be able to soak up some harassment, heal yourself, and grab some kills.
Blink Dagger is core on basically every conventional build, and you'll generally want to pick up as soon as you're ready.
Boots-wise, as a core you want Power Treads for the attack speed and ability to move those vital stats around. However, you may occasionally look at Tranquil Boots in a difficult lane where you aren't getting much farm. They provide a decent speed and armour boost. Generally we avoid Phase Boots as although they stack well with Sprint, we already have phase, a blink for mobility, and need attack speed more than raw damage.
After that you can see that almost all of the items we're looking at are focused on armour reduction, tanking and damage. Ideally we can combine all three in an item like Assault Cuirass, but it's pretty expensive. Black King Bar can be very important against many lineups, as you can easily be kited or disabled without it.
Most Slardar builds look something like this:
Obviously you should tweak as you see fit. Hopefully allies are picking up items like Medallion of Courage and Vladmir's Offering as they will help you a lot.
Allies and Enemies
A quick run down of good allies and bad enemies. This is not going to be exhaustive, but will hopefully give you the idea. One thing to bear in mind is that Slardar can be incredibly powerful 1v1 with the right items, and many heroes can be both easy or problematic depending on the situation, so we're looking very generally.
What have all these heroes got in common? Armour reduction. Combining multiple sources of it tends to lead to very quick deaths for even relatively tanky enemy heroes.
These guys really like their enemies lacking in armour, and you can provide that for them. They can all throw out big damage.
Enemies you counter:
Basically any enemy that relies on invisibility can have a difficult time with you. If you spot them, they're visible and vulnerable. Be aware they might well buy debuffing equipment, so be ready to ult them again.
Enemies who can counter you:
Evasion can be a real problem for you, as that Monkey King Bar
will seem a long way off. You can beat these heroes, if you get the drop on them especially, but you should be wary of them as Amplify Damage is less effective until then.
Illusion heroes can be very problematic as you're quite single target focused. They also have a tendancy to build Radiance
which can stop you using your blink. You really want to win these games fast.
Squishy and killable on his own, Decrepify
can save allies and stop you attacking for much longer than you'd like.
These guys may be squishy food for you later on, but you don't want to lane against them directly.
Some of the very mobile heroes can cause you problems. You either need allies who can lock them down while you kill them, or enough attack speed to do it yourself.
1) Armour Reduction
2) True Sight
3) Blink Dagger
4) Farm heroes not creeps
5) Finish early or build attack speed