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5 Votes

Shadow Fiend Mid 7.06 (Emphasis on Laning/Matchups/Early Game)

September 22, 2017 by msl198
Comments: 10    |    Views: 47220    |   

Mid to Pos 1/2 Core

DotA2 Hero: Shadow Fiend

Hero Skills


2 3 5 7


1 4 6 8

Presence of the Dark Lord

11 13 14 16

Requiem of Souls

9 12 18


10 15

Hero Talents

-50s Requiem of Souls Cooldown
-4 Presence Aura Armor
+0.4s Requiem Fear/Slow per line
+3 Damage Per Soul
+100 Shadowraze Damage
Presence Aura Affects Building
+25 Attack Speed
+25 Shadowraze Stack Damage

Shadow Fiend Mid 7.06 (Emphasis on Laning/Matchups/Early Game)

September 22, 2017


This is my first guide so feel free to suggest some improvements this guide can have. English is my second language so feel free to ask for clarifications on my statements. I am currently a 4.5k dota player so this guide will be written according to that MMR bracket's perspective. Of course higher skilled players may see some less ideal suggestions/insights in the guide so feel free to point it out along with some explanations.

This guide should be more suited to 3k to 4k players, lower players may lack some basics such as Power Treads switching but that should not mean there's nothing to learn from this guide. I skip out the basics because they are many readily available SF guides covering the basics, I am just trying to cover what most other guides does not. In other words, this guide is created for regular SF players who wants to get even better. For example, I will not explain why bottle is good for SF since many other guides would have explained it, but I will compare far less explained choices such as level 15 talent.

Since the introduction of Talents in 7.00, I started noticing the potential of Shadow Fiend. His level 20 talent (+2 damage per soul) might be just what Shadow Fiend needs to become a perfect snowball hero. Pre-7.00, I only had around 40% win rate but after the introduction I managed to attain 80% win rate in the first 20 post-7.00 SF games.

I usually pick Shadow Fiend when their supports are weak in ganking and/or they cannot punish my greed. If possible pick SF late into the draft.

In this guide I will mainly focus on the laning stage matchups since that's what set offs an easy game or a hard one. It is up to you to be able to close the game from the good (or manageable) start since this guide will be too long otherwise.

If you need some info on skills or stats of Shadow Fiend from


Starting Items

The most classic starting item would be Wraith Band + regen. This should be the build you are going for in the average games.

Against a spammer such as Zeus, Batrider or Bristleback, you may start with Magic Wand.

Usually I never find myself deviating much from these 2 builds. Get 2 Tangos from your supports if possible, otherwise get your own. Against aggressive nukers you may want to send a Salve as soon as you got the first bounty rune.

Early Game

I almost always get my items in this order:
  1. Bottle
  2. Boots
  3. Ring of Aquila
  4. Power Treads
With a Magic Wand somewhere in between and Infused Raindrop for mana regen and survivability.

Sometimes I see people skipping some of these items in favor of a fast Shadowblade but I am not a fan of it. I would not say it's bad but if your ganks go wrong shadowblade rush build can backfire.

My build is aimed at lane dominance and efficiency in farming which is much less risk/luck oriented.

Mid Game

Most of the time I like to get Shadowblade if my laning phase goes well. It allows me to very quickly burst enemy supports or even squishy cores.
However if your laning goes poorly, you may consider skipping it and go straight for Dragon Lance. It is such a stat efficient item and extra range is always nice.

BKB is a tricky item. Get it too fast and you will find yourself with too short duration in the late game crucial fights. Get it too late and you might not even survive to late game. If you are good at engaging teamfights maybe you can delay the purchase. Of course you won't need it if the enemy got very few disables which are insignificant.

Late Game

Shadow Fiend is a very flexible hero. You should try to identify your team's weakness and get the items to fill it.

Some general guidelines:
  • Get armor when enemy has a lot of -armor.
  • Get Silver Edge if the enemy has strong passives.
  • Get Pure DPS items if your team does not have a strong DPS Position 1.
  • Get Tank-DPS items if you are required to be the high ground sieger.
  • Get Disables for elusive enemies.

Desolator and Mask of Madness seems to fulfill a more 'stomp' item and I rarely get those.

Skills & Talents

This chapter is not too important. You may skip it.

Shadow Raze is a very powerful aoe nuke which is very versatile in usage. I never find myself a situation in which I didn't max it by 7.

There is not much to explain regarding skill builds.

6% magic amplification VS 175 hp

When 7.00 first came out, I notice some pros favor the magic amp talent.
But usually I find myself getting the HP talent since 175 is roughly 10% increase in your total hp.
The niche of 6% magic amp is that you can instakill most of the small creeps in the hard neutral camp.

Regarding double razing creep waves, I once did some maths and if I remember correctly, without 6% magic amp, you can double raze creepwaves up to 80 minutes.
However you can only instakill ranged creeps until 30 minutes compared to 40 minutes with the magic amp talent.

In conclusion the magic amp talent are mostly useful for jungling (other than around +20 raze damage output) which I do not think is better than the 175 hp talent.

Common Mid Match-ups

According to me learning Match-ups and how to play against specific heroes is really important in winning the mid lane, so here are some match-ups and how to play them.


Invoker is one of the most common mid in my mmr bracket (and probably all brackets as well). I would say the key to this match up is better creep block. Practice your creep blocks well or ask a support to block while you take the bounty rune.

If you get a good block, stay close to the creeps when you are about to last hit. This gives quite some advantage in those crucial first waves last hits. If you are able to gain a lot of souls, you can destroy this match-up very easily (assuming you did not get ganked). Invoker has very low base armor and your right clicks really hurt.

What you should watch out is Cold Snap. Do NOT try to fight him while you are cold snapped (unless he is 1 hp). It is impossible to raze so don't even try. Try to walk away from him since the closer you are the more procs he is more likely to get. However when his Cold Snap is on cooldown, you can be far more aggressive or even try to get a kill.
Watch out for enemy rotations. This match-up is also very dependent on support ganks. Try to call for ganks if you can't get souls due to a bad first few waves.

BKB is a must at some point of the game. If you have Shadow Blade, don't hesitate to bring dust to hunt him. He has very low armor and you can burst him fast.
If the Invoker does not get a Shiva's Guard, you can go for 1 pure DPS item and might even 3-5 shot him in the late game.

Queen of Pain

This is one of the most scary match-ups along with Lina. When she hits level 3, she can just Blink behind you and dagger and there's almost no way you can fight. Consider getting extra tangoes to counter her dagger spam.

Her base damage and attack animation is so much better than yours so against a good QoP you might not get any cs without raze. To get cs you have to try some creep aggro tricks (search youtube for some tutorials on it). You have to be patient in this match up because as you go to higher levels it becomes much more manageable. If possible try to convince your support to tp in when she blinks behind you and try to turn the fight.

What your goal in this match up is to get to higher level such as lvl 5 and just double raze the creep wave whenever possible. QoP has a bit of trouble when you just shove your creepwaves in. Try to get runes but you should be careful in doing so since without creeps you are vulnerable to QoP blink in.
Getting a long raze on QoP to keep her hp less than comfortable to blink on you is also a good choice.

Ganking a QoP is hard so maybe it's better to just let your supports do something else in the game. Beware of enemy support ganks since you are very easy to gank especially with QoP.

This match-up is more QoP dominated and there is not much you can do. A good QoP will not let you get more than 1 raze on her. However if the QoP screws up the first few waves and you get a massive amount of souls, she cannot blink in to you as you can just outdps and right click her down.

Infused Raindrop does not proc on Shadow Strike below lvl 3 (most QoP don't get more than 2 levels). If they do get it, you can backpack or drop the Infused Raindrop to preserve charges.
If you get an Infused Raindrop, remember that every
As the game progresses a QoP generally does not force you to get specific items so your item choices are much less fixed.


Tinker used to be the arch rival of SF in the old days of DOTA1. In case he goes for the march build, it is unlikely that any of you will kill each other without ganks. In this case just be careful not to dive march when going for kills. Most times you will just find yourself trading farm.

If he goes for the nuke build, keep in mind that without kills, he will fall very far behind in farm. You can play similar like against QoP - Get long razes, shove creep waves and control rune with your superior aoe nuke skill.
Hold your high ground and keep your hp high. Don't be afraid to bring salves and raindrops. If he tries to get close to you, try to get a triple raze. He would most likely die first if you landed all 3. Remember not to aggro creeps when you are lasered since you would take damage unnecessarily. Tinker has low armor but getting right clicks off with laser can be tricky.

This match-up is also very dependent on support rotations. Beware of enemy ganks.

As the game progresses, BKB is almost a must. MKB is a good choice also but remember that MKB can (almost) never replace a BKB. Convince your teammates to get Lotus Orb if the Tinker goes for a hex. A situational item that might be worth mentioning is an Eul's Scepter. I have never tried it so I can't really tell how effective. Basically it's to cancel his rearm.


Zeus relies on spamming to lane. Starting or rushing magic wand is always a good idea. You should always be aware of his burst potential and try not to be on too low of hp. Runes and ganks can be the deciding factor in this match-up otherwise you are just going to trade farms since it is quite risky to go for a solo kill unless he is out of mana.

Rune is important to both of you since both of you require mana to lane. Ask for team to secure rune if possible. A Zeus without mana is far more useless than an SF without mana though.

Identifying his skill build can also help. The 3 main Zeus builds at level 5 are 221 (2Q, 2W, 1E), 131 and 230.
221 builds have balance in harass and farming but is quite unlikely to kill you solo.
131 builds are weaker in farming but stronger in harass and kill potential so playing more passive may be the better choice.
230 builds are more likely to solo kill you if you ever misplay. The burst damage is quite a lot along with the higher farming potential.

In all of the cases sending salves can be a good choice if you cannot acquire runes.

As the game progresses you may consider a Hood although I rarely get those as it is quite an investment. Try to get a teammate to get pipe instead. BKB is alright but I sometimes manage without it. If you manage to catch the Zeus, you can burst him with right clicks if he skips veil since his armor is not the best.

Templar Assassin

Sometimes regarded as the counter of Shadow Fiend in the mid lane, I wouldn't say TA is that hard to lane against. The key to this matchup is to dodge psiblades while wearing down the refraction charges. After depleting his defensive charges, it is usually a good idea to land a raze. Play against a TA similar to how you would lane against a melee hero.

Another thing you can do is to use creeps to your advantage. If the TA decides to right click you and aggro the creeps, in most of the cases you should just stand your ground and fight. Creeps melt her refraction charges allowing you to get razes off. She is only tanky when she has her refraction, otherwise she's almost as paper as you are. Getting successful support rotations also depend on this so always play around her Refraction cooldown.

As you get to a higher level, it is safer to just double raze the creep wave and control the runes. TA has some trouble clearing creep waves without her own creep tanking for her. At night time you might even sneak a kill as she is tanking the creep wave, you double raze just as you come into vision (provided they have no wards).

In the midgame TA can be a problem when they have a lot of lockdowns. 1 stun + TA followups can instakill you. It is important that you should be more passive until their stuns are used or she has gone on someone else. If you have a Silver Edge, remember that there is a weird interaction against BKB. If you hit before BKB was used, the debuff remains. Many times I got my hit before TA used her BKB and she jumps on me, using it after she jumps. The 50% damage reduction will not allow her to manfight you so just stand your ground and right click her down. Otherwise Hurricane Pike can allow you to disengage when she solo jumps you.

At some point you will want to get armor items. If you are behind in the game, a Solar Crest might even be worth getting. Otherwise go for the luxury armor items.


I sometimes see Lina as a Shadow Fiend counterpart. Flash farm spells, DPS skills and glass cannon. However in a pure 1v1 mid, I consider it 1 of the most hardest matchups as the ball is on her court. Her mana pool allows her to spam a lot during the first few waves. Always get a Salve to survive the first few levels.

If she goes for 201 build, there is almost no way you can trade efficiently. I would suggest avoiding her nuke to be a big priority even losing last hits is alright according to me. Her superior range allows her to get quick and strong harass on you. After her nerfs it is much more possible to lane compared to before.
Check on her mana frequently. Getting stunned is probably 80% death confirmed for you unless she is out of mana. Most times she will get a level 6 first so checking her mana if she has her full combo is important. Get Infused Raindrop as soon as possible and try to be efficient with it.

What you want to do is try to get supports to gank your lane. Lina is as squishy as you are and she is also low on armor. Beware on her turning around the gank as she can dish out a lot of damage in an instant. Similar to most other disadvantageous matchups, you just want to double raze the creep, try to control the rune and avoid her.

After laning stage Lina will usually get her Bloodstone then Shadow Blade. It's a huge matter on who gets the jump since you are both glass cannons and can shred each other in matter of seconds. Asking a support stunner to stick with you is a good idea to turn her ganks around especially if you are behind. A BKB is always nice during teamfights but it won't save you from her Shadow Blade ganks. However if she is fully stacked (Daedalus MKB territory), never underestimate her right click dps.


Solo kills are unlikely to happen in this matchup as long as you do not underestimate his damage output. You might be able to get a solo kill if you force him to use his spell in less optimal ways or baiting him. Try to build up a lot of souls that he will be tempted to phase shift your right clicks. If he does so quickly get a raze to keep pressure on him. You should have an advantage in rune control since you push faster than him.

What you should watch out for are enemy supports' rotation. Puck can followup a stun easily to burst you. Meanwhile, if your supports are rotating in, try to force his Orb. Try denying your ranged creep, they would be tempted to nuke the ranged creep. Try to only raze when you are certain the raze would land such as when he has no spells or when he is stunned. Otherwise your right click can be sufficient damage to force his Phase Shift.

Puck do not usually threaten you solo as the game progresses. It only gets dangerous because he can quickly followup his allies' initiation. Usually I do not feel forced to get specific items when against a Puck but a BKB is always nice. Killing him will require allied lockdowns or Orchid (Puck usually goes for Eul's against silences so stuns are still more reliable)

Ember Spirit

This matchup is your matchup to lose (assuming you didn't get ganked). If you do things right, you can even force him out of the lane. Always deplete his flame guard. Unless his shield is level 1 or you have a level advantage in Raze vs Flame Guard, you will require 2 razes to destroy his shield. Based on my experience, do not get greedy and start with your close raze. I usually am winning the lane, I went for a kill and got close to him so I can get all 3 razes. He blocks my first raze with the shield and he just stays close to you preventing you to get medium raze on him to remove his shield. Your creeps will die to the burn while you are manfighting him so his creeps will eventually help him. I would suggest to always start with the medium raze so you will always have the close raze in case he goes for the kill. Also watch out for his level 6, but you can always dominate the lane hard that he gets his level 6 relatively late.

He has quite low armor so when you build up your soul, his Poor Man's Shield will not allow him to tank any hits contrast to before you get your souls your right clicks may only deal 15-20 damage to him which is probably not worth trying at all.

Identify his build as the game progresses. Magic build Ember Spirit poses quite a threat to you as he hits higher levels. Going Orchid is usually not the way to go since they frequently go Eul's. Physical based Ember Spirit on the other hand only wants to build damage. Getting silence forces him to get Manta Style which is not very ideal to his goal. Either builds, hitting him with Silver Edge can nullify his damage burst a lot.

Storm Spirit

At least an even creep block is required. If your block is significantly worse, Storm can just walk up your hill and zone you out with his almost 6 armor. Trading hits in early levels is not encouraged. Just build your souls and you can dominate this match up. It is unlikely that he will get a solo kill on you pre-level 6 but you might take one if he is careless. Get razes on him as you reach level 3. Try to control the runes too in which you should come ahead with your nuke.

This matchup is not as hard as it used to be since the remnant mana cost nerf but getting Magic Wand early is still nice because he will still spam it. Watch out for his level 6, as he nears level 6 you want to keep an eye on his mana. Keeping him low on hp also prevents him from going on you. If he does go on you, becareful on trying to raze, good Storm players usually expect you to try for it and will dodge instantly with their ult. You can try to right click them and more likely you would outlast his mana pool (don't forget your magic wand) then go for the raze. He has to use that ult anyway since he can't manfight you without it (assuming you did not get stomped).


Since there's a lot of different matchups, it takes a lot of writing to list every single one of them. I am planning to add more. I may never add unusual heroes since I lack the experience to understand the matchup. Feel free to explain some matchups in the comments and I can add them to the guide with your permission and give credits to you. Meanwhile here are some general guidelines.

In disadvantageous matchups, pushing out lane is almost always the best option. Send your own ward if your team is slow to purchase them. If you find yourself unable to go to lane without dying, consider going jungle and get clarities to sustain your raze spam. Offer a support to leech xp from mid. Infused Raindrops also gives mana regen which is not bad and allows you to survive in some situations.

In advantageous matchups, remember your kill conditions and do not overextend. The fastest way to lose a lead is dying to enemy mid. Deny every creep, get every last hit, harass them and go to jungle after pushing out waves if the enemy is playing super safe. With maximum souls, you deal a ton of damage, you can even opt to go up the enemy hill if their supports are not effective gankers or are preoccupied with other things.

I am not really a fan of solely last hitting creeps with raze (without hitting enemy hero) during the first few waves except for ranged creeps. Always prioritise ranged creep since they give a lot of xp. Sometimes a matchup can be much easier if you have level advantage(s) from denying ranged creeps. Try to be conservative with your mana in general. Since the raze 75 -> 90 manacost nerf, the need to lasthit with raze in the early waves are very punishing. A safe guideline would be only raze to last hit if you have sufficient mana to double raze (remember it is a guideline, many exceptions apply such as to last hit multiple creeps).

Laning Efficiency

Provided you won the midlane (or at least not shutdown), you should always maximise your farm. In the Radiant, you can clear the creepwaves fast and go straight to your 2 closest jungle. For Dire it seems that the offlane jungle is much closer so go there instead. Power Treads switching + Bottle is what allows your mana to sustain this level of farm.

If done correctly (or allowed to do so by your opponents), you can reach above 100 cs in 10 minutes which is very huge. In games like these you can snowball really hard with Shadow Blade + Treads and it is your game to lose. Avoid dying, do not be too hasty in taking skirmishes.

Abusing Power Spikes

Heroes do not grow stronger at a constant growth. There are some points where they get so much stronger which can be certain levels or certain items. These points are called power spikes and you should abuse your power spikes. Dota D.Bowie channel in Youtube explains power spikes and others very well and I would especially recommend his videos to players of 3k to low 4k levels.

Shadow Raze power spikes happens at level 3/5/7. When asking for supports gank it is a good idea to wait for these levels. Comparing a level 1 double raze to level 2 double raze is 200 to 350 damage difference which is a 75% damage increase. It is very significant.

Shadow Blade is another power spike. With it, you can 3 shot most supports and you should try to make ganks and take objectives if the current game state allows it.

The final certain power spike would be the level 20 talent. It is a free +72 damage talent on a dps agility hero which makes it so strong.

Other power spikes will be your item progressions. Take advantage of those if possible.

Keep in mind that this also goes for your enemy. During enemies' power spikes you might want to be more passive until your own power spikes which can match theirs.


Aiming Razes

You can turn set a hotkey to Directional Move for easy razes. Directional Move only allows your hero to walk in that direction and ignores pathing, so when you are beside a cliff and need to aim across it, just hold your directional move to aim.
Trivia: Directional Move allows you to spin your hero by just holding it then right click in a circular pattern around your hero.

Right Click without drawing Aggro

As explained in the vs QoP section, if you right click an enemy hero (anywhere on the map) all nearby creeps will be aggroed to you. If there are no creeps however, then you receive no aggro. But, there is a cooldown for 3 second between creep aggroes. So for the next 3 second after drawing aggro, you cannot draw anymore aggro by right clicking enemy heroes. This also works against towers.

If it is hard to understand, basically right click enemy heroes when far from creeps. You will not draw aggro for the next 3 seconds after doing so.

Intentionally Drawing Aggro

When up against a better last hitting opponent, you can aggro their creeps (preferrably the only low one) by right clicking (don't complete the attack) the enemy hero. The creep will walk towards you which will make your opponents projectile travel longer and making him mistime his deny. Requires practice to do so.


These section serves to give you some idea on how to fully maximize your hero but requires skill and involves risk of failing to pull off.

Triple Raze on Non-moving target

There is 1 point where all raze can hit. It is the 450 range away from your hero. So imagine the situation where your allied Pudge is dismembering a tanky target in the midgame. You get to 1 point and quickly triple raze without any extra repositioning, quickly dishing ~900 magic damage.
I am not very familiar with how the mechanics of AOE spells hitting, but I assume with the 24 collision size of heroes means the margin of error for this trick is 24 units from 450 range. I could be wrong so feel free to check this out.
I have not mastered this trick but it's worth mentioning.

Requiem Timing Tricks

Everyone is very familiar with Eul's Requiem trick but not everyone is landing it consistently. Practice with it since 2.8k magic burst may be the difference between a lost or a won teamfight.
Of course it is not limited on Eul's only. Practice with Aegis, OD Astral Imprisonment, SD Disruption (which has same timing as Eul's), WK Reincarnation and many others.

Hurricane Pike Precast

You are defending your high ground, you see a Slardar, very suspiciously sprinting in your general direction. Click Hurricane Pike on him, he blinks in and you push him back resulting in him completely missing the stun and you bursting him with Sprint damage amplification and your high damage. Siege is over without their initiator and you successfully defended your base. If you have Orchid/Bloodthorn, those are far safer options considering the enemy does not have BKBs.
Of course this is the most ideal situation, but if the Slardar blinks behind you, then you have just been pushed to the low ground which may result in your instant death. However based on my experience this very rarely happens, so feel free to weigh the risk/reward yourself.
Some example of heroes you can do this against would be Slardar, Earthshaker, Magnus, Sand King (lower success rate, depending on whether he clicked your hero or ground). Basically relatively small aoe stun heroes.

BKB Dodge

This is probably the riskiest trick compared to others above. Basically under normal situation, you use BKB as soon as you enter the fight. However, you can be slightly more greedy if your enemy does not have instant disable. Wait for that VS stun projectile to fly towards you then use BKB. This means, that VS has no stun that could have been used otherwise on someone else on your team.
It can definitely backfire, once I was right clicking an Earthshaker, so he was walking towards me and I only want to use my BKB once I was in range of his Echo. Suddenly enemy Windranger blinked beside me and shackled. Echo followed, I died and my friends went "xDxDxD passive bkb lul".


So hopefully you get out of the laning stage intact as top 3 networth. I will not explain in details on how to play midgame and lategame but here are some general advices.


When enemies are playing defensive, try to outfarm them. Push out lanes to gain map control so you know the rough positioning of enemies.

Shadow Blade

If you can pretty much solo kill anyone with your Shadow Blade, try not to show on map. Go to jungle and let your supports farm lane. Disappearing from map puts fear on your opponents and forces them to stick and farm less efficiently. Dota is a game of efficiency.


Convert successful fights to objectives and avoid stalling games too much. Late game is a big unknown territory. Lose 1 fight and you suddenly lose the game after pretty much dominating the whole game. However do not go full opposite and rush to end the game. Failing high ground sieges is a fast way for opponents to comeback. Experience will tell you when is the right time to do things.

Focus on High Impact Low HP Opponents First in Teamfights

Generally, you want to take out their supports first in teamfights since their second barrage of spells can be what wins the teamfight. Squishy cores are also good choice but usually they have more survival/positioning items so they are harder to pickoff.

Always practice. The more games you play the more you understand the hero and the game.
Good luck on your games.

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