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3 Votes

Slark: From Ganker to a One Fish Army (Updated to 6.80)

January 28, 2014 by WraitH.2
Comments: 7    |    Views: 26350    |   

Build For Every Lane

DotA2 Hero: Slark

Hero Skills

Dark Pact

2 8 9 10


1 3 5 7

Essence Shift

4 12 13 14

Shadow Dance

6 11 16


15 17 18

Introduction/Before Reading


Hey everyone, I'm WraitH and this is my first guide on playing my favourite and my most successful hero, Slark the Nightcrawler. This guide focuses on learning how to acquire gold, how to fight, how to buy your items and how to completelly destroy the enemy team in seconds for sure! Also this guide needs some time to read.

(Note that English is not my first language and I'll try not to do any mistakes)

For my games as a proof this guide works well, CLICK HERE

-> Light Blue, for Items
-> Light Yellow, for Heroes
-> Dark Green, for Skills



+ Very mobile and good ganker
+ Very strong in almost all phases of the game
+ Able to kill most hard carries without problems
+ Ward/Invisibility detection with Shadow Dance
+ Strong carry
+ Tanky with the right items; reach 2000 Health at level 14!
+ Very fun to play; you will not get bored of him!
+ Lots of ways to build him
+ Very difficult to kill
+ 1800 vision in both day and night
+ Very strong nukes early game, and very useful later
+ Purge and avoid projectiles with Dark Pact and Pounce
+ Able to dive towers and regenerate your lost health with the use of Shadow Dance!
+ Temporarily steal stats and convert them to agility!


- No disables
- Weak movement and regeneration if Observer Wards are everywhere
- Squishy without proper items
- Weak to nukes, stuns and vision
- Pounce can be hard to use sometimes
- Mana dependant before Ring of Basilius and Eye of Skadi

Your Position In The Lanes And Your Role After Laning Phase

Easy Lane

If there is no hard carry in your team, "become" one. Have a proper support with you and farm until you are ready to play offensively. No need to play offensively from the start of the game, have your support to harass the enemy(ies) and take kills if possible. Have your support to Observer Ward the jungle to avoid getting killed! Take last hits and then deny so that you wont push the lane. You MUST gain gold from every action!

Middle Lane

Most of the time, if your team has no mid hero, you should go there for more XP, more gold (usually) and there you will have the most chances to make the enemy mid hero, and every other hero in ganking phase not useful to his teammates. Melee heroes are more vulnerable to you, and they can be easy to kill if they have no reliable escapes. Some ranged heroes can be easy to kill, even if they have the advantage of attacking from far, which means that you can also be agressive with them but with caution.
Not recommended to buy Bottle, but if you want to control runes, go for it, if you don't have bottle, steal the runes sometimes so that the enemy hero will not have access to useful runes (and immediate access to health and mana regeneration). Try to have at least 1 Observer Ward at the runes.
Remember: runes spawn at 0:00 and every 2 mins (2:00, 4:00 etc).

Hard Lane

This lane can be easy for you, because it can have a weak late game carry most of the time and a support that helps him start the game safely but it can also be very very very hard because you are against an offensive trilane with a ton of stuns and can be very dangerous for you and your lane partner, especially if one or both of you die, which is bad. Most of the time in pubs, you will have the standard 2 hero lane or even a solo lane. Farm safely, don't die, don't push the lane, deny creeps and everything should go fine. Against a trilane, watch their every move, if they approach, go back and be very careful because they are more than you.

During The Ganking Phase (At Level 6)

Do not stay in the lane farming, unless you need to complete Power Treads, Magic Wand, Ring of Basilius or Orb of Venom. There is no other reason for you to stay in the lane in this time. You can easily start getting kills from other lanes so that you will complete your first core item, ( Eye of Skadi most of the time) because you can get easy gold by using your strong skills early. If you were in mid lane, other heroes should be level 4, and if you pounce and dark pact on them, it should take 1/2 or 2/3 of their health away, and you can just hit them 3-4 times and they will die.


So, teamfights will start now, and both teams must take down towers to finally reach the barracks and win. You should have at least 1 core item, if you don't have it and you need some gold to complete it, spend some time farming, because Slark is item dependant and you need it. Have a Town Portal Scroll with you and start taking part in teamfights. You shouldn't be right in the middle, you can go ambush them from behind, where all the enemy heroes will be and you should find squishy supports or carries to kill. If they have alive heroes in the fight, you can go kill them, asuming you have enough health to survive it. Sometimes you can initiate teamfights, but you will attract all the attention, and you must be sure that you wont be stuned to death (in that case, initiate with Dark Pact) and you can go invisible to regenerate the lost health, or go hide and come back. Go push some lanes so that creeps will reach their tower and come back to help your team. In very late game, be very careful not to get killed, because the other team will most likely get a win that does not deserve much as you do. Use your items in the right time, kill their strongest heroes and go for the win!

Your Skills


"It does 75/150/225/300 Magical damage (9/8/7/6 Cooldown) in a 325 Radius and it's released in 10 pulses that each of them purges negative debuffs; it also does HALF ( damage to Slark)."

This is the skill you are going to max 2nd. It has offensive and defensive uses and it's useful even in the late game. It purges most debuffs, and makes them useless against you. Predict what your opponent(s) will do and use the skill in the right time. You can even start teamfights with this skill because it should cause the enemy heroes to use most on their disables on you. You must be extra cautious with the silences because you are half Slark without skills. The AOE damage is pretty nice and spammable. Also purges Track, Amplify Damage and Dust of Appearance!


"Jumps forward, at the speed of 933.33 and travells 700 distance. It stops and deals 70/140/210/240 damage (20/16/12/8 Cooldown) to the enemy that he landed on and also the enemy hero can only move in a 325 range for 3.5 seconds. It hits invisible heroes and also shows their position, but does not reveal them. It also destroys trees where you landed"

Very useful skill, with that, Slark can trap and deal damage to a hero who can't move more than 325 distance, unless he purges it or blinks away. Invisible heroes can be hit, but the leash will not be visible, but it's still there. Its short cooldown (8 seconds) is very useful for escaping dangerous situations and chasing heroes. You can also dodge projectiles like stuns, attacks from towers and fountains, and some ultimates, like Viper's Viper Strike and Sniper's Assassinate. Very useful skill both defensively and offensively, like Dark Pact.


"Each attack steals 1 Strength, 1 Agility and 1 Intelligence from the enemy hero and converts it to 3 agility that lasts 15/30/60/120 seconds"

This is what makes Slark dangerous from early to late game and considering that stats are very useful to each hero and most useful to carries, Slark does +19 Pure damage, decreases the health regen by 0.03, the armor by 0.14, the attack speed by 1, the mana regen by 0.04 burns 13 mana, and decreases the damage of the hero by 1. Now combine it with a very high attack speed and you can wreck a hero in, say, 1v1 while you do more and more damage to him and he does less and less to you. Awesome, isn't it? Also, heroes who die have their stats restored, but Slark doesn't lose them.


"Passive: Slark gains bonus 30/35/40% movement speed and 3/5/7% health regen which is deactivated if he is visible to the enemy team, and it's also deactivated for 2 seconds if he is attacked by neutral unit, or Roshan
Active: Slark becomes completely invisible for 4 seconds (60 second cooldown) and he can't be revealed or reveal himself (attacking, using items and using skills does not reveal him, not even true sight like Sentry Wards, Gem of True Sight, Towers and Dust of Appearance)"

This is one of the most unique skills in the game, and with the 6.79 update, it has become even more unique. This allows Slark to move very quickly around the map, while regenerating A LOT health and it's only blocked by vision of Slark. You can scout for wards, you can "detect" invisible heroes, you can go out of the fight injured and come back at perfect condition in some seconds and you can chace heroes at night easily. Even if you are being attacked by that annoying and strong carry who dies easily, you can activate this skill and regenerate your lost health, while doing heavy damage to him with your attacks. Are you trapped by the enemy team and you are alone? Go invisible and jump in the trees while they try to snipe you. Of course you can taunt them and teleport away. This is amazing and the perfect skill for Slark's assassinations.




Your first(if not getting Skull Basher first) core item. This makes you threatening because it gives 750 health, 575 mana, 25 damage, 25 attack speed, 1 mana regen, 0.75 health regen and 3.5 armor. It makes you really tanky if you get it early and also helps you chase heroes by having a passive that makes attacks to have the ability to slow movement speed by 35% and attack speed by 35. The only bad thing is its price, but worth it.


Your second(if not getting Eye of Skadi first) core item. It adds 25% chance to bash on each hit, with a cooldown of 2 seconds. It also gives 40 damage and 6 strength (114 health and 0.18 health regen). Useful for chasing, and useful for stopping enemies from attacking you while you absorb their stats. Later it builds into a Abyssal Blade


Now you might want to get this third or fourth, because it has a lot of useful things. It adds 60 damage , 60 attack speed, 4.28 armor and 35% evasion. Very nice and expensive.


Another very nice item; stop important targets from casting spells for 5 seconds, and amplify their damage by 30% which is dealt at the end of the duration. It also adds 30 damage, 30 attack speed, 325 mana and 1+150% mana regeneration


All of them are very useful in their ways, and you can get one at any stage of the game if you need it but it's recommended to get any of them when you have completed at least 2 core items

If you find things hard, you can use the gold you could have used for another item to make one or two of these, depending on how much do you need them.
Shadow Blade adds one more escape mechanism, makes Slark to regenerate every lost health he has, makes Slark to move at max speed and gives a reason for the enemy team to buy Sentry Wards, Gem of True Sight and Dust of Appearance.
Black King Bar makes slark immune to most spells and gives the ability to continuously attack and move in the fights. Only useful if the enemies have a lot of disables, otherwise, Dark Pact

It's your choice if you want to rune control. Bottle is useful for the health regen only before level 6. After level 6 it's only useful for mana regeneration because you will have the health regen from Shadow Dance and because Slark's low cooldown spells use a lot of mana. Soul Ring could fix this problem, but it isn't as useful at it might look on Slark

Slark's benefits from runes with or without Bottle

Regeneration= Mobile fountain; instead of going back to regenerate your mana, you can activate this to regenerate your needed mana

Invisibility= Synergises well with your Shadow Dance. It makes you regenerate health and move very quickly even if near heroes/creeps/ Observer Wards.

Haste= It makes following enemy heroes and rescuing allies easy. Your Shadow Dance is a lesser Haste

Illusion= Not very useful; you should only need it for filling your Bottle, giving vision of an area and making fun of your enemies as they use spells against it...

Double Damage=Very good rune, as it says it doubles your damage and with that you can use your Pounce+ Dark Pact combo and deal extra damage with attacks

Friends/Foes/Heroes You Counter

His Friends

Slark lacks reliable disables, so it's wise to team up with heroes that can cover your weaknesses, and you theirs.

Keeper of the Light

He helps you farm safe with Illuminate, he gives you mana with Chakra Magic and he can save you if you are trapped somewhere with Recall. You can Pounce at someone and then he will get hit by Illuminate without being able to escape easily.


Lion's skills can help land a Pounce more easily, but his skills are not doing a lot of damage early.

Crystal Maiden

She can help not only Slark but the whole team with her Arcane Aura. Since we are talking about Slark now, she can trap and slow the enemy heroes.


He can harass with Thunder Strike and he can trap and force them back in their previous position, pretty nice after Pounce is on cooldown.


He deals a lot of damage and burns the mana from the enemy heroes, which gives Slark a nice opportunity for a kill.

His Foes

What Slark hates is a lot of silences, chain stuns, nukes, vision and the ability not to regenerate his health

Ancient Apparition

Although Slark can kill this hero easily, his ultimate, Ice Blast is very annoying. It deals damage over time and if he is very low on health, it can take him out.


One of his biggest threats, not because of his high damage and speed, but because he can reveal Slark if his health is low and he wont be able to regenerate his health. He also can silence and make Slark stay in a place with Rupture. When in teamfights it's the worst, if Bloodseeker is alone, he usually can't take out Slark easily.

doom bringer

Honestly, this hero is annoying for everyone, and Slark is not exception. Doom can't be purged sadly and to take part in the fight, you must remain outside until the duration ends, other than that, Doom is not a huge threat.

Heroes He Counters

Any squishy hero without escape mechanisms and strong disables. Also he can counter most carries (assuming both have the same farm and in 1v1 situation).
But in middle lane:


Being solo middle with Pudge is easy. After level 4 you can start attacking him when he comes to take last hits and you will steal his damage and strength. Find an opportunity (after he misses a hook and/or his health is low) to kill him by approaching and using Pounce. I have laned a lot with Pudge because he's the most picked hero and almost always I have won my lane.


Not a big threat, you can suddenly jump on him and kill him like you would do vs Pudge. Watch out for Sun Strikes and Cold Snaps. Recommended to start being agressive with him at level 6 and above.

Shadow Fiend

Ambush him from the back, watch out for Shadowraze and look at XP and gold coming at you. He's not that hard if you play agressively and safely at the same time.


He can be countered early game, despite being an enemy to you. The only problem could be his silence but he can't spam it. He's a melee hero and melee heroes are easy for Slark


You can counter him in 1v1 situation without problems usually. Feast should not be a problem becaue each hit on him hits better and each hit he deals to you is weakened.


I hope this guide helped you to play or improve your strategies with Slark. As you can see from my games, I still get decent scores even if we lose. You can kill heroes but you can't 1v5 all of them without assistance from someone.

This guide has taken some hours to be completed and I tried my best to make it good visually. Also I tried to analyse every item and every skill so that you might find your own playing style that suits you the best.

Anyway, thank you for reading and please provide feedback!

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