Hey guys and girls, welcome to my first guide and thank you for taking a look at it.
I've played Slark a few times now and have absolutely fallen in love with the hero. His escapeability with his Pounce skill makes him a versatile hit and run Ganker. I've read a few guides, played a few games, and watched a few commentaries and I feel as though Slark isn't getting the love he so deserves. YouTube commentator and caster 'Purge' even called Slark a "generally bad" hero. This, I believe, is because Slark is a rather close-range centered melee hero who is at his best jumping into a large group of enemy heroes but is (almost) unbearably squishy. This guide will hopefully teach you how make him into the ganking machine he deserves to be by giving you some valuable tips on how to play this wonderful hero.
This guide is also going to be subject to updates and changes so if you have any suggestions they are welcome.
You've probably noticed that I have two early game building orders. This is because when playing as Slark, bad things can and will happen to you early game. These bad things may not be your fault, things like being lane-partnered with someone who wants to be more aggressive or being harassed hard and not getting the farm you need.
In these hard times, you are going to want to pick Early Game (A). After you manage to pick up your Boots of Speed[/color], the Poor Man's Shield will give you a little more survivability in your early and delicate stages as Slark.
However, if your farming goes more or less uncontested and things are looking bright for you, your lane, and your team you might want to pick up a Wraith's Band instead to give yourself more bite to your attacks. NOTE: when using this item build you should sell your Iron Branches to make space for new items when you need to. These are more or less place-holders.
Regardless, you are definitely going to want to grab a Morbid Mask to build into your Vladamir's Offering. This item is great for Slark because it is a good, decently priced item to pick up that not only gives you health regeneration, but the aura gives mana regeneration, bonus damage, and a bit of armor as well!
If things start to turn around and your team is losing towers and teamfights, now is the time to grab a Poor Man's Shield if you haven't already. This will top off your survivability and make you a force to be reckoned with. Then you are going to want to grab a Yasha to add to your already deadly attack.
Late game you are going to want to pick up a Diffusal Blade as soon as possible. This will make it easier to get away with annoying hit and run tactics as the active ability Purge will slow your enemies down and remove their buffs. It can be used either offensively to finish someone off or to slow down an enemy in pursuit of you. Then you'll want to pick up some Power Treads and set it to agility when you are on the attack and strength when you are on defense.
Some of this will require some pretty difficult micromanagement skills and experience. So before you play, you may want to get your hotkeys in a comfortable position because you are in for the ride of your life.
This section of the guide will give you some tips on how your combos should work and when you should use them.
Here is the part where most people get frustrated with Slark the first time you play him: The Early Game. This is when Slark is in his most vulnerable stages where any amount of harassment or offensive play can ruin him for the rest of the game. No pressure, but don't mess up! Here are a few tips on early game playstyle:
1. Play Cautiously. You are not the ganking machine, the force to be reckoned with, the hero no one wants to lane against. At least, not yet. Until you get your ultimate, Shadow Dance, do not over-extend for that kill that is so sweet you can almost taste it. Just because Slark is an agility hero, doesn't mean he can output a ton of damage in a short period of time early game. His minuscule 1.1 armor makes him very delicate and is a prime factor in his squishiness. But don't worry, items can fix that.
2. Use Your Pounce. Pounce is your go to ability in every situation. You want to get away? Pounce. You want to gank someone? Pounce. You want to get into that side-lane shop but you can't quite push the lane far enough? Pounce. You get the idea? This ability is your best friend. Do not forget it. But do not forget its mana cost or you'll pounce into to something you regret and will pay dearly for it.
Here's where things get fun. You got your ultimate, some armor, and some lifesteal and you are raring to go jump into a fight and tear it up. So you go around behind enemy lines with your amazing speed while out of enemy sight, pounce in on some unsuspecting, over-extended enemies and fight your way through them...WRONG. You do not want to get overconfident or blinded by your flashy escape skills and amazing passive and active ultimate skill. I can not stress this enough, if you don't think you can finish the fight or severely cripple the enemy so they run for their lives before taking significant damage, don't pounce into it. At least, not without help. So pick off a lonely Support hero as much and as many times as you can to get the cash for your items.
If you DO think you can take a Carry or another Ganker alone or with backup, here's what you're going to want to do:
Step 1: Dark Pact. If you are going in for that sweet, tasty gank on that poor unsuspecting Support hero, activate this first.
Step 2: Pounce. The best part about this is that as soon as you hit the enemy and leash them to their place for 3.5 seconds, your Dark Pact you activated earlier's delay should be up and hit them before they can dodge it.
Step 3: Hit That Fool. By this, I don't mean just right-click-follow-and-attack on them. I mean hit them once, maybe twice, to get that Essence Shift out on them and ruin their day by stealing their Strength, Agility, and Intelegence, and give you 3 more points in Agility so you can hit really hard with your next Pounce-Dark Pact combo. This is important. Though it is interchangeable with Step 4 if you start to get scared mid pounce or just miss the pounce entirely.
Step 4: Shadow Dance. Use this if you miss or get second thoughts with your pounce. This can help you get away and avoid being stunned and screwed over by your ex-poor-unsuspecting-target. It can also help you pound away on said target to get the kill without taking a hit from him or his friends.
Additionally, to get away from or chase down your target you may want to hit them with your Diffusal Blade's Purge ability to slow them down (as mentioned earlier).
Also, if you really need some extra cash or experience jungling can be a very viable option with your Dark Pact AoE skill, lifesteal, and passive ultimate. So keep that in mind if your aren't getting the kills you deserve.
In short, being careful and focusing on staying alive and farming for the early stages of the game can be very rewarding for mid-late game. If you use your skills to their full potential (meaning you land your Pounce-Dark Pact combo) and make sure to get the appropriate items, Slark can be a very capable Semi-Carry and/or Ganker. So play smart, and don't forget to pounce!
Thank you for sticking with me and reading my guide! If you have any suggestions, please write them a comment to let me know. If you found this guide helpful, rate it well!
Thanks again, this is a guide in progress and I will likely add another section or two with more Slark tips as I learn of them myself or hear them from you.
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