Help Support Our Growing Community

DOTAFire is a community that lives to help every Dota 2 player take their game to the next level by having open access to all our tools and resources. Please consider supporting us by whitelisting us in your ad blocker!

Want to support DOTAFire with an ad-free experience? You can support us ad-free for less than $1 a month!

Go Ad-Free
Smitefire logo

Join the leading DOTA 2 community.
Create and share Hero Guides and Builds.

Create an MFN Account


1 Votes

Slark, the .Elusive Way

April 3, 2015 by armc3j
Comments: 8    |    Views: 17311    |   

Standard Nightcrawling

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


Hello. My name is armc3j, known on steam as .Elusive, and I've been playing Dota 2 for a while, and slark for most of that. This will be my first dotafire guide, so please, if you're going to criticize it, tell me why and don't just down vote it.
Ive seen a lot of players playing Slark in what I feel is an AFK farming manner, and thats not at all what he is. The purpose of this guide is to try to rectify that opinion of him.He is a semi-carry who can transition well into the late game provided that he has gotten kills and amassed his core items in a good time frame. He does not sit back and jungle until level 16, and he is not a very good support. I typically play him in the offlane as a #3 farm priority, or occasionally a mid.


Little known to the inhabitants of the dry world, Dark Reef is a sunken prison where the worst of the sea-bred are sent for crimes against their fellows. It is a razor barbed warren full of murderous slithereen, treacherous Deep Ones, sociopathic meranths. In this dim labyrinth, patrolled by eels and guarded by enormous anemones, only the vicious survive. Pitched into Dark Reef for crimes unknown, Slark spent half a lifetime without kin or kindness, trusting no one, surviving through a combination of stealth and ruthlessness, keeping his thoughts and his plans to himself. When the infamous Dark Reef Dozen plotted their ill-fated breakout, they kept their plans a perfect secret, murdering anyone who could have put the pieces togetherbut somehow Slark discovered their scheme and made a place for himself in it. Ten of the Dozen died in the escape attempt, and two were captured, hauled back to Dark Reef, then executed for the entertainment of their fellow inmates. But Slark, the unsung thirteenth, used the commotion as cover and slipped away, never to be caught. Now a furtive resident of the carnivorous mangrove scrub that grips the southern reach of Shadeshore, Slark remains the only successful escapee from Dark Reef.


Alright. Im not going to show all the stats of each skill in this guide, since there is a wiki with all the statistical information you could ever need. I will just be explaining how I believe that you should use each of his 4 very interesting skills. This is not the skill build that you should use in every situation. Adapt to the environment. Figure out which skill will suit you best in the next 10 or so minutes and upgrade it. Do not just blindly follow this build, no matter what. However, this is the build that I feel works best all-around, in a general game.

Dark Pact

This is Slark's first skill. This skill works round the clock to deal damage and remove buffs for you, and it has a very low cooldown. After a 1.5 second delay, Slark deals damage in an area of effect around himself, and he takes 50% of the damage. The cooldown and mana cost decrease with levels, and the damage increases. The damage is dealt in a series of 10 very fast attacks, which makes it very useful against abilities such as Treant's Living Armor. Also, upon the release of the damage (not the activation of the skill) Slark will purge most negative debuffs from himself, such as slows or stuns. However, Slark cannot die from Dark Pact, so its not a useful candying tool.


Slark will leap forward in the direction he is currently facing, and if he comes within 75 dotameters of an enemy unit he will leash the enemy unit to the ground at his current position and deal some damage. The leash lasts 3.5 seconds, and the farther the targeted unit walks from the center, the slower they will move. It will also deal up to 200 damage to the target that is leashed.
This skill is great for pretty much everything. It kind of works like magnus' horn in the fact that it will clip on to a target (and is not a skill shot). But it does not carry the target with you. This is great for initiating, escaping, and chasing. If you are good enough to predict your targets movement, then you will land a pounce almost everytime. One useful strategy is, if you are being chased and getting low on health, to pounce into some trees, rest and health up using Shadow Dance passive, and then continue on your way, or even maybe turn the gunk around and get a kill. However, just remember that pounce will destroy any trees in a small area around slark upon landing.

Essence Shift

This is a passive skill that, when slark attacks an enemy hero, he will drain 1 of each of their stats and convert them to 3 agility for the duration, which, depending on the level, is 15-120 seconds. This ability is what allows Slark to have a presence late game. With a hit and run style, it is not uncommon to gain over 100 extra agility, assuming you don't die. Upon your death, or when the duration runs out, you love said agility. However, this is separate from the targets lost attributes. The target receives their stolen attributes back when they die, or when the duration expires. So they can die, but you will still keep your stolen stats, which is important because you need to steal lots and lots of stats to dominate the mid to late game.

Shadow dance

Finally, Slark's ultimate. Shadow dance. When activated, Slark becomes invisible and cannot be revealed by anything for 4 seconds, and he will regenerate life at the same speed as he would if he was out of sight (more on that soon). This means that slark cannot be targeted by point and click spells, such as Sunder, Laguna Blade, Finger of Death, and other such spells. However, aoe spells, such as juggernauts Blade Fury, will still damage him.
Now on to my favorite mechanic of Slark, Shadow Dance's passive. When out if the sight of the enemy team, Slark will gain bonus move speed and health regeneration. A LOT of health regeneration. This skill is what allows slark to solo the hard lane, and what makes him such an effective ganker. An enemy that sees you coming their way via ward will often be fooled into thinking they have a bit more time... And then you pounce in and it's over. This is especially helpful at night, because by the time they see you, you are in pounce range. This passive is what allows Slark in my build to have max move speed, which is pretty sweet.
if you plan on playing Slark (or pretty much any hero, actually) a lot, then I would take the time to familiarize yourself with a lot of the "juke spots" you can find around the map. Even a couple seconds of hiding can make a world of difference as Slark.

Item Build-Start

DISCLAIMER: THESE ARE NOT THE ITEMS YOU SHOULD BLINDLY GET EVERY SINGLE GAME. Please, please pick your items based on the choices of your team and opponents.

Alright. These items I feel are pretty self-explanatory for pretty much any melee carry in the lane. Tango give you sustain to stay in lane and sneak some last hits, a Healing Salve gives you a burst heal when your low, the Ring of Protection gives you a decent block against harassment, which will let you get more last-hits, and finally, three cost-efficient Iron Branches. These are the most cost-effective way to spend your starting gold, and will hopefully tide you over until you have Shadow Dance. Most people, on most melee hero, will get a Stout Shield instead of a Ring of Protection. its really up to you, but I feel that a Ring of Protection provides the armor that Slark needs early game, and builds into a Ring of Basilius, which solves Slark's mana problems and boots his already good base damage.

Item Build-Early Game

Alright. We first off grab a Ring of Basilius. This gives us something to do with our Ring of Protection, and it solves Slark's mana problems while also giving him great last-hitting power. Then, grab Boots of Speed, and an Orb of Venom if you are either going to be:
A) active on the map really early
B) your lane has a lot of chasing kill potential.
The orb will build into Slark's dream item, an Eye of Skadi. If you are becoming strapped for inventory slots, just move the orb into your stash so you'll have it for later. Grab a Magic Stick for the sustain it will give you in lane, or you can grab a bottle if your team has a Bottle independent mid, such as Invoker.

Item Build-Core

Alright. Now hopefully you weren't pushed out of lane and you were able to get your starting times. I would personally go for a Magic Wand first, since it takes care of the 3 inventory slots occupied by your Iron Branches. Next, farm up your Power Treads. Thanks to shadow dance, you should not have many problems with harassment, allowing you to get farm in the offlane. Once you have those two items(and, of course, a Town Portal Scroll) start ganking. Ganks and jungling are what will allow you to farm up the next part of your core: Blink Dagger or Shadow Blade. Then you will get your Sange and Yasha and Skull Basher or rush an Eye of Skadi.

Hoo boy, here we go: Sange and Yasha versus *insert item here* lots of people hate this item. I love it, and heres why. First off, the Yasha. Slark already has very high move speed thanks to Shadow Dance, and Yasha will get you to the maximum 522 move speed. It also provides attack speed and agility, which is good on Slark. Now the Sange. Slark is a squishy hero who's main weakness's are getting bursted down or caught out. Sange helps fix that, while also providing a good slow when

Items you should never, ever, ever get on our fishy friend

Oh gods no. This item, quite frankly, sucks balls on Slark. Lets look at what it gives:
-Increased attack speed due to active
-Increased damage taken due to active
-20% lifestyle on attacks
-30% increased move speed due to active
Slark does not need [b][color=#ff0000]ANY[/color][/b] of these things. He gets enough attack speed from stolen stats, He is already a glass cannon, so he doesn't want to take any more damage than he has to, he already moves quite fast enough thanks to [[shadow dance's passive, and he doesn't need lifesteal because of the health regen he gets when hiding, again thanks to Shadow Dance. It's, quite frankly, one of the worse core items you could get on Slark

This item is more situational. I am of the opinion that Slark doesn't need to spend extra gold on this when a Ring of Basilius will do just fine, and I think it delays your core items too much, but whatever floats your boat man.

Some people think this is a valid item on Slark because he will get kills when ganking. However, Slark does not need any of the benefits that Bloodstone gives. Simple as that.

Slark is not a farming carry, he does not need this. The cleave does not help him at all, and for a damage item, you could do much better.


Alright. Slark is a ganking semi-carry with late game utility who farms up his treads and then is extremely active on the map. If an enemy hero looks gankable, your goal is to do it. That can mean anything from happening to meet the enemy Medusa in their jungle and pouncing on her and killing her, to lying in wait in the underbrush with Lion, waiting for the enemy offlaner to move a couple feet forward before you pounce. Your goal as spark is to be omnipresent, there for every gank, every team fight, every destruction of tower. You can turn fights around due to Shadow Dance and clean up stragglers with Pounce. Late game, you adopt a very hit-and-run approach, since you will have Essence Shift maxed out and will keep stats for 2 minutes. However, do not go into hand-to-hand combat with the enemy hard carry in the late game, for you will almost always lose (unless they are about half health, you are very fed, you have a lot of stats, or you have backup). In an ideal world, you create so much space for your carry to farm that the game is over by 30 minutes because you are crushing everyone.

Play Style-Early Game Offlane

Alright. Here you are relatively quiet. Stay in the offlane unless you are needed for a very important gank, harass with your Orb of Venom when you can, and try to get farm without dying. Once you have treads and Shadow Dance, it becomes a whole other ball game. Don't be afraid to roam, but only if your sure of a kill or at least an assist. Get a fast level 6, because then you can take a ton of little harassment, go hide behind a tree, and pop back out again fully healed.

Play Style-Early Game Midlane.

Try to get all your early game items ASAP. A Bottle is a must if you are playing Slark in the midlane. Use Pounce and Dark Pact to harass the other midland, but be wary.. Slark is relatively squishy early game, especially against a strong mid such as Queen of Pain. Once you have your boots (maybe even treads), your Poor Man's Shield, Orb of Venom, and Bottle, you should start ganking. Farm mid when there are no opportunities, and farm jungle when your mid lane is pushed. Your goal should be to have a couple kills under your belt, and the enemies mid tower destroyed by minute fifteen. I am not going to post the timings i think you should have your times at, as that depends on the skill of the player, and on the item choices that they have made.

Play Style-Mid Game

Alright, Now I have treads and either Shadow Blade or Blink Dagger. What do I do?
Heres where Slark should be dominating the game. Thanks to your high move speed, you should be present for every bank and team fight that is on the map. Your goal is to make the enemy spared to split up and farm. One useful trick is to use Shadow Dance's passive to find places where the enemy has put wards, and then signal those places out to your supports. Try not to feed, and try to get kills and towers unless you are for some reason stalling for late game.

Play Style-Late Game

Ok, most of your carrying job is over. Your hard carry should have taken over by now, and your goal is to find pickoffs, and then let your team turn them into pushes and team fights. You, in a sense, dictate the flow of the game. If you are passive and farming, your team shouldn't be taking fights. If you find a pickoff however, your team should be in a position to push, force a team fight, or take roshan. If the game gets past 50 minutes and the other team has a harder carry, you will probably lose unless you have stolen tons and tons of agility, so try to end the game before then.


Alright guys, thanks for reading my guide to our fight friend, Slark! Upvote this if you like it, and if you don't, please leave a comment telling me why. I will see if your complaint is reasonable, and if you can back up your own reasoning with evidence, I will probably add your suggestion to my guide.
.Elusive, signing out.

Quick Comment (8) View Comments

You need to log in before commenting.

Similar Guides
Featured Heroes

Quick Comment (8) View Comments

You need to log in before commenting.

DOTAFire is the place to find the perfect build guide to take your game to the next level. Learn how to play a new hero, or fine tune your favorite DotA hero’s build and strategy.

Copyright © 2019 DOTAFire | All Rights Reserved