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


36 Votes

Slark The Nightcrawler (The Proper Way)

March 3, 2013 by Thaneos
Comments: 31    |    Views: 212569    |   

The right way

DotA2 Hero: Slark

Hero Skills

Dark Pact


1 4 8 9

Essence Shift

2 3 5 7

Shadow Dance

6 11 16


10 12 13 14 15 17 18

Slark The Nightcrawler (The Proper Way)

March 3, 2013

Slark The Nightcrawler

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 together but 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.


Hello fellow Dota players my name is Dedish and this is my guide for Slark. Now I think this will be my 3rd guide for Dotafire and the reason I chose Slark is this..... I don't know about any of you but it irks me to no end when I see someone playing one of my mains and totally doing bad with them. Slark has been one of my mains since he was released in Dota 1 and although he is still relatively new in Dota 2 and most people are still learning him it still bothers me.

That being said here is my guide for him. I will incl some video from a game I played with him earlier today to show you how op he can really be if played and built right. In this video even though my team lost ( had some really bad teammates /feeders and even a leaver ) I'm really not trying to place blame it is what is. You will see me own the other team and even get a ultra kill.

I'm not saying my way of playing slark is the only way.....just saying it is the best :D

Pros / Cons

-Has the ability to be incredibly fast
-Great health regen
-The ability to pin opponents
-Great escapes
-Positive/Negative Buffs

-Low starting health
-Low starting armor
-Low starting attributes
-Incredibly Squishy



After a short delay, Slark sacrifices some of his life blood, purging negative debuffs and dealing damage to enemy units around him and to himself. Slark only takes 50% of the damage.

Radius: 325
Delay: 2
Total Damage: 75 / 150 / 225 / 300

Mana Cost: 55 / 50 / 45 / 40 Cooldown Time: 9 / 8 / 7 / 6

Tips: I know some will argue but I find this to be the least useful of Slark's abilities. His health is to low most of the time and if you are playing him correctly then you should be getting focused by enemy team in fights and simply cannot afford the health loss. If you really want you can take a point in this at 7 or 8 for team fights if facing a lot of crowd control but personally I've never had to.


Slark leaps forward, grabbing the first enemy hero he connects with. That unit takes damage and is leashed to Slark, and can only move a limited distance away from Slark's landing position.

Range: 700
Leash Radius: 325
Leash Duration: 3.5
Damage: 70 / 140 / 210 / 280

Mana Cost: 75 Cooldown Time: 20 / 16 / 12 / 8

Tips: Awesome for chasing or escaping should always be taken at level 1.


Slark steals the life essence of enemies with his attacks, draining all their attributes and converting them to bonus Agility.

Duration: 15 / 30 / 60 / 120
Strength, Agility, and Intelligence Lost: 1
Agility Gained: 3

Cooldown Time: 0.4 / 0.35 / 0.3 / 0.25

Tips: So many people underestimate this ability. This is what makes slark a beast mid to late game. More agi = the faster and harder Slark hits. I always max this first.


Slark hides himself in a cloud of shadows, becoming invisible, gaining bonus movement speed and regeneration while not seen by enemies. Attacking, casting spells, and using items do not end Shadow Dance.

Duration: 5.5
Bonus Movement Speed: 30 / 35 / 40
Health Gained per Second: 3% / 5% / 7%

Mana Cost: 120 Cooldown Time: 25

Tips: What else is there to say about this ability? It heals, gives you more movement speed, turns you invisible lets you attack while invis PLUS you can activate items without breaking invis and has a stupidly short cooldown. This is how you 1 vs 5 enemy teams. Only down side is a Gem of True Sight Dust of Appearance or Sentry Ward can counter it (unless they have changed this in dota 2 and I am unaware of it)

So as you can see from my Skill Sequence above I try to max out Essence Shift and Pounce first putting a point into Shadow Dance whenever I can then maxing stats before Dark Pact. Why stats first? Because the better your stats the harder you hit, more hp you have and all around better you become.


Items: You may have noticed in the item build at the top of the guide I left room for one more item. This is basically a extra slot to build a item depending on the enemy team you're facing I'll go over it further down. Also I did the build guide above by purchase order for each item you will want to build by breaking the items down into the required pieces needed for them, not going to do that in this list use the above item guide for reference.

If you picked: Start with 1 Tango 2 Healing Salve and 2 Slippers of Agility

If you randomed: Start with 1 Tango 2 Healing Salve and a Poor Man's Shield

Whether you picked or randomed both starting items possibility's will give you good sustainability which you need a lot of early game due to being squishy.

Next just simply follow the item guide above, buying in this order
Boots of Speed

Poor Man's Shield (if you have not already started with one)

Power Treads
I Feel pwer treads are simply the best boots you can get for slark giving you everything you need, stats, move and attack speed, plus you can always switch back and forth from str and agi if you need some extra hp.

Mask of Madness This item is awesome for slark. The lifesteal give you good sustainability plus the 100% attack and 25% move speed is awesome for fights. Plus to top it all off you can use it while your Shadow Dance is active pretty much negating the 30% damage taken

Skull Basher This item is pretty self explanatory +40 damage is good plus the micro stuns lets you lock opponents down making it harder for them to escape. I never really feel the need to upgrade it to a Abyssal Blade later, but if you have all your items with gold to spend then go for it.

Yasha Gives you every thing you need for chasing agi, move and attack speed, plus later you will turn it into a SnY.

Butterfly This item simply put makes you a God giving everything you need to melt faces 30 agi, attack speed, and damage plus 35% dodge which you need due to being squishy.

Sange and Yasha So many people hate on this item and I have no idea why. You get all the benefits I listed above for Yasha plus extra damage and maim which makes your attacks have a 15% chance to slow the target's movement and attack speeds by 30% for 4 seconds. Seriously whats not to love?

As for your last item providing of course you sold your Poor Man's Shield which I usually do by this point. It's pretty much up to you or depending on enemy team. However here are some suggestions.

Black King Bar If you are facing a lot of stuns and crowd control / heavy nukers.
Radiance For more damage plus the aoe damage to be even more annoying
Daedalus More damage and crit booya!
Assault Cuirass One of my favs giving you armor plus more attack speed
Heart of Tarrasque Another one of my fall backs giving you some more damage some much needed hp plus awesome hp regen.


Early Game: Early gamee try to play safe, you are really squsihy and can't take a lot of abuse. Try to last hit as best you can to get some farm and try to spend any gold you have as soon as possible putting items in your um lol forgot what it is called... stash thats it :P using a courier to bring it out to you when possible. If you are brave you can try to bait enemy's into attack you near tower then use pounce to lock them down so they take tower damage plus your damage to try to score some early kills with you lane partner.

Mid Game: At this point your build should be starting to come together and you should have at the very least farmed your Power Treads and Mask of Madness or at least your Morbid Mask and should start roaming looking for ganks and in the jungle farming as much as possible. When ganking do not be afraid to use Dark Pact while fighting if you are taking to much damage,because it has a really low cooldown.

End Game: Finish of your build, helping in any team fights breaking out and keep pushing and farming as much as possible. You should be getting to the point where you can roll through the enemy team pretty much solo.

Few notes on the video: Yes I was clicking to activate items, I forgot that my Naga profile was set to another game. Yes I probably could have chased down Rubick in that one fight but I was on the phone at the time. And yes no idea why i pounced over sniper while chasing him down likely was still distracted on phone lol :P

Team Work

Ideally you want to lane with any range hero or stunner. Range for the harass letting you get some last hits in to farm, and stunners for setting up kills. I'm lazy and don't feel like making a list of heroes lol.

Enemy's Basically any heavy nukers / stunners. Always be ready to use your Shadow Dance in a team fight.

Allies and Enemy's

I had a request to add this section a little while ago and am just now getting around to it. Sorry it took so long I had been away for awhile.

Any basic support hero, stunner or disabler, or hero with a slow is a good laning choice for Slark. Here are some examples

Centaur Warrunner
Ancient Apparition
Witch Doctor
Shadow Shaman
Vengeful Spirit
Sand King

That's to just name a few and hopefully give you a idea of good laning partners.


Now as you know Slark is a assassin type hero and relies on stealth to attack. Like any good true assassin you need to know when to strike and pick your targets carefully. If you just jump right into the middle of 5 enemy heroes with no thought you will get roflstomped.
I would have to say stunners and heavy nukers are his worse enemy's. Some examples would be,

Centaur Warrunner
Bounty Hunter
Chaos Knight
Crystal Maiden

That is just to name a few and to give you a idea of who to watch for. I don't mention image heroes because lets be honest, they're annoying no matter whom you're playing and a
Battle Fury can even the odds. When facing heavy nukers YOU MUST choose the right time to strike and always take them out first. NEVER engage on a nuker / stunner if your ult is not available you NEED that stealth to help you survive. I cannot stress this enough. Even if they have dust or a gem you can still take them simply by knowing when and where to strike. If they have Sentry Ward's down simply counter by placing you're own and taking theirs out quick.

In Closing

So This is how I play and build my Slark and it works pretty well for me. Nothing is set in stone however and every game is different. I hope this helps new and old players with Slark and is informative enough. Please up vote if you like the guide and it helps you with Slark.
I will do my best to answer any questions about the guide and will update it as regularly as time permits.

Keep on Dota'n

Quick Comment (31) View Comments

You need to log in before commenting.

Similar Guides
Featured Heroes

Quick Comment (31) 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