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10 Votes

Sniper: Armor Piercing Bullets

March 31, 2014 by ExEvolution
Comments: 8    |    Views: 31588    |   

Build 1
Build 2

Armor Penetration

DotA2 Hero: Sniper

Hero Skills



1 4 5 7

Take Aim

2 3 8 9


6 11 16


10 12 13 14 15 17 18

Sniper: Armor Piercing Bullets

March 31, 2014

From A Great Distance

Sniper is a ranged agility carry who performs best with proper positioning at maximum range from his opponents. Left alone, his damage output tears through the opposition, and this guide will allow you to tear up even the bulkiest of heroes by shredding their armor to pieces, synergizing with his passive mini-stun which deals physical damage.

Strengths and Weaknesses

To play Sniper, you need to know his strengths and weaknesses. Only by overcoming your weakness, can you truly tap into your strengths.

What makes Sniper good

  • High damage output
  • The longest attack range of any hero
  • Passive mini-stun that deals physical damage
  • One of the best attack animations in the game
  • Small (slightly harder to target in groups]
  • Can attack towers outside of the tower's attack range
  • Strong in the mid lane or solo safe lane vs a solo off lane
  • Shrapnel is an excellent tower sieging ability
  • His Assassinate can secure kills at 3000 units away, provided he has vision of the target

What makes Sniper bad

  • Extremely squishy
  • No escape ability
  • Low movement speed (290)
  • Low base damage at level 1 (36-42)
  • Can be boring to play


To play Sniper, you also need to know what it means to be Sniper. To understand and respect the power of the instrument of destruction you wield in your hands.


Fires a ball of shrapnel that showers the target area in explosive pellets. Enemies are subject to damage and slowed movement. Deals 30% damage to buildings.

Range: 1800
Radius: 400
Duration: 9
Damage Per Second: 12 / 24 / 36 / 48 (30% to buildings)
Movement Speed Slow: 15% / 20% / 25% / 30%

Mana Cost: 120 Cooldown Time: 15

A less desirable skill when your opponents have a way to close the gap between you and them but can still be very useful for pushing and slowing in team fights.


Sniper increases his accuracy, giving a chance to deal extra damage and mini-stun.
Mini-stun Duration: 0.25
Chance: 40%
Damage Bonus: 15 / 40 / 65 / 90

The skill that makes sniper a real pain in the *** to play against, and where much of your damage comes from.

Take Aim

Extends the attack range of Sniper's rifle.
Range Bonus: 75 / 150 / 225 / 300

Allows you to sit even further behind the rest of the team, making it even harder for you to be targeted in an organized team fight


Sniper locks onto a target enemy unit, and after a 1.7 seconds, fires a devastating shot that deals damage at long range.
Range: 2000 / 2500 / 3000
Damage: 355 / 505 / 655

Mana Cost: 175 / 275 / 375 Cooldown Time: 20 / 15 / 10

Pick off a hero from very long range, provided you have vision of them, or simply use it to harass an opposing laner to allow easier farm for yourself.


In this section we will go over items that an armor piercing Sniper will want to choose from.

Starting Items

3x Tangos

Active: Eat Tree - Consumes a tree to restore 115 HP over 16 seconds.

This regeneration can not be interrupted. A must have for the early laning phase.

Healing Salve

Active: Regenerate Health - Restores 400 HP over 10 seconds. If the user takes any damage, the effect will end prematurely. Does not stack with Urn of Shadows.

This regeneration will be interrupted by any right click damage from an enemy player, enemy creep, or neutral creep, or any spell damage over 20 so be sure to back off before using it, or save it for an emergency where even a fraction of the heal may save your life.

3x Iron Branches

Iron Branches grant +1 to all stats and can be sold later, or upgraded into a magic wand if you so desire.

Early Game

Boots of Speed

+50 Movement Speed

Flat movement speed bonuses from multiple pairs of boots do not stack.

Boots of Speed should be picked up ASAP to help with your pitiful movement speed.

Magic Stick

Active: Energy Charge - Gains a charge whenever a visible enemy hero casts an ability in a 1200 AoE, up to a maximum of 10 charges. Upon activation, all charges are consumed to instantly restore 15 HP and Mana per charge. Item abilities and certain hero abilities will not add a charge.

An excellent, cost effective survivability item. Should be picked up by everyone, and sniper is no exception. A full magic stick restores 150 health and mana instantly, and the upgraded version, the Magic Wand restores 225 health and mana instantly. Never a bad item to have.


+5 Armor

Chainmail will improve your survivability against physical damage and builds into one of your core armor penetration items.

Mid Game

Power Treads

+55 Movement Speed
+8 Selected Attribute
+30 Attack Speed

Active: Switch Attribute - Switches the selected attribute from Strength to Intelligence, Intelligence to Agility, and Agility to Strength.

Flat movement speed bonuses from multiple pairs of boots do not stack.

Power Treads are your boots of choice, granting much needed attack speed, and 8 of your chosen stat. Tread switching from agility while farming, to strength for more survivability, to intelligence when casting your abilities, an invaluable component for an armor piercing Sniper.

Medallion of Courage

Medallion of Courage
+6 Armor
+50% Mana Regeneration

Active: Valor - Both you and your target lose 6 Armor for 7 seconds.

Range: 1000

The beginning of your armor piercing bullets. Cast this on your target and when you right click to attack its like taking 30% off of their maximum health, this armor synergizes with the physical damage bonus from Headshot, causing it to deal additional damage.


+60 Damage

Passive: Corruption - Your attacks reduce the target's armor by 7 for 15 seconds. This effect works on buildings.

Corruption is a Unique Attack Modifier, and does not stack with other Unique Attack Modifiers.

Survivability Options

You may wish to pick up a survivability item before or after your Desolator, depending on how well your performance has been. Be smart about it, don't purchase a Shadow Blade if the enemy team has a Bounty Hunter and a Slardar, while your team has a Clinkz and Riki. So lets go over some of the possible items that can be picked up for survivability.

Assault Cuirass

+10 Armor
+35 Attack Speed

Passive: Assault Aura - Grants attack speed and armor to nearby allied units, and decreases armor for nearby enemies. The armor bonus from Assault Aura does not stack with other Assault Auras, but does stack with the similar bonus from Aquila Aura, Basilius Aura, or Vladimir's Aura. The attack speed bonus from Assault Aura does not stack with other Assault Auras.

Radius: 900
Bonus Attack Speed: 20
Bonus Armor: 5
Armor Reduction: 5

This would be your ideal survivability item, granting you 15 armor and 55 attack speed as well as removing 5 armor from all targets in range, further building on the armor penetration, mini bash style of play.

Drum of Endurance

+9 All Attributes
+3 Damage

Passive: Swiftness Aura - Gives bonus attack and movement speed to surrounding allies. Multiple instances of Swiftness Aura do not stack.

Radius: 900
Bonus Attack Speed: 5
Bonus Movement Speed: 5%

Active: Endurance - Starts with 4 charges. Using a charge gives bonus attack and movement speed to surrounding allies. Charges can be refreshed by purchasing the recipe for Drum of Endurance again.

Radius: 900
Bonus Attack Speed: 10
Bonus Movement Speed: 10%
Duration: 6

This is a decent option which gives almost as many stats as an Ultimate Orb, but also gives you a movement and attack speed aura and active effect. A good mid game item.

Black King Bar

+10 Strength
+24 Damage

Active: Avatar - Gives Magic Immunity. Duration and cooldown decrease with each use.

Duration: 10 / 9 / 8 / 7 / 6 / 5 / 4

Cooldown: 80 / 75 / 70 / 65 / 60 / 55 / 50

When you find yourself the target of many of the spells, Black King Bar is the answer. Also gives a nice bonus of 10 strength for more health.

Manta Style

+26 Agility
+10 Strength
+10 Intelligence
+15 Attack Speed
+10% Movement Speed

Active: Mirror Image - Creates two illusions that last for 20 seconds, deal reduced damage, and take increased damage. Upon activation, there is a 0.1 second animation delay for which you are invulnerable.

Damage Dealt: 33% (melee) / 28% (ranged)
Damage Taken: 350% (melee) / 400% (ranged)

The movement speed bonus from Manta Style does not stack with the movement speed bonuses from Yasha, Sange and Yasha, or other Manta Styles.

Great for pushing, using the active effect can remove some spell effects such as Track, Dust of Appearance, and Silence. Great when paired with Shadow Blade.

Shadow Blade

+22 Damage
+30 Attack Speed

Active: Shadow Walk - Makes you invisible for 9 seconds, or until you attack or use an ability. While invisible, you move 20% faster and can move through units. The invisibility has a 0.3 second fade time. If you break the invisibility with an attack, you will deal 150 bonus Physical damage.

A commonly picked up, but easily countered item. Can allow you to snowball if left unchecked as an invisible hero is very difficult, but not impossible to kill without Dust of Appearance or Sentry Wards.


+30 Agility
+30 Damage
+35% Evasion
+30 Attack Speed

When you have to stand toe to toe with the opposing carry, theres nothing quite like the Butterfly. Evasion, damage, attack speed, agility, what more can you ask for.

Late Game Options

When it comes to late game items, you don't have to look far. Below are two great items.

Monkey King Bar

+88 Damage
+15 Attack Speed

Passive: True Strike - Prevents your attacks from missing.

Passive: Mini-Bash - Gives a 35% chance to stun the target for 0.01 seconds and deal 100 bonus Magical damage on attack.

If there is an opposing Butterfly carrier, you will want to pick this up to prevent misses, as a nice bonus it also grants a lot of damage. The mini-bash however is magical damage, so it will not benefit as much from your armor penetration build.


+81 Damage

Passive: Critical Strike - Gives a 25% chance to deal 2.7x normal damage on an attack.

The best non Rapier damage item after Desolator. If you get this in an armor piercing build, expect to 1 shot most heroes on a crit.

Friends and Foes

Sniper is level dependent so he usually prefers to solo a safe lane against a solo offlane or take mid, however he can make good use of a friendly disabler in lane, giving him more time to proc Headshots. Heroes that lower armor also benefit this build.


Vengeful Spirit: With her ranged stun and wave of terror which reduces armor, she is a big friend.
Ogre Magi: A strong stunner, who can also greatly improve your attack speed and movement speed. Helping with positioning and damage output.
Bristleback: Stacking armor reduction and slow, giving more opportunities to attack with improved damage.


The more important thing to note is his foes. Anyone who has a way to close the gap between themselves and Sniper or have high powered nukes can put him in a world of hurt. Notable foes include:

Pudge: He loves squishies for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.
Phantom Assassin: One Phantom Strike with a lucky Coup de Grace can send Sniper to an early grave.
Lion/ Lina: Due to his low health pool, these high powered nukers can spell death for our little Dwarven friend. The opposite can also be true however thanks to Sniper's high damage output, and how relatively squishy they tend to be. Just don't let them get the jump on you.
Faceless Void: Foe to all, the only hero that can pause time to wail on whoever he wants.
Spirit Breaker: Absolutely decimates Sniper, charging him from anywhere on the map, and bashing you to death.
Bounty Hunter: Prevents sniper from being an extremely effective Shadow Blade user
And many more
Rubick: He WILL steal your Assassinate if you don't put at least 1 level in Shrapnel and use it after every ult.


As you can see, Sniper can be a powerful hero in the right hands, but can be difficult to handle in high level play due to his flaws. Overcoming his weaknesses can be a great challenge, but you will be rewarded for your effort. Remember that positioning is key to a properly played Sniper. You can not be the one to get initiated on.

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