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9 Votes

Sniper - Not a late game carry!

March 2, 2013 by Gerrit1989
Comments: 22    |    Views: 24753    |   


DotA2 Hero: Sniper

Hero Skills



1 3 5 9

Take Aim

2 4 7 8


6 11


10 12 13 14 15 16 17 18

Sniper - Not a late game carry!

March 2, 2013


Hi Guys, this is my first Guide but I have been playing Sniper for a while now and read a few guides for different characters here on

I dont think I'm a pro player but I have just won 3 games in a row with sniper and dominated some determined and varied players for all game in all 3 games. The reasons for writing this are not to brag but instead because I want to address some misconceptions about Sniper.

In my last game a player using Tidehunter told me and another player that we were late game carries and should farm (a.k.a. {if I understood him properly} play it safe, dont gank, run from fights etc).
Sniper is a powerful carry esp late game but he is also a powerful Nuker in my opinion and I play him as a Harrasment/Nuker character until I have the Gold to Fully develop into a Right-Click Carry.

It should also be noted that Sniper is also a medium effectiveness tower pusher as he can hurt it with other ranged carries around and not get hurt.

I really would like positive critism of all the guides information.
You can Email me directly also at [email protected].

Pros / Cons

Sniper is a Ranged Hard Carry, he is also a Tower Pusher and a Nuker.

* Superior Ranged Auto Attacks
* Great Ulti
* Ranged Agility Hero - Agility Stacks speed and damage.
* Great Sinergy with other Nukers or Tanks
* Great at Mid level Ganks
* Solo Pushes Towers
* Great Harassment and Killing power all game.

* Low Health, Mana and Armour
* Slow
* Low Starting Damage
* Only has 3 utilized moves
* No Escape mechanism
* No Stuns, Disables or On-Demand power-ups.

Items - Justification

First off please note that every item is bought in a specific order for a special reason, however if you fear getting ganked then feel free to purchase a cheaper item on the chain than the next one I have listed.

Wraith Band is an excellent item for any agility carry and is fantastic on Sniper. it increases his starting damage:
From -> 39-45
To -> 48-54
This is extremely necessary for last hits and for lane harass, when you add the damage from Head Shot the you are doing a whopping 69 damage at the incredible range of 550 and then 625 at Lvl2.
I take a Healing Salve instead of mana pots or Tango because it provides a shockingly good burst of health when you need it, but you could take the plants if you want.

Early Game:
Between last hits and the chance of a quick gank (wether your in a side lane or not) you should quickly come to 500 gold and buy a Ring of Basilius, this completes your Ring of Aquillis and thus gives you awesome damage, extra attack speed and 3 armour (not including the armour gained by the extra agility).
Power Treads are a must have item on Sniper, the give him heaps of extra attack speed, extra damage. though it does less overall damage than the Phase Boots you will appreciate the extra attack speed later (Trust Me!)

Mid Game:
Mid Game is simply when you are making these items/finished these items.

Helm of the Dominator adds extra damage and some much needed mobile healing. I alway courier in some Healing Salve if I have need and space but this item mostly nullifies the need once you have it. The purchase order is essential as the skull will give you better than 3hp/sec when your in combat and combined with your range its a mobile health clinic for Sniper.
In reality this item is ridiculously cheap for what it is.

Shadow Blade becomes your escape, combined with your range again you will be almost untouchable even by stunners or disablers like Bane, Tiny or Sven.
Again the build order is paramount as +30 attck speed is more important than the 21 damage at this point.

Late Game:
Now we have the CORE ITEMS down packed we can move on the advanced ownage items that will secure the field for you!

Eaglesong is expensive but buy this first, you cannot overestimate how good the +60 attack speed and +60 damage is. (not to mention armour)
quaterstaff comes next for more of the same.
With the Shadow Blade you dont need evasion, but getting the Talisman of Evasion next will secure you the Butterfly and you will be doing about 200 damage in less than a second without the proc from Headshot.

Situational Items:

Healing Salve is a must at the beginning and can save you a trip to the fountain or an untimely death for only 100g it can save you 1000g in bounty and creep revenue, not to mention the buy back costs.

Orb of Venom this is an item that I think many avoid, it does fill the 6th slot in your items and you will get rid of it later but..... IT SLOWS THE RETREATING AND ADVANCING ENEMY in addition to your ministuns, plus with fast attack speed it even stacks the poison quickly for some minor DOT. Now if you dont like items you WILL SELL LATER then dont even bother with this, but its pretty smick.
Side Note: This item DOES NOT STACK WITH Helm of the Dominator, only get this early game if you are planning on buying the Eye of Skadi or you are not going to get Helm of the Dominator, if you do get Orb of Venom I recomend always having atleast 1-2 healing salves as you NEVER KNOW when you will take damage from Nukes or from ranged carries and escape with your balls hanging off, the potions will keep you in the game longer thus gaining more XP and GOLD than having to retreat back to base with your valuable Scroll.
I dont recommend this path though.

Eye of Skadi Slow and Stat buffs are not entirely what you want but the devastating power that this expensive item brings to the table are undeniable. Some other builds rush this and you could.... but its expensive and hard to rush if your not very very awesome.

Abyssal Blade, Desolator, Mjollnir and Manta Style are all expensive 6th slot items each with their own bonus's such as additional damage, stuns and attack speed.
I personally prefer Mjollnir as it gives a crazy attack speed + damage.
NOTE: Mjollnir's Passive does stack with other UAM but overides them, this is awesome, esp when peeps havent read the description properly and dont think it will hit them.

Sange and Yashe and Diffusal Blade are the cheaper alternatives for extra DPS punch.
NOTE: Difussal Blade will not stack its mana burn with Helm of the Dominator, however the instant destroy summons is awesome and the purge is pretty fun too, noone really expects that from a "Carry" so the Sock n Awe factor is not only hillarious but also effective.

Satanic offers an increase in Health and Healing making you much tankier and not taking up your Town Portal Slot. This is a good move if you want it, but you wont do as much damage as the other options because it doesnt increase your Agility, take it if you are being focused by tanky carries to keep up with them.

No one can argue with better regen, disables and faster movement speed so if your getting run down alot before or even with the Shadow Blade then purchase a Eul's Scepter of Divinity and leave the enemy in your dust... but as a good player you wont need this.

Now if your team's support is a moron or a jerk, or if he is playing a carry/support and cant waste the money, then it falls to you to purchase an Animal Courier when you get your boots and a Flying Courier one soon after. You need them! Buy them if no one has already!!!

If any hero that uses frequent invisibility is on the enemy side then you must buy a Gem of Truesight, you may not be able to be ganked by Riki late game but Broodmother and Invoker will, and so will most Strength Carries with an invis rune.
Now its important to way up the slot cost as this is no longer a slot thats giving you the valuable Damage or Attack Speed that you desperately need.

Items Not to Buy:
As listed above the below items are not to be bought as substitutes for the proscribed items.

Aegis of the Immortal is simply better on most other people! E.g All stength based carries and any other Nuker/disable/stunner.
Assault Cuirass Wastes money on useless armour increases -> your not gettign hit that often and other items are better DPS.
Crystalys Not getting you what you need, nice Damage and crit but overall not to good.
Divine Rapier if you havent won by the time you buy this you need to loose! and your too squishy to carry this!
Orchid Malevolence The attack speed is not worth the wasted investment in Int and an activated skill you probably wont use.
Pipe of Insight waste of money on defense when you could be owning peeps.
Refresher Orb you may be tempted to take this to refresh your Ulti (cooldown 10secis not worth it) but the cost and the unnecessary mana regen in not advised, again you need DPS not Defense.
Soul Ring You don't have enough health!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Vanguard Again you need DPS not defense!!!

The useless section is of course a sample of items that cannot help Sniper either because they don't work or he isn't helped in any meaningful way. There is no justifications given, however I will reply to queries.

Also... once you have the money for a 6th item after Butterfly, don't take any town portal scrolls anymore, its not worth it! Otherwise don't leave the base without one!!!


Snipers Skills in my mind, are AWESOME, I love the little pink faced dude and his talent.
Snipers Skills lend him to an easier play style than most as he has 2 passives, a Nuker Ulti Targeted and a useless AOE slow which in this build you wont even use!

Head Shot:
This is your main Carry ability.

Headshot is picked level 1, this ability gives you an adverage of an extra 5-6 damage on every hit Lvl1, 15dmg Lvl2, 28dmg Lvl3 and 40dmg Lvl4. This is free and in addition to any other buffs you have. Its proc occurance is directly related to your attack speed with more attacks and therefore more procs at higher attack speeds. An example is if you hit 1/sec then your increase at level 4 is 40DPS but if 2/sec then the DPS is +80.

Headshot's Mini Stun is also not to be ignored! With a high enough Attack Speed and Shadow Blade slow strength heroes will be unable to close with you despite high armour and health. (Heroes such as Kunka and Axe and Clockwerks and Tiny Troll Warlord and even Life Stealer will be unable to catch you.

Take Aim:
This is your Main Harass and Tower Pusher ability.
This is your secondary Ganking and Carry ability.

Take Aim increases your range beyond anyone elses in the entire game. At Lvl3 it puts you out of the range of most peoples nukes, stuns and disables, allowing you to go invisible quickly after hitting a few times and escape.
At Lvl4 it has so much range that you can hit towers without being hit in return, this allows you the unparraleled ability to last hit and push towers without being ganked by players or nuked by the tower.
Using Take Aim you can hit players easily in the river or through trees!
This skill needs to be maxed first!

This guide is how to Own as Sniper all game, not how to use all of his abilities!

Shrapnel gives you a non-targeted AOE Slow and DOT, its not very impressive but helps your team catch fleeing foes.

Shrapnel is a waste of resources you could be using to boost your DPS and personal ganking ability. If you delay any of the other skills for this one you are wasting time in my opinion, others may scholarly disagree but sometimes it is better to scare off an oponent with Assasinate then it is to try to gank and over-extend.

Sharpnel is also very hard to aim for very little effect in my opinion.
When I play I get Agility stats or Strength Stats before I get this ability.

The bread and butter move of Sniper, it made a Lina player cry "Jesus Christ" after I used it on her as soon as I turned Lvl6 after she had just killed me.

It can not be overstated how awesome this ability is. People like to tell how its useless on a fed Tidehunter, Dragon Knight or Tiny but that's irrelevant.
Assassinate gives you a single targeted Nuke that once locked on will also give line of sight to a fleeing enemy even outside of its normal range.

Assassinate: the range on this move starts at 2000 which is the longest non-global range*. this allows you to hit fleeing enemies well outside of normal Auto-Attack or Nuking range (even if they arent slow) so long as you can see them when you click on them.
Assassinate: The damage begins at 375 and ends at 655, this is ofcourse mitigated by defenses.

To use Assassinate properly you must be both aware of your Mana Costs and of the cooldown.
Dont level up this Ulti unless you have the Mana to cast it twice or nearly so, except that it should be taken as soon as possible at level 6.

Cast Assassinate at the beginning of a potential team fight or 3v3 to do damage and possibly scare away an oponent, then use it after a team fight to do damage as the wounded retreat.

Assassinate is excellent for scaring away a Solo oponent, esp a low HP one such as Lina or Drow Ranger or Rubrick, this may not work Bane!

SIDE NOTE: It has come to my attention that taking 1 Lvl of Shrapnel can give you an advantage in running away or chasing, but I cant count how many times Ive seen sniper miss with this move and waste his valuable mana that could have been used on Assassinate.
Also Ive never been scared or hindered by this move as another hero versing a sniper.

Team Work

When to take Sniper.

1) The team has no ranged support!
2) You want to.
3) The enemy has lots of short ranged nukers
4) you know Mid Lane will be a Melee hero.
5) your enemy is full of glass cannons.
6) your team takes Drow Ranger

When NOT to take Sniper.

1) you already have 3 Carries.
2) you already have three ranged non tanks.
3) you dont have any disablers
4) If you know that your in Mid Lane and Bane is also in Mid Lane
5) The enemy has lots of invisiblity.

Good Synergy with Sniper:
Lion A powerful stun Nuker, what his Ulti doesnt kill yours will!
Huskar His Ulti will deal half damage, making for a perfect Assassinate attempt, huskar can even then focus entirely on someone else.
Zeus His Ulit reveals the enemy who may be nearby, perfect for Assassinate.
Drow Ranger Her global range attack buff is awesome!!!! Dont give her the mid lane unless you have to.
Tidehunter His Ulti gives you good early game protection and he also has a directed slow which can give you time to Assassinate the enemy.
All heroes with invisibility can extend the range of your vision to the full range of Assassinate, invaluable.

Sniper easily kills the following heroes mid game.
Anti Mage, Silencer, Lina, Razor, Zeus, Io, Witch Doctor, Luna, Drow Ranger, Dazzle and Rubrick.

Snipers Worst Enemiers:
All Invisibility Heroes
Warlock: Warlocks damage share, DOT and Ulti mess your day because you have little health to spare on such antics. Warlock is easily countered with Harass though or with the Ulti as he has low health like you.
Gyrocopter may have low health but he has enormous range with 3 of his abilities and can out harass you in a side lane.
Spirit Breaker will realy mess your day up, he has a speed boost passive and also can charge you from across the map for some face owning time!!!
Sven is another fast Strength tank carry, he also has a massive powerful stun but if your smart you can avoid it with your range... if he catches you though, there is no escape.
Lone Druid, Lycanthope and Chen are all heroes with semi/permanent pets, they can stay out of range or go in with the pet and destroy you, stay clear!.
Dark Seer and centuar warrunner are both speed boosting heroes, centuar warrunner is particularly dangerous because of his high damage and health + speed.
Lastly and Leastly, Bane will mess you up with all his abilities and kill YOU!.

Sniper and Lifesteal Items

So why do I need Lifesteal to own as Sniper?

Cost Comparisons:
Some people like to compare the realive expesiveness of Lifesteal to health regen and come to the false conclusion (in my opinion) that Health Regen is better. The following is a per second comparison of LifeSteal Vs Health Regen Items.

Life Steal Items REGEN/SEC: if base damage before the item is equiped = 100
Morbid Mask : 15
Helm of the Dominator : 18
Mask of Madness : 17/approx 34*
Vladmir's Offering : 0
Satanic : 30/240**
Note: This assumes an attack speed of 1/sec, and sniper seriously exceeds this later on.
* the approx 34 assumes the extra increase equals an attack speed of 2/sec.
** This Lifesteal rate is only for 3.5 sec, if you have an attack speed of 1/sec it equates to 840Health over 3.5 seconds, by the time you get Satanic though in this build you are doing about 200 damage or so, this means that it will equate to 1680 health in 3.5 seconds! Which is about your whole health bar at level 20 with satanic equipt.

Health Regen Items REGEN/SEC:
Ring of Regen : 3
Headress : 3
Mekansm : 4
Soul Booster : 4
refesher orb : 5
Veil of Discord : 5
Ring of Health : 5
Perseverance : 5
Linken's Sphere : 6
Hood of Defiance : 8
Bloodstone : 9

As I dont need the increase in mana regen that the more expensive items are worth ( i already have the emminent Ring of Aquila I will be wasting my coin to purchase any of the "orbs/gems".
Also the miniscule HP regen I will get from the cheaper items is still not worth it when compared to the significant damage I will be doing and thus the significant health I will be regening with a lifesteal item.
Even the Morbid mask will give me better regen if I am doing as little as 60 damage/sec, while I am in combat with creeps.

Now it is correct that from a pure money basis it is better to get the Ring of Health or a Headress, these items siphon gold away from your main items and cannot sustain you when needed!

In my humble experiance I have seen ranged carry LS sustain better with the occasional potion in times of dire need, than any ammount of HP regen. HP regen and armour are ultimately for the Nukers and Supports as they cannot reach the incredible DPS that you will.

How to use Lifesteal in a real game:
So your Sniper, excellent, but you have low health, bummer. Your Mid Lane (or side lane, bummer).
You will generally face threat from 3 different kinds of heroes:

1) Nukers
This includes Lina, Bane, Lion, Lich, etc etc
Nukers normally take atleast 2 moves to kill you and normally 3! Most dont have 3 so they rely on their auto attacks to start or finish the fight.
Use LS to keep at full health while harassing them, this means that you take 2-4 shots and back off, kill some creeps for Gold and Health, repeat!
When, not if, when you are Nuked by the enemy (hopefully not also with a stunner) RUN for your life until they stop.
Follow them back to the creeps, hit them a few times unless you know that they can Nuke again and finish the job and then return to the killing of creeps until the health is full again. Repeat!
Note: it is hard early for a Nuker to sustain this against you for more than 1-2 levels and is impossible once you get your Assassinate.
This is possible because Sniper has an amazing range! He can hit beyond anyone elses auto and even beyond most nuke ranges by Lvl3 Take Aim.

2) Ranged Carries
This Includes Drow Ranger, Enchantress, Huskar, Luna, Gyrocopter, etc etc and even Kunkka.
Heroes that have a slowing move will always be a pain in the buttocks, however you can normally compete with them for damage anyway because of head shot so as long as they are trying to gank you alone, you can normally beat them to the kill if you are both full health!
Note: Gyro can out harass you, treat him like a Nuker as well as a Ranged Carry.
With ranged heroes, inc Int based ones, they will normally try to harass you, make sure that when they do, you let your creeps start hitting them before you run away and then return the same on them!
Your Life steal will out compete any health regen at this point and offers a massive increase in the psychological aspect of the fight. if you cant follow the hero when they retreat, simply kill all the creeps that were not being killed by your ones (they were attacking the hero...) and then continue the fight as normal.
If you know you cannot compete for damage against an enemy hero, simply run away at first sight and continue to harass them as they try to retreat behind the enemy, if they look like they will follow again, run again, repeat!
I cannot stress enough how annoying these tactics will be to your enemy, I have had so many uncouth players cursing me because I play this way when I solo; just make sure to stay close to your max range, (which at night is beyond your sight radius!!!).

3) Melee Heroes that have stuns, disables etc etc.
The list of these annoying pricks is enormous but I think mostly of Tiny and Sven as well as the rest of "those' guys.
Normally with health and armour to make keeping them at bay difficult, these heroes can be very difficult around Lvl 3-8, esp if you are side laning with a coward! (esp since you dont have HP regen yet :) )
Simply put you will need to judge whether or not to hit them or the lane creeps, after level 6 the decision is quite simple, Assassinate them once they have run away and use creep to heal.
Their stuns are normally used to keep you in one place while they run in, if this is the case, run like hell after the stun wears off and then hit lane creeps or neutral creeps until you are fully healed and run back in!
If however their cool-downs are long or mana is low, feel free to harass them and get your health back, again, 2-4 hits and run, allow enemy creeps to resume normal operations, 2-4 hero hits and run back.

What if your seriously hurt and have run across the entire map?
Well then HP regen may have helped but not really, with such a low HP regen rate, you will still need to go back to base and heal! like you did Lvl 8 and below.
Now at this point the miraculous Healing Salve will help you but assumming you popped it or have run out temporarily, run to a safe neutral creep area and begin to kill them off and life steal your way back to full...
Thats way to slow normally, so a better way is to go to a "safish" lane with enemy heroes and then LS your way to full HP and gain Gold and XP at same time!


3/3/2013 1:37am -> UPDATED:
* Removed intermediary Items from Build section
* Added Eye of Skadi to Situational Items.
* Read comments from players -> considering further changes.

3/3/2013 3:06pm -> UPDATED:
* Removed Eye of Skadi from the Do Not Take Section.
* Added Side Notes giving a more detailed analysis of some items and abilities.
* Fixed some cosmetic appearance.
* continuing to look at comments and take advise.

3/3/2013 4:26pm -> UPDATED:
* Added section on Why and How to LS with Sniper

---How to play sniper during the evolution of the battle.


---How to beat Sniper.

---Will Follow.

---Please leave your comments, suggestions and improvements (including cosmetic improvements).

---Remember that this is an Attack Speed focused build and I have play tested it.

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