Welcome to my Sand King's Concise Guide! My nick in game is shap3dg and I love to play with him. He is one of my favourite heroes. This is my first guide so feel free to share your thoughts!.
This guide is made for the purpose of other players can learn and play Sand King effectively. If the reader got a winning streak or reached 5k mmr I feel that this guide has accomplished with its objective.
Sand King is a hero with great mobility, survavility and low cooldown linear stuns. A great iniciator/nuker with AOE skills that are very useful on teamfights. He is pretty like Earthshaker.
Sand Storm makes him invisible for a few seconds allowing him to escape, chase, gank or disjoint projectiles as well as doing magic damage per second in AOE.
His unique passive skill Caustic Finale allows him to chase and slow down heroes as well as doing 220 magic damage in AOE everytime he kills an unit. Great for clearing creep waves in lategame.
His ultimate Epicenter is a massive AOE magical burst damage that combined with other skills can wipe the enemy team in seconds.
Playing with Sand King requieres a lot of timing, good positioning and map awarness. Missing a Burrowstrike or an Epicenter in a critical situation can cost your life and usually the game.
With the huge buff in the 6.86 patch we will see a lot of Sand King in pro matches as well as in pubs.
280 magic damage with a constant stun of 2.17 secs with a low cd of 11 secs from a 650 cast range (at level 4)
[*] This skill stuns in a line as well as you travel to the final position. So you have to be very careful when using it because you can be out of position and killed easily.
[*] You can stun on impassable ground to avoid being killed.
[*] Try to land a single Burrowstrike on multiple heroes for maximium efficency.
[*] You can stun as soon as your Epicenter starts without interrupting it.
In the 6.86 patch with Aganhim's Scepter the Burrowstrike cast range is doubled (from 650 to 1300 range) as well as applies Caustic Finale to all units.
This new Scepter added with the new item Aether Lens increase the cast range of Burrowstrke by the total amount of 1500 range. Totally insane.
100 magical damage per second in a 525 radius while being channeled. Has a cooldown of 10secs 30 manacost at level 4.
The most important part is that you gain a 1.5 sec invisibility after you stop channeling. This allow you to escape and avoid being killed.
[*] You can disjoint ranged enemy projectiles like autoattacks and certain skills like Magic Missile, Shackleshot, Paralyzing Cask, Arcane Bolt, Wraithfire Blast, Omnislash and a lot more.
[*] You can evade tower projectiles allowing you to dive a lot.
[*] You can evade single targeted spells like Eul's Scepter of Divinity.
220 magic damage in a 400 radius with a 30% slow everytime you kill a unit (110 dmg if it didn't die) at level 4.
Caustic Finale is one of the most underrated passive skills in the game. In the recent 6.86 patch now applies a 30% slow (instead of 25%) in a 400 radius everytime the timer expires. This allows you to chase a lot more as well making Sand King a feared offlaner vs melee hard carries.
Now with Aganhim's Scepter your Burrowstrike applies Caustic Finale to all units that stuns. This is totally insane on teamfights because if only 1 unit dies it will explode for 220 damage triggering more poisoned units for even more damage in a 400 radius.
You land an Epicenter followed by a Burrowstrike improved with Aganhim's Scepter in a 5 creep wave with 3 heroes.
Every unit that you kill will explode for 220 damage so 5 creeps = 1100 damage in a 400 radius.
Every hero will suffer an instantly 1100 damage.
If one dies, it will be 1320 damage.
If 2 heroes die it will be 1540 damage.
If 3 heroes die it will be 1760 damage.
This damage is only from Caustic Finale. You have to add the total damage from Epicenter, Burrowstrike and Sand Storm. The damage output is huge.
1100 total magic damage with a 30% attack and movespeed slow in a final radius of 700 (at level 3).
This skill makes Sand King very useful on teamfights. You can combo Epicenter with other skills like Reverse Polarity, Call Down, Requiem of Souls, Echo Slam to completely destroy the enemy team.
[*] Keep in mind that this is a CHANNELED skill for 2 secs. So if you get interrupted you will not be able to cast it and your cd will not reset. Any action like moving, attacking, stopping or using another item will cancel it.
[*] You can cast it and immediately blink to do the most damage.
[*] The basic combo is channel your Epicenter in a safe place where the enemy can't see you. Then as soon as the first pulse of Epicenter starts blink to the enemy team and Burrowstrike them. You can use Sand Storm for additional damage but is recommendable to use it to escape from the fight.
[*] Epicenter will still being casted even if you have died.
You start with Boots of Speed, Tango and 2x Clarity. Your main objective now is to take one of the Bounty Rune that appears as soon as the game starts (and maybe First Blood)
Remember to never skip your Boots of Speed. If your ******ed allied support doesn't want to buy chicken/wards just buy chicken and then your Boots of Speed. Sand King really needs that extra MS to be really effective in the early game.
The strategy to take the Bounty Rune is simple. Just hide on the Fog of War near the Bounty Rune spawn until the timer hits the 0:03 minutes. Then you run straight to the Bounty Rune and stun any hero that is waiting for the it with Burrowstrike. The 2.17 seconds of stun allows you to take the Bounty Rune and escape without any major problems.
[*] If the enemy team has a lot of disablers like Rubick, Tusk, Vengeful Spirit or any orher hero with stun/silence sometimes is better to not fight and avoid being killed.
In the first 10 minutes your job is to roam the enemy lanes and try to get kills as soon as possible. The 2.17 sec stun of your Burrowstrike is HUGE on early game and you must abuse it.
When you hit lvl 2 you should spend 1 level on Caustic Finale. The 30% slow every 6 secs allows you to harrass a lot more and getting more kills. Combining Caustic Finale with Orb of Venom allows you to hit like a truck and slow heroes even more.
[*] Remember that Orb of Venom is no longer a Unique Attack Modifier so they stack with your Caustic Finale.
At level 3 you max your Sand Storm. The 1.5 sec of invisibilty allows you to dive under towers and gank without being killed. It has a lot of cd at level 1 so try to use it carefully.
When you hit lvl 4 you should level Burrowstrike to increase your stun range and increase your killing potential as well. If you are having a bad time roaming and ganking then proceed to max your Sand Storm and go to jungle. With Sand Storm level 2 allows you to jungle pretty well.
You should get your Blink Dagger around the 15-25 minutes (if you go for the Roaming build). Your objective now is to participate in teamfights as much as possible. A good landed Epicenter can wipe the enemy team in seconds so try to use it wisely.
[*] If you are having a bad time or your team is miserably losing the game You can use your Epicenter to get solo kills. Although is not the best way to use it because of its long cd it's better than nothing.
Now you should get your Aghanim's Scepter as well as some of the luxury/situational items. Try to clear the enemy creep waves with Caustic Finale everytime you can and only stop doing this if your team is teamfighting/ganking.
Remember to place aggressive wards all the time. Due to his high movility/survavility you can ward in the enemy jungle/Roshan without being killed.
Your objective is try to get your Blink Dagger as soon as possible while your team is 4vs5 for the next 10-12 minutes.
Do not buy any support items because it will only delay your Blink Dagger.
You start with Boots of Speed and Tango. Try to get level 2 Sand Storm to jungle alone effectively by leeching XP from the mid-safelane or simply by pulling and stacking neutrals.
It's not a good idea to jungle since the nerf in the last patch (The neutral creeps have now a stackable 20% magic resistance aura) but anyways it's still a viable option for Sand King.
Try to secure the runes for your mid patner and maybe ganking the enemy mid laner for a kill is always a good idea. Try to not be the classic 'autist jungler' and help the team while you stack and farm in the jungle.
Keep in mind that with the new patch they changed a lot the Radiant jungle so it will be a good idea to Google a guide of stacking and farming neutrals in the current patch.
As soon as you get your Blink Dagger try to gank the enemy lanes. You will be level 6 or 7 by that time so landing a good Epicenter with your Blink Dagger it would be easy kills.
If your team is being ganked a lot consider getting out of the jungle and help them. It's very annoying to see your teammate happily jungling while your team is being murdered.
Sand King due to his Sand Storm and Caustic Finale is a viable offlaner.
You start with Boots of Speed, Tango, Clarity and one Observer Ward.
Your main objective in the hard lane is simply TO NOT DIE and if they don't have aggressive supports or they left the enemy hardcarry alone you can then push the lane and try to kill him.
Your Caustic Finale in early game vs. melee heroes hurts A LOT. So if you feel confident you can try to kill him by applying Caustic Finale as many creeps as you can and then Burrowstrike them along with the enemy hero to do massive damage and slow. Finish the enemy hero with right click attacks.
Always save Sand Storm and Burrowstrike to avoid ganks and keep and eye out of any Dust of Appearance or Sentry Ward.
You can always try to gank the enemy midlane from the hardlane without being seen since the duration of Burrowstrike is very effective on earlygame.
If things went not so good you can always leave the lane and go to jungle. However if you did good you should have your Blink Dagger pretty fast and start to gank another lanes as well.
Remember to buy wards and place them on the enemy jungle. The mid laner will always go for his jungle to stack/kill neutrals so it's a perfect oppotunity to kill him.
Boots of Speed is a MUST item on Sand King's early game. The extra MS allows him to land a good Burrowstrike as well as chasing/diving/escaping effectively.
Orb of Venom is not longer a Unique Attack Modifier so it stacks with your Caustic Finale allowing you to hit like a truck and slowing enemies up to 42%!. Very useful in early ganks and harrasing enemy heroes.
Tranquil Boots allows you to regenerate HP quickly between fights and prevents you from returning to your fountain and losing valuable time.
Soul Ring allows you to solve your early mana problems and they combine very well with Tranquil Boots. The HP and Mana reg are always nice.
Arcane Boots are usually a 'main item' on SK. But I have to disagree. SK is an aggressive support that needs to kill as fast as possible. If you go for Arcane Boots you will be skipping Tranquil Boots so you will have to return to fountain every time you get low hp and then losing valuable time. It's a viable option if only your team is mana starving and nobody is going for it.
Blink Dagger is the ITEM you must go for. A SK without Blink Dagger is almost useless. Try to get it before 20 minutes. 10-12 minutes if you are jungling and rushing for it.
Blink Dagger allows you to Burrowstrike from a maximium 1850 range without Scepter (1200+650). You can land Epicenter without being seen or interrupted and allows you to escape from danger with Sand Storm and then immediately blinking out.
With the recent 6.86 patch Aghanim's Scepter on Sand King now doubles his Burrowstrike range cast and applies Caustic Finale to all unit that stuns.
A really nice buff since the old Scepter only improved the number of pulses of Epicenter with a pityful damage on lategame.
Now you can stun from a very long range and increments your damage output in teamfights a lot since EACH unit that is Burrowstriked will explode for 220 damage (at level 4) in AOE so it's pretty like Echo Slam (or even better).
Ethereal Blade is a core item on Sand King. The 40% increased magic damage debuff combined with Epicenter (and all of your active abilities) is always a pick off. Excellent item against heavy physical lategame carries like Phantom Assassin, Troll Warlord, Riki, Sven, etc. With the Ether Blast you can save your allies too!
Eul's Scepter of Divinity is a nice additional escape/disable mechanism that works very well against heroes that relies on movility like Storm Spirit, Queen of Pain, Windranger, etc. Just Eul them, cast your Epicenter, then Burrowstrike and watch them dying at your feet.
It's useful from escaping of 'death combos' like Lina+ Eul's Scepter of Divinity, Disruptor's Glimpse+ Static Storm and avoiding silences like Orchid Malevolence. With the Active Ability you can save your teammates too!
A really good cheap item that synergies well with all of your abilites. Keep in mind that the manacost is pretty high and you will have some serious mana problems if you go for it. Try to get a pair of Enchanted Mango in your inventory everytime.
Aether Lens is a new item from the 6.86 patch. Basically it increases your cast range and gives you a little magic amp damage as well as spell resistance. It's a nice item in early-mid game but falls on lategame.
I mean on lategame is always better going for a Ethereal Blade or Scythe of Vyse instead of Aether Lens. 40% magical damage amp and a 3.5 sec disabler are always better than Aether Lens.
Consider going for it if you are terrible underfarmed or you already have a Cloak against magical burst damage heroes like Zeus, Ancient Apparition, Disruptor,etc.
Scythe of Vyse is always a good item on lategame matches in almost any hero. The 3.5 sec disable can secure a pick off on lategame and win the match so you should always aim for it in any long game.
Consider buying first Ethereal Blade over Scythe of Vyse. The 40% magic damage amplification is always superior vs a 3.5 sec disabler. If you are lucky enough with Ethereal Blade + Epicenter you can one-shot any squishy enemy hero instead of just disabling him.
Force Staff is a cheap item that allows you to enter/escape from teamfights a lot more efficient. It's a great item that offers you a lot of mobility as well as the option to save your allies from danger with the 'Force' ability.
Since the 6.86 patch is no longer a core item on Sand King because Aghanim's Scepter and Aether Lens already give you a lot of casting range needed to enter/escape from teamfights.
Shiva´s Guard adds a lot of physical armor, an excellent passive AS slow as well as an active ability that adds -40% MS and 200 damage in AOE. It will solve your mana problems too.
Consider going for Shiva's Guard against right-clickers hardcarries like Phantom Assassin, Anti Mage, Chaos Knight, Troll Warlord, etc.
Due to his high mobility and survavility, Sand King makes an excellent gem carrier. Try to get it asap if you have one or more invisible enemy heroes.
Consider going for Vladmir's Offering if none of your team has already one or when you want to push/antipush. The extra % life steal and damage provides a solid buff specially on teamfights.
Great against Omniknight's Repel and Guardian Angel and killing instantly invoked units like Warlock's golems.
Remember to ward all the time!. Placing aggressive wards means that you can smoke gank enemy heroes more easily and thus increasing your chances to win the game.
Heroes with big AOE skills that only needs good positioning are always the best Sand King's friends.
Lifestealer with Infest on SK allows you to be a 'walking armed bomb'.
'The fun ends here'. Anti-Mage with his Spell Shield and Mana Break makes SK almost useless specially on lategame.
Consider buying Shiva's Guard to prevent him to burn away your precious mana and slowing his deadly auto-attacks as well.
Ember Spirit with Flame Ward means almost no damage from Sand King abilities and his Searing Chains can interrupt your holy Sand Storm as well as your Epicenter making Sand King extremely vulnerable.
You rely on the 1.5 seconds of invisibilty of Sand Storm to escape from fights and the fog of war to cast your Epicenter on your unexpected enemies so any hero that permanently reveals you on the minimap will counter you hard.
Consider going for Eul's Scepter of Divinity to remove the Track and Amplify Damage.
Any hero with long range disablers like Invoker, Earthshaker, Lion, Earth Spirit, Tiny, Tusk can cancel your Sand Storm and Epicenter as well as preventing you from entering/escaping from fights. That means that you will die a lot of times.
Consider buying a Force Staff or Eul's Scepter of Divinity to add an additional enter/escape mechanism.
Disruptor is one of the best counters to Sand King. His Thunder Strike reveals your position as well as cancel your Blink Dagger. With Glimpse+ Kinetic Field is almost impossible to escape and if that is not enough with Static Storm can shut you down completely.
Consider buying a Eul's Scepter of Divinity to cancel his Glimpse and avoid being killed.
This guy with Null Field reduces Sand King's total damage by a pitiyful amount specially on lategame. Speal Steal can use your own abilities against your team specially if he steals your Epicenter.
Silencer with Global Silence and Last Word completely shuts you down. The only way to counter him is waiting for his ultimate and then you cast your Epicenter or engaging first before him.
Consider buying a Black King Bar if you are extremely rich.
Doom is one of the best counters to any hero in the game and Sand King is not the exception.
Consider going for items that grants Max HP to mitigate the Doom's Ultimate and try to not dying from it.
You should pick Sand King when:
[*] The enemy team has a lot of position dependent heroes like Windranger, Storm Spirit, Queen of Pain, Lina, Phoenix ,etc.
[*] The enemy team has squishy lategame hard carries like Phantom Assassin, Slark, Arc Warden, Sniper, etc.
[*] Your team needs time to land their powerful skills like Echo Slam, Call Down, Reverse Polarity, etc
You should not pick Sand King when:
[*] The enemy team has a lot of stuns/silence/disablers.
[*] The enemy team has a two or more Sand King's hard counters.
I recommend you to check out some replays from the top N°1 Sand King player according to Dotabuff.
Pirate - Dotabuff - Dota 2 Stats
He has more than 3400 games played with Sand King so if you want to see some replays from him you will learn something new for sure.
Then I recommend you to watch professional games like WCA and others. With the nice buff on this patch Sand King will be picked a lot more in the pro scene so it's a great opportunity to watch and learn some new and wicked combos.
I hope this guide will be useful to new players as well as experimented players that maybe didn't know well the new mechanics of Sand King in this patch.
Try to not only read this guide but play and practice a lot with Sand King to truly master him. Once you master him it's very enjoyable to play with and you will have some ******s when you land a perfect 5 man Epicenter and seeing a lot of exploding corpses!
I hope you enjoy reading this guide as well as I enjoy writing and editing it.
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