So this is my first guide I have ever written. I really like unusual builds, and if these builds even make sense, I'm definitely in. The build I am describing here contains ideas I had, which I have not seen anywhere else (partially except for an outdated post on reddit). Since you did not stop reading after the title, I hope you will read this one and see that I am not only serious but tried hard to make it plausible. Based on a slogan I love:
Open Minds, Open Sources, Open Future!
Chaos Knight is best known for his carrying potential, building up huge amounts of stats and then stomping out the enemy heroes and buildings with his illusions.
He is also widely known for his subpar play when his illusions just pop by Medusa, Earthshaker or worst Lion (due to his AoE Hex at 25). The reason for his underperformance is simple: He has two abilities (i.e. Chaos Bolt and Reality Rift), that do absolutely not scale with his net worth at all. Even his Chaos Strike now scales only with his damage not with his attack speed anymore (due to it now being cooldown instead of chance based), so it does not really fit to a fast and hard hitting killing machine. His illusions are more or less the only reason he is played as a core.
Now the idea for rethinking his kit has arisen when I took a closer look at his Aghanim's Scepter upgrade (I know he has it for a long time now, but I never really bothered to notice it). In fact, this upgrade increases the number of non-scaling abilities to 3, but we will take a closer look into this later.
Generally speaking, we will concentrate more on what our beloved Chaos Knight can do with his non-scaling abilities instead of accumulating farm and using his scaling ones.
Actually we will use the farm our other carries collect, making ourselves stronger with their net worth.
But let's start:
2. Pros and Cons
The Pros and Cons of Chaos Knight have not changed, we just change the way we are looking at his kit. But anyway I will address some important points:
Two decent disables
Built-In sustain with Chaos Strike
High health pool
High attack damage
Dispel/Dodge with Phantasm
Very high Movement Speed
Low mana pool
Low int gain
Bad fighter without his illusions
3. The skills in their new context
Okay, so why do I think that Chaos Knight could be suitable for a support role? Because his skillset resembles that of a support well, especially when the Aghanim's Scepter is up.
either stuns for a long time or deals a lot of damage. At rank 1 if it "only" stuns for 1.25s it deals a whopping 180 damage. As a comparison Magic Missile
deals 100 damage and stuns for 1.5s at rank 1.
The great thing about this skill is, that both cases are equally nice (in the early-midgame). You either get a lot of damage and some time to hit your target or some moderate damage but a lot of time to hit your target with auto attacks.
And this time is more valuable when paired with a core (instead of with a support), that ALSO hits as hard as you already do.
The later the game, the more valuable is the long stun time, so the spell loses a little bit in the later stages, but even the worst case 2 seconds are still a nice duration.
One tremendous weakness of this skill is its sloooow projectile speed. It makes it very easy for enemies to dodge, disjoint or otherwise avoid this spell. So if there are enemies like Puck
or Manta Style
carriers, it's best to let someone else engage first, stun from melee range if possible or save the Chaos Bolt
for another target.
has so much to offer, that it's weird to see it on a carry hero.
It has low mana cost, extremely low cooldown on rank 4, movement speed AND attack speed slow (!) and a displacement effect (it does not cancel chanelled abilities, but this would make this skill OP). As a core, you want to use this skill to pull in and vaporize someone with your illusions, and that is also what this build wants as soon as we have an Aghanim's Scepter
(note that Phantasm
s illusions from allied heroes are teleported to you just like your own). But before, we will use this skill as much as possible to disrupt the enemies farmgame, to land Chaos Strike
on ranged heroes or initiate an engage.
The attack speed slow is extremely valuable against carry targets, as it gives you a huge damage advantage if they decide to trade instead of run.
This spell is also great to break Linken's Sphere
due to its low cooldown later and low manacost.
An overlooked awesome point of this skill is its high cast point (which is generally a bad thing). It gives you time to cancel the spell before spending mana or putting it on cooldown. And the best thing about this is, that both the animation and the sound are played, even if you cancel. Do not underestimate the psychological effect of properly used animation cancelling. Two aspects play a role here: At first the enemy possibly plays more defensively, as you are constantly pressuring them with the POSSIBILITY to pull them in, secondly if they start to ignore it, they will react slower when you actually let the spell be cast.
This is the one skill that does not completely fit into the support context, but it is far from useless.
In the laning phase this skill is what helps you to sustain in the lane and poke down your enemies at the same time. You do not have to bother about last hitting, wasting crits on creeps. Denies do not trigger Chaos Strike
. And so the only thing, this skill will hit are your enemies' faces. If needed you can also go into the jungle to hit a jungle creep every few seconds to heal up, so we use this skill as a harassment and sustainment tool.
If used with Shadow Blade
this skill also provides a nice amount of burst for ganks and initiation (though, note that the extra damage does not
His ultimate is the one skill that made him viable as a core. But we will use it in a slightly different way. At first we will look at what it does (including an Aghanim's Scepter
Standard dispels the target.
Gives the target 0.5s of invulnerability.
Creates three illusions at the targets position.
These illusions deal 50/75/100% damage and take 180%.
The first two points are often overlooked, but can become very important in our support role. With Aghanim's Scepter
and the 12% cooldown reduction talent, Phantasm
goes down to ~97s cooldown instead of 145s. This makes it totally viable to use it as a defensive spell on allied heroes, to dodge a stun, dispel a silence or create illusions to confuse your enemies. If not needed the illusions can be used to farm some jungle camps or push out a lane (especially useful on Radiance
It is worth noting that at rank 3 the illusions deal 100% damage (and also use passives and e.g. Desolator
)! Four Phantom Assassin
s with full damage can wreck a whole teamfight. Also they only take 180% damage, which is very low for illusions ( Manta Style
illusions take 400%, Mirror Image
take 350%). On heroes that are sufficiently tanky e.g. by a Heart of Tarrasque
, these illusions can endure a whole fight.
Alright, it is time to discuss the similarity to Disruption
. Both skills "hide" the target for a short duration but most importantly, both create illusions of any hero to fight for you (of course only allies for Phantasm
is more versatile, while Phantasm
is of course much stronger in numbers.
I will do some number crunching below (if you are not interested just skip it):
DISRUPTION VS PHANTASM
In cases of short, intense fights, so a teamfight biased game, Phantasm
is far superior to Disruption
(i.e. during the first 30s).
In games of split pushing and small, frequent skirmishes Disruption
might perform better. But of course these two skills should not be the only reason to pick either Shadow Demon or Chaos Knight but rather the whole lineup of your and the enemy team. If the enemies have no illusion destroying skills, both might be worth considering as position 4 and 5. ;)
The skill sequence given above is not mandatory. I love Reality Rift, but if you realize, that you can hit your enemies very often, because they are all melees, Chaos Strike might be the better choice. If the enemy has highly elusive heroes, you might need more stun time, so level Chaos Bolt first. You are not dependent on farm speed, so just adapt freely to the situation!
4. The role of Chaos Knight
I would suggest to give this build the tags Support, Roamer and Initiator and I want to describe the respective roles here:
Your support role is very aggressive. Besides placing one ward or the other you will want to stay on either the off- or safelane earlygame and try to dominate it with your skills, so your carry can farm freely. It will work better if paired with a hero that already hits hard early such as Slardar
. Your high movement speed enables you to charge at your enemy and hit him with your Chaos Strike
. If they trade, Chaos Strike
gives you a substantial edge. If not, dance around the trees and wait for the next Chaos Strike
This works extremely well against melee heroes.
(The big advantage is, that you do not have to concentrate on last hitting, so you can shove every Chaos Strike
in the face of the enemies, which keeps you topped and them low, without pushing the lane.)
With a Soul Ring
, you can keep putting Chaos Bolt
s to their faces and finally engage with Reality Rift
and your lanemate to get a kill.
's high movement speed helps to traverse the map fast so you can search for kills. Either wait for night time or use a smoke to gank another lane. Reality Rift
on rank 1 is very weak, as it has short range, high cooldown and only slows for 10%, so it might be necessary to open with Chaos Bolt
or another disable from your teammates.
Buying either drums of endurance or Shadow Blade
(or both) as initiation tools makes ganking much easier, as well as preparing you for your role as a teamfight initiator.
The tools used to gank other lanes can also be used to initiate a fight or, if your team has a better initiator (e.g. Tidehunter
or Sand King
), are excellent to give a good follow-up after initiation.
Depending on the enemy team your task is to take out a squishy support as soon as possible or engage high priority targets and disrupt the fight with your abilities.
The Shadow Blade
makes it very easy to sneak up on the back line and burst down the first hero before the fight even started. If you already have an Aghanim's Scepter
the engage would look like: Shadow Blade
+ Chaos Strike
-> Chaos Bolt
on your carry -> Reality Rift
. This should be enough to kill a conventional support either instantly or at least pretty quickly (especially if you get 4s stun and Anti-Mage
Even if you die during the fight, do not forget to continue microing your illusions. As they only take 180% damage, they survive pretty long and cause a lot of chaos (hurr hurr) among the enemies. If you are awesome at micromanagment, it might be convenient to attack a different hero with each illusion, so that enemy heroes are prone to waste time on movement or autohits to avoid getting hit.
5. Talent choices
The talents you pick should always be the given ones, as they complement the support playstyle more:
o +20 Movement speed provides you with the speed to keep up with most enemies to throw your Chaos Bolt and Reality Rift, which allow your teammates to kill the targets. In addition it helps to escape in dangerous situations, as you are mostly not as tanky as a core.
o 12% Cooldown reduction lets you cast your spells more, and since our build is about casting our spells as much as possible, this is a great talent to pick. Note that also item cooldowns are reduced, so activatable items are much stronger with this talent.
o 150 G/min is always welcome. In fact, the BKB piercing Reality Rift is only a situational pick, if you really have to engage a certain hero and keep him away from your team, wasting some BKB seconds. This talent has proven to be awesome against Sniper that thinks he is safe in the backline with BKB up.
o +2 Max. Stun duration for Chaos Bolt is MASSIVE in the late game. If you have strong illusions of other carries, getting out a 6s stun on a target is way enough to kill it.
Though with the 12% CDR talent, the cooldown reduction of Chaos Strike brings it to 1.76 seconds. If you catched up with farm and your team has enough lockdown, this option might also be worth considering.
So we see that I avoided the stat talents, as we most of the time do not want to boost our own illusion but use the stats of our teammates.
6. Item choices
These are the items I think are a must-have for this build to work.
, the first item you want to build (except for a Magic Wand
maybe) and probably the most important one in the early- to mid-game. With this item you always have mana ready to throw a Chaos Bolt
, allowing you to roam the map more efficiently.
Drum of Endurance
is always a great item. It provides movement speed, mana regen and bulks out your stats. The active is VERY useful in ganks and escapes, so don't hesitate to beat the drums.
makes it very easy to gank and engage, as described above. Even more movement speed during shadow walk and a bunch of extra damage on top of your Chaos Strike
are the icing on the cake.
There might be some cases, where you don't want to build a Shadow Blade
, e.g. if you already have a Riki
in your team. But having these heroes is also a reason not to pick support CK, because having two roamers is risky and mostly not worth it.
or Tranquil Boots
. I am still not completely sure, which one I would recommend more. I would prefer Arcane Boots
if the ganks go well and easy, so that you can throw around your spells even more, and Tranquil Boots
if you take a lot of damage during ganks or need that extra bit of movement speed to engage.
of course. One of the reasons to play this build. There is no real need to rush it, because your carries need to be decently farmed to get the most out of it. But you definitely want it before that late game (i.e. before the decisive teamfights).
These are the items, that depend on the game. Since this build is supposed to provide utility to the game, several useful items are included, which also fit to the aggressive frontliner that we are. Note that the 12% cooldown reduction talent also reduces item cooldowns!
, oh I love this item. Very useful if you are in the middle of the fights after breaking out of your Shadow Blade
. A must-have against Windranger
, Phantom Assassin
and many other glass cannons.
gives a bunch of strength and damage, which is useful, if you are forced to use Phantasm
on your own, or have not built the scepter yet. The disarm is very welcome later to prevent the carry you engage from autohitting.
is built from your Shadow Blade
and is very useful against Phantom Assassin
and so on.
, I am not kidding. This item can be very strong, if you need to disable a hero you engage for even longer. Chaos Bolt
provides enough time to let you channel, while your illusions hit your target. Also helps pushing, as Chaos Knight
himself is not a great tower hitter.
if you have the money in the late game. Disables through BKB giving your team a decisive edge.
, the heart of any ganker. But I confess, that I only build it against heroes like Morphling
. Although it also gives movement speed, it's pretty expensive for what it does.
is strong in physical heavy teams. An early Medallion of Courage
can make ganking much easier e.g. with Slardar
or Monkey King
on your team.
Pipe of Insight
is awesome, if the enemy has a lot of magic damage and noone else in your team wants to build one.
is a great item, especially if you have Arcane Boots
anyway. It is very expensive, but remember that (a) the 12% cooldown reduction talent and (b) it not only provides great sustain to your team, but also an additional dispel for yourself. Imagine a game against Silencer
...after Global Silence
you can pop Guardian Greaves
and use Phantasm
on your carry to make you both functional again.
7. About counterpicks
Of course even support Chaos Knight is countered by illusion destroying heroes like Lion(!!!), Medusa, Earthshaker etc.
But the difference is, that by countering him, the enemy "only" counters a support. In fact, if you realize, your illusions get destroyed instantly by certain skills, use Phantasm to either farm the jungle, save your carry or splitpush. You can even play mindgames by moving a single illusion of your carry on a pushed out lane to divert the enemy team.
Your other spells are enough to enable your other carries, so being countered is not as bad as it would be if you were a core.
Naturally you do not want to pick Chaos Knight into above mentioned heroes, regardless of being support or core, but as a support it is not as bad if the enemy e.g. last picks a counter against you.
8. Closing thoughts
Okay, this was my first ever guide I would like to share.
I believe that Chaos Knight has more to offer than simple Hand of Midas-farmgames. I have not played too many games with this build yet, but I seemed to work out.
So let me know any constructive criticism.