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The Caste of One - Guide to Nyx Assassin

September 10, 2013 by Synergy
Comments: 13    |    Views: 46766    |   


Build 1
Build 2
Build 3

Ganker/Semi-carry

DotA2 Hero: Nyx Assassin




Hero Skills

Impale

1 3 5 7

Mana Burn

4 12 13 14

Spiked Carapace

2 8 9 10

Vendetta

6 11 16

Talents

15 17 18


The Caste of One - Guide to Nyx Assassin

Synergy
September 10, 2013


Introduction




Hello viewer,

This is the first guide I've ever published. I haven't played Dota for very long but my all time favourite hero is the Nyx Assassin (NA). He is one of my most successful heroes and I would like to share my thoughts by writing this guide. As of the 6.75 update Nyx Assassin received several remakes and buffs which I believe has significantly improved his viability, and he has seen much higher play in both competitive and casual scenes, even referred to as overpowered by many. Several months since I first published this guide, I have revisited it and updated it with fresher ideas.

This guide isn't meant for competitive or high level play, but mostly for people new to the hero who would like some guidelines. Nyx Assassin is not an easy hero but not overly complex too. With some practice it is easy to become decent with the hero, after all, practice makes perfect.

So without further ado, let us begin.

Lore

Pros & Cons

berserker rage

Pros
+ Extremely powerful ganker
+ Very high burst damage
+ Ability to cause chaos
+ Versatile and reliable stun
+ Lane control
+ Mana Burn scales into late-game
+ Invisibility
+ Badass voice


Cons
- Unable to solo kill in most cases without extra help or items.
- Extremely mana-dependant
- Mediocre stat gain
- Weak carry potential for an Agility hero
- Completely reliant on his abilities
- Partially countered by detection

Nyx Assassin is a versatile hero who can make use of reliable burst damage and disabling ability, able to quickly dispatch a key hero before a fight and get away with it. He can be played in multiple roles due to his low reliance on farm, however is still level dependant.

When and When Not to Pick




Preferably pick Nyx Assassin when:
  • The enemy has a lot of INT heroes
  • The enemy has a lot of squishy heroes (e.g. Crystal Maiden)
  • The enemy is easily shut down by constant ganks (e.g. hard carries such as Sniper)
  • The enemy has an Outworld Devourer


Preferably avoid picking Nyx Assassin when:
  • The enemy lineup is tanky (e.g. heroes such as Dragon Knight)
  • The enemy has a lot of magic resistance ( Rubick's Null Field, Anti-Mage's Spell Shield etc.)
  • The enemy has very few INT heroes



Note that this list is not exhaustive. There are many different situations where a Nyx Assassin pick may or may not work, and it's all up to you to judge for yourself.

Role

Nyx Assassin, unlike many Agility heroes, is NOT a hard carry, but more akin to a semi-carry. His primary role is a ganker and nuker, and often as a support in higher skill games.

Nyx Assassin is, like most gankers, his best during the mid-game. Like most nukers, his presence leaves the most impact in the mid-game, however his scaling Mana Burn abiliy and overall damage output gives him a respectable presence in the late-game.

Nyx Assassin specialises in hunting down squishy carries and supports, and practically feeds off Intelligence heroes. His huge burst damage allows for a quick kill on an unsuspecting foe and escaping before anybody can react.

Abilities

Hero preview of Nyx Assassin by DotaCinema on YouTube:





Impale


Type:
Targeting Type:


Active
Unit / Point
Rock spikes burst from the earth along a straight path. Enemy units are hurled into the air, then are stunned and take damage when they fall.

Level

1


2


3


4

Mana

95


115


135


155

Cooldown

11


11


11


11

Range

500


500


500


500

AoE

125


125


125


125

Duration

0.75 seconds

1.25 seconds

1.75 seconds

2.25 seconds
Effect

80 damage and stun

140 damage and stun

200 damage and stun

260 damage and stun

Notes:
  • Damage type: magical
  • Hit units will fly for 0.52 seconds before the real stun is applied.
  • Distance traveled is 700.
  • The wave of tendrils moves at 1600 units per second.

All zealot scarabs possess intimate knowledge of underground pathways, using them to their advantage.



Mana Burn


Type:
Targeting Type:


Active
Unit
Destroys the target hero's mana equal to a multiplier of its Intelligence, and deals damage equal to the mana burned.

Level

1


2


3


4

Mana

100


100


100


100

Cooldown

28


20


12


4

Range

600


600


600


600

AoE

N/A


N/A


N/A


N/A

Duration

N/A

N/A

N/A

N/A
Effect

Burns Mana equal to 3.5 times the target's Intelligence

Burns Mana equal to 4 times the target's Intelligence

Burns Mana equal to 4.5 times the target's Intelligence

Burns Mana equal to 5 times the target's Intelligence

Notes:
  • Damage type: magical
  • Damage dealt is proportional to mana lost

The tome in Ultimyr describes one scarab with the ability to eat away at the minds of lesser beings.



Spiked Carapace


Type:
Targeting Type:


Active
Instant
When activated, Spiked Carapace reflects and negates damage dealt to Nyx Assassin (max once from each source), as well as stunning the source of the damage.

Level

1


2


3


4

Mana

40


40


40


40

Cooldown

23


20


17


14

Range

N/A


N/A


N/A


N/A

AoE

N/A


N/A


N/A


N/A

Duration

1 instance (per enemy) reflected or 2.75 seconds

1 instance (per enemy) reflected or 2.75 seconds

1 instance (per enemy) reflected or 2.75 seconds

1 instance (per enemy) reflected or 2.75 seconds
Effect

Prevents and reflects 100% damage, stuns for 0.6 seconds

Prevents and reflects 100% damage, stuns for 1.2 seconds

Prevents and reflects 100% damage, stuns for 1.8 seconds

Prevents and reflects 100% damage, stuns for 2.4 seconds

Notes:
  • Damage type: pure
  • The damage reflected is calculated after all reductions (magic resistance, armor...).
  • Will only trigger on damage caused by an enemy player.
  • The stunned unit will always be the enemy player's hero.
  • Will affect each enemy at most once.

While their carapaces are relatively thin, they're guarded by a retractable field of razor-sharp spikes.



Vendetta


Type:
Targeting Type:


Active
Instant
Allows Nyx Assassin to become invisible and gain a speed bonus. If Nyx Assassin attacks to break the invisibility, massive bonus damage is dealt with the attack.

Level

1


2


3

Mana

160


210


260

Cooldown

70


60


50

Range

N/A


N/A


N/A

AoE

N/A


N/A


N/A

Duration

20 seconds

35 seconds

50 seconds
Effect

Deals 250 backstab damage. 16% movement speed increase

Deals 400 backstab damage. 18% movement speed increase

Deals 550 backstab damage. 20% movement speed increase

Notes:
  • Damage type: physical
  • If Nyx Assassin's invisibility expires, the bonus damage will not be dealt to the next target.
  • Nyx Assassin is revealed when he damages the target, not at the beginning of his attack.
  • Has a 0 second fadetime.

The scarab kills for the glory of his queen.






*Format by Dr. D, props to him!
*Info from playdota.com/heroes/nerubian assassin and http://www.dota2wiki.com/wiki/Nyx_Assassin

Build Justification

Skill Build



Impale is maxed first to increase the stun duration and damage. Spiked Carapace is then maxed out over Mana Burn as carapace increases stun duration, while Mana Burn's multiplier remains at 5x for all levels. Vendetta is taken at all levels as it is used for initiation and escape.


Item Build



Early Game






The staple item for every hero




Good for roaming. Gives a boost of 150 mana for the cost of 150 HP. With your passive 3 HP regeneration and the HP regeneration of Soul Ring the health loss is negligible. Try using as much as possible before every spell cast except when you're either in Vendetta or low on health. Note, you cannot deny yourself with this item; and the mana gained is temporary, plan ahead wisely!




Gives a decent boost to your Intelligence and other stats. Also builds into Dagon which is the primary reason for picking this up.

Optional items






Only get if you're solo-mid. By taking mid-lane it is assumed you understand the principles of rune control. Mid-lane is a very competitive lane, losing it could be a huge impact on your mid-game.



Good investment for constant ganking. Gives some extra HP and mana regen, and gains a charge for every enemy hero killed within a 1400 AoE (2 if you have 0 charges stored). Charges can be used to heal 400 HP, or used offensively to apply a 150 damage DoT over 8 seconds. The damage done by the charge is HP Removal, so it isn't reduced by anything but doesn't interrupt consumables.
Do not buy more than 1 Urn on the same team. Urn charges do not stack; the closest hero will receive the urn charge upon a kill.



Seldom picked up, normally used to increase physical damage output from Vendetta and allies. To combo with Vendetta use Medallion first, then activate Vendetta. Also gives a decent armour boost and mana regen. Pick this up if you're going a support role.



Mid-Game





Arcane Boots vs Tranquil Boots is a situational choice. In typical situations get Arcane Boots, however if your team already has a lot of Arcanes, or you have a Keeper of the Light, you may consider Tranquil Boots for easier roaming.


dagon

Ideally, if you've set up a respectable string of ganks, you should have your dagon up by 20 minutes. Now you may rejoice, for you are now able to get solo kills without allied help. Dagon is an instant cast 400 magic damage nuke, and is upgradeable by purchasing the recipe. It is advised against levelling up Dagon past 2 unless you're doing very well, as there are better items to invest your gold into. Your combo with Dagon should now be Vendetta> Impale>Dagon> Mana Burn
Some quick mental math might be needed to see whether dagon or Mana Burn hurts more, if Mana Burn ends up doing more damage use it first. Try not to have to spend more mana than needed to get a kill.



Luxury





A fun investment for when you're doing well. Ethereal Blade when cast turns your target and yourself into Ghost/Ethereal Form (same as Ghost Scepter) and does 2x of your primary stat (agility) + 75 magic damage. Both of you are slowed by 80% and are immune to physical damage for 3 seconds, but take 40% more magic damage. The magic damage amplification is key, as your nukes now hurt even more. It is expensive however, at 150 mana cost per use with a 30 second cooldown, so make sure you have enough mana.
With Ethereal Blade your combo will be as follows: Vendetta> Ethereal Blade> Impale> Mana Burn>dagon
Impale is cast before Ethereal Blade to ensure a stun, preventing them from escaping. You may reverse the order if you know they have no forms of escape.




By late game, if you have a good mana item (eg Scythe of Vyse), you should replace your boots with Boots of Travel. These save up an item slot giving you more space (not important), and give you 100 move speed with the ability to teleport to any allied structure or unit. Handy for pushing and base defense, as well as semi-global ganking.



A very impactful item for the late-game especially. Scythe of Vyse (also referred to as Sheepstick or Hex), turns any enemy hero into a harmless pig, preventing them from using items, abilities, and reducing movespeed to 100. A game changing item that can destroy a carry's damage output or silencing a key spellcaster on the enemy team. Also grants lots of intelligence and mana regeneration with a decent boost to stats. It is very expensive and difficult to farm but leaves a huge impact if finished. Note that it does not go through Magic Immunity, so be quick about it.


Suggested by Sp12

Getting a Bloodstone will completely settle your mana issues, allowing you to spam the hell out of Mana Burn and Impale, and granting you a huge amount of HP and MP with a bit of HP regen. This item gains charges whenever an enemy hero dies within 1675 range, granting 1 mana regen/sec, reduces gold loss on death by 25 and decreases respawn time by 4 seconds per charge. Upon death, nearby allies get 400 + 30 HP per charge in a 1675 AoE, and gives 1800 vision range at the spot of your death, allowing you to gain EXP in a 100 AoE, but loses a third of its charges.


Situational Items






There's only 1 reason you want this. The armour debuff activates before your Vendetta hits. Otherwise you don't need it. Only really get this if you're up against high armour heroes (eg Dragon Knight), but even then it's better for an autoattacker to pick this item up. You could get this however to free up a slot for your carry, but preferably only when you're doing well.




If you find your enemies are quick to get a single-target stun off on you before you can get your combo off, you might find picking this up a good option. Also good for blocking single-target ultimates such as Beastmaster's Primal Roar, Bloodseeker's Rupture, and the ever feared Doombringer ultimate Doom




Gives a nice boost to your mana and a good amount of mana regen, with a silence active soul burn that also increases damage taken by the target by 30%. Works well with your burst damage, and helps you take down elusive squishy heroes who rely on their escape abilities (eg Weaver, Anti-Mage). The only stat wasted from this item is the damage and attack speed, but it'll pay off in the long run. Consider rushing this if said hero is the enemy carry.




I have very little input on this item as I don't ever pick it up. Not saying it is bad I just can't ever seem to remember to use it. Summons 2 warriors and can be levelled to level 3. Each level increases the power of the minions. There is a ranged and melee minion; the melee minion has a passive mana burn and true sight at level 3 with a ridiculous base attack time. The ranged minion has an active mana burn ability and an aura that increases move speed and attack speed by a small amount at level 3. The melee minion also has a passive that deals 500 pure damage to the hero that kills it.
Note: 5 Necrobook is a legit strat.




If you want more mobility go ahead. It's a cheap item and can help you get around easier. Also helps to escape after a gank and assist teammates and yourself with positioning. This can be used on enemies so try forcing enemies into your team like the Windrunner bot loves doing.




Similar to Force Staff, except this is used to avoid wards. As an escape mechanism it needs some juking before it can be used, so be sure to learn that before picking this up.


Rejected Items






These items are for heroes that need to farm for a long time. Nyx Assassin isn't a late-game carry, so he has no use for a farming tool.
Note: Vendetta damage does not affect cleave



Any DPS items that a carry would get is wasted on Nyx Assassin since you are mostly reliant on your spells rather than your autoattacks.



If you're very far behind and are taking this as a last resort, just give space for your carry to farm it, don't get it yourself. You don't have the attack speed or HP to be able to take such a risk.

Keep in mind that this is not an exhaustive list. Any item that increases DPS is counterproductive on a burst damage hero.

Early Game

Laning with Nyx Assassin is very versatile. He can be placed in the mid-lane due to effectiveness with levels and rune control, or in an aggressive trilane with his powerful disable, or as a solo offlaner with his high base HP regen, disables, and effectiveness without farm.

Mid-lane



When playing mid, it is worthwhile to get just 1 Tango and about 3 Iron Branches. This leaves you with 354 gold remaining. This gold will be saved to get a fast Bottle giving you more versatility with your ganking and letting you spam your skills more. Mana Burn will cripple your enemy in mid, as long as you're quick to get the runes. It is imperative that you have constant vision of at least one rune spot, so if your team didn't buy observer wards you can spend a bit of extra gold to buy it. It will be difficult to outlane some heroes such as Queen of Pain with her excellent lane presence, or Templar Assassin with her powerful harass, but the main goal is to get a lot of levels quickly in order to start ganking.


Off-lane/Hard-lane



When playing in the off-lane (also referred to as the suicide lane, hard lane or long/short lane) last hitting should be your last priority. In descending order of importance:
  1. Surviving
  2. Getting exp and levels
  3. Getting farm

Do not worry about you lack of farm, for you're mostly independant on farm. You can easily make up for lost gold and exp by ganking other lanes with enough levels. Your base HP regen with regen you bought should be enough for sustain. Remember, play it safe and don't overextend and you should succeed in your lane.
In pubs you're usually in a dual lane (unless there's a jungler) so you might be able to set up some kills with a bit of help.


Trilane



I have little input on trilaning as I admittedly have almost no experience in it. I will link a guide on playdota.com by Cerebros

http://www.playdota.com/guides/basics-about-tri-laning

as well as a video guide by PurgeGamers
(note the video slightly outdated but the main idea is no different)

Mid Game

Mid-game is where your effectiveness starts to show. Heroes will have a high enough INT for Mana Burn to start doing some good damage, and by this point if all has been going smoothly for you your dagon should be farmed up. If you're in the support role Observer Wards still are and always will be important. Having vision protects your team from incoming ganks, and lets you pick off some heroes who are farming.

Solo-killing in ganks should be easily pulled off now. Any squishy hero will be easy food for you. If you know the area nearby is warded, you should activate Vendetta early. Initiate by breaking invisibility, then throw an Impale followed by a Mana Burn and dagon combo. If you target isn't dead by now (unlikely but possible), try killing them with a few right clicks. If you can't kill them soon you should just leave them be. Better to send that hero back to base then risk their team coming to countergank.

Ganking etiquette



Here is a list of some good habits you should have when ganking.
  • Always check inventory of the hero you are ganking
    If you see an odd number of sentry wards or a Gem of True Sight, it is wise to avoid going solo against that hero. Get your allies to assist with initiating.
  • Always scout out the immediate area
    Try not to waste too much time on this, but do it anyway. Even if a hero looks like he's farming alone, it's possible his team might be right around the corner.
  • Get nearby allies to assist you
    Not only does it help guarantee a kill, it also grants your ally assist gold and EXP. If yo are ganking the carry's lane, try to give your carry the last hit if possible. He gets more gold from getting the last hit on the hero which brings him closer to his next item.
  • Estimate your damage output
    Do a rough estimate of your total damage output before engaging. Remember, Mana Burn does 5x the target's intelligence in magical damage, Impale does magical damage as well as dagon, and Vendetta is physical damage. All heroes have a passive 25% magic resistance. Using a bit of mental math to judge if a full combo is enough to kill the target before he gets away.

Late Game

Unless you had an impressive start, you probably won't have enough burst damage to kill anyone in a single combo, unless they are very squishy, have extremely high INT levels, or that hero is under some form of damage amplification (e.g. Slardar's Amplify damage). Your role at this stage is more of a support role, so your item choices at this point should be support items such as Scythe of Vyse or perhaps even Pipe of Insight. Adjust your item choices according to the situation.



There are more possible options and many more scenarios, but I won't list them here. Base your item choices around the situation.

Most items in Dota fulfill niche roles, so bend your item build as needs be.

Friends, Foes & Food

Friends


  • Bounty Hunter
    Track combined with your innate ganking ability will give your team a ridiculous gold advantage, and your burst damage synergises with Bounty Hunter's burst damage playstyle


  • Slardar
    Amplify Damage reduces enemy armour by a ridiculous 8/14/20, increasing the damage from Vendetta by frightening amounts.


  • Crystal Maiden and Keeper of the Light
    These heroes are able to solve your mana issues early game with Arcane Aura and Chakra Magic respectively


  • Disablers
    To name a few. Any hero with a reliable stun can combo with your Impale to stunlock an enemy


  • Nukers
    Burst damage from yourself can be combo'd with other heroes with devastating results. When done effectively it can cripple the enemy early game, especially the carry.


  • Special mentions
    Heroes with difficult to hit spells (e.g. Meat Hook, Sacred Arrow, Split Earth) will find it much easier to land using Impale, guaranteeing most kills when combo'd




Foes


  • True Sight amplify damage

    True sight will counter your Vendetta, removing your key element: the element of surprise.


  • Silences

    For a hero who depends on his abilities, being silenced completely removes that aspect.




Food


  • Squishy heroes

    Heroes with low HP pools will be obliterated by your nuke combo before they can react


  • Intelligence heroes

    With their naturally high INT gain Mana Burn deals incredible amounts of damage especially late game.
    A notable exception is Ogre Magi who has high STR gain and low INT gain for an INT hero


  • outworld devourer

    Outworld Devourer, Outworld Demolisher, Outworld Destroyer, Obsidian Destroyer, whatever you want to call him is hard countered by Nyx Assassin. His playstyle revolves around stacking lots of INT items to boost his mana pool, which directly increases the damage done by Mana Burn. Not to mention the fact that he rarely builds a lot of HP, making him an easy kill by mid-game.

    He could however dominate you in mid-lane if you take that, for his Astral Imprisonment will cripple your already tiny mana pool. You will not be able to win a lane against an OD, so just hang back and get EXP and a little bit of farm.
    Note: You gain 0 EXP while under the effects of Astral Imprisonment. Try as much as possible to avoid being hit by this spell.




Others

  • Heroes with high Intelligence gain

    These non-int heroes will still find Mana Burn a huge nuisance due to their decent Intelligence gain per level.

Epilogue

I hope you have enjoyed reading this guide. I put in a lot of effort into making this a pleasant and informative read. I hope my guide has given you detailed insights into playing this incredible hero.

Please leave a rating and your feedback below. I want this guide to be as concise and accurate as possible, so helping to expand it is much appreciated.

-Synergy

Credits

Big thanks to the following people,

  • Eul, for creating the concept of this amazing game (and the creator of Aeon of Strife too)
  • Guinsoo, for creating DotA Allstars
  • IceFrog, for moderating the mod and keeping it fresh and balanced
  • Valve, for creating Dota 2 and getting me hooked on this game
  • Dr. D, for his fantastic guide on BBCodes and inspiring me to improve my guide
  • and finally, the DotaFire community for their attention

Changelog

8/11/12
- Guide published

9/11/12
- Modified "Early Game" section of Item Build to "Early Game Options"
- Removed Soul Ring from Core
- Renamed "Late-Game" in Item build to "Luxury"
- Moved Bloodstone from "Rejected Items" to "Luxury"

15/11/12
- Added section "Friends, Foes and Food"

17/11/12
- Added section "When and When Not to Pick"

4/3/13
- Got off my lazy ***
- Added item builds "Alternate Mid start" and "Support"
- Minor edits & updates

11/3/13
- Remembered my reformatting plans
- Reformatted sections "Introduction", "Lore", "Pros & Cons", "When and When Not to Pick"
- Added pictures to respective sections
- Minor edits

12/3/13
- Minor edits to "Role" section
- Added new section "Abilities"
- Added section "Credits" (not sure how I forgot this)

22/3/13
- Reformatted "Build Justification" section
- Edits to item build

26/3/13
- Reformatting of remaining sections ("Early Game" to "Friends, Foes & Food")
- Edits to item build

21/4/13
- Adjustments to Urn of Shadows justification
- Edited "Support" build starting items to avoid confusion

9/8/13
- Modified "Support" item build
- (finally) Updated with 6.78 changes

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