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139 Votes

(Updating) Shadow Fiend Guide - Nevermore, The Soultrain Stealer

July 30, 2015 by Nubtrain
Comments: 79    |    Views: 861174    |   

Standard Build

DotA2 Hero: Shadow Fiend

Hero Skills


2 3 5 7


1 4 6 8

Presence of the Dark Lord

10 12 13 14

Requiem of Souls

9 11 16


15 17 18

Introduction + Video Guide

In-progress of update

Hello and welcome to Nubtrain's guide to Shadow Fiend, my favorite hero of all time. Shadow Fiend is an amazing powerhouse, has good mid game dominance with a strong presence late game. Possessing three Shadowraze spells that deal 300 magical damage each and a potent ultimate Requiem of Souls, Shadow Fiend is a force to reckon with. Shadow Fiend if played correctly can snowball your team into victory and is one of the best flash farmers in the game. Shadow Fiend is a very strong glass-canon type of ganker, that is if you can land Shadowraze...

Nevermore's Lore

It is said that Shadow Fiend has the soul of a poet, and in fact he has thousands of them. Over the ages he has claimed the souls of poets, priests, emperors, beggars, slaves, philosophers, criminals and (naturally) heroes; no sort of soul escapes him. What he does with them is unknown. No one has ever peered into the Abysm whence Shadow Fiend reaches out like an eel from among astral rocks. Does he devour them one after another? Does he mount them along the halls of an eldritch temple, or pickle the souls in necromantic brine? Is he merely a puppet, pushed through the dimensional rift by a demonic puppeteer? Such is his evil, so intense his aura of darkness, that no rational mind may penetrate it. Of course, if you really want to know where the stolen souls go, there's one sure way to find out: Add your soul to his collection. Or just wait for Nevermore.

(Shadow Fiend Arcana)

Video Guide
(OLD, still relevant)

When to and Not to Pick Shadow Fiend

Pick Shadow Fiend if...

  • You need a high physical damage output hero
  • You want a position 1 type of carry in the middle lane
  • You're teamed with strong roaming position 4 and 5 support players
  • Running a minus armor strat, aura strats or deathball strats
  • Fighting against a 4 protect 1 strat, less enemy support rotations

Do Not Pick Shadow Fiend if...

  • Lacking proper support players especially against aggressive team lineups
  • Too many core heroes are picked already
  • In a 4 protect 1 strat but you're not that 1
  • You have poor map awareness and positioning skills
  • Against an aggressive ganking lineup (unless you farmed BKB and didn't feed)

Analyzing the Pro and Cons of Shadow Fiend


  • One of the best flash farmers
  • Very high damage output
  • Incredible snowball potential
  • Good Mid-Lane Presence
  • Not that item dependant


  • Pretty Squishy
  • Reliant on Souls
  • High Skill Cap
  • Needs decent momentum
  • Big early game weakness

Shadow Fiend's overall stat gains are good compared to many other agility heroes. With a very good agility gain and an impressive intelligence gain for an agility hero. With a decent intelligence gain and low mana-cost spells, Shadow Fiend can spam Shadowraze pretty often and that means easy flash farm or push. Although Shadow Fiend has an slightly below average attack range of 500, he makes up for it in good projectile speed. If Shadow Fiend has a weak early game, he can easily farm up his losses if there's room to do so. Shadow Fiend can farm without too much trouble if he positions himself correctly and has good game sense however there are several weaknesses Shadow Fiend face.

Early Game Survival

Shadow Fiend has low starting health and below average starting armor so heroes who spam their spells like Skywrath Mage can do a number on SF if he doesn't get Bottle around 2 minutes. That means Shadow Fiend must prioritize positioning to the best of his ability to not only survive but farm as efficiently as possible. If you focus on getting better at positioning, game sense and timing, you will eventually be that much closer to mastering Shadow Fiend.

Turn Rate

As corrected by user HighestHand, Shadow Fiend actually has the best turn rate along with Pheonix. You can read about turn rates here.

Attack and Cast Animation

Cast animation times are pretty long so another big weakness is when Shadow Fiend uses Shadowraze since his cast animation takes .67 seconds and an additional .04 "filler" animation for you to try to cancel. When Shadow Fiend cast Shadowraze in succession, it takes 2.01 seconds including filler animation to cast. Enabling quick-cast eliminates the extra filler animation if cast in succession.

Another problem is Shadow Fiend's attack animation, it's .5 seconds long without the extra animation filler. This means you really cannot do a "brawl" type of fight especially against tanky targets until you have Black King Bar or if you're really farmed in comparison. Having more attack speed will alleviate this problem so buying Power Treads as quickly is possible is highly recommended.

Base Attack Damage

Although Shadow Fiend later becomes a very strong hero right-click hero, his early game base damage is one of the lowest in the game. That means trying to farm against heroes who has higher starting damage than you will be very hard and forces you to use Shadowraze to farm. Until you've absorbed enough souls to increase your damage from Necromastery, levels 1-4 will be Shadow Fiend's big trial to success.

Eliminating (most) Weaknesses
If you haven't noticed, most of Shadow Fiend's big weaknesses are canceled out by having more items (much like any position 1 core). However what's more important is in what order you get the items you need. Shadow Fiend doesn't need damage items until much later since Shadow Fiend's main problem is early game survival.

Necromastery offers a ton of right-click damage (72 bonus) which means Shadow Fiend's early right-click damage is highly dependent on his survival. This is why buying an early Black King Bar is highly recommended since Shadow Fiend's powerhouse potential is in his early game survival.



Shadow Fiend razes the area in front of him, dealing damage to enemy units in an area.
Cooldown: 10 Seconds each, Damage: 100/175/250/325, Type: Magical
Range: [Q] 200, [W] 450, [E] 700

Notes: Shadowraze is a 3 part spell that have varying ranges of where the spell lands, the three Shadowrazes do not share a cooldown. Theoretically you can deal 975 magical damage at level 7! (700 after base magic reduction)

Shadowraze nukes in front of Shadow Fiend, meaning you need to be facing where you want to target. There is a .67 second cast time and a .04 animation delay when casting a Shadowraze so you also need to properly time your shots too. Practice makes perfect...


Shadow Fiend steals the soul from units he kills, gaining bonus damage. On death, he releases half of them from bondage.
Maximum Souls: 15/22/29/36 souls (30/44/58/72 bonus damage)

Notes: Take as first skill so you can stack souls earlier when you land last hits. When you die you will lose half the souls you have so that makes dying a more punishing threat. That means if you had 36, you're going to have to farm about 4 waves of minions. Should be no problem farming souls back with Shadowraze but do keep death to a minimum. You also take the souls of your friendly minions and heroes when you deny them. Killing a hero grants 12 souls instead of 1 so getting a kill when you're low on souls will greatly pick you back up in terms of damage. Having more souls correlates with how much physical damage you'll deal and how much your ultimate will hurt.

Presence of the Dark Lord

Shadow Fiend's presence reduces the armor of nearby enemies.
Aura Radius: 900, Armor Reduction: -3/-4/-5/-6

Notes: Stacks with other armor reducing effects.

Requiem of Souls - Ultimate

Captured souls are released to deal massive damage and slow nearby enemy units. Requiem of Souls creates one wave of damage for every 2 souls stored by Necromastery. The closest enemy units are hit the hardest and has a 1 second cast time before it is activated. Upon death, a 2nd Requiem of Souls will be released dealing half the amount of souls.
Damage per Line: 80/120/160, AoE: 1375/1425/1475, Movement Slow: 10%/15%/20%, Damage Reduction: 50%, Duration: 5 Seconds

The damage dealt is equal to the number of souls stored with Necromastery so the more souls you have the more damage Requiem of Souls does. Requiem of Souls releases waves of damaging lines around Shadow Fiend with 1 line per 2 souls stored for a total of 18 waves of lines. The closer the enemies are to the center of eruption, the more lines will hit and that means more damage. Lowers both movement speed and attack damage of units in a radius so it's highly recommend to use against glass canons like Terror Blade.

If you have a Shadow Blade, the invisibility won't break until you release your ultimate so you don't have to worry about cast it at the wrong time. However with the invisibility rune, that's not the case.

Patch 6.75 added a passive mechanic to Requiem of Souls, when you die you release another Requiem of Souls dealing half the amount of souls you have. Great addition to Shadow Fiend for taking out near dead opponents if they happen to take you out. Reminds me of some Borderland 2's shield effect.

The Items (Updating)

We'll be going over the strength and weaknesses of each starting build. I'll also be going over the items Shadow Fiend need in detail to match the situation of your game to the best of my ability.

Starting Items #1 - Best Overall Stats (Must be pooled) 585g

This build is situational and mostly depends on your own survival skills. This build requires you to be extra careful since you're using Tango (Shared)s. Even the smallest bits of harassment here and there from your enemy is very costly since Tango (Shared) has a 1 minute cooldown. You must be pooled by one of your supports so before buying anything ask for at least two tangoes; if you get none start with either 1 Wraith Band + 1 Tango or the other starting item builds.

Leftover gold: 40g

Stats you get from this build:

+230 HP from regen over 32 seconds with minute cooldown

+8 Agility

+5 Strength and Intelligence

+3 Bonus Damage


Leftover Gold: 15g

+460 HP from regen over 65 seconds

+6 Agility

+3 Strength and Intelligence

+3 Bonus Damage

Starting Items #2 - Cost Effective Stats 540g

Although you won't have as much damage as with the first build, you'll have more leftover gold. Which means you're a bit closer to getting that Bottle without sacrificing too many stats and regen. You have much more regen to sustain in lane so you can take a bit more harassment or creep damage compared to the first build. You will have a harder time getting last hits compared to the first build since you won't have as much stats to start with but that's the sacrifice you make for more regen. Good build against spammers and recommended for novice players to intermediate players.

Leftover gold: 85g

Stats you get from this build:

+860 HP from regen over 74 seconds

+6 Agility

+3 Strength and Intelligence


Leftover gold: 70g

+860 HP from regen

+5 to All Stats

Leftover gold: 110g

+1320 HP from regen over 138 seconds

+3 to All Stats

Starting Items #3 - Bottle Rush 225g

Another risky build that tries to rush for a very quick Bottle. You sacrifice a lot of stats which means you're squishier and you won't have as much mana to spam Shadowraze. If you go for this build, be prepared to be harassed and denied hard if you don't position correctly and raze. You'll have both the problems the previous mentioned builds will have and the a decent enemy will try to harass you a lot more. However all the risks, you only need to farm a bit less than 2 waves worth of creeps to buy the Bottle since you have so much leftover gold. The problem is trying to get the farm and not dying...

Leftover gold: 400g

Stats you get from this build:

+230 HP from regen over 32 seconds with minute cooldown

+2 to All Stats

Core Items

An amazing item that regenerates both mana and health with each use of its 3 charges. What's better is that you can store runes that spawn every two minutes and using the runes when bottled will replenish the charges. So if you're not being contested, in theory you will won't have to go back to base to regen. You hold runes for up to 2 minutes and the great thing about that is you get to control when to use the rune's effect. Whether it's double damage or haste, you have control of when to use these runes and that is sometimes more valuable than the regen Bottle provides. See "Tips for Shadow Fiend players" for more information on Bottle tricks...

For most of your games, you'll want to farm up a Black King Bar as soon as you can. The faster you get a Black King Bar the quicker you'll survive and be able to buy damage items. Depending on the game, you don't always have to rush a Black King Bar. If the other team lacks lockdown then there's an option to skip Black King Bar and go for other items like Drum of Endurance or an early Helm of the Dominator. However the game goes, Black King Bar is almost always recommended.

A nice low cost item that store charges that recovers 15 hp and mana for a maximum of 15 charges. You get a charge for each enemy spell casted in an area of 1200 units of the wearer and against spammers like Batrider, you easily stack up charges. Magic Wand is essentially a mini- Mekansm that restores 225 hp and mana. Magic Wand has saved me in more often than not so buy it. The value from Magic Wand does not represent it's low cost... so get it!

I've debated if I should get Power Treads or Phase Boots but I realized the benefits from Power Treads outweigh Phase Boots for SF. You gain a nice boost of attack speed that help alleviate the problems of his long attack animations and the ability to switch stats on the fly is absolutely incredible.

The increase in strength helps Shadow Fiend gain an extra 152 hp which in turn helps his survival. The increase in agility helps Shadow Fiend hit faster and stronger which means more damage in pushes or teamfights. The switch to intelligence helps Shadow Fiend manage his mana better and helps "lower" the cost of his already low costing abilities.

See "Tips for Shadow Fiend Players" for more information on Tread Switching.

Boot Variations
The good thing about Phase Boots is that it provides the ability to walk through unit obstacles and a good burst of movespeed on a cooldown which can save you from bad moments. It's fantastic for those moments where you could have survived if you moved faster or to gain the extra mile to land that one final blow. The 24 bonus damage is a nice addition but by the time you purchase your boots, you should already have a good amount of souls. TBH, getting Phase Boots over Power Treads is more about your playstyle since it depends a bit on how you play.

With the recent fix in "The Rekindling Soul" update, Requiem of Souls has been fixed and you can now do full damage point-blank no-collision ults. (Chance to do is low but feels so good...)

Buying an early Boots of Travel is similar to making an investment on how you'll play against certain teams. Not a lot of people realize this but Boots of Travel is fantastic against "rat doto" strats. You defend a lane and as your team pushes another lane, you can teleport to one of the creeps that are close to your team or vice-versa. The earlier you get Boots of Travel the better the investment will be as you head into the mid game since buying BoT is similar to buying 20 Town Portal Scrolls.

Aside from the big increase in flat movespeed, another important note about buying Boots of Travel during any point in time is that it saves you a slot in your inventory. So as you get closer to being 6-slotted, instead of having to save a slot for a Town Portal Scroll, you get one more slot to add one big item.

Mekansm (Popularized by Mushi)

From a perspective of seeing Shadow Fiend's stats and overall skillset, getting Mekansm does work. Shadow Fiend typically farms really fast if unhindered and often has enough mana since Shadowraze cost very little with tread switching. I'd get Mekansm if other heroes are having a really hard time farming and you're somehow not but it delays your Black King Bar quite a bit. If you get Mekansm though, prepare to push more often and make use of that investment instead of just sitting mid. Coordinate with your team to push down a lane, if not do not consider getting mek and just farm/siege/counter-gank.

Optional Early Game Items

A decent item that is primarily bought for it's armor and flat mana regen aura. It's a good followup with Wraith Band and it only cost an extra 500g. With tread switching and the low costs of Shadowraze, Ring of Aquila offers more than enough sustained mana regen to spam. If you plan to skip Bottle, having a good source of mana regeneration helps especially if you have poor mana management.

A nice item that has everything Shadow Fiend wishes for in terms of stats and benefits. You get a sizable amount of hp (171), good amount of attack speed (14%) and a nice amount if mana (117). The active is a great extra push to help in teamfights, chases, seiging towers and escaping.

Good all around item, if you're having no problems farming consider getting a Drum of Endurance if nobody else plans to get one. It does delay your Black King Bar but getting a Drum of Endurance when you have the advantage is sometimes worth it especially if you think the game has to be over within the next 25 minutes.

Aggressive Items

Scythe of Vyse has two uses that greatly helps Shadow Fiend win. The instant hex allows Shadow Fiend to initiate with Blink Dagger into Sheep then follow up with all the damage you and your team can do. Scythe of Vyse also helps counter-initiate heroes like Faceless Void but you need to queue up the hex or have fast reflexes to pull it off. In teamfights, you should save it for key targets or moments like a Witch Doctor channeling ultimate or Ursa getting hungry.

It's the ultimate counter to heroes who use evasion to survive like Phantom Assassin or Brewmaster. Monkey King Bar is often a replacement for Daedalus against heroes who often naturally build to Butterfly or Heaven's Halberd. Monkey King Bar is also pretty good against heroes who have a lot of channeled abilities since it has a high chance to mini-stun. Ultimately though... you'll buy MKB to counter evasion.

With the recent big change, Ethereal Blade in most situations got better for Shadow Fiend and many other agility heroes like Morphling. You no longer also turn ethereal whenever you use the active ability on a target so that's a big buff to his overall physical dps contributions. There is less of a risk to be blown up against some lineups so this is an indirect buff to heroes who can purchase E.blade.

However, it is situational to buy and will depend on your team and enemies' composition. If your team has a lot of magical burst damage or if the enemy has a lot of snowbally physical dps like Phantom Assassin then it's a pretty good idea to buy an Ethereal Blade.

A powerful late game item that further enhances Shadow Fiend's great damage. I highly recommend players to not rush this item unless you have a huge advantage, this is true for most heroes. Although it offers great damage and can scale thanks to it's crit chance, it will not help Shadow Fiend survive encounters especially in heavy aggressive lineups.

Incredibly strong item that provides a ton of attack speed, +armor and when Assault Aura is combined with Presence of the Dark Lord, that's a total of minus 11 armor. Although you'll have a ton of armor, you're more vulnerable magic damage. Black King Bar can only protect you from so much especially against a hero like Lina with Aghanim's Scepter so getting Assault Cuirass is somewhat situational. Would recommend getting after a Satanic, Heart of Tarrasque or Eye of Skadi just so you'll have more effective hp.

An affordable damage item that helps take down towers and heroes like Huskar a notch. If you need fast damage and have no problems with survivability, the Desolator is a good choice. Has good synergy with Presence of the Dark Lord, and if you also buy Assault Cuirass; that's a total of minus 18 armor.

Defensive Items

A very strong item for Shadow Fiend to purchase since it provides a good amount of overall survival, attack speed and damage but most importantly has great synergy with a lot of items. Although it doesn't provide as much dps as Daedalus it does help against certain heroes like Spectre who normally do not buy Monkey King Bar. Even if heroes bought MKB, with the addition of the movespeed active, it softens the evasion counter a bit.

Some items that have great synergy with Butterfly are:
Ethereal Blade, Manta Style, Daedalus, Heart of Tarrasque, Satanic, Eye of Skadi.

In my opinion, Manta Style has better uses as a defensive option than an offensive one. Great at countering silences or dispelling off debuffs so you don't have to waste Black King Bar charges. Manta Style also has good uses in split pushing or baiting out trigger-happy opponents. Much like any illusions, they'll benefit with more stat increase items like Eye of Skadi. If you have good timings you can dodge attacks since there's a .1 second window where you're invulnerable.

Although a situational purchase, Linken's Sphere is a very powerful defensive item that counters single-target disables and initiations. Great against blink intiators since they'll have to waste a single target ability to pop Linken's Sphere. The time it takes for a second follow ability after popping Linken's Sphere is usually enough time to immediately follow up with a Black King Bar. Highly recommend getting if you think you're going to be initiated on heavily.

The bread and butter to Shadow Fiend's overall survival. Satanic is one of the best items any SF player can get that it's essentially core to have in any build. The amount of hp and sustain Satanic provides is what helps Shadow Fiend go toe to toe against strong hard carries like Phantom Assassin.

The active "Unholy Rage" is essential to keeping Shadow Fiend alive, especially if being focused. Combined with the usually high damage SF can do, the amount of hp recovered is staggering. You must use it when you'll know most CCs are on cooldown or when all BKB-piercing abilities are used or it'll be wasted when you use it. Watch out for players with purges, you won't see it often but "Unholy Rage" can be purged.

A very expensive item that provides a good amount of overall stats that make [{Shadow Fiend]] that much better at surviving and dealing that damage. Although the stats are nice, the biggest reason to buy Eye of Skadi is for the Cold Attack debuff. The Cold Attack is fantastic at helping Shadow Fiend kite or chase the enemy heroes and the attack speed reduction is like removing a Power Treads from a player's inventory.

Another big selling point is that it stacks with Lifesteal. So when a Lifesteal item like Satanic is combined with Eye of Skadi, you gain a ton of survivability and sustainability to trade attacks with another enemy hero. Eye of Skadi is not that bad to get after finishing your core items but because it's so incredibly expensive, I'd recommend getting other items first.

An item popularized in the DAC 2015 tournament, the uses of Eul's are more defensive in nature than offensive in my opinion. Provides a ton of mana regeneration that let's SF use Shadowraze with no problems and the extra boost in movespeed is a very nice addition to SF's overall survival. You can also cyclone an enemy hero, stand under the cyclone then use Requiem of Souls to insta-pop most heroes in the early-mid game. It's also a great counter to heroes who rely on Blink Dagger to get away since enemy heroes will take 50 damage upon landing.

The ability to cyclone yourself for 2.5 seconds is in my opinion the biggest selling point. You can essentially blink away immediately but if you've taken damage before you cyclone yourself there's a .5 second window to disable that blink. Highly recommended against heroes who have strong burst like Juggernaut with Omnislash and Skywrath Mage with Mystic Flare.

Blink Dagger vs Shadow Blade (Will be reworded/edited)

  • Cost 2150g
  • Better Initiation
  • Instant Positioning
  • Jump through obstacles
  • Able to dodge projectiles if timed correctly
  • Shorter cooldown than Shadow Blade

  • +30 Bonus Damage, +30 Attack Speed
  • Provides Shadow Walk an active invisibility and +150 bonus physical damage on next attack
  • Movement speed is increased 20% when you're invisible.
  • Stronger escape tool than Blink Dagger.
  • Invisibility breaks after Requiem of Souls finishes cast.
  • You can do full damage with Requiem of Souls if you can stand directly above enemy
  • Easier to dodge projectiles than Blink Dagger

Both choices are perfectly fine, just depends on your playstyle and your team. If you have teammates that can initiate with you like Tidehunter then Blink Dagger is better because you'll need that immediate initiation with Requiem of Souls and deal as much damage as efficiently as possible.

If you don't have someone like that in your team, Shadow Blade is a safer choice but costs more. Like I said in the Luxury Items section, replace Blink Dagger during late game if they start targeting you more. You're going to be hard to catch with two clones and invisibility backup'd up with spell immunity.

Tips for Shadow Fiend players (Updating)

Here are some tips to maintaining your advantage as Shadow Fiend by prioritizing efficient farming and building proper ganking/teamfight etiquette. For most scenarios, you will be taking the middle lane so you can have higher level advantages than most heroes in your match and (sometimes) easier farm. Preferably you want to be on The Radiant side for the advantage of having a neutral camp close by to stack then farm.

Maintain a safe distance against most if not all mid heroes
Never forget that Shadow Fiend is a glass cannon type of hero, who can deal a lot of damage but has the weakness of being very squishy. Usually you never want to trade blows against enemy heroes unless you have at the minimum a Black King Bar. Shadow Fiend's "not very apparent" weakness is that if an initiator like Clockwerk or Nightstalker dives within Shadow Fiend's range, there's not much SF can do before Black King Bar without help.

If unable to last-hit, score souls with Necromastery
Most heroes in the game have higher base damage than Shadow Fiend so against many good players, you'll being denied of creeps. Which means less damage from Necromastery and less farm obviously. The faster you're able to capture souls the easier it is to out-last hit everybody else and the easier it is to farm. Against this type of scenario you must Shadowraze creeps to quickly get souls.

The best side for Shadow Fiend
Although Shadow Fiend aligns with the The Dire side, ironically the Radiant side is much more advantageous to play on. You have a better position to stack and farm the neutral creeps while it's somewhat harder for The Dire to invade your jungle.

Farm medium neutral camp if you're on The Radiant side for easy souls
In the early game, The Radiant side is easier for Shadow Fiend to farm in the laning stage since there are two camps that are very close to the middle lane. If Shadow Fiend is having a hard time getting farm mid, then SF can stack these camps to quickly farm up.

Here's a good video for stacking camps from a youtube channel called "simply DOTA"

Have supports stack neutral camps for you to farm with Shadowraze
Whether you had a great time farming mid or a poor start, farming very stacked neutral camps will quickly propel you further into a fat soul-eating demon. On average you'll get about 267 gold on a triple stacked small camp, 307 gold from the medium camp and 372 gold from the large camp for a total of an average of 946 gold. That's not bad at all; it should take less than a minute to raze up and then you can quickly go back to the lane. It's a fantastic alternative if you're constantly getting pressured by the opposing team. Also makes for easy souls if you've died recently.

Be aware of missing heroes, whether or not lanes have been called missing
Don't rely on players calling missing heroes, you must develop good map awareness and game sense to not feed with Shadow Fiend compared to how other heroes are played. If you see the position 1 core alone at the safe lane and the two supports are missing, just play it safe until they reveal themselves. This is the basic foundation for any good mid player. Develop a habit of looking at your minimap so you can take notice of any "potential irregularities".

To the left is a good example of the point I'm trying to make. The player at the Dire safe lane gets caught out even though they should've been called missing. If the safe laner payed attention to the minimap and had game sense, that player would've stayed closer to the tower.

Kill two birds with one Shadowraze, you can harass and farm with at the same time
This is a very effective strategy to managing your manapool and increasing your overall level of play. Obviously much easier against melee heroes but more importantly poorly positioned enemy heroes in general. If for some reason the enemy hero (especially ranged) is very close to their creeps, use the max distance Shadowraze and back off. That usually means you're about to be ganked... or the other player is just bad and is trying to harass you.

Shadowrazing Aiming Tip

(Visualization of Attack Range)
Things to Remember:

Attack Range: 600

Shadowraze Ranges:
200, 450, 700

Shadowraze AoE: 250

Turn Rate: 1 Second

Cast Time: .67 + 4

The attack range of Shadow Fiend is 600 to the spell range of 700 for Shadowraze(E) and 450 for (W). Since Shadowraze has an AoE of 250, you can make an accurate guess at where your Shadowrazes will hit. Another tip is if you right-click an enemy unit, you will face the target for easy Shadowrazes.

Learn to Animation Cancel
Shadowraze and Requiem of Souls have long cast animations so learning to stop the cast before using them is highly recommended. There will be moments you've misjudged distance or made bad timings so stopping yourself from wasting cooldowns will help you maximize efficiency with Shadow Fiend.

Since Requiem of Souls has a long cast time of 1 second, that's more than enough time for heroes like Mirana and Slark to jump away. Another variation of this example for Shadowraze is if Mirana and Slark jumped away from you the moment you clicked Shadowraze, you can cancel your cast if can react fast enough.

Animation canceling attacks is a bit different than spell animation canceling. Your attack animation must complete to have your attacks come out so you're only removing the filler animation out the equation. However as you animation cancel your attacks, you're free to move for that .5 seconds. During your attack animation you can micro-adjust your positioning or "stutter-stepping", which is fantastic for chasing or kiting enemy heroes (this applies to all heroes, more apparent for ranged). However since Shadow Fiend has a really long turn animation, he cannot stutter-step that well.

Canceling your animations not only saves you cooldowns and mana, it also saves you time to run away or chase enemy heroes.

Here's a video from XVroguegaming that explains animation canceling better:

The Power of Tread Switching
"Tread Switching" is the practice to switch the 8 stats around to maximize efficiency for certain situations. Why players do this is the same reason pro players play better than most of you, maximizing efficiency for certain plays.

For example, switching to intelligence treads gives you more mana to cast Shadowraze and when you switch out of intelligence, the raze ended up costing less mana percentage-wise. Switching to intelligence gains you 104 more mana but percentage wise it's still the same when you did not have that extra 104 mana. Since Shadowraze cost a flat amount of 75 mana, the percentage cost of 75 is less when you have more mana.

Here's a video from XVroguegaming that explains it better than I did:

Differences between Buff Modifiers (Will be reworded/edited)

Items that increase your stats, increase your base values. (Derp) Those items will benefit from other items which provide a percentage boost like Soul Ring or Drow Ranger's Trueshot Aura. Depending on your main attribute, you can gain two bonuses instead of one. For example if you're a strength hero like Slardar, Heart of Tarrasque will increase both base Health AND base damage but if you're not a strength hero, you will only gain an increase to base health.

AGILITY = Each point of AGILITY increases your base attack speed by 1%(additive) and increased armor of 0.14 per point. If you're an AGILITY hero, each point of AGILITY increases your attack by 1.(additive)

STRENGTH = Each point of Strength increases your base health by 19 points. Each point of Strength also increases your base HP regeneration. Here is a link to how base hp/mp regeneration works, different for every hero, playdota.

Intelligence = Each point of Intellect increases your base mana by 13 points. If you're an Intelligence hero, each point of Intellect increases your base attack by 1 point. Each point of intellect also increases your base mana regeneration.

Item's like Monkey King Bar will only increase your attack as BONUS attack and items like Bloodstone will only increase your HP/MP as BONUS HP/MP.

Team Battles and Rune Rankings (Needs revision)

In team fights you literally want to be the center of attention. I recommend blinking next to the closet enemy that is as close to the center of the fight as possible. If you can't do that prioritize blinking next to an enemy hero and cast Requiem of Souls. Even if an enemy hero is not as close as you want it to be, Requiem of Souls still does a good amount of damage, as shown here.

I will rank runes based on overall effectiveness for Shadow Fiend. (My opinions based on the games I've played)

I will provide an example of each rune in action later on in the future.

Haste - Provides a 100% bonus movement speed for 30 seconds. Maximum movement speed is 522. Believe it or not haste helps land your Shadowraze easier because you have a faster time to adjust your positioning. Also gets you as close to the enemy as quickly as possible especially if an enemy player happens to escape.

Invisibility - Grants invisibility for 45 seconds. This rune competes with haste for rank 1 in runes but after invisibility is gone, you can't chase if an enemy happens to get away. Provides an excellent setup for ganking! Tip: As soon as you pop invisibility, immediately use 1 charge of Bottle and it will not break invisibility. The bottle charge is being used during the fade time and you're not considered invisible yet.

Regeneration - Regenerates 100hp/67mp per second for a total of 30 seconds. If you do take damage the regeneration buff will dispel. When I play Shadow Fiend I rarely go back to base so having the regeneration rune gives me a huge advantage throughout the game. I personally like to waste all my mana by clearing creep waves before I use Regeneration. Regeneration will not break unless you take damage so if you get stunned by Shackle Shot or another ability that does not have damage, Regeneration will not stop until finished.

Double Damage- Buffs your hero and any illusions within 500 range 100% damage for 45 seconds. This only increases your base attack damage so bonus attack damage items like Monkey King Bar will not get the increase. Items like Butterfly that has +30 AGILITY will double with Shadow Fiend attack since AGILITY bonuses increase BASE damage. I rank this 4th because Shadow Fiend has a weak base damage and most of the time you're casting Shadowraze so in terms of overall usefulness it does not compare to Haste or Invisibility.

Illusions - Creates two replicas with the current condition of yourself. So let's say you have 50% health, the illusions will also have the same amount. Each illusion takes 400% damage and deals 50% of the total damage you deal. The least useful out of the five runes. Does provide scouting information or get enemies to waste mana on it. Sometimes get the opposition to waste ultimates but that's a small chance. Also good when you want to push a lane and helps to last hit.

10 Minute Training - Great For Practicing (Will be reworded/edited)

I should of mentioned this a lot sooner but...

Rules of the 10 minute training!

1. Do not rank up any spell or stats

2. Do not buy any items

That's it! Try not to push onto tower and if you want to go for more than 10 minutes then you must follow these goals


  • 10 minutes - 50 Creeps minimum
  • 20 minutes - 100 Creeps minimum
  • 30 minutes - 150 Creeps minimum

50 Creeps killed is a great indication of how well you're farming since more than 50 creeps spawn in 10 minutes! So if you can get around 50 cs or more at the 10 minute mark, you're in good shape!

Hero Battle Information (Incomplete, replacement for Strong Allies/Scary Foes)

Here you will find information on how to fight against each hero as Shadow Fiend. I will try my best to explain each fight. Includes all heroes, not just mid laners. Please remember the tips because they will be incredibly useful.

Strength Heroes

Difficulty Meter

As a mid core: Easy
As an offlane core: Easy/Medium
As a pos4 support: Medium/Hard
Core Items
against ES:

Playing against a mid Earthshaker

Playing against an offlane Earthshaker

Videos Playing Shadow Fiend (Under revision)

Era playing Shadow Fiend
Dendi playing Shadow Fiend and is a good video that shows all the points I've made
A great video of Mushi playing Shadow Fiend, this game does a very good job of showing how good Blink Dagger is.

To Do List

Teach players how to land Shadowraze better

Show damage range for Requiem of Souls

Add more tips for when Shadow Fiend is on the Radiant side

Possibly add more or refine the friends/foes section

Mention pull trick as a rude comment has said before

Update Foes / Allies section

Please let me know in the comments below on things I should add

Update Notes

6/17/2013 - Slowly updating SF guide to 6.78 modern era
4/20/2013 - Added video guide
4/19/2013 - Added 10 Minute Training info, updated "Update Notes" layout and updated Necromastery info
4/11/2013 - Clarified some information and added "Bottle Rush" + "To Do List"
3/19/2013 - Added Ring of Aquila
2/8/2013 - Added a video of Dendi playing
1/29/2013 - Refined some areas of the guide
10/21/2012 - Updated "Strong Allies" and "Scary Foes" section with more info. Refined the Item buid format.
10/14/2012 - Updated "Luxury Items" section
7/18/2012 - Deleted Shadow Fiend ratings, felt too cluttered
3/18/2012 - Updated Shadow Fiend's abilities to match the buff in 7.44 patch
  • Necromastery now gives 6 souls for killing a hero (instead of 1)
  • Necromastery soul count increased from 8/16/24/32 to 12/20/28/36
3/1/2012 - Decided to not put updates on every minor update I do... :) and deleted those minor updates
2/18/2012 - Included Doom Bringer in the Scary Mid Lane Foe section.
1/19/2012 - Added Templar Assassin into the Scary Mid Lane Foes and included a personal rating for Shadow Fiend.
1/15/2012 - Updated item build notes, made Boots of Travel core boots instead of Power Treads.
1/13/2012 - Icefrog/Valve buffed Shadow Fiend, updated notes and added information.
  • Shadow Fiend: Movement speed increased from 300 to 305.
  • Shadow Fiend: Agility growth increased from 2.4 to 2.9.
  • Shadow Fiend: Necromancy soul cap increased from 8/15/23/30 to 8/16/24/32.
1/13/2012 - Decided to include updates to this Shadow Fiend guide.


Thank you for reading the guide and hopefully you have a better understanding on how to play Shadow Fiend.

The guide is finished and always in progress of editing, have to add videos and some more information but hopefully it's still good.

Please leave your feedback so I can improve this guide.

Check out my channels if you want to help support me, I sometimes stream and would appreciate if you said hi!


Thank you and enjoy!

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