Shadow Demon is one popular hero pick/ban choice in the scene nowadays, not only in DOTA 2 but also in good ol' DotA. He is fearsome, versatile and not someone that is to be messed with. He can easily mess up the enemy's laning whether going on solo 1-on-1 or on the sidelanes acting as a support.
This guide would try to tap into those 2 areas to provide even a basic understanding on how one should play Shadow Demon.
Among the sovereign Demons with explicit access to this world, Doom Bringer scarcely bothers with the affairs of Noninfernals and Lesser Spectral Consorts, while Shadow Fiend passes through almost exclusively on collecting expeditions. The Shadow Demon, however, has always taken a deep and abiding interest in the material plane, as if sensing that mastery of this gritty dimensional nexus might be the key to total domination of all realities. Summoned first by minor wizards, the Shadow Demon granted every wish and put on increasingly impressive displays of power until he had the full attention of the greatest demonologists, and through them the various lords, tyrants, autarchs and heirophants who depended on sorcery to buttress their mundane power. So great was his deception that all his summoners considered themselves the master and Shadow Demon the servant; meanwhile, he eroded their identities and made their minds his own. In the end, most members of the cult were hollow puppets, extensions of his evil will. What Shadow Demon's next step would have been remains open to speculation, for around this time, Nevermore the Shadow Fiend bit into a particularly nasty-tasting soul and discovered that it held nothing but a foul nougat of Shadow Demon's essence. Alerted that a coup was underway, and that the ancient equilibrium of the Umbral Pact was about to be destabilized, Doom Bringer and Shadow Fiend briefly joined forces to destroy the burgeoning cult. Combining spells of incredible force, they undid Shadow Demon's centuries of patient work, reducing his cult to smithereens--and all its members to a bloody splatter. Nothing remained except a tiny speck of demon shadow. Immortal and irreducible, this mote of evil was enough to seed the Shadow Demon's next scheme, and in fits and starts, over further centuries, he began to regroup. Whatever that speck of shadow touched, it tainted, and its influence gradually grew. A chaos of damaged parts pulled together, reknit, and combined to give Shadow Demon a form even stronger than his former. He is all but complete now, and his plan for infinite dominion lacks all of its former weaknesses. It would seem that such a being of pure malice and malevolence, a threat to all creation, would be forever out of place in our world...yet Shadow Demon does not lack for followers.
Shadow Demon is a Utility hero that can also be played as a Support early on, his main subrole is to be a Ganker.
Here's what helps you gain advantage of the laning phase. The spell itself acts like Outworld Destroyer's Astral Imprisonment, the only difference is once the enemy pops out it spawns to illusions of it dealing 60% to the target for 8 seconds at maximum levels. Because of it's seemingly high manacost of 120, it is not really advisable that you spam it every time it is off cooldown rather take advantage of every cast by applying constant harassment to the enemy once after it pops out to either kill it or drive it away giving you advantage on the lane.
A damage amplification debuff that targets a random unit within it's AoE, this spell is the main partner for your Disruption as it is able to hit the Disrupted unit as long as it is within the AoE. Disruption also makes it easier for you to land Soul Catcher which in turn helps in increasing the Illusion damage through the Amplification debuff making them hit a little harder on the enemy.
During the laning phase, if you want to make sure that you hit your specified target with Soul Catcher, it is best to land it in an area where your target is at the edge of the AoE marker or at the edge of the Circle away from the nearby creepwave if there is any.
Another spammable spell in the Shadow Demon's arsenal. A stackable damage spell which quite hurts badly making it a heavy threat to people who wouldn't know how to deal or get around with it. Although with this fact, it is still deemed to be not something of priority when it comes to leveling because of reasons which will be discussed later on.
A spell with reverse effects of the common Purge, Demonic Purge removes every positive debuff on the enemy as well as applying a heavy overtime slow and also deals Damage after the Maim's duration.
As mentioned earlier, Shadow Demon can be laned in 2 ways:
Now this question is quite easy to answer, people tend to spam Shadow Poison whenever they could in hoping to increase the stack damage and driving enemies away. The main problem with this idea is that your opponent would most likely be able to dodge the poison in time due to its quite slow missile speed making you not fully benefit from it, and worst it can feed up their Magic Stick/Wand counters.
Having a level of Shadow Poison early on is enough for farming purposes as it helps you in taking down waves with ease.
All done and polished, a simple way of playing Shadow Demon. Constructive criticisms are very much welcome as to help in improving the guide.
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