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Dota 2 Slark Guide – Builds, Abilities, Items and Strategy

Slark, the Nightcrawler is the latest addition to the hero roster. He is a melee ganker/carry hero with very high mobility that has a unique style of play since he gets stronger as the fights last longer because of his stat stealing ability.

He deals AoE damage with his Dark Pact, which also doubles as a purge. His ultimate Shadow Dance puts him invisible and allows him to attack without breaking invisibility.

Pounces acts as a leap to escape and chase, and doubles as a leash when it hits an enemy, preventing them from escaping. Finally, Essence Shift will allow Slark to gain plus three agility and reduce all enemy stats by 1 for each attack.

Pros and Cons

  • + High mobility
  • + High health regeneration from level 6 onward
  • + Excels at 1vs1 fights
  • + Unlike other invisible heroes, Slark can easily get rid of dusts
  • – Very Fragile
  • – Item dependent
  • – Melee
  • – Bad stat gain

Slark Abilities

Dark Pact
After a short delay, Slark sacrifices some of his life blood, purging negative buffs and dealing damage to enemy units around him and to himself. Slark only takes 50% of the damage.

  • Total Damage: 75/150/225/300
  • Manacost: 55/50/45/40
  • Cooldown: 9/8/7/6 seconds

Slark’s main nuke. It can also be used to purge nasty effects from yourself like dust and Venomous Gale

Slark leaps forward, grabbing the first hero he connects with. That unit takes damage and is leashed to Slark, and can only move a limited distance away from Slark’s landing position for 3.5 seconds.

  • Damage: 70/140/210/280
  • Manacost: 75
  • Cooldown: 20/16/12/8 seconds

Your main escape and chasing spell. It ignores creeps so you can jump from behind the creep wave. Enemies can Blink and teleport out of it though.

Essence Shift
Slark steals the life essence of enemy heroes with his attacks, draining each of their attributes and converting them to bonus Agility.

  • Duration: 15/30/60/120
  • Strength, Agility, and Intelligence Lost: 1
  • Agility Gained: 3

The stat stealing passive, only the duration gets increased when the skill is leveled.

Shadow Dance
When used, Slark hides himself in a cloud of shadows, becoming invisible (attacking, casting spells, and using items do not reveal Slark). Additionally, when not visible to the enemy team, Slark gains bonus movement speed and health regeneration.

  • Duration: 5.5
  • Bonus Movement Speed: 30%/35%/40%
  • Health Gained per Second: 3%/5%/7%
  • Manacost: 120
  • Cooldown: 25 seconds

The big regeneration passive and the active that makes you invisible are a big increase to Slark’s power when he hits the magical level 6. Howver if enemies have insivible detection you won’t get regeneration or high movement speed.

Slark Skill Build

  1. Pounce
  2. Essence Shift
  3. Dark Pact
  4. Dark Pact
  5. Dark Pact
  6. Shadow Dance
  7. Dark Pact
  8. Essence Shift
  9. Pounce
  10. Pounce
  11. Shadow Dance
  12. Pounce
  13. Essence Shift/Stats
  14. Stats
  15. Stats
  16. Shadow Dance

Pounce is taken at level 1 for escape purposes and it can also be used to get a first blood since it has maximum range from level one and full duration of 3.5 seconds.

At level 2 you take Essence Shift because one point gives a lot of killing potential for Slark. With a good pairing in the lane, Slark can get kills with just the stat steal and the Pounce duration.

Dark Pact should be the skill to work on next and to max on level 7 because it’s the spell that scales the best, dealing 300dmg with a 6 second cooldown and only a 40 manacost when maxed.

The ultimate Shadow Dance is obviously taken whenever possible, at 6,11 and 16.

I like to take another point of Essence Shift at level 8 because at this moment in the game, fights can last longer than 15 seconds so this way Slark will have the stolen agility for a longer period of time.

Pounce is the next spell to max because 8 seconds of cooldown are really good. Extra points of Essence are up to personal preference. Slark is a hero that severely lacks stats so you can experiment and get some levels stats instead of leveling Essence Shift and Pounce.

Slark Recommended items

Starting: Stout Shield, Branch, Branch,  Tango and Salve
These starting items will give you some survivability to give you an easier laning on your early levels.

Core:  Magic Wand, Power Treads, Poor Man Shield and TP Scroll (Optional: Orb of Venom, Bottle, Ring of Aquila, Drum of Endurance)

These are the first items you should be working for. Power Treads are the boots of choice. Not only do they add plus damage and attack speed that will allow you to steal stats a lot faster, you can also use them to to increase your hp in case you are under enemy fire, or switch them to int to regenerate your mana faster.

Poor Man Shield will give you a further survivability boost against right clicks, and will make your laning a lot easier.

Orb of Venom is a cheap item that allows you to slow enemies so that you can get more attacks on them and steal more stats or even kill. Bottle gives you mana regeneration to cast your spells more often, and with the movement speed provided by Shadow Dance you can control runes well, Aquila gives you some damage and mana regeneration. Drum gives you some early stats and survivability.

First Item choice: Mask of Madness, Diffusal Blade, Battlefury, Hand of Midas, Vanguard, Eye of Skadi, Ethereal Blade, Mjolnir

There is so many ways to play Slark, the above items are some of the best options for the first item to get on Slark. While some of them are normally better than others, all of them are viable and can be a better option depending on the game.

Mask of Madness will boost your killing potential by a lot while also boosting your farming speed but it will make you turn into a glass cannon, going MoM against heroes with burst damage is usually suicide.

Diffusal Blade gives you some agility and mana to work with, and with each hit besides reducing enemy intelligence, you will also burn mana so it’s a safe, yet effective first item choice.

Battlefury is the farming option, it has a pretty good damage/cost and it allows you to clear your whole jungle in less than one minute since the cleave makes you hit every creep in the camp and its mana regeneration allows you to have mana to always cast your spells.

Hand of Midas is the other farming option but instead of boosting damage and mana regeneration, it will increase your attack speed to help you steal stats faster.

Slark is a very squishy hero, so a Vanguard isn’t too bad on him, it allows Slark to take some enemy abuse, but it won’t increase his DPS output unlike the other items listed.

Eye of Skadi boosts his survivability by a lot more while fixing his poor stats, and giving a really useful slow. It gets really hard to escape a Slark with Skadi. The downside is that it’s a lot more expensive.

Ethereal Blade is another expensive but very effective core, since Dark Pact deals a lot of magical damage, EB can amplify it and make Slark nuke even harder. Mjolnir helps Slark kill faster while also working kinda like Battlefury in terms of boosting farming speed.

Strong Extensions:   Black King Bar, Cranium Basher, Crystalys, Helm of the Dominator

If you are facing lots of disables you should go for Black King Bar.

After your core item, you should have little trouble in hitting enemies multiple times to stack up on agility, so a Basher is a nice way to put all your attack speed to work and stun enemies that get in your way.

Crystalys gives you the crit, which will boost your killing potential by a lot when you stack up on agility.

HotD can be used to dominate one creep, which you can use to stack up Ancient Creeps, after you get some stacks, you can easily farm them up with your Battlefury and by doing so you will win a ton of gold. Don’t get it if you went for Mask of Madness of course.

Luxuries: Abyssal Blade, Daedalus, Mjolnir, Butterfly, Monkey King Bar, Satanic, Manta Style, Boots of Travel, Divine Rapier

Late game you should get these items to further boost your damage output. Abyssal Blade is the upgrade to your Basher and it will allow you to stun an enemy right after you Pounce them. Daedalus and Mjolnir are the upgrades you get for your Maelstrom and Crystalys.

Butterfly is a great item on Slark to further boost your survivability and to be able to stand and fight when multiple enemies are right clicking you. MKB is great when the enemies have some kind of evasion, against heroes like Brewmaster, Windrunner, Riki, etc.

Satanic gives you a big hp boost and it’s active is almost like a free Aegis, use it when you are almost dying, crit once and become full hp again. Again, it doesn’t work with Mask of Madness but you can replace it at late game.

Slark will get maximum movement speed when you use your ultimate (unless the enemies have a gem or sentries of course), and you can purge yourself out of nasty effects with Dark Pact, so it’s not really that great on this hero. Although, when you stack up on agility and create illusions, they will have the same agility as the original so it can be a good item choice.

Boots of Travel to free up the slot you had for a teleport scroll. Divine Rapier is the option to go for in won games or in last fights. No hero is safe when you get it.

Slark Strategy Tips

Slark can be played as the main carry or as a ganker, either way you should lane with a babysitter since Slark can be easily harassed out of the lane with his low hp and armor.

If you are lanning against a melee hero, be sure to hit him when he gets close to steal stats, but don’t draw aggro when there are too many creeps around.

When you reach level 6 and get your big regen bonus is when you can really start playing aggressive, attack enemies whenever you get the chance to, and then hide in the woods to regenerate from your ultimate.

A big part of Slark’s gameplay is to know the right timing for Dark Pact. Time it right before you get hit with a stun to dispel it. If enemies are packing dusts, wait until they use dust to remove it. If there is an enemy Bounty Hunter you might want to wait until he tracks to remove it.

If your target has no nasty stun, you can use your normal combo of Pounce + Pact and then Shadow Dance if necessary.

If you need to escape, make the most of Pounce by jumping up and down cliffs.

When you are farming the jungle or just moving around and suddenly you lose the Shadow Dance passive buff, it means that the enemy has vision on you. Whether it is an enemy ward or someone walking invisible, you should warn your team to deward.

In teamfights, Slark sometimes should have a different targetting. If you can actually contribute and just finish one hero off then by all means do it, but when choosing a target, more tanky heroes will allow you to hit them while squishy supports will flee as soon as they see you. By getting a few hits before nukes start getting thrown out, you ensure that you have some extra agility to fight with.

Sometimes, games are decided by what item choices you go for. It will be up to you to adapt and handle different games accordingly!