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Do Not Limit Yourself

At the beginning of this guide, I want to say, there is NO FIXED item, skill builds, or playstyle. As an above-noob player, you ADJUST your builds according to the situations (hero lineups, laning, skills of the players). If someone tells you that there is no alternative, he’s wrong. Also, I am open to any comments, suggestions and critics.

The basic information of this hero can be found here:Spectre - DotA Hero Details Please refer to the link if you are not familiar with the basics of the hero.

Role and playstyle of Spectre:
(This is Important)

As I said before, there is no fixed playstyle, Mercurial can be played as a farmer or semi-ganker early game, and can be tank and/or dps carrier late game. However, in most serious games, Mercurial is the primary carrier of the team, so I will assume the Mercurial as the primary carrier and continue with the guide.

In addition, ganking style Spectre is a little more difficult to ‘guide’, because you cant just gank, you gank and farm simultaneously, and you have to balance the two things, If you gank too much and forget farming, you will be useless late game, if you farm too much and forget about ganking (team fights), you may not have a late game.

As the primary carrier of the team, Mercurial is a FARMER early, mid as well as late game. The differences are: early game, you farm and try to avoid ganks; mid game, you farm and try to push tower; late game, you farm and push and find a chance to kill Roshan and end. No matter when, pay attention to the mini-map , whenever there are team-clashes, quickly exam the fight, and decide if you should haunt in and help/KS, or you should go on farming/pushing.

Skill Builds:

There is always an alternative skill build, but there are 3 things need to be remembered:

1)ALWAYS Skill Spectral Dagger first. I thought it was a no-brainer thing, until I found a few Spectre replays posted on the forum, so I have to mention this.
Reasons: Escape, Chase(+-ms, ignore the terrain, the dmg).

Here is a video of how to escape using Spectral Dagger:

2) Learn Haunt at level 6 and usually learn it whenever possible.
Reasons: Escape, Chase, Quick joining team clashes, KS

Here is a video of how I escaped a Gank using Haunt.

3) Level up Spectral Dagger, Desolate and Dispersion according to the situations.

This is hard to elaborate, but I will try. If you are against hard harassment (and you usually will as a melee carrier) , lvl up dispersion first. If your opponents are less skilled than you, or if your ally is really good, you may have a chance to grab a kill/assist, lvl up Spectral Dagger and Desolate first.

Here are two types of skill builds, the first one is defensive and the other one is offensive:



There are also all kinds of skill builds between the above 2, just play a few games, you will learn to have your own style skill builds.

Item Builds:

God, this is taking much more time than I thought to finish a guide. OK, let’s talk about item builds. Again, I wanted to emphasize, there is NO fixed item build, and there is NO best item build that applies to every game , as a good player, you need to choose the item wisely. I am just providing a general idea about item builds.

Starting items:

Choose from the above, and try to fill up your slots. I personally prefer

One thing worth mentioning is that getting if you are in a pub and you need to compete last hit with your ally. But if you are free farming, you dont really need and you can change into towards a faster

Core items:

Vanguard is your deffensive/ farming core item, get it in most cases. The hp, hp regeneration and block are important for your farming and survival. Usually you get a fast in lane (say within 3-4 mins), and buy a , and then goes to

Some 'guide' claims that vanguard is too expensive and argue 2X and a can be more effective. In most cases, this is wrong. Hp reg is as important as hp itself for farmers, and a + Mercurial will have to travel back to fountain much more often than a Mercurial. Thus the late game of a Vanguard Mercurial is going to be much more scary. In addition, helps neutraling and pushing which is also important for a carrier.

Some players decide to skip boots and go directly to radiance, well, you can do it if you are farming really well, but in most cases, get one.

Spectre is a little, remember only a little short in mana, so a solves that problem perfectly. You don't have to upgrade it in to , but get one. Upgrade it if there is an Invoker on the other team and use EMP to drain your mana.

Always bring one if you don't have beyond-god-like map awareness, if you are reading this guide, you probably don't, so bring one.

Radiance is core in about say 70% of the games. Get one as long as you can farm it before a certain time (say around 24-30 minutes). The 40 magical dmg/sec AOE hurts only the early-mid game, in late game, it won’t be as useful.

Also, it is worth mention that the time line is not fixed either. If there are no or in the other team, and there are lots of fragile heroes, even a 35 minutes radiance will bring you victory. On the other hand, if there is a 20 minutes and on the other team, even a 22 minutes radiance would not be so devastating.

This is the item you should go if you are against , , or , or if you can not farm up before the certain time line.

Another thing, usually you can get a fast after your , however, if you decide to buy first, dont bother getting a later. Go directly for or


Great item for Mercurial as a tankish dps carrier. It provide tons of hp, hp reg to you which means tons of reflection dmg to your enemy team. You will need it late game, get it if you can.

Good item on Spectre. If you are against a farmed dps hero or high burst dmg opponent, let them have a taste of their own attack. The timing is important for it to be effective though.

Good item for sepctre, combined with Huant, Enemies won't be able to tell which one is real you, they will just feel you are everywhere.

Well, not soo great but viable item for Mercurial, i recommend to buy first if you decide to go for it.

One of the best late game items, if you did not upgrade your early, you can go directly to . Also, it feels good to buyback and tp into the enemy base again.

Usually you will grab it, but if the opponents won't attack you in the fight, let other important hero get it, such as etc.

Similar to , only more expensive but less effective, if you always miss the timing to open and are really rich, get one.

Well, I never get it for Mercurial because it is basically a mid game item, and would be more usefull. I don't really recommend it.

Get it only against heavy evasion hero such as and ofc

Friends and Foes:


1) Lane partner (counter gankers)

Since you are the carrier, so most of the time, you don't need another late game carrier to steal your farm. Also, the enemy will try to gank you early game, so you need someone that can protect you. You should lane with heroes like:
However, if they are trying to compete farming with you, as it usually happens in pubs, they are likely to be noobs, or they don't trust you. You sometimes better off without a lane partner, especially if they push the creep lane using spells and then go somewhere else doing god-knows-what.

2) Pushers:

These kinds of heroes have very good pushing power, so enemy would be distracted by them and won't gank you as much as they should'ave, and you can farm and rape them later.

3) Gankers:

They gank your enemy and keep them busy so they won't gank you.

The friends are not limited to the heroes listed above, the general idea is that gankers, counter gankers, pushers are the friends you need in order to survive early ganks.

I will put much more effort on foes, and describe individually how they counters spectre.

We can see from many tournament that Morphing is chosen as carrier against spectre. Morphing can replicate a sepctre and since the image takes 100% dmg and spectre would be a tanky carrier with radiance, it would be a pain in the ass for the support heroes of your team. Try to turn the radiance off when Morphing replicate you if your team don't have hex.

Misc Tips:

I will list a few tips that would help

1) Pretend to feed late game .

Becareful using this in pubs, this tip only works with good teamwork.
If it is a hard game, your team is having a hard time getting the rax and you have enough money to buyback. you can act as if you did not watch your position and lure the enemy team to gank (or even kill you). Do not use haunt before your death, the opponents may have killed you, but they would have cd in ulti, and they would have been hurt badly due to refection. After death, buyback immidiately and huant to revenge yourself. Your team can usually get 3 or 4 kills with the cost of your death, and you guys now can rax the enemy base.


GosuGamers DotA | Replay: Scythe.SG vs CCM

This is a perfect spectre played by Zhou, the captain of CCM -- maybe currently the best Chinese team.

High lights:
1)between 10:00- 13:00 check how he keep his HP low to lure the enemy gankers so his teammates can kill them. So many great moves!
2)Solid farming skills.

GosuGamers DotA | Replay: vs DtHf

This is a game of how Sentinal comes back from being raxed 2 lanes with spectre.

Mercurial the Spectre
Author: RS_Lee
Map Vers.: 6.72c


A carrier style Mercurial guide

Date Posted: 07/01/11
Last Comment:19/09/2013
Total Votes: 93
Current Rating: 7.77
Views: 176831

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