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Balanar, the Night Stalker
Step-by-Step Guide


Why Step-by-Step?

Some time ago I read this ďstep-by-stepĒ guide for Ursa (written by Zan) and I really like it. It gave me simple and easy-to-understand instructions how to play him, there wasnít much to read and any noob can understand it.
After making a guide like this for Bloodseeker, I decided to make a step-by-step guide for Balanar.
I guess the most people will critize this:
- No skill discriptions
- No detailed hero stats
- Fairly short
But many times it's that: You click on the guide, scroll over the detailed stats and skill discriptions to the skill/item builds. You study them (flame them in the comments) but then you don't want to read the huge wall of text aka the strategy part.
Be honest: You can read the details in the hero part of this page and you like short explanations what do more than the extremely detailed version.
So I hope that you won't give a bad rating because of things that nearly no one needs .
Yes, this is nearly the same introducion text as in my Bloodseeker guide. But itís still correct .

About Balanar

Before 6.60 I never took Balanar as a serious hero. He was just one of the public heroes that can be ganker and carry without being good in any of these points and useless the half of the game. But since the day when 6.60 was released and anyone just commented the Aghanimnís Scepter effect with a ďwho cares?Ē I expected that Balanar becomes a hero that is picked in competitive games. Then Icefrog buffed his skills so that they are also a bit useful when itís day. Look a few games on Garena Tv or download a few replays and I bet you will find some games where Balanar is picked.
But why? Letís look at his strengths and weaknesses:
[+] Overpowered at night
[+] Amazing ganker (Superb movement speed combined with a slowing nuke and silence)
[+] Good physical damage dealer
[+] Can tank pretty good
[+] Legal maphack
[-] Looses all (!) these strengths but his tankyness when itís day.
Just one weakness but the most horrible one a hero can have. Good that Icefrog gave his skills a effect at day. And you arenít completely unreliable because you can control the night.

You can find the skills here, I just want to explain shortly how to use them:
Void: Low mana costs, a bit more damage than the most other nukes and as this wouldnít be enough, a slow. A really amazing skill that you will mainly use for ganking. It includes a mini-stun to interrupt town portals and channelings.
Here you can see the range:

Crippling Fear: This skill isnít used that often and not as powerful as Void and Hunter in the Night in the first night, thatís true. But it fits into your ganker role when you donít want heroes with Blink and invisibility to flee.

Hunter in the Night: Your signature skill. This will make you to a superb roaming fury in the night.
Darkness: You will use this skill mainly to make the night longer. Use it from the first second of the night whenever you can. Thanks to this skill you arenít that unreliable when itís day. By the way it doesn't need any mana.
I think you have the question how long the night is when you activate Darkness every time possible (at the first second of the night):

6.68 <
The normal night is 5.625 minutes long. That means 338 seconds.
Level 1: 2 times - 388, 6.5 minutes
Level 2: 3 times - 488, 8.1 minutes
Level 3: 3 times - 578, 9.6 minutes

< 6.67
The normal night is 7.5 minutes long. That means 450 seconds.
Level 1: 2 times - 500 seconds, 8.3 minutes
Level 2: 3 times - 600 seconds, 10 minutes
Level 3: 4 times - 770 seconds, 12.8 minutes


1.1 Skill build

1. Void
2. Crippling Fear
3. Void
4. Hunter in the Night
5. Void
6. Hunter in the Night
7. Void
8. Hunter in the Night

The levels 1-8 are the preparation for the first night. You wonít benefit from Hunter in the Night nor you will use Void fairly often. But when itís night these 2 skills will make you simply unstoppable. One early level of Crippling fear can save you and your mates or help you killing someone.
Some people asked me about delaying the first night by skilling Darkness at level 6 to have more time for farming. In my opinion that's a very stupid idea. When do you own? In the night. When don't you own? When it's day. Please tell my why the hell you should delay the thing you want most (ok, vice-versa for orgasms)?

1.2. Starting items

or + + or

Quelling Blade is a tool to farm your basic equipment for the first night. Alternatively you can go for a Sobi Mask if you will lane against really evil guys like Viper and need to lasthit with Void a lot. Using that Sobi Mask for an Urn would be optimal.
Ironwood Brances give you a little bit of everything you need for a low price. You will use them for a Magic Wand later. If you want to go for Urn of Shadows, buy Gauntlets instead. Tangos and Salve are pretty much standart and will help you staying on lane. You need xp all you can get so you shouldnít go back too often.

1.3 Chose your lane

You can chose any lane but follow these rules:
- Possibly go solo. When you are level 7 when the first night begins you will own the whole night long.
- Possibly go solo bottom (Sentinel) or top (Scourge). You wonít be ganked too much and you can lane against dual lanes. Mid is always possible but maybe hard against some heroes like Viper. Top (Sentinel) and bottom (Scourge) are very risky lanes because itís easy to gank them.
- When you go with a mate, chose someone aggressive support like Vengeful Spirit because he doesnít steal your lasthits and you can make some kills with him. So you can outweigh the xp you lose because of your mate. But in general you should go solo.

1.4 Laning

Here a few rules for laning with Balanar when itís day:
- Lasthit as much as you can. You need to have your core items when the night begins
- Never leave your lane pointlessly. That includes ganking. When you fear ganks try to stay at least in creep range so that you get xp. You need as much xp as you can to reach level 7.
- Lasthitting creeps with Dark Void is no problem, you usually wonít kill anyone before itís night anyway, so you donít need the mana
- Help incoming ganking heroes of course
- Call for ganks if your opponent plays too aggressive so that you have to go back/die.

- Play aggressive, try to get as many kills as possible
- Try to outfarm your opponents while the supporter harass the enemies.

About lasthitting...

You are melee, and you aren't dangerous at all. So how the hell can you deal with guys like Nevermore when going solo mid? Here a few tips against meanies.
1. Try to get every lasthit by autoattacking that doesn't dangers you too much.
2. "Hey, how else should I get lasthits?" Void. Yes, you can "waste" your nukes on creeps. What else should you do with it? You can't hope to kill your opponent if he isn't all too stupid.
A little tip (thank you XJDevil): Leave Void at level one while laning. That keeps the mana costs low, what means more save lasthitting from range. Skill it out when you need it (at least when the night comes).
3. You can do something nice with creep agro and the higher terrain that starts infront of the Sentinel/Scourge tower. Order your hero to attack your lane opponent (don't actually do this of course). The creeps will try to attack you. That way you can pull them up the hill. Since your enemy will have a high miss-chance when he tries to attack you, you can lasthit freely.
You actually don't need the cliff near you, you can always try to lure the creeps into a good position.

1.5 Core items


These are the items you need. Boots and Magic Wand are core items for any hero but why Bottle?
You arenít a ganker in the night, you are a roamer. You are insane fast and will cross the rune spots many times. Runes help you ganking an fill the Bottle so that you never have to go back while roaming. So all in all it helps you using as much night time as possible.
Urn of Shadows is a good alternative to Magic Stick. It gives you pretty much everything that Balanar needs combined with an heal/dot that is fairly strong in early game for a cheap price. You are a very good carrier for this item because you get many charges by roaming, but don't buy it when some other teammate does.


2.1 Skill Build

9. Hunter in the Night
10. Darkness
11. Darkness

There isnít much to explain. Crippling fear will help you ganking heroes because you can avoid Blinks and Windwalks. Darkness isnít really needed to make the first night longer because of the short duration. So you skill it later.

2.2 Core items


Itís pretty obvious that Power Treats are a good choice for him. The stats fit perfectly. They are more useful in later game while Phase Boots help you ganking in the night.


I think some people think that Phase Boots are a bit wasted but they arenít. You are fast but you donít have maximum movement speed and the evil goddamn creeps will try to block you when you chase someone anyway. Bonus damage is never wrong.

After that...

Sange & Yasha is a item you simply don't want for Balanar because he has a slow as well as alot of movement speed. It isn't bad, but much too expensive for giving benefits he has already. But a slow that is actually even better since it slows every time you hit, just for 600 gold? Hell year, this is indeed good.

First Core Item

Aghanimnís is an amazing item and a very game breaking one. The wallhack is a reason to pick Balanar. No one can juke, gank or ambush you when you arenít a complete moron. And not just you, it helps your whole team.
The only problem is that you neglect your physical damage.
The stats are good for tanking (hp) and ganking (mana), in fact not completely worthless.
The reason why I made this item to a core item and donít recommend any other item is the fact that you should buy this item in every game. I thought about making Armlet to an alternative core item but in fact you benefit from Aghanimnís stats in early/midgame more than from dps because you can spam Dark Void like a madman.

Items that you can carry/you benefit from, but some other player should buy

Wards: You roam around the map anyway so you can plant a few wards by doing that.
Here a good guide for warding:

Gem: If someone is really nice and buys you one you can gank invisible heroes. Also you are one of the best gem carriers in Dota when you have Aghanimnís Scepter.
Chicken: Obviously a chicken is nice to let you bring your Boots and the other parts of Aghanminís Scepter.

2.3 Roaming

After you waited so long, forced to farm and never leave the lane, just for this moment: The night begins. What do we do now?
1. Surprise your lane opponent with your suddenly gotten power if possible
2. Go back to the fountain to take your items if you didnít do this already
3. Tell someone to go to your lane and go roaming. Maybe some new player doesnít know what that is. Roaming is means permanent ganking without staying on any lane. Usually item independent heroes like Vengeful Spirit go roaming to give their team an extra solo lane and kill the enemy teamís carry often enough to make him useless in late game. You arenít item independent but you are incredible fast (you can gank one or maybe 2 times per minute) and you have some high damage nuke that is very effective against the low level dual laners and you donít have mana problems because you pass the rune spots often enough to get nearly all runes that spawn to refill your Bottle.

How to gank

- Look which heroes you gank. Could anyone flee? Is there a hero that has some escape mechanism? Possible target the one who canít flee, like Traxex. Usually hard carries donít have very good escape mechanisms.
- (Use Darkness when itís day)
- Use Crippling Fear on healers, stunners or on the target you want to kill when he has an escape mechanism. I canít describe that really good, you have to think logical for choosing a target that can let your gank fail.
- Use Void on the target you want to kill, hit him, Use Void again and then he should be pretty dead. When you have enough team mates with you, you can kill someone with burst damage. But when one hero will die anyway you shouldn't just lasthit with Void. Use it on another fleeing guy that you could get.

- Interrupt town portals with Void
- Donít chase into towers when you know that his mates will come to help him. If you know that they wonít towers arenít a real problem for you, just donít try to pass the tower again because some enemy heroes could have used town portal.
- Focus on ganking heroes that are strong in late game (carries). So you can avoid that they are too strong in late game. But you can simply run around the map in a and gank anyone you find . You have to use all night time you have.

Here three pictures that shows a gank. Nothing special but anyone likes pictures . Traxex didn't had any chance to flee.

Tip: Always cancel your animations. Your casting animation has a huge backswing. If you don't know how to: Use "Move" straigt after the target is silenced or takes damage. Balanar will stop this epic looking unnecessary animation.


3.1 Skill Build

12. Crippling Fear
13. Crippling Fear
14. Crippling Fear
15. Stats
16. Darkness

Obviously we skill the skills that are left.

3.2 Item Build

If you want you can buy one of these items now. But they are just optional, skip them when you want to rush a luxury item.

Black King Bar: If you are facing many disablers this is a necessary extension.
Armlet of Mordiggian: This item is amazing for every physical dps strength hero. Here a few tips:
- Obviously you should activate it in every fight because it gives you huge dps.
- Donít forget to deactivate it when you donít need it
- It canít kill you. When you have 1 hp and you deactivate and activate it, it gives you a huge life boost.
- When you have low hp and someone attacks/nukes you , you can be gosu and activate it to survive.
- In general itís good to have ďAutoWarkeysĒ what allows you to bind the inventory slot on a key. That makes it easier.
Necronomicon: ďI will stop reading now 1/10Ē/ďI love this item 10/10Ē. I donít recommend this item because I want to be pro, I just see amazing synergy. Here my arguments why it is useful to Balanar:
1. The ms bonus: You have 511 ms with Power Treats, 522 with Phase Boots when you have Necronomicon level 3.
2. Your slow makes you to a potential Necronomicon carrier because you can let the little guys many times.
3. The solution to any invisible hero.
4. The end of every ward war. Combined with Aghanimns you can destroy many wards. That is possible with Gem of Truesight, too, but you canít destroy wards that are planted on cliffs.
Vladimirís Offering: It shouldnít be gotten too early but lifesteal is always good. In general itís better when some supporter buys it.

3.3 Gameplay

After celebrating a wild party in the night you are weakened. Roaming is ineffective when itís day (low movement speed), so letís go back to farming. You need it to get some items anyway. Here one of the lists I like so much:
- Go to a lane where you can get free farm
- Swap the lane if someone pushes the lane you farm at
- Go into the woods if you pushed too far and/or you think that someone will gank you. Use your Quelling Blade to stack creepspots. That is more effective than normal pulling because you don't get gold by pulling the creeps over a long distance to get them out of their spawn area. Here is a nice video that shows you a few farming tips: How to Farm

- You can activate Darkness like 1 time for pushes, teamfights, chasing or fleeing when itís day if you still want to activate it every time possible when itís night. Use this one time wisely.

3.4 Someone ganks me

You canít always avoid to be ganked. Here are a few steps to survive:
1. Who ganks you?
Example: Let's guess Vengeful Spirit, Centaure and Terrorblade and it's day.
2. Is there any tactic they will use?
Example: Vengeful will stun first because of the high range. Centaure will stun after and you are dead.
3. Use your silence smartly. And cancel the animation. You don't have any time. Here a picture where you can already see Sven's Stormbold. But Crippling Fear interrupted it:

Example: Silence Vengeful and run away. Centaure won't get you.
4. After you have avoided to be chain stunned, activate Darkness and run for you life. Of course you shouldn't do this at night.
Example: The three still chase you and would get you when your silence ends. You have to carry this unnecessary wings with you and walking on hooves isn't that easy, too. You are simply too slow when it's day. So you activate Darkness and run away.

Tip: Use the fog if you can. You can juke fairly good, you could use your Quelling Blade for that.
You can find detailed description of juking and stuff like that here: The Forbidden Techniques

By the way: This is just an example. I didn't mention what would happen if Vs would use her ultimate or you wouldn't see them because of fog and her stun would hit you. You never know what will happen. Be flexible. Abuse the fog. Try to predict what they will do. I can't teach you that in a guide, you need experience for that.


4.1 Item build

Chose your Orb

or or or

All are good choices. But when you should buy what?
Buy Stygian Desolator whenÖ
... You are facing many low hp heroes like Lina, Sniper or Ancient Apparition.
... You get many kills and farm very well so that you can get it very early. It is very effective in mid game, but Satanic is better in late game.
Buy Satanic when...
... When itís late game already. Lifesteal is just effective when you deal enough physical dps
... You die too fast in teamfights. Your basic strength combined with Satanicís bonus will let you survive the first burst damage in clashes. After that the lifesteal will keep you alive.
Buy Diffusal Blade whenÖ
... You play against Warlock, Broodmother, Sven or Omniknight. Itís still a good choice when you donít (high attack speed and double slow) but Diffusal Blade is a shitty orb in late game compared to Stygian Desolator and Satanic.
Buy Mjollnir when...
... You are facing many low hp targets. Thanks to the 75% as bonus you trigger the lightning often.
... Your team deals pretty much Aoe damage already. Just a bit Aoe is pretty useless while much AoE usually results in a teamrape. The 3 to 4 bounces buff will help here.
... When it's not late game. Lifesteal is a better choice there.
... You are your team's tank or there is another one like Axe.



Monkey King Bar: Thanks to your high attack speed at night you will trigger the mini-stun pretty often. I prefer this more than Buriza.
Cranium Basher: Basher is an alternative too, thanks to your 75% attack speed.
Assault Cuirass: A good dps item in any situation.
Butterfly: In late late game this item is a good choice even when you play against many physical dps carries.
Buriza-do Kyanon: Another pure dps item. But till late late game Mkb is more useful.

4.2 Gameplay


You arenít that overpowered as in early game anymore because other carries grow stronger than you do. But you can be happy: After level 16 Darkness lasts 80 seconds and has just 120 seconds cooldown. In fact you can activate it every time necessary. In late game your main job is fighting in clashes. Your greatest strength isnít just your great physical dps, it is also the tactical advantage of Aghanimnís Scepter. No one can ambush you and sometimes your enemies donít know that you see them so that you can surprise them.
Here another short list how to fight in teamfights:
1. Stay in front of your team when your team pushes. Use Darkness, go near to cliffs and look out for the enemy team.
Here a picture when you can see the whole enemy team because of Balanar:

2. If you meet the enemy team, activate Bkb
3. Use you silence on heroes with dangerous non-channelling skills (e.g. Echo Slam). They could kill you whole team.
4. Wait for a dangerous channelling skill (Epicenter, Black Hole). Interrupt it with Void.
5. Attack and Spam Void, Recast Crippling Fear.


5.1 Replays

PokerIdol vs Donít Know



Version: 6.65, 1.24c

Scourge vs THE SHIT



Version: 6.65, 1.24c


5.2 Videos

Here is the best Balanar video I found, the commentars for the were disabled so I wasn't able to copy it to this page. But here is the link.


Because some people don't like the splitted skill/itembuild that much you can see it here again:

Skill Build

1. Void
2. Crippling Fear
3. Void
4. Hunter in the Night
5. Void
6. Hunter in the Night
7. Void
8. Hunter in the Night
9. Hunter in the Night
10. Darkness
11. Darkness
12. Crippling Fear
13. Crippling Fear
14. Crippling Fear
15. Stats
16. Darkness

Item build

Starting Items

After that...

First big core item


or or or

That was my step-by-step guide. I hope it is helpful to you. Please rate and comment it. Especially comment because I just can improve it when you give me constructive feedback.
So write ďI like it/I donít like it becauseÖĒ Instead of ďOmg noob guide 1/10Ē.
Credits to Zan because of the idea of a step-by-step guide and the people who helped me with their comments: Lycan, Piejonk, iKrivetko, Soulfly, Kild, BlackRain,, -Deyan-, DAN-Vampire, yggdra777, hert0g, EebstertheGreat, KaaR, Callanish, wutwat, XJDevil and Azz_92
Special thanks to Hass who tried the skill and item build so enthusiastic again. Please donít rage that much when you lose with Night Stalker. Alternatively you could win .
Another special thanks to my grandpa Ace who wanted to fix the typo in the second header so badly

Balanar the Night Stalker
Author: FunnyWarfare
Map Vers.: 6.68

Roamer in the Night

A Step-by-Step Guide to Balanar

Date Posted: 01/18/10
Last Comment:17/11/2013
Total Votes: 281
Current Rating: 8.74
Views: 577483

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