Developer's Blog

Remember me ?             Register

Ish'kafel, the Dark Seer
First guide by Gaibo1.

Forum version | Guide version

Updated to 6.75b.

If you find any mistakes and such, do tell me about it (them).


In this guide, Dark Seer would be played mainly as a support, and to some extent, a ganker. He has the pubstomping potential, but smarter players would know better to counter him. Each of his spells can be gamebreaking, but requires precise timing and positioning. He is a fun hero to play and I hope this guide would be able to help you.

1. This is my first guide, so it may not come out pretty.
2. English is not my native language. If you find typos (which I try not to make) and/or grammar mistakes, let me know.
3. I'm not really a pro at DotA so weird pointers may appear. Comments, suggestions, harsh criticisms and feedback are always welcome.
4. Since the third warning, stated above, facepalms, wtf moments and insta-0/10 ratings may appear (yes, I know the minimum rating is 1).
5. Quite a lot of tabs. Though, it should be better than walls of text, right?

Alt-tab guide

Skill build:

Level 1 - SurgeLevel 10 - Surge
Level 2 - VacuumLevel 11 - Surge
Level 3 - Ion ShellLevel 12 - Surge
Level 4 - VacuumLevel 13 - Wall of Replica
Level 5 - VacuumLevel 14 - Wall of Replica
Level 6 - Ion ShellLevel 15 - Stats
Level 7 - VacuumLevel 16 - Wall of Replica
Level 8 - Ion ShellLevel 17 - Stats
Level 9 - Ion ShellLevel 18+ - Stats

* If you prefer harassing, max Ion Shell first instead.
If you went to a solo lane, take Ion Shell and Surge in between until you maxed Ion Shell, after Ion Shell max Vacuum.

Starting items:


Core items:



Quick tips:

Early game:
Place wards if you have any, buy a courier if your team needs.

When jungling:
Gank if your team wants to, scout for runes, pull creeps if you can and use Ion Shell on yourself when killing neutrals.

When laning:
Cast Ion Shell on creeps to harass, help your partner if you can and don't spam your spells too much.
Mid game:
Gank with your allies frequently. If an ally is fighting a melee hero, cast Ion Shell on the ally. Use your spells correctly and always remember to keep a TP scroll with you.
Late game:
Be careful not to die. Push a lot and stick with allies. Help you allies whenever possible and avoid killstealing, a thing you should always try to avoid.

In teamfights:
Cast Ion Shell on melee heroes, use Vacuum then Wall of Replica to maximize the illusions created, and use your items when needed.

⇈ Back to top ⇈

⇈ Back to table of contents ⇈

~Self check
When to pick him? When not to?

Read the following 2 lists and answer those questions.
  • Do we lack supports?
  • Do I like supporting?
  • Will my team do a lot of ganking?
  • Do my teammates need chasing and/or get close to our enemies to be effective?
  • Do my team have heroes that needs my help for their combo to be effective?
  • Do I feel confident in your allies' teamwork skills?
  • Do I like playing ugly heroes?
  • Did I finish reading this guide?

And again,
  • Do I prefer playing tanky/carry heroes, with your name showing up first thing in a kill?
  • Am I one of those pubbies that can only flame instead of help?
  • Do I killsteal and lasthit like a boss and piss off your team's carries?
  • Do the enemy team have heroes that can eat up squishy/intelligence heroes like Dark Seer?
  • Do I/my teammates hate ugly heroes?
  • Did I just hastily gone through the guide/didn't read all/posted "tldr" for the first time you read this guide?

If you answered yes to most of the questions in the first list, YES, GO AHEAD AND CLICK THAT UGLY FATASS DARK SEER'S ICON.

If you answered yes to most of the questions in the second list, go pick another hero. Pick him the day he got a plastic surgery.

⇈ Back to top ⇈

⇈ Back to table of contents ⇈

~HERO's Info & Stats
Visit his blog hero page here.

[+] THE highest starting Intelligence among all heroes (29) and moderate int gain (2.7)
[+] Pro support in the right hands.
[+] Good combined starting stats (63) and stat growth (6.2).
[+] 3rd highest starting damage (60-66), with an average of 63, being the 3rd highest (the first two are strength heroes).
[+] Good base armor (5.68), the 4th highest in DotA (the first three are all agility heroes).
[+] Item independent.
[+] Flexible playstyle.
[+] Multipurpose spells.
[+] Strong hero from early to late game.

[-] Melee.
[-] Ultimate effective in (almost) only teamfights.
[-] Takes time to master.
[-] Low starting agility (12) and agility gain (1.2).
[-] Ugly.

And in the middle:
[] He has two legs!But still, I fail to find the humor in this.

22 + 2.3
12 + 1.2
29 + 2.7

Want moar?

AffiliationAttack animationDamageCasting animationArmor
Scourge0.59 / 0.5860 - 660.4 / 0.675.7
BAT (base attack time)MovespeedMissile speedAttack rangeSight range
1.7300Instant128 (melee)1800 / 800

Thought by some to be among the most cunning and manipulative among the Scourge's varied champions, the dark seer Ish'kafel, living in exile from his people, is also the most secretive, for he speaks to no one but the Lich King himself. His unconventional talents, which lie in augmenting himself and allies with a variety of both defensive and offensive supportive castings, are quite unusual and versatile, often capable of turning the tide of battle before it even starts.
The Dark Seer is a master of manipulating the positioning of allies and enemies and causing confusion in battle. His Vacuum ability drags all enemy units a wide area to a central location. This spell is very deadly when combined with allies who have strong area of effect spells. The Dark Seer's primary damage source is Ion Shell. When cast on an allied unit or the Dark Seer himself, Ion Shell continuously damages all adjacent enemies, making it the natural complement to Vacuum. Ion Shell is powerful when cast on allied melee heroes who like to be in the thick of the fight. To aid his allies and to make sure Ion Shell is in range, the Dark Seer uses Surge, a powerful spell that makes a target ally move at maximum speed for a short period of time. This ability is useful in any situation, and due to its low cooldown period and mana cost it can be cast quite frequently. The Dark Seer's final spell, Wall of Replica, summons a shimmering barrier which duplicates any enemy hero that passes through it, creating an illusion of him. Wall of Replica is great at causing a lot of confusion during large battles, especially combined with Vacuum. For players who like a more strategic playstyle and can quickly determine the flow of battle, the Dark Seer is a good choice.

⇈ Back to top ⇈

⇈ Back to table of contents ⇈

~The Guide


Ability type: active
Targeting type: point

Creates an abyss upon a chosen parameter, pulling in and damaging foes in the area.

LevelMana CostCooldownCasting rangeArea of EffectDurationAllowed TargetsEffects
110022500250N/AEnemy units40 damage
213022500350N/AEnemy units80 damage
316022500450N/AEnemy units120 damage
419022500550N/AEnemy units160 damage

Damage type: magical
This ability will interrupt channeling spells and items.
Drags units over 0.4 seconds before dealing damage.
Doesn't pull invulnerable units.

Awesome skill that pulls enemies into the same point. Can be used to stop enemies from escaping, especially from those AoE ultimates. Nevermore's Requiem is an excellent example. Can also be used to push away enemies when you/your ally is escaping. It also interrupts channeling spells so this is really useful.
Keep in mind that it costs 190 mana in level 4, and it has a cooldown of 22 seconds, so use the skill wisely!



Ion Shell

Ability type: active
Targeting type: unit

Surrounds a target with energized spellwork, creating a shield that causes damage per second to enemy units who come in contact with it.

LevelMana CostCooldownCasting rangeArea of EffectDurationAllowed TargetsEffects
17010600 25020 seconds Any units30 damage per second
29010600 25020 seconds Any units50 damage per second
311010600 25020 seconds Any units70 damage per second
413010600 25020 seconds Any units90 damage per second

Damage type: magical
Doesn't damage the target it is cast on.
Damage is dealt in smaller amounts every 0.1 second.
If cast on a unit that already has Ion Shell on it, the new Ion Shell will replace the old one.

Cool harassing spell, used with Vacuum and you've got a fleeing enemy. Use on creeps and they will all stay back from it, somewhat like Abaddon's Shield.
Remember, cast this when you see an ally fighting other heroes, it can hurt your enemies greatly if left unchecked.

Here's how Ion Shell looks like.


Ability type: active
Targeting type: unit

Floods a target with excess power giving it maximum speed for a brief period of time.

LevelMana CostCooldownCasting rangeArea of EffectDurationAllowed TargetsEffects
120 12600N/A3 seconds Self / Allied units Gives maximum speed
230 11600N/A4.5 seconds Self / Allied units Gives maximum speed
340 10600N/A6 seconds Self / Allied units Gives maximum speed
450 9600N/A7.5 seconds Self / Allied units Gives maximum speed

Can be autocasted.

Ah, a lifesaving skill. Used on allies to escapes ganks, to chase heroes and even to snatch that rune/Aegis for teh lulz (which I'm not suggesting that you always should).

Also, note that even if you can autocast Surge, it seems that you can't autocast on yourself, and will usually be casted on creeps instead (and also interrupting your actions, as it won't let you continue what you was doing before casting Surge), therefore, avoid autocasting Surge.

This is what it would look like when you cast Surge.

Wall of Replica

Ability type: active
Targeting type: target point

Raises a wall out of pure mana across the landscape. Enemy heroes who attempt to pass through it will take damage and have images of themselves emerge from the wall to serve under the Dark Seer until the wall's duration is up.

LevelMana CostCooldownCasting rangeArea of EffectDurationAllowed TargetsEffects
1200 100500 100015 seconds Enemy heroesIllusions take 300% damage and deal 70% (100%*)
2300 100900 100030 seconds Enemy heroesIllusions take 300% damage and deal 80% (120%*)
3400 1001300100045 seconds Enemy heroesIllusions take 300% damage and deal 90% (140%*)

Damage type: magical
When the Wall creates an illusion of an enemy, it deals 150 damage to the affected hero.
Does not create illusions from other illusions or Geomancer copies.
The wall is created perpendicular to the line between the Dark Seer and the target point.
Area of Effect specifies the length of the wall
Can be improved by Aghanim's Scepter (* show the improved value)

Gamebreaking and cool. In teamfights, this spell could cause chaos as enemies will try to focus on your allies, the illusions made by the spell can be really annoying. And it hurts too, with each illusion dealing up to 90% damage (140%, provided you have Scepter).

Here's what your ultimate would look like...

Here is how your illusions appear to your enemies (move your cursor to the picture!).

Yes, it's an enemy Dark Seer.

As of 6.73, your illusions now appear as semi-transparent to your enemies, rather a nerf because they used to appear like any normal illusions, not transparent and stuff.

But, this nerf comes in useful if your team faces a Rubick. Go figure (or go to Worst Enemies section).

⇈ Back to top ⇈

⇈ Back to table of contents ⇈


Here is a replay of Dark Seer played by ArtStyle.


Map versionWarcraft versionGame modeGame length

 The Sentinel  The Scourge
TR^pggshka NaVi.Ar7Style
klif[pride] NAVI.XBOSTARIX
TR.Nivelium NaVi.Puppeh
TR^Funny NaVi.LostMySelf

Original post.

Direct download link.

Shortcut to the replay -available only in forum version; located at the bottom of this guide.

Download link for DotA v6.72c, the map version for this replay.

⇈ Back to top ⇈

⇈ Back to table of contents ⇈

Dark Seer is really a fun hero to play, with his cool spells and a flexible playstyle. I hope you'd enjoy playing him as much as I enjoyed writing this guide.
Okay, so I didn't really feel like a boss when I wrote this guide, but I sure hoped that you enjoy playing Dark Seer.

- IceFrog for making this game into what is now today.
- Ramomar/Voltzy/Ramodkk for his guide template.
- hex0r (hexOr...?) and his awesome DotA videos
- Luminous48 and his jungling guide.
- Nix and his guide to Linken's Sphere.
- Voltzy (yep, him again) and his guide to Necronomicon.
- Last but not least, you! Except if you're flaming and/or trolling, which I won't really like it a lot.

Only somewhat major changes will be recorded in here, I cba to log every minor change/fix in here, and it would look crowded here :P

- Guide published!
- Added replay, fixed some stuff with item builds.
- Added "the boots argument" section.
- Merry Christmas! Updated to 6.73.
- Updated to 6.74.

⇈ Back to top ⇈

⇈ Back to table of contents ⇈

Ish'kafel the Dark Seer
Author: gaibo1
Map Vers.: 6.76

Ish'kafel, the Dark Seer

Basic guide to Dark Seer

Date Posted: 10/19/11
Last Comment:02/04/2013
Total Votes: 54
Current Rating: 9.01
Views: 275540

Login to post a comment