Sven can work decently in any lane, aside from the jungle.
Total RecallThe main crux of my argument for Sven getting the raw deal was that he's a three but he can't solo. The issue with that is that IceFrog has actually done some very significant buffs to Sven's abilities.
From 6.72 - 6.75:
After giving it some time, I can say that Sven is well enough right now that he can definitely be played as one or a two.
And since Sven is now viable as a one or a two, his team can afforded to babysit him, and this opens up his laning capabilities very much, being much more viable in dual lanes and tri-lanes. Transitioning is not necessary anymore. Sven can afford to be the dps-tank hero from start to finish. But he can still transition, and it's possible to start off very gank heavy and then switch and become a farming carry.
The Running Man
Sven is a melee hero with 295 base movement speed. Learn animation canceling. As soon as the ability is cast, move! As soon as the attack lands, move! Sven cannot afford to waste his time.
Just to reiterate. Abuse the runes! Sven can make use of any rune. You should always abuse the runes. For the most part, a rune should mean a gank attempt.
Double damage stacks with God's Strength, that's 200/240/280% additional damage.
Already giving max movement speed, so Haste doesn't 'stack' with Warcry. Nonetheless, the Haste rune is an incredible chasing tool.
With a lot of Sven's damage coming from his base damage, a great deal of his dps is shared by his illusions. Also, Warcry being an AoE skill means that his illusions aren't left behind. Not to mention how illusions are great for tanking towers.
The element of surprise is always a great tool in any ganker's arsenal.
Not as great for Sven as other runes, but with Armlet and Sven's mana issues, regen is definitely helpful.
Storm Bolt has a decent range, a fairly long stun that can hit multiple units. Combined with Sven's natural tankiness, Storm Bolt allows Sven to initiate fairly well. That said, Sven isn't the best initiator in the game, not by a long shot.Tank:
Sven in a team fight should never be afraid to take a hit. Sven is tanky enough to be able to take on a lot of punishment, and if done right, should have a good enough team presence that he can draw enemy fire away from his more valuable teammates. However, this is not to say that Sven should be played recklessly. While Sven shouldn't be afraid to die for the team, it wouldn't do for him to simply give away a free kill for the enemy.Bait:
If you're using the Personal build then you should have a lot of mobility. You can use this mobility to great effect. Running is not always a bad thing, and it could in fact be a great thing. Sven could in fact lure/kite the enemy team if needed be, allowing your teammates to deal damage to the enemy while they're busy chasing Sven.DPS:
Sven has two main sources of DPS skill-wise. The primary source of Sven's DPS is God's Strength. This however means that Sven relies on auto-attack for most of his damage output. Auto-attacks are reduced by armor. Auto-attacks can be evaded. Auto-attack, for the most part, can't be used against ethereal units.
They hold 'em down, you beat 'em up.
As we've established, Sven is great for supporting ganks.
Sven has mana problems.
Some heroes have spells that take a while to cast or land and often requires a great deal of skill and a little bit of luck to land. Sven has a 2 second stun, this makes it much easier to land those spells.
Before the latest dominance of tri-lanes, the Sven and Lina/VS combo used to be quite a common sight in dual lanes, the synergy is quite obvious. Sven works well with other disabler-nukers too but these two are given special mention simply for their prevalence in a bygone era.
Though not quite as famous as Sven-Lina combo, these work with a fairly similar concept to that.
Special mention for being a mana fountain, a disabler, and possibly even an aid in ganking, all in one.
Sven has already has mana problems. These guys just pour salt into his wounds.
Disablers and Disabling items:
How these counter Sven should be fairly evident.
Sven is a melee dps hero. You can't hit what you can't reach.
Purge removes rune buffs and it usually slows.
A purge, which usually slows and removes rune buffs, AND a mana break.
Necronomicon Warrior has Feedback and Necronomicon Archer has Mana Burn. Also, Last Will and Great Cleave don't mix.
Defense Against Physical Attacks:
I'd have sectioned this into "Etheral", "High Armor", "Evasion", etc. but they all pretty much counter Sven in the same way. They make his dps output useless.