Developer's Blog

Remember me ?             Register

Atropos, The Bane Elemental
Guide version | Forum Version

Atropos is an elemental force personifying the nightmares and fear of this world. He manifests where there is promise of inflicting horror and feeding off dread. Sapping his foes' psyche heals him. Manifesting his enemies' fears, he greatly enfeebles their ability to fight. He revels in disabling foes by sending them into dread slumber. When need be he can rip his soul and force it into his foes, effectively immobilizing them with despair and pain. Atropos is, in one word, Fear.

Hi, this is my guide to Atropos. The first DotA guide I ever attempted to write, though I had some experience with writing Diablo II guides. I'm writing this guide because I'm extremly bored at the moment, there was no guide for Atropos yet and he's one of my favorite heroes.

Table of contents

You can click on any of the underlined titles in order to jump to that specific section.

I - Atropos
1 - Stats
2 - Skills
II - Build
1 - Skill Build
2 - Skill Build Variations
3 - Starting Items
4 - Core Items
5 - Items afterwards
6 - Situational Items
7 - Items to avoid
III - Strategy
1 - Laning
2 - Ganking
3 - Team Fights
4 - Pushing
5 - Good Allies
6 - Bad Enemies
IV - Replays

V - Changelog

I - Atropos

Atropos can disable up to three enemies for 4+ seconds with an empty inventory. The fact that Atropos is ranged and has Brain Sap to create a 600hp gap in life allows for relativly easy laning. His ultimate is the best single target disable in the game but has a drawback; Fiend's Grip is a channeling spell. Atropos is item independant and can easily adapt to whatever the team needs. All in all Atropos is a strong pick no matter where you play.

1 - Stats

(Click on the icon to view Atropos' statistics)

Atropos has average starting stats and average stat gain, however the stats and stats gain are distrubed rather odd; they are all the same. This means Atropos has pretty good strength and agility gain for an intelligence hero, but his intelligence gain is the second lowest among all intelligence heroes. Atropos has decent and consistent starting damage, though he has rather short range.

2 - Skills

Enfeeble (Click on the icon to view the skills details)

Use this to drastically reduce enemy DPS. As soon as you spot the biggest DPS threat enfeeble them. The casting range is pretty long so don't worry about putting yourself in danger.

Brain Sap (Click on the icon to view the skills details)

Don't use this to harass, instead use it as a finisher or to heal yourself. If you plan to use this as a finisher after Fiend's Grip, shift-que it so there minimal time for them to escape. You'll have to account for the small difference in casting range between Fiend's Grip and Brain Sap though.

Nightmare (Click on the icon to view the skills details)

You can use this to finish off really low hp heroes (including yourself and allies), to give yourself and your allies time to (re)position yourself in a gank, to escape from a gank, or to take an enemy hero out of a team fight. Creeps won't hit a Nightmared unit.

Fiend's Grip (Click on the icon to view the skills details)

Your ultimate can be used in lane/ganks to get you kills or in team fights to take someone down quick. The cooldown isn't ridiculously long so don't be afraid to use it. Make sure you cast Enfeeble, Nightmare and use any items you have (if necessary) before you use Fiend's Grip since you can't do that while you channel.

II - Build

1 - Skill Build

01. Nightmare
02. Brain Sap
03. Brain Sap
04. Attribute Bonus
05. Brain Sap
06. Fiend's Grip
07. Brain Sap
08. Attribute Bonus
09. Attribute Bonus
10. Attribute Bonus
11. Fiend's Grip
12. Enfeeble
13. Enfeeble
14. Enfeeble
15. Enfeeble
16. Fiend's Grip
17. Nightmare
18. Nightmare
19. Nightmare
20. Attribute Bonus
21. Attribute Bonus
22. Attribute Bonus
23. Attribute Bonus
24. Attribute Bonus
25. Attribute Bonus

Nightmare is taken at level 1 to save you or your allies from a first blood attempt (either by sleeping an enemy and running or denying yourself/an ally) or set up a first blood attempt. Brain Sap is then leveled as soon as possible because it allows you to heal yourself, kill, and generally control your lane. Fiend's Grip is taken whenever possible since it allows you to gank and contribute in team fight's effectively.

At level 8 to 10 you should take Attribute Bonusses over Nightmare and Enfeeble. This is because a 4 second Nightmare is enough for ganks and smaller skirmishes that happen around this time, and the extra 3 seconds will not only buy you and your allies more time, but also give the enemy team longer to react. Enfeeble isn't taken because enemy DPS isn't that dangerous at this point.

Enfeeble is taken levels 12 to 15 because this is when enemy DPS starts to become dangerous. After you get the last level of Fiend's Grip, finish levelling Nightmare as now is the time to make real use of the extra duration. All that's left after that is Attribute Bonusses.

2 - Skill Build Variations

Nightmare can be taken at levels 8 to 10 instead of the recommended Attribute Bonusses if you expect a really short game, or if you feel the extra casting range and duration are necessary.

Enfeeble can be taken after the 3rd level of your ultimate if enemy DPS isn't a threat yet. This leaves room for more Attribute Bonusses or Nightmare on levels 12 to 15(follow the same reasoning as above before taking Nightmare over Attribute Bonusses though).

3 - Starting Items

Start out with a combination of Mantles, Gauntlets, Circlets, Branches, Tangoes, Clarities and Salves.

I usually get Mantles to help last hitting/denying and to increase your physical DPS. With Atropos' strength gain I don't really feel a need for Gauntlets. If you randomed Atropos, Circlets are your best bet.

Salves are taken over tangoes if you know you are going to face a nuker, since the burst regen is more usefull than the regen over time.

Get some clarities to be sure you aren't caught without mana. These can be skipped if you plan on getting a bottle.

Fill up with branches to ensure a Good Game.

You can get an optional Magic Stick right away, but in my opinion it's better to wait with getting one once you know who you will be laning against.

Unless someone else on your team gets a chicken, you should get it since you're not that item dependant.

If you happen to be the teams designated ward bitch or plan on getting a bottle and using the runes, get a set of wards.

I don't recommend getting bottle as first item, but you can choose to get this as early as possible to use the runes if you are on the middle lane. This will allow you to use Brain Sap a lot more frequently.

4 - Core Items

Null Talisman's to get you a bit more damage, mana and health. This would be bracers if you got Gauntlets earlier. You may choose to leave the Mantles, Gauntlets or Circlets as they are and get a Point Booster instead. If you need room for wards or dust, get only one Null Talisman or go for the Point Booster.

A Void Stone is gotten to keep your mana up throughout the game.

Boots should be obvious.

A Scroll of Town Portal can get you where you want to be, fast. Make sure you always have one.

Your last item slot will be filled with either Magic Stick, Magic Wand or Empty Bottle if you decided to get one earlier.

A Point Booster can be gotten to replace one or two Nulls or Bracers. Point Booster is more cost and space effective than Nulls or Bracers but it doesn't come in small pieces. Get one if you're doing good.

Your core build will cost you between 2500 and 3500 gold depending on which items you got (excluding optional wards, chicken and extra TP Scrolls) so you should be able to get this every game.

5 - Items Afterwards

Necronomicon (2750/4050/5350 Gold)

Necronomicon synergizes perfectly with Atropos and should be the first item you consider after you get your core items. This is the only item that actually let's you do something while you're using Fiend's Grip and it gives you extra strength and intelligence. The minions get 5 seconds of free hits on the gripped target, doing a lot of extra damage and burning the targets mana. On top of that they provide a movement and attackspeed aura in a small area, and True Sight to take out wards and catch invisible heroes. A last but not to be overlooked plus on Necronomicon is the easy build up and the fact that it's usefull at level 1.

Boots of Travel | Phase Boots (2700 | 1500 Gold)

You will want to upgrade your boots at some point in time, probably right after Necronomicon. I highly recommend getting Boots of Travel as the ability to teleport to creeps is invaluable. However, Boots of Travel are expensive and come in one big chunk instead of smaller pieces like Phase Boots. Even though Phase Boots no longer give you some extra armor, the phase ability is still great for chasing and escaping.

Guinsoo's Scythe of Vyse (5675 Gold)

Guinsoo's Scythe of Vyse will you give another strong disable with a bit longer cast range than Nightmare/Fiend's Grip. It also gives you a ton of mana regeneration to make sure you never run out of mana again and extra strenght and intelligence. The best item to go for after Necronomicon and your boots upgrade, though you probably won't finish it.

6 - Situational Items

Eye of Skadi (6150 Gold)

If your team doesn't need the extra disable Guinsoo's Scythe of Vyse offers, or a game runs really long, you can go for Eye of Skadi. Eye of Skadi will make you a lot more durable due to the huge stat bonusses. The slow is an added benefit, allowing you to help your team chase down any left over heroes or slow them during a fight while you wait for your skills to cool down.

Shiva's Guard (4700 Gold)

When the enemy team has a lot of DPS, you might want to go for Shiva's Guard. The -attackspeed aura helps to reduce their effectiveness, the extra armor helps you survive longer and the Arctic Blast gives you some AoE to help in pushes or to catch up with running heroes. Shiva's Guard can be activated during Fiend's Grip without interrupting it.

Eul's Scepter of Divinity (2925 Gold)

If you aren't doing to good, or simply don't see yourself finishing Guinsoo's before the end of the game, but your team still needs another disable, get Eul's Scepter of Divinity. The extra movement speed works well with the Phase Boots you probably picked up if you weren't doing to well.

Black King Bar (3900 Gold)

If you keep getting interrupted while channeling your ultimate, a Black King Bar can help you channel the full duration. If you feel like you need it, you should pick it up right after you finish your core so you can use your ultimate to it's full potential as soon as possible. This should be the only item you ever get before Necronomicon.

Linken's Sphere (5175 Gold)

You might want to opt for Linken's Sphere instead of a Black King Bar if you think that would work better versus the enemy team. Overall this item is more usefull to you than Black King Bar since it also offers some extra intelligence and mana regeneration.

Kelen's Dagger (2150 Gold)

Kelen's Dagger is a great positioning, initiating, chasing and escaping tool. There are lots of possible uses for this item, if it fits your play style, by all means get it.

7 - Items to avoid

Aghanim's Scepter (4300 Gold)

For 4300 Gold you could already have Necronomicon level 2, which adds more damage during Fiend's Grip and provides additional benefits. This item simply isn't worth it's price on Atropos.

Refresher Orb (5300 Gold)

Again, this item simply isn't worth it's price on Atropos. It's doubtful that you will pull off Fiend's Grip twice in a team fight and in ganks your ultimate should be more then enough to finish off the hero within the duration. The cooldown on Fiend's Grip is short enough to have it up every team fight anyway.

Dagon (2850/4200/5550/6900/8250 Gold)

Dagon pales in comparision to Necronomicon as it can't be used during Fiend's Grip and you can only use it once in a fight while the minions from Necronomicon can attack another enemy after you've finished the first, not to mention it does less damage. Getting it after Necronomicon would be an option if the nuke still had a real impact at this point. Upgrading it would solve this problem but the total cost of the upgrades would get you another item which is more usefull to the team than a single target nuke at this point.

Bloodstone (5050 Gold)

Bloodstone would be a good item on Atropos if his skills had shorter cooldowns. You will only use them once, maybe twice in a fight and your mana pool should be large enough to handle this. Though you can get a lot of charges and the heal on death is nice, your gold would be better spend working towards an Eye of Skadi if you feel you need the survivability.

Orchid Malevolence (5025 Gold)

Both Guinsoo's Scythe of Vyse and Eye of Skadi, although more expensive, outshine this item. The damage amplification might seem nice to use on a gripped target, but the disable itself is pretty situational and the damage amplification alone isn't worth the gold. If you want to increase your physical DPS, Skadi is a better option even if it offers only half the damage, since it also offers a survivability increase.

Heart of Tarrasque (5500 Gold)

Even though Heart of Tarrasque still offers a massive health increase, without the in combat regeneration it's not that useful for you anymore. Your gold is better spend on Eye of Skadi or Linken's Sphere if you need some extra health.

Mekansm | Arcane Ring (2306 | 1700 Gold)

Both of these items shine early game and Atropos might seem like a good candidate to get them, but they will delay your Necronomicon. Necronomicon will increase your mana pool and support your team, although in a different way than Arcane Ring. Mekansms heal will put another drain on your mana pool early in the game which you can't handle. If you get them later in the game the effects are pretty much wasted, as is your gold.

III - Strategy

1 - Laning

Get your starting items and walk towards any lane. I recommend going top for sentinel, bottom for scourge or head for the middle lane, since these lanes are not as safe as the last lane and you have no trouble keeping your health up with Brain Sap. Atropos can hold a solo lane without any real trouble as well. If you do get in trouble on your lane, ask your team to come for a gank, switch lanes with someone or get a lane partner.

Block the creeps as much as possible if you got the top or bottom lane so the creep waves collide a bit closer to your tower. If you went mid, block the creeps, but not to much. You want to keep the high ground advantage to compensate for your low range but you don't want to let the tower get the creeps and push your lane.

If you are with a lane partner who is more item dependant than you are, focus on denying your creeps and let your partner get the last hits. If you have a solo lane or your lane partner doesn't really need the gold either, get as many last hits as you can.

If the enemy is using the runes to fill his bottle, try to beat them to it, even if you don't have a bottle yourself. Nightmare them to be sure you get the rune, denying him health and mana replenishment and forcing him to go back to the fountain or use a chicken/crow to refill his bottle.

Harass the enemy with your normal attack as it does decent damage, and keep Brain Sap for healing yourself or finishing the enemy. If you are laning against low hp heroes and you are level 6, Fiend's Grip will take A LOT if not all of their hp, allowing you to finish them off with Brain Sap. If you know you can't get the kill with Fiend's Grip, save it untill you are sure you can get the kill. You should get out of your lane with a fair amount of gold and a couple of kills.

2 - Ganking

You should wait untill level 6 or 7 before you start ganking. However, if you are on the middle lane and happen to get a rune, go gank the side lanes.

Double Damage
Not the best rune for you, but it might still give you a kill. You might want to leave this for one of your team mates.

The same things as with the Double Damage rune apply here. If you pick it up, send one illusion back to your lane so you don't appear to be MIA and try to get a kill with the other one.

Allows you to get into position quickly and chase the enemy, a good rune for Atropos.

The best rune for Atropos as it allows you to sneak up on the enemy and set up for an easy kill.

If you have a bottle spam Brain Sap and when you're out of mana use the rune. If you don't have a bottle only pick it up if you really need the regen or to prevent your enemy from getting it. Otherwise leave it for someone else on your team.

When you hit level 6 you can really start ganking. Fiend's Grip pretty much ensures a kill. Open with Nightmare. If it's a solo target this ensures everyone can get in position. If he has a team mate with him, Nightmare the one that might screw up your gank. In an ideal situation someone will wake up the lone target with another disable, allowing you and your allies to quickly finish him off. If he had a partner, disable him right after you've Nightmared the first enemy and try to kill him before his partner wakes up. If he manages to get to safety before you and your allies can disable him, simply focus on the Nightmared target instead.

3 - Team Fights

Start off by enfeebling their biggest DPS threat you are not going to use Fiend's Grip on. Enfeeble has the longest range of all your spells, so this should be the first thing you do. After that Nightmare/Hex someone you don't want to deal with. This could be a disabler, healer or something with a scary ultimate.

After that's done, summon the minions from your Necronomicon and use your Black King Bar if you have those, and grip the target that you and your team will take down first. Order the minions from your Necronomicon to attack the gripped target and don't forget to mana burn someone.

When the gripped target is dead, order the minions to attack something else and try to stay alive. If you used Brain Sap already all of your skills are cooling down and you don't have anything to contribute other than your physical attack. If you didn't use Brain Sap already use it to stay alive. As soon as your skills/items cooldown use them again if the fight isn't over yet, following the same strategy on whoever is left.

4 - Pushing

Pushing really isn't Atropos' thing. You have nothing to contribute other than your physical attack and maybe Shiva's Guard if you picked that up. Simply attack as much as possible and hopefully your team will take care of the rest.

5 - Good Allies

Viper, the Netherdrake

Viper deserves a special mention in my opinion for his awesome synergy with Fiend's Grip. Fiend's Grip lowers the enemy's health fast, making Nethertoxin extremly effective. Between Atropos' disables and Vipers slows, nothing can escape.

Mirana Nightshade, the Priestess of the Moon

Nothing makes an arrow easier to land than the 4 to 7 seconds Nightmare provides. After the arrow has landed you got 5 seconds of free hits and after the stun is over, Fiend's Grip is still available, giving a 10 second beatdown on the unlucky target.


With a few extra disables on your team you can disable the entire enemy team, giving your allies time to destroy them. In lane and ganks they can wake up a unit from Nightmare while still keeping it disabled, making them good allies in all stages of the game.


Both you and nukers are a pain in lane so the enemy will be forced to stay defensive unless they want to lose big chunks of health. Laning with a nuker will get you a lot of kills early in the game.


These heroes can make full use of the 5 seconds of free hits Fiend's Grip give them, making sure nothing gets out of Fiend's Grip alive.

6 - Bad Enemies

Anub'Arak, the Nerubian Assassin

Anub'Arak will shut you down in lane with mana burn, making you unable to escape with Nightmare or heal with Brain Sap, so killing you will be an easy task. His burst damage combo will take a lot, if not all, of your health.

Lucifer, the Doom Bringer

Doom shuts you down for a long period of time, making you useless. On top of that, LVL?Death ministuns, interrupting your ultimate. Without your skills you are little more than an weird looking high health creep.


Silence interrupts Fiend's Grip and stops you from casting spells, making you useless for the duration, and easily picked off. Though not much of a problem while laning, they can screw up your ganks and shut you down in team fights. A Black King Bar or Linken's Sphere won't save you from AoE silence either.


Nobody likes playing against disablers, and you are no exception. They can interrupt your ultimate and render you unable to use your skills, again making you an easy target for other members of their team.

IV - Replays

Replay #1 (Map: 6.61b, Patch: 1.23 | Click on the text or scroll down to download.)

Action packed replay featuring two ultra-kills, the first one at 1:22. A really fun game to watch and it doesn't last to long either (13 minutes, 19 including picking). You could actually watch this at 1/2 speed and not get bored. This probably isn't the best example of how a game with Atropos usually goes, but it does demonstrate various techniques outlined in the guide.

V - Changelog

08/05/09 - Started working on the guide.
08/07/09 - Finished the guide and got it published.
08/10/09 - Added anchors and a changelog to the guide.
08/30/09 - The guide got spotlighted.
08/31/09 - Added some information on Shiva's Guard and fixed some spelling errors.
08/31/09 - Added links to switch between Forum and Guide version.
10/17/09 - Updated the guide for 6.64
10/17/09 - Added Kelen's Dagger under Situational Items.
10/23/09 - Moved Eye of Skadi to Situational Items.
10/23/09 - Fixed some minor inconsistencies and typos.

Atropos the Bane Elemental
Author: 8460
Map Vers.: 6.64x

8460's Guide to Atropos

ima grip n sap

Date Posted: 08/05/09
Last Comment:24/02/2013
Total Votes: 326
Current Rating: 8.10
Views: 312700

Login to post a comment