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Redefinder's guide to Anub'arak

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Skill Build
Level 1. Impale
Level 2. Spiked Carapace
Level 3. Mana Burn
Level 4. Impale
Level 5. Impale
Level 6. Vendetta
Level 7. Impale
Level 8. Mana Burn
Level 9. Mana Burn
Level 10. Mana Burn
Level 11. Vendetta
Level 12. Spiked Carapace
Level 13. Spiked Carapace
Level 14. Spiked Carapace
Level 15. Stats
Level 16. Vendetta
Level 17-25. Stats

Starting Items


Mantle of IntelligenceIronwood BranchIronwood BranchIronwood BranchMagic StickAncient Tango of Essifation


Quelling BladeStout ShieldAncient Tango of Essifation

Core Items
Arcane BootsUrn of ShadowsSoul RingDagon


Ancient Janggo of EnduranceRing of AquilaPower TreadsNecronomicon

Luxury Items
Ethereal BladeBloodstoneLinken's SphereGuinsoo's Scythe of VyseHeart of TarrasqueManta StyleStygian DesolatorEye of SkadiBoots of Travel

Situational Items
Blade MailDiffusal BladeForce StaffKelen's Dagger of EscapeVladimir's OfferingHeaven's HalberdMonkey King Bar

Rejected Items

I decided to make a concise guide for Nerubian Assassin since all others are outdated. Many new changes came out in the new dota version. This hero was buffed in the most recent dota version. His ultimate cooldown was decreased which made his gameplay more flexible. Also, there are some things in those guides which I feel have been missed out, for example I haven't seen a word about Ethereal Blade. I will try to cover everything about NA's gameplay, item build and skills here. Note that this guide is for dota 1. Mechanics in dota 2 aren't completely identical to dota 1. It's either because it's an intended war 3 engine limitation fix or a bug (still beta...).

So what is NA's role? It's the all powerful burst-damage dealer. In other words, he is a caster. The interesting fact is that he is an Agility hero but specializes in killing with spells. He is not useless in late game though. He has a scaling mana burn spell which deals damage according to the enemy's intelligence, that's why he is mostly played against a team of casters and carries. However he can support nonetheless, by providing a long stun as well. He is also a good mid hero because of his "rune whoring" and ganking capability.

To play NA you need to have:
- Basic knowledge of Dota, NA is not newbie friendly. Most of his spells require coordination and proper targeting.
- Microing skills and Mana Management, all of NA's spells are active, this is not some right-click hero like Skeleton King. You will find it somewhat difficult to use these spells until you've mastered them.
- Map awareness, you won't be able to gank succesfully without this.
- Reflexes, similarly to Phase Shift, Spiked Carapace requires some fast fingers and reflexes to use effectively.
- And of course some Experience with playing this hero. Nobody can become a pro in only one day.

Attack range:128
Attack Animation:0.46/0.54
Casting Animation:0.4/1.1
Base Attack Time:1.7
Missile Speed:Instant
Sight Range:1800/800

The Nerubian Assassin starts off by wearing his opponents down early on, Burning their Mana for damage, keeping them fairly useless and vulnerable. With a Vendetta against living things, he can become invisible, travel faster, and deal great damage to the next thing he hits. Following up with his powerful line stunning impale and then Mana Burn is a combo most will instantly fall victim to--hard to see it coming and difficult to escape. His Scarabs can spy the lay of the land to alert him to danger or his next victim.

Anub'arak was once the greatest champion of the Nerubians, but fell in the Second War of the Spider. He was resurrected by the Lich King Ner'zhul, who promised him eternal undeath in exchange for his unswerving loyalty. When threatened, he shoots these spikes through enemies, maiming and disorienting them. He channels his dark powers into a bolt of disarming negative energy, and those who witness him blending into the shadows of the frozen tundra have never lived to tell the tale.

Vendetta damage increased from 225/375/525 to 250/400/550

Vendetta movement speed increased from 10/15/20% to 16/18/20%
Base HP regeneration increased to 2.5
Mana Burn drain amount increased from 4*Int to 5*Int
Mana Burn manacost rescaled from 90/110/130/150 to 130/120/110/100
Spiked Carapace reworked

Urna Swarm replaced with Spiked Carapace

Mana Burn cooldown decreased from 35/25/15/5 to 28/20/12/4
Vendetta cooldown decreased from 90/75/60 to 70/60/50

Urna Swarm Infestation aoe increased from 275 to 300
Urna Swarm Infestation dps increased from 20 to 40
Urna Swarm Maximum summons reduced from 2/4/6/8 to 2/3/4/5
Urna Swarm Cooldown rescaled from 14/11/8/5 to 26/19/12/5
Urna Swarm Manacost rescaled from 10 to 40/30/20/10

Spiked Carapace replaced with Urna Swarm
Impale damage reduced from 80/160/230/300 to 80/140/200/260

Mana Burn can no longer target creeps since it no longer affects them

Mana Burn reworked

Good stats gain
Scaling Mana Burn spell
Can one-shot 99% of all intelligence heroes
Low cooldown on all spells
Best invisibility in the game (0 sec fade time and invi ends AFTER attack is made)
Long disable (his impale disable is second longest of all impale spells in the game)
Fairly good ms
High base hp regeneration
Has Blademail and Refraction
Badass model ;)

Fragile without survivability items like HoT, Vanguard
Wards fuck up his element of surprise in ganks
Useless when silenced (he can still use items though)
Can't clear creep waves too easily
Mana dependent
Melee for a caster hero

1. Impale lvl 1
Get it to ensure a first blood or prevent a first blood.

2. Spiked Carapace lvl 1
Used to deal with spells and harasses early game.

3. Mana Burn lvl 1
It hurts heroes (int ones even more) and they will lose their mana. Cast this spell occasionally to harass and prevent the enemy from nuking you. With the recent buff to NA it's actually worth maxing Mana Burn now as you get both the low lower cooldown and mana cost.

4. Impale lvl 2
Disable gets longer. We max this spell so we can have a long disable when we gank the enemy at level 6 with your ultimate.

5. Impale lvl 3
We max Impale to increase stun duration as well as damage.

6. Vendetta lvl 1
Skill the ultimate and go for a kill. It's important that the enemy doesn't see you casting this skill, else they will run away at their tower. Here's a trick, go near your tower, cast Vendetta, approach your target, hit with Vendetta and Impale + Mana Burn, then auto attack for the remaining stun duration. You can follow the enemy and cast SC at the right moment if he should escape.

7. Impale lvl 4
Now it will disable for 2.77 seconds (0.52 fly duration + 2.25 stun). The damage of this spell, however, is lower than other nukes (260).

8. Mana Burn lvl 2
You only need 1 point of SC until later. The benefits that Mana Burn gives now are greater than just the stun time increase in SC.

9. Mana Burn lvl 3
Maxing it. It slowly becomes a cheap, spammable efficient spell. Use it to shut down low mana pool heroes, damage high mana pool heroes, kill a fleeing hero. Sometimes you may have to check for the enemy's mana if it has casted a spell or two as Mana Burn won't do anything if the hero's mana is already depleted.

10. Mana Burn lvl 4
Maxed. 100 mana cost for possibly a 250 or more damage nuke on int heroes. Also use Mana Burn (once or twice before Vendetta + combo) to weaken heroes so they get low enough to be killed by your combo!

11. Vendetta lvl 2
Increase in damage, lower cooldown but however duration is greatly increased. It was 20 before now it's 35. Gives you extra time to stay unnoticed while going for a gank.

12. Spiked Carapace lvl 2
Stun gets longer, everything else remains the same. Survivability increases and kill ability slightly increases.

13. Spiked Carapace lvl 3
We max it.

14. Spiked Carapace lvl 4
Now with a 2.4 second stun and a nuke which grants 2.77 seconds stun you can chain-disable an enemy for up to 5.17 seconds which is no joke.

15. Stats
Stats is the only skill available at this level.

16. Vendetta lvl 3
With a decrease in cooldown and increase in duration, the cooldown of this skill is now equal to its duration. Besides ganking, you can now constantly use it to roam the map with increased move speed and remain unseen in the minimap.

17-25. Stats
This is all there is left.

Note: This is the most optimal build but you can take Mana Burn at level 2 instead of SC if: you're not in a position/situation to reflect anything and you rely on Mana Burn to get the kill against the running enemy; the lineup you're up against doesn't have anything significantly beneficial to reflect.

Slams the ground with massive claws, shooting spiked tendrils out in a straight line, dealing damage and hurling enemy ground units into the air in their wake.

LevelMana CostCooldownCasting RangeArea of EffectAllowed TargetsEffects
19511 secs500125Enemy Units80 damage and 0.75 secs stun
211511 secs500125Enemy Units140 damage and 1.25 secs stun
313511 secs500125Enemy Units200 damage and 1.75 secs stun
415511 secs500125Enemy Units260 damage and 2.25 secs stun

Explanation: A simple Impale skill which deals some damage and stuns. The damage is quite low compared to other nukes however the stun is longer than most normal spells in the game (2.77 seconds of disable, the units fly in the air for 0.52 seconds before the real stun is applied). Use this skill after Vendetta so the hero won't do anything while you cast your other spells (e.g. Dagon + Mana Burn). Apart from that it's also good in team fights for stunning multiple targets. There are two ways to cast this, targeted (on a single unit) and non-targeted (on the ground). Both ways have their pros and cons, for example a targeted Impale is more accurate but is blocked by Linken. Remember that in 99% of cases you will have to target the ground, in the correct direction in order to stun multiple targets.


Mana Burn
Sends a bolt of negative energy that burns a target enemy unit's mana based on its Intelligence. Burned mana combusts, dealing damage to the target equal to the amount of mana burned.

LevelMana CostCooldownCasting RangeArea of EffectAllowed TargetsEffects
113028 secs600N/AEnemy UnitsBurns Mana equal to 4 times the target's Intelligence
212020 secs600N/AEnemy UnitsBurns Mana equal to 5 times the target's Intelligence
311012 secs600N/AEnemy UnitsBurns Mana equal to 5 times the target's Intelligence
41004 secs600N/AEnemy UnitsBurns Mana equal to 5 times the target's Intelligence

Explanation: A targeted mana burn skill. It scales very well into late game, deals a LOT of damage to int heroes. Can also be used on low int str heroes (like Axe, Centaur) to burn their mana thus preventing them from casting spells. Imagine a 150 int Pugna, it will deal 750 damage from only one cast. Not to mention the amplified damage with Ethereal Blade. Another thing to note here is that this spell is blocked by Linken, so it's a good way to set it on cooldown and then use your combo, uninterrupted on a target. Mana Burn doesn't do anything if the target hero has no mana so you may have to check for the enemy's mana sometimes when you suspect it's empty.


Spiked Carapace
Temporarily enhances the Assassin's chitinous armor with organic barbs, causing him to prevent and reflect the next player based damage instance and stuns the target. Lasts 2.75 seconds.

LevelMana CostCooldownCasting RangeArea of EffectAllowed TargetsEffects
14014 secsN/AN/AEnemy Units1 instance (per enemy) reflected or 2.75 secs
24014 secsN/AN/AEnemy Units1 instance (per enemy) reflected or 2.75 secs
34014 secsN/AN/AEnemy Units1 instance (per enemy) reflected or 2.75 secs
44014 secsN/AN/AEnemy Units1 instance (per enemy) reflected or 2.75 secs

Explanation: Your personal Blademail. Think of it as a hybrid between Lanaya's Refraction and Blademail which stuns. It's an active skill so you need some reflexes to use it properly to damage the enemy and keep your hp high.


Use SC to stop spell harasses as well as hit them with their own spells. It shouldn't be too hard to "dodge" a Magic Missile, Storm Bolt, Mystic Snake or any other non-(almost)instant spell.

SC isn't very effective in-lane against harassers who spam attacks and wasting 40 mana for just 1 attack returned isn't very useful but if you have some support which refills your mana or big mana regeneration you can use it constantly return their attacks.

Animation Cancelling

Upon casting SC, NA will play a short animation for a little more than a second, interrupting all other orders given. Simply click on the ground right after to cancel it to prevent losing time or recast the spell you wished to cast after SC.


Any decent or half-decent enemy will know that it's a bad idea to nuke a NA who has already activated SC. In other words, they will just wait for SC's duration to finish and then cast the spell. In most cases, you wouldn't want to activate SC until you see that the spell is being/about to be casted.

Special Mentions

Enemies carrying a Radiance or other similar DoTs will get stunned whether they like it or not. You can turn this into your advantage to chase them or evade those pesky chasers by stunning them every 14 seconds.

Early Kills

Enemies with strong nukes will try to harass in-lane to force you out of it or with an AoE spell try to farm creeps + harass. Use this to your advantage to remove a good portion of his hp and gain a kill opportunity, this will add up as a nuke so you can kill the weakened enemy with Vendetta + Impale + Mana burn. This can be done with a well timed SC (such as when Earthshaker begins to cast fissure his cast animation makes it obvious). Before the enemy realizes he made a mistake, it will be too late.


You are laning versus pudge. Both of you are level 6. He decides to hook you and hides in fog, you realize this and pretend to be creeping and unaware of the hook. While the hook flies mid-air you activate Spiked Carapace negating the damage and returning it at him and his gank fails. Or you get hooked and activate Carapace while you are dragged. Rot or Dismember triggers Spiked Carapace and that leaves pudge with 2.4 seconds Rot on himself or more if you chain it with Impale.

You are ganking venge, Vendetta + Impale + Mana Burn leaves her at a sliver of hp. You don't activate SC until you see the Magic Missile stun animation triggering and she thinks you don't have SC skilled but by the time she realizes she shouldn't have stunned you it's already too late and she dies.

Zeus comes into the lane, both of you are level 6, he begins casting Lightning bolt, as soon as the cast animation starts you notice that and cast SC. This takes away a fine 25% from his hp. Immediately after the damage is returned you go Vendetta, hit him, Impale, Mana Burn and bam, dead. This kill wouldn't have been possible without SC (Zeus would be left on 20-25% hp and could run/juke away past tower if you casted just Vendetta + Impale + Mana Burn).


The Nerubian Assassin turns invisible for a short period of time, and can break his invisibility with an incredibly damaging attack.

LevelMana CostCooldownCasting RangeArea of EffectAllowed TargetsEffects
116070 secsN/AN/AEnemy UnitsDeals 250 backstab damage. 16% ms increase
221060 secsN/AN/AEnemy UnitsDeals 400 backstab damage. 18% ms increase
326050 secsN/AN/AEnemy UnitsDeals 550 backstab damage. 20% ms increase

Explanation: Probably the best wind walk spell in the game. Deals the biggest backstab damage and has a 0 second fadetime so you are invisible the moment you cast it, so you can dodge spell projectiles very easily. However at early levels it has high cooldown so don't play around with it using it to juke just a stun from one enemy or escaping death that could be prevented with Impale. If escaping with invisibility is a must to survive then use it. The main purpose of Vendetta is to give NA the element of suprise in ganks, your ganks should almost always begin with your ultimate. Vendetta in, stun, cast your combo and the guy will be dead before he can even recover from the stun. When you level it up to lvl 3, when the cooldown is equal to the duration you can use it as a roaming skill to move faster. Vendetta isn't just an opener as most invisible skills are, it's a nuke, so it's never uncommon to cast all of your spells and use it as a finisher.

Starting Items

600 gold
  • NA doesn't have that warding skill anymore but it's still a good item to take on any lane, especially mid to gain that level advantage and start ganking as soon as possible.
  • Will regenerate your mana so you can cast your spells multiple times without having to leave the lane but to truly take advantage of it and its price early game you will need to capture a few runes and have decent mana management. Recommended item for mid lane.


565 gold
  • This build aims for more survivability in-lane, Stout Shield reduces the damage returned from SC but that's not a problem since you'll want to return spells for offensive purposes. With NA's 2.5 base hp regeneration you can even take on solo hard lane and get some decent farm. Last hitting creeps has never been easier with Quelling Blade.
  • If you're laning with a carry or a semi-carry then do not get Quelling Blade because you'll want to leave the farm to him and the passive effect does not work on denies. Recommended starting item build for side lanes.

Core Items

1450 gold
  • Increased mana pool and you will restore some of your mana.
  • Slightly better ms gain than Power Threads.
  • Since NA is a burst damage caster he is very reliant on mana. Without these boots early game he has a small mana pool which doesn't support casting all of his spells. Arcane Boots are the best boots choice for him.

2805 gold
  • NA is one of the best Dagon carriers in the game. Provides even more burst damage and another weapon to NA's burst warfare.
  • Later on in the game amplified by Ethereal Blade making it even deadlier. Great synergy.
  • Do not level this item up. Ethereal Blade does the same thing (increases damage) and also gives you stats and you are able to counter dpsers with it. If you must have a level 5 Dagon then it should be late game when you have a LOT of gold to spare.

875 gold
  • NA is a ganker/support constantly roaming the map leaving the farm to his carry. This is an awesome items to get for him as a ganker and as a support since you will be able to heal yourself and your mates and best of all, it isn't disabled by creeps!
  • +50% mana regeneration. Even the smallest amount is useful on any caster hero.

800 gold
  • Consider getting this in addition to Bottle and Arcane Boots.
  • Can be built in the side shops which is good if you're laning top or bot.
  • Boosts hp and mana regeneration and it's quite cheap.


1725 gold
  • The aura synergies really well with Vendetta plus the whole team.

985 gold
  • Great aura. Stats, damage, armor, mana regeneration, what more could you want.

1400 gold
  • Unlike Arcane Boots they don't give that much mana, but they do give attack speed and stats so you could land more attacks on the enemy. I suggest setting them on int or agi, or when you're getting chased you can briefly change them to str to increase hp and chances of survival.

2700 gold
  • If you're playing against invis heroes and can't be bothered to buy truesight items then this is a viable item to get.
  • With the Second Necronomicon Warrior you will have 2 active mana burn spells and a passive mana burn which can be devastating for the enemy's mana.

Luxury Items

4900 gold
  • Ethereal Blade is my personal favorite late game item. It deals so much burst damage game, it makes Mana Burn even deadlier than before and amplifies your other spells.
  • Another nuke and bonus damage to all your spells (except Vendetta) thanks to Ethereal Form.
  • Bonus agility, which is also more damage for NA (he is an agility caster, remember?).
  • Ethereal Form can counter physical damage and can save your butt from dpsers like Troll, Naix and others.
  • Ethereal Form synergies with SC too, you receive more damage from nukes thus reflect more damage, in some rare cases this can grant you kills!

5050 gold
  • The best luxury item after Ethereal Blade. Some of you guys may think it's a bad advice to make this after EB, it's not. Farming it before EB will delay it and enemies will get more survivability. Your job is to kill them and disrupt their farm so maximizing your burst damage is a must.
  • What this item mostly does is let you spam your spells freely in late game, makes you tankier and the passive is incredibly good, which is greatly utilized by your ganks.

5175 gold
  • A defensive item, I would recommend building this if there are nukers or disablers on the other team such as Lion, Lina, Ogre.
  • More hp/mana regeneration for casting spells.
  • One less harmful spell on you.

5675 gold
  • An item suitable for every caster hero and NA is no exception. Get this if you're playing him as support.
  • Synergy with Impale and Spiked Carapace can result in up to 8.65 secs stun.
  • Imba mana regeneration and nice stats.

4125 gold
  • Deals 30% extra magical damage which can finish off a hero if your combo didn't do that already.
  • Int, damage, attack speed and mana regeneration is just what a caster needs.

5500 gold
  • NA is very squishy, even to creeps, this will solve that problem.
  • Passive fountain-like regeneration.
  • Increased survivability by a lot thanks to strength and bonus hp this item offers.

5050 gold
  • Faster chasing, confusion in combat and spell dodge due to Split Images. Nearly the same price as Ethereal Blade with a 150 gold difference.
  • Quite a lot of bonus stats.

4100 gold
  • The main reason why you want to get it is the -armor effect. It amplifies your Vendetta by placing the -armor debuff BEFORE you land your attack.
  • Ideal to get it when there are heroes with Hood/Pipe or against a specific lineup such as Rubick with his +magic resistance aura, Magina, ect.

5750 gold
  • 25% slow is excellent for keeping up with your enemy in a gank.
  • Tons of bonus stats.
  • Synergies with ms giving items like Manta.
  • You must not have another orb effect item in your inventory because Cold Attack is an orb effect and a buff placer to melee heroes.

2500 gold
  • In late game feel free to replace Arcane Boots with Boots of Travel.
  • Ability to teleport to any friendly non-hero unit on the map making it excellent for stopping pushes, counter-ganking, ect.
  • Good ms gain synergies with your ultimate.

Situational Items

2200 gold
  • Get Blademail to counter dpsers such as Huskar, Troll.
  • Can cause havoc in teamfights, the enemy will have to decide if it will focus you or not.
  • Gives bonus Damage, Armor and intelligence at a cheap cost.
  • Low cooldown on the Active ability.

3300 gold
  • Get this item if there's Omniknight on the other team to counter Repel. When cast on a target it will completely remove Repel and slow it. Purge also removes some buffs of the enemy like Troll Warlord's Battle Trance, Broodmother's Insatiable Hunger.
  • Somewhat expensive. Need to re-buy the recipe to replenish charges.

2350 gold
  • This is a nice item to have in many situations. It can save you from some AoE spells. Some that I know of are Riki's Smoke Screen, Tauren Chieftain's Earth Splitter and more. Other than that you can use this to catch up to a fleeing enemy.
  • Cheap cost of 2350 gold means you will build it in a short time.

2150 gold
  • Might be useful at ganking to bring the element of surprise although you still have invisibility for that. Besides that, if you fail to kill with the Vendetta combo, you get another chance to kill the enemy by blinking next to it.
  • Has a defensive use too - another escape ability, blink can also be used to juke some targeted spells.

2050 gold
  • NA can get this if nobody else from your team is willing to make it. The lifesteal aura is useful in many ways. You and your team benefit from it, your creeps do too, they push farther. The mana regeneration, armor and damage aura are great even for ranged heroes who can't take advantage over the lifesteal aura.
  • And of course, it's cheap.

3950 gold
  • A lot of things packed into one item. Survivability thanks to strength and evasion.
  • More ganking power because of passive slow Maim and damage.
  • Disarm will make one carry useless for up to 4/3 seconds (ranged, melee).

5400 gold
  • Get this when you are dealing with evasion heroes or heroes carrying a Butterfly. Evasion screws up Vendetta, if the first hit is a miss, Vendetta is wasted.
  • Nice dps boost and the abillity to stop channeling with your autoattacks is useful when Impale is on cooldown.

Rejected Items

5150 gold
  • Having this on you is like typing in all chat: "Watch out guys, I'm about to gank you". The damage burn gives away your position and basically the enemy will know when to use dust. Also it's expensive. Bad item for NA.

5750 gold
  • Dps items suck on NA and the critical strike that this item gives doesn't benefit from Vendetta if that's why you were thinking was worth getting it for.

2950 gold
  • To proc the bash passive often enough you must have decent attack speed and to make use of it you have to keep attacking. Even so, NA specializes in killing with spells, not with attack damage.


Ganker/Burst Damage Dealer. This is the most successful role, imo. You will get kills, just don't go abusing your high damage spells and start kill stealing. If you're ganking along with teammates, disable the target first and kill with your spells only if you think he's going to escape. You will be farming very little throughout the game and focus on ganking. The mid lane is best for this kind of role, since you'll level up very fast and have direct access to top and bot for ganking. But if there are other rune dependant heroes like Pudge, Nevermore, ect. then you would just want to leave the lane to them and go top/bot.

Support. In this case, you're supporting your carry. Stick to that lane where your carry is farming and activate Spiked Carapace from time to time whenever a spell is thrown at you. Don't steal the creeps from your carry, he needs the farm more than you do. Occasionaly last hit creeps.

Choosing a lane

Ever since 6.74, NA can no longer scout, rune whore and take on mid like a boss like he used to anymore. Sad but true. You can still go for bottle early game but that part of NA is lost. Mid is a good option and has several advantages, access to two rune spots, more experience means you'll reach lvl 6 faster and start ganking sooner.


Early Game. This is the farming phase of the game for NA and although he is a ganker, he still needs to farm his core items. So your performance in this phase will affect your future gameplay. Last hit creeps and deny to shorten your opponent's exp. If you are using a bottle, for example if you lack hp but are at full mana cast a nuke at the enemy hero (Impale or Mana Burn) and then use your bottle. This is called Mana Management. Quickly take the rune you spotted to refill your bottle. When you hit level 6 you may want to attempt a kill on the mid hero. Assuming you have harassed him a lot he will lack hp, this will make it easier to kill him (especially if he's a str hero). The important part here is, don't let him notice you used Vendetta. Get away from creeps sight range and cast it there. Approach the enemy, hit with Vendetta and immediately cast Impale, now during the stun time first cast Mana Burn. Now for the second important part, don't just activate SC like a dumbass, wait until he decides to retaliate with a spell (wait for a spell or casting animation). Doing it the wrong way would mean that the enemy will just wait for the 4.5 seconds to pass and then use his spell. This will surely kill your target or at least giving him a trip to his base, thus underleveling him.

Mid Game. It's time to gank all around the map. You should leave the farming to your carry now and just gank. Choose your targets carefully, ask yourself these questions:

- Is there an ally with powerful nukes/disables who can help?
- Is the target at full, half or red hp?
- Is the target near or away his tower?
- Does the target have an escape mechanism, say, some sort of invi and I don't have dust?

Check your mana before you gank. Look at your mana pool and think - will you have enough mana for a succesful gank? Also when you gank with Vendetta take in notice the cooldown of your spells. Is Impale/Mana Burn on cooldown? For example, if you have used Impale and it's on cooldown wait for the cooldown to finish and then break invisibility. Vendetta's main purpose is to gank so try not to use it for a different purpose at levels 1-2 of it. Calculate the odds, see if you can stun more targets with Impale and escape, if going invisible to survive is a must, then in that case use Vendetta to escape.

This will be your killing combo in most cases:

1. Vendetta approach the target and strike him
2. Do a targeted Impale to stun easier
3. Cast mana burn + Dagon (if you farmed it that fast)
4. Auto-attack for the remaining seconds of the disable
5. Activate Spiked Carapace when the enemy decides to retaliate, preferably with a spell.
6. If the target survived, you can follow it (without auto-attacking) to re-stun and secure the kill

Late Game. This phase of the game will wary depending on how well you did the last two phases. If you have farmed luxury items like Ethereal Blade, Heart of Tarrasque, Linken then it won't be a problem one-shotting carries and int heroes and in some rare cases even tanks too. Mana Burn will now be like a secondary Dagon with very low cooldown, spam it if you can't kill with only one cast of it. Assuming you have Ethereal Blade now, your combo should be slightly different: Vendetta then Impale then the rest. But "Why Impale before Ethereal Blast, its damage is magical?" you ask. Well, it's safer to cast Impale before Ethereal Blast, between the time of your casts, in those miliseconds the enemy can react and escape you. You can choose to cast Impale after Ethereal Blast but I recommend in most cases that you do it this way if you haven't practiced this combo already. Otherwise, if you have practiced the combo I suggest this: there's a 0.52 second gap that should be followed to apply Ethereal Blast before Impale's damage takes place. It should be in the following order: Impale + a quickly casted Ethereal Blast + other.

Targeted Impale

As said earlier, there are two ways of usage of Impale: Targeted (clicking the unit itself) and Non-targeted (clicking the ground).

It's a lot easier to land a targeted Impale because your hero will turn around if the target moves for the duration of your casting animation and the spikes will always go at the direction of your target. You will want to use this type only when you want to kill a single target, preferably after Vendetta. There are downsides to this method, if you lose sight of the target (by invisibility or fog of war) during the 1.1 secs casting animation Impale will be canceled. Moreover, a Targeted Impale is blocked by Linken (the spikes will pass through the hero as if he was magic immune, doing nothing).

More accurate, better for killing a single target
It's easier to just click the target

Blocked by Linken
Can almost never stun multiple targets
Interrupted if you lose sight of enemy

Non-targeted Impale

Moving onto Non-Targeted Impale, a more reliable choice. It's used when it comes to pushing and defending and if targeted on the ground right it can nuke a whole creepwave. It can save yourself or your allies from a whole team by providing a long stun. It's not blocked by linken and last but not least you can finish off a hero who went invisible. In teamfights, try to get all/most of your targets in a line, by that I mean moving to an ideal position where all/most targets can be stunned, then cast Impale on the ground. Here are some other cases in which you will want to use a non-targeted Impale:

Impale casted from up a cliff. Click on the ground and not on the target as it might exceed the 500 range (the max range which the spikes travel is 700).

Casted at roshan. Usually to delay the other team from killing roshan or make them think you are coming with your team so they would retreat.

When creeps move, right before they attack/face other creeps and regroup they move out in a line, this makes it easier for you to stun all creeps with Impale.

Better choice in teamfights
Not blocked by linken
Doesn't matter if you have sight over heroes, it will hit them anyway

It's harder to kill single targets because they might juke it by moving around
Need some experience to use properly

Burrowing Scarabs

There's a way to Burrow your Scarabs without much trouble i.e. without having to wait for the Scarab to get there and Burrow it then. This is important because it will save you time and it's really easy to do it once learned.

1. Hold Shift
2. Right click the spot on the map
3. Press "r" which is the hotkey for Burrow

And that's it. The Scarab will now move to the place where you ordered it to go and automatically Burrow itself there.

Roshan Spot

Having placed a scarab at roshan means you will know when the other team will try to kill roshan. This is extremely useful for the whole team as you need not check the roshan spot and you are worry free. Even if the team has truesight and kills your scarab you will still be alerted and know when to react. This method also works wonders in public games against Ursa users who think they can solo roshan at lvl ~6. Wait for the right moment, when roshan is on low hp, kill Ursa and finish off roshan/take aegis, optional: put trollface on.

Obvious win over a regular ward which can't give vision over roshan.

Unhidden Scarabs

Burrowed scarabs have very low vision, you can't see anything from a cliff with a burrowed scarab. When they are unburrowed we can use them as wards, below are some places to place unburrowed Scarabs for vision.

We can easily see the bottom rune and the river path by placing a Scarab at this location, almost the same as if we placed a normal ward.

Top rune spot, some of the area around it and the path to the Scourge mid lane are revealed.

Scarab at bottom rune spot. Most of the river area can be seen and part of the Sentinel forest.


Select all of your units, including your hero. You can then use TAB to switch between the hero and the Scarabs. Notice how by pressing TAB all of the Scarabs are selected but if Infest is used only ONE of them will cast it. This is perfect for chain-silencing and damaging as the damage from Infest DOESN'T STACK.

1. Select all your units
2. Use TAB to navigate between the hero and the Scarabs and cast spells


Against heroes with channeling abilities, like Enigma or Bane, Infest can be used to interrupt their channeling spells, even when you're disabled. If the enemy has such heroes, you can keep a scarab with you so when they start channeling you can break free by casting Infest on the channeling hero. Let's say for example, an Enigma casts Black Hole on your entire team and you end it with your Scarab which is immune to it. Most or at least half of the duration of the spell will be wasted saving you and your team.

Another use of Interrupt is interrupting healing from items such as healing salves, clarity potions, reg. rune, ect. E.g someone beats you to the regeneration rune you were eager to take. He takes it. That same moment you unburrow your Scarab and cancel it with Infest. The healing/mana regeneration stops.

Clearing Creeps

First land a stun on the creeps, make sure you stun the ranged ones. Then quickly Urna Swarm, select the hero and the Scarab, press TAB and Infest. Note how on the image, Infest is finishing off all the ranged creeps giving me lots of gold and at the same I'm last hitting melee creeps.

Scarab Pull

This technique is best used for stopping/delaying pushes without having to get yourself in danger. So basically, just send a Scarab near the enemy's creeps and they will attack/follow it and send it to a neutral camp, keep close with the creeps sight range or else you'll lose them, when at the neutral camp simply sacrifice the Scarab and creeps will start fighting neutrals. Notice how far I dragged creeps from middle lane without my Scarab dying.

Scouting Heroes

A run-away hero, with no tp scroll, will try to escape from a gank by running away, either in the forest or in a juke spot. You and your team, can, gain vision of him. Right-click with the scarab on the hero, this will make the scarab follow him thus gaining sight. The Scarabs have a movement of 400 so it's no problem. You can also control the Scarab manually (clicking on the ground to scout) if fog of war doesn't let your scarab automatically follow. With some microing skills, you can chase/cast spells and scout with the Scarabs at the same time.

Rune Guide

Double Damage Rune. Good rune. With just your auto-attack you chomp down a lot of enemy hp. Doesn't increase damage from Vendetta though. Just base stuff.

Haste Rune. Even better than the dd rune, dd rune is kind of more dps hero type oriented, haste is great on any hero. You can keep up with the target with ease to re-stun with Impale. Also makes slows on you useless so escaping after you used Vendetta combo is not a problem.

Illusion Rune. The worst rune, at least for me. Still, it has its uses. One image can be put in a lane, near creeps so the enemy would think you're still in lane, not expecting a gank from you. The enemy may also cast spells on the images thinking they're the real thing (pubs only).

Invisibility Rune. Can be used as a backup invisibility if you have the desire to kill a low hp target with teammates around him so you won't die. Keep in mind that after activating it, during the short fade time, you can use 1 charge of your bottle without breaking your invisibility.

Regeneration Rune. The best rune. Allows you to not go back to the fountain and repeatedly cast spells and refill your hp.

Vendetta tips

  • Do not hesitate to break Vendetta with a spell (that you know will kill) if the target is low on hp and you know can't catch up to land the attack. Example: Ethereal Blade + Dagon on a retreating Barathrum.
  • Know what you can kill from full hp and what not. Basically, Level 1 Vendetta + Impale + Mana Burn kills ~550 hp targets. Level 2 Vendetta + Impale + Level 1 Dagon + Mana Burn kills from ~1000 hp. Finally, Level 3 Vendetta + Impale + Level 1 Dagon + Mana Burn kills up to ~1600 hp. Note that these numbers are just approximate and are taken from my experience, assuming the enemy hero has 25% magic resistance. Heroes with increased MR or high armor will probably survive this even if their hp is below those values.
  • Because level 3 Vendetta's cooldown is equal to its duration, use it as indicator to know when it will end, so if Vendetta is about to end and you are approaching to kill a target but the ending will reveal you before you reach it, wait a little (out of the enemy sight), re-cast Vendetta and continue.
  • You can hit with a Level 3 Vendetta twice, a little more complicated to pull off but very rewarding when done (you can kill targets from full hp you normally couldn't), again use the cooldown as an indicator (strike 1-2 seconds before the invis ends and cast Vendetta 2nd time).
  • If your target has 1 ally near him, hit the desired target with Vendetta and cast Impale in a line so that it stuns his ally too, preventing him from reacting to defend your target.
  • If the target has more than 1 ally near him, follow it and wait for it to get some distance or completely separate from them, else there's a big risk you might not make it alive, even if you Impale stun everyone.


This is a useful technique. It consists of fighting the enemy to reduce his hp a value low enough through Impale + SC and later in the game with Mana Burn but keep your own hp on a safe level. The enemy will think it will be okay but what will surprise him will be your Vendetta. It's also safer because if backup arrives to help the hero during the process, you have your Vendetta ready to escape. Just look at this gif.

Dealing with truesight

This is the basic "attack from the bushes" combo to deal with truesight. For some targets you don't need your Vendetta, calculate whether you can kill without your ult. Works brilliantly against heroes who have high mobility/escape mechs (Storm Spirit, Weaver come to mind) but think they can stay safe with gem. Surprise them from the fog with your ranged combo. Keep in mind that you are revealed when you cast spells or ranged attacks to an enemy but that won't be a problem since he will be stunned by Impale before he even sees you're there.


Always chain-stun Impale and SC. If you can away with just SC on, activate it. If you're followed by a band of heroes use a ground Impale and stun as many as possible. When SC is on cooldown use Impale while waiting for SC's cooldown to end and vice versa. It's important that you don't waste either skills, an experienced NA who knows what he's doing can be very hard to take down. Never use Vendetta until the last moment your life is truly in danger, this is also part of mana management. That Vendetta you would have wasted when you could have escaped with SC might have gotten you a kill half a minute later. Ghost Scepter also has a very nice synergy with SC, they can't attack you but if they nuke you they will take the bonus damage.

Faster Combo

Sometimes you just can't click that Dagon or Ethereal Blade in your inventory fast enough to land that final killing blow, you need to click the item and click the hero then. That will take no more than 2 seconds. OK. But what if you have less than a second to cast that ability, say in a teamfight you are about to be stunned? Then you will be forced to watch how your enemy evades you and you wasted your precious mana for nothing.

Fear not, there's a solution to this. Use a hotkey program. I recommend downloading this useful tool - warkey. With it you'll be able to cast your mighty combo in ~1 second.

Usage: Here's what I do - set the hotkeys for the first two inventory slots 'Q' and '1' respectively. You can then place Dagon and Ethereal Blade (or any other item) to those exact slots and cast those items with ease. Happy ownage!


Synergy: Vendetta hits extra hard on a target with Amplify damage. Amplify damage gives such a big bonus to Vendetta's damage (8/14/20 armor) that you can solo kill targets early. Same thing goes for Medallion of Courage and other -armor items/heroes that Vendetta benefits greatly from early-mid game before heroes get their armor increased, whether it will be from items or skills.

Synergy: Not a full list but you get the idea - heroes with strong nukes and disables. A special mention from these would be Pugna which places the Ethereal buff on the enemy for free early. No one can survive your wrath!

Hero Counters

He's as terrifying to you as much he is to intelligence heroes. As NA has a high mana pool, his ulty will rape you. Furthermore, his passive reduces all the magic you do him by a huge amount. 50% bonus magic resistance is just HUGE. And do I have to mention that every hero has a 25% base magic resistance? That's 62.5% in total, after calculations. Stay away from this guy, disable him with Impale and let the carries/dpsers in your team handle him. SC can block his ultimate, hard to predict but possible nonetheless.

Naix can slow you, then go magic immune and dps you to death.
How to counter: He relies on physical damage to kill. To counter, simply activate Ghost Form when you are slowed. When ganking him make sure he is disabled as his Rage can interrupt your combo and the Ghost Form debuff is removed if he goes magic immune. You can also activate Vendetta to escape, provided he doesn't have any truesight. Don't bother activating SC while he's magic immune as neither the stun nor damage from it go through magic immunity.

Special Mentions

Huskar is the most mana independent hero in the game, with only 1 spell that requires mana. Also, his int gain is low so Mana Burn will always go minimal damage. And his Burning spears + Berserker's Blood is terrifying early game as he can kill you within seconds. Do not fear him too much though as there are a few ways to counter this guy.
How to counter: Spiked Carapace just adds one more counter to one of the many counters on huskar's list, when he's charging activate SC and watch as his hp goes from full to half and you aren't effected at all, except for the slow. You don't need to buy blade mail anymore to counter Huskar but you can make it for the lulz to return 200% of the damage from his ulty. Another counter is Linken, it completely blocks his ultimate. And as a last counter I would say it's Ghost Scepter or Ethereal Blade. The ghost form from them will stop his physical dps and will further improve the taken/reflected Lifebreak damage, DO activate Ghost Form + SC for even more damage when given an opportunity.

Techies Mines can ruin your ganks and you will constantly be afraid of mines whenever you go somewhere without any Truesight. Moreover, this guy can suicide, making your effort to kill him meaningless.
How to counter: Your Scarabs can be used to sweep the mines. If you're laning against a solo techies skill Urna Swarm right at level 1. As for countering the remote ones I recommend getting a gem.
Mana Burn shuts down techies early game and lowers his puny hp so NA is a good counter to techies. Even though with Spiked Carapace, it's not a good idea to walk over mines as you will block the damage from only one mine. Do walk over mines if techies is somewhere on the map with low hp though. If techies tries to plant a mine at your creeps/tower to farm/push the lane, punish him with SC. If his hp is low enough after that, follow up with Vendetta + Combo.

They have 2 things in common. Nets that make you stay where you are and high dps output.
How to counter: Ghost Form immediately removes both type of nets and makes you immune to them for its duration.

They all have skills which grant truesight over you. Even though you will gank most of the time with Vendetta, it becomes a problem when you need to escape, they chase you with high ms and also make you squishier.
How to counter: Gank them before they have a chance to do anything.
Ghost Form can counter part of their magics (Slithereen Crush deals physical damage) and can be used for a quick escape combined with a tp scroll. E.g. when you are Ruptured by BS activate Ghost Form and use your tp scroll to teleport to base.

Her combo, if activated at the right time can block ALL of your burst damage. This skill was buffed recently - 6 layers up from 5. She can also dish out a lot of damage with Desolator on you. Her traps have a long casting rage so if she has a gem you're in trouble. Psi Blades can also annoy the hell out of you in early game.
How to counter: Don't give her a chance to activate Refraction. Just rape her before she can do anything. If you are unsure of whether she had activated Refraction or not click her and check for the buff. Also keep in mind that Diffusal Blade's Purge removes Refraction.

Silencer is a pain in the ass to lane against with most heroes but not with NA. His high int gain makes him a victim to Mana Burn.
How to counter: Spiked Carapace counters both CotS and his reworked Last word with one simple cast. SC will dispel CotS and at the same time return the damage from Last word. If you are under any of both of his spells do not hesitate to cast SC immediately.

I think Puck deserves a special mention here. Although he is not much of a counter to you he can still use his Phase-Shift on autocast to avoid some of your spells. Silence or stun, with Urna Swarm or Impale respectively to counter Phase Shift.
How to counter: Do a slight change in your usual combo. Stun with Impale first (Phase Shift on autocast won't be triggered by Impale as the damage is dealt mid-air when the unit is actually disabled) then Vendetta and all of your other spells/items. Puck was nerfed and buffed recently (more nerfed than buffed), he doesn't have PS autocast anymore so he can't dodge Mana Burn and Dagon anymore. Illusory Orb is a slow moving spell and you can run intentionally in it with SC on to damage Puck. Should be a piece of cake to kill him.

Item counters

This can screw up your ganks. As soon as the enemy sees you're invisible he will just nuke and run away or you will get gangbanged by the whole other team.
How to counter: With a Gem of Truesight you can see the wards and destroy them or you can ask your team to buy sentry wards for counter-warding.

Sooner or later the enemy will buy this item to counter you. There's not much you can do about this than just kill the hero and destroy his gem. Don't worry though, this item has a long stock cooldown in the shop (10 mins) so it will take a long time before it can be re-bought.

This item partially reduces magic damage from all your spells (except Vendetta) which is why it's such a bad counter for you, it makes your combo non-lethal. Targets carrying this should have the lowest priority in your ganks.

Linken will block one of your targeted spells. It's not as bad as Hood though because you can easily set it on cooldown with Mana Burn before assaulting an enemy.
How to counter: Set Linken on cooldown by using Mana Burn. 4 seconds later you are all over your enemy.

Returns all of the burst damage you do (after reductions) back at you as pure damage.
How to counter: Casting Hex with Scythe of Vyse will remove the spikes but the damage will still return until its duration is up so don't get fooled. Having activated a BKB will stop the damage return, however BKB is not recommended on NA. Or you can simply wait for its duration to finish. An interesting thing to know is that if you have Spiked Carapace on and you nuke the target you will not be damaged but instead the target will take double damage from that nuke/attack. Very useful when the target doesn't focus you but thinks he can scare you off with Blademail. Why this happens is simple, Blademail returns damage which triggers Spiked Carapace which then reflects the reflected damage and causes a triggered heal to occur.

- AvunaOs for making the awesome header and title images.
- Mordax for the Hero Balance Compilation thread.
- IceFrog for making Dota and buffing NA.
- Averrios for the Ezalor Guide from which I took part of as a reference.
- FlaMe for the Complete list of BB codes thread, from where I get the BB codes to format my guides.
- Lycan for publishing and reviewing.

Anub'arak the Nerubian Assassin
Author: Redefinder
Map Vers.: 6.73b

Redefinder's guide to Anub'arak

Redefinder's guide to Anub'arak

Date Posted: 01/12/12
Last Comment:02/06/2013
Total Votes: 93
Current Rating: 9.10
Views: 283101

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