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The Almighty Dirge, The Undying


This is a guide for version 6.63b.
When there are changes related to this guide, I'll edit it.


Hello guys!

Here I am again writing one more guide, this time for Dirge, because I think this is one of the best supportive heroes of the game, and one of my main picks on serious games. Dirge used to be on my opinion one the best heroes of the game, but thanks to recent updates, he got heavily nerfed. His highly supportive spells, effective nukes, great lane control and surveillance makes him an amazing pick.

This guide is not made to teach you how to play DotA, it's made to provide a successful way to play Dirge, so I won't be adding some useless stuff just to make the guide more fun (like "deny!", "last hit!", hero's history...).

Ohh... and my native language is not english, so I hope you guys can understand some possible mistakes, and I would appreciate some help to fix them :P

Anyways, I hope you guys enjoy it

Supporter? DPSer? Tanker?

This is not a section that I use to make, but in this case I believe it's very important.

There is ONLY ONE way to play Dirge on serious games: SUPPORTIVE. You like it or not, Dirge is a CASTER, not a DPSer, not a tanker, so forget the idea that you had of buying a Battlefury. On pubs is pretty common you see people playing him with alternative builds, and obviously there is a chance of being successful doing this, but you won't be following the true flow of his skills. He can heal anyone, steal surveillance from enemies, slows and amplify damages, all of this with a very low cooldown, so there is no point on restrict his set of abilities only for you since you can share it.

You also have to be an INITIATOR on every team battle. But now you ask "why a initiator but not a tanker?". The answer is simple: Undying does not tanks, but he have an amazing healing power, which grants that you can resist as much as a true tanker on battles.

Remember: play Dirge SUPORTTIVE!

Ok, said this, let's go deeper.

Pros and Cons

[+] Great attack animation for easy last hits
[+] He has one of the best healing spells with a low cooldown
[+] He has one of the best set of nuke spells of the game
[+] Simply his presence is enough to amplify damage taken by enemies
[+] Can steal Strenght from multiple enemies at the same time.
[+] Has an AoE slow
[+] Auto-heal effect when people dies around him (yeah, he's bad >D)
[+] Low cooldowns
[+] High Inteligence grow
[+] Unbelievable survivability (justifies "Undying" =p)

[-] Great dependency on items
[-] Losts 30% of his effectiveness when there's no creeps near
[-] Losts another 30% of his effectiveness without Ultimate
[-] Even being a STR hero, his Strenght gain is pretty low, so don't expect a high HP pool without items (but don't worry, it's compensated with Decay)

Skills and Personal Comments

Detailed skill effects:


Decay does a nice AoE damage to heroes, sucking some STR from them to yourself. Although of the damage seems to be low on the description, it's not that little. The STR you steal makes the damage looks bigger, improving your HP pool instantly as well. Decay STACKS and it's made to be spammed middle/late game, when you have a nice mana resource. Also, the range you can cast is really big, make it worth!

Important: When your STR bonus disappears, the HP you got is taken as well, but it can't kill you, 1 HP will still remain. If you run out of mana, watch out for your health, cause if the Decay bonus finishes, your HP will be reduced and you can get killed by one single creep hit.

Soul Rip

Soul Rip is your main nuke/heal, and the amount can be up to 500 in a single hit! This is one of the greatest damages of a non-ultimate spell, and you can use it for healing OR nuking. But think before using it, cause the most of times will be more valuable to heal someone than hit an enemy. The only big problem of this skill is that you NEED creeps to do some valuable damage, being almost useless if you face someone at the jungle. On the Lv4, this skill have a low cooldown, what results in another spammable great skill. The 25 damage you take from all around you can kill or deny an unit, so watch out to not give a free suicide to a fleeing ally =p


This skill is what makes the people fears Dirge early game, since it's unbelievable useful against low levels, and the dark tomb is really really scary >D The zombies spawned by the tomb are defenseless, dying with 1 hit at the most of times, but they spam fast and slows the enemies. They also get buffed when the target is running low on HP, activating Deathlust effect, amplifying their MS and IAS. This skill should be an opening in every single fight you enter or used always as a defensive way. Just watch out to don't waste it, cause the cooldown is not so friendly. Cast it on the right place and it will be deadly (mainly among creeps and the enemy hero).

Flesh Golem

Flesh Golem is what gives you the status of Undying, being one of the most feared skill in all game, monstruously amplifying the damage that everyone around you gets, slowing them, and giving to you part of their HP when they dies (and it's really scary =o)! While everyone places their attacks on you, you just have to pray that your team kill them to fill your HP back to allow you continue "living", what shouldn't be dificult with your "really really bad aura" and some worthable allies. The cooldown of Flesh Golem is low, so don't be shy of showing your true form to the enemies, but it doesn't last much, so think before use it.

Skill Choices

STANDARD skill build:

1- Decay
2- Soul Rip
3- Soul Rip
4- Tombstone
5- Tombstone
6- Flesh Golem
7- Tombstone
8- Tombstone
9- Soul Rip
10- Decay
11- Flesh Golem
12- Decay
13- Decay
14- Soul Rip
15- Stats
16- Flesh Golem
17-25- Stats

At Lv.1, if you're facing only one enemy in your lane, you can get Soul Rip instead of Decay, can be more effective. Soul Rip should be kept Lv2 because while you're in your lane, you hardly will see 15 units, so it would be a waste. Keep Decay on lv1 cause it spends a lot of mana and it will be useful early game only to steal STR from the enemies, reducing temporarily their health pool and boosting yours (remember, Decay is made to be spammed). Tombstone should be maxed ASAP for pushing and nuking. I'll explain the usage of the Tomb detailed later. Getting Flesh Golem is pretty obvious, right? After you max Tombstone, you can get one more level on Soul Rip, and let the last level for when the massive team battles begins, with a lot of creeps around, leveling Decay until there.

Question: Why not maxing Tombstone at lv7?

The answer is simple: Soul Rip lv2 = PERFECT lane control early game. Just imagine yourself doing 250 damage safely to your enemy at lv3 every 20 seconds!! You won't die by just delaying Tombstone 1 level, and leaving Soul Rip on lv1 until you reach lv8 is not so effective. Please, follow the STANDARD build. I can ensure it's better.

Item Choices

Initial Core Items:

Ring of Basilius ensures a great lane control early game, plus the armor aura makes your zombies a little more resistant, so they won't die with one hit of the enemy creeps.

Phase Boots is a perfect boot made for Undying, ensuring a great synergy with Tombstone. While your enemies will be stucked in the middle of the creeps/zombies, you can just walk through it and attack them (or escape).

Perseverance gives to you the missing regen that you need for early game, and you will use it soon to make one of your core items.

Question: And what about Bracers?

You can think about making some Bracers since your STR grow is pretty low, but I don't recommend it cause Decay solves this problem perfectly. You will see that steals 4 STR of each enemy is pretty imba when you try it.

Core items:


Bloodstone will provide to you the perfect regen you need to effectively spam your skills. Remember, your skills are made to be spammed!!

Blademail will be responsable for at least 50% of the damage you makes on battles. Undying should be an initiator on team battles and the focus of the enemy attacks, and this is the reason why Blademail is gotten. If you're not being the focus of the enemy attacks, just skip Blademail. There is no reason for getting a counter-attack item if you're not being attacked. However, there are games where you receive toms of damage in just a few seconds so Blademail should comes before Bloodstone (Zeus + Lion are good examples =p), since it's a very cheap item. Blademail usage is explained more detailed later.

Optionally, you can get Meckans. Since Undying is a support hero, Meckans fits very well for him, but I would recommend to you let it for someone elses on the team, cause it can be more useful to them than to you, just delaying your important core, but It's not a bad choice.

After core:

Adding a Tarraque to your items is pretty obvious, since it will ensure your survival on the most of team battles and a nice 1% HP regen per second, which combined with your Bloodstone, that now should have a few charges, provides an unbelievable regen.

Final items:

Your final build should look like this. The role of the Teleport Scroll on the inventory is pretty obvious, right? ALWAYS walk with at least 2 of them. The sixth item you have to choose between these items (if I forgot something, please remind me):

I don't believe you will be able to finish all of your items on a serious game, but if you can, I highly recommend you trade your Phase Boots for a Travel, since you'll the scroll slot of your inventory.

More Tarrasques? Why not? Boots insanely your HP pool (but remember that the regen does not stacks).

BKB is a GREAT item for Dirge, making you even more Undying =D It increases you HP pool and provides Avatar, which protect you against heavy ganks late game while Blademail can't do the job.

You're a supporter, why not Guinsoo? If you're team needs a disable, it's a great pick.

Same as Guinsoo.

Shivas is not a bad choice, the Arctic Blast is really useful, but it does not synergy with Blademail, reducing potentially the damage you get (armor and freezing aura), so I don't recommend it. Remember, you're supposed to take as much damage as you can (without die, of course), and this is the reason you should go for HP items instead of armor.

Great pick if you're having problems with single disables (that motherfucker which always uses his Guinsoo against you...).

Luxury item, and higly recommended. It synergys very well with all of your skills.

Yeah, it boots your HP, but you're supposed to be a CASTER, so you won't be auto-attacking so much.

This is another great pick, synergying very well with your skills and provides some nice HP/Mana pool.

With Dagger you can fit the initiator role pretty well, granting a good positioning of Tombstone as well. It's highly recommended, but actually I never needed to buy it.

Items that you SHOULD NOT get:

Don't ever get general DPS items. You're a caster!!!

It's more an early game item, plus reduces the damage you get, countering your own Blademail.

No lifesteal... you don't need it.

It's not a bad item to support your allies, perfect to use when Blademail is on cooldown, but reduces potentially the magical damage you get anyways, countering Blademail.

It can make you a great spammer, but why get it if your core are mana regen items? Never get Arcane Ring on him, please.

Remember, you're not a tanker neither a DPSer, so let it for somebody else.

Bottle and Rune Control

You don't need bottle since you're going for pure mana regen items, but you still can make a good use of some runes:

Useful information: Runes spawn every 2 minutes on ONE of the two spots, initiating on the minute 0. But there are two occasions when a rune won't spawn:

1) If there is already an spawned rune on one of the spots.
2) If you get the rune with 5 or less seconds left for the next spawn.

- Illusion: Just useful for mindgames, but it's not really a big deal, leave it for someone who have a bottle.

- Double damage: Early game it makes you a powerhouse combined with Flesh Golem, but late game is not a big deal, leave it for the carry.

- Invisible: This is by far the best rune for Undying. If you grant a perfect Tombstone in the middle of a bunch of creeps with your enemy in the middle, be sure the kill is yours.

- Regenaration: I don't think I need to comment this =p

Playing Undying

Now that you know his main items, builds and skills, you're ready to begin the pwnage. But... how to do it? Here are some tips, supposing that you know the basics about surviving, killing, denying and last hitting with any hero.

Undying Role

How I've already told a thousand times in this guide, and I insist: Dirge is NOT a tanker, he's NOT an carry, he is a SUPPORTER and INITIATOR! Said that, let's go to the true guide.

Early game:

My hint as starting items are:

With a RoB in your inventory, you can ensure a better pushing with along with an indispensable mana regen to greatly harrass your opponent, and some Tangos if you need. As stated before, Undying have one of the better lane controls of the game (I just can think on Nerubian Assassin with a better one since it takes out your mana), all you need to do is spam Soul Rip always it's available and there're enough creeps near. If you're sharing the lane with somebody else, and don't use another spells, I promisse you that your mana will be always full

Considering that you're sharing the lane with somebody else, these are some important points:

Level 1: Spam Decay and try to use it to land hits on the enemy with the bonus STR. If you got Soul Rip, spam it instead.

Level 2: Now that you have Soul Rip, just spam it.

From Level 3 on: With Soul Rip lv2, keep spamming it everytime you see 10+ creeps.

Using Decay: Don't use Decay unless you need it. Try to use it for defense or as a preparation for a kill on the next Soul Rip + Decay combo (it does an insane damage with SR lv2). Remember... the STR lost/gain stacks! Soul Rip lv2 should be your main harrass weapon.

Using Tombstone...

- ... lv1: It's crap, don't ever use it, it will just use a lot of mana, go for a long cooldown and do absolutly nothing.

- ... lv2: It should be used as a defensive mechanism, but it's not so recommended on nukes, but useful.

- ... lv3~4: These are great, but don't cast it randomly anywhere just to kill creeps, save it for nukes/counter or pushing. Soul Rip lv2 should be your main harrass weapon.

- ... defensively: Just throw it on your enemy (ies) head and run if needed, but trying to take some of enemy HP to activate Deathlust. The zombies can do pretty well their job

- ... as nuking weapon: Try to place it where the enemy get stucked by the creeps/zombies. If you get successful on this, the kill is yours.

- ... as pushing weapon: Cast it behind the enemy tower, mainly out of his range, to block their creep wave while you bring the tower down. Be careful when doing this... be sure you won't get disabled or something under their tower.

Using Flesh Golem: Should be used if possible combined with Tombstone as a nuke or defensive weapon, or to help on chases if the enemy is on the range of the aura.

When you get 875g, use it to buy a Ring of Health or Void Stone (whatever you need most), and later complete your Perseverance. If happens of you go back to base, you can get a Boots before finishing Perseverance, but I highly recommend you finish it before getting the Boots. With your main initial items, as a powerhouse early game, I recommend keep ganking people around, and pray for getting ganked (explained soon >D). This are the basics of Undying Early game, and the rest is almost the same procedure.

Middle/Late game:

Now that you have your main items, hopefully a Bloodstone, the only difference between middle/late and early game is that now you can spam your skills with a lot more efficiency, resulting on a even more survivability, support and damage. And remember, INITIATE the team battles!


Here goes some technics to help you to effectivelly use Undying, exploring his full potential:

- Main Combo: Your main ganking/defending combo should be as follows: Flesh Golem --> Tombstone --> Decay --> Blademail (if you have) --> Soul Rip (yourself or the enemy) --> Decay Decay Decay. Flesh Golem should be cast first obviously to amplify every damage the enemies receives, Tomb will do 30% of the job to you, and Soul Rip should be cast on you if you're running low on HP or in a fleeing enemy. I would recommend to cast it on yourself, cause Decay usually do the damaging job. Do all the possible to reduce the enemys HP below 400 HP as soon as possible, so his escape chance will be very low, even disabling you. Just use the combo described above and you will be successful.

- Using Blademail: It should be activated only if you're sure that you will continue being attacked, or to free yourself from an heavy attack. When your HP is running low is the perfect time for this, cause your enemies will try to break through it and finish you off, but hopefully you also have Soul Rip to save your ass, plus Decays to keep increasing your HP pool.

- Flee Time!: Yeah, that's right, even when you're fleeing you kill enemies! Remember that I told you to hope that you gets ganked? So, the reason is because his combo just requires that you keep yourself alive to kill! The tombzombies does a pretty good damage, but your main weapon is Decay. Decay not only reduces the enemies health making them get close to zombies Deathlust how boosts your health as well! Every 5 seconds you gets stronger while your enemies gets weaker, and on emergencies, you still have Soul Rip to heal yourself. All you have to do is run around the tomb with the help of Phase Boots (going through creeps) casting Decay and seeing your enemies health disappears while yours remains always the same. Sometime your enemy will realize it and turn back, but he won't be able to flee thanks to your slowing aura and zombies Deathlust. ;D

- Team Battles: On team battles, you must be the initiator and atract all the attacks to you, using your feared combo (which enemies will ALWAYS think they can break through) and activating Blademail when needed, healing yourself or allies who needs. If you're running out of HP, it's Flee time! Don't be shame of fleeing, cause this is what you do best for surviving and damaging. While everyone trys to bring you down, your allies just have to smash them, and when they dies, your HP boosts again thanks to your aura, allowing you to stay alive for more and more time. And... NEVER BE AN INITIATOR ON TEAM FIGHTS WITHOUT FLESH GOLEM!!!

There's no much secret on playing Undying. He's a quite simple hero with simple skills, you just have to use it smartly

Feared Enemies and Valuable Allies

I'm not putting single heroes here because there are A LOT of them, so I'll be just doing a general comment, and you use your DotA experience to tell you those who can fit each part. If I missed someone, remind me please.

Hated Heroes

These are the heroes who pisses you off, and the only one I can remember is Nerubian Assassin and Omni Knight. Early game NA takes away all your mana, blocking completely your great lane control. Omni and his Repel/Slowing aura will let you very very angry as well, believe me.

Feared Heroes

For strongest Undying is, there are some heroes who can really bring him down, and they are those who disables you for long time. Doom and Bloodseeker will be your wrost nightmare when they discovers your potential while casting spells and moving around. Another silencing heroes are not a big problem cause you still can Blademail against them, while Doom completly blocks it, and Blood don't even let you run while silenced. I'm serious, fear them.

Along with Blood and Doom, we also have Earthshaker, the creepkillermaster. Think twice before casting Tombstone next to him or you'll be buried so fast that you'll leave the game.

Valuable Allies

Dirge makes a good team with general disablers. While the enemy is stucked, more zombies spawns to attack him, and you also can land some heavy hits on them. In other hand, heroes who kills enemy creeps fastly sucks ¬¬

Anyways... Dirge is a good synergy for every other ally, so it will fit in any team


Just like the other guides, no replays for this D: I swear I'm trying to get some nice replay(s), but I'm currently without a nice team for organized games, and I won't put here any shit replay against noob enemies. As soon as I get one I'll upload here.


Thanks all for reading (or not), and please comment. I will appreciate every (constructive) opinion/critic If you dind't agree with something, or would like to add something, please let me know.

I hope you guys have enjoyed it

Thanks again!

Valasty ~

Dirge the Undying
Author: Valasty
Map Vers.: 6.63b

Guide to Undying

The Almighty Dirge, The Undying

Date Posted: 07/23/09
Last Comment:25/11/2010
Total Votes: 44
Current Rating: 6.61
Views: 166000

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