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Slark, the Escapee

The worst day of fishing is still better
than the best day of being dead.
This Forum Strategy Guide will explain Slark in a simplified format for DOTA 2. This is part one of the guide, and it focuses on playing as Slark, part two focuses on playing with Slark, and part three focuses on playing against Slark.
◘Base agility increased by 6
Dark Pact cooldown decreased from 10/9/8/7 to 9/8/7/6.
Shadow Dance HP regen increased from 3/4/5% to 3/5/7%.
◘Damage increased from 40/80/120/160 to 70/140/210/280.
◘Cooldown rescaled from 12 to 20/16/12/8.
◘Cast range increased from 400/500/600/700 to 700.
Shadow Dance
◘Regen increased from 2/3/4% to 3/4/5%.
◘Passive bonuses activation delay decreased from 0.7 to 0.5.
Essence Shift no longer permanently steals attributes.
◘Strength growth increased from 1.0 to 1.8.
◘Agility growth reduced from 2.0 to 1.5.
◘Intelligence growth increased from 1.6 to 1.9.
◘No longer hits non-hero units.
◘AoE increased from 85 to 95.
◘Speed fixed to be the same at all levels.
Essence Shift
◘Now reduces each stat by 1 on attacks (no longer reduces the primary by 2).
◘Agility bonus reduced from 4 to 3 per attack.
◘Duration increased from 15/30/45/60 to 15/30/60/120 .
◘Permanently reduces each stat of a hero Slark kills by 1 and he gains 3 Agi permanently.
Pounce cooldown reduced from 16 to 12.
Dark Pact
◘Adjusted the timing. Instead of starting after 2 seconds and pulsing (damage and buff removal) over 0.5 seconds, it now starts after 1.5 seconds and pulses over 1 second. Same overall damage but now has a longer duration for the buff removal period.
◘Self damage is now dealt to himself as he deals it to the area around him instead of at cast time.
◘Base Agility decreased from 21 to 15 and increased starting damage by the same amount.
Dark Pact cooldown reduced from 10 to 10/9/8/7.
Pounce damage rescaled from 50/75/100/125 to 40/80/120/160.
Pounce leash now gets removed if the target blinks or teleports away.
Shadow Dance passive no longer works if Slark is Doomed.

Little known to the inhabitants of the dry world, Dark Reef is a sunken prison where the worst of the sea-breed are sent for crimes against their fellows. It is a razor barbed warren full of murderous slithereen, treacherous Deep Ones, sociopathic meranths. In this dim labyrinth, patrolled by eels and guarded by enormous anemones, only the vicious survive. Pitched into Dark Reef for crimes unknown, Slark spent half a lifetime without kin or kindness, trusting no one, surviving through a combination of stealth and ruthlessness, keeping his thoughts and his plans to himself. When the infamous Dark Reef Dozen plotted their ill-fated breakout, they kept their plans a perfect secret, murdering anyone who could have put the pieces together--but somehow Slark discovered their scheme and made a place for himself in it. Ten of the Dozen died in the escape attempt, and two were captured, hauled back to Dark Reef, then executed for the entertainment of their fellow inmates. But Slark, the unsung thirteenth, used the commotion as cover and slipped away, never to be caught. Now a furtive resident of the carnivorous mangrove scrub that grips the southern reach of Shadeshore, Slark remains the only successful escapee from Dark Reef.

Slark is on the team! What items will he get?

Slark will buy a combination of these items at the beginning:

If Slark's not sure what he's getting himself into, he'll get a combination like this one:

Psst, this way.
Slark is at the battlefield!
Time to spend skill points!

This is where things start to get tricky. Slark has found 5 distinctly different and distinctly successful ways to learn skills.

Slark is described only on his DOTA 2 card as 'escape' role,
meaning that for simplicity's sake, we will only consider
the 'Caster Killer' Slark's way of learning skills.

The Horrifying Phantom Strikes!

Level 1 - Dark Pact
Level 2 - Pounce
Level 3 - Dark Pact
Level 4 - Pounce
Level 5 - Dark Pact
Level 6 - Shadow Dance
Level 7 - Dark Pact
Level 8 - Pounce
Level 9 - Pounce
Level 10 - Essence Shift

If Slark fights against low health disablers, he becomes a great assassin. Jumping enemies and canceling curses, Slark explosively takes down his foes. Just when they think they're safe, he strikes again.

Some would argue that there are at least 2 exceptions that will cause Slark to choose Pounce at Level 1. If proceeding to the Hard Lane(Top Radiant, or Bottom Dire), Slark may get it to avoid being snuck up on and slaughtered by a surprise factor. Also, Slark may at the request of an ally support with a Pounce for an attempt at a First Blood.

Furthermore, taking Essence Shift at Level 1 and waiting at a rune point, looking for opponents to come and try to take the rune that is expected to spawn can land Slark an easy First Blood, and with the small possibility of even a Double Kill. Yet I must cease this digression lest this guide would become too complicated.

Slark is shopping!
What items will he purchase?
Slark will likely buy 1 or 2 items in each section, if not more. A good Slark will always choose what is reasonable for the game he is in.
For Defense:

For Offense:

For Utility:

For Core:

For Defense:

This item will provide considerable defense: 1) an extra dispel, and 2) extra movement speed in order to escape into fog of war, and 3) a means of tricking opponents into wasting their spells on illusions.

This item will reward Slark with burst healing to either be used on Slark's allies to keep them nearby for the next Shadow Dance, or on Slark to accelerate his healing in between combat episodes. The mana regeneration and small boost in health do not go to waste.

This item will help a lot when fighting against a lot of spells. The restoration of health and mana can do a lot for Slark!

This item is great as protection against both light attacks from heroes, and attacks from creeps, and gives a small atk spd and damage boost. Often a perfect early game boost to Slark's defense, considering his low armor.

This item gives a large health boost to Slark, as well as a very big damage block. As his Essence Shift charges rise, so does the power of the damage block of this item.

This item gives Slark a lot of health for Shadow Dance to work with. Despite the fact that the passive ability is somewhat redundant with the passive regeneration of Shadow Dance, the enormous health boost can make this a worthwhile purchase.

This item doesn't give much of anything that Slark needs, but sometimes every hero needs the active ability Avatar! Slark needs a lower cooldown, so if he buys this item, he may spend some time just using the item uselessly in order to bring the cooldown and duration down(in effect, leveling it up as quickly as possible in order to synergize with his skill set more effectively).

The Essence Eater runs rampant!

Level 11 - Essence Shift
Level 12 - Essence Shift
Level 13 - Essence Shift
Level 14 - Shadow Dance
Level 15 - Attribute Bonus
Level 16 - Shadow Dance
Levels beyond - Attribute Bonus

Slark by now has given serious thought to what items he'll be buying as he's maxing out both Essence Shift and Shadow Dance. The way his allies and opponents have been playing their heroes so far should have a great influence on his choices.

Now Slark's goal may shift somewhat. If the casters are not so easy to kill anymore, and his item choices aren't going to solve the problem, the next thing he'll do is change his role.

While and helped Slark to kill enemy casters, they may be purchasing items to increase their longevity. What's the solution? Slark shall destroy them with . Their longevity becomes Slark's greatest advantage.

Now, Slark will be aiming for gaining as much agility as possible, meaning that it is alright for him to let his enemies escape once he hits level 13. In other words, Slark keeps away from dying and his damage will rise with every attack on an enemy hero.

To this end, Slark may just keep out of sight and out of mind for fear of hard ganks in order to buy items to maximize agility gain. The more Slark is out of sight the faster he regenerates and the faster he moves around the map, thanks to . The quicker he is, the better he'll be. Slark will bait enemies into pushing recklessly and he'll respond by stealing their essence.


◘A video Strategy Guide on YouTube for Slark(prior to his release to DOTA 2)
Replay Commentary of Slark's debute to DOTA 2
◘The YouTube recording of Slark's voice work in DOTA 2
◘The official DOTA 2 Learn Page for Slark.
◘DOTA 2 images provided by Dota 2 Wiki.
Hero Build for Slark in DOTA 2.

Slark the Murloc Nightcrawler
Author: SanKakU
Map Vers.: Current

Slark, the Escapee

The Worst Day of Fishing

Date Posted: 01/28/13
Last Comment:17/11/2013
Total Votes: 17
Current Rating: 3.64
Views: 44463

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