Today we want to talk about the most popular carry of the 7.24 patch. You have probably seen this hero in your recent games, as he is picked in every third game starting from Legend rank and higher. With recent changes to Aghanim’s Scepter, Slark has received a huge buff to his mobility, which helps him to be insanely effective in the middle and late stages of the game.
Table of contents
Role in the game
Slark is usually played in the role of a carry, however, he is also quite good to pick for mid as a counter to the enemy melee midlaner.
The main strengths of Slark are his mobility and the ability to steal agility from his opponents. It makes him very strong in the mid and late stages of the game. Slark is good at initiating fights, as he has three defensive spells and can always fall back if needed.
- Dark Pact is a powerful fighting and farming tool. This spell allows Slark to farm neutral camps and push creep waves very quickly. Dark Pact also has a strong dispell effect, which works with a 1.5s delay after you use the ability.
- Pounce is your initiation and escaping ability. This spell allows Slark to keep his opponents in place while stealing their stats and killing them. The spell can be upgraded with Aghanim’s Scepter. Scepter buff is going to give you one additional jump and significantly increase its range. You may use Pounce to get over cliffs and cancel teleports.
- Essence Shift makes Slark as powerful as he is. With each hit to his opponents, Slark steals one of their attributes and converting it into bonus agility for himself. You can also get 1 agility permanently for each hero your team kills, who was under the de-buff of Essence Shift. In some situations, it is better to max Essence Shift over Dark Pact, as it will allow you to dominate your lane completely.
- Shadow Dance is one of the strongest defensive abilities in the game. The spell not only gives full invisibility, which can not be countered with any detection but also provides passive health regeneration and movement speed. Passive dividends of the spell de-activates whenever Slark is on enemy vision, which he can use to his advantage by calling out the enemy Observer Wards.
As your starting items, you should purchase x6 Tangoes, a Healing Salve, a Quelling Blade and a Circlet. In case you have a very strong support and are going to lane against a melee offlaner, you might also go for the aggressive item build, which contains Orb of Venom, 3 Tangoes, Quelling Blade and an Iron Branch.
The core items for Slark are Diffusial Blade and Aghanim’s Scepter. These items allow Slark to be insanely effective at both fighting and farming.
Slark can benefit a lot from having items, which can increase his attack speed. Slark is one of very few heroes in the game, who can consider buying Moon Shark quite early into the game.
Slark feels the best whenever he has an advantage over his opponents. Luckily for him, with the help of Essence Shift, he can secure this advantage in the early stage of the game and progress it into later stages.
Slark is dependent on his items, so just like any other carry, Slark needs to farm quite a lot. However, the difference between Slark and a typical farming carry, is that Slark has a lot more power spikes. Pretty much every item Slark purchases gives him a lot of power. To say it simpler, as a Slark, you should focus on playing actively whenever you finish each new item. Got a Diffusal? Play active and seek fights for 3 to 5 minutes. Go back to farming afterward. Finished Aghanim’s? Start seeking fights once again. This goes for any next item you get.
Pay close attention to the buff of Shadow Dance. From time to time run into different areas of the map to check for the enemy wards.
Sometimes in fights, it is not that necessary to actually kill someone but to steal as much agility as you can. Slark really likes long fights, as at some point with extra agility he can become unstoppable.
During fights aim to use all nearest trees to your advantage. If your HP gets too low, at any point of the fight you can hide from the enemy vision and restore health.
Slark gains his win conditions after he purchases his key items, such as Diffusal Blade, Aghanim’s Scepter, Sull Basher and Black King Bar. With these items you should aim to participate in many fights and gain a significant advantage over your opponents.
Allies and counters
Slark is great to pick as a counter to the melee offlaners but thanks to his high armor, he may also lane quite well against pretty much any other hero.
In the game, Slark doesn’t like playing against heroes with AoE abilities and illusion based heroes. Good counters to Slark are Naga Siren, Phantom Lancer, Faceless Void, and Outworld Devourer.