The amphibian renowned for being one of the biggest pubstompers in history. Rarely considered completely broken, he doesn’t get nearly as much recognition in competitive play.
He is perhaps the single best Hero at taking advantage of the chaos in the map; lack of teamplay is his ocean, and countless pubs have drowned there.
Today, I’m going to analyze how I tend to play Slark, with a decent amount of success.
Slark is what we’d call a snowball Hero, meaning he does best when he manages to get some quick farm, then proceed to roam around the map, killing everything in sight, and keep getting more items until he’s unstoppable. He’s not the type of Hero that plays too well from behind.
His stats are horrible, but his skills are quite powerful. In fact, it’s one of the strongest skillsets in the game, both in terms of progression and effectiveness.
With these in mind, pick the fish, and go to the safelane. You can go mid occasionally if it’s an easy lane, but the way we’re going to play, safelane works better.
The reasoning is to make sure we get some early farm. Start with + + + + . These will allow you to survive most lanes, until you hit level 6 and no longer need any HP regeneration items. If you’re sure it’ll be an easier lane, you can get something greedier.
Get a point in and . Max out first. While is more efficient for getting kills, we’re going to need to clear out waves quickly. The only exception to this is when laning against specific melee Heroes, like Tidehunter, when you can get an extra point in to crush the lane. Max afterwards. Get whenever available.
Don’t risk dying for kills too much. I know Slark is the type of Hero that should look for kills, but you’re still the safelane carry and you’re not that strong yet.
Buy a early on, and a if the lane calls for it. works well with the Hero too, and is really good if it can translate in kills. Complete your and then get an . If you can assure some rune control, is an alternative choice as well.
With these, plus level 6-7, you’re set to start clearing waves. I used to make the mistake to start ganking heavily after hitting these levels, only to fail miserably. You still need at least a core item.
Start rotating between your safelane and your jungle. Spam your to farm fast. It doesn’t matter too much if you’re giving the enemy offlane free EXP and gold at that point, because your farm will most likely be far more effective.
Always switch the attribute of your accordingly. This is extremely important and will save a few minutes till your next major item. Put them on Intelligence before you use a spell, on Agility when attacking, and on Strength when regenerating through your ult, since the regen is HP percentage based (meaning the more HP you have, the more you get).
Work towards next. I get this 90% of the time, since it synergizes too well with Slark to ignore. You should have it by 12-14 minutes, unless you die a lot. If the opponents’ 5-man deathball push is too strong, you can consider something like + .
is a great item for Slark, if you can complete it early. Not only will it provide reliable gold while not hindering your roaming, the attack speed is great too. It will delay your core items slightly, but it really pays off eventually. I get it if I can have it 6-7 minutes in the game.
Now is the time to start pounding faces in. Start by picking off easy kills. Supports should melt from the + + combo. Don’t hesitate to use everything you have to ensure a kill quickly; right now, you should be creating chaos around the map. Your spells also have all low cooldowns, so use them early and burst the enemy down. If you’re not alone, you can also go for bigger targets.
Always be vigilant of the buff icon on your Hero. It shows whether the enemy currently has vision on you or not.
Don’t hold on to for too long. Sure, some spells can be dodged with proper timing, but things like Hex or could spell trouble. If you’re in enemy territory and they have vision on you, jump away and use it right away. It’s saved me countless times.
From that point on, there isn’t too much to discuss gameplay-wise. Your role is to keep picking off enemy Heroes and be a constant threat around the map. Even when you’re farming, try to mostly do it out of sight. I’m not saying to ignore the 4 waves pushing your towers, but Slark is the type that should be missing in action most of the time. When enough enemies are dead, push their towers with your team.
Your next core item will usually be . Slark is the type of Hero that benefits from (and needs) all stats. The slow effect will also allow you to chase people down effectively.
There are times however when you’ll need to get something else instead of .
is preferable when there are single targeted spells on the enemy team that can ensure your death. Heroes like Doom or Legion Commander or even Lina are good examples.
On the other hand, if the opposition possesses too much silence, I personally like . The stats are nice, and the dispel factor can be invaluable.
As for your luxury items, there’s really a variety of choices. has great synergy with Slark. Upgrade your into if you need to disable some annoying passive skills. With you’ll be able to solo kill most Heroes. will make you extremely hard to kill, but make sure you don’t get it too early in the game, unless it’s absolutely necessary. or will provide extra attack speed and damage output in general, plus more survivability.
Don’t hesitate to tweak your build around accordingly. Since you’re a Hero killer, you need to be able to kill 5 specific characters with specific items each time. will help you against and , while also enabling you to dispel certain debuffs on you. Pair it with if you’re facing against Wraith King so you can burn his mana. Occasionally, I even opt for a if I need to pickoff certain Heroes that can get away.
If despite all that, the enemy has superior team fight, remember that you don’t have to clash 5v5. Contrary to popular belief, Slark can be a decent split pusher, mostly due to the fact that he’s so hard to kill. Start shoving those lanes in and split the enemy apart while getting more farm, then try to pick them off like usual.
If game goes really late and you’re having trouble, consider getting a . With double , and you can be a real threat to most carries, since you’ll be practically invulnerable for a long duration. It will hurt your damage output a bit, but the more you live, the more damage you deal, especially with a Hero that steals stats and boosts his own.
Slark can stand against most enemies. The nature of his can hurt just about any carry, even those with higher HP/armour. Also, the fact that he can’t be clicked during his ult renders a lot of their damage useless. Heroes that can cause you some trouble are:
1. Illusion carries. Try to work around those and kill their team first, unless your own team can clear the illusions for you. If you absolutely have to manfight one of them, you can always get a .
2. Blinkers. Or similarly elusive targets, since you can’t pick them off on your own, even with a lot of items, unless you change your build.
3. Strong lane controllers. You early game is crucial, as you need to come online as soon as possible. A strong dual or triple offlane is really what can hurt you the most in a game. There aren’t many solutions to this rather than looking for early kill opportunities or rotating elsewhere.
As a final note, keep in mind as a Slark player that he isn’t your typical carry that farms for 20-25 minutes then proceeds to manfight anything. He’s more of an assassin type, an opportunist. Feed off the weakest targets when they’re alone. Get out of vision and re-engage with full HP. Generally, let your team take the extra punch and sneak in from behind. If you see someone jumping on your ally, there’s probably gonna be backup coming. Don’t go on that guy. Use your , go around and find the spellcasters waiting in the back.
Like that, he gets stronger easily, both in terms of items and stacking agility, and then you can deal with the bigger fish.
I hope you find this guide useful!