I just want to start off by saying, by no means is the way I play Shadow Demon, or describe him in the guide to be the ONLY way to play him, it is just what works best for me, and a good basis to start from.
So here’s a guide to spread fun and Ebola to all your friends Shadow demon’s role and lane Shadow demon is mainly played as a utility support, but on rare occasions you may see him mid, and extremely rare occasions even offlane. Shadow demon doesn’t carry any solo kill potential until level 6-7 and even then it’s only a select amount of heroes he would be able to solo, his main process early is to rotate and set up for an ally. Typically shadow demon is mainly seen as a level 1 Eul’s scepter, because shadow demon’s disruption skill has the same function. It serves as a set up for skills such as ‘Sacred Arrow’, ‘Light Strike Array’, ‘Split Earth, ‘Sunstrike’, etc.
When is Shadow demon a good Pick Shadow demon is a good pick when you require an early game set up, a support that can stack easily, or if you need to dispel an enemy heroes. Shadow demon is generally ideal if your team has damage already, and need some extra utility. Although shadow demon has good wave clear, he’s not ideal for holding high ground. http://gfycat.com/ObeseLittleHumpbackwhale
How does shadow demon fit into a draft As mentioned earlier, Shadow demon provides great set up for allies, as well as excellent synergy with illusion based heroes such as Naga, Luna, Anti-Mage, etc., by being able to create more illusions to deal damage. So now I’ve introduced two functions for ‘Disruption’, which means he can’t be solely replaced by an Eul’s now right?! RIGHT?! Shadow demon is a great counter for Omni-Knight because of the ability to dispel ‘Guardian Angel’, which many players find difficult to play against. The con however, is Shadow Demon can only dispel one target, unless you get an Aghanim’s which then lets him dispel three target! Also with Aghanim’s, Shadow Demon’s ‘Demonic Purge’ also applies Break on the target, which makes him useful against heroes such as Phantom Assassin, and Faceless Void, by disabling their passives leaving them easy to kill. What a game changing hero he is! Shadow Demon plays well against heroes that require movement speed during team fights, such as Juggernaut, and Troll Warlord.
Laning Safe lane – If playing shadow demon as a support in a duo lane, you’ll want to prioritize on zoning the enemy offlaner. Shadow demon can do this easily because he has good attack animation as well as decent right-click damage. While in the safe lane, I don’t recommend you using your ‘Shadow Poison’ to harass the enemy because you can potentially damage some creeps and ruin your carry’s lane equilibrium. Instead I would suggest using the “Shadow Poison’ to cancel clarities, or Salves and to stack camps. If in the safe lane shadow demon should be able to stack the pull camp as well as another camp nearby at the same time by simply hitting one camp and using ‘Shadow Poison’ on another. For both Radiant and Dire the timing would be at :52/53. For radiant, you’re able to double stack and get to the rune before it spawns on even minute intervals. Once your carry is strong enough or is capable of holding the lane on his own, you can either go into pulling, ganking another lane, or stack larger camps. My default would be to gank mid and don’t forget to stack the 2 large camps near your midlane at :53/:55.http://gfycat.com/PleasedDistortedHerald http://gfycat.com/SeriousTangibleHake
If there is another support in your safe lane, I would dedicate more time to roaming mid, stacking large camps, stack ancients and hiding in trees waiting for the offlaner to get out of position. Although many failed ganks will cause you to fall behind, fret not because Shadow Demon’s catch up game is very strong. You can use ‘Shadow Poison’ to farm the stacks you make if it hasn’t be cleared by your carry, or rotate into mid lane when your mid goes to clear stack or heal or whatnot. For ‘Shadow poison, max stacks at each level will deal 320, 560, 800, 1040 damage respectively on top of the initial damage. Shadow demon is a strong early game ganker but his strongest level is at 7.http://gfycat.com/YearlyPepperyAstrangiacoral
Middle Lane– Shadow demon mid is stronger on the Radiant side for the same reason as many of the mid heroes who have AOEs are, and that is to easily stack and clear neutral camps. Generally, you’ll be last hitting and zoning with the ‘Shadow Poison’ from :00-:30, you want to be sure to throw a ‘Shadow poison’ whenever the enemy comes for a last hit, or starts bottling. At :30, you want to start stacking ‘Shadow Poison’ on the creeps so you can clear them and push out your lane, so at even minutes you can go stack ancient and grab top rune (Since ‘Shadow Poison’ affects half the ancient camps now), just throw a ‘Shadow Poison’ and walk to rune and at odd minutes you want to double stack your neutral camps instead. http://gfycat.com/DisloyalDaringCivet
For Dire side you lose the ancient aspect, but you can still stack your own jungle camps, I usually just go for 1 stack by throwing the ‘Shadow Poison’ rather than wasting time walking further in the jungle to double stack. The laning phase works the same way however. http://gfycat.com/ShadyReflectingChuckwalla
Offlane – I don’t really recommend Shadow Demon as a solo offlaner, but in the rare chances that you end up there, you should hope you’re on the dire side due to the availability of stacking ancients which you can do standing behind your Tier 1 tower. The entire lane phase will pretty much consist of throwing ‘Shadow Poison’ to last hit, and trying to soak levels. If you’re on the radiant offlane, you’ll probably benefit more from trying to soak and last hit with ‘Shadow Poison’, then trying to get a gank mid at the rune timings. Hopefully the enemy mid will go for the top rune where you’ll be rotating towards and you should communicate to your mid to rotate for the potential kill as well. If you’re running shadow demon in an aggressive tri-lane, on either side you whole function is to start ideal fights by ‘Disrupting’ heroes out of position, in order to do this efficiently, I suggest staying off the map, and hiding in the fog and trees.
Mid Game Mid game you will pretty much be smoke ganking to find pick offs, still stacking and clearing camps, or doing whatever it is the rest of your team is doing. Shadow Demon isn’t a hero that should be out of safety range by himself past the laning phase as you are easy to kill, and not the greatest pick off hero unless you went for a dagon build, which I would rarely recommend. When pushing towers, you want to periodically throw shadow poisons into the fog, especially areas that a hero could TP to, so that you can spot rotations and determine if it’s still safe to push or not.
Late Game The Late game shadow demon is used primarily for ‘Demonic Purge’ on the enemy’s annoying carries, or to ‘Disrupt’ your carries/core heroes to make illusions to make pushing towers easier. Shadow Demon really starts to fall off in terms of damage and overall usefulness at this point because you’ll probably die easily if you’re caught. However, that doesn’t mean that you are useless! You can still break hero passives if you have Aghanim’s, and disrupt to save stunned allies. http://gfycat.com/NiceComposedAmericankestrel
Now, If you read this far, I can tell you’re dedicated to learning Shadow Demon so I’ll let you in on my Shadow Demon secret, with Aghanim’s if you use ‘Demonic Purge’ and it is blocked by say a Linken’s, it will break the Linken’s and you won’t even lose one of your 3 charges for it!
Skill Build I generally will only use 2 different skill build for Shadow Demon, level 1-7 which is when he is most dangerous I will refer to his QWER, as 1234. The first build is the standard build which I tend to get the most out of: 1/3/3/2/3/4/3 The second build, is for if you’re playing with gank heavy playstyle with disruption such as invoker ‘Sunstrike’, ‘Torrent’, ‘Static Link’, or anything else that may benefit from the time delay: 1/2/3/2/2/4/2
Starting Item I generally buy tango, clarity, salve, courier, and 2 observer wards. Or if you have a nice support buddy that bought those courier and 2 observer wards for you, just grab boots tango, and a clarity for easy roam.
Early Game Items Between buying wards, smoke, sentries, and upgrading the courier you won’t be able to really go for much, I recommend grabbing an urn, wand, or a medallion depending on your play style, and team build.
Mid/Late game items Typically I’ll almost always get an Eul’s or Force Staff for the utility its very useful for saving allies and keeping your mana up to spam the ‘Shadow Poison’, Mekanism, and Guardian Grieves can be useful as well if your team is grouping up a lot. Towards the late game an Aghanim’s can be game changing to pop Linken’s, cast dispel/break on an enemy and the stats help you take more than 2 hits. On the rare occasions that I get extremely farmed, I would get a Shiva’s as well for additional vision, and the slow gives your time to stack more poison on the enemy. I play a very defensive Shadow Demon, and I just want to say that is not the only option you have, in my earlier time I played an extremely aggressive Shadow Demon where I would build Phase Boots, Blink and Force Staff to ensure I’m able to start and catch anyone I’d like, also ‘Soul Catcher’ into a Dagon deals a lot of damage as well!
Tips and tricks 1. ‘Shadow poison’ gives great vision, so use it before you walk up a cliff to make sure you’re safe or when you need to see! http://gfycat.com/MarvelousFarflungGraywolf
- ‘Disruption’ makes it so you cannot take damage however, you’re still able to heal. So if you have a damage over time on yourself and cast urn after the damage tick, then disrupt yourself you can heal. Works with fountain as well, if you have a lethal damage overtime and you managed to teleport home, just ‘Disrupt’ yourself
- ‘Demonic Purge’ with Aghanim’s can be used to break Linken’s without losing a charge
- ‘Demonic Purge’ will go through BKB, ‘Repel’, can disable Ghost Scepters, etc.
- With an illusion rune you can ‘Disrupt’ an enemy and walk over the Black sphere and your opponent will come out of the disruption completely blocked in by the illusions, This also works with Naga
- You can pull off trick 5 without the illusion rune if the enemy is near a cliff
- You can stack ‘Shadow Poisons’ while enemy is disrupted so don’t waste time and throw them out! Sometimes you want to pretend you did well:
For any questions, feel free to comment here, PM me, or on twitter @SenjDotA. I’ll try my best to respond