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Grimstroke minimap icon.png Grimstroke is a forceful support and nuker who pressures enemies with an array of punishing spells. He creates dilemmas for his opponents, compelling them to choose between attacking or retreating. In addition to inflicting heavy magical damage, he can also Soulbind two enemies together to make them suffer damage and disables at the same time. As for his weaknesses, Grimstroke is lacking in mobility, and can burn through his mana very quickly.
Pros Cons
  • Rather squishy.
  • Mana intensive.
  • Vulnerable to silence.
  • Dependent on team coordination.


  • Grimstroke is played as a support. Due to his powerful nuking spells, his spells can help assist a carry into securing kills, for example: using an Ink Swell to an allied carry during the laning phase as they charge to the fleeing enemy will help them stun the target, further providing more kills.


  • Because of his powerful nuking potential, Grimstroke is often played as a Nuker, his Soulbind greatly synergize with a plethora of other single-targetted spells.

Ability Builds[]

Generic Grimstroke
Ink Swell icon.pngStroke of Fate icon.pngStroke of Fate icon.pngPhantom's Embrace icon.pngStroke of Fate icon.pngSoulbind icon.pngStroke of Fate icon.pngInk Swell icon.pngInk Swell icon.pngTalent icon.pngInk Swell icon.pngSoulbind icon.pngPhantom's Embrace icon.pngPhantom's Embrace icon.pngTalent icon.pngPhantom's Embrace icon.pngSoulbind icon.pngTalent icon.pngTalent icon.png
Nuker Grimstroke
Stroke of Fate icon.pngPhantom's Embrace icon.pngStroke of Fate icon.pngInk Swell icon.pngStroke of Fate icon.pngInk Swell icon.pngStroke of Fate icon.pngInk Swell icon.pngInk Swell icon.pngTalent icon.pngSoulbind icon.pngSoulbind icon.pngPhantom's Embrace icon.pngPhantom's Embrace icon.pngTalent icon.pngPhantom's Embrace icon.pngSoulbind icon.pngTalent icon.pngTalent icon.png


Hero Talents
+50% Stroke of Fate Damage25+150 Ink Swell Radius
+3 Hits to Kill Phantom20+1000 Stroke of Fate Cast Range
+16% Ink Swell Movement Speed15+15% Spell Amplification
-5s Ink Swell Cooldown10+50 Phantom's Embrace DPS

Tips & Tactics[]


  • More tips needed.


Stroke of Fate[]

  • Stroke of Fate's short cooldown means it can be used constantly, especially when chasing an enemy.
  • Stroke of Fate is an excellent tool to chip away at enemies during the laning phase. Cast it when enemy heroes who are standing behind creep waves when they go for last hits or denies to take advantage of the bonus stacking damage. Take caution as you will be pushing the waves quicker this way.
  • Use Stroke of Fate to quickly clear creep waves and neutral camps.
  • Stroke of Fate long range means it can be used to slow down enemies even when retreating, or to help allies catch a fleeing enemy.
  • Stroke of Fate has a relatively long cast animation that needs to be compensated for when targeting distant enemies.
  • To overcome Stroke of Fate's long cast animation, use it when enemies stop moving in order to attack Phantom's Embrace.
  • The Stroke originates from the left of the model where he holds his brush, making it important to note this when aiming at close-range enemies.
  • Stroke of Fate can be used to stack multiple creep camps at once.

Phantom's Embrace[]

  • The phantom can be killed in mid-flight, so do not waste it if it's obvious that the enemy is ready to take it down.
  • The phantom provides vision over its target, and can be used to track elusive enemies.
  • Use Phantom's Embrace to force enemies back in lane, or take heavy damage.
  • Use Phantom's Embrace in conjunction with allies who stun, disarm or fear to make sure the phantom latches on for its full duration.
  • Use Phantom's Embrace on enemies that are already busy fighting in order to shift their attention from their target to the phantom instead.
  • Use Phantom's Embrace to quickly silence powerful spellcasters, especially ones with channeled abilities.
  • Do not use Phantom's Embrace on target that's ready to go spell immune, invisible, invulnerable, or hidden. These statuses will kill the phantom instantly.
  • Use Phantom's Embrace after the target has already expended the above statuses. For example, on Shadow Demon minimap icon.png Shadow Demon after he's used Disruption.
  • More tips needed.

Ink Swell[]

  • Use Ink Swell on allies with Blink Dagger icon.png Blink Dagger, high mobility, or invisibility to help them land the stun.
  • Use Ink Swell on allies when being disabled or retreating as it increases movement speed and dissuades the aggressors with a stun.
  • Use Ink Swell on allied lane creeps to charge its damage and stun, and discourage melee opponents from farming.
  • Use Ink Swell after slowing an enemy with Stroke of Fate or Soulbind to catch up for a stun.
  • Use Ink Swell on allies who are in the middle of teamfights in order to catch the most enemies with its damage and stun.
  • Ideally, use on initiators so the stun follows their abilities.
  • Ink Swell can act as a counter-initiation tool when the enemy jumps onto your team.
  • More tips needed.


  • The hero that is initially targeted by a spell while affected by Soulbind is the "primary" target, while the hero that the primary target is bound to is the "secondary" target.
  • Soulbind has unique interactions with some abilities:
    • When Sniper minimap icon.png Sniper casts Assassinate on a Soulbound target, he fires at the primary target, then immediately fires at the secondary target with almost no cast delay. Damage from both hits are shared between units, effectively causing each Soulbound hero to be hit twice by Assassinate.
    • Duel causes both bound enemies to fight Legion Commander minimap icon.png Legion Commander. However, if Legion Commander dies, both enemies in the duel will be awarded damage. During the simultaneous duels, Legion Commander attacks the primary target.
    • Winter's Curse affects both bound enemies, and their team mates will attack the closest one. In addition, they will not be able to deal damage to their ally.
    • Sunder causes Terrorblade minimap icon.png Terrorblade to receive the primary target's health, while the primary target receives the health of the secondary target, and the secondary target receives the health of Terrorblade.
    • Nether Strike and Static Link only affect the secondary target.
    • Nether Swap moves Vengeful Spirit minimap icon.png Vengeful Spirit to the primary target's position, the primary target to the secondary target's position, and the secondary target to Vengeful Spirit's initial position.
    • Life Break causes Huskar minimap icon.png Huskar to first jump on the primary target and then the secondary target, inflicting damage on each jump.
    • Arcane Bolt fires twice as many multi-shot Arcane Bolts when upgraded with its talent and/or Aghanim's Scepter icon.png Aghanim's Scepter.
    • Mystic Snake casts two snakes and creates extras if either connects with the other linked enemy.
    • Fatal Bonds affects both bound enemies, and doubles the damage.
    • Multicast triggers separately for both bound enemies. It may proc on one enemy, but not the other.
    • Fortune's End queues a second cast of the ability on the secondary target to start channeling after the first projectile hits the primary target. Canceling the first channel in any way causes the first projectile to fire, and then channel the second cast once the first hits. Movement or impairments during the second cast fires the projectile early all the same.
    • Time Lapse does not cancel Soulbind.
    • Ion Shell does not cast on the secondary target.
    • Mana DrainTalent If the secondary target runs out of will stop draining the mana of the secondary target, along with any of the additional enemies targeted by the secondary mana drain, if the secondary target runs out of mana.
    • Mana DrainTalent's secondary cast can target heroes already targeted by the primary cast.
    • Mana DrainTalent Additional enemies targeted by the secondary cast will continue to be drained even if channeling is cancelled using the stop key. Taking any action will still cause the spell to end early.
  • Use Soulbind to leash enemies inside the radius of powerful allied AoE abilities, such as Freezing Field or Supernova.
  • Use Soulbind in conjunction with bouncing abilities like Chain Frost or Shuriken Toss for maximum effect.
  • More tips needed.

Dark Portrait[]

  • Use Dark Portrait on enemy physical carries as their illusions deal bonus damage, move faster, and have spell immunity.
  • Carries with abilities that enhance their illusions such as Luna minimap icon.png Luna, Phantom Lancer minimap icon.png Phantom Lancer or Medusa minimap icon.png Medusa are particularly good targets for Dark Portrait.
  • Grimstroke can look for enemies with useful auras to use Dark Portrait on, benefiting his team.
  • Check Dark Portrait illusions of enemies for the levels of their abilities.
  • Dark portrait illusions can be used to connect ink swell from a safe distance when grimstroke is alone or if his team is retreating.
  • More tips needed.


Starting items:

  • Tango icon.png Tango helps Grimstroke stay in lane.
  • Healing Salve icon.png Healing Salve keeps Grimstroke alive in the early game.
  • Enchanted Mango icon.png Enchanted Mango helps Grimstroke use his nukes more often.
  • Clarity icon.png Clarity regenerates mana throughout the game to fuel Stroke of Fate.
  • Iron Branch icon.png Iron Branch gives attributes for little cost, and can either be combined with Tango icon.png Tango for more health regeneration or built into a Magic Wand icon.png Magic Wand.

Early game:

Mid game:

  • Arcane Boots icon.png Arcane Boots makes up for Grimstroke's high mana usage. It can also be dissembled into Aether Lens icon.png Aether Lens or Aeon Disk icon.png Aeon Disk.
  • Magic Wand icon.png Magic Wand gives attributes, as well as more health and mana restoration.
  • Glimmer Cape icon.png Glimmer Cape allows Grimstroke to escape bad situations, and sneak up on enemies for a stun with Ink Swell (cast either on himself or his ally). Since Grimstroke is commonly played as a support, the item is highly cost-effective for him.

Late game:

  • Aghanim's Scepter icon.png Aghanim's Scepter gives new very powerful and scalable single-target ability Dark Portrait that can be casted on two targets when combined with Soulbind.
  • Scythe of Vyse icon.png Scythe of Vyse can hex two enemies at once when used with Soulbind. It also prevents opponents from killing the phantom, thus forcing them to take full damage.

Situational items:

  • Force Staff icon.png Force Staff helps Grimstroke's chase down enemies after they have been slowed. It also serves as a good escape for him in a pinch.
  • Aether Lens icon.png Aether Lens increases Grimstroke's already long cast ranges, and gives him extra mana regeneration. The cast range bonus is significant for Grimstroke as winning teamfights rely on casting all spell combos successfully. The range keeps him safely in the backlines.
  • Aeon Disk icon.png Aeon Disk helps Grimstroke survive with strong dispel and damage reduction so that he can keep using abilities in fights.
  • Dagon 1 icon.png Dagon adds burst magical damage and can be cast on two targets at once when combined with Soulbind.
  • Ethereal Blade icon.png Ethereal Blade works with Soulbind to amplify magical damage dealt to two enemies at once as well as to disarm them so that they cannot attack the phantom.