Slark Guide Header.png


Slark minimap icon.png Slark is an extremely slipperly melee carry. Jumping over obstacles, he Pounce icon.png Pounces on enemies and jumps away to safety, shrouding himself from damage with Shadow Dance icon.png Shadow Dance. When unseen, Slark's natural regeneration replenishes his health, allowing him to return to the fight time and time again. Slark is susceptible to area disables and magical nukes, and his damage is mostly effective against single targets.
Pros Cons
  • Numerous escape mechanisms.
  • Effective mid-game ganker.
  • Steals enemy attributes.
  • Large night vision.
  • Strong pick-off and snowball potential.
  • Excels in long, drawn-out fights.
  • Fragile in the early game.
  • Low attribute growth.
  • Primarily single target focused.
  • Has no stuns.
  • Exceptionally weak to mana burn.


  • Against a melee opponent, consider getting Essence Shift at level 1 in order to strengthen harassment.
  • Against an opponent with a damage over time ability, consider leveling Dark Pact earlier.
  • At level 3, each basic ability should have a point to maximize early kill potential.
  • Dark Pact is maxed out first, as the AoE damage and lowered mana cost is vital for quickly farming waves and neutral creeps.
  • Pounce is usually maxed out second to leash the enemies longer, allowing Slark to keep attacking them, and the reduced cooldown enables him to use it as both initiation and escape in the same fight.
  • Essence Shift is usually maxed out last, as the only thing that scales up for that ability is the duration of the stolen attributes, which does little to affect early game fights.

Ability Builds

Generic Slark
Pounce icon.png Essence Shift icon.png Dark Pact icon.png Dark Pact icon.png Dark Pact icon.png Shadow Dance icon.png Dark Pact icon.png Pounce icon.png Pounce icon.png Talent icon.png Pounce icon.png Shadow Dance icon.png Essence Shift icon.png Essence Shift icon.png Talent icon.png Essence Shift icon.png Unknown icon.png Shadow Dance icon.png Talent icon.png Talent icon.png
Trading Heavy Lane Slark
Essence Shift icon.png Pounce icon.png Essence Shift icon.png Dark Pact icon.png Dark Pact icon.png Shadow Dance icon.png Dark Pact icon.png Dark Pact icon.png Pounce icon.png Talent icon.png Pounce icon.png Shadow Dance icon.png Pounce icon.png Essence Shift icon.png Talent icon.png Essence Shift icon.png Unknown icon.png Shadow Dance icon.png Talent icon.png Talent icon.png


Hero Talents
+65s Essence Shift icon.png Essence Shift Duration25+1s Shadow Dance icon.png Shadow Dance Duration
+0.8s Pounce icon.png Pounce Leash20+120 Dark Pact icon.png Dark Pact Damage
18% Lifesteal15+20 Attack Speed
+8 Agility attribute symbol.png Agility10+9 Strength attribute symbol.png Strength
  • The lifesteal talent stacks additively with other sources of lifesteal.

Tips & Tactics


  • Slark is usually played in the safe lane, with a support. He can also be played in the offlane.
  • Slark is sometimes played in the mid lane, but struggles against ranged heroes like Queen of Pain minimap icon.png Queen of Pain.
  • Slark's base attributes are average at best, although with enough stolen Agility and damage items he can keep up with hard carries such as Phantom Assassin minimap icon.png Phantom Assassin and Sniper minimap icon.png Sniper.
  • Slark is potent ganker in the mid game, and should always be looking for opportunities to pick off an enemy. The enemy jungle is an excellent hunting ground for Slark.
  • Slark's unusually large night vision radius (1800) means he can see further than most heroes at night. Use this advantage when timing ganks.
  • Slark differs from most carries in that he takes more of a hit-and-run approach.
  • Due to the high health regeneration from Shadow Dance, Slark can often return to teamfights after moving out of enemy vision to regain health.
    • Since Shadow Dance gives Slark an incredible rate of health regeneration, it encourages many players to forgo boosting maximum health and strength in favor of attack and damage.
  • Slark's mana is fairly low in the early game, when his abilities should be used sparingly.
  • Slark should try to play aggressively once he reaches level six, so he can take full advantage of the agility transfer from Essence Shift.
  • Use Slark's high mobility to pick off supports before fights break out, allowing his team to start with an advantage.
  • Slark can stack 2 or even up to 3 camps at a time using his high mobility and Pounce.


Dark Pact icon.png Dark Pact

  • Activate Dark Pact after using Pounce or initiating on the enemy. The cast time is instant, meaning you can use the ability after your target turns to try and disable you, without interrupting Slark's attack.
  • Dark Pact dispels most debuffs and disables from Slark, and needs to be timed well in order to maximize its effectiveness.
    • If being chased, using Dark Pact immediately before Shadow Blade allows you to dispel Dust of Appearance icon.png Dust of Appearance without losing your invisibility.
    • Activate it just before you are about to be disabled by abilities like Storm Hammer icon.png Storm Hammer or Unstable Concoction icon.png Unstable Concoction. After the projectile hits, Dark Pact will automatically remove the disable.
  • The multiple hits from Dark Pact is useful against protection abilities with a limited number of charges, such as Refraction icon.png Refraction or Gravekeeper's Cloak icon.png Gravekeeper's Cloak.
  • Dark Pact is a great way to finish off an invisible unit that has been leashed, as the AoE damage affects invisible targets.
  • Dark Pact is a great way to accelerate farm between gank attempts. When combined with Power Treads icon.png Power Treads' ability to toggle stats, the cost of the ability can be minimized.
    • For maximum efficiency, shift Power Treads icon.png Power Treads to intelligence before casting, then switch to strength while the ability deals damage, and finally switch to agility to maximize Slark's attack damage. This makes the most of Slark's unusually small HP and Mana pools.
  • Avoid using the ability recklessly in the early game before Slark has Shadow Dance, as it can be very difficult to heal up after skirmishes.

Pounce icon.png Pounce

  • One point of Pounce is usually leveled first in case Slark needs to escape a bad situation.
  • When determining the direction to Pounce in, make sure Slark has fully turned towards that direction before using Pounce.
  • Use Pounce over elevations and barriers to escape pursuers.
  • Pounce will hit invisible heroes. Use it immediately after an adjacent enemy goes invisible to ensure a hit. If a leash is established, follow up with Dark Pact.
  • Pounce does not stop an enemy from attacking or using abilities.
    • Pounce can disrupt teleportation scrolls and disables movement based abilities such as blink during the leashed duration.
  • Pounce ignores illusions for Slark to find the real enemy heroes.
  • More tips needed.

Essence Shift icon.png Essence Shift

  • Maximize Essence Shift's duration by continually harassing and retreating. Go for the kill once you think you have enough damage and attack speed to take down enemy heroes.
  • Maximize Essence Shift's efficiency by taking objectives using his stolen attributes. After a large teamfight, it is not uncommon to find that Slark has stolen upwards of 50 agility, making quick work of untended towers or Roshan.
  • Essence Shift is a deceptively debilitating attack modifier, as it reduces an enemy's attributes, lowering many of their stats.
    • Every successful hit reduces an enemy's maximum health, health regeneration, maximum mana, mana regeneration, armor, attack speed, and attack damage.
    • With enough attacks, it is possible to prevent enemies from retaliating effectively due to the lack of attack speed and physical damage, as well as preventing them from using abilities due to a lack of mana.
    • Items and abilities that lock enemies in place greatly increases the power of Essence Shift, making Eye of Skadi icon.png Eye of Skadi and Skull Basher icon.png Skull Basher good items to build in most games.
      • An early Orb of Venom icon.png Orb of Venom can allow Slark to steal from slow heroes that lack disables or escapes, especially if they are lacking any sort of boots.

Shadow Dance icon.png Shadow Dance

  • In general, Shadow Dance should be activated when Slark is at low health, not at the beginning of fights.
    • However, in some cases, Shadow Dance is best used even at high or full health to protect against disabling abilities like Laser icon.png Laser or Doom ability icon.png Doom.
  • During the laning phase, regain your health by simply retreating out of enemy vision once Slark is level six.
  • When being chased, try to stay out of enemy vision, be it around trees, up high ground, or behind barriers. The passive move speed and regeneration from Shadow Dance can mean the difference between life and death.
  • Shadow Dance's passive can be used as an indirect way of detection. If you find that Slark suddenly loses his movement speed and regeneration, it means the enemy has vision over you.
    • This indicates that there is a source of enemy vision nearby, such as an Observer Ward icon.png Observer Ward, a Hawk, or an invisible enemy.
    • Keep an eye on Shadow Dance's buff icon to know whether or not the enemy has vision nearby.
  • Be careful not to overestimate Shadow Dance's utility or assume you will always be able to escape a bad situation once you activate it. Area-of-effect abilities will still hit Slark for full damage.
    • Slark is vulnerable when surrounded by numerous heroes, creeps or illusions. This body blocks him from effectively retreating with Shadow Dance or Pounce.


Starting items:

Early game:

  • Magic Stick icon.png Magic Stick gives burst mana and health restoration.
  • Boots of Speed icon.png Boots of Speed allow Slark to catch up to enemies and immobilize them with Pounce.
  • Orb of Venom icon.png Orb of Venom is a cheap but powerful item to slow enemies and inflict damage overtime, giving an advantage to Slark's early ganks.

Mid game:

  • Power Treads icon.png Power Treads gives Slark attack speed to build Essence Shift, as well as the ability to switch to appropriate attributes for survival, damage, or mana.
  • Magic Wand icon.png Magic Wand, upgraded from Magic Stick icon.png Magic Stick, gives him more attributes and opens up item slots.
  • Shadow Blade icon.png Shadow Blade provides attack speed and invisibility to improve ganking and escaping. It also synergizes with the passive part of Shadow Dance, giving health regeneration and movement speed buffs when enemies lose vision of Slark.
  • Echo Sabre icon.png Echo Sabre helps Slark collect stacks of Essence Shift, useful for ganking.

Late game:

  • Eye of Skadi icon.png Eye of Skadi slows enemy attack and movement speed, keeping them in range for Slark to build Essence Shift. Its large bonus attributes increases Slark's health, mana, armor, damage, and attack speed, compensating his low growth.
  • Abyssal Blade icon.png Abyssal Blade lets Slark stick to enemies with its active stun and chances to bash, complementing Essence Shift's agility that increases attack speed.

Situational items:

  • Drum of Endurance icon.png Drum of Endurance provides Slark with attributes to improve his lackluster growth while giving him extra movement speed and attack speed to help close the distance on foes, building the early game advantage he needs to snowball.
  • Diffusal Blade 1 icon.png Diffusal Blade provides a way to slow fleeing heroes, keeping them in attack range, as well as burning mana for extra damage and suit the gain of attack speed.
  • Sange and Yasha icon.png Sange and Yasha allows him to chase and attack enemy heroes due to the movement speed, attack speed, and agility boost. Its bonus strength may also beef up Slark enough to survive engagements.
  • Black King Bar icon.png Black King Bar's spell immunity offers protection from disables, making him almost invulnerable while under the effect of Shadow Dance.
  • Butterfly icon.png Butterfly offers bonus attack speed, damage, and agility; its evasion gives him more survivability against attacks.
  • Silver Edge icon.png Silver Edge, upgraded from Shadow Blade icon.png Shadow Blade, improves Slark's ganking capability even further with bonus attributes and break to disable heroes with strong passive abilities such as Phantom Assassin minimap icon.png Phantom Assassin, Enchantress minimap icon.png Enchantress, or Bristleback minimap icon.png Bristleback.
  • Orchid Malevolence icon.png Orchid Malevolence helps Slark gank by silencing enemies, as well as regenerating Slark's mana for more frequent uses of Pounce and Dark Pact. This makes it useful against enemies that rely on blinks or other abilities to escape, such as Queen of Pain minimap icon.png Queen of Pain or Anti-Mage minimap icon.png Anti-Mage.
  • Monkey King Bar icon.png Monkey King Bar procs Pierce that deals bonus damage and counters enemy evasion.
  • Moon Shard icon.png Moon Shard increases Slark's attack speed for Essence Shift to steal attributes quickly. As the game progresses, Slark can consume it to free an item slot and keep a permanent attack speed bonus.
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