Shadow Fiend is a hero which has been around in Dota for a considerable amount of time. He is a ranged Agility hero and is mainly played as a Carry who usually buys DPS items. He is considerably weak in the early stages of the game but becomes significantly stronger towards the end-game. He is characterized by his squishy-ness and his lack of disabling skills. His Ultimate is called ‘Requiem of Souls’ which is an AOE skill (Area of Effect: units within that given area will be affected by the skill) which has a radius of 1025 at maximum level. The damage dealt by his Ultimate is based on the amount of souls he’s collected and also the proximity of the enemy targets. It has a 1.67 second casting time and can deal a whopping maximum damage of 2400 if executed PERFECTLY. (FYI this is a lot of damage. Spells don’t usually reach a damage of over 1000, let alone 2000)
Shadow Fiend has always been played as a hard hitter. He would usually farm up his core items in the early-game by clearing wave after wave of creeps using his first skill. His core items includes either a Shadow Blade (which grants invisibility when activated) or a Blink Dagger (an item which allows the user to teleport a certain distance), and a BKB (an item which grants temporary immunity to magic-type damage for a period of time). After getting his core items, Shadow Fiend would get other DPS items such as Butterfly and Daedalus.
Shadow Blade is a good item on Shadow Fiend. Although it costs a hefty 2800 gold, it is definitely an item that is recommended on Shadow Fiend. This is because Shadow Blade grants the user an extra 22 damage and 30 attack speed which is great for DPS heroes. Also, it provides an item-based ability known as Shadow Walk. Shadow Walk is an active ability which provides the user with extra movement speed and more importantly, invisibility and unobstructed movement through units for up to 14 seconds. This is especially useful for squishy heroes such as Shadow Fiend who can use this item to escape getting ganked. More important, if Shadow Fiend were to cast Shadow Walk, he can essentially ‘go inside a unit’ before casting his Ultimate. With the invisibility provided by Shadow Blade, the targeted unit will not be prompted to move away from Shadow Fiend as he is casting his Ultimate and this would cause the unit to take the full damage of Requiem of Souls.
Blink Dagger has been a more popular item over Shadow Blade for a while now. It costs a cheaper 2250 gold and it grants the Blink ability (teleports the user over a relatively small distance to a target spot) when activated. It has been a more popular item over Shadow Blade as Shadow Blade can easily be countered by buying Sentry Wards (200 gold), Dust of Appearance (180 gold) and even a Gem of True Sight (800 gold). This means that the 2800 gold item would go down the drain if the enemy has any of these items. By buying Blink, Shadow Fiend can not only escape a gank but can Blink beside an enemy unit before casting his Ultimate.
Recently, a new and interesting build of Shadow Fiend has emerged. Instead of playing Shadow Fiend as a hard hitter, this build makes Shadow Fiend a Nuker. This build involves 2 core items. A Eul’s Scepter of Divinity and a Blink Dagger. Following that, other Nuking items such as Ethereal Blade, Dagon and even a Refresher Orb (an item which I have never seen on Shadow Fiend) would be bought. Eul’s Scepter of Divinity has an active ability (Cyclone) which allows the user to lift either itself or an enemy unit up into the air for 2.5 seconds. During this period, the Cycloned target would be Invulnerable. To execute with this build, Shadow Fiend would have to cast Cyclone on an enemy target and Blink under it. After around 1 second of casting Cyclone, Shadow Fiend would then cast his Ultimate. This means that as soon as the target reaches the ground, Shadow Fiend would already have fully channeled his Ultimate and what awaits the target is a massive 2.4K worth of damage.
This build does have some pros and cons. The pros of this build is that apart from the Mana regeneration provided by Eul’s Scepter, which is great for spamming Shadow Fiend’s first skill for flash farming, Shadow Fiend can easily kill most enemy targets. After playing many games with this build, I find that it surprisingly easy to one-hit KO a well farmed carry by executing this combo. Hence, it is possible for Shadow Fiend to kill any hero, no matter how farmed it is.
However, the Nuker build does have some cons. Firstly, Shadow Fiend’s Ultimate has a 100 second cooldown at maximum level. This means that Shadow Fiend can only fully exploit this build once every 100 seconds — pretty much an eternity in a heated battle. Secondly, executing this combo is incredibly difficult and requires considerable practice. One has to cast his Ultimate at the precise moment to ensure that Shadow Fiend would finish the cast as soon as the target reaches the ground for maximum effect. Thirdly, the opponent’s teammates can disrupt Shadow Fiend’s Ultimate easily by, say, stunning him since this build executes on only a single target. Fourthly, even if the execution were perfect, this build can easily be countered with BKB’s active spell which grants magic immunity. And lastly, if the target survives the cast, Shadow Fiend does not get a second chance as he has no hard hitting skills to finish the job.
Personally, I find that it is way easier to one-hit KO with Eul’s than with either a Shadow Blade or Blink as the target would not have much leeway to move when the Ultimate has been fully channeled. This alternative Shadow Fiend build takes an interesting turn in showing that heroes can be played in many different ways. Although there are many cons to this build, the unique feature of one-hit KO-ing targets makes this Shadow Fiend build worth investing in.