Slardar, the Slithereen Guard, The Guide.

Slardar, the Slithereen Guard

Updated for 6.61

The mighty king of the Naga race, Slardar was awoken from the depths of the sea after the invasion of the Burning Legion. Finding the world consumed by chaos, he found it a perfect opportunity to strike down the hated Night Elves. Allying with the scourge, Slardar uses his immense strength and power to stun and crush his enemies, and his mighty trident can cleave the strongest armor with ease.

This guide is old, and went through a lot. I created it in 2007. While everyone else played Slardar with the Crush/Stats build, I went for the Crush/Sprint build, and explained my choice well enough to get a lot of positive comments. Soon after, Slardar got buffed and more and more people started to use Sprint.

I updated it in the next summer, in 2008, to take part to the 12TH HGC. It ended up being third, but later on it has been the only guide of this contest to reach the premium land, where it belong since then.

However it died some weeks ago, firstly because it ended up being outdated, and secondly because all the pictures are gone. So I update it, once again. I'm working, for the most, on the item build.

I. Slardar
..1. Stats
..2. Skills
II. Amplify Damage: mathcraft
III. The build
..1. Skills
..2. Core items
..3. Items to consider
..4. Items to avoid
IV. Strategy
..1. Lane control
..2. Slitherers
..3. The art of chasing
..4. Teamplay
VII. Conclusion

I. Slardar

Melee heroes have to be close to their target to land physical attacks. It mean that they have to run between each hit, which drastically reduces their damage output and, hence, their effectiveness during a very large part of the game.

There are 3 solutions to that problem:
1. Good allies. A line-up that can spam a lot of nukes and slows solves the issue.
2. Good spells. Some heroes can rely upon their spells, either to be played as casters (ex.: Shaker) or to catch the enemy (ex.: Bloodseeker).
3. Good mobility. Whatever helps to move faster, helps to catch the enemy.

Slardar is an all-rounded hero that can be played in many ways. He's a crazy chaser because he got a spell to increase his mobility (Sprint), two others to slow down the enemy (Bash and Slithereen Crush), and the last one is an anti-juke (Amplify Damage). He's also a strong carry because he can tank, initiate, deal and kill (thanks to his ability to chase), and because bash can easily end up being a sick passive in late game. But on the other hand, he can also be played as a low-cost engager, because of his powerful stun and of his ultimate (which can be used as a kind of reversed Empower-like buff).

1. Stats

Range: 100 Move Speed: 300 Primary: STR
Str: 21 + 2.8 Agi: 17 + 1.9 Int: 15 + 1.5
Damage: 51 - 59 HP: 549 Mana: 195
Attack Speed: 1.41 (+17% IAS) Armor: 1.4

Slardar is a rock-solid hero, though he's not the best in early game because of his low damages spells.

2. Skills

Sprint [T]
Slardar increases his movement speed dramatically, but takes 10% bonus damage. Lasts 25 seconds.
Level 1 - Increases speed by 10%.
Level 2 - Increases speed by 20%.
Level 3 - Increases speed by 30%.
Level 4 - Increases speed by 40%.
Mana Cost: 50
Cooldown: 45

* Amplified damage is the same type of damage dealt.
* Activating this skill doesn't cancel channeling spells. Meaning you can use Boots of Travel and then use this skill without canceling the teleportation.
* Damage over time spells (DoT) get amplified when you activate Sprint.
* Armlet's degeneration isn't amplified.
* Frenzy doesn't stack with Sprint: one will overwrite the other.
* It can't be purged, nor it can be dispelled by Black King Bar and Repel.
* Vanguard's and Stout Shield's block is applied before the amplification.

Slithereen Crush [R]
Slams the ground, stunning and damaging enemy land units 350 AoE around Slardar. Slows enemy units by 20% for 2 seconds afterwards.
Level 1 - 50 damage, 1 second stun.
Level 2 - 100 damage, 1.5 second stun.
Level 3 - 150 damage, 2 second stun.
Level 4 - 200 damage, 2.5 second stun.
Mana Cost: 80/ 95/ 105/ 115
Cooldown: 8

* Damage type: physical.
* The slow also reduces the IAS.
* The stun has an AoE of 350, the slow an AoE of 360. If the enemy is only affected by the slow, it will be for 4.5 seconds.

Gives a chance that an attack will do bonus damage and stun an opponent for 1 second.
Level 1 - 10% chance per attack, 40 bonus damage.
Level 2 - 15% chance per attack, 50 bonus damage.
Level 3 - 20% chance per attack, 60 bonus damage.
Level 4 - 25% chance per attack, 70 bonus damage.

* The bonus damage is magical, so it doesn't synergize with Amplify Damage. It's reduced by magic reduction, so at lvl 4 it deals 52.5 damage, unless the enemy has more magic resistance.
* Stun works on magic immune units.
* Doesn't stack with Cranium Basher.

Amplify Damage [G]
Amplifies physical damage against enemy units by reducing their armor. Lasts 120 seconds on creeps and 30 secondes on heroes. Can track invisible units.
Level 1 - 5 armor penalty.
Level 2 - 10 armor penalty.
Level 3 - 15 armor penalty.
Mana Cost: 25
Cooldown: 10

* Provides True Sight on enemy unit.
* Goes through Repel and Avatar, but is also dispelled by it.
* Cleave's damage aren't amplified.

II. Amplify Damage: mathcraft

We need to understand how armor works to understand why Amplify Damage is such a powerful spell. The damage reduction that come from positive armor increase linearly; concretely it imply that we can have in between 1% and 99% of damage reduction. Negative armor's damage amplification is calculated with another formula, which form a logarithmic (the opposite of exponential) curve (i.e. a decreasing curve), as you can see on the following chart:

As a consequence, it isn't interesting to reduce too much enemy's armor, because as you goes on negative values the percentage of damage gained for each point of negative armor start to reduce. For example, you won't deal 99% more damages against a hero with -9999 armor. It might be easier to read it as a table:

Armor reduction % increase in damage
30 to 25 12.00%
25 to 20 13.64%
20 to 15 15.79%
15 to 10 18.75%
10 to 5 23.08%
5 to 0 30.00%
0 to -5 26.61%
-5 to -10 15.42%
-10 to -15 9.81%
-15 to -20 6.55%
Data from ICallBotSolo. Original discussion can be found here.

On the following, and amazing table (by Malle), you can see how much damage you gain for any armor reduction:

To summarize it, let's highlight some values:
- A malus of -5 increase Slardar's damage output by approximately 30% (decrease as you get away from 3 armor).
- A malus of -10 increase Slardar's damage output by approximately 60% (decrease as you get away from 7 armor).
- A malus of -15 increase Slardar's damage output by approximately 100% (decrease as you get away from 11 armor).
- A malus of -20 increase Slardar's damage output by approximately 140% (decrease as you get away from 14 armor).

Needless to say, Amplify Damage is an absolutely amazing spell. Remember that it's not only +100% damage for you, but for all your team! The total damage inflicted can be by far superior to what can do Sven with God's Strength for example. Beside that point we can see that Cuirass is obviously an awesome item for Slardar.

Useful links:
- Armor and EHP guide (by SxDoTS): for all mathematics formula about armor.
- The Stygian Desolator Explained (by Blaow): really interesting as it show concretely how reducing armor is effective.
- Any mistake?: Malle and DonTomato patiently answering my questions (thank you again guys!). You can find on this topic all the formulas you need to create a table.

III. The build

1. Skills

1. Slithereen Crush
2. Sprint
3. Slithereen Crush
4. Sprint
5. Slithereen Crush
6. Amplify Damage
7. Slithereen Crush
8. Sprint
9. Sprint
10. Bash
11. Amplify Damage
12. Bash
13. Bash
14. Bash
15. Stats
16. Amplify Damage

Slithereen Crush is maxed as soon as possible for obvious reasons. Sprint is maxed along with it because having a lot of MS allow to hit much more often a moving target, which give more chances to bash. Doing the opposite and taking Bash in first isn't effective because it deprive Slardar from having a relatively good escape mechanism without making him able to bash effectively.

If your lane mate is lacking a reliable slow or stun or if you are on a really defensive stance you may eventually end up maxing Sprint before Slithereen Crush, as having more MS can be sometimes interesting in those circumstances. It is all about in-game judgment though.

2. Item build

Slardar is a rock solid hero, which has no major flaw that should be solved through a rigorous item build.

Core items

As a chaser, Slardar has to tank a lot of damages, from towers and creeps as well as from heroes, so unless you're completely dominating already (i.e. when the game is going to be a stomp anyway), it is good to get up to 3 bracers (but not more). Note that it is important to get boots as soon as possible as Slardar, although he can be strong in early game, can't catch his enemy with Sprint level 1 or 2.

In the beginning, get whatever you want. It's better to begin with a few gauntlets and some regeneration, though. Get a Magic Stick if you know that it is an appropriate choice, depending on your own play style and on your enemies.

Once you've reached tier 2, either complete it or move to the next tier and never come back.

Tier 1 items

The faster you move, the more you hit. You must choose between Phase and Treads. Both are interesting.

Phase Boots. Cheap and effective, can help to slither through waves and heroes, which can be powerful if there are a lot of team fights in lanes and narrow paths.

Power Treads. Good old raw power is never bad. Slardar doesn't need more than it and a few bracers to take down farmed heroes, thanks to his skill set.

Tier 2 items

Armlet of Mordiggian. Nothing strengthens Slardar as fast as Armlet. With it, his core and Power Treads, Slardar is a monster already as it is +69% IAS, +93 DMG and +1007 HP while Unholy Strength is activated. There is no ideal build order, though we can notice 3 interesting orders:
- Against harassers an early Help of Iron Will is interesting.
- Against nukers it is better to get more HP as soon as possible.
- Against weaklings it is better to farm Power Treads or Phase Boots as soon as possible, in order to catch and kill.

Black King Bar. Against well coordinated nukes and disables, Black King Bar is mandatory. As it is all about the enemy you're playing against and in-game judgment, I haven't much to say.

Tier 3 items

Get whatever is the best in the game you�€™re playing. There are basically two good builds:
1. The lifesteal build. Get Helm of the Dominator after Armlet, and then get either Hyperstone or Satanic, and complete the build with Buriza and/or Cuirass. It is a good build, because with that lifesteal you�€™ll not have to come back to base after most team fights because of Armlet�€™s degeneration, which quickly turns into more gold and experience.
2. The negative armor build. It is interesting to get either Desolator or Cuirass, because if the enemy has (approximately) 14 armor (which often happens since Phase Boots were introduced), then Desolator�€™s Corruption orb is going to increase Slardar�€™s damage output by 40% (total: 140% with Amplify Damage level 3). With this build you�€™re going to have a sick amount of damages in no time.
Anyway remember that there is no way to choose any of those builds unless you�€™ve got some �€Å“free room�€� in the game you�€™re playing. In a tough game, just get whatever is needed as soon as possible. Get damages if you�€™re not being focused or engaged all the time, and Heart in the opposite case. This being done, repeat the process, until the game isn�€™t tough anymore.

Satanic. Unholy Rage is an amazing spell that can regenerate more than a thousand HP while activated. Think about it, when you're wondering which item is the best when it comes to tanking.
The best, with Satanic, is that its buildup is great, as Helm of the Dominator can be an amazing item after Armlet, as with its lifesteal Slardar won't have to get back to base after each team fight because of Unholy Strength's degeneration.

Buriza Do-Kyanon. Raw power for the win. Critical strikes fit Amplify Damage and lifesteal like nothing else.

Heart of Tarrasque. If the game is close enough for the enemy to spam his disables in despite of Black King Bar, there isn't much to do but to get more HP (Heart) or to initiate (Dagger). It's up to you.

Desolator. Since Satanic got buffed, I think that it is almost always better to get lifesteal along with Buriza. However, Desolator is still interesting when the enemy got a lot of armor (more than 20).

Assault Cuirass. It is of course amazing item for Slardar, especially because an early Hyperstone (let's say, after Armlet and Helm or Desolator) quickly turns him into a fucking bane for lone and frail heroes (i.e. for any hero that can't either disable or blink, as anyway if he�€™s so farmed he's amazingly hard to duel against).

3. Items to consider

Hood of Defiance. Against a lot of nukers, there is not much to do but to purchase Hood.

Boots of Travel. Although Slardar can slither throughout the map quickly, sometimes the teleport is just needed, especially when the game turn into a push-fest.

Kelen's Dagger. Any hero with an area of effect stun can make a great use of it. Slardar is no exception, though it is possible to skip it, thanks to Sprint.

Monkey King Bar. Don't get it for anything but True Strike. Its Mini-Bash isn't interesting, because it deals magical damage on melee heroes, which is not increased by Amplify Damage.

4. Items to avoid

Bottle. Slardar isn't the best early ganker around and has too many HP afterwards to use a bottle effectively.

Radiance. Slardar isn't a good farmer and is much stronger and efficient with cheaper items that also help him to tank.

Vanguard. Vanguard is much less interesting than Armlet in early and mid game and doesn't cover Slardar's need of HP afterwards.

Cranium Basher. Get Hyperstone if you want to bash more often, not Basher.

Mask of Madness. Sprint gives much more MS, which can't be neglected. Just get more IAS (Hyperstone for example) if you're sad enough to consider Mask of Madness.

Sange & Yasha. Get Armlet and Helm of the Dominator instead. It is easier to purchase, and get more HP, IAS and damages in the end, along with an equally useful orb. The extra MS isn't interesting, as anyway Slardar has more than 500 MS with Sprint.

IV. Strategy

Slardar's early game is not the best. He's a melee hero with no nuke nor easy to land stun. So, we're going to talk about early game for the most.

I will indicate in what part of the game each strategy is mostly used, rather than dividing rigorously those in three parts called Early, Mid and Late game.

1. Lane control

Firstly, lanes control. I'll quickly point out what are the best strategies to employ, rather than being exhaustive, because there are already 2 excellent guides on lane control. Here are the links:
- Maju's Guide to Lane Control
- BLAOW's guide to Lane Control

Picking a lane

If you're the weakest hero of your team in early game (which should be, unless you screwed picks), get the easy lane, i.e. the top lane if you're Scourge and the bottom lane if you're Sentinel. This is because the meeting point of the first wave is naturally near your ally tower in those lanes, so it's easier to keep it here. If there you face some nasty early nukers, do not hesitate to go somewhere else.

Creep blocking (Early to Mid game)

Blaow and MaJu explain how to block creeps to fight nearer the ally tower. But they don't explain two things.

Firstly, it can be bad to block too much when you're in top lane (Scourge side) or in bottom lane (Sentinel side), because the meeting point is naturally near the tower. Hence, if you block too much, the tower will attack the first wave, and your creeps with counter-push far in the lane, which leave you vulnerable. To solve that problem, pull the second wave.

Secondly, creep blocking doesn't have to be used only on the first wave. If you are owned in your lane, it can be interesting to get back to your next incoming wave and to block it, in order to pull back the meeting point where you want it to be.

Protect the Tower (Early to Mid game)

Of course, it is important to protect the tower. Two strategies:
- Attack the enemy creeps when they start to attack the tower.
- Click on enemy heroes when you are near their creeps.
Both methods will force the enemy creeps to follow you (known as drawing agro). So they will stop to attack your tower.

2. Slitherers

Slardar's role and how to pick him

As you may have guessed, Slardar is a hybrid hero. He's a semi-tanker because his innate ability to tank (as a strength hero) is decreased by Sprint, a back-carry because his skill set make him dangerous with the right stuff, and of course a chaser.

When should he be picked? As a rock solid hybrid hero he can be picked along with a lot of lines-up. However he's kind of weak in early game, so it is all about not breaking the balance. For example, it would be unwise to pick Slardar while your team has one extremely weak hero in early game already, if the enemy has a gank-oriented line-up. Do not create this kind of major flaw with your pick, and everything will be fine.

Besides that, of course it can be interesting to pick Slardar as a counter to a couple of invisible heroes.

Sprint (Early to Late Game)

Sprint must be used wisely. Since it makes Slardar frail, it must be used as late as possible during a fight, but I won't make any comment here because it's all about experience.

The most important thing is, maybe, to never ever chase when the spell's duration is about to end. It's never good to be too far in the enemy territory alone with a poor MS. So, there is a little tip to solve that issue: the spell last 25 seconds and the cooldown 45 seconds. So, the shadow will cover approximately the half of the icon when the spell is about to end. Like this:

Keep an eye on it when you chase!

Intimidate (Early to Mid game)

This tip is pretty fun, but must be used moderately. Amplify Damage costs only 25 mana and has a really short cooldown, and is usually casted as a prelude of a gank or so. If you cast it on the opponent, he will probably be scared and will back until it's finished: 30 seconds of peaceful farming for you! Of course, if you abuse it, he will get the idea and not be scared anymore. But again, this can be good for you if he doesn't back when you really want to gank him. Against a skilled enemy you must be sure that (at least) one of your allies is missing from the enemy's minimap, because otherwise they are not going to be scared at all.

Neutral creeping (Mid to Late game)

Remember that the mana cost of Amplify Damage is cheap enough to use it on neutrals. It can be used to quickly kill centaurs, furbolgs, etc.

Combat management (Mid to Late game)

You will get more and more items as the game goes on. More IAS means more Bash, which means less attack from the enemy. As a consequence it can be sometimes very interesting to focus, during teamfights, the enemy's carry to prevent him from damaging your team.

And remember: every single moment of peace is a gift of your team and must be treated as such with respect. It is a crime to miss any easy last hit. Don't be an outlaw.

3. The chasing

The following advices are extremely common but are also, in most cases, ignored. However they are extremely important and effective for Slardar. He needs, in order to chase effectively, to control a lot of things in the same time. As a consequence the art of chasing is completely under the sign of the control.

Control enemy's cooldown and mana (Early to Late game)

It's important to know enemy's spell status (cooldown/mana pool) before engaging in a potentially dangerous situation. You must not chase, for example, a red HP Sven which has his Bolt almost ready when you are mid HP. A good chaser must know every single hero and must be able to evaluate the state of their mana pool and of their cooldowns before and especially during each fight.

Control Slardar's positioning and attack animation (Early to Mid game)

Physical attacks are like a spell: they have a cooldown, and it's length is relative to the IAS. An enemy that is stunned by Slithereen Crush while fleeing is going in a precise direction. It is important go ahead in this direction while the physical attack is on cooldown, in order to be ahead rather than behind him when the stun's effect end up. Slardar's extremely good attack animation allows him to attack quickly each time the physical attack is ready during the ride.

Control the minimap and the fog of war (Early to Late game)

It is extremely important to check the minimap as often as possible while chasing. If too many enemies disappeared in the fog of war near the location your target is bringing you to, stopping the chase is the best thing to do. You must be able to evaluate how much time each hero needs to reach (and help) your target.

Control Slardar's trajectory (Early to Late game)

Don't get blocked by any creep. Never, ever. It is an offence to Sprint's greatness and a waste of time. And do not hesitate to abuse your superior MS to block the enemy, like you do for creeps in early game.

4. Teamplay

Slardar isn't the weakest hero in early game. He has good base stats, a nice strength gain and an amazing AoE stun which, in despite of not doing a lot of damage, lasts long. However he's unable to engage in most cases, so his ally must compensate this weakness as well as being able to be aggressive, in order to capitalize Slithereen Crush's power. Being laned with an extremely passive babysitter like Warlock is good for Slardar, but not perfect.

Best allies

Lane controllers

Try to lane up with a hero that have a good lane control and that is eventually able to be aggressive. As I
already said, being laned with a passive babysitter is interesting but not perfect.

High physicals damages heroes

Amplify Damage increases physical damages, so later in the game it's a good idea to be with those heroes who benefit from it.

Support heroes

Who doesn't like to play with those guys? A well-timed Repel can be deadly for your opponent, for example.

Physicals spells

It's good to know which spell deal physicals damages to adapt a line-up to Amplify Damage.

Physicals Items

A good way to adapt items to Amplify Damage is to get physical damage over magical damage. This basically saying: get everything you want except Mjolnir/Maelstorm and melee Monkey King Bar, as there are no others DPS items which deal an important amount of magical damage. Radiance (the only other DPS item which deal magic damages) hasn't the same utility so I don't take it into consideration here.

Worst Enemies


Exactly as everybody likes to play with a good support hero, nobody likes to play against a good disabler. This is especially true for Slardar, because being disabled for 5 seconds with Sprint activated is a serious pain.

Lane controllers

They rape you even more than they allow you to farm when you are laned with them. Try to avoid them as much as possible in early game.

VII. Conclusion

The tactics and built when both are effective slardar will be owning. :)

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