Dota 2 Grimstroke Guide

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Dota 2 Grimstroke Guide

Write your destiny inked from the powerfully corrupted brush of Grim and his unholy magic with our Dota 2 Grimstroke Guide

With corruption pulsing through his veins, this Ascended guardian got consumed by greed until he was no longer in control. This powerful being now hovers through the battlefield with his unholy brush, using shadowy ink to bring death and destruction wherever he goes. 

Grimstroke is a ranged Intelligence Hero with an average 582 HP and a robust 375 Mana pool. His attack damage of only 48 is relatively low, as is his movement speed of 290. His saving grace is his base armor of 3. 

Grimstroke (Grim) requires a bit of well-timed execution to be played to the fullest and so, is excellent in the hands of an experienced player. His arsenal of nukes and disabilities makes him a powerful spell caster, and when paired with other Heroes that do single-target-based casting, he doubles their target with his ultimate. With enough levels and proper team coordination, he can easily take down two enemy Heroes simultaneously during teamfights. 


Dota 2 Grimstroke Guide

Let us look at the powerful blood-ink brush strokes that Grim uses to devastate enemies in battles and learn to master each ability to the fullest.

  • Stroke of Fate – Grimstroke paints a line with his corrupt ink, damaging enemies for up to 280 (448 with level 25 talent), which increases by up to 50 (80 with level 25 talent) per unit it hits in its 1400 travel distance (2400 with level 20 talent). Enemies hit by the path of ink are also slowed by up to 80% for 1.75 seconds.
  • Phantom’s Embrace – Grimstroke calls forth a phantom that latches on to a target. Once latched, it damages the target for up to 40 per second (105 with level 10 talent) and silences it for 5 seconds. After the duration, it deals a rend damage of up to 360 and refreshes the ability’s cooldown upon return. If it is destroyed with up to 3 Hero attacks or 9 creep attacks (4 or 12 with level 20 talent) during its duration, it will not deal the rend damage or refresh its cooldown. 
  • Ink Swell – Grim binds an ally with corrupt magic, increasing its movement speed by up to 20% (36 with level 15 talent) for 5 seconds. During this time, enemies in a 375 radius (525 with level 25 talent) are hit with tendrils, dealing up to 70 damage per second. After 3 seconds, they are also damaged by up to 360 and stunned for up to 2.8 seconds. During the duration, a sub-ability can be cast to detonate the Ink Swell for an AoE explosion. This ability can be upgraded by Aghanim’s Shard.

    • Aghanim’s Shard Upgrade – Ink Swell does 40% more damage (up to 98 per second and 504 upon expiration) and heals the target for the same amount. After its duration, it also gives the target a strong dispel.  
  • Soulbind – Grimstroke connects a targeted enemy Hero with its nearest ally, latching them together in a 600-distance bind for up to 8 seconds. All targeted abilities cast upon the two Heroes will also reflect upon the other. If the bind is broken before expiration, it will latch on to its next nearest target within the radius. A new ability can be unlocked when upgraded by Aghanim’s Scepter. 
    • Dark Portrait (Aghanim’s Scepter Upgrade) – Grim can create an ink illusion of a targeted enemy Hero for 25 seconds. This illusion takes 350% and deals 150% amplified damage, and has spell immunity, 30% bonus movement speed and 95% magic resistance. 


  • Level 10 – -5s Ink Swell Cooldown or +65 Phantom’s Embrace DPS
  • Level 15 – +16% Ink Swell Movement Speed or +25% Soulbind Spell Damage
  • Level 20 – +3 Hits to Kill Phantom or +1000 Stroke of Fate Cast Range
  • Level 25 – +60% Stroke of Fate Damage or +150 Ink Swell Radius

Dota 2 Grimstroke Guide – Tips  

Grimstroke and his plethora of devastating nuking spells and dispels make him a powerful spell caster. With his Stroke of Fate, he can quickly clear creepwaves, and harass or finish off enemy Heroes from a long distance. His Phantom’s Embrace is perfect for giving vision over a target, silencing it and forcing it to attend to the phantom and ignore Grim. His Ink Swell can be perfect for chasing down or fleeing from enemy Heroes, thanks to its Area of Effect (AoE) stun. Finally, Soulbind creates many deadly combos, especially with allies with powerful single-target abilities. 

Grimstroke is played as a lane support, capable of saving his lane partner and harassing the opposition with his vast array of abilities. With carries who have high movement speed, he can easily slow and stun enemy Heroes to secure some lane kills. He does not need much gold but experience, so pulling and stacking camps is a good way for him to get it. 

Farming is not too crucial for Grim, as most of his dependency is on his levels. As long as you find empty lanes to catch up on XP or share the experience when clearing stacks, you are fine. Picking up items to help your Mana pool or give you ways to disengage focus from you are enough to keep you impactful all the way to mid-game. Your job is to stay alive in teamfights and get your Soulbind off to help your allies amplify their abilities to devastating effect. 

Dota 2 Grimstroke – Pros and Cons

Here are some of Grim's strengths and weaknesses you need to look out for and remember when playing this powerful and corrupted spell caster.  


  • Long cast range
  • Many slows and disables
  • Doubles powerful single-target spells
  • High-damage AoE spells
  • Spells are spammable
  • Naturally impactful even in late-game


  • Very squishy
  • Mana dependent
  • Vulnerable to disables and silences
  • Needs proper team coordination
  • Difficult to master
  • Abilities need good aim and proper timing. 

How to play Grimstroke 

Let this short guide show you the way of the corrupt Ascendent as you manipulate the grim shadow ink with masterful strokes of the brush. 

Starting Items

Head to your lane with a Tango and Healing Salve for HP regen, and an Enchanted Mango and Clarity to help you spam your abilities. 

Getting a few Iron Branches will give you some cheap attributes to help your HP, Mana pool and damage. If you are against spell-spamming opponents, picking up a Magic Stick will also help. 

Early Game

Focus your early-game on securing farm for your lane core, and stacking and pulling camps whenever possible. Use your powerful nukes to harass the enemy and your disables to help your core survive if dived upon. With proper positioning, you should have no difficulty winning the lane. 

You don’t need much farm, so staying alive will help you get some more regen, a Magic Wand and Boots of Speed, which are more than enough for you to be impactful up to mid-game. 

Mid Game

Being a powerful spell caster, you will start to make a difference in this game phase. Try to clear stacks with your allied cores and catch up on XP by leveling up on empty lanes. Nevertheless, take advantage of teamfights and always keep Scroll of Teleportations in hand for quick rotations. Use your Soulbind by combining your and your allies’ abilities effectively and wreak devastating damage in teamfights. 

By mid-game, all you will need is an Arcane Boot to help you and your team’s Mana and a utility item that will help you disengage or disjoint any focused attacks on you. Glimmer Cape grants invisibility and magic resistance, and Force Staff helps you with mobility, and are both great items for you. 

Late Game 

As you head into late-game your abilities and talents will help you stay relevant with powerful disables and nukes. Your presence in teamfights is vital, so stay alive and deal damage from behind your frontlines. If you are getting focused down, you can get an Aether Lens for range, or an Aeon Disk for survivability and dispel. 

If you want to take your spell casting to the next level, getting an Aghanim’s Scepter or Orchid Malevolence will help you be more of a nuisance to enemy cores. Getting a Ghost Scepter and upgrading it to Ethereal Blade will help your Soulbind and blast 2 opponents simultaneously. The same thing works for Scythe of Vyse and Dagon, which will let you also disable and nuke two targets. 

Dota 2 Grimstroke Counters

Here are some Heroes that always seem to have an upper hand against Grimstroke and his corrupted powers. 

  • Puck – Its Phase Shift allows it to disjoint Phantom Embrace and can also waste half of Soulbind’s duration. Its natural high mobility helps it easily blink in, silence and burst Grim. 
  • Sniper – His immense attack range makes it difficult for Grimstroke to cast any spells on him. Furthermore, he can also shoot off Phantom Embraces even before they reach him. 
  • Anti-Mage – He can disjoint Phantom Embrace with Manta Style and Blink out of the Soulbind leash. His ability to Mana Break also reduces Grimstrokes Mana significantly, allowing Anti-Mage to follow up with a devastating Mana Void. 
  • Shadow Demon – His Disruption can easily take a teamfight out of battle, removing Phantom Embrace, and helping disjoint shared abilities and reducing the duration of Soulbind. His Demonic Purge also dispels Ink Swell. 


We regularly upload guides for your favorite Heroes, so watch for more to come.  

Dota 2 Grimstroke Guide
The Old One
When he's not sighing at sub-standard teammates in Dota 2 and CS2, The Old One is writing about those two games (among other things). If you see his name around the site too many times for your liking, well, the guy just never stops writing. Yes, we've tried an intervention.