Master Dota 2's Night Stalker with our comprehensive guide, covering abilities, gameplay strategies, itemization, strengths, weaknesses, and more
Night Stalker, the fearsome nocturnal predator, is a Hero who can turn the game on its head when the night falls. His ability to control the map, gank opponents, and become a potent force during the nighttime makes him a unique and deadly warrior.
Night Stalker (NS) is a Strength Melee Hero with a solid starting HP of 620 and a reasonable Mana pool of 255. He has a starting movement speed of 295 and deals 63-67 damage per hit. The nocturnal predator begins with a high armor of 5, offering decent protection. These traits, paired with his unique abilities to silence enemies, slow opponents, and control night and day, make him a terror on the battlefield.
NS is mainly played as a core because of his formidable night abilities and map control. He excels at ganking enemies and controlling the pace of the game. Our comprehensive guide will help you master this shadowy warrior.
Night Stalker has unique abilities that empower him to seize the battlefield and terrorize his enemies.
- Void – Night Stalker launches a damaging void at a targeted enemy unit, dealing significant damage and slowing their movement speed. The slow duration is doubled at night. At level 1, Void deals 80 damage, and at max level, it deals 320 damage. Void also slows the target by 50%, lasting for 1.3 seconds during the day and 4 seconds during the night.
- Aghanim’s Scepter Upgrade – Void is now an area-of-effect ability. Increases the duration of the mini-stun and leaves a void zone behind. All of NS’s skills gain the nighttime effect while in the zone.
- Crippling Fear – Night Stalker frightens all nearby enemies, causing them to become silenced while near him. At night time, the effect lasts longer. Crippling Fear lasts for 3 seconds during the day and 4.5-6 seconds at night.
- Hunter in the Night – Passively boosts Night Stalker's attack speed and movement speed during the night. At max level, it provides a 40% movement speed bonus and 80 bonus attack speed.
- Aghanim’s Shard Upgrade – Hunter in the Night can be used to instantly kill a creep while also replenishing some of NS’s maximum Health and Mana. It is not possible to target ancients during the day.
- Dark Ascension (Ultimate) – Night Stalker ascends to the skies, becoming a flying unit with unobstructed vision and bonus damage. This skill also sets the time to night for its duration. At max level, Dark Ascension provides 150 bonus damage and lasts for 30 seconds. It has a cooldown of 140 seconds at level 1 which decreases to 130 seconds at max level.
- Level 10 – +8s Dark Ascension Duration or +50 Void Damage
- Level 15 – +15% Hunter In The Night Status Resistance or -5s Crippling Fear Cooldown
- Level 20 – +20 Strength or -5s Crippling Fear Cooldown
- Level 25 – -50s Dark Ascension Cooldown or +100 Hunter In The Night Attack Speed
Dota 2 Night Stalker Guide – Tips
Night Stalker is not a very hard Hero to play. Use Void to harass enemies, secure last hits, and slow opponents during ganks. Hunter in the Night offers a significant boost to your combat potential, especially during the nighttime. Remember to use Crippling Fear not only in fights but also to disable key opponents during ganks. Use Dark Ascension before a fight starts to gank an enemy or to escape. Your strengths lie in your map control and combat prowess during the night.
NS can be played in the offlane or as a carry. Use Void and your impressive base damage to secure last hits and harass your lane opponent. Join fights when Dark Ascension is off cooldown or else farm in the jungle.
NS is more level-dependent than farm-dependent, but still needs certain key items to truly shine. Starting with items like Quelling Blade, Tangoes, and Healing Salve will help you survive the early laning phase. Then, focus on items like Phase Boots, Urn of Shadows, and Spirit Vessel. In the late-game, buy damage-based items that boost his HP, like Assault Cuirass, Nullifier and Abyssal Blade.
Dota 2 Night Stalker – Pros and Cons
Every Hero has strengths and weaknesses, and Night Stalker is no exception.
- Excellent map control during the night
- Powerful ganking potential
- Can significantly reduce enemy vision
- Durable and disruptive in teamfights
- Relatively weak during the day
- Needs to maintain level advantage
- Reliant on proper timing and skill usage
How to Play Night Stalker
Let's look closer into the early, mid, and late-game strategies for this nocturnal predator.
For starting items, it’s crucial to focus on sustain and last-hitting ability. Your starting item choices should include Tangoes and Healing Salve for HP sustain and Quelling Blade to secure last hits. Mangoes are a must-buy for Mana sustain, as your spells, especially Void, are quite Mana intensive. A Faerie Fire can give you a sudden burst of Health during close encounters, which might result in a kill or survive scenario.
Night Stalker's early game priority is survival and experience gain. Maximize your use of Void for securing last hits and harassing your enemy laner. Its significant damage output and slow effect can force opponents to play defensively. During the first night cycle, usually around the 5-minute mark, your Hunter in the Night is ideally at level 2 or 3, providing you a massive spike in movement and attack speed. Consider rotating to other lanes to apply pressure and secure kills. At level 6, unlock Dark Ascension.
In terms of items, start with Phase Boots. The bonus damage aids in last-hitting and harassing, while the active ability provides much-needed mobility for chasing down enemies or escaping. Urn of Shadows is an excellent second item, providing extra Health, Mana regeneration, and a damage-over-time effect that is incredibly useful during ganks. Ring of Basilius can also be a viable option for extra Mana regeneration and armor.
Your Dark Ascension should be used strategically, preferably at the start of the night to maximize your night phase. The flying movement and unrestricted vision it provides make you a formidable hunter. Use this opportunity to hunt enemy Heroes, secure objectives, and establish map control. Remember, the element of surprise is your greatest ally; use the decreased vision of your enemies to your advantage.
By the mid-game, you should have Phase Boots, Urn of Shadows, and be working towards a Spirit Vessel, which upgrades from Urn and amplifies its strengths. You can also look to buy an Echo Sabre as a damage item and a Blink Dagger for better initiation. Black King Bar is a must for NS to hunt down enemies without getting disabled.
During the late-game, your role transitions to an initiator and vision controller. Remember to keep lanes pushed out and secure good vision for your team to make the most of your nighttime prowess. Remember, your effectiveness during this phase heavily relies on your team's coordination. Utilize your superior night vision to provide valuable information to your team, set up ganks, and control the map.
Consider building an Abyssal Blade at this phase. The bonus damage, Health, and the Overwhelm active ability can help you lock down and quickly eliminate key enemy Heroes in fights. Heaven’s Halberd is a good buy if the enemy has a high physical damage dealer. Nullifier is another key item for NS. Eye of Skadi can also be a great option, providing substantial stats and reducing enemy healing. Upgrade Blink Dagger to Overwhelming or Swift Blink. Finally, buy a Refresher Orb to be fully 6-slotted.
Dota 2 Night Stalker Counter
Several Heroes can pose a significant threat to Night Stalker. Let’s look at some of his best counters.
- Keeper of the Light – One of Night Stalker's most challenging counters, Keeper of the Light, thrives during the daytime – the exact opposite of NS. His ultimate, Spirit Form, can be activated to instantly turn it into day for a certain duration, crippling the Predator’s potency. Keeper of the Light's Will-O-Wisp can also be a menace in team fights for NS.
- Slardar – Slardar's ultimate, Corrosive Haze, is a problem for NS. The Haze gives true sight over the target, negating the reduced vision he imposes on his enemies during the night. Additionally, Slardar's Slithereen Crush provides a reliable stun, allowing his team to chain their disables and take down NS before he can cause too much chaos.
- Faceless Void – Faceless Void's Chronosphere can hold NS in place during fights, preventing him from causing chaos with his high mobility. Additionally, Void's Time Dilation can be a nuisance, slowing Night Stalker's movement and attack speed while increasing his cooldowns, reducing his overall effectiveness in fights.
- Bane – Bane can be a serious problem for NS due to his powerful lockdown and control abilities. His Nightmare can put NS to sleep, preventing him from moving or attacking, essentially rendering him useless for a few seconds. Bane's ultimate Fiend's Grip is also a massive threat to Night Stalker.
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