Dota 2: Shadow Fiend Guide — How To Dominate Your Games

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Dota 2: Shadow Fiend Guide — How To Dominate Your Games

Our latest Dota 2 hero guide tells you what you need to know to dominate your next game as Shadow Fiend.

Although the current patch for The International 11 has been around for some time now, people are still learning new things about it on a daily basis. We expect Valve to release a new patch in the upcoming weeks because the new DPC should begin soon. Until then, those who want to get to their desired MMR must play on the current patch and use some top heroes.

Speaking of the devil, this Dota 2 Shadow Fiend guide will show you why this is among the most dominant midders in the game right now. If you look at the TI 11 stats, you can see that SF became one of the most picked mid-laners. Although his win rate was not that impressive, the hero proved to himself that he could work in many situations.

Aside from dominating the mid-lane, Shadow Fiend also became a situational carry pick. His fast-farming speed and late-game power make him a reliable position 1, but only in some setups. That said, let’s learn more about him and everything you can expect from the given hero.

How to play during the laning stage?

One of the key things you have to learn after reading this Shadow Fiend Dota 2 guide is how to play during the landing stage. We won’t go into details regarding the hero’s abilities because most people reading this are aware of this information.

One of the key things to keep in mind about Shadow Fiend is that he can lane well against most heroes. In fact, some people think that he is among the best midders in the game and can defeat everyone, but this is not really the case. Sure, a good Shadow Fiend player can lane against anything, but there are certain heroes that kill him in no time.

Your main goal as a Shadow Fiend player early on is to secure the priceless last hits that will give you enough damage. In fact, we think that the first two creep waves will most likely indicate how you’ll laning stage will go. If you manage to get enough last hits that will give you damage, you can easily dominate your opponent and get tons of farms in no time. However, failing to secure those last hits will have a terrible impact on you, which explains why the enemies will do everything they can to stop you.

Necromastery vs Razes early on

Since your goal is to secure the first couple of last hits, almost everyone will decide to level up Necromastery before going for the razes. While it is true that this is usually the way to go, in some cases, getting your Shadowrazes earlier is the better option. 

Despite the fact that you won’t get the damage bonuses, having your Shadowrazes will allow you to get several priceless last hits. They might be enough to get a Bottle, which you will need when laning against certain enemies. As mentioned, SF can do well against pretty much anything, but some heroes can make his life a living hell.

Farm, farm, farm

Assuming you’ve done everything and secured enough last hits early on, your goal until the laning stage is over is to farm. Besides last-hitting, you should use your razes to push the wave and farm the nearby camps. The latter is essential because it will greatly affect your farming speed.

Some people who play PUBs decide to use their damage output and gank the other lanes. This is usually not a good idea because you will lose a lot of farm while doing it. However, there are cases where you can easily get a kill or two, especially if you have double damage or Haste. So, make sure you keep an eye on the runes.

The mid-game

Most people who read this Shadow Fiend Dota 2 guide will learn what to do in the laning stage and come off it with a lot of farm. In fact, SF is usually the “fattest” hero at this stage of the game, so it is time to focus on the next chapter.

The decisions you make as Shadow Fiend in the mid-game are crucial and will have a big impact only your team’s success. The main thing to consider is the item build you will go for. Generally speaking, there are three options to pick from – physical damage, spellcaster, and pusher.

People who choose the Physical damage option, which is the hottest one right now, have to get items that allow them to do more right-click damage. This includes things like Shadow Blade, Desolator, Butterfly, MKB, etc.

Spellcaster Shadow Fiend players often go for Euls, followed by Blink, BKB, Aghs, Octarine, and stuff like that. Of course, they also choose the specific talents that allow them to do more damage with their Shadowrazes. The magical damage build was very popular several years ago, but not many people use it today.

Lastly, we have the “pusher” item build that focuses on team-based items, such as Mek, Necros, and so on. There was a meta where Shadow Fiend players used those things a lot, but this is no longer the case. Nowadays, SF is definitely a right-click monster.


Shadow Fiend’s role in the late-game depends on a couple of factors, such as whether he is the team’s carry and his item build. Unlike most mid-laners that don’t scale that well, SF is actually really good in the late game and can deal insane amounts of damage with his right clicks. However, he is not as strong as the definitive late-game monsters, such as Medusa, Spectre, etc. That’s one of the reasons why people who pick this hero as a carry focus on ensign the game as soon as possible.


As mentioned, SF is a hero that allows you to get all kinds of items, regardless of your role or position. That said, you always need to have  Black King Bar because this is the item that allows you to survive for at least a couple of seconds during fights. Although Shadow Fiend does insane amounts of damage, he is among the most fragile heroes in Dota 2, which explains why he is always the preferred target.

If you pick SF while playing pubs, you can get a lot of cool items that will allow you to do damage. Shadow Blade is the most common option because it gives you survivability and damage. However, it can be countered with a lot of things, so keep that in mind.

Shadow Fiend can also do wonders with Butterfly, Monkey King Bar, Daedalus, and so on.

Tips – Always have vision during the laning stage

Shadow Fiend does a lot of damage, and he is a scary opponent, but the hero has nothing to help him survive. Hence, he is often the preferred target for ganks from heroes like Pudge, SB, BH, Riki, and so on.

Since you will be the go-to target for most players, you should have vision and keep an eye on the minimap all the time. Once you see that a given hero is not present, you have to play more defensively. Unsurprisingly, the enemies will have no problem killing you if you are out of position.

Tip – Never give up!

This is an important tip you should follow, but when it comes to Shadow Fiend, it is a must. Unlike some heroes that farm really slowly, Shadow Fiend is among the fastest farmers in the game. As a result, he is among the few mid-laners who can come back from all sorts of situations.

The fact that you’ve died a couple of times might upset you, but you have to remember that you can always bounce back. Spam your razes, and you can secure enough gold to get the item you need.

Tip – Know your limits

Shadow Fiend’s damage output gives people the confidence to take a lot of fights. Although they will win most of them, Shadow Fiend is not invisible, so you need to know your limits. 

Always remember that stacking two razes on your target will allow you to land an easy kill. If you decide you want to be aggressive, start by landing your closes Razes, followed by your medium ones. This will bring any hero to half HP early on, meaning that you can kill him after that.

Of course, there are some heroes that you can’t do well against, such as Templar Assassin and Batrider. They are among the worst things you can go up against, but heroes like Viper and Kunkka are also hard to deal with.

Dota 2: Shadow Fiend Guide — How To Dominate Your Games
Zlosterr has been a fan of esports for many years and mainly focuses on Dota 2. He has more than five years of experience writing Dota 2 content for numerous platforms. Besides being a passionate fan of the game, he's also played for various amateur teams.