Understanding Shadow Demon
Mon 12th Aug 2013 - 4:48pm
Shadow demon has one thing to his abilities that a lot of other supports lack: when playing a support hero, usually you will notice that you are fairly powerful in the early game but then begin to scale off as the game progresses. Shadow Demon is a unique support in that most of his abilities scale exceptionally well.
Does this mean that his abilities are useless until he gets levels into them?
No not at all, surprisingly Shadow Demon will actually not even need that many levels, his abilities are just so well balanced that he always has a presence on the map.
Disruption: Shadow Demons first ability is Disruption, a 2.5 second “banish” in which I mean the banished hero is completely taken out of the game for that 2.5 second duration and when they return Shadow Demon now has two illusions of the Disrupted hero. The illusions deal 30%/40%/50%/60% damage and will always take 150% damage at all levels. The duration of the illusions also scale upwards from 5 seconds at level one to 8 seconds at level four.
So why is this ability so good?
Well starting with the basic reasons, its a phenomenal set up to make sure that your teammates skillshots will be able to hit. The reason I say phenomenal is because I really do find it superior to many other setup abilities in the game. Other set ups such as “Sleep” by Bane or “Storm Hammer” by Sven can either be taken off by a just by right clicking you or by some sort of debuffing such as Abadons “Aphotic Shield” or Slarks “Dark Pact”.
When a target is Disrupted, there is no getting out of it and so your follow up should be able to hit most of the time if they have the timing right. The exception being if the opposing team somehow disturbs the heroes that are supposed to be doing the follow up, but this could happen in any scenario just about.
So besides Disrupt being the superior set up, what else does it have to offer?
Well like I mentioned before Disrupt scales amazingly! The reason for this being that Disrupt creates illusions that become more powerful as the disrupted hero gains stats/gets items/levels up his passive abilities. It’s like using their exp and gold against them, its quite genius really.
So imagine you're in a game where the enemy Anti-Mage is farming up his items, I’m sure to the pub players out there they can all say that they’ve been in this situation. So this big bad Anti-Mage is really beginning to look scary to your team. The good news is that when a teamfight comes around if you disrupt the Anti-Mage you will have two Anti-mages of your own that deal 60% of his damage and mana burn! This scaling can really change things around late game. Keep in mind Disrupt does give its illusions most passive abilities, some item passives, and most auras.
Its important to note that Disrupt can also be used on allies, so in certain situations disrupting your allies could actually prove to be extremely clutch as it gives your team time to recuperate and help the disrupted target.
Soul Catcher: Shadow Demons next ability is “Soul Catcher” another ability that can be useful regardless of if it’s early game, mid game, or late game. Soul Catcher doesn’t deal damage in itself, but it amplifies any damage taken by the infected target by 20%/30%/40%/50%. This damage is pure and can not be reduced in any way. This means that you are able to burst down the infected hero much quicker in a 12 second period. Use this on squishy heroes during the laning phase of the game and follow it up with a stun and some damage like Lina or Kunkka to pretty much guarantee early kills or use it on the enemy carry late in the game to give your carry the edge against theirs! This spell really is just an amazing asset to have.
Shadow Poison: The next spell is arguably one that does not scale as well as the others, but is still a killer spell nonetheless. Shadow Poison is a spammable nuke that hits for an initial damage but also puts a Shadow Poison stack on the infected heroes that will deal more damage after a certain period of time when the stacks pop. It sounds kind of complicated but honestly once you use the spell a few times you figure it out pretty quick.
I think the two best ways to use this spell is to do early game damage or to stop pushes, it could also be decent damage mid game but come late game most heroes will really not be caring that you’re throwing Shadow Poison nukes at them. Best thing you can do with this spell is make sure you’re using it as much as you can in mid game team fights, since you are the support hero you will be targeted as the one they want to just pick off so most of the time you can throw off maybe 2-3 shadow poisons.
Demonic Purge: The last of Shadow Demon’s abilities is “Demonic Purge”. Just like Shadow Demon himself, Demonic Purge is very versatile. Just like the ability says, Demonic Purge purges a target enemy hero or creep. The definition of “purging” is slowing down an enemy unit and gradually giving them movement speed back throughout the duration of the purge. The reason this scales so well is because purge goes through magic immunity! So in the late game when your enemy has a carry with magic immunity, you are still able to purge them so that they are slowed for a duration. On top of this Purge also instantly kills illusions or summoned units such as Warlocks Golems.
Playing Shadow Demon as a support its important to understand that at the beginning stage of the game you are the playmaker. Usually Shadow Demon’s are the ones who are initiating early battles with disruption so its important to get an understanding of when to go in and when not to. Roaming with a fellow support to create space is also very important. Roaming is when players run around the map and help out the other lanes, it could also be called ganking. If done correctly, Ganks can help you win your lanes for your teammates.
Setting up early smoke ganks on mid with a lina/mirana/leshrac could be game changing! Best thing to do for the players out there that want to learn to play a good Shadow Demon would be to practice roaming in games with a friend.
Also important to note that when you are playing against heroes that have great single target initiation spells such as Batrider or Beastmaster, it’s very vital to sit in the back come mid-late game and disrupt the person that the opposing team initiations on. Disrupting your carry after he has been Lassoed and the other team are heading his way to try to kill him can be huge! Also make sure to not waste Purge. Purge is very important and should usually not be used on supports or trying to get the last hit on kills. Make sure you use Purge on high priority targets such as Warlock Golem or Lifestealer if he’s chasing down someone. It could really change a lot.
Aside from what I wrote above, good Shadow Demon players need to know how to pull properly, this is a very basic mechanic of the game and if you are not yet confident in your pulling ability you should look up guides on how to pull and go practice it in games as it is essential to becoming a good Shadow Demon or support in general!
I hope these tips will help you get a firmer understanding on how to play a good Shadow Demon!