Nevermore Guide – the Shadow Fiend Build & Strategy

Nevermore Guide & Build, the Shadow Fiend Strategy. Nevermore is a great AoE carry who collect souls to increase his attack damage and maximize his ultimate: Requiem of Souls. This post contains Nevermore the Shadow Fiend guide, item build, skill build and strategy.

A demon of the burning legion so abhorred that he makes the skin of even his fellow demons crawl, Nevermore is a creature of the shadows that consumes the souls of those around him. When the Shadow Fiend comes forth to battle, he augments his power with the souls he has consumed, bearing down on his enemies with spiritually enhanced attacks and powerful spiritual blasts. The Shadow Fiend is a terrifying opponent whom few have survived, and those who have perished under his tyranny have faced the most despicable fate of all.

Strength – 15 + 2
Agility – 20 + 2.4 (Primary)
Intelligence– 18 + 2

Base damage 35-41
Attack range of 500
Base Armor 1.9
Movement speed of 300

Shadow Fiend Skill Descriptions

Shadow Raze (Z,X,C)

Gives the Shadow Fiend the power to desecrate regions in front of him at varying distances.

Level 1 – deals 75 damage
Level 2 – deals 150 damage
Level 3 – deals 225 damage
Level 4 – deals 300 damage

Mana Cost: 75
Cooldown: 10
Distances: 200(Z) / 450(X) / 700(C)

Shadowraze costs very little mana compared to the amount of damage it does. The Cooldown on each Shadowraze are separate which means Nevermore actually has three nukes on his back. This means he can deal a maximum of 900 damage (675 if magic resistance is considered) to a single target in a very short amount of time which makes Nevermore very dangerous indeed especially in the early game, when very few heroes have more than 900 hp.


Whenever the Shadow Fiend kills a target, he stores the unfortunate soul inside of him. For each stored soul he gains 2 bonus damage until his own death releases half of them from bondage.

Level 1 – 16 damage limit
Level 2 – 30 damage limit
Level 3 – 46 damage limit
Level 4 – 60 damage limit

Another one of Nevermore’s abilities that enables him to become a potent force in the middle game, Necromastery is directly linked to his Ultimate, Requiem of Souls and gives his massive DPS (damage-per-second, or just ‘damage’) advantage over other heroes in the middle game.

Unfortunately, Necromastery loses a lot of its effectiveness towards the late-game, as DPS-carries are mostly farmed up and the extra 60 damage become rather minuscule. It is very important, as a Nevermore user, to maintain that ‘edge’ through the middle game as Nevermore tends to be most effective during the early-middle to the middle-late game.

Presence of the Dark Lord

The presence of such a horrible creature terrifies nearby enemies, reducing their armor.

Level 1 – 2 armor reduction
Level 2 – 3 armor reduction
Level 3 – 4 armor reduction
Level 4 – 5 armor reduction

Presence of the Dark Lord is best combined with Stygian Desolator as the armor-reduction becomes very effective against many spellcasters. In an armor-reduction team strategy (e.g. Nevermore with Vengeful Spirit, Slardar and Templar Assassin), Presence of the Dark Lord should definitely be skilled. Otherwise, stick with Stats, especially when the game is not going your way. Think about it this way: -5 armor, or a free Ultimate Orb? (Well, almost an Ultimate Orb anyway).

Requiem of Souls (R)

Summons evil spirits around you dealing damage to units in the area. Number of spirits is related to the number of souls stored and the movement/damage reduction is related to the distance from the Shadow Fiend. Lowers movement speed and damage of nearby units. The closer the units are the greater the effect.

Level 1 – 80 damage for each line, 15% reduction
Level 2 – 120 damage for each line, 15% reduction
Level 3 – 160 damage for each line, 15% reduction

Cooldown: 120/110/100
Mana Cost: 150/175/200

This skill can be used to initiate team battle. The closer Nevermore is to the target whilst he casts Requiem of Souls, the greater damage he unleashes upon that target. If correctly used, Requiem of Souls will create devastating damage in a team fight, especially when combined with items such as Kelen’s Dagger or Lothar Edge.

Shadow Fiend Skill Build

Level 1: Necromastery
Level 2: Shadow Raze
Level 3: Shadow Raze
Level 4: Necromastery
Level 5: Shadow Raze
Level 6: Necromastery
Level 7: Shadow Raze
Level 8: Necromastery
Level 9: Requiem of Souls
Level 10: Stats
Level 11: Requiem of Souls
Levels 12-15: Presence of the Dark Lord/Stats
Level 16: Requiem of Souls
Levels 17-21: Stats
Levels 22-25: Stats/Presence of the Dark Lord

In any case, Shadowraze being Nevermore’s main nuke should be maxed out by Level 7 as it is his main farming and ganking skill. Requiem of Souls should not be skilled until Necromastery is maxed out first.
Max out Presence of the Dark Lord earlier than stats when:
1. Your team is playing aggressively and is winning in terms of towers/hero kills.
2. You’ve decided to buy Stygian Desolator for your first DPS item (BKB does not really count) and the -5 armour can really help.
3. You’re playing a clan war and your team mates all have minus-armour abilities (Slardar’s Amplify Damage, for example) and your -5 armour aura can really turn the tide of the battle.
Otherwise, ignore that skill.

Shadow Fiend Item Build

1. 3x Ironwood Branch, 2 set of Tangos, Animal Courier
2. Boots of Speed, Finish Magic Wand
3. Optional: Empty Bottle
4. 2x Wraith Band
5. Finish Boots of Travel
6. Kelen’s Dagger
7. Black King Bar

Nevermore’s core item should be like this:

The Bottle is important for some quick heals and grabbing the rune. Boots of Speed need no real explanation.
Since Nevermore will be doing a lot of ganking, a Magic Wand can help him pull off some ridiculously awesome escapes, or give him that little bit of Mana for that one last raze. A Magic Wand is a MUST for Nevermore.

Always keep a TP scroll at all times, so he can either help you Allies defend a tower, or farm in an empty lane (the latter part is exceptionally important for Nevermore as he needs a lot of farm before he becomes effective in the Middle Game). Wraith Bands help him get last hits and gives him a lot more damage.

Boots of Travel gives him plenty of speed and much more farm, Black King Bar gives him magic invulnerability for a certain period of time and Kelen’s Dagger can be used as an escape mechanism, or used offensively as a blink to land your Ultimate right in the center of a team battle.

Shadow Fiend Luxury Items

+ or

Manta Style is a good item that increases your DPS by more than 2-fold. In most cases it’s going to be your first DPS item. You gain plenty of Stats, extra movement speed (on top of your Boots of Travel or Power Treads) and on top of that, a temporary-invulnerability activation that allows you to dodge most targeted spells in DotA. Your images do huge amounts of extra damage and the extra damage multiplies when you get other DPS items. The only downside is that your images don’t benefit from the +60 damage from Necromastery, however.

The butterfly is a must for any Agility-carry hero. Lifesteal is something that every DPS-carry will eventually need.

A set of Stygian Desolator and Assault Cuirass is a good combo when you’re playing against a lot of vulnerable spellcasters, or if you team is based around an anti-armour theme (such as Nevermore + Slarder + Lanaya Combo). Just make sure that you have BKB so that they don’t nuke you to death before you can even get your hands on them.

Shadow Fiend Strategy

Picking this hero is suitable when your team needs an AoE Carry. Nevermore is incredibly versatile as a hero. Not only is he an excellent ganker, but he also excels as a pusher, has lots of AoE and DPS and can step up as a Carry should the need arise. He’s also incredibly fun to play, which means Nevermore is one of the most often seen heroes in DotA videos and various montages. Unfortunately, Nevermore is not a DPS hero, unlike what most people think of Nevermore. He is an AoE carry, his advantage over other carry heroes (such as Phantom Assassin) being his insane farming speed and the +60 damage thanks to Necromastery.

You need to be supported by:
– Heroes with big AoE Ultimates, such as Leviathan, Raigor, Rooftrellen, Rexxar andMagnus. They can help you landing ultimate perfectly.
– Heroes with mass-disables or Abilities such as Puck, Rylai, Ogre Magi, Rhasta, Lion, Dark Seer and Purist. They can help you land that Ultimate or a couple of razes, so have them on your team never hurts. Ogre’s Bloodlust helps, too. Dark Seer’s Vacuum works wonders with Requiem of Souls. Purist’s Repel gives you a free BKB and his Ultimate is a team-saver.
– Heroes having anti-armour such as Slardar, Dazzle and Vengeful Spirit. They are Great anti-armour synergy. Works incredibly well in a team, especially with Stygian Desolator and Assault Cuirass.

Beware of his counter:
– Heroes with some sort of ability that can go through your BKB such as Treant, Rexxar, Atropos, Vengeful Spirit and Pudge. Be very careful in team battles when you see those guys around. With Treant Protector, however, you can actually wait till he casts his Ultimate, and if you then activate your BKB, you will no longer be disabled. Make sure you get the order right! Wait for Treant’s Ultimate, then BKB! (Manta Style works too)
– Insanely fast pushers who can easily push back that massive creep wave you’ve just created/sent, such as Furion, Morphling, Pit Lord, Akasha and Tinker. Tinker is particularly annoying as he can push all three lanes at the same time and his Rearm can be very annoying when he starts perma-hexing you. Try ganking Tinker as often as possible and farm that BKB ASAP.

Before you play in the real game you should practice first for using Shadowraze skill. To some extent, mastering Shadowraze is essentially mastering Nevermore. Practice makes perfect. Pay attention to two thing when you try to mastering Shadowraze:
– Nevermore direction. Don’t let nevermore look towards wrong direction from the target.
– Target distance from Nevermore position. Use ‘Z’ when near, ‘X’ when average, ‘C’ when far.

In early minutes, you should put him in the solo lane. Nevermore’s ability to solo lay not in his starting damage, but in his excellent missile speed, his attack range and his Base Attack Time, not to mention his ability Necromastery that gives him a tremendous boost in damage in the early-middle game. Conserve your mana, farm as good as possible and keep survive. Cast Shadowraze when possible both to harass your enemy and to farm fluently.

In the mid game, you should combine gank with farm (around 25 % gank with 75 % farm) and try farm your vital items before the 30th minute mark so that you have the necessary means to unleash your fury in team battles. Once again, one must remember Nevermore is all about his AoE damage, not his DPS. It is important to never over-farm with Nevermore. He can’t beat Phantom Assassin. He can’t beat Drow Ranger. In fact, he can’t even beat Sven. But dealing raw damage isn’t what Nevermore is BEST at. Nevermore can deal a huge amount of AoE damage and that’s what makes or breaks those mid-game team battles. Make sure you get those razes right, get your Ulti out in time, and farm that BKB ASAP.

In team battles, Nevermore is a poor initiator but is a brilliant hero for dealing huge amounts of AoE damage and mopping up the battlefield, so to speak. Check if there are heroes on the other side who have Ultimates that can go through BKB (such as Beastmaster’s Primal Roar, Doom Bringer’s Doom). Wait till those Ultimates have already been used, and/or they are already stunned, before landing your ultimate.

Before take your role in team battles, you should ensure that you have collected 30 souls so your ultimate can be powerful. Here are some steps when you will entering team battle to take your role:
1. Make sure you have a cool head, because the next few seconds can decide the fate of your team.
2. Walk up to the battle, preferably at the maximum distance of your blink (which is around 1150) which corresponds to around two-thirds the length of your screen.
3. Activate BKB FIRST. This means that you’re invulnerable to magic BEFORE you blink in, because you won’t want to get stunned and get totally trashed once you’re in there.
4. Blink in, then quickly press ‘R’ to active Requiem of Souls.
5. Use your Shadowrazes to mop up any resistance, snuck in some normal attacks if possible.

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