Night Hound
By: [NjP]Lujo

Scurrilous rumors of unnatural parentage have haunted this proud,
leonine warrior his entire life.He long served in the Beast Horde
as a shadowy scout and assassin before taking on a comparable role
in the new Legion. Wherever he came from, Night Hound is a welcome
ally and a deadly foe.



So, Night Hound, with Scout taken for granted to be a superior choice is almost always badly misunderstood.

As opposed to the Scout, I find Night Hound to be viable outside low-mid skilled pubs, and generally beat teams with Scout and Pestilence with him. I also habitually use him to good results both against and as a part of the blink/AoE teams, and consider him one of the key overlooked components of the HoN metagame.

This guide is novel length (50 pages in Word, I'm starting to think I'm insane myself) and it might take somebody an hour to read it all, but if you need convincing and recommendation, scroll bellow and read the posts from the people who have read it already.

A quality guide for NH MUST be long and detailed for the following reasons: his skills have numerous equally important uses, his role and defining features are widely misunderstood, and there are a lot of seemingly obvious counters for him that can be overcome with awareness, understanding and skill. This is why my guide is absurdly long but I promise it will be rewarding for those who take the time to read it carefully. You can PM me with specific questions and suggestions, and you are almost guaranteed a long and thorough reply.

You can also find me in-game as some users have, and I will most likely play a game with you. If my connection is good and I don't drop (I sincerely apologize to anyone who's game I ruined) I will show you a Night Hound you will be glad to have on your team.




2.0 ROLE









Hero type: Ganker, AoE support, Melee DPS, Semi-Carry

Preferred starting lane: Any side lane, dual-lane

Early Game Power: Low/Moderate

Mid/Late Game Power: Strong

Farming Capabilities: Low early and good from early mid game on

Hero Weakness: Weak early game, low STR progression, skill intensive

Hero Strength: Abusable skills, high damage output, allows for complex strategies

Worst enemies: Legionaire, chain disablers and silence

Best allies: Babysitters (early), Initiators (mid), Tanks (teamfights, especially Accursed)

Best Against: Anything and everything except Legionaire, really

Player skill requirement: NH's effectivenes rises exponentially with the players skill. NOT recommended for newbies outside of newbie only games.


2.0 ROLE

Night Hound is a complex ABILITY (SKILLS) ORIENTATED HERO, even if he does have 2 passive abilities. He is a GANKER, CHASER, NUKER, AoE DISABLER/SUPPORT and ANTI-PUSH specialist with moderate LANING capabilities and great late game CARRY POTENTIAL.

ABOVE ALL - NH is a TEAMPLAYER. Not being a hard carry he can very rarely win the game singlehandedly even if he ends up with insane items. He makes a good team godly, and can go 20-2 and still lose if his team is bad. This makes him actually better as a metagame choice in serious games, rather than a stomper in low skilled pubs.

Night Hound can STOMP PUBS quite easily, yes, but a recurring situation will make you cringe: You are devastating the opposing team and rightfully thinking: "Wow, these guys are the biggest noobs I have ever seen", only to realize after you have outleveled everyone by 5 levels that you are in fact wrong. The team of noobs that got you the 20-2 score is in fact NOT the worst team in the history of DoTA/HoN, rather they are the SECOND worst team, being outshined in that respect only by YOUR team of noobs which end up losing every fight you are not in, not pushing after a genocide, feeding left and right and losing the game. This happened to me so often I prefer playing more challenging mid-level matchups with NH.

WHEN TO PICK HIM - Generally, the only thing besides your skill with NH that affects your performance is the skill, communication and coordination of your teammates. Seemingly horrible matchups with heavy hate are not a problem, as will be explained below. If YOU are good, your worst enemy is your own team. He is best used if you are playing with your friends or a in a friendly mid-skilled clan fight. His possible competitive use is also discussed here, as he brings some unique facets to the game and in many ways rises in quality as a member of a skilled team.

Considering YOUR USUAL ROLE AFFINNITY, Night Hound is best played by habitual support players, rather than players who usually pilot carries. As an avid support player (my catchphrase used to be: "I don't play DoTA, I play Bane!"), I highly recommend Night Hound to dedicated support players who want to finally get some K/D ratio goodness, as well as enrich their options by getting some carry experience.

He is the BEST CHOICE if you, like me, dislike boring linear heroes. Even in the games you are dominating you are always walking a razors edge with your low healthpool, he requires and helps develop both tactical and strategic skills, allows for good teamplay and mind games, is a good counter to many popular heroes and his awesomeness potential is HUGE.



I will start with skill (ability) descriptions because NH's skills are often misunderstood and the skill progression will become clearer after the skills themselves have been explained.

To understand NH you have to understand his skills and have a very good feel of them, as well of their synergies. Let's examine them in great depth one by one, with tips for newbies and stuff to consider by pros alike. I warn you, this will be an EXTREMELY detailed and pedantic journey.



Type: Magic
Range: 350
Radius: 250 / 275 / 300 / 325
Cast Time: 1.0 Seconds
Mana Cost: 75 / 80 / 85 / 90
Cooldown: 15.0 Seconds
Required Level: 1 / 3 / 5 / 7

Creates a 250 / 275 / 300 / 325 radius smoke cloud for 6 seconds which applies Smoke Bomb to units within it.

Smoke Bomb Effects

40 / 50 / 60 / 70% Miss Chance
25% Movement Slow
-25 Attack Speed



This skill is a 6 seconds MASS DISABLE that applies most possible debuffs to an area short of outright stunning or holding people. Beause of not stunning and holding it is difficult for newbies, noobs and elitist to see how powerfull it is.

It is the most powerful skill NH possesses and considered one of the most powerful skills in the game by some experienced DoTA players (so much so it outshines most ulties in DoTA, let alone HoN).

Unless you know how to use it well, never pick NH in a serious game, as it will probably be the ONLY thing your team will rely on you for, and if done skillfully it is more than enough. This is the reason I advise NH being played by experienced support players rather than carry players, even if the rest of his skillset allows him to be a GANKER/CARRY at the same time.

The power of Smoke Bomb has led to a rise of a NH mantra/meme that goes: "Invisibility is not NH's ulti - Smoke Bomb is." I subscribe to this philosophy, and a good way to get rid of all those "buff NH" threads would be to actually make Smoke Bomb his ulti and invisibility a skill. It would also help balance NH as he is probably the only hero that gets his ulti at lvl1.


a) It silences, slows move speed, slows attack speed and makes enemies miss on attacks. It is a good disable against both heroes that rely on ability usage (casters) and the ones relying on attacking (carries). It's effects are felt in every stage of the game, becoming increasingly more important as the opposing team starts increasing their damage and attack speed. It is, in all but name, NH's ULTI.

b) It affects the static AREA, not the TARGETS, so if somebody moves out of it the debuffs are gone, but people can still move into it and become affected. This is the reason you most often want to position it in the direction your victim is going to run, rather than right on top of them.

c) It affects the enemies under it with a debuff, not friendly targets by giving them extra protection abilities. Because of this it should be cast to affect ENEMIES giving anyone fighting them at close range protection that way. It stacks with evasion making you or your teammates even harder to hit if you have evasion and are fighting under the cloud.

It, however, DOES NOT protect from ranged attacks and abilities cast form OUTSIDE the cloud, so be sure to Smoke Bomb the ranged opponent or the disabler since they can still affect you. Smoking the ranged guy is almost always the superior choice, as the ranged opponents are often softer targets, and the melee opponent will most probably run into the cloud trying to help his or her teammate anyway.

Any sort of DISABLER is obviously top priority, of course, as silence prevents him from ruining the gank.

d)It has a slight cast delay so learning to time it right takes a bit of time, but is easier for beginners then the Pryomancer's or Torturer's stun. It becomes easy with practice but the delay is significant enough to make you a little vulnerable to chained disables/nukes.

The delay is another reason that a good move is to cast it in the direction your opponent is going to run, as to prevent your victim from running out of the smoked area BEFORE the smoke is cast.

e)It can't be dispelled, and it's effects cannot be REDUCED by any anti magic gear. I still have to test whether Shrunken Head, Jereziah or Predator can ignore it with their magic protection, but as it silences they can only turn those abilities on before entering the cloud, not if you initiate with Smoke Bomb.

f) It's cooldown and mana cost make it moderately spammable. A properly placed Smoke Bomb will affect the desired area for 6 seconds so the time between two Smoke Bombings is actually 9 seconds. This comes into play often in team fights, and sometimes allows you to proceed to gank the would be rescuers after you have successfully ganked a lone pusher or farmer with your team.

g) It helps or enables your team to turns the tables on most supposed counter heroes picked specially to deny you invisibility (provided by your ulti), since some of the most popular ( ) are EXTREMELY vulnerable to most of its effects, making you, surprisingly, a good COUNTER to those heroes, as they are likely to show up in 80% of AP games anyway, especially if you picked first in order to secure for yourself. This will be discussed in detail in the Invisibility section.

h) IMPORTANT: There IS a way carries can overcome your Smoke Bomb, but it is expensive and very few heroes have the required item as a core item. The TRUE STRIKE ability of Savage Mace, negates the miss chance that cripples carries. Watch out for it late game if you have made yourself a major nuisance.



If a hero had only this skill and no other useful skills he would still be a viable SUPPORT hero. If it is positioned correctly it is hard to get out off and it is almost impossible to do anything useful while under its effects. If Riki (NH equivalent) was ever picked in serious games of DoTA it was because of this skill. You don't need to max it early but one level of it does wonders. How to use this amazing skill?


1) Position in the direction your victim is going to run and backstab him for lots while he is slowed and silenced. If you are in a teamfight, your victim is stunned or held or you just think he will not run, you can position it on top of your victim (even though this will usually make them try to run for it). If he tries to fight his odds lessened by the miss chance and silence.

2) It is a great opening move in ganks and counter ganks. If you are invisible and undetected, starting out with a Smoke Bomb, before or after a pounce, preferably placed in the direction your opponents are running to ensures they are silenced right off the bat.

If you scouted the opposing team coming to help a ganked teammate you can choose not to revel yourself until a second before they arrive and smoke bomb them right in front of the gank but before the are in range needed to help their ganked teammate. This move, if done well can turn a gank into half a genocide easily.

In most team fights, you might want to wait for your initiator to eat all the stuns, though.

3) You can help your teammate in a lane with Smoke Bomb, combined with skilful Pounce harass. This strategy makes you a fine lane mate if you get it right and don't face extremely dominating laners.

Defensively it can help escape kill attempts, but it works offensively too. It enables timed stuns to be more precise (think or ) and it has been a fine addition to the "AoE rapefest" team strategy for me. It is a possible bloodlust enabler with Swiftblade as well.

4) It's good for pushing towers. If your team is taking down a tower and you see somebody porting in with homecoming stone, always place it on top of the area he is porting to. This often nets an easy kill for your team. It also interferes with opposing creeps and melee heroes attempts to run off your team while you take out the tower.

5) It's GREAT for TOWER DEFENSE and STOPPING PUSHES - it stops melee attackers form hitting the tower.

Four out of five times it will make the opposing team back off until it clears out if you cast it directly in their way to the tower, thus either breaking a push with a single spell, or giving your teammates more time to assemble at the tower, often making your opponents reconsider the push alltogether. You can prolong tower life and delay successful pushing for a good time with this move against most teams, so make sure to keep an eye on your towers.

If, however the opposing team doesn't back off, you can't stop the push alone.

6) You can and should help your teammates escape ganks with it. Before the other team gets sick of you and buys revealing gear you will not get ganked much due to your invisibility. Because of that, your teammates will be ganked and targeted more often. Throw a bomb on top of either your ganked teammate, the attackers or between them - it's almost like a long stun. It can even turn gankers into ganked if they didn't anticipate you being there.

7) It stops channeling spells so it is useful against , , , and most importantly a superb counter for early game.

If you ruin disables a lot you will become the primary target for those disables, but still, Night Hound is a TEAMPLAYER and you should help your teammates as much as you can.

IMPORTANT THING to be aware of is that if one of your teammates gets ganked by 5 people and you are the only one around sometimes he was just too unlucky or stupid to be helped. Sometimes you just have to let the poor bastard die. Most people will understand if you judge correctly and let one guy die instead of dying along with him for no gain.

DON'T use this fact as an excuse to just lurk and steal kills all game long though, as I will personally find you and give you a mighty *****slap for disgracing the noble backstabing bastard that is NH.



There are more advanced tactical and strategic uses for Smoke Bomb that derive from these basic ones, but I think it's one of the most versatile skills in the game with the usages listed, as it seriously affects most, if not all, heroes. Learn to use well it and you will be a support GOD, while at the same time being a great ganker as well, and with no other support skills or items at all. Your team will love you and it is useful even if the other team gets revealing gear.

Playing a Night Hound without Smoke Bomb is even worse cluelessness then playing Scout without electric Eyes, and somewhere along the lines of Playing Legionaire without Whirling Blade.

Not being aware of the power of Smoke Bomb is what makes people think of Night Hound as a sub-par pick. Honestly, a very short, but completely true guide to NH could be 4 words long: USE TEH SMOKE, N00B, since there are very few situations where you and your team DON?T profit heavily from a skillful and timely Smoke Bomb.

If you still aren't convinced, remember that some great heroes in DoTA/HoN sometimes use only one of their skills and are still considered insanely powerful. So when you hear that NH is ONLY useful for the Smoke Bomb, remember that NH can BREAK THE GAME using only Smoke Bomb.



Type: Physical
Range: 700
Cast Time: 1.0 Seconds
Mana Cost: 50
Cooldown: 30.0 / 20.0 / 10.0 / 5.0 Seconds
Required Level: 1 / 3 / 5 / 7

Teleport self to target and attack with 30 / 60 / 90 / 120 bonus damage.



This skill is a combination of a blink and a nuke that INSTANTLY both teleports you to the BACK of your target and strikes your target for an amount of damage that increases during the game as you gain stats, skills and items. You can target friendly units with it to blink only without striking, which makes it another handy escape mechanism too.

It is a versatile skill that has a strong synergy with your third skill (the damage adding Backstab) allowing a comparison of NH with an offensively minded Magebane in some regards, a comparison possibly more appropriate than the one with Scout for the purpose of determining NH's power level and strategic outlook.

It is your bread and butter skill and should be maxed ASAP.


a) It teleports and strikes immediately, adding the bonus damage and any backstab to your regular attack damage. When this is fully leveled it hits for 120 (from the bonus) + your attack damage + your AGI (since your fully leveled third skill, Backstab, gives you 1 X AGI worth of Backstab damage). Even reduced by armor, that's one powerful spammable nuke.

Remember that you can Pounce to a target that is right next to you, or even one you are fighting face to face. It not only nukes them, but puts you in a position to backstab for even more if they don't react immediately.

b) It puts you behind the victim and, until the victim notices you, you continue to hit for backstab damage which makes for a lot of damage in the midgame with very cheap items.

c) It can be cast on friendly units which only teleports without damaging and makes this a handy escape tool, as well as giving some of the potential for quick movement by using creeps.

d) On lvl 1 it has a horribly long cooldown. When maxed out it is HIGHLY SPAMMABLE - if you initiate with it you can almost always finish with it or even cast it twice more in the course of the chase once it is lvl 4. Spamming it allows for faster chasing and kills, as well as supreme moping up potential after you successfully break an opposing push leaving two or three opponents fleeing with low health.

e) MOST IMPORTANT FACT - It's damage type is physical, not magic which means you can target ANYTHING except buildings with it. EXPLOIT THIS TO THE FULL EXTENT! It works on SIEGE ENGINES! It works on magic immune creeps! It works through Shrunken Head, Jereziah's Protective Charm and Predator's Stone Hide!

The downside is that it's damage is reduced by armor, but reduced armor on your targets makes it more powerful, so it makes teaming up with , , , , or any Shieldbreaker or Daemonic Breastplate bearer very nice.

f) It can teleport you from one level of terrain to another without having to run up or down a ramp. This comes into play in mid lane fights, or fights in or near the river.

g) Assessing it's power as a nuke, by late mid-game, or late game its damage gets up to 500 on a Pounce, or over a 1000 with critical. We are talking Pyromancer's or Witch Slayer's ulti in one or two pounces (0-5 seconds) for 50 or 100 mana, which additionally puts one of the greatest carries in the game right next to a victim initially up to 700 distance away regardless of magic protection.

If this is not retarded powerful I honestly don't know what is.



a) It's pathing is bugged: sometimes it hits from the front, but not very often.

b) VERY IMORTANT: As opposed to a regular blink, you need to have VISION on an actual TARGET to pounce. You can't Pounce blindly into the fog. It the victim you are chasing enters the fog NH will stop chasing, so spam-clicking attack or move on the ground instead of the target is the superior option. Having observer wards in key places helps you a lot as well.

It also makes it a bit unreliable as an escape mechanism as you have to have a target to Pounce on to get away (not necessarily a friendly target, you can use neutral or even enemy targets to blink away).

c) VERY IMPORTANT: If you are chasing you might have to CONSTANTLY CLICK on the hero right after a Pounce. This is because NH will sometimes stop attacking after the Pounce and just sit there, or even turn around and attack nearby creeps instead of the target you just pounced.

d) If you initiate with a pounce and don't follow with a smoke bomb immediately it's often a bad move since you will either get stunned or the other guy will turn on you and until very late game you really don't want to fight them any other way but from the back since you HP is really low. Also, they might make a run for it and it's a lot harder for them to run far if you Smoke Bomb them or their path of escape. Just chase and pounce again when it cools down.

e) It's easy to steal kills with it. Well, sometimes you click while running towards the gank and it just happens. Sometimes you just need to kill as fast as possible or maybe your team is counting on you to be a carry and is feeding you kills, but other times it's supremely foolish for several reasons.

First of all, if you're any good with NH you will probably end up with plenty or even most kills in your team anyway and there are teammates that need those kills more.

Second, a kill is not worth that much really. Not dying is. An average creepwave gives as much gold as an average kill if you get all the last hits in.

THE MOST IMPORTANT factor is that the other team might not be aware of exactly how dangerous you are until it becomes too late for them to do anything about it. Being the only one with a huge number of kills early on will pull unwanted attention to you and can lead to the opponents buying anti-stealth gear earlier than is good for you. So don't be greedy, it's a mortal sin.



1)IMPORTANT: Spam it while farming, and use it to FARM SIEGE ENGINES. You are the hero that can take them down the fastest in the game because both Pounce and Backstab work on them! As you are the only hero I'm aware of (besides ) that can nuke siege engines you are also the one that can last hit them the most reliably, even early on.

Very soon after you complete Firebrand or Nullfire Blade, you will be able to one hit kill the ranged creep in an instant with Pounce. You then run behind the siege engine an dispatch it quickly with Backstab and Pounce leaving the melee creeps to any teammates present (ensuring a satisfying division of gold and XP) or last hitting them if alone for getting the gold for the entire creep wave with little to no skill and no farming items or skills making you a fine farmer and pusher from the early mid game on.

This reduces your farming time allowing you to spend more time ganking and helping stop pushes, as you should.

I put this usage up first and stress its importance because God/Allah/Buddha/Kali/Dawkins said unto Night Hound: "I give ye the power of nuking magic immune stuff for 50 mana! Ye shall pounce siege engines, and all siege engines shall be last hit by you, and ye shall outlevel everyone with great retardedness!" and there was much pwnage throughout the late mid games because of this.

2) Use it to blink into teamfights. This greatly reduces the effectiveness of revealing gear because you can't get disabled whille running to the thick of the fight, and once you smoke bomb and start pounding on them you will be revealed anyway.

You are the SECOND guy in, a split second after your tank/initiator eats the disables or let's loose his own disables. Follow it up with an immediate Smoke Bomb.

3) When you're not initiating with Smoke Bomb, use it to initiate and join ganks from a 700 distance, along with Smoke Bomb and possible charges from Nullfire Blade.

4) Use it as an escape mechanism and to change the direction you are running if being chased.

You can even use an incoming attacker to blink away from a much closer one already chasing you, if no creeps are around.

5) If the guy you are ganking decides to fight figuring he does better damage sometimes you can win because you have - a nuke.

Say you opened with a Smoke Bomb, but the victim managed to move out of the smoke and is now fighting back while facing you. Most heroes will do better damage then you in this situation, but Pounce is spammable and adds significant damage so spam it while you fight, or if you are very confident in your abilities and the other guy has no stun or nuke, just fight until you are both low on health and Pounce for the kill.

6) Use it to dispatch runners.

Simple: if a guy breaks from a fight with low hp, Pounce, after him - it's praticaly a nuke. If he survives the initial pounce it can cause a total collapse of the push as his teammates rush back to help him and focus on you, you become invisible and your team either gets away or demolishes the confused opposition.

If you want to provoke such a push collapse sometimes the correct move is to pounce after the runner then throw a smoke bomb between you and your victim and the opposing team, making the next runner run into the cloud where your teammates can eat him alive or you can, by pouncing back after you killed the first runner.



So, use it to last hit creeps, to take down siege engines, to initiate or join ganks, skirmishes and team fights, to finish of heroes or make them run for it, to chase, to escape. It allows for uncanny last hits early game and combined with defnsive smoke bombs and creep pulling ensures you never get too outfarmed or denied thus reaching your ulti in respectable fashion.

Considering Smoke Bomb, Pounce and Invisibility are all escape mechanisms, learning to pounce away from timed stuns and all sorts of trouble practicaly makes NH HoN's master of the ancient mystic art of GTFO.



On Attack
When behind target, adds 0.25 / 0.5 / 0.75 / 1.0x attacker's Agility as bonus attack damage.



This is a passive skill and you'd think it's a no-brainer, but there are a few things to consider about it, mostly for beginners, but it might put some skilled but too Scout-centered players on the right track concerning Night Hound.

What it does is add damage based on your AGI to any attack you make against the back of the target or slightly to the side. It adds physical damage and scales well through the game, making it different and possibly better then the extra damage on Magebane, since it's scaling can be exploited with proper items. Illusions from Geometer's Bane deal Backstab damage also.

VERY IMPORTANT: You see, as opposed to Scout, Night Hound doesn't want pure damage items, and all but one pure damage items are waste of money on him since any AGI boosting item adds TWICE as much damage (once you fully lvl Backstab), as well as provide armor and attack speed.

This ability sets NH apart from other heroes possibly more than Invisibility, because it makes his items list a very unconventional exercise in making your AGI skyrocket. An added perk of this exclusive philosophy is that all that AGI will significantly boost your armor making you quite resistant to armor reduction effects in due time.

Backstab, being a damage output enhancer and NOT A CRITICAL STRIKE, STACKS with critical and lifesteal, so the only non AGI-boosting items you will want to eventually have are an Abyssial Skull or Whispering Helm, as well as upgraded Riftshards for obscene criticals on on a Pounce.

Backstab STACKS with Pounce, and Pounce puts you in position to backstab. With the right items you will thus nuke for at least 500 every 5 seconds using 50 mana.

Overpowered much?


Backstab makes a couple of items incredibly useful on Nighthound.

1) Power Supply The reason you should never go for Soulscream Rings is that a +3 to all stats Power Supply basically IS a Soulscream Ring when you add backstab, but it also holds mana enough for a pounce with just 3 charges.

2) Iron Shield is perfect for you since it adds 6 AGI which translates into 12 dmg with backstab, and it helps a lot with the low healthpool by reducing incoming damage. It's cheap and you can get it whole from the side shop, as you should ASAP, as with power supply and Iron Shield, you get the damage output of 3 Soulscream Rings for the price of two, as well as burst mana regeneration and very significant damage reduction.

3) Firebrand is in and off itself a good item for you, since it gives you precious AGI and even more precious - movespeed. The movespeed from Firebrand helps ensure that those you chase don't get away easily. Furthermore it gives a much needed HP boost which further allows for skipping Soulscream rings in favour of Iron Shield.

These, along with some Ghost boots and an Abysall Skull, are your core items and they allow for pwnage if got on time which is to say by early to mid midgame. They should allow for a good game and other items will follow from kills and farming between them. You will turn into a carry if you play well and completely dominate if overfed, but you are armed and dangerous if you get these 3 on time (and if your team doesn't completely suck). All this is based on Backstab and the fact that pounce enables it. It will allow you to take catapults down very fast as well as one-hit ranged creeps with pounce quite soon.

Backstab also defines your carry item of choice:

Wingbow - When you factor in backstab, it gives a total of 90 damage, 60 attackspeed, 30 agi worth of armor and 30% evasion. NH breaks this items balance, as well as its major component Dancing Blade (which is almost an end game item for him in and off itself as it gives him 50 total damage for 3300, along with 25% att speed and some armor)



Night Hound learns to better conceal himself, making him invisible to the naked eye when not attacking.

Required Level: 6 / 11 / 16

Stealth with {3,2.25,1.5} second fade time.


Your (seemingly) signature skill, the one thing you share with scout. Most people consider NH useless and in need of a babysitter until you reach your ulti. This is not exactly true - if you read my info on Smoke Bomb and Pounce carefully and have some skill with them he can be a good lane partner and dangerous even without his ulti. However you will become dangerous when you become invisible and truly dangerous with Iron Shield-Battery-Boots-Firebrand farmed in good time.

ALWAYS take your ulti. At lvl 1 it takes you 3 seconds of not attacking to become invisible again after you break it, and that is enough time to get chain nuked or stunned if you don't pick your targets and opportunities skillfully.



Invisibility is, unless SUCCESSFULLY COUNTERED by revealing gear and abilities, a RETARDED GOOD ESCAPE MECHANISM. Yes, another one. NH is the guru of the GTFO. If you want to get away from something, or become untargetable, simply back off and do nothing but move for 3-1.5 seconds and you will become stealthed.



1) While invisible you cannot be seen or targeted by anything unless the other team has revealing gear

Area of effect abilities can still stun and damage you. The ones that can stun will all affect you but only Devourers Hook and Pharoh?s ulti will reveal you. Some AoE spells that don?t stun will not affect you and some will. The one?s that DO affect you inclde Corrupted Desciples AoE nuke, and Forsaken Archer?s ulti.

2) Your stealth is broken whenever you use one of your abilities (Pounce, Smoke Bomb), or attack somebody, and it you will be stealthed again after 3/2.25/1.5 seconds after the LAST ACTION that broke your stealth. Using any items will break stealth as well.

3) You can regain stealth while immobilized by a spell if it doesn?t silence you as well. This is important because you can also pounce out of Forsaken Archer?s stun and Keeper of the Forest?s ulti, and for some reason you become stealthed while being held by Succubuss it seems.

4) If you have lvl 2 or 3 of your ulti you can use homecoming stone and arrive stealthed to your location it seems. This is usefull if there are enemies waiting for you there.



1) You can be revealed (either become visible without taking any action yourself, or unable to regain stealth for the duration of effect) by REVEALING GEAR (Bound Eye, Dust of Appearance, Wards of Revelation), some HERO ABILITIES (Scout's Electric Eyes, Pestilences Ulti, Arachna's Ulti, Tree?s eyes, Legionaire's Taunt), and SILENCING EFFECTS.

2) You cannot regain stealth while silenced. Silence is your WORST ENEMY, as it not only reveals you but makes you unable to use any other abilities to GTFO.

3) Invisibility gives no bonuses other then the element of surprise, that is, you don't get increased attack speed or move speed. If it is successfully countered you have no use for it if you can?t get rid of or get out of range of what is revealing you. This fact makes it skill intensive, and should be KEPT IN MIND. If you are revealed and need to get away, use you other 2 escape methods.

4) Enemy towers reveal you. Don?t risk being disabled next to them, and never be the first guy in the push.

5) All this leads to an IMPORTANT guideline for aspiring Night Hound players - Invisibility should be EXPLOITED at every turn, but never, ever, RELIED UPON!



1) Most carries go for assasin?s shroud, you get your stealth for free. It is basically always on, costs no mana and at higher levels has ridiculously low cooldown. If NH didn?t have built in invisibility he would be making Assasins shroud to get it. Time your escapes right and you can even lurk around a fight with very little hp until you can pounce enemies who run for it.

2) Time your attacks as to silence disablers and those that can reveal you. Time your item usage as not to become revealed when you can get stunlocked. Duck for cover to use Mana Battery and use Ghost Marchers just before making a run for it or right after a pounce while chasing.

3) Break stealth to DPS. Don?t just lurk and KS.

4) SCOUTING! If the other team has no revealing gear, follow them around, search your forest and theirs, check ganking spots, CHECK PLACES WHERE BLINKERS MIGHT BE LURKING, organize ganks, scout the terrain in front of pushers so they don?t get ganked, be the one checking kongor. You are a mobile observer ward and map awareness incarnate, and that wins a lot of matches.

5) You can sometines notice that the enemy team has revealed you by eye or wards if the enemy creeps suddenly start to attack you without you breaking stealth. This ussualy means there is a ward of revelation in the area or that a Bound Eye carrier is near. GTFO quick.



Keep in mind that Invisibility is the only easily counterable ability of NH, and that good teams and bad teams alike will try to counter it right off the bat with hero picks and item purchases.

There is no counter but superior skill to the powerful Smoke Bomb, Pounce + Backstab + AGI items will always be a good spammable nuke, but this skill looks like it could be your downfall if the other team concentrates on making you visible.

However, it is extremely DIFFICULT for a low-to-mid skill team to really inconvenience you with counters, and those counters will only get them a sense of false security that you can easily exploit. In other words - I win more often against, say, Pestilence then against a team with no Hero counters to NH.




Always check out the opposing teams gear, every chance you get. Warding up the map gives good opportunities for this. If they got Bound Eye it is very important to know who is the carrier, so you can avoid him like the plague. Same applies to Wards or Dust, as you MUST be aware of this and play accordingly until they run out.


People might buy several over the course of the game. It is powerful if its carrier is well protected, but if he dies they lose it. It's purchase will often lead to team fights and pushes as the opposing team will think they have put you out of the game. This is far from the truth as you are actually a good hero to have against team pushes and bunching up, and chances are good that they will soon lose the eye. Then you have the option of either destroying it, or putting it on one of your teammates or yourself as a countermeasure for opposing Scout or Madman. I advise putting it near your fountain if possible and picking it up when you or a teammate gets well farmed so you don't lose it again. It is dangerous for sure, especially near a Pestilence or Arachna, but it is the least dangerous of the revealing gear.

It has an interesting side effect on non-skilled carriers since they tend to run as not to die and lose the eye. This means turning their back to you and actually makes them die easier from backstab, and very few heroes can outrun you anyway because of your gear and pounce.


A cheap consumable temporary Bound Eye, it is more powerful because it costs less and does not endanger the team Scout as it can not switch sides if the user dies. You can back off while it wears off, but that puts you out of the fight, and it gives Pestilence time to reveal you for long, or Arachna to ulti you. Thankfully, if you manage to survive its use unharmed, it wears off and you could even kill the user if the situation arises. You can remove it?s effects by purging yourself with Nullfire Blade or activating Geometer?s Bane.


The most dangerous countermeasure, it reveals invisible units in an area for a timed duration (6 minutes). It is most often used during a long lane push setting up areas in which you are visible. The problem with wards is that they can be placed in advance so you don't expect them as in that case you won't get to spot them in the opposing teams inventory, and they can work against you even if you manage to break a push - next time you are in the area and not aware of the ward, you can get killed easily. A way to get rid of them is having someone with revealing gear, preferably Puzzlebox on your team.

What makes them the biggest pain is that a good team will set them up in your lane BEFORE you reach lvl6 and if they catch you unaware of it you will probably die. If this happens, you know your opponents are skilled. The bright side is that YOU can do this to Scout or Madman too.


It gives reusable true sight (one of the summons has it), and it is the best possible item against you, as it can not switch sides, but pouncing the true sight summon should rid you of most problems.

It might easily be a GOOD ITEM FOR YOU to get once you are satisfied with you AGI boosting core and your farming abilities. It can?t switch sides, it helps with your low STR gain, the summons increase your damage output and. most important: it can be used to destroy opposing wards preventing the other team from revealing you and denying them map control.

It also makes ganking Scout a lot easier, and if focusing on your role as supporter, this might be the best possible support item for you. It is the most expensive revealing item, but in the right situations the most rewarding as well.



As Invisibility is what the other team is going to try to exploit this section will cover (in detail) how to deal with various possible counters which people think make NH a bad choice for HoN games.


Concerning the SCOUT, you must know the ways to deal with his Vanish, his Flurry, his Disarm, his ulti and, most importantly, his Electric Eyes. It looks daunting on paper, but most of it is quite easy in practice:

1) VANISH: Vanish gives +25% move speed in addition to stealth, so a good Scout doesn't really care if he is revealed as he can run off quickly. This is his only escape mechanism and it is countered by silence, meaning he can?t activate it if under the Smoke Bomb. The speed buff is also temporarily countered with charges from Nullfire Blade. With Pounce and Smoke Bomb, you have more escape mechanisms then the Scout.

A MOST IMPORTANT thing to notice is that Vanish has a cooldown of 6 seconds while your cooldown half of that right away. This means that you can break stealth more easily without fear of getting killed as you can generally back off just a bit and be invisible again, while the Scout has a longer time of being a sitting duck.

This is especially exploitable if you Smoke Bomb him at around 4-5 seconds of his cooldown as he will be silenced and slowed allowing you and the team even more time to land hits and nukes/disables in. If you learn to exploit this fact you will reap the rewards off gangraping all but the most overfed of Scouts, as it COUNTERS his only escape method.

2) FLURRY: When Scout breaks his stealth by attacking, he lands 4 very fast attacks giving him effective burst damage. It works even if he is revealed if Vanish is still on, making him care even less about being revealed.

Revealing him, however, gives your team a chance to disable him before he can use his burst to kill a soft target potentially saving someone?s life, and Smoke Bomb is a perfect disable because the miss chance it gives COUNTERS the flurry attacks very well. Because Pounce homes you in on him, you can easily Smoke Bomb him at every opportunity, effectively countering one of the most feared pub skills in the game.

Additionally, the efficacy of Flurry is directly tied to how well the scout is farmed, while your damage output gets dangerous with items that are a lot cheaper, and is not burst damage meaning you can often outlast him in a fight.

As revealing gear enables successful prevention of flurry I suggest you or a teammate buying wards or Puzzlebox if facing an experienced Scout.

3) DISARM: Scout?s attacks have a chance to deal increased damage and render the hero he?s facing unable to attack for a short, but significant while. This makes him a great counter to traditional carries as it ensures he will get more hits in. If you are disarmed a sword symbol will appear above your NH for the duration.

REMEMBER: Pounce works even when disarmed, so instead of not being able to hit the scout when you get disarmed, you will use the moment to hit him for MORE than you were hitting while fighting face to face.

4) ULTI:
If you are targeted by scout?s ulti, a bullseye symbol will appear above your NH. You can prevent the ulti from going off in three ways. FIRST, you can try to run away in order for him to lose vision on you. It works well if you know where he is and he hasn?t put wards in your path of escape. SECOND: You can become invisible. Again this is countered by a skilled scout by placing his wards. THIRD: Using smoke bomb on him will stop his channeling. This is a good way to save a teammate from Scout?s ulti, but, again, sometimes requires you to have revealing gear.

5) ELECTRIC EYES: Scout can and will try to reveal you with Electric Eyes, which work like Wards of Revelation without a duration. If you have a skilled scout against you this WILL be a problem, as his wards allow his entire team to see you. You can, however, destroy them. This is best done if you win a gem off the other team, or if you go for Puzzlebox. Now, Eyes are a problem, but they are only really dangerous in three situations:

5a) If you run into a random eye that has been placed there some time ago. You will be revealed but not necessarily aware of it, but it's only dangerous if there are nearby enemies. Move around a lot, don't linger long in one place, farm catapults quickly with Pounce and use homecoming stones to port around the map, don't give them an opportunity to home in on you. Learn the standard locations for ward placement and counter his wards with wards of your own. I sometimes get Scout kills by destroying his wards near runes with wards of my own then waiting for him to come and replace them.

5b) If you push too far alone or try to gank one on one and Scout turns out to be lurking. Now, you shouldn't be doing this. A NH that is not very well farmed should gank with his teammates and help the team by giving a numerical advantage in seemingly 1v1 or 2v2 situations. You shouldn't push out alone too often, especially if you can easily be revealed. This situation is prevented by simply being careful AKA not being an idiot and realizing that it's not Invisibility that makes a godly NH but teamplay, map awareness and your three other amazing skills.

5c) If the Scout, or any ward placer puts eyes or wards along the path of the enemy push. Well this prevents you from following the other team from inside their ranks, but that is not really necessary.

Remember, in team fights, your invisibility means little as it will usually be 5v5 anyway and they should expect you to be there. Your team will rely on you for Smoke Bombing your tower, the other team or their path and killing low-hp heroes and stragglers.

Counter intuitively, if they can reveal you, you WANT team fights, as Smoke Bomb stacks the odds in your favor and allows you to kill the one that can reveal you or even win a gem off the other team. If you are confident in your team to fight off a team push or decide that you can sacrifice a tower, evade the team fight alltogether and use the time to push a lane deep uninterrupted, making them sorry for grouping up in the first place.


So, most of it boils down to ?USE TEH SMOKE, NOOB!?.

As people are hesitant to play NH against a Scout, I felt the need to list your available solution to each of the problems to give you a detailed analysis of how and why you can beat Scout with NH on a regular basis.

The Electric Eyes are a pain, yes, but a good team will buy wards anyway, so it?s more of an excuse to moan then an actual problem, especially as the Scout is not really picked in more skilled game environment. As a NH you should know how to deal with wards, be they bought or homemade.

Moaning about Scout really boils down to this: ?OMG they won?t let me use my retarded good ulti 100% of the time, what can I do with just an imbalanced spammable 6 second AoE disable, a spammable scaleable telenuke and a stupid good damage output? I have only two more escape mechanisms, 30 armor and 2000 HP on a fast-farming AGI carry, what ever shall I do?? Oh noes, indeed?



Now some insight for playing against another often picked counter - PESTILENCE.

Pestilence has only one way to counter you, and that's his ulti. A fun fact is that most low-mid skilled teams will rely on their Pestilence to counter you and consequently will not buy dust, wards or eye, making your life actually easier than it would be otherwise. Why is this?

Simple as it is, a Pestilence without revealing gear has to wait for you to break stealth to actually reveal you. Well then, since you usually don't break stealth unless you mean to silence and kill something with a teammate or two, it turns out to be useless more often than not, as the annoying dung beetle will be gangraped on every opportunity you get. I have lurked near many a Pestilence for MINUTES pinging for my teammates to come and when we ganked he was silenced, stunned and killed promptly without being able to reveal me. In other words - unless he buys revealing gear, you can actually FARM him.

Add to this the fact that most Pest players tend to spam their ulti on everyone as to reduce their armor, just don?t be the one who initiates the gank, and pounce in and silence while his ulti is on cooldown.

If he DOES buy a Bound Eye, he is quite dangerous as he gets a lot of uninterrupted farming time and might roam the map looking for you, but he can't be in every place at once, so change lanes and be dodgy. If you have been a menace the other team will bunch up and try team pushing. As with Scout's eyes, against team pushes invisibility is of little concequence and you don't mind being revealed if you manage to land a timely Smoke Bomb and gut a squishy or even the Pest.

Alternatively, while they are bunched up and ready for you, just push alone somewhere where they are not while your team defends the base.

Getting away from a determined Pestilence can be a pain but smoke bombing, pouncing on friendly creeps and heroes or running for your tower and smoke bombing him there can get you safe sometimes. He is usually faster than you so you have to accept that you will die sometimes if revealed.

That is unless you can use the Geometer?s bane or Nullfire Blade to remove the debuff allowing you to regain your stealth. This is why either or both of these items are recommended as core against a Pestilence.

Pestilence is popular in all levels of play and dangerous against anybody almost to the point of being OP (overly popular for sure, if not genuinely overpowered), so mostly everyone fears him with good cause, and teams are always looking for dependable ways to dispatch him. Let us consult the big hero guide from these forums which, while mostly dead wrong about NH, is quite correct about listing the weaknesses of Pestilence:

According to the big hero guide Pestilence is countered by: heroes with high armor, disablers, gankers, leapers / blinkers, Wingbow, Void Talisman. You fit every criteria on this list except Void Talisman, making you a better counter for him than he is for you. All this means that picking Pestilence to counter a skilled NH can easily turn out to be a very stupid move indeed.



The third most popular and seemingly powerful counter against you is ARACHNA. Her ulti reveals you and makes short work of you if she catches you with your stealth off. You will often die to it even if you?re careful but so will mostly everybody as that ulti is considered OP by mostly everyone. There four things to consider concerning ways to deal with her:

1) Avoid like the plague. Don't get into 1v1 with her if you are both at full HP, unless well farmed. Unless she buys anti-stealth gear she has to wait for you to break your cover so wait for favorable odds or simply be somewhere else as with Pestilence.

2) Attack the spider. He dies to 3 hits regardless of damage. The spider is inescapable, and waiting for it to hit you 5 times is always the worse option. This will not always work in time since your attack speed might be slowed from her web. You might die but you might live as well, since if the spider dies you can run and your low fade time might give you stealth in time to survive.

3) Force favorable odds or team fights and wait for her to use the spider on somebody else, then Pounce the spider and help your teammate get rid of it quickly, then proceed to Pounce and Smoke Bomb Arachna. You can Pounce the spider just like you can Pounce siege engines because Pounce deals physical damage which makes you a surprisingly good COUNTER for her powerful ulti.

4) As a low HP hero Arachna is quite vulnerable to you, especially as her hardened carapace doesn't work against your Pounce. Take her out of team fights while her team focuses on your tank/initiator. Pounce her, Smoke Bomb her and dispatch of her quickly, paying attention not to rambo. Since she will often linger in the back, you don't necessarily need to be invisible to surprise her, just Pounce her from the bushes or behind while she focuses elsewhere.



He puts eyes on trees which then give true sight of an area. Buy a loggers hatchet immediately and cut the trees down. It's that simple. You can see the eyes if you move close enough to the trees.

Your silence helps in preventing him to turn invisible and you can pounce out of his ulti or immediately smoke bomb the area to prevent anyone blinking in to unload AoE crap.



THE TRUE COUNTER to NH, the one hero that really works even against a skilled NH is LEGIONAIRE. He is one of the best laners in the game as he can very quickly position himself behind your tower and kill creep wave after creep wave, cutting off your escape while his teammate wrecks your tower and he gets tons of gold and xp. Like most heroes, you have no way of preventing this. If a team lets it go on for more than 1-2 creepwaves you will lose the game. And this is only a pubstomping stunt!

Regardless the stunt, Legionaire is both highly resistant to melee and no melee hero wants to tangle with him, especially if he has his ulti. This goes double for you as his whirling blade can take you out in three swings or take you low enough for him to ulti you since you have very low HP to begin with. Smoke Bomb or any stun has no effect on whirling blade so it is impossible for you to ever take a skilled Legionaire 1v1. Against him in a lane you NEED a babysitter. And it gets worse!

His Taunt will affect you even if you are stealthed forcing you to attack him and break your stealth. You are also silenced for the duration of the Taunt so you can?t Pounce away and the Smoke Bomb is only a slow against Legionaire. DO NOT LURK NEAR HIM BECAUSE OF THIS.

Extremely careful play and a lot of help from your team is required to deal with a skilled Legionaire, but I recommend changing lanes (with homecoming stone), gangraping him with nukes and disables in the midgame and staying on the edges of team fights because he tends to blink in with Portal Key and make a mess. Help your team back off with Smoke Bomb, either by smoking him, or smoking his team and making them back off leaving him isolated.

The best solution is to play with a friend and have him pick Legionaire as he is also a perfect accomplice to you since you can freely backstab the people he taunts and get them in range of his ulti fast, as well as silence disablers. A Legionaire with portal key and a NH with skill a make fine additon to a team of AoE focused blinkers (you would be the fifth man there, charged with dispatching runners, helping getaways, and dps duty).



You will run into this attitude and might even think so yourself, considering most other stealth skills give bonuses in addition to stealth so that when other stealth heroes are revealed they still get use out of their skill, while this skill can theoreticaly be shut down by wards. Does this mean it is unworthy to be an ulti?

NO! First off, just because Smoke Bomb is retardedly powerfull and could easily be somebody's ulti, doesn't mean that a free, low cd invisibility is a bad ulti. I could argue that it leaches gold from the other team, I could argue that you can kill the eye bearer, but the crux of the matter is not that NH is useless when his invisibility is countered but that NH gets FOCUSED whenever he breaks his invisibility.

Honestly, play a couple of games with NH and you'll notice that people seem to ignore you untill you become invisible and then suddenly start to harass and throw everything at you whenever and wehrever you show your face? There is NO BETTER BAIT in this game than NH as everybody seems to go berserk whenever he reveals himself.

There are perfectly reasonable and totaly unreasonable reasons this is so. First since many people believe him to be low tier squishy crap they will leap at him thinking they just got a free kill. Second, since you cant really gank someone who is invisible some people jump at the opportunity to kill him whenever they can see him. Third, going for the carry is always a good idea and some reasonable people always do that. Four, you just messed up their third push in a row with smoke bomb, ganked the hell out of their feeder and have 10-0 midgame because you were stealing kills - congratulations, you painted a bullseye on yourself and Fifth - you are a dangerous little bastard with three escape mechanisms, who they gonna stunlock? Armadon?

So, for reasons wise or unwise, poor NH wil get hit by everything everytime he doesn't let the initiator go first. Same would happen to anyne and happens often. How do you stop madman? Focus him! Only way to take magebane out? Throw EVERYTHING at him! There are about four heroes besieds a good NH, all of them desinged to soak damage that can survive the crap NH gets thrown at him EVERY game (, , , ), and that, my firends why he requires skill to play against a good team.

Honestly, i've won games because the other team ignored our tempest for a chance to kill me if i got ultied by pestilence. It is also the reason people preffered to rush Vanguard (HotBL) on Riki in DoTA, and why i prefered the old steamboots while they buffed your strenght, and why Iron Buckler is core on NH - He gets more damage prevented from that thing than any other hero in the game besides those 4 listed above.

You might have noticed I keep mentioning low-skilled opponents and NH player's skill as an important factor, but in high level gameplay most players are of equal skill so it shouldn't matter, right? Well not really, as there are three things to always keep in mind:


NH has a few things that are easy to learn and almost set in stone. His skill progression is algorithmic as well as most of his core item acquisition. You will do good with the skill progression I will list below and there is probably no reason to deviate from it. I have yet to find a better alternative to my starting gear and core items, the only possible difference might come of choosing which late mid-game or carry items you get first later.

HOWEVER, NH's skills are VERY multipractical, many faced and skill intensive. It would be a lot less skill intensive if you had more time to act, but as a ganker, chaser, blinker and disabler the course of action must sometimes be chosen and possibly changed in a matter of a single second if you want true and masterful badassery. There is just so much possible use, opportunity and need for use for each of his skills, that it takes practice and time investment to become not just useful to your team, but frustratingly and humiliatingly dangerous as well.

Knowing the abilities of the heroes you gank is also quite important, so learning what different heroes can or can't do is a must. This is especially true for AoE heroes, as some AoE abilities won't affect you if you are stealthed, and some will.

Having said all that, NH is a fun hero to play even if you're not too skilled yet, so gaining skill with him is very fun if you have a good and supportive team, and he can be mastered to a satisfying degree in a matter of a few nights of pubstomping.


Concerning the skill level of the opposing team, if you take the time to play a lot of low-mid level AP games picking NH, you will notice people picking a supposed counter-hero for you about 80% of the time. This is where an interesting phenomenon kicks in.

You see, in my experience, the counter hero, Pestilence, Scout, Arachna or Tree, is often picked by a player of low skill for one or more of three reasons. First, they are popular and widely considered OP so the player picks them all the time, and would have done regardless of your pick. Second, more experienced players might suggest that hero to his/her teammate believing it will give him an easier time and a chance to farm you, as well as help the team. Third, and this happens surprisingly often, the poor newbie is pressed into picking a counter for you because everyone else wants to play something else and he has no real experience with the hero.

In all of the above cases, and especially in the third one, you will be the one farming THEM, as NH is a good counter for any of those popular heroes, and furthermore, having a hero that can supposedly counter NH reduces the chance that they will buy revealing gear. Add to that the fact that an inexperienced Arachna has a tendency to feed, the Scout to be a useless kill stealer if not played well, Pestilence having an entire subset of players called ?fail Pestilence? players, and the Tree player not even realizing that his Eyes his counter for you (as well as not being easy to play at all) and you might have an easy game on your hands.


The third fact about skill is a matter of psychology, motivation and adrenaline rush.

You see, stomping a pub where no quality counters to NH are picked or bought is fun, yet easy to the point that very few heroes can compare to NH's ability to make the other team concede in terms of speed. You will rarely ever finish getting all your items with NH in a noobs only game.

BUT, playing against moderately to well experienced opponents is what inspired me to write this absurdly detailed guide. The pressure when you know that the wrong moves WILL get you killed can sharpen your senses and instill in you a grim determination boosting your performance in just about every situation.

Your farming gets more precise, your map awareness a given, your global pushing strategy a matter of life and death and, if you don't break under pressure, those blindingly fast decisions start turning out to be the right ones. The game sings with you and NH becomes an extension of your mind possibly resulting in a string of crowning moments of awesome.

That is if you practiced a lot beforehand, otherwise you make a lot of rash things, die a lot and get rightfully branded as a noob, with a capital N and two zeroes, a N00b so to speak.

I started writing this guide as a result of winning one such game, and they are the true test of whether you have mastered it or not. My team started moaning as soon as I pressed ready on NH, and was voting to kick me before even the first creep wave because they thought I would feed the opposing Scout. I persuaded them to give me a chance, and my lanemate said: "I will give you exactly one chance."

Picking NH in a serious game one chance is all you can expect, but if you're good... It turned out I had 15 kills in a hard match, performed better then all of those that called me a N00b, helped stop numerous pushes, dealt with a Scout and 3 bound eyes and carried for the win in the end without anyone overfeeding me. I gained a few buddies in the process and was invited for another game as soon as that one was over. Yes, when NH pays off, he pays against seemingly insane odds and he pays off big.



1. Smoke Bomb (For preventing or possibly helping get Bloodlust, and a million other uses throughout the game, ulti at lvl1 )
2. Pounce (At this point just a farming too/escape mechanism. Use it to blink to a teammate in case of trouble and last hit creeps.)
3. Pounce
4. Backstab
5. Pounce
6. Invisibility
7. Pounce (At this point a spammable chase-friendly telenuke. Skill wise, you are ready for ganking)
8. Backstab
9. Backstab
10. Backstab (With Iron Shield, Ghost Marchers and Firebrand you are armed and dangerous, Pounce is powerful and farming siege engines is easy)
11. Invisibility
12. Smoke Bomb
13. Smoke Bomb
14. Smoke Bomb (By this point you might actually need the larger radius since team fights and pushes should be going on)
15. Stats
16. Invisibility
17.-25. Stats


1. Pounce
2. Smoke Bomb
3. Pounce

Mostly the same as the original build, but allows for a last hitting Pounce right away. I actually prefer this build.


1. Pounce
2. Smoke Bomb
3. Pounce
4. Smoke Bomb
5. Pounce
... (Either Backstab max first, or for max support and less ganking max Smoke bomb first)


The skills have been discussed to scientific depth already, but as for the progression:

One level of Smoke Bomb is deadly enough for anything but possibly team fights. Learn to use and position it well and it will be all you need until late mid game. Otherwise you can delay Backstab by taking another level of Smoke Bomb at level 4, but that cramps your ganking.

Pounce is maxed ASAP as its usefulness rises exponentially from an escape mechanism at lvl1 to a mutliuse telenuke at lvl4. You are not ready for ganking until you have Pounce lvl4, although it is possible to grab a kill in the lane earlier with a proper lanemate.

Backstab is maxed right after Pounce because of both it's synergy with Pounce and to enable the exploitation of your unconventional item list. Every item you will buy will depend on and enhance Backstab, so maxing it will turn you into a great ganker and allow fast farming without farming items.

Invisibility is taken at every opportunity as it is devastating to teams who do not counter it, and clever play will make it useful even if the other team tries or manages to counter it. Reduction of fade time might seem insignificant on paper, but in practice you will feel the difference.



MANA BATTERY & 2X MINOR TOTEMS (210 + 106): If you're not a habitual user, as you should be, NH is a wonderful hero to learn to appreciate this useful and CHEAP item. Read up on it elsewhere, but the basic use for it is to refill your mana mid chase for Pouncing. Use the two totems to upgrade it to a POWER SUPPLY later, or buy the Power supply recipie right away and buy the battery from the side shop to complete it immediately.

A fully charged Power Supply has the mana for 4 pounces and since you will be lurking around invisible or in the middle of teamfights the charges will fill up easily. Laning against Scout will fill it up fast as every time he uses Vanish will add a charge.

If you die it will often be due to disable/nuke spam and your battery will be charged for when you respawn. It is even better when you manage to survive the nuke/spam fest, and a crowning moment of awesome is when you survive said assault BECAUSE it filled up your battery. At any rate, people will try to nuke or stun you on sight so the battery/supply will rarely be without charges.

Use it to gain health liberaly but keep in mind that using it breaks stealth so duck for cover to use it and wait for fade time to end if the situation requires it.

It is a core item.

RUNES & POTION: It might look like overkill and you could take a mana potion instead of the second set of runes but your healthpool is nototriously low and you should burn through your runes fast. You WILL be harrased by powerfull laners and the potion often comes in handy to heal up the hero you are laning with. It is also usefull after an ocassional towerdiving Pounce.


I use this build more often, because starting with a courier helps a lot since both Gost Marchers and Firebrand that you will be getting later can't be assembled from side or secret shops. The monkey's purpose is to carry items for you so you can stay in the lane longer, but it will remove the need to go back to base for Ghost Marchers and Firebrand. Use it to bring all your basic gear.

The courier can also bring you Health and Mana refreshents when you run out and it can bring you the iron shield if you are forced to tower hug due to being in a tough lane.

The trinket of restoration all but elimiantes the need for consumables if you are carefull, and if you creep pull you will not be harrassed much. It is also a component for Abyssal Skull later on but can be sold and rebought in a pinch.

This build icreases the overall costs by 200, or 400 if you improve your courier into a flying courier.

HOW TO USE THE COURIER: As soon as you buy the monkey, select him and hotkey him to a key with ctrl+key, and hotkey yourself to another key. While the monkey is in base a little shop icon is shown above the inventory that you can click to open the shop. If you select the monkey by hotkey, your screen remains where it was so you can keep an eye on your NH.

Send your monkey to bring you your equipment by selecting the apropriate button, then order him to return as soon as he finishes by holding shift and selecting the return button. this will queue the orders to follow one another.

Remember to select your NH again, as not to give more orders to the monkey.


IRON SHIELD (550): Can be bought from the side shop by buying an Iron Buckler and 2X Duck Boots. It should be your first item, starting with the Iron Buckler ASAP. As you will be focused and harassed throughout the game this little thing will prevent an enormous total amount of damage. It can later be scrapped for inventory space, but i prefer to hold on to it untill i get Wingbow.

It is a core item.

GHOST MARCHERS(1500): the old steamboots were THE boots for NH as they gave you a lot of agi and a bracer's worth of strenght, as well as a good movespeed. The new stamboots can boost only one stat at a time, and even when turned up to agi don't give as much damage as Ghost Marchers, while giving significantly less movespeed. The att speed buff doesn't make up for it, as you will get all the att speed you'll need from all the agi you will be stacking.

The burst movement speed from Ghost Marchers coupled with the movespeed bonus of Firebrand will make you an insane chaser quite early in the game. Using them will break your stealth but if you use it just before or right after a pounce you will be able to land at least two more hits in. The delay in updating this guide was a lot obout deciding which boots were the correct ones and how to make up for the str loss that old AGI steamboots used to provide and i have, after much testing, decided that Ghost Boots are the way to go, since you get the bracer's worth of HP from Firebrand.

It is a core item.

POWER SUPPLY (203): Complete it to free up space in your inventory, as you have probably gotten mana battery from the shide shop right after the shield and before the boots.

Along with the Iron Shield it goeas a long way to help your problem of being public enemy no.1, that is being focused and molested wherever you show up.

It is a core item.

SUMMARY (2250-3220) : These items make you primed and ready for your first ganks. A nice move is to use homecoming stone to switch to a lane you didn't lane in, and use your invisibility along with Smoke Bomb to help your teamates kill or run off their opponents and possibly knock down a tower to gain gold for Slash faster.


Well, I find that the mana burst from Mana Battery and the damage reduction from Iron Shield are way better than the small stat bonuses from soulscream rings, and are significant all the way to late game. These two items give the same amount of damage as 3 Soulscream rings with fully leveled backstab but take one less inventory slot. Don't go Soulscream on NH, it's a way inferior choice.


(Firebrand picture still to come when they update the items page)

Firebrand (2500): Your most expensive acquisition yet it is the one that makes you a serious pain in the a.. I mean ganker. It is a bit costly for what it gives to most other heroes, but for NH a lone Firebrand is a core item.

It gives movespeed making you rely on Pouncing less, adds 16 AGI, which means an aditional 16 backstab damage, making it actually cost effective for NH, it gives HP and is a component for the hp boosting, debuff removing and tower pushing tool Geometer's bane later on, as well as upgradeable to Frostburn if you're concentrating on ganking more.

SUMMARY (a bit less then 6000 in easy to acquire installments): Iron Shield, Ghost Marchers, Power Supply and Firebrand farmed on time make you a dangerous ganker (the exect deadline waries considering your skill, the skill of your opponents, team compositions and strategies so it can be anything from say 20-30 minutes give or take 5).

With these items you can contribute to any team effort, and your further farming is among the best in the game.


or , possibly and either or

This is where your primary role and focus in a particular match comes into play. You ARE going to carry at some point and you become beastly when you acquire Wingbow, but two of theese items can and probably should be bought before it.

ABYSSAL SKULL (2050): With high damage output, lifesteal is the first thing that will help turn you into a carry. Carries wouldn't need lifesteal before their big damage items, but as the skull also regenerates mana, getting it right after Frostburn or Geometer's Bane starting with a ring of the teacher is what I ussually do. Keep in mind that two components cannot be bought from the side shop, the ring of protection for ring of the teacher, and the recipie.

It will help you farm with damage and lifesteal, and regenrate your mana which by this point will start to come into play as you will be spamming at least Pounce all the time.

Remember that Pounce attacks steal life.

I consider it a core item.

WHISPERING HELM (Alternative lifesteal) (1850): It is a possible choice of lifesteal, even in addition to the skull as they stack if you want to go for the Symbol of Rage during the late game. It's damage is insignificant to you as well as armor it gives (since the skull gives armor and you will have tons of AGI and two forms of evasion) so I prefer going for the skull, as it is a superior choice on you.

NULLFIRE BLADE (3300): An AGI enhancing item that gives you charges of Purge. Purged units have severely slowed attack speed and move speed, and this item is considered core on NH by many. If you want to be more of a menace in 1v1 situations, or just an even better ganker, go for it before you go for riftshards. It can be got even before Firebrand, as it allows the entire team to chase the target, a opposed to Firebrand which only gives you speed (which you DO need for running away and around).

People swear by it, but I never get it especialy since S2 introduced Frostburn as I find Frostburn a more then an adequate ganking tool, as well as a much more cost efficent one on NH. The reason is that it's too expensive and gets in the way of my smooth transition through game stages and gives me no HP which by this point a NH needs.

It is a GANKING tool.

FROSTBURN (additional 2500): Since Firebrand is a core item on you, upgrading it to a major-ass ganking/damage item for only 2500 is great. It is also a major item for you since you get 50 total damage making it a serious damage item on you as opposed to a jack-of-all-trades starting item on most other heroes.

It is my preffered GANKING item, and you can rack up quite a nuber of kills if you got it on time as well as acquire Wingbow and lifesteal in no time.

It can also be turned into a Geometers Bane and a Frostwolf Skull later, as I have done on numerous occasions, although you should recognize games where you need the survivability and tower pushing power of geometers earlier so skipping it might be the correct move.


GEOMETER'S BANE (2250 + 2700): The item I always made as my mid game before I started mixing it up with Frostburn and since i've swaped to using Ghost Marchers. I find I can gank well enough without Nullfire Blade, and Geometer's gives me much needed HP and removes both Dust of Appearance and Pestilences ulti making my invisibility significantly harder to counter.

Your illusions deal backstab damage but they have invisibility so they will not autoattack and you will have to order them making it a little clumsy.

However it is my preffered mid game item for two reasons. One is that NH gets focused so much that the illusions are some of the best bait in the game (people will waste ulti's trying to off the hated Night Hound), and if your micro is not good enough for that it has a very important use. Geometers bane allows you to solo a tower in no time. Practicaly, as soon as NH gets his Geometer's Bane you can kiss any remaining outer towers goodbye, which also brings in gold for the entire team and allows for getting Wingbow and lifesteal much faster.

Nowdays I go for it against a good pestilence or any reliable revealer except tree and if the game is going to be decided by pushing since getting rid of towers helps your team earn gold and put pressure on the other guys and it helps you tromendously since towers reveal you.



, possibly + , possibly

(6000): Your carry item of choice. In total you get 90 damage from it, 60 att speed, some armour and 30% evasion so you can finally lose the Iron shield. It turns you into a monster if you have lifesteal, and the added benefit is that its component Dancing Blade is broken on you as it gives you 50 damage whereas it gives only 25 to everyone else, so always build it Dancing Blade first (that thing alone turns you into a carry)

Riftshards (2650 + 3 times 950): It seems critical stacks with all you've got so with it you become really unstoppable and can dispatch squishies in up to amazing one pounce. Not really needed and more of a luxiry, some players prefer to go for it in the midgame. You could go for anything late, really, shieldbraker, heart, but this seems to be the most popular choice.

Geometer's Bane and Frostwolf Skull: If you went for Frostburn mid game and aren't burning too much money on rebuys you can take Frostburn apart for these two. Geometer's is always nice to have as it can level the opponent's base in no time as well as significantly increase your DPS, and Frostwolf should give you a teorethical advantage over other carries in a stand up fight as it reduces their ATT speed (but is mainly there because you have a component for it and it's late game so what the hell...)

Symbol of Rage
(6150): If you decided to go for the Wispering Helm for lifesteal (inferiror choice IMO) then by all means complete the symbol of rage after wingbow. The HP are usefull.