Friday, December 3, 2010

The Dark Lady Guide

Wielding twin, scythe-like blades, the she-reaper known as the Dark Lady has moved through the Legion's ranks like a shadow of death. For soldiers seeking to buck up their courage, she is a punch-line: "Careful you don't find the Dark Lady," they joke to their carousing friend. But even these jokes are accompanied by a shudder. Swift and cold and lethal as the frozen winds off the steps, black as the cloud-choked night, she is no laughing matter.

  1. Introduction
    • Description
    • Team Role
    • Stats
  2. Hero Skills
    • Skill Descriptions
    • Skill Builds
  3. Items
    • Starting Items
    • Core Items
    • Optional Items
    • Situational Items
    • Luxury Items
    • Items to avoid
  4. Game Play
    • Early game/Laning
    • Mid Game
    • Late Game
    • Extra Information
  5. Drafting
    • Lane Partners
    • Good Team fighters
    • Bad enemies
  6. Replays
  7. Credit


The Dark lady is a hard-carry, there is no other roles that suits her. In order to successfully play the Dark Lady you need to know when to go in and when not to, you need to be able to rice and avoid ganks constantly and you need to know who to attack in a team fight. This guide will go through the optimal skill builds and items builds, what you need to be doing at each point in the game. When playing the Dark Lady you need to make sure you are either farming or killing heroes at all times, as a carry you will need to out farm the other teams carry, so standing around idle is not something you can afford to do.

Team Role
The Dark Lady is a Hard-Carry
Primary Attribute: Agility
Strength: 22 (2.0)
Agility: 23 (3.1)
Intelligence: 16 (1.9)

Damage: 46-48
Armour: 4.22 (20.2%)
Movement Speed: 305
Attack Range: 100 (Melee)
Attack Point: 400ms

Dark Blades

The Dark Lady activates the malicious energy in her Wrath Blades, causing her attacks to silence foes, preventing them from using spells and abilities. The malicious energy in her blades also increase her base damage temporarily.
Action: Target Self

Mana Cost: 75 / 85 / 95 / 105
Cooldown: 22.0 / 18.0 / 14.0 / 10.0 Seconds
Required Level: 1 / 3 / 5 / 7

Applies Dark Blades to self for 3 / 4 / 5 / 6 seconds.

Dark Blades Effects
+ 50 / 60 / 70 / 80% Base Damage
Attacks silence target for 2.5 seconds

This is one of your two steroid skills, when activated this skill it applies the Buff increasing your damage, any target you hit will be silenced for 2.5 seconds, at max rank you can keep a single target silenced for 8.5 seconds (6 seconds duration, 2.5 seconds after the last hit). The silence portion of this skill does not go through magic immunity. You can activate this skill on the move without it stopping your current movement. Activate this skill any time just before charging in.

Taint Soul

The Dark Lady forces her influence onto an enemy unit's soul, tainting it. The target enemy is weakened, taking damage and reduced movement speed for a brief duration.
Action: Target Entity
Target Scheme: Enemy Units

Type: Magic
Range: 800 / 900 / 1000 / 1100
Cast Time: 0.5 Seconds
Mana Cost: 35 / 45 / 55 / 65
Cooldown: 12.0 Seconds
Required Level: 1 / 3 / 5 / 7

Deals 60 / 90 / 120 / 150 Magic damage and applies Tainted Soul to target for 2 / 3 / 4 / 5 seconds.

Tainted Soul Effects
Reduces movement speed by 60% initially, recovering to full speed over 2 / 3 / 4 / 5 seconds

This skill is your primary means of chasing, unfortunately the slow is fairly weak. Early game this skill will allow you to get creep kills even when against a hard lane. With good range you can use it to cancel potions of other heroes with ease and even grab a hero kill if timed well.

This image shows the range of Taint soul for each level, even at level 1 the range on it is still very large and can be used to get creep kills safely.

Charging Strikes

The Dark Lady launches herself toward a target location at incredible speed, attacking enemies as she passes by them.
Action: Target Position
Target Scheme: Enemy Units

Type: Magic
Range: 600 / 700 / 800 / 900
Radius: 200
Cast Time: 0.1 Seconds
Mana Cost: 75
Cooldown: 21.0 / 17.0 / 13.0 / 9.0 Seconds
Required Level: 1 / 3 / 5 / 7

Charges toward target location, dealing one attack to each enemy that passes within radius of self. Each consecutive attack during the charge will deal 15% less damage than the previous.
When the charge completes, applies Zeal to self for 6 seconds.

Zeal Effects
+ 30 / 45 / 60 / 75 Attack Speed

This is your other steroid skill, as it gives a large attack speed buff, while also being your escape mechanism and initiation tool. When combined with Dark Blades this skill becomes an AoE silence while also dealing strong damage.

This image shows the range of charging strikes at each level, while also showing the 200 unit radius around her. When you charge the circle travels along the shortest path towards the location (the dark lady being the centre of the circle), any enemy unit that passes within the 200 unit radius will be hit with an auto attack, each successive unit will receive 15% less damage.

AttackDamage is the amount of damage the attack deals.
n is the number of targets hit, important to know is that this value always begins at one when you first attack a target
Credit to ElementUser for the formula.

Cover of Darkness

Using the depths of her Dark Powers, The Dark Lady poisons the minds of all enemy heroes in an area. For the duration, affected enemy heroes move slightly slower, lose all allied vision and have a reduced sight range.
Action: Target Position
Target Scheme: Enemy Heroes

Type: Magic
Range: 99,999
Radius: 1,000
Cast Time: 0.8 Seconds
Mana Cost: 75
Cooldown: 120.0 Seconds
Required Level: 6 / 11 / 16

Applies Darkness to targets in radius for 4 / 6 / 8 seconds.

Darkness Effects
5 / 10 / 15% Movement Slow
Shrinks vision radius to 400. Unlinks shared vision with allies.

This skill will cause mass confusion within the other team, you can use this to save allies, using it on chasing heroes will make it easy for your ally to juke, you can use it to pick of squishy heroes without the others being able to help. During a team fight this can easily make you win as the support heroes won't be able to find the carry to help them, initiators won't be able to see where to blink, overall making the other team un-coordinated.

From this image you can see the radius is huge, allowing you to easily cast it on most if not all of the enemy heroes, while also having 99,999 range means you can cast it anywhere on the map at any time.
Skill Builds
Everyone of darklady's skills are very important in order to carry well, untill you reach lv13 you won't be dealing as much damage as you could be.

Skill Build 1: Defensive farmer
  1. Taint Soul/Charging Strikes
  2. Charging Strikes/Taint Soul
  3. Dark Blades
  4. Charging Strikes
  5. Charging Strikes
  6. Dark Blades
  7. Charging Strikes
  8. Dark Blades
  9. Dark Blades
  10. Cover of Darkness
  11. Taint Soul
  12. Taint Soul
  13. Taint Soul
  14. Cover of Darkness
  15. Stats
  16. Cover of Darkness
  17. to 25. Stats
This build maxes charging strikes first as early game the other team is going to go trying to gank you and this skill is your escape skill, it's range increases and cooldown decreases each level while keeping the same mana cost. Dark Blades next to maximise your damage as fast as you can, followed by a point in cover of darkness to help your team out if they need it then maxing taint soul so people can't get away from you so easily. One point early in Taint soul to creep kill with.

Skill build 2: Aggressive Farmer
  1. Taint Soul/Charging Strikes
  2. Charging Strikes/Taint Soul
  3. Dark Blades
  4. Dark Blades
  5. Dark Blades
  6. Charging Strikes
  7. Dark Blades
  8. Charging Strikes
  9. Charging Strikes
  10. Cover of Darkness
  11. Taint Soul
  12. Taint Soul
  13. Taint Soul
  14. Cover of Darkness
  15. Stats
  16. Cover of Darkness
  17. to 25. Stats
This build maximises Dark Blades first, which is better overall damage than charging strikes first, this build is good when you have a good babysitter with some disables that lets you get easy kills. Again Maxing Charging strikes next as to maximise your damage.

If you are having a really hard lane another point in soul early can let you last hit better, 60 damage should be enough to last hit creeps with, remember the mana cost increases with each level, so taking too much of it early isn't the best idea.
Being a hard-carry, the Dark Lady is very item dependant, if you can't farm the items you need than you are not going to be able to fulfil your role.
Starting Items


As with every hero you need some health items and stat items. If you think you will be able to last hit get a hatchet, if you're expecting to be against a double range lane go for the Iron Shield instead. If you happen to have random gold, get both.
Hopefully someone on your team will get a monkey couier and wards, if they don't you don't need to get them as your early items can be mostly gotten at the side shop.
Core Items

The Choice of Boots is entirely up to you, I have had success with both.
Steamboots are my preferred as you are a fairly squishy hero, the +10 strength from them is very useful for The Dark Lady. Ghost Marchers offer much better chasing power at the cost of survivability.

Runed Axe

Cost: 4350g
  • Sustainer: 1750g
    • Lifetube: 875g
    • Manatube: 875g
  • Bastard Sword: 1400g
  • Broad Sword: 1200g
+65 Damage
+6 Health Regeneration
150% Mana regeneration

40% Splash damage in a 225 unit radius.

This is The dark lady's single core item, as not only is great for farming, it works so very well with Charging Strikes. The idea is that every unit you hit with charging strikes splashes to units around, this makes for some devastating AoE damage.
Optional Items

Blood Chalice

Cost: 650g
  • Crushing Claws: 150g
  • Mark of the novice: 150g
  • Trinket of Restoration: 350g
+3 Strength
+3 Agility
+2 Health Regeneration

On Activate
Restores 100 mana at the cost of 150 health.

If an enemy hero dies within 700 units before 15 seconds after activation the 150 health is restored.
This item is great for keeping your mana pool high, early game The Dark Lady can still do great damage using her buffs, the down side is that she has low health and this item costs health to use. If you get a manatube for only 225g more that should keep your mana high enough to use all your spells when needed.

Nullfire Blade

Cost: 3300g/4150g
  • Quickblade: 1000g
  • Quickblade: 1000g
  • Apprentice robes: 450g
  • Nullfire Blade 850g
+6/10 Intelligence
+22/26 Agility

On Attack
Drains 20/36 mana from the target, doing 100% of the mana drain as physical damage to the target.

Target Scheme: All Units
Range: 600
Cooldown: 12 seconds

Dispels a target, removing buffs and applying Dispelled if it is an enemy or simply removing debuffs if it's an ally.
The Dispel cannot be used on Magic Immune targets.
Destroys target illusion or summoned creature.

Dispelled Effects
80% Movement Speed slow initially, decreases to 0% slow over duration of effect.
This item can be nice early on, however with a runed axe you have incredible farming abilities. This allows you to easily fill your inventory with many of the Luxury Items. If you can't farm so well this is a good alternative.
Situational Items

Shrunken Head

Cost: 3900g
  • Mighty Blade: 1000g
  • Warhammer: 1600g
  • Shrunken Head Recipe: 1300g
+24 Damage
+10 Strength

On use
Applies Magic Immunity to self for 10 seconds. Reduces by 1 seconds each time the item is used, minimum for 5 seconds duration.

As with any carry, if the enemy team is high is disables or magic nukes this item becomes necessary, get this after the Runed Axe as once you have that farming becomes easy.

Null Stone

Cost: 4850g
  • Sustainer: 1750g
    • Lifetube: 875g
    • Manatube: 875g
  • Blessed Orb: 2100g
  • Null Stone Recipe: 1000g
+15 Intelligence
+15 Strength
+15 Agility
+10 Damage
+6 Health Regeneration
+200% Mana Regeneration

When not in cool down, negates a single targeted spell.
If the other team has lots of single target spells, or even just a couple strong ones, this item is a nice pick up. Excellent regeneration and some nice stats as well. Should really only get this item if you are going to be getting Harkon's blade later on.
Luxury Items


Cost: 4400g
  • Firebrand: 2200g
    • FleetFeet: 450g
    • QuickBlade: 1000g
    • Firebrand Recipe: 750g
  • Icebrand: 2200g
    • Bolstering Armband: 450g
    • Mighty Blade: 1000g
    • Icebrand Recipe: 750g
+16 Strength
+16 Agility
+20 Attack Speed
+10 Damage
+14% Move Speed

On Attack
Applies 5% Move Speed slow for 3.5 seconds, can stack up to 5 times for 25% slow.

This is my favourite luxury item for The Dark Lady, it offers a nice Strength and Agility boost, while also providing extra move speed and an on attack slow. This allows The Dark Lady to chase down enemy heroes who are going to be trying to run away from the amazing damage output you will have, while also giving a nice Health boost to keep you alive longer.

Savage Mace

Cost: 5400g
  • Halberd: 1500g
  • Halberd: 1500g
  • Slayer: 2400g
+88 Damage
+15 Attack Speed
True Strike

On Attack
35% chance to do 100 Physical damage and stun for 0.1 second.
One of the greatest damage items in the game, always a great pick up on The Dark Lady, mini stun is great for cancelling them heroes trying to TP away from you. True strike is the counter to any heroes that are building a Wingbow or are zehpyr.

Harkon's Blade

Cost: 6200g
  • Acolyte's Staff: 2700g
  • Great Arcana: 1575g
    • Steamstaff: 800g
    • Apprentice's Robe: 450g
    • Scarab: 325g
  • Harkon's Blade Recipe 500g
+35 Intelligence
+27 Damage
+10 Attack Speed
+150% Mana Regeneration

On Toggle
Attacks deal Magic damage. Costs 75 Mana per Attack.
Applies Harkon's Blade to the attack target for 3 seconds.

Harkon's Blade Effects
-5 Magic Armor
Only get this if you have both Runed Axe and Null Stone already as without them you will not be able to keep it activated very long due to the mana cost. This item makes you do close to true damage, extremely powerful if you have enough mana for it.

Frostwolf's Skull

Cost: 6200g
  • Blessed Orb: 2100g
  • Glow Stone: 1200g
  • Icebrand: 2200g
    • Bolstering Armband: 450g
    • Mighty Blade: 1000g
    • Icebrand Recipe: 750g
  • Frostwolf's Skull Recipe 700g
+25 Intelligence
+25 Strength
+25 Agility
+10 Damage
+200 Max Health
+150 Max Mana

On Attack
Applies Freeze to target for 3 seconds when attacking or casting a single target spell.

Freeze Effect
-30% Movement Slow
-20% Attack Speed
Incredibly powerful slow effect while also giving excellent stats, a great item to pick up on The Dark Lady, the -20% attack speed will help greatly if you are against another carry that you need to out carry.


Cost: 5900g
  • Dancing Blade - 3300g
  • Snake Bracelegt - 1800
  • Steamstaff - 800g
+ 30 Agility
+ 30 Attack Speed
+ 32 Damage
+ 30% Evasion

Wingbow is an amazing survival and damage item, 30% evasion will make you easily out DPS the other teams carry unless they are building a Savage mace, while the other stats grant excellent boosts that work well on The Dark Lady.

Runed Axe

Cost: 4350g
  • Sustainer: 1750g
    • Lifetube: 875g
    • Manatube: 875g
  • Bastard Sword: 1400g
  • Broad Sword: 1200g
+65 Damage
+6 Health Regeneration
150% Mana regeneration

40% Splash damage in a 225 unit radius.

A Second Runed axe will stack the splash up doing even more AoE damage on the charge.

Symbol of Rage

Cost: 6150g
  • Axe of the Malphai: 3200g
  • Whispering Helm: 1850g
    • Helm of the Victim: 950g
    • Hungry Spirit: 900g
  • Symbol of Rage Recipe: 1100g
+25 Strength
+20 Damage
+5 Armor
25% Lifesteal

On use
Applies Symbolic Rage to self for 3.5 seconds.

Symbolic Rage Effects
150% Lifesteal
Symbol of rage is an excellent final item, as the lifesteal and health boost is amazing, but you need some good damage first else it isn't going to be any use.


Cost: 4400g
  • Warhammer: 1600g
  • Warhammer: 1600g
  • Shieldbreaker Recipe: 1200g
+60 Damage

On Attack
Applies Broken Armor to target for 5 seconds.

Broken Armour Effect
-6 Armour
Another good damaging item, not the best as it takes up your attack modifier slot. When you charge through a pack on enemies it will apply the debuff to every unit you hit. If the other team has armour buff heroes such as and you would be better off looking towards getting a harkon's blade to avoid the armour all together.


Cost: 2650/3600/4550/5500g
  • Punchdagger: 500g
  • Broadsword: 1200g
  • Riftshards Recipe: 950g
+45/55/65/75 Damage

On Attack
10/13/16/20% chance for 1.8/2/2.2/2.4x Critical Strike
Nice damage boost from this item, if you get a couple Crit's during your charge it will do devastating damage to all units near by.
Items to Avoid

Geometer's Bane

Cost: 4800g
  • Blessed orb: 2100g
  • Firebrand: 2200g
    • Quickblade: 1000g
    • Fleetfeet: 450g
    • Firebrand Recipe: 750g
  • Geometer's Bane Recipe: 500g
+10 Intelligence
+10 Strength
+26 Agility
+15 Attack Speed
+10% Movement Speed

On use
Spawn 2 Illusions of self. The illusions take 3.5 times normal damage, deal 33% of your attack damage, and inherit properties from you. The Illusions have a 20 second life time. Dispels all Buffs and Debuffs on use.
This item is one of the best items for agility carries, but it simply does not work on The Dark Lady, the ideal time for you to use this is just after charging in so that the Illusions are in the pack and able to do damage. This is not the case for The Dark Lady, in the item description I've highlighted in red why, it dispels buffs. A huge amount of The Dark Lady's carry potential comes from the two buffs from Dark Blades and Charging Strikes, so this item is a no no.

Elder Parasite

Cost: 1900g
  • Hungry Spirit: 900g
  • Elder Parasite Recipe: 1000g
17% Lifesteal

On use
Applies Crazed to self for 12 seconds.

Crazed Effects
+100 Attack Speed
+20% Movement Speed
+20% Damage taken
Every time i've seen someone get this on The Dark Lady it hasn't turned out well, The Dark Lady already has a fairly low health pool, if you are playing against player with a brain they will all target you the second you activate this.


Cost: 3100g
  • Bolstering Armband: 450g
  • Halberd: 1500g
  • Brutalizer Recipe: 1150g
+6 Strength
+30 Damage

On Attack
25% chance for Melee Heroes to deal 25 Physical damage to target and stun for 1.4 seconds.
This item offers very little in damage output, with The Dark Lady's farming abilities you will be able to get much more powerful items than this, the stun is close to useless.

Charged Hammer

Cost: 5500g
  • Thunderclaw: 3000g
    • Warhammer: 1600g
    • Gloves of the Swift: 500g
    • Thunderclaw Recipe: 900g
  • Warpcleft: 2100g
  • Charge Hammer Recipe: 400g
+70 Attack Speed
+24 Damage

On Attack
20% chance to do 200 magic damage to target and 2 near by enemies.

On use
Applies charged up to target.
While it can proc on every hit during the charging strikes, it just does not proc enough to work well, go into practice, spawn 10 creeps. Charge into them with this, then charge into them with runed axe, the results will be 1 or 2 dead creeps for the hammer, while runed axe will kill them all. Getting a second Runed axe would be far better than getting this item.

Early Game/Laning
As a hard-carry you are going to be spending most of the early game farming in the short lane, bot lane for Legion and top lane for Hellbourne. You are best off laning with a babysitter who can keep the other team off you while also helping you net some early kills if the other team slips up.

Once the creeps start coming focus on last hitting and creep leashing, this is when you click to attack the enemy hero in order to get creep to try and attack you, turn around just as the creeps chase you, getting them to chase you close to your tower, don't leash them into the towers range as this will push the lane and put you in danger. At about 00:45 get your babysitter to go stack the pull camp and then pull it at 01:15, stacking it first will allow the neutrals to kill the entire wave of creeps, which will not push the lane. While your babysitter is pulling you need to be staying just on the edge of exp range and grabbing kills with taint soul, if the other team has double stun do not get close enough to die.

If the other team over extends you can try to get a kill, The Dark Lady does quite alot of damage early game with her buffs, but she is very squishy so don't be over aggressive leading into a death, you are better off sitting back last hitting over risking a death.

Once you reach around lv6 or 7 with a high level in charging strikes (if you take that build), you can tell your babysitter to go gank while you farm solo.

Depending on your farm you can rush the runed axe for before 15 minutes, you should get normal marchers after the sustainer and the latest. Continue farming towards completing your core items.

If you are going for a kill Charge with Dark Blades active, after you hit them once or twice and they turn to run cast Taint soul on them to maximise the effectiveness of the slow.
Mid game
By the 25 minutes mark at the latest you should be getting your Runed axe, in general i get this before the rest of my core items as it allows easy farming of the rest. If you have had bad farm get steamboots and power supply while still aiming for that runed axe.

By now you should be carrying teleports with you at all times, as you can charge into the forest and teleport away from ganks and if there is a team fight near a tower you can get over there and help, hopefully netting you some kills. In the event of a team fight you should apply Dark Blades and then charge through to cast squishy Int heroes, your silence will make them unable to fight back and they will drop really fast, again use Taint soul if they try to run away.

Continue farming and go for one of the luxury items, or a shrunken head if the situation requires it. With the runed axe you are able to use charing strikes on a creep wave, which will either kill it or leave them all on low hp for easy clean up, farm away on the lanes and jungle, remember you are a hard-carry, if you are not in a fight killing heroes you need to be farming as much as possible.
Late Game
Late game is when The Dark Lady really shines, now you should have Runed axe, boots and at least 1 luxury item. Now is the time to start pushing, get your team together and push the lane, using charging strikes to clear a full creep wave instantly.

Should the other team come to defend you need to make sure you use all your spells, If you have an initiator on your team you need to be ready to use cover of darkness the seconds they go in. Once cover is used quickly activate Dark blades and Charge through as many units as possible, the more units the more AoE damage you will do thanks to the Runed Axe splash. Once you get into the fight, once again target the casters, as the silence will stop them from helping the team out.

If you are not pushing you need to keep farming and fill your inventory with luxury items, if you have filled it then save up for buy backs just in case.
Extra Information
Remember to always watch the map when you are farming, make sure to get supports to buy wards, if they refuse get them yourself! You need to be able to avoid ganks, so wards are necessary, the 200g spent on them is alot less than the gold you will miss out on if you get ganked.

If you planning to get Symbol of Rage as one of your Luxury items, getting an early Whispering helm can allow you to stack up the ancients, once you have your Runed axe you are able to clear a fully stacked (3 spawns worth) ancient camp very easy, this can be a very good boost of gold towards your Luxury items and a nice experience boost.

In a fight always go for the squishy heroes that rely on spells, the silence from Dark Blades makes them useless.

Try to get another hero to buy an abyssal skull, the aura from this is great but you should be focusing on other items instead of this.

Should you end up soloing the lane you will need to spend more time hanging back and using Taint Soul to last hit.
Lane Partners
As a hard-carry you will want a babysitter to help you farm early game.


This guy is the best hero to lane with, his slow is extremely powerful and has an immobilize to let you bash on heroes easy early on. Not only that his Global Mana aura will make you always able to pull off your full combo.

Witch Slayer

This guy has lots disables, if you are with this guy go for the aggressive build as you will be able to get lots of early kills thanks to his CC abilities.

Plague Rider

This guy has a powerful slow, which can save you and net you early game kills, he is able to help keep the lane back at the tower while also having an incredibly deadly ult, could very easily get a double kill at lv6.


She has a very powerful stun and a large heal, on top of that she can keep your mana topped up, another great babysitter.

Demented Shaman

Another strong babysitter, unfortunately his slow isn't very good untill level 5 and only has 550 range meaning he can't harass as well as other baby sitters. The heal can be very powerful when timed right and late game his ultimate can lower the other teams armour to nothing letting you destroy them even faster.
Good Team fighters
You are also going to need good allies in order to have a good fight, in particular a good initiator.


This guys ultimate is amazing, not only does it the heroes, it pulls them closer together, making your charging strikes with runed axe even more deadly.


Another AoE disabler, this guy will hold them all still long enough for you to get in and destroy them all, while also doing a lot of damage to the whole team.


This guy is going to keep the other team off you early game by killing them constantly, on top of this he is a great initiator for a team fight.
Bad Enemies
All gankers are going to be trying to kill you, you will need to be on your guard and make sure these guys don't manage to gank you.


This guys ultimate is the biggest counter to you, it will purge off both your buffs, not only this, it even goes through magic immunity! That isn't even the worse, early game his stun will stop you from being able to run away from ganks.

Nullfire Blade

This item will purge buffs from you, severely damaging your damage output, if you think an enemy hero is going to build this you will need to get a Shrunken Head.

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