Thursday, February 08, 2007

Guide to Balanar - The Night Stalker

Table of Contents

- Introduction
- Abilities
- Skill order
- Item build
- Strategies
- Replays


The Night Stalker. Feared at night, ignored during the day. This hero will let you own without too much effort, at the same time as he's not to be regarded as a newbie hero. You must be proficent with the many aspects of DotA to be an expert Balanar player, not to mention you must have studied this guide thoroughly!

A short breakdown on Balanars pros and cons.

(All his pros are during night)
+ One of the fastest movement speeds in the game. (Outrun by Banehallow in wolfform, Nerubian Weaver Windwalking, Bloodseeker using Strygwyr's Thirst and Bone Clinkz Windwalking)
+ Attack speed is supreme.
+ One of the best nukes in the game.
+ Can silence enemies, and make them miss on 40% of their attacks for 8 seconds!
+ Very good vision.
+ Awesome HP regeneration rate. (3.68 at level 1)
- Only crazy good during night.
- Lousy farmer.
- Very itemdependant

Balanar got normal regeneration rate during day. (About 30% of his regen rate during night) I've seen posts claiming he doesn't get any regeneration rate during day at all, but this is not true. He got the same regeneration rate as any hero would, based on his strength. This gives him 0.81 HP/second at level 1. (Daytime)

All in all, I think its great fun to play this hero. He�s not one of those insanely imbalanced heroes, at the same time as he's a killer machine. He's one of those who make a living out of heroes instead of creeps.

Balanar, the Night Stalker

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Biography and stats
Balanar was one of the elite Dreadlords before the Burning Legion fell. Now with the Burning Legion gone, he lives his new life attacking villages and ambushing his most hated enemy - the Night Elves. He draws upon his power from the moon, thus he is much stronger at night. Balanar can also use his control over time to change the time to night that further strengthens his power. His presence inspires fear into the heart of many.

Range: 100 (Melee)
Hit points: 549 (+53/level)
Mana: 182 (+18.2/level)
Armor: 3 (+0.32/level)

Strength (primary): 21 (+2.8/level)
Agility: 18 (+2.25/level)
Intelligence: 14 (+1.25/level)

Note: Increase is in average numbers.

Skill Overview

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Void (V)
Creates a damaging void. If cast at night, slows the target for 4 seconds.

Level 1: Deals 90 damage. (67,5)
Level 2: Deals 160 damage. (120)
Level 3: Deals 255 damage. (191,25)
Level 4: Deals 335 damage. (251,25)

Numbers in ( ) are the actual damage you will do to a hero. (25% spell resistance included)

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Crippling Fear (F)
In the night, the Night Stalker can cause intense fear in enemy units, causing them to miss attacks and be unable to cast spells. 125 mana cost at all levels.

Level 1: Miss on 10% of attacks. Last 5 seconds.
Level 2: Miss on 20% of attacks. Last 6 seconds.
Level 3: Miss on 30% of attacks. Last 7 seconds.
Level 4: Miss on 40% of attacks. Last 8 seconds.

This is an excellent spell which should always be cast at enemies as you approach them. 8 seconds of silence and major miss will greatly increase your chances of killing heroes such as Centaur and Sven 1on1 late game.

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Hunter in the Night
The Night Stalker is at home at night. He attacks and moves more swiftly.

Level 1: 15% movement speed, 20% attack speed.
Level 2: 20% movement speed, 35% attack speed.
Level 3: 30% movement speed, 55% attack speed.
Level 4: 35% movement speed, 75% attack speed.

Few notes on the speed:
Balanars speed at day without boots is 295
Balanars speed at day with Power Treads is 355
Balanars speed at night with Power Treads is 479,25 (Level 4)
Balanars movement speed at night with Mask of Madness is MAXED

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Darkness (R )
Creates a period of darkness for the Night Stalker to thrive in.

Level 1: Turns day into a 25 second night.
Level 2: Turns day into a 50 second night.
Level 3: Turns day into an 80 second night.

Important to note about Darkness! Your ultimate FREEZE the time cycle. This means you can use Darkness at night to extend the night. You should use it whenever it's ready. I believe you can use it 3 times at level 3 each day and night. This means 240 seconds extension of every night if used correctly.

Skill Order
Level 1: Void
Level 2: Hunter in the Night
Level 3: Void
Level 4: Hunter in the Night
Level 5: Void
Level 6: Hunter in the Night
Level 7: Void
Level 8: Hunter in the Night
Level 9: Darkness (Ultimate)
Level 10: Crippling Fear
Level 11: Darkness (Ultimate)
Level 12: Crippling Fear
Level 13: Crippling Fear
Level 14: Crippling Fear
Level 15: Stats
Level 16: Darkness (Ultimate)
Level 17: Stats
Level 18: Stats
Level 19: Stats
Level 20: Stats
Level 21: Stats
Level 22: Stats
Level 23: Stats
Level 24: Stats
Level 25: Stats

OBS! This build is the most effective build for a solo lane / or if you to get enough hero kills during the night, to reach level 9 short time after the first night. If you level up slowly, maybe because you are being heavily harassed or are just having a bad time, get level 1 of your ultimate as soon as possible after the first night!

Also, if you feel you need the silence from the Crippling Fear spell earlier, don't hesitate to switch 1 point of it with Void.

Item Builds

When you start out; always buy item 1 and 2. It doesn't matter if it's pick or random, you WILL get enough cash to buy both without losing out on much XP. (In a 5on5 pick/-allpick situation you will have 554 gold when the creeps spawn)

Item 1: Ring of Regeneration (375) (+2 HP regen/sec)
Item 2: Gauntlets of Strength (150) (+3 strength)

Right before the first day turns into night, return to base and purchase AT LEAST Boots of Speed. If you want, pick up a few Clarity Potions (45 gold each charge). They help a lot the first night of hunting.

Item 3: Boots of Speed (500) (+50 movement speed)
Item 4: Gloves of Haste (610) (+15% attack speed)
Item 5: Forming Power Treads (420) (+60 movement speed, +30% attack speed)

Item 6: Voidstone (900) (+100% mana regeneration)
Item 7: Ring of Health [Optional] (900) (+4 hp regen/sec)
Free: Forming Perseverance [Optional] (+100% mana regen, +4 hp regen/sec, +7 damage)

Item 8: Mithril Hammer (1610) (+24 damage)
Item 9: Forming Cranium Basher (1460) (+30 damage, +3 strength, 10% chance to bash for 25 extra damage and 1.1 sec stun)

Total item cost so far: 6,925 gold

Alright, now the basic "must-have" build for Balanar is completed. However, as the game proceeds, you will be in need of more damage to be able to continue your domination. I know a lot of players usually go for Satanic or even worse; Heart, but I find this to be way too defensive. What you need is powers of DESTRUCTION, not some damn healing. My suggestion;

Item 10: Blades of Attack (650) (+9 damage)
Item 11: Broadsword (1200) (+18 damage)
Item 12: Forming Crystalys (1000) (+35 damage, 10% 1.75x critical strike)
Item 13: Demon Edge (2600) (+36 damage)
Item 14: Forming Burize do-Kyanon (750)(+75 damage, 20% 2.20x critical strike)

Total item cost: 13,125 gold

Why go Burize instead of Monkey King Bar? Well, one of the best reasons would be that MKB will cancel the stun effect from the Cranium Basher. (Because MKB has a 30% chance to stun target for 0.1 seconds, something which will override any existing stun). Another reason is the fact that the path to Burize gives you many small buffs for a small amount of gold, (also easier to save up to) while MKB consists of few expencive items, and therefore takes some time before you get any buff at all!

Alternate "after-basic" build #2
Item 10: Ogre Axe (1000) (+10 strength)
Item 11: Broad Sword (1200) (+18 damage)
Item 12: Forming Black King Bar (1600) (+10 strength, 18 damage, 10 sec Avatar)
Item 13: Blades of Attack (650) (+9 damage)
Item 14: Broadsword (1200) (+18 damage)
Item 15: Forming Crystalys (1000) (+35 damage, 10% 1.75x critical strike)
Item 16: Demon Edge (2600) (+36 damage)
Item 17: Forming Burize do-Kyanon (750) (+75 damage, 20% 2.20x critical strike)

Total item cost: 16,825 gold

A powerful build which will make the Night Stalker even more lethal and unstoppable. Use this build only if it's going well for you and you manage to get the BKB before it's too late in game. Remember, if the other heroes get way better items than you, you just won't be able to kill them, avatar or no avatar.

Alternate "after-basic" build #3
Item 10: Claymore (1400) (+21 damage)
Item 11: Blade of Alacrity (1000) (+10 agility)
Item 12: Forming Lothar's Edge (1400) (+21 damage, 10 agility, 9 sec windwalk)
Item 13: Blades of Attack (650) (+9 damage)
Item 14: Broadsword (1200) (+18 damage)
Item 15: Forming Crystalys (1000)(+35 damage, 10% 1.75x critical strike)
Item 16: Demon Edge (2600) (+36 damage)
Item 17: Forming Burize do-Kyanon (750) (+75 damage, 20% 2.25x critical strike)

Total item cost: 16,925 gold

I've got the same notes here as on build #2. However, this one gives a completely different style of play. The Windwalk will greatly increase your abilities to ambush, as well as it can more easily get you out of troubles than what BKB can. (BKB only protects you from disables and other spells, but lategame the normal attack is often more lethal). Of course windwalk can be countered by gem or wards, so consider the gamesituation before choosing between build #2 and #3. (If you got Bone Clinkz, Stealth Assassin or Bounty Hunter on your team, the opposing team will most likely have invisibillity counter-measures ready)


The Early Game (1-9)

Ok, I'm just going to guide you through the first day/night cycle.

When you have bought both the RoR and Gauntlet of Strength, go to a lane. I suggest trying to get a lane for you only or go middle (Middle is a good lane to launch ambushes from, both to the right and left lane). Farming with the Night Stalker is no different from farming with any other strength melee character. Play safe. If you play vs. heavy harassers just stay back and leach XP the entire first day, just make sure you kill a few creeps to afford Boots of Speed by nightfall.

When there's no points left on the timewheel (right before nightfall) use up your mana and return to base. Purchase Boots of Speed and a few Clarity Potions. If you have extra cash buy Gloves of Haste and the recipe for Treads as well.

Now it�s time to choose your first victim. You are looking for agility and intelligence heroes, preferably with no stun/disable. You are also capable of killing wounded Strength heroes so these will do as well. Use the forests to your advantage, and surprise your victim. You have time, so don't rush it. Wait for the best moment to strike, and then execute the attack. Read further down for the basic hero killing tactic.

After you've got the kill, search for a new one. Use your clarity potions to regain mana and repeat the process. Keep on doing this the entire first night. Go back to fountain to heal / regain mana / purchase additional Clarity Potions whenever necessary (As I said; you have plenty of time for it). If you get 4-5 kills the first night (without dying) you�ve done well, and can probably purchase your Power Treads (And Perseverance) at dawn.

Watch Replay #1 to see this in action.

Middle Game (10-16)

Play as during Late Game.

Late Game (17-25)

Alright, no need to break this further down. The Night Stalker plays pretty much the same during the entire game. What's important to note is that your success in the early game stage is crucial for continued domination later on. When playing the Night Stalker it's easy to overvalue your abilities and run to the certain death. This is the beginning of Balanars downfall. Without items he just won�t be even a decent hunter later in the game. The Cranium Basher is a must to get during midgame, and the Burize is as important to have acquired during the later stages of the game.

Also, use your Darkness skill whenever it�s ready. At Level 2 and 3 it�s especially good as you can usually do more than one attack before the duration runs out. Use only level 1 when you are certain to get 1 kill (or more), or to get away from death.

Hero killing basics, tips and tricks

The basics
Killing with the Night Stalker is easy, and takes very little practice to become proficient with it. You strike during night, hit, hunt and then escape. The best way to do this is to hide, and get between the hero and his/her base. When your target is far enough away from safety (like a tower) attack (from behind) and hit the hero normally until he/she starts running. Cast Void and continue attacking the hero. That�s it. Finish the hero with another Void if necessary. Later in the game include Crippling Fear if you must. This should always be cast on heroes with disablers, or heroes who will otherwise defeat you 1on1.

DO NOT charge heroes 1v2.
DO NOT chase a hero into your certain death, even if you are confident to get the kill. (You need gold)
DO NOT attack a hero if you don't have enough mana to cast Void. Preferably 2 Voids.
DO NOT waste Darkness during the day. Use it only when you have located your target and are ready to strike.

Tips and tricks
- Farm during the day, hunt during the night. (Don�t use Darkness to farm better though)
- Use the forests to your advantage. You do best when you surprise your enemies.
- Keep in mind that Balanar got excellent nightvision. (Better than during the day?) This is important when you move about at night. You can see the enemies long before they spot you, which allows you to hide and wait for them. However, don�t push it; always keep safe margins from them, to avoid being accidentially seen because of miscalculation.
- Seek out heroes whom farm alone. Find a good spot to launch an ambush from, and strike when you judge the time to be right. Be careful to not be spotted on your way. Stay clear of enemy creeps! Most heroes DO run when they see the Night Stalker approaches.
- If you did not read the skills section, I will repeat it here. During night, use Darkness whenever it�s ready. It will extend the night. (To get maximum effect out of your ultimate)

How to counter Night Stalker? (And maybe counter the counters?)

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Strength heroes
Balanar gets in troubles when he faces heroes with large amounts of hit points. Not necessarily because he won�t be able to defeat them, but because it takes long time to kill them if they flee. This will usually end up with them receiving backup or getting into safety. The best way to counter this is to only attack/ambush them when they are low on HP.

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Magina, the Anti-Mage
What a pain in the ass. This guy will deplete Balanars mana pool in seconds, not to mention the health pool. I would avoid him in games, unless you got ideal conditions for defeating him. (Night, he got low HP and he doesn�t know where you are) If he blinks in to kill you on the other hand, the best thing you can do is either flee, or if its night cast Crippling Fear and immediately follow up with Void. If you got Cranium Basher as well, you should be able to kill him fairly easy. During day, just flee.

Alright, here I will post replays as I get them. There's currently none, as all of my previous replays were for v1.17 of TFT.

Frequently Asked Questions

How do u kill medusa in de lategame when she got her mana shield up? me friend got dis sick obsession wif her n kept pwning all de games...need sum real strats...

The key here is to catch her alone and far away from safety (taking out 2000hp and 1000 mana may take some time:))

Also it's important she does not outlevel you too much or have way better items than you (That shouldn't be a problem if you pick on her alot during early game as well). You should at least have basher, and preferably Crystalys as well. Here's what you do:

Attack her from behind, and do it right after a wave of creeps have passed (So they won't help her) Attack her normally, you should outdamage her as you have the occasional stun from the Basher and hopefully criticals from Crystalys. Your attackspeed is way better than hers. If she tries to run away, just hunt her as usual. (Void when ready and attack normally)

Anyway, I'm not saying you are guaranteed a kill, as she might get away. However she should in no way kill you in a 1on1 situation.

- Attack her when she's low on health and has the Mana Shield off. Surprise her from behind and throw Crippling Fear. Now she won't be able to use her manashield before you kill her.
- If she use Purge, follow it up with Void. This will neutralize the effect.
- If she doesn't flee (but attack you) cast Crippling Fear. She'll miss on 40% of her attacks and wont be able to use Lightning or Purge on you.
- If she recieve backup during the fight, or manage to overpower you, cast Crippling Fear on her and run away. She won't be able to purge you, and you'll get away easily.

Lets say if my cousin used Rhasta's ultimate(That Serpent Ward thingy) At lvl 3 of his ultimate he can cast out a chunk of 8 Wards. What if he casts that spell directly on me? Wouldnt that trap me and it would ensure certain death. Need your idea to counter that trap if i was the night stalker. Thx.

In fact, Rhasta can trap any hero at all 3 levels of his ultimate. The trick is to stand close to you and then target you directly with the wards. Usually, to make this work, he has to hex you first, to be able to get close enough, and then throw the wards. To counter this, you should never let him get that close to you. If you got silence, silence him and go for the kill / flee. Lategame you will have 8 seconds of silence, and that's usually enough to kill him.

Also, if you use Alternative Item Build #1 with Black King Bar, activate it when he approaches and he won't be able to hex you or trap you in his wards.

If he DO manage to trap you, you're in an awful mess. The only thing you can do to avoid heavy damage/being killed, is:
1) Try to kill enough wards to be able to escape from the prison. (very hard)
2) Use the Item Build alternative #2 (With Lothar's Edge) This will give you 9 seconds of invisibillity which gives you allies 9 seconds more to save you.


Blogger freddie said...

i find that balanar is a decent hero and i can usually get 20-30 kills and 0-2 deaths during a game with other people, but i find that it's really hard to kill faceless and magina because they keep on managing to run away... =( i wanna kill EVERY SOUL!!! mwahahaha, so is there anyway to out run them easily? thanks

7:56 AM

Blogger pjluisastig said...

I know balanar is strong hero but you can beat him if your build is strong in first game. I will tell you the build that can beat balanar Ex. Bkb, Ginsoo, Diffusal Blade. u can kill him if one of that item u have ok. tnx.

6:13 PM


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