How to Play Shadow Shaman in Dota 2

Do you want to play Shadow Shaman as a support in Dota 2?

An iconic support there since the start of Dota, Rhasta, better known as Shadow Shaman, dominates the early game. Multiple disables, and an incredibly powerful early game nuke makes very few supports able to compete with Shadow Shaman. As a result, learning How to Play Shadow Shaman in Dota 2 is viral for all supports.

In addition to this, his incredible pushing ability allows him to take towers and push entire lanes single-handedly. His abilities also make him capable of dominating team fights even though his disables are single-target. Farming effectively throughout the game grants Shadow Shaman the opportunity to scale well into the late game.

His long-duration disables become key in picking off enemies and are integral and shutting down enemy teams. Besides this, his high starting attack damage is a menace in the lane and makes it easy to bully hostiles. Furthermore, his abilities have low cooldowns, making knowing how to play shadow shaman in Dota very useful.

Shadow Shaman usually benefits from having allies that can burst down enemies and take full advantage of his disables. Some examples of heroes that fit this category are Ursa, Juggernaut, and Legion Commander for her Duel. Shadow Shaman also works well against cores with low mobility like Templar Assassin, Medusa, and Terrorblade.

Shadow Shaman’s Abilities

Shadow Shaman

His first ability, Ether Shock, is a multi-target nuking spell that deals a max of 700 with the appropriate talent.  Along with a measly cooldown of eight seconds,  it also has an impressive radius of 300 units. Progressing in damage much faster than many other nukes, it is terrifying to go up against in the lane.

A long-duration hexing spell with a minimal mana cost, Hex is one of Shadow Shaman’s multiple disables for a long-duration hexing spell with minimal mana cost. The ability transforms targets into harmless chickens for 3.5 seconds, during which they do nothing but move. It has a cooldown of thirteen seconds, which is enough to layer on further stuns and disables.

His next iconic disable is Shackles which binds enemies with magical rope for five whole seconds. This insanely long-duration disable is key in destroying any chances of an enemy’s survival. While disabling enemies, it also damages them and is often enough damage to push hostiles over the edge early on.

With Mass Serpent Wards, Shadow Shaman can spawn ten Serpent Wards that attack both enemy targets and structures. The wards die off after forty-five seconds or by taking 2 hits from a tower or hero. Besides this, the wards have decent attack damage and are extremely efficient at destroying towers or taking objectives.

How to Utilize his Abilities

How to Play Shadow Shaman in Dota 2

At its first level, Ether Shock can be pathetic in its usage. However, one can combat this weakness by using it to either harass enemies or secure the ranged creep. Besides this, using Ether Shock on the middle-most target in an area affects the largest range of units possible. It is also a great wave clear while also being useful in flash farming.

Imposing a silence, mute, and disarm effect on a target at once is what makes this ability so incredibly useful. Having a larger cast range than his other disable, Hex is best to use as soon as enemies are visible. Hex’s early level also ensures that Shadow Shaman can easily layer his disables with other teammates.

Just like Hex, an excellent idea is to invest one level in Shackles to allow layering of disables. Apart from this, one should not prioritize Shackles and should use them after the target is already disabled for maximum duration. Additionally, it is worth noting that one can queue abilities that will immediately have an effect when the Shackle is over.

The greatest utility available to Shadow Shaman is his ultimate ability because of its innate pushing potential. Simply timing one’s Serpents correctly with the correct amount of lane creeps allows effortless destruction of towers. Moreover, a straightforward way to kill enemies is to disable them and then surround them with the Serpents.

Item Build

How to Play Shadow Shaman in Dota 2

As support, Shadow Shaman’s main concern is ensuring that his carry is well equipped and stays safe in the lane. To ensure this, buying tons of healing is mandatory and will secure one’s laning stage. Ideally, this healing should include Tangoes, Healing Salves, Enchanted Mangoes, Clarities, and Iron Branches for boosting stats and survivability.

With the advent of the early game, supports do not have to build towards major items and can focus elsewhere. Building a Magic Wand for sustain and survivability helps deter threats that the enemy Offlaner poses. Moreover, Boots of Speed is always a great pickup to aid mobility and help escape dodgy circumstances.

The transition to the midgame is where Shadow Shaman becomes strong and gains an impressive lead. This is because of his gain in XP and unlocking his Mass Serpent Wards. At this stage, his mana pool cripples his ability to play aggressively. Thus it becomes compulsory to buy Arcane Boots. 

Further in the midgame, Shadow Shaman’s stuns become integral in initiations and to get pickoffs. Consequently, one has to build towards both an Aether Lens or Blink Dagger to help position for spell casting. Though these items are viable first, an Aether Lens is better suited. This is because disassembling one’s Arcane Boots makes it cheaper.

When the late game rolls around, Shadow Shaman becomes far less potent; however, he can still be viable. To help him stay relevant, appropriate items such as Aghanim’s Sceptre or Refresher Orb are essential. These items improve his ultimate ability and allow him to become a tower-pushing powerhouse.

Laning Stage and Gameplay

How to Play Shadow Shaman in Dota 2

As the article mentions above, there are only a few things more prominent for spell casters than proper positioning. In the lane, there are mainly two different places where one can play. Namely, against a weak lane combo, playing in the jungle, and against an aggressive, strong combo, behind the ally carry.

Shadow Shaman is extremely good for denying creeps when in the lane because of his insane starting attack damage. Along with this, another priority is to constantly spam spells and to be a general nuisance. Moreover, special attention is due to stopping pulls and warding accurately to stop ganks and aggressive plays.

Leaving lane quite early after a successful laning stage, Shadow Shaman’s importance lies in getting pickoffs. A lethal disable combination with a max disable time of almost nine seconds is enough to kill anybody. Resultantly, constantly smoking whenever his abilities are off-cool down to get killed with his Offlaner is a must.

Another thing he specializes in, as the text above mentions, is his extremely formidable pushing potential. A good rule is to ensure Shadow Shaman’s Mass Serpent Wards are never off cooldown for too long. Using it effectively to take towers or even just to apply pressure is enough to reduce map control of enemies.

Shadow Shaman is an incredibly popular hard support hero in the lower MMR brackets due to his low skill cap. This is in combination with his deadly abilities and skillset that allow the elimination of any hero in the game. Reasons like these are exactly why learning How to Play Shadow Shaman in Dota 2 is vital to gaining MMR.

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