SS MID? Is that even possible? I will show you how strong Shadow Shaman can be on the midlane, he can destroy nearly anyone! 😀
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Dota 2 Shadow Shaman Hero Guide:
Shadow Shaman is an extremely effective disabler which is powerful in any team. He can be played in various styles, here I will show you the midlane style as a core.
How Shadow Shaman became my best Hero:
At first, I always played Shadow Shaman on the safe lane and I supported our position 1. With the long-distance shackles and the hex, SS can make the life of an offlaner superhard. On top comes that the Ether Shock can take down creeps fast for quick items and quick mana boots. But one day I played him mid, because no one went mid (that’s a long time ago, when no one had to pick a lane before searching). 😀
So I went mid vs a Storm Spirit. It was an absolute disaster for Storm, I was able to take him out before level 6 and he died 3 times in a row. It was uncommon to play a Shadow Shaman mid and the surprise was big, everyone who sees that just thinks that can’t work and underestimates the hero on the mid lane.
I started to play SS only on the mid lane and now I have 300+ Shadow Shaman matches with over 60% win rate and a Divine 1 rank (see all Dota 2 ranks here). I will show you exactly how I play Shadow Shaman mid but before doing that, it’s important to know something I experienced:
If you fail mid with Shadow Shaman, reports will fly in. Let’s say I had about 200 games on the mid lane with Shadow Shaman mid. While I dominated about 120+ in the other games it was even or I lost the lane. It’s normal to sometimes lose the lane, but if you pick Shadow Shaman mid, everyone hates you. A good portion of players will instantly tilt because you do that pick, another good amount will lose any hope to win the game if you die once. It’s hard and maybe only recommended if you can deal with that. I love to play the underdog style and to destroy the enemy with special builds. 😉
SS is by far my best hero and I will show you how I play him…
Why I play Shadow Shaman on the Midlane:
Shadow Shaman has weaknesses and strengthens, it’s important to put a lot of intensity and focus into his best possible outcome. Here’s what SS is about:
Shadow Shaman is an extremely strong disabler and pusher. He can also initiate, support and nuke! So, why I go mid is, because I focus on nuking and pushing.
When other players start the game and pick a hero, they have a rough gameplan of how everything will be… With Shadow Shaman mid, I try to break this gameplan and face enemies with huge problems.
The simple game plan in total is: I rush Aghanims Scepter and force my team to come mid to end the game.
And that’s why I am going mid: I can farm extremely fast vs any enemy hero. With Ether Shock, you can clear waves fast and the first tower is just a matter of time.
Shadow Shaman Midlane Guide:
When the game starts, I let my team know that I go SS mid (60%+) with a 20-minute push mid and that they can support it with early pushers and sustain. Heroes like Death Prophet, Huskar, Warlock or Pugna are perfect examples for a great synergy, at the end of the guide, you can find all combos and counters. The worst thing that can happen is an Anti mage, Juggernaut or Spectre pick. Then I let someone else mid and play support.
The Early Game:
In the early game, it’s all about getting last hits and keeping the enemy away. With Shadow Shaman it is possible to beat the most heroes in CS: He has a fast attack with high damage and the Ether Shock is nearly instantly.
It’s important to get every single creep of the first few waves and to push the enemy back and deny some creeps. I often pick Shackles first and use it on level 1 when the first creeps are dead to shackle the enemy and the allied creeps hit the enemy. At that point, he turns near 50% and a good lane dominance is prepared.
Afterward on LVL 3 the Ether Shock level two can be spammed. Always hit the enemy hero and the desired creep at the same time to push him back. In the early game, a good mana regeneration with clarities is important. Your supports should provide one ward to give vision and safe you from early ganks. The courier should be used early to get the phase boots fast. Once you have phase boots, last-hitting gets extremely easy and the active speed up is perfect to engage with shackle. Get those phase boots as fast as possible and just don’t die. Focus on CS!
Killing the enemy before level 6 is not likely if he is good. But once you turn six, it’s time to act, it’s important to load to full hp and mana at the end of level 5 to be active on six. Now your time has come!
My typical push on level 6 looks like this:
- I force the enemy creepwave back with an Ether Shock while hitting the enemy hero with the spell. He turns below 75%.
- Now I activate Phase Boots and surround the enemy hero with my Serpent Wards (inside the tower range). It’s not too hard to do it, with a bit train, it works every single time. 😉
- I hit the enemy once or twice and check what he is doing (he will destroy the wards). Before he can get one down I shackle him.
- Afterwards I Ether Shock him again and hit him. He’s probably dead.
- In the best possible scenario, you even get the tower-kill with your Snakes. In the worst scenario, the enemy team teleports in with 1 or 2 supports and save the enemy hero and bring down your Snakes. If a tp comes in, accept that, you can’t do much, they have to invest a lot of time for that, just don’t die.
The Mid Game:
In the mid-game, it’s getting harder. You have to play smart or the game will be out of your hands. You have one mission: Bring down towers. That’s not an easy goal, but what I have learned is, that you need to read the game. Just stay on the mid lane for a bit and check where all of the enemy heroes are. Buy all the wards you can get to place them offensively soon.
Now when the first thing happens, it’s time to act: If two enemies tp top, go down and push as fast as you can and use your ultimate in the tower safely. Don’t overcommit just be patient.
Another scenario could be a good push of your team where they won a fight. Join them and bring the tower down together. The extra gold will boost your enemy team and the most important thing in this game: The Aghanims Scepter on your Shadow Shaman before minute 20! At that time when you have the Agha, your power curve has come. You have the biggest spike in the game, it won’t get bigger – it’s time to act.
Call your team to come mid all and get the rax. It’s simple.
Be cool and tell them via voice or chat that your Agha will bring down the rax in two push attempts. Like that they will come again if the first one fails. And in most games, it will work out. If not the game may be lost, but that has to have reasons. With good teammates and your Aghanims, the percentage to get that melee rax is super high.
The next rule I learned: The game is not won if you get the mid rax early. You need to get the next lane asap. Buy all the wards or ask your supports for offensive wards. Your team needs to control the vision of the map. The enemy team should not be able to come out and deward. Just gather again and push the next towers and the next lane. Be smart and lead your team through voice and chat. As a Shadow Shaman mid, you can only win the game if you act as the leader.
The Late Game:
The late game is not existent. With Shadow Shaman mid you have to end the game before the late game even starts! 😉 If it goes into the end game phase you can still win, but it’s getting harder. What I learned is that the best thing you can do is, to ignore any situational next item and to go for the Refresher Orb. The Refresher Orb will be useless in 95% of the game time, but if you can somehow reach the enemy base and place two Serpent Wards, the win is near. To maintain enough mana you can replace the phase boots with mana boots and buy more mana items. Also when the push starts, drink a clarity when you have used your first mana.
It’s still necessary to lead the team, a good push with Agha-Refresher can get the important rax on a side lane or bring the enemy main building down!
Shadow Shaman Talent Tree Guide:
The talent tree for SS is unlike other heroes more for the late game. The early spell amplification (or 200 health) is not worth talking about, it’s just improving the Ether Shock and ultimate a bit. But the 15,20 and 25 talent tree of Shadow Shaman is improving the Mass Serpent Ward a lot. The cast range on level 15 is extremely effective for pushing and the 20 and 25 upgrade gives more hp to the snakes and extra damage in the end. This is the perfect layout for a base pushing playstyle underlined by an Aghanims and a refresher. 😉
Key Factors to win with Shadow Shaman Mid in any Dota 2 match:
Do this to win the game:
- Focus on items, get Phase Boots and Agha fast.
- Keep the death count low, especially in the early game, the bracer helps.
- Use the drum when you push.
- In the early game steal all kills with the Ether Shock to get extra gold. Once you reached Aghanims, you do not need kills anymore, try to give the last hit to the carries.
- It’s all about leading your team and pushing with five men. If you call your team it will work out. At the higher Dota 2 ranks (Legend, Ancient, Divine & Immortal) it works much better compared to lower ranks (Herald, Guardian, Crusader & Archon).
- Don’t listen to the haters and flamers, tell them that you win the game, he can join doing it or ruin it, he has two options. 😉
Avoid these things:
- Avoid helping teammates when it’s the wrong time to do so.
- Avoid using your ultimate that won’t bring a tower down. In a 5v5 that accidently happen, it can be mandatory, but decide wisely. 😉
- Don’t fall into the support role, you play a core and if you don’t fill out the core role your team will fall far behind.
- Adjust the items if you want, but don’t skip the Aghanims, it’s the number one priority.
Synergies, Combos and Friends of Shadow Shaman:
Shadow Shaman has great pushing power, and the objectives are the towers and barracks. A lot of heroes allow great synergies and combos with Shadow Shaman. Every teammate that can support SS in that and protect the important Snakes builds a synergy. When pushing with 5 men, a lot of heroes can protect the Serpent Wards:
- Death Prophet has a great offensive timing window with her activated ultimate.
- Huskar is super offensive, can take the aggro and takes the focus away from the Snakes.
- Pugna with his magic burn and high ranged spells can do additional building but also hero damage.
- Dragon Knight with an activated ultimate can dominate the push and push the enemies back, same goes for ranged tanks like Viper.
- Pudge is great for Hooks near the Snakes to make it harder to come near.
- Lycan has great pushing power, especially with Necronomicon.
- If there is enough backup, Sniper can hit the tower and the enemies down.
- Warlock with his ultimate is a great combo with SS for a highly effective push.
Find more Dota 2 hero guides here.
Counters and Bans:
As I said before If a teammate picks Antimage or Spectre or a similar super-late-game-hard-carry, then I switch to the support role and don’t go mid. There are a lot of heroes that are strong vs a Shadow Shaman mid, but it does not have to have an impact on your longterm strategy. The most strong midlaners you could face, need more concentration and passiveness from you.
A strong Divine Invoker can be a pain in the ass, especially with mana burn and cold snap. Templar Assasin or Phantom Assasin can also be strong, but this just needs a bit train, how to beat them.
If you can’t kill the enemy mid hero, even with all of your spells and preparations, life gets hard. Those heroes can be a Viper, Dragon Knight or Legion Commander. If they invest in a lot of regeneration and hp items, bringing them down is nearly impossible without a good support gank. Concentrate on the tower and your CS then and keep the deny count high. Your time to shine will come, ask for a gang and be prepared.
Conclusion, Tips and Advice:
Try out the Shadow Shaman mid, it’s fun, I just love it! 😉
It’s some kind of an underdog playstyle and if you win, you even feel better. Enemies that get owned by a 25 minute run-down, don’t even know what happened, they will say it was an unbalanced game with bad teammates… But it was you, your strategy and each of these wins is an addicting dose of lovely Dota. 😀
Any feedback? What do you think about my SS mid, did you try it out?