Crixalis, the Sand King, is a melee strength hero with one of the highest area of effect (AoE) damage outputs in the entire game. All four of his abilities can affect multiple enemy units, and can combo quite well with each other. He is one of the most versatile Heroes in the game as he can push, initiate, support, gank, and even semi-carry if he does well. Late game his effectiveness diminishes as none of his abilities scale, but he can still function to support carries with Burrowstrike and Epicenter's slow. He is also versatile enough to be able to go to any lane with at least moderate success. He works well as a participant in a dual lane or trilane, but can also solo very effectively against melee enemies, since Caustic Finale discourages enemies from approaching the creeps. His main role in the team is to deliver a devastating initiation, delivering both stuns and slows to the enemy team. Crixalis is also very effective at escaping and dodging with two low cost, low cooldown abilities that disjoint projectiles and can escape enemy damage. Burrowstrike allows him to tunnel underground and resurface in a short line, dealing damage and stunning all targets it hits. Sand Storm is used as an escape mechanism and to do AoE damage. Caustic Finale serves as a strong harassing tool against enemy melee heroes or as a followup after he Burrowstrikes a creep wave, allowing him to farm quite effectively. Finally, his ultimate, after a short channeling time, delivers a vast amount of area of effect damage and slow centered around himself which necessitates a safe way to channel the ability like the purchase of a Blink Dagger.
|Crixalis, the Sand King|
|Play "I will show you fear in a handful of sand…"|
|Role:||Initiator / Disabler / Nuker / Escape / Jungler|
|Lore:||The sands of the Scintillant Waste are alive and sentient--the whole vast desert speaks to itself, thinking thoughts only such a vastness can conceive. But when it needs to find a form to communicate with those of more limited scope, it frees a fragment of itself, and fills a carapace of magic armor formed by the cunning Djinn of Qaldin. This essential identity calls itself Crixalis, meaning 'Soul of the Sand,' but others know it as Sand King. Sand King takes the form of a huge arachnid, inspired by the Scintillant Waste's small but ubiquitous denizens; and this is a true outward expression of his ferocious nature. Guardian, warrior, ambassador--Sand King is all of these things, inseparable from the endless desert that gave him life.|
|Voice:||David Scully (Responses)|
- The spikes travel at a speed of 2000 ( 3000), reaching max range in 0.18/0.23/0.28/0.33 ( 0.23/0.3/0.37/0.43) seconds.
- Sand King is moved instantly towards the targeted point once the spikes reach it.
- When targeting a unit, Sand King chases the target until it is within range and casts Burrowstrike towards its direction.
- The spikes still do not home in on the target, thus can be evaded. Targeting a unit only determines the direction upon cast.
- Hit units are knocked up 350 range for the initial 0.52 seconds of the stun.
- While in the air, other units may pass below hit airborne units.
- The damage is applied upon landing, not upon getting hit.
- The burrowing and reappearing takes 0.53 seconds from the moment the spell is cast, during which Sand King cannot do anything.
- The spikes do not travel the full distance when targeting closer than the max distance.
- Cannot be cast while rooted.
- Unlike other channeling spells, certain items which do not cancel channeling spells (e.g. Shiva's Guard) do cancel Sand Storm.
- Invisibility and sand cloud are instantly dispelled when Sand King attacks, casts a spell or uses an item.
- When Sand Storm gets canceled by disables or manually by Sand King, the sand cloud and invisibility remain for 0.9/1.1/1.3/1.5 seconds.
- However, the area damage over time instantly stops.
- When Sand King gets moved by non-canceling forced movement, the sand cloud and the area damage move along.
- The sand cloud's position updates upon recasting the spell, when recasting it while still channeling the previous cast.
- Sand Storm deals 20/30/40/50 ( 45/55/65/75) damage in 0.5 second intervals, starting immediately, resulting in a total of 100 instances.
- Can deal up to 2000/3000/4000/5000 ( 4500/5500/6500/7500) damage to a single unit (before reductions) if it stays in range for the whole duration.
- Successive attacks on the same target neither stack the debuff, nor do they refresh its duration.
- Sand King does not have to do the last hit. When a unit dies in any way with the debuff on, it causes the area damage and slow.
- When the debuff expires without the unit dying, the expire damage and the slow are applied within the radius around it.
- The slow from multiple explosions does not stack, only the duration gets refreshed.
- When interrupted during the channeling, the spell does nothing, wasting the cooldown and mana.
- If the channeling was successful the damage pulses cannot be interrupted anymore, not even by Sand King's death.
- Sand King can act freely during the damage pulses.
- The pulse radii are all centered at Sand King's current location, not at the cast location.
- When Sand King dies after having finished channeling, the pulses still continue from where he died.
- The pulses happen in 0.5/0.375/0.3 ( 0.3/0.25/0.21) second intervals, starting 0.5/0.375/0.3 ( 0.3/0.25/0.21) seconds after the channeling finishes.
- This means it takes 3 seconds for the spell to release all pulses after the initial delay.
- Can deal up to 660/880/1100 ( 1100/1320/1540) damage to a single unit when all pulses hit (before reductions).
- The slow is applied to enemies on each pulse. Multiple instances of the slow on a unit do not stack, but refresh the duration.
- Can slow a single unit for up to 6 seconds (total duration of pulses + debuff duration).
|+4 Epicenter Pulses||25||+50 Health Regen|
|+120 Gold/Min||20||+350 Health|
|-50 Epicenter Attack Slow||15||+50 Sand Storm DPS|
|+5 Armor||10||+10% Magic Resistance|
- The armor is added as bonus armor, and therefore does not benefit illusions.
- Upgrading health increases maximum health capacity and keeps the current health percentage.
- The magic resistance stacks multiplicatively with other sources of magic resistance.
- Gold granted from the talent is unreliable gold.
- The health regen is added as a bonus and does not benefit illusions.
- Gauntlets of Strength and Circlet give Sand King good attribute bonuses, particularly strength, which helps to alleviate his low base strength, giving him more survivability.
- One each of Tangos and Healing Salve provide health regeneration to help you survive the laning stage.
- At least one Clarity is recommended, since Sand King's mana pool is quite small. Even with stat items, he can only cast Burrowstrike twice before running completely out of mana. Being able to cast Burrowstrike multiple times in-lane allows Sand King to be a very aggressive support that increases his team's chances of getting First Blood.
- As a utility support, Sand King should buy early support items such as the Animal Courier and Observer Wards.
- Magic Stick is useful on all support heroes, Sand King included. A full-charge Magic Stick allows him to replenish a large fraction of his HP and mana, the mana giving him enough instant burst regen to cast Burrowstrike one more time to escape or ensure a kill.
- Boots of Speed give Sand King the mobility he needs to catch up to enemies and cast Burrowstrike on them. Because Sand King's spells are so reliant on positioning, getting Boots as early as possible can enable him to be more active on the map.
- Bracer provides great all around attributes, especially to Sand King's strength to give him more HP and base damage.
- Magic Wand gives Sand King more attributes and the ability to store more charges. The burst mana regen is particularly important since Sand King's mana pool is quite small throughout all stages of the game, so having the mana to cast his spells is extremely important.
- Arcane Boots are built on Sand King both to increase the size of his own mana pool and to allow him to replenish his own and his teammates' mana, a crucial duty for a support. As Epicenter requires copious amounts of mana, Sand King must bolster his mana pool if he is to be able to initiate properly with his ultimate.
- Blink Dagger should be the first core item that Sand King builds, as it greatly extends his reach and mobility, allowing him to initiate with Burrowstrike or Epicenter. Particularly, combined with Burrowstrike, Sand King can instantly jump on and disable an enemy from up to 2000 range away.
- Town Portal Scroll is important to carry on all heroes. For Sand King, being able to show up to any engagement and add Blink-Burrowstrike to the mix can be a very powerful asset to have.
- Aghanim's Scepter greatly increases Sand King's initiation range and significantly augments the lethality of Epicenter. The longer-ranged Burrowstrike allows Sand King to catch significantly more targets with the stun from farther away, especially when combined with Blink Dagger, and applying Caustic Finale to all struck enemy heroes deals significantly more nuke damage without requiring Sand King to attack them. The item also improves Sand King's overall stats, particularly his HP and mana to give him more survivability during an initiation.
- Veil of Discord is a very strong utility item on Sand King, as he can cast it immediately before blinking in with a Burrowstrike-Epicenter-Sandstorm combo.
- Blade Mail is a good mid-game item that gives Sand King survivability. The intelligence bonus shores up his mana pool, while the armor and active can give Sand King more survivability in teamfights if the enemy chooses to focus him.
- Shiva's Guard gives Sand King immense survivability against physical damage, as well as another slow and damage nuke. Using the active alongside Epicenter can drastically slow enemies down, keeping them inside the radius of the ultimate.
- Black King Bar can allow Sand King to channel his ultimate without worry of being interrupted by most enemy spells. It can be a handy item to have if you can't rely on making clean initiations, or need to do more in a teamfight without being disabled.
- Heart of Tarrasque greatly increases the size of Sand King's health pool, allowing him to do more in teamfights before falling.
- Glimmer Cape, while costly in terms of mana, is a very strong initiation and utility item that can improve Sand King's reach. The improved attack speed aids with utilizing Caustic Finale, while the magic resistance improves his survivability against magic nukes. The active, cast on himself, allows Sand King to stealthily approach targets in order to initiate with Blink-Burrowstrike, or allow an ally with initiation spells to do the same; if needed, it can also aid in channeling Epicenter by providing invisibility. It can also be used defensively, giving caught allies an escape window if the enemy has no ready detection.
- Sentry Wards are extremely useful on Sand King, as he is a very strong de-warder despite being a melee hero. Possession of both Blink Dagger and Burrowstrike allows him to blink onto high-ground ward spots, place a Sentry Ward and destroy any Observer Wards he finds, and then Burrowstrike back down to safety.
- Orb of Venom can be a useful utility item that aids Sand King in chasing enemies. Combined with Caustic Finale, Sand King can greatly slow enemies' movement speed.
- Urn of Shadows is a good utility item, as Sand King has quite low base strength and can benefit from the mana regen. As he is already a very strong ganker, Sand King can easily get the charges he needs for the active, which allows him to heal himself or teammates, or add more damage to any ganks he participates in.
- Force Staff is extremely strong on Sand King, as it allows him to displace himself even more on top of Blink Dagger and Burrowstrike. It can extend his initiating range to 2600 (3250 with Aghanim's Scepter), or allow him to displace allies and/or enemies in engagements. As well, it provides him with intelligence, giving him a bigger mana pool and gives him a small amount of HP regen as well.
- Eul's Scepter of Divinity can be a very strong utility item to build on Sand King. It increases his base movement speed, granting him even more mobility, and gives him more mana and mana regen, allowing him to effectively ignore his mana requirements. The active ability can be used on enemies as an extra disable, or on Sand King himself for temporary invulnerability, such as immediately after a successful Epicenter combo.
- Pipe of Insight is a good utility item to build. It increases Sand King's resistance to magical nukes, useful due to the manner in which he initiates with Epicenter, and the active can shield himself and teammates from magical damage for a time.
- Crimson Guard can be a useful durability and utility item to purchase on Sand King. As he already has survivability issues due to his low armor and mediocre strength, buffing up his physical survivability can allow him to do more in fights, particularly as he is a melee hero who can take full advantage of the damage block, and the active gives all of his teammates immense resistance to physical damage.
- Scythe of Vyse is a very expensive item to build, but gives Sand King many strong benefits. It gives him stats across the board and a self-sustaining mana pool, and the active gives him yet another instant hard-disable that he can use on the enemy.
- In a very old version of DotA, there was a bug that caused the final pulse of Sand King's Epicenter to deal over 10,000 damage. The only unit that was able to survive this was a super beefed up Pudge that was used to measure the amount of damage dealt by the ability.
- Another old bug involved using Burrowstrike on an allied creep. When Sand King got into Burrowstrike range of that creep, he would move all the way back to the position of the creep where it was first clicked on. Because it only worked on allied creeps, the most common usage of it was to quickly get back to base.
- Gabe Newell has claimed that Sand King is his favorite hero.
- Sand King's responses contain several cultural references:
- Sand King's line, Play "Like the sands through an hourglass, these are the days of defeat." is an allusion to the soap opera Days of our Lives's introduction line, "Like sands in the hourglass, these are the days of our lives.".
- Sand King's line, Play "All we are is sand in the wind..." is an allusion to the song Dust in the Wind song form the band Kansas.
- The line Play "You were expecting... Sandy Claws?" is most likely a reference to the stop-motion film Tim Burton's The Nightmare Before Christmas.
- The line Play "I will show you fear in a handful of sand..." is an allusion to the poem "The Waste Land" by T. S. Eliot.
- The line Play "We three Kings of disorient are..." is an allusion to the Christmas Carol "We Three Kings of Orient Are", by John Henry Hopkins, Jr.
- The line Play "The sand of silence." is most likely a reference to the song "The Sound Of Silence" by Simon and Garfunkel.
- The line Play "The King is dead. Long live the King." is most likely a reference to the traditional proclamation made following the ascension of a new monarch in various countries. This may also be a reference to the Megadeth song "Kill the King"
- The line "Play Lion, you are king of nothing" may be a reference to the film "The Lion King".
- Sand Storm's sound makes use of Play this and Play this voice line of Sandking.