Crixalis the Sand King is a melee strength hero with one of the highest area of effect 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 as 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. Sandstorm is used as escape mechanism and to do area of effect 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. A Sand King that is played effectively is one that grinds the entire enemy team into dust.
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- If laning against one or more melee heroes, Caustic Finale can destroy their ability to farm by making sure each time an enemy creep dies, it causes area of effect damage.
- Blink Dagger is a commonly built item for Sand King, used to initiate after channeling your Ultimate. The combo of Ulti+shift click blink is a strong way to enter team fights with the element of surprise and deal a ton of area of effect damage.
- Epicenter's potential damage is high. A full blast of level 3 epicenter will result in 1100 magical damage (before magic resistance) dealt to all heroes within its radius.
- After initiating, Sand Storm will protect you from auto attacks as well as deal damage to any enemy who stays in the area.
- In early game, hitting each creep once with Caustic Finale, followed by Burrowstrike will deal large damage in that area and can potentially kill any enemy hero who happens to be there.
- An effective early game combo involves using Burrowstrike on an enemy so they end up facing away from you and then immediately casting Epicenter. If done correctly, the enemy will be unable to stun you out of the channel phase and it will almost guarantee a kill. You should discontinue this around mid game, as you will need to save your ultimate for teamfight situations.
- The philosophy behind Sand Storm is that the enemy will grow bored of waiting for you to end its channeling, or will be too busy with the rest of your team to care about you. Note that while you cannot be hurt by autoattacks during its channeling, area of effect spells affect you fully. In the cases where the enemy has an AOE stun such as Lina's Light Strike Array or Invoker's Deafening Blast, it might be better to use Burrowstrike as an escape tool.
- Linken's Sphere is also a great item on Sand King since it gives him survivability and makes the channeling of Epicenter more difficult to stop. Pipe of Insight is another good survivability item for Sand King.
- A second disable such as Orchid Malevolence or Scythe of Vyse are also great items.
- Urn of Shadows is also a very viable item for a middle lane Sand King or one who wishes to keep ganking.
- In a very old version of DotA, there was a bug where the final pulse of Crixalis's Epicenter would cause 10,000 points of 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.
- Sand King's line, "Like sands in the 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, "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 "Were you expecting... Sandy Claws?" is most likely a reference to the stop-motion film Tim Burton's The Nightmare Before Christmas
 Update history
- Fixed Epicenter not slowing attack speed by 10.
- Fixed some ability Backswing timing issues ( Kunkka, Clockwerk, Timbersaw, Meepo, Pudge, Spirit Breaker, Sand King, Riki, Nyx Assassin, Lion, Pugna, Shadow Demon, Batrider).
- Neutrals can now be damaged by Sandstorm.
- Adjusted Sand King's texture.
- Fixed Primal Split's Wind element being unable to Dispel Sandstorm.
- Added rival death-taunts and other miscellaneous lines to flesh out dialog set for Sand King.
- [Undocumented] Added injured animations for Sand King.
- [Undocumented] Added chase animations for Sand King.
- Fixed Repel causing Burrowstrike to fail if used during the movement period.
- Fixed Refresher Burrow Strike not hurting affected units.
- Fixed Repel stopping Sandstorm.
- Fixed a bug with Epicenter doing its Ultimate Scepter number of pulses regardless of level.
- Sandstorm will no longer damage neutrals.
- He is now stunned for the duration of his burrow strike so he doesn't walk out of short ones too soon.
- He now plays burrow_in at the begining of his ability and the burrow_out when the impale projectile finishes its course.
- Fixed the fly time 0.8 -> .52
- The stun time was starting at the begining of the vertical motion but it's supposed to start when the unit lands. Changing the stun time 1.65 -> 1.65 + 0.52.
- Fixed Epicenter and Caustic Finale being purgeable.
- Fixed burrow strike not respecting linken's and magic immunity rules when doing the close hit checks
- Fixed Epicenter from ending when sandking dies
- Fixed Caustic Finale working on magic immune units like Rhasta Wards.
- Fixed Caustic Finale buffs being created by illusions.
- Sandking's channel for his Ult is now a two beat tail slam "tell".
- Fixed Burrowstrike to apply damage when the units land on the ground.
- Fixed Sandstorm not going away when invisibility is broken.
- Fixed Burrowstrike to deal damage when the units land.
- Fixed cases where creating a linear projectile directly on yourself would cause it to get stuck. This includes fixes to Fissure, Ghost Ship, Dragon Slave, Arrow, Impale, Waveform, Illusory Orb, Meat Hook, Burrowstrike, Wave of Terror, and Power Shot.
 Balance changelog
- Sand Storm radius rescaled from 275/325/375/525 to 525.
- Sand Storm damage increased from 20/40/60/80 to 25/50/75/100.
- Epicenter attack speed slow is now same as movement speed slow. (10%->30%)
- Invisibility fade delay when exiting Sand Storm improved from 0.3/0.6/0.9/1.5 to 1.5.
- Sand Storm now has a smoother damage interval (1 to 0.5, total damage is the same).
- Epicenter's slow is no longer blocked by magic immunity.
- Caustic Finale's buff duration increased from 2 to 8 seconds.
- Base Armor increased from 1.66 to 2.66.
- Burrowstrike's manacost rescaled from 140 to 110/120/130/140.
- Strength gain from 2.3 to 2.6.
- Caustic Finale's buff duration from 0.25 to 2 seconds.
- Armor increased by 1.
- Sand Storm cooldown from 40/35/30/25 to 40/30/20/10.
- Added Sand King to Aghanim's Scepter. Adds an extra pulse and lowers cooldown (+1 Pulse, -20 cd)
- Increased Sand King's armor a bit.
- Lowered Sand King's base armor.
 See also