Nyx Assassin/Guide

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Nyx Assassin minimap icon.png Nyx Assassin is a powerful roamer whose burst damage nukes allows him to quickly kill any lone heroes he encounters. While his spells provide relatively little teamfight contribution outside of Impale, his ability to kill the enemy one by one can put the enemy team at a disadvantage in terms of economy, creating opportunities for his team to take advantageous teamfights or outfarm the opposition. However, Nyx Assassin's abilities fall off in the late game, where he plays a more supporting role with his stuns.
Pros Cons
  • High burst damage.
  • Damage reflect is highly tolerable and can create outplay potential.
  • Can give a big space advantage to his team by ganking the enemy team in the early to mid game.
  • High health regeneration.
  • Can play the role of a semi-tank with Aghanim's Scepter icon.png Aghanim's Scepter
  • Can disable passives with Vendetta.
  • Less effective in the late game, so requires teamates that can make the most out of his early/mid advantages.
  • Low mana to work with early on.
  • Requires good positioning and roaming.
  • Countered by true sight.


Nyx Assassin is always played as a ganker. With Vendetta, his purpose is to slip into hostile territory, and take out enemies, mostly in the jungle. A successful Nyx Assassin is able to shut down the opposing team with repeated assassinations, and intimidate enemies into playing very defensively. A Dagon 1 icon.png Dagon helps Nyx Assassin greatly, as it allows him to finish off most heroes after using Vendetta.


Nyx Assassin is sometimes played as a support, and usually transforms into a more supporting style during the late game. In this role, his goal is to stun as many enemies as possible with Impale and Spiked Carapace, and pick off dying enemies with Vendetta and Dagon 1 icon.png Dagon.

Ability Builds[edit]

Generic Nyx Assassin
Impale icon.pngSpiked Carapace icon.pngImpale icon.pngMana Burn icon.pngImpale icon.pngVendetta icon.pngImpale icon.pngMana Burn icon.pngMana Burn icon.pngTalent icon.pngMana Burn icon.pngVendetta icon.pngSpiked Carapace icon.pngSpiked Carapace icon.pngTalent icon.pngSpiked Carapace icon.pngUnknown icon.pngVendetta icon.pngTalent icon.pngTalent icon.png


Hero Talents
Vendetta Unobstructed Pathing25+80 Agility attribute symbol.png Agility
+140 Impale Damage20+60% Spiked Carapace Damage
+20 Movement Speed15+250 Health
+0.25 Impale Stun Duration10+8% Spell Amplification
  • The health talent increases maximum health capacity, and keeps the current health percentage.

Tips & Tactics[edit]


  • Despite his mediocre attribute growth, Nyx Assassin is a deceptively durable hero, as he can take advantage of damage block items in-lane due to being a melee hero and possesses higher-than-average base HP regen. As well, his Spiked Carapace ability allows him to shrug off extremely powerful damage nukes that could kill other heroes.
  • Nyx Assassin should buy items that increase the size of his mana pool and provide mana replenishment so he can use his abilities continuously to scout and set up kills. Also, items that improve his mobility, nuking, and disabling power will better allow him to find, chase, and kill important targets.
  • Though Nyx Assassin's abilities have impressive cast ranges, their noticeable cast animation may alert enemies. Thus, you should use his abilities in combination with mobility items like Blink Dagger icon.png Blink Dagger or under invisibility of Vendetta to catch enemies by surprise.
  • Nyx Assassin is best played as a roamer or a solo offlaner in order to maximize his effectiveness.
    • As an offlaner, Nyx Assassin can take advantage of his innately high base HP regen to survive enemy harassment, and has Spiked Carapace at his disposal to deflect enemy magic nukes back at their casters. By taking advantage of solo experience and possibly gold if he can manipulate creep equilibrium to favor him. Nyx Assassin can get an early level 6 to begin roaming and getting kills with Vendetta.
    • As a roamer, Nyx Assassin focuses on taking advantage of his respectable base movement speed and the long cast range of Impale to set up kills for his team in their lanes. Getting important pick offs during the laning stage can get him the gold and levels he needs to further roam in the mid-game, and can set back the enemy's level and item progression considerably, making them easier targets to kill.



  • Impale is a ground-targeted disable that stuns and damages enemies in a line in front of Nyx Assassin.
  • As Nyx Assassin's primary disable, Impale should be maxed out first, as both its damage and stun duration scale as it is leveled up. Its long cast range allows Nyx Assassin to stun enemies from a surprising range.
  • The area nature of Impale means that it is possible to damage and stun multiple enemy heroes with a single cast. This can be very useful both for initiating engagements by stunning multiple enemy heroes at the start, or for saving fleeing teammates by stopping pursuers in their tracks.
  • Great skill is required in order to successfully land Impale, as Nyx Assassin's long cast animation, the unreliable ground-targeted nature of the spell, and the travel time of the spell itself can give enemies almost a full second to react if they are far enough away. If a leading stun is not available, good aiming and prediction skills are needed in order to ensure that Impale will successfully stun its intended target.
  • Impale will still animate if it catches an invisible hero; if a spike elevates with no visible enemy units, it means that the spell has hit an invisible enemy. This can be useful for finding fleeing enemy heroes who may have cast invisibility to escape, as detection or follow-up area stuns and nukes can then be employed to finish them off.
  • Remember that as Impale is not a reliable targeted stun, it cannot be blocked by Linken's Sphere. Use this to your advantage when initiating on enemies that are relying on its protection, casting a more expendable spell or item ability to break it while the target is stunned.

Mana Burn[edit]

  • Mana Burn is a unit-targeted spell that destroys a portion of an enemy hero's mana based on their intelligence, and then deals the same amount as magical damage.
  • Because the ability scales with the intelligence of the target, Mana Burn is extremely powerful against heroes with high intelligence growth but low strength such as Skywrath Mage minimap icon.png Skywrath Mage, Pugna minimap icon.png Pugna and so on. Targeting low-health intelligence supports can allow Nyx Assassin to quickly remove them from the field before they are able to participate in an engagement.
  • The damage scaling and cooldown reduction on Mana Burn makes it a good spell to max out early in a match. However, its flat mana cost also prevents Nyx Assassin from utilizing the spell more than a few times in the early game, until he increases the size of his mana pool to accommodate.
  • Even if it is not used to score a kill, Mana Burn can greatly hinder enemies' attempts to participate in teamfights. If enemies are unable to cast their full spell combo, or cast spells at all, they become worthless in teamfights, only able to attack and possibly not even be able to use item abilities. This makes Mana Burn a powerful ability even against heroes who can withstand the damage nuke, as a Venomancer minimap icon.png Venomancer with no mana may be unable to afford the mana cost of Poison Nova alongside his other spells, a Phantom Assassin minimap icon.png Phantom Assassin will be unable to use Phantom Strike to chase or escape, Wraith King minimap icon.png Wraith King will be unable to rely on Reincarnation, and so on.
  • Remember that Mana Burn will only deal its damage based on the amount of mana removed, meaning that it becomes worthless against targets that have already had their mana pools depleted. If an enemy has been completely drained of mana, it is best to use other damage nukes to finish them off.

Spiked Carapace[edit]

  • Spiked Carapace allows Nyx Assassin to reflect hero damage back to its origin, stunning the attacker while leaving Nyx Assassin unharmed. It can only reflect the first instance per damage source, and only once per cast of Spiked Carapace.
  • Because it always lasts for the full 2.25 seconds, and is only useful if the enemy attempts to attack Nyx Assassin, Spiked Carapace should be given low priority for maxing out among his spells. One value point in the laning stage can give strong survivability, however the reduced cooldown and longer stun duration are not strictly necessary until later in the game.
  • Spiked Carapace is a very strong escape spell as it can be used to stun enemy initiators, delaying them from landing follow-up stuns. In the event that Nyx Assassin is ganked, casting Spiked Carapace can buy him enough time to escape or land a counter-stun with Impale.
  • Because it only reflects the first instance of hero damage, Spiked Carapace is strong against burst damage nukes but less effective against damage over time spells. While it can completely reflect large single-instance damage nukes like Assassinate and Laguna Blade, it is far less effective against multiple damage ticks like Dual Breath and Battery Assault.
  • Spiked Carapace's cooldown only allows it to be cast once at the start of an engagement, leaving it unable to be cast again until during the pursuit phase. As such, casting it at the right moment is crucial, as the long cooldown leaves little room for error.
  • Spiked Carapace can be used as a follow-up stun after a successful Impale. Activating Spiked Carapace right as the stun from Impale expires gives Nyx Assassin another opportunity to stun the target, as any counter-nukes or disables that deal damage will be reflected and stun the enemy again. This can be particularly useful against intelligence casters, who may try to target powerful nukes on Nyx Assassin that can be reflected in their full to add to Nyx Assassin's alpha.
  • Keep in mind that Spiked Carapace only reflects the damage portion of any spell damage, and Nyx Assassin is still fully affected by secondary effects; Light Strike Array and Storm Hammer will still stun, Frost Blast and Venomous Gale will still slow, and so on. Spiked Carapace should not generally be treated as an invulnerability spell, as the enemy can still disable Nyx Assassin for enough time until the spell expires.
  • Against certain enemies, Spiked Carapace can allow Nyx Assassin to turn their skillshots against them while saving his own life. Knowing when the enemy may attempt to cast long-ranged nukes like Powershot, Rocket Flare, Sun Strike, and even Ice Blast can allow Nyx Assassin to use Spiked Carapace to block the damage instance and deflect it back, possibly even getting a kill if the caster is low enough.
  • Good timing and reflexes are crucial for effectively using Spiked Carapace, as its instant cast time and short duration can make it hard to use. Activating Spiked Carapace too early can warn the enemy not to cast any damage spells at Nyx Assassin until it expires, while activating it too late will cause Nyx Assassin to take the full damage from an incoming nuke and possibly be disabled and unable to cast it. Casting it at the right time can allow Nyx Assassin to fully reflect powerful damage nukes and stun numerous enemies while remaining relatively unharmed.
  • Remember that all sources of hero damage can be used to proc Spiked Carapace's stun, which allows Nyx Assassin to use the enemy's area nukes against them. For instance, activating Spiked Carapace on top of Firefly, March of the Machines, Scorched Earth and even an active Radiance (Active) icon.png Radiance can stun the enemy even if they are not trying to directly target Nyx Assassin, which allows it to be used to stun enemies chasing a fleeing ally, stop a retreating enemy in their tracks, and even interrupt escape teleports.
  • Spiked carapace can be used without breaking Vendetta, allowing you to initiate on heroes that are currently farming with AoE spells or Cleave, then attack with Vendetta and stun with Impale. Some spells are very easy to reflect back to their caster, such as Pugna's Nether Blast or KotL's Illuminate.


  • Vendetta renders Nyx Assassin instantly invisible, while giving him a movement speed boost and passing through units. Attacking out of invisibility allows him to break and deal tremendous Pure damage to its target.
  • Use Vendetta to gank heroes with low health as it does Pure damage. Striking out of invisibility, and then following up with Impale and Mana Burn, are often enough to bring most squishy supports into the red instantly, if not outright kill them.
  • Be careful about using Vendetta to initiate. Smart enemy players will buy detection early on in order to detect incoming ganks, turning Nyx Assassin into a free kill. Try to initiate only on lone enemies if possible, and don't be afraid to back away if something doesn't feel right.
  • While the physical burst damage is powerful, there may be times when it is necessary to use Impale from invisibility in order to disable slippery enemy heroes like Anti-Mage minimap icon.png Anti-Mage.
  • In a pinch, Vendetta can be used as an escape spell, provided that the enemy does not have detection. The instant fade time can disjoint incoming projectiles, while the movement speed boost may allow him to outrun enemies.
  • Spiked Carapace can be cast during an active Vendetta without breaking invisibility. If an enemy damage nuke is incoming during Vendetta (a sign that they have detection), activating Spiked Carapace can allow Nyx Assassin to reflect the damage while stunning the enemy, and still have the backstab damage available to use.
  • Because it does not interrupt channeling, Vendetta can be used during Town Portal Scroll icon.png Town Portal Scroll, allowing Nyx Assassin to emerge invisible instantly.


  • Burrow, unlocked through purchasing Aghanim's Scepter, turns Nyx Assassin invisible while regenerating his HP and mana over time, and boosts the effectiveness of his spells.
  • Burrow greatly boosts the cast range of Impale and Mana Burn, while almost halving Impale's cooldown time. This can give Nyx Assassin a powerful tactical advantage for striking enemies from a greater range.
  • Beware that because of its 1 second cast animation, Burrow is very difficult to cast tactically. The principle behind Burrow is to predict enemy movements and lie in wait, then use Nyx Assassin's abilities when a target arrives, springing into action with his spells once surprise has been achieved. Remaining Burrowed in one location for an extended period of time can allow the enemy to approach Nyx Assassin from multiple directions and score an easy kill, or simply avoid him and engage his team 4-vs-5.
  • The health and mana regeneration allow Nyx Assassin to roam more independently, as he can quickly recover HP and mana by holing up, and utilize his boosted abilities if enemies stumble upon his lair.
  • Casting Vendetta will instantly unearth Nyx Assassin if he is Burrowed. This can be useful for misdirecting enemies, by hitting them with his spells first and then retreating away invisibly when they respond, ready to strike with Vendetta's backstab damage and a ready Impale.
  • Try to utilize trees and high ground when casting Burrow. Nyx Assassin is not revealed when casting his spells, however remaining hidden from plain sight can keep him from being stumbled upon with detection and killed. In particular, the longer cast range on Impale and Mana Burn can help him to defend high ground against enemy pushes into his base.
  • Because it roots Nyx Assassin for the duration of the ability, he is unable to utilize Blink Dagger during Burrow. However, he can still be displaced by other abilities and items, particularly Force Staff icon.png Force Staff, Boulder Smash, Snowball, and so on. This can be useful for utilizing the instant stun from Spiked Carapace in order to stun multiple enemies quickly.


Starting items:

  • Tango icon.png Tango gives Nyx Assassin basic health sustain, allowing him to continue laning despite enemy harass.
  • Clarity icon.png Clarity allows Nyx Assassin to replenish his mana pool in-lane, crucial since most of his spells will consume almost half his base mana pool with a single cast. Having the mana to continue casting gives Nyx Assassin more chances to use his disables to score kills.
  • Iron Branch icon.png Iron Branch gives some attributes that increase health, mana, and damage.
  • Enchanted Mango icon.png Enchanted Mango is a strong laning item, as it provides a small boost to HP regeneration, augmenting his innate base HP regen to greatly increase his survivability in the off-lane. It can also be consumed for instant mana replenishment to be able to cast one more disable or nuke to secure a kill.
  • Observer Ward icon.png Observer Ward can be useful to purchase on Nyx Assassin, as he is a very heavy roamer who can place wards before or after ganks to spot out enemy movement to strike again.

Early game:

  • Boots of Speed icon.png Boots of Speed allows Nyx Assassin to chase or flee enemies more easily, and is important for getting within range to cast Impale on a gank target.
  • Urn of Shadows icon.png Urn of Shadows is important to get early on Nyx Assassin, as he can easily get charges from successful ganks. It provides some cheap stats and armor, as well as mana regen for sustaining his mana pool. The charges can be used to restore any HP lost during a gank, or can be used to add more damage to a future gank to increase the odds of success.
  • Magic Stick icon.png Magic Stick gives burst health and mana, useful for Nyx Assassin to cast spells continually.

Mid game:

  • Arcane Boots icon.png Arcane Boots are crucial to obtain in order to allow Nyx Assassin to roam for ganks. It increases the size of Nyx Assassin's mana pool, allowing him to more easily cast his full combo of spells, and boosts his movement speed slightly to provide extra mobility. Most importantly, the active allows Nyx Assassin to replenish his own mana pool in order to ensure that he is able to continue roaming without needing to return to base as often.
  • Magic Wand icon.png Magic Wand gives more burst health and mana than Magic Stick, as well as some attributes.
  • Blink Dagger icon.png Blink Dagger greatly increases Nyx Assassin's mobility, allowing him to jump on top of enemies and initiate without relying on Vendetta. In particular, being able to quickly re-position to cast Impale can allow Nyx Assassin to stun multiple enemy heroes at the start of a fight, and in a pinch Spiked Carapace can be used to prevent enemy initiating nukes from putting it on cooldown.
  • Force Staff icon.png Force Staff is a handy utility item that grants Nyx Assassin many strong bonuses. It provides more intelligence for increasing the size of his mana pool, as well as health regeneration for sustaining his health pool. The active greatly improves Nyx Assassin's mobility, allowing him to re-position for casting his spells, or chasing and escaping more easily. In a pinch, it can also be used as a cheap way to break an enemy Linken's Sphere prior to landing other disables and nukes, and can even be used to re-position Nyx Assassin during Burrow.
  • Eul's Scepter of Divinity icon.png Eul's Scepter of Divinity is a strong casting item that boosts Nyx Assassin's ability to roam and gank. The increased intelligence and mana regen help to sustain his spell casting, ensuring that he doesn't have to return to base to replenish mana, and the increased movement speed gives him more mobility for hunting down enemies. The cyclone can be used to dispel debuffs from Nyx Assassin while providing temporary invulnerability, or can be cast on an enemy as a further disable.

Late game:

  • Aghanim's Scepter icon.png Aghanim's Scepter unlocks Burrow, which can give Nyx Assassin a strong tactical advantage against certain enemies. It also improves his overall attributes, aiding in his survivability and buffing up his mana pool.

Situational items:

  • Meteor Hammer icon.png Meteor Hammer can deal moderate damage to enemy buildings and help with farming.
  • Aether Lens icon.png Aether Lens will increase Impale and Mana Burn's cast range, which is good to offset their terrible cast animation. It can be built by recycling the Energy Booster icon.png Energy Booster you got from Arcane Boots icon.png Arcane Boots.
  • Dagon 1 icon.png Dagon greatly boosts Nyx Assassin's burst damage, giving him much more kill potential. The item boosts his intelligence, allowing him to more easily cast his spells, while the active can be added on top of Impale and Mana Burn to deal tremendous burst damage to a single target to secure a kill.
  • Ethereal Blade icon.png Ethereal Blade is a strong nuke booster that improves Nyx Assassin's ability to burst down enemies. As his primary attribute is agility, the bonus agility will increase the damage that Ether Blast deals, which will also greatly slow its target's movement speed while weakening their magic resistance, leaving them wide open for Impale, Mana Burn and Dagon.
  • Bottle (Full) icon.png Bottle is a very strong self-sustain item that allows Nyx Assassin to replenish his HP and mana, increasing his autonomy. As he constantly roams, Nyx is able to easily pick up runes to refill his Bottle, and utilize the runes during ganks as needed.
  • Scythe of Vyse icon.png Scythe of Vyse gives Nyx Assassin an instant ranged hard disable, useful in many situations. Also, it gives him stats across the board, particularly improving his intelligence for more mana and providing powerful scaling mana regeneration to allow him to roam independently.
  • Lotus Orb icon.png Lotus Orb allows Nyx Assassin to further use the enemy's spells against them on top of Spiked Carapace. Echo Shell gives Nyx Assassin a tool to reflect enemy spells, and even though it doesn't block the damage done by these spells it can reflect debuffs and stuns rather than just the damage. It also provides armor, increasing Nyx Assassin's survivability, and HP and mana regen for self-sustain.
  • Orchid Malevolence icon.png Orchid Malevolence provides Nyx Assassin with a soft disable that can greatly improve his ability to gank and kill enemies. By silencing an enemy during a gank, Nyx Assassin can prevent them from casting retaliatory disables to get away; as well, his high burst damage can take advantage of the burn damage at the end of the silence to increase the odds of getting a kill during a gank. The item also provides increased intelligence and mana regen, further improving Nyx Assassin's ability to roam independently.
  • Drum of Endurance icon.png Drum of Endurance is a useful stat booster that is easy to build. It gives Nyx Assassin all-around attributes, improving his HP, attack damage and mana. The active can be very useful, as it boosts Nyx Assassin's movement speed, allowing him to chase down enemies quickly.
  • Linken's Sphere icon.png Linken's Sphere greatly improves Nyx Assassin's survivability, and allows him to engage and gank enemies through single-target disables. The Spellblock allows Nyx Assassin to ignore any targeted disables that enemies may try to hit him with, allowing him to continue pursuit and kill the enemy.