Sand King/Guide

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Gameplay[edit]

Playstyle
Sand King minimap icon.png Sand King is played as an initiator Hero with extremely powerful AoE damage, going from one-instance damage to damage over time. All of his abilities can affect multiple enemies, deal damage and pack with them disables and strong disables, which makes him not only a great nuker but also a great disabler. Your prime function will be to initiate a fight (nearly all the time with a Blink Dagger) unleashing tons of magical damage and crowd control. Given these, Sand King can be a valuable Hero from early to mid game, ganking, fighting and pushing with his AoE damage and disable. Since most of his damage is magical (nearly all his source) and his disables do not pierce spell immunity, in the later stages of the game you will find your usefulness diminished, but not zeroed, so its good to finish the game while you shine.
Pros Cons
  • Stuns that can be used as both, initiation and escape
  • Provides a good AoE in the game which is devastating early-game
  • Great in laning phases with his passive
  • Has little health pool that can be taken advantage of by nukes
  • Ultimate scales poorly into late game
  • Low mana pool makes spellcasting in early game difficult

Ability Builds[edit]

Generic Sand King
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Burrowstrike icon.pngCaustic Finale icon.pngBurrowstrike icon.pngSand Storm icon.pngBurrowstrike icon.pngEpicenter icon.pngBurrowstrike icon.pngSand Storm icon.pngSand Storm icon.pngTalent icon.pngSand Storm icon.pngEpicenter icon.pngCaustic Finale icon.pngCaustic Finale icon.pngTalent icon.pngCaustic Finale icon.pngUnknown icon.pngEpicenter icon.pngTalent icon.pngTalent icon.png

Talents[edit]

Hero Talents
50% Sand Storm Slow and Blind25+50 Health Regen
+4 Epicenter Pulses20+10 Armor
-50 Epicenter Attack Slow15+40 Sand Storm DPS
+200 Health10+20 Movement Speed
Notes:
  • The health talent increases maximum health capacity, and keeps the current health percentage.

Tips & Tactics[edit]

General[edit]

  • Generally, Sand King is played as a support hero who transitions into an initiator-utility once the laning stage ends. As such, he generally performs support duties for his team during the laning stage, such as purchasing Observer Wards and/or the Animal Courier, as well as purchasing Smoke of Deceit when needed.
  • If needed, Sand King can also be played as an early offlaner, as Burrowstrike and Sand Storm offer him measures of escape, and he generally needs levels before he can farm for gold to get his items. Even if he does not get farm in the off-lane, reaching level 3 or 4 can allow him to transition into his jungle to farm neutral camps with Sand Storm.
  • Sand King's greatest strengths are his instant cast times and high-mobility spells that allow him to initiate or escape without worrying about cast animations. He can be a very deadly ganker who is nearly impossible to escape, or an extremely slippery target who can evade even the most determined ganks.

Abilities[edit]

Burrowstrike[edit]

  • Burrowstrike is a very strong initiating spell that can instantly disable a target while also displacing Sand King. It is generally the skill that Sand King picks first and maxes out by level 7, as it disables its target for over 2 seconds at all levels and can be used for initiating and escaping.
  • Be mindful that while Burrowstrike is a teleport spell, it has a deceptively short range, especially at level 1. As such, it requires Sand King to get close to his target before casting.
  • Remember that Burrowstrike can displace Sand King over impassible terrain, such as cliff faces. As such, the spell can be used to traverse cliffs to chase or escape, giving Sand King extremely strong mobility starting at level 1.
  • Part of what makes Burrowstrike so deadly is that it is a unit-target spell, allowing Sand King to reliably stun any unit within the spell's radius without warning. Combined with a Blink Dagger, Sand King is capable of instantly stunning any enemy within 2000 range, giving them no opportunity to cast any escape spells.
  • In the same vein, the combination of Blink Dagger and Burrowstrike can make Sand King extremely mobile, traversing impassable terrain to chase or escape.

Sand Storm[edit]

  • Sand Storm summons a sandstorm to deal damage in a radius around Sand King while providing him with invisibility.
  • Against opponents without detection, Sand Storm is a very strong evasion spell as it can shield Sand King from physical attacks and unit-targeted spells.
  • Sand Storm can be a strong escape spell in the early game due to the invisibility, as opponents may not have detection to target you. However, it is unwise to rely on this to protect you as smart opponents will bring detection if they come to gank you.
  • Once Sand Storm is level 2 or higher, Sand King can use the spell to jungle, as the damage it deals is enough to allow Sand King to kill large jungle camps reliably. The invisibility the spell grants him allows him to damage the creeps without taking any damage himself, and Sand Storm itself costs small amounts of mana and decreases greatly in cooldown as it is leveled. This can allow Sand King to reliably farm up an early Blink Dagger if his jungle is not already taken and his safe lane does not need any assistance.
  • If there is no detection nearby, Sand Storm can be used to disjoint spells and projectiles. This is particularly strong since Sand Storm has an instant cast time, as well as a short cooldown at level 4, allowing Sand King to use it to mask his movements without breaking stride.
  • When initiating with your Epicenter-Burrowstrike combo, it can be smart to add Sand Storm to your combo since it deals a surprising amount of damage at level 4.

Caustic Finale[edit]

  • Caustic Finale is generally considered to be Sand King's weakest early-game ability, however it is a deceptively strong one that gives Sand King immense nuking power once he has enough levels in it.
  • Caustic Finale's greatest strength is that it allows Sand King to deal magic nuke damage simply by using his right-clicks, and without the need to expend any mana. Additionally, the amount of nuking damage the spell deals scales linearly with the number of creeps that Sand King attacks, meaning that he can deal upwards of 1100 magic damage inside of a few seconds by attacking only 5 creeps and finishing them off to trigger the on-death explosion. This makes Sand King an extremely strong pusher and counter-pusher who can single-handedly stop even a lane of Mega-Creeps from pushing into his base.
  • Caustic Finale can be a very good flash-farming spell, allowing Sand King to add even more nuke damage when farming creep waves. With an early level in Caustic Finale and combined with Sand Storm, Sand King can clear creep waves and jungle camps surprisingly quickly.
  • Never discount the slowing power of Caustic Finale. If you manage to catch an enemy near creeps, initiate with Burrowstrike and then apply Caustic Finale to any nearby creeps as well as the enemy player before channeling Sand Storm. This will not only increase the amount of nuke damage they take, but also slow them down for your teammates to catch up and finish the job.
  • In the laning stage, Caustic Finale can be a strong pickup if you are against a melee enemy hero, particularly when playing in the off lane. By applying the debuff to all of the enemy's creeps, you can threaten not only a slow, but also a tremendous amount of magic damage to the enemy any time they walk up for last-hits. This also has the further effect of pushing your creep wave into the enemy tower, forcing them to tank creep attacks and fight against their own tower for last-hits.

Epicenter[edit]

  • While Epicenter has an extended channeling time and can be easily interrupted, it has a tremendous amount of lockdown and deals large amounts of damage if it can be successfully cast, allowing Sand King to wipe entire teams by himself under the right circumstances.
  • The key to getting a successful Epicenter off involves getting a Blink Dagger and shift-queuing orders. Begin channeling Epicenter, then shift-queue your Blink Dagger and then Burrowstrike during the 2-second channeling time (as well as any other spells and items such as Veil of Discord and Shiva's Guard). Once the channeling is finished, Sand King will take advantage of his instant cast times to immediately blink into range and then Burrowstrike without delay, stunning the enemy at the same instant that they begin taking the brunt of the Epicenter damage. This can be followed up with a channeled Sand Storm to deal even more damage.
  • If time and targets permit, try to use Sand King's attacks to apply Caustic Finale to any creeps caught in an Epicenter initiation. Simply inflicting them with the debuff will greatly increase Sand King's nuking power during an initiation, as the creeps will have already been inflicted with Burrowstrike damage and are under the effects of Epicenter, ensuring their quick demise and dealing the full damage to all enemy heroes in the area. The Caustic Finale slow, combined with that of an active Epicenter, will ensure that any enemy heroes caught within its radius will not easily escape.
  • An effective early-game combo for killing solo targets involves using Burrowstrike on an enemy so they end up facing away from you, and then immediately channeling Epicenter. If done correctly, the enemy will be unable to turn around to stun you out of the channel, and will almost certainly guarantee a kill. You should discontinue this around mid game, however, as you will need to save your ultimate for teamfight situations.

Items[edit]

Starting items:

  • Tango icon.png Tango provides health regeneration to help you survive the laning stage.
  • Healing Salve icon.png Healing Salve restores health as well.
  • Clarity icon.png 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.
  • Animal Courier (Radiant) icon.png Animal Courier ferries items to allies.
  • Observer Ward icon.png Observer Ward provides vision to set up or spot ganks.

Early game:

  • Magic Stick icon.png 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 icon.png 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.

Mid game:

  • Magic Wand icon.png 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 icon.png 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 icon.png 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.
  • Force Staff icon.png 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 icon.png 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.
  • Town Portal Scroll icon.png 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.

Late game:

  • Aghanim's Scepter icon.png Aghanim's Scepter greatly increases Sand King's initiation range. 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.

Situational items:

  • Radiance (Active) icon.png Radiance is an item to priortize for Sand King if your early game networth is strong. Combined with Sandstorm, it gives Sand King one of the highest DPS AoE combinations in the game. Already a strong split pushing and wave-clearing hero, Radiance allows Sand King to burn waves down. As Cryxalis is a slippery hero that is difficult to catch and kill, Radiance is a natural fit for the hero as he is likely to be alive for lengthy teamfights, allowing him to stack his Radiance burn. The added attack damage also pairs nicely with his Caustic Finale as he is able to right click enemies more effectively.
  • Veil of Discord icon.png 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 icon.png 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 icon.png 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 icon.png 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 icon.png Heart of Tarrasque greatly increases the size of Sand King's health pool, allowing him to do more in teamfights before falling.
  • Glimmer Cape icon.png 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 Ward icon.png 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 icon.png 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 icon.png 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.
  • Pipe of Insight icon.png 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 icon.png 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 icon.png 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.