Shadow Demon/Guide

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Shadow Demon minimap icon.png Shadow Demon is an excellent defensive support capable of resetting fights, counter-initiating, and dealing with blinks and spell immunity. His Disruption works well as a way to break up chain stuns and to set up an ally's stun. Soul Catcher is a heavy temporary nuke, while his ultimate Demonic Purge slows and dispels enemies even through spell immunity.
Pros Cons
  • Spell immunity piercing debuffs.
  • Disrupt enemy chain disables on allies.
  • Excellent gank setup.
  • Safe wave clear and tower push with Shadow Poison and Disruption illusions.
  • Not dependent on items.
  • No hard crowd control.
  • Offers little sustain in and after fights.
  • Shadow Poison requires time to build up damage.
  • No escape abilities.

Lane Support/Gank[edit]

This is the most common way to play Shadow Demon. It relies heavily on teamplay as your hero will do very little of the damage himself, serving only as initiator with Disruption followed by Demonic Purge (eventually), while using Shadow Poison to scout and chase.


This is a scenario where you know Disruption illusions will do a lot of damage, probably to enemy buildings. This style requires a bit more micro as you will need to control the illusions you're spawning instead of letting them attack whatever.

This style is fully dependent on your and enemy team composition. Your best friend in this scenario is Terrorblade minimap icon.png Terrorblade as the illusions will dish out colossal amounts of damage while he's in Metamorphosis, also being a lot more durable than his own Conjure Image. These images also serve as the perfect target for your Disruption, as it can't be used as an initiation against Terrorblade himself.

Other friends include Luna minimap icon.png Luna, Naga Siren minimap icon.png Naga Siren, Spectre minimap icon.png Spectre, Phantom Lancer minimap icon.png Phantom Lancer and more. All these heroes are also good targets when playing against them.

Since you're maxing out Disruption, keep in mind the cooldown gets shorter and you'll have more occasions to save your allies' lives from a deadly Reaper's Scythe or even a Thundergod's Wrath.

Note that in scenarios where maxing Shadow Poison last, it can be interesting to ignore the second level of Demonic Purge at level 12. The damage from Demonic Purge only increases by 100 per level and the slow improves a bit. If you can get three stacks of poison or more on an opponent, the damage from poison actually scales better.


This is a scenario where you'll be stacking and farming the jungle, perhaps because the opponents have escape mechanisms and your team has no real catch/silence, perhaps because both teams have a jungler and you cannot gank theirs by yourself. In this scenario, think long and hard before skilling Shadow Poison at level 1 since in most cases, you should prioritize Disruption for your first skill point.

Ability Builds[edit]

Lane Support/Gank Shadow Demon
Disruption icon.pngSoul Catcher icon.pngShadow Poison icon.pngSoul Catcher icon.pngSoul Catcher icon.pngDemonic Purge icon.pngSoul Catcher icon.pngShadow Poison icon.pngShadow Poison icon.pngTalent icon.pngShadow Poison icon.pngDemonic Purge icon.pngDisruption icon.pngDisruption icon.pngTalent icon.pngDisruption icon.pngUnknown icon.pngDemonic Purge icon.pngTalent icon.pngTalent icon.png
Illusions Shadow Demon
Disruption icon.pngSoul Catcher icon.pngShadow Poison icon.pngDisruption icon.pngDisruption icon.pngDemonic Purge icon.pngDisruption icon.pngSoul Catcher icon.pngSoul Catcher icon.pngTalent icon.pngSoul Catcher icon.pngShadow Poison icon.pngShadow Poison icon.pngShadow Poison icon.pngTalent icon.pngDemonic Purge icon.pngUnknown icon.pngDemonic Purge icon.pngTalent icon.pngTalent icon.png
Jungle Shadow Demon
Shadow Poison icon.pngDisruption icon.pngShadow Poison icon.pngSoul Catcher icon.pngShadow Poison icon.pngDemonic Purge icon.pngShadow Poison icon.pngSoul Catcher icon.pngSoul Catcher icon.pngTalent icon.pngSoul Catcher icon.pngDemonic Purge icon.pngDisruption icon.pngDisruption icon.pngTalent icon.pngDisruption icon.pngUnknown icon.pngDemonic Purge icon.pngTalent icon.pngTalent icon.png


Hero Talents
2 Charges of Disruption25+400 Demonic Purge Damage
-1.25s Shadow Poison Cooldown20-5s Soul Catcher Cooldown
+20% Shadow Poison Damage15+20 Movement Speed
+75 Cast Range10+15 Intelligence attribute symbol.png Intelligence

Tips & Tactics[edit]


  • In most scenarios, Shadow Demon's combo goes as followed: initiate on an enemy with Disruption and Soul Catcher; use Shadow Poison to disable their Blink Dagger icon.png Blink Dagger should they have one, use Demonic Purge when the enemy pops out of Disruption, and attempt stacking more poison on them during the slow period. You can repeat the combo if you have Aghanim's Scepter icon.png Aghanim's Scepter which gives charges to Demonic Purge and suitable talents that lower cooldowns of abilities.
  • Units hidden by Disruption will still be susceptible to all of your other abilities, taking damage from Shadow Poison and Demonic Purge, as well as receiving debuff from Soul Catcher.



  • Disruption offers numerous utilities from saving allies, setting up abilities, to creating illusions of any heroes.
  • Disruption hides the target, leaving them invulnerable, much like Eul's Scepter of Divinity icon.png Eul's Scepter of Divinity but with some differences.
    • Like Eul's Scepter of Divinity, Disruption can set up for hard to land abilities such as Split Earth, Light Strike Array, Torrent, or Sun Strike, or simply buy time to gather allies with any follow ups. Also, it wastes seconds of an opponent's precious buff, such as Shallow Grave or Borrowed Time. Furthermore, Disruption helps allies by hiding them from enemies performing chain disables, potentially saving their lives.
    • Unlike Eul's Scepter of Divinity, Disruption will not dispel an enemy of a long-lasting buff like Empower or Bloodlust. However, you can use Demonic Purge for that. Also, you can use Disruption on allies to hide them from dangerous abilities like Reaper's Scythe or Winter's Curse.
  • Use Disruption defensively to buy time so you can safely wait for reinforcements or an ally can wait for their cooldowns to escape with mobile abilities like Tether or Tree Dance.
  • Disruption, like most hides, can do more harm than good as it might save enemy heroes from certain death by buying time for their allies to come for the rescue or allow enemies to connect your banished ally with their own initiation and follow ups.
  • Disruption also creates two strong illusions of the target, making Shadow Demon dangerous against illusion based heroes such as Terrorblade minimap icon.png Terrorblade or Phantom Lancer minimap icon.png Phantom Lancer. If the target is an enemy, the illusions will automatically attack it. These same heroes will also work as your best partners when besieging the opponent's high ground at little to no risk.
  • Use Disruption on allied illusions without banishing the original hero.
  • Use Disruption to make allied illusions when the enemies are using Glyph of Fortification.
  • Plenty of heroes have an escape mechanism that can render your illusions useless after the Disruption ( Blink, Leap, Pounce, etc.); if no ally on your team has any follow up stun or silence, you may be better off leaving it at that instead of wasting your mana. But, you can control the illusions to target a different opponent, or even push out the lane and farm.
  • In the early game, the illusions spawned also serve to fully block an opponent that would be trying to hide or juke in the trees, or that would be carelessly walking close to a wall. Hypothetically, you should even be able to fully block an opponent by your lonesome self with just the help of an Iron Branch icon.png Iron Branch: the enemy would be blocked between yourself, two illusions, and a temporary tree. Otherwise, you cannot block someone with only yourself plus the illusions and no extra border.
  • If you are facing a hero with a strong attack modifier like Anti-Mage minimap icon.png Anti-Mage in the lane, use Disruption on them often and force them to flee from the illusions.
  • Check illusions of enemies created by Disruption. You can get useful information such as their items and the levels of their abilities.
  • Disruption works great on heroes with auras either from items or abilities as illusions will take advantage of auras to provide to your teammates. Most notably, look for Radiance (Active) icon.png Radiance to turn the item against their heroes and creeps.
  • During its duration, targets of Disruption will still be affected by all of Shadow Demon's abilities, i.e. Soul Catcher and Demonic Purge can deal damage, and Shadow Poison can get new stacks and deal damage.

Soul Catcher[edit]

  • Soul Catcher scales well into the late game since it removes a percentage of HP from the enemies no matter how tanky they are, ignoring damage manipulation.
  • Use Soul Catcher early in fights to reduce the most HP from the enemies. Then, nuke them with Shadow Poison and Demonic Purge.
  • Soul Catcher affects creeps, but not ancient creeps or Roshan icon.png Roshan.
  • Use in combination of abilities that pulls enemies close to each other, such as Vacuum, Reverse Polarity, Black Hole, Electric Vortex (Upgraded by Aghanim's Scepter icon.png Aghanim's Scepter).
  • Tips needed.

Shadow Poison[edit]

  • Shadow Poison takes some time to set up at the maximum of five stacks. Shadow Poison is at its strongest in drawn out fights where Shadow Demon can stand in the backlines and build up Shadow Poison while bombarding foes with other abilities.
  • Use Shadow Poison to cancel Blink Dagger icon.png Blink Dagger of enemies from far away or under Disruption, preventing their initiation or escape.
  • Shadow Poison gives flying vision over its area during travel time , so use it to deward up cliffs and scout out enemies hiding in trees or highground.
  • Shadow Poison becomes much more lethal when stacked up to 5, so you can destroy enemy heroes from the laning stage, but you will need mana for it so try buying Clarity icon.png Clarity and such.
  • Be wary if your opponent has a Magic Stick icon.png Magic Stick, as the charges provided by Shadow Poison will help them sustain in lane and potentially turn a gank around, and they can dodge Shadow Poison easily if they keep an eye on you. So, you should use Shadow Poison from the trees or anywhere out of enemy vision so they will not receive stick charges. If they still receive stick charges, then they have Observer Ward icon.png Observer Ward or invisible units on you.
  • Use Shadow Poison to cancel Clarity icon.png Clarity or Healing Salve icon.png Healing Salve usage of enemies from a safe distance.
  • Shadow Poison is dispellable, but the damage always triggers when the debuff expires. Therefore, enemies might die when attempt to dispel with too many stacks of Shadow Poison before they have healed up enough (for example with Press the Attack or Lotus Orb icon.png Lotus Orb).
  • Shadow Poison fully works on invisible heroes, and it can be your safest way to secure a kill without diving a tower. Since the damage doubles on each stack of poison, it's only interesting to keep the stacks on a fleeing opponent (that could potentially heal while you try to chase) if you think you can get at least 3 stacks on them. If you can only get two, it will damage for the same amount as two stacks of one. In lane however, you have a full ten seconds between each stack to try to add them up to 4 or 5, forcing them to run away. If the opponent is melee and tries to go for a last hit, that is your opportunity to add another stack.
  • You can easily farm the jungle with Shadow Poison, speeding up the process as you level it for more damage.
  • You can also use it double or even triple stack certain camps (and farm those stacks too): the poison will activate by itself after ten seconds so you can use it once on a far away camp around :43 so it will aggro you at :53 and stack; use another on a nearby camp that you don't have vision of at :53; and stack the one in front of you with a right click at :55. You can't be too far away from the first camp you're trying to stack or else it will not aggro you when the poison activates, making the whole triple-stack process rather tricky.
  • Similarly, should you find a bit of space to farm in lane, Shadow Poison will help you stay far away to safely farm or push out the lane.

Demonic Purge[edit]


Starting items:

  • Iron Branch icon.png Iron Branch provides cheap attributes and can later build into Magic Wand.
  • Tango icon.png Tango provides health regeneration early in the game. Shadow Demon can share Tango with the team's carry, allowing them to stay longer in lane.
  • Healing Salve icon.png Healing Salve also restores health for Shadow Demon to quickly get back into action.
  • Animal Courier (Radiant) icon.png Animal Courier ferries items to teammates.
  • Observer Ward icon.png Observer Ward provides vision over enemies.
  • Sentry Ward icon.png Sentry Ward reveals enemy wards for Shadow Demon to destroy.

Early game:

  • Magic Stick icon.png Magic Stick provides burst health and mana, an excellent source of sustain.
  • Boots of Speed icon.png Boots of Speed give Shadow Demon the mobility he needs for ganking and escaping.
  • Wind Lace icon.png Wind Lace grants bonus movement speed for cheap.
  • Smoke of Deceit icon.png Smoke of Deceit makes ganks easier by hiding your squad and speeding up their movement.

Mid game:

  • Magic Wand icon.png Magic Wand gives attributes and more health and mana burst than Magic Stick.
  • Arcane Boots icon.png Arcane Boots provide additional mana pool and consistent restoration for repeated uses of Shadow Poison.
  • Force Staff icon.png Force Staff improves Shadow Demon's intelligence and utility; a typical support item to either reposition, run away, chase, initiate, or save an ally.
  • Glimmer Cape icon.png Glimmer Cape provides invisibility and magic resistance so that Shadow Demon or an ally can escape.
  • Town Portal Scroll icon.png Town Portal Scroll allows Shadow Demon to rapidly escape from danger, defend towers, join teamfights, or set up ganks.

Late game:

  • Kaya icon.png Kaya increases spell damage and reduces the mana cost of abilities.
  • Eul's Scepter of Divinity icon.png Eul's Scepter of Divinity gives you an extra dispel to work with. The movement speed bonus helps with mobility as well as position, and the intelligence and mana regeneneration aids ability usage.
  • Aghanim's Scepter icon.png Aghanim's Scepter applies break with two extra charges which are well worth the cost, and you should always consider it at one point or another.

Situational items:

  • Ghost Scepter icon.png Ghost Scepter provides bonus attributes and a defense mechanism against enemy physical attacks.
  • Guardian Greaves icon.png Guardian Greaves grants an aura of armor and health regeneration that works better on wounded allies, as well as an active to restore large amounts of health and mana in a radius.
  • Blink Dagger icon.png Blink Dagger provides strong mobility so you can setup ganks with Disruption; you can also Blink out of Disruption as a defense mechanism.
  • Aether Lens icon.png Aether Lens benefits all abilities of Shadow Demon, especially Disruption, which has a fairly low cast range. The mana regeneration also allows you to sustain while you spam with Shadow Poison to farm or to scout. You can disassemble Arcane Boots to build this item.
  • Veil of Discord icon.png Veil of Discord provides some armor and intelligence so you can stay alive longer to use abilities. The active ability lowers enemy magic resistance, which is great if your team relies on magical damage or to boost your own damage output.
  • Pipe of Insight icon.png Pipe of Insight gives a good health regeneration aura. More importantly, it allows Shadow Demon to produce a barrier that absorbs magical damage for nearby allies, extending their longevity in teamfights.
  • Rod of Atos icon.png Rod of Atos provides attributes to build up health and mana, as well as a root to hold enemies in place.
  • Shiva's Guard icon.png Shiva's Guard gives an additional area-of-effect slow besides Demonic Purge. The Freezing Aura, armor, and intelligence give Shadow Demon greatly increased sustainability and mana in teamfights.
  • Scythe of Vyse icon.png Scythe of Vyse grants mana regeneration, great intelligence, and other attributes. You can use Hex immediately as it has no cast time, allowing teammates to hit the target with ease.