Shadow Shaman/Guide

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Shadow shaman.png


Shadow Shaman minimap icon.png Shadow Shaman is a powerful ganker and pusher, who possesses strong disables and nukes. His spells allow him to disable lone enemies for extended periods of time, making them easy prey for his teammates, or to make short work of creep waves and towers.
Pros Cons
  • Strong early game nukes.
  • Long duration disables.
  • Works well with almost any hero.
  • Can splitpush lanes and take towers quickly.
  • Very mana dependent.
  • No escape mechanism.
  • Low mobility.
  • More item and level dependent than other supports.

Ability Builds[edit]

Generic Shadow Shaman
Shackles icon.pngEther Shock icon.pngEther Shock icon.pngHex (Shadow Shaman) icon.pngEther Shock icon.pngMass Serpent Ward icon.pngEther Shock icon.pngHex (Shadow Shaman) icon.pngHex (Shadow Shaman) icon.pngTalent icon.pngHex (Shadow Shaman) icon.pngMass Serpent Ward icon.pngShackles icon.pngShackles icon.pngTalent icon.pngShackles icon.pngUnknown icon.pngMass Serpent Ward icon.pngTalent icon.pngTalent icon.png


Hero Talents
+30 Shadow Shaman Serpent Ward icon.png Wards Attack Damage25+340 Ether Shock Damage
+1 Shadow Shaman Serpent Ward icon.png Serpent Wards Max HP20+2s Shackles Duration
-4.5s Hex Cooldown15+100 Cast Range
+140 Shackles Total Damage10+175 Health
  • The health talent increases maximum health capacity, and keeps the current health percentage.

Tips & Tactics[edit]


  • Because of his strong disables and powerful nukes, Shadow Shaman benefits greatly from building intelligence items that extend the size of his mana pool and provide mana regeneration, as well as mobility items to allow him to get close enough to use his disables and nukes on enemies. The additional mobility also aids in survivability by allowing him to position himself to escape enemy attempts to kill him.
  • Because Shadow Shaman's disables are all unit-targeted, they can reliably disable enemies if he gets close enough to them. However, this also means that they can be easily negated by Linken's Sphere icon.png Linken's Sphere or even reflected with Lotus Orb icon.png Lotus Orb, so be sure to check the enemy's inventory prior to committing expensive disables.
  • As a support, Shadow Shaman should focus on babysitting his team's safe lane carry, and setting up kills with his disables when rotating for ganks. As he has two hard disables, getting close enough to a lone enemy can often ensure a kill if his teammates have enough damage output.


Ether Shock[edit]

  • Ether Shock is a powerful damage nuke that must be unit targeted, hitting nearby enemy units according to its level.
  • Ether Shock is very inefficient at level 1, only hitting a single target, so it is most profitably cast only when it is level 3 or higher. Depending on how Shadow Shaman is played, it should either be maxed first for the nuke damage, or ignored in favor of maxing out his disables.
  • The high damage and low cooldown on Ether Shock allows Shadow Shaman to make quick work of creep waves and neutral camps. Given a steady source of mana regen, Shadow Shaman can flash-farm with the spell while simultaneously pushing or counter-pushing lanes, threatening the enemy's towers and taking away map control.
  • When casting Ether Shock to nuke creep waves, remember that it can hit enemies at twice the cast range and the area is largest at the far end. Try to target the spell on the middle of an enemy creep wave, and position Shadow Shaman in such a way as to concentrate as many creeps on the far end as possible.


  • The abilitiy applies a powerful hex that disables the target enemy instantly, inflicting silence, mute, and disarm while drastically cutting down their movement speed.
  • In general, at least one early level should be taken, but other levels may be forgone in favor of other abilities depending on the build.
  • Use the undispellable Hex to initiate a gank, as its instant cast time prevents the target from reacting. Following disables can be targeted on the enemy at leisure in order to secure a kill.
  • Unlike other hex abilities, Shadow Shaman's Hex reduces the target's base movement speed down to 100, rather than 140. This makes the enemy slightly easier to hit with unreliable follow-up disables such as Split Earth or Torrent.


  • Shackles is a powerful channeled disable that can stun its target for up to 5 seconds.
  • As with Hex, at least one early level of Shackles should be taken to maximize Shadow Shaman's disable potential. A single point in the ability allows Shadow Shaman to disable an enemy for 2.75 seconds while dealing damage.
  • While Shackles has a lower cast range than Hex and requires channeling, it also stuns its target for the duration of the channel, preventing it from moving. The longer disable duration also allows teammates to otherwise utilize powerful follow-up disables and nukes, such as Stasis Trap and Ghostship, which might otherwise be dodged.
  • Priority between Hex and Shackles should depend on team composition, however Shackles is generally the better disable to max out first as its mana cost scales better and it can deal damage for the duration of the channel. If your teammates have reliable damage output, holding the target in place for up to 5 seconds can allow them to deal large amounts of damage. However, keep in mind that unlike Hex, Shackles can be interrupted by silencing or stunning Shadow Shaman, so it is not as useful if there is a nearby enemy who can interrupt you.
  • Shackles deals its damage in a large number of small instances. This makes it a strong ability for instantly shredding protective abilities like Refraction
  • When possible, try to take advantage of Shackles' extremely short cooldown. If it is cast as an initiating disable, its channeling time will allow half of its cooldown duration to pass, and a follow-up Hex can hard-disable the target for an additional 3.5 seconds, leaving the enemy free for only -8.4904761904762 seconds before Shackles comes off cooldown.
  • Because it is a channeled spell, shift-queuing other disables during Shackles can allow them to be instantly cast once the channel duration ends. This can be useful for denying the enemy any openings in disable duration to take advantage of.

Mass Serpent Ward[edit]

  • Mass Serpent Ward summons ten snake wards that deal physical damage to their targets.
  • Serpent wards can make short work of incoming creep waves and deal tremendous amounts of damage to enemy towers over their long duration.
  • Mass Serpent Wards can be controlled. Even if Shadow Shaman is dead he can have a big impact on a fight with intelligent use of his wards.
  • Mass Serpent Wards can deny each other, preventing enemy heroes from getting gold.
  • While Mass Serpent Wards can deal large amounts of damage, they are also very easy to destroy with attacks, so be careful about when and where they are placed. Enemies that can isolate the wards can make quick work of them, wasting the spell and feeding gold to the enemy team.
  • One of the most important features of Mass Serpent Ward is the box figure they are placed in. This allows Shadow Shaman to place the wards right on top of an enemy hero, trapping them in place if they do not have any mobility spells or items to displace themselves.
  • In a pinch, Mass Serpent Wards can be used to defend against pushes. Their striking power allows them to quickly kill creeps that are trying to approach the tower, and discourage the enemy from pushing.


Starting items:

  • Tango icon.png Tango regenerates health to Shadow Shaman so he can stay in lane.
  • Healing Salve icon.png Healing Salve restores health to Shadow Shaman or his carry.
  • Clarity icon.png Clarity is essential in ensuring that you have mana to cast your disables in the laning stage. Being able to get off both of your disables in a gank go a long way towards ensuring successful kills.
  • Iron Branch icon.png Iron Branch is good for cheap stats, and can be sold for inventory space or built into a Magic Wand.
  • Observer Ward icon.png Observer Ward provides map vision for his team.

Early game:

  • Magic Stick icon.png Magic Stick ensures that Shadow Shaman has burst regen available when needed. 150 mana is enough to cast Hex if it is level 2 or lower, same for Shackles.
  • Boots of Speed icon.png Boots of Speed are important in allowing Shadow Shaman to close the gap with a target and disable them. Acquiring Boots before your opponents can often make the difference between getting a kill.

Mid game:

  • Magic Wand icon.png Magic Wand has all the benefits of Magic Stick, as well as more stats and a higher amount of burst regen. It is important no matter whether Shadow Shaman is played as a core or support.
  • Arcane Boots icon.png Arcane Boots increases the size of Shadow Shaman's mana pool and gives him some burst mana regen; Shadow Shaman often casts his spells as a combo, so he tends to run out very quickly if not furnished with a means of mana regen.

Late game:

  • Blink Dagger icon.png Blink Dagger should be considered a core item on Shadow Shaman, no matter what role he is played in. Blink Dagger allows Shadow Shaman to instantly jump on top of a gank target and disable them with Hex, preventing them from reacting during ganks. It should be rushed as quickly as possible as a core, and given priority to obtain as a support.
  • Aghanim's Scepter icon.png Aghanim's Scepter should generally be considered a core item on a farming Shadow Shaman, but luxury for a support Shadow Shaman. The upgrade it grants Mass Serpent Ward greatly increases the amount of damage they can do, allowing Shadow Shaman to make short work of heroes that have been boxed in or obliterate towers alarmingly quickly.
  • Refresher Orb icon.png Refresher Orb allows for two instances of Mass Serpent Wards, which is hugely useful for siege damage and encounters.

Situational items:

  • Urn of Shadows icon.png Urn of Shadows can be useful on a ganking Shadow Shaman over a Bracer. It gives him the same amount of strength, making him less squishy, and the mana regen helps to maintain his mana pool. As he is a very strong ganker, Shadow Shaman can roam and get charges easily, using them for additional Pure damage in later ganks or to keep himself and his teammates at full HP for more pushing potential.
  • Tranquil Boots (Active) icon.png Tranquil Boots are a situational alternative to Arcane Boots as a support Shadow Shaman. Not only are they cheaper, but they provide increased movement speed for positioning for casting disables on the enemy. The passive health regeneration also helps ensure that Shadow Shaman is at full health at the beginning of fights.
  • Medallion of Courage icon.png Medallion of Courage is a very useful item, as Mass Serpent Wards deal physical damage. Placing the armor debuff on an enemy after boxing them in with the wards will make short work out of almost any hero. As well, the active can be used on teammates to give them more armor, or on Roshan to make taking the Aegis easier. It can also be upgraded into a Solar Crest icon.png Solar Crest to augment its bonuses even more.
  • Ghost Scepter icon.png Ghost Scepter is useful to purchase on squishy casters like Shadow Shaman. Giving himself invulnerability to physical damage can buy time if the enemy attempts to focus down Shadow Shaman with physical attacks, allowing him to retaliate with his disables and nukes.
  • Glimmer Cape icon.png Glimmer Cape is a strong utility item that benefits Shadow Shaman in many aspects. It can be used to help with initiation by allowing Shadow Shaman to approach enemies invisibly, and allows him to protect teammates that are caught out of position by casting invisibility on them. The invisibility also allows Shadow Shaman to protect himself while channeling Shackles on an enemy, reducing the chances of being disabled by unit-targeted spells.
  • Force Staff icon.png Force Staff is an inferior but potent substitute for Blink Dagger. The extra intelligence gives Shadow Shaman more mana, and the active can be used on enemies and allies, not just on Shadow Shaman himself. Purchased as a supplement to Blink Dagger, it can also be used to break Linken's Sphere on a particularly slippery enemy player, or on Roshan prior to casting other disables.
  • Aether Lens icon.png Aether Lens is extremely powerful in Shadow Shaman's hands, and can be easily obtained through disassembling Arcane Boots. Besides granting some mana regen, the cast range increase allows Shadow Shaman to disable enemies from farther away, making him a much bigger threat in ganks and fights.
  • Eul's Scepter of Divinity icon.png Eul's Scepter of Divinity is a powerful item on Shadow Shaman. The item itself grants Shadow Shaman more mobility, rectifying his poor base movement speed, and gives him more intelligence as well as powerful scaling mana regen to fuel his costly and spammable spells. Most importantly, however, the active can be used to instantly disable an enemy from range and then place Mass Serpent Wards on top of them, easily boxing them in.
  • Rod of Atos icon.png Rod of Atos is a good utility item to purchase. It gives Shadow Shaman more intelligence, allowing him to cast spells more often, and the additional HP makes him less squishy. The long range on the active also allows Shadow Shaman to root enemies from a great distance, adding yet another disable to his repertoire.
  • Scythe of Vyse icon.png Scythe of Vyse is a very powerful late-game item to purchase. On top of the extra stats, much larger mana pool, and scaling mana regen, the instant Hex can serve as a complement to Shadow Shaman's innate spell, giving him the ability to hard-disable a single target for up to 12 seconds.
  • Octarine Core icon.png Octarine Core gives Shadow Shaman many strong benefits. It gives him more HP and mana, and reduces the cooldowns on all of his abilities, making him a much bigger threat with his spammable nukes and disables. The spell lifesteal allows him to maintain his HP through Shackles and Ether Shock, particularly the latter which can deal tremendous amounts of magical damage to grouped enemies. If the increased shackle duration talent is taken, shadow shaman can achieve permanent shackles, preventing any retaliation from solo heroes or allowing allies as much time as they need to get in position.
  • Shiva's Guard icon.png Shiva's Guard gives Shadow Shaman a much larger mana pool, as well as armor for survivability. The active can be used to slow enemies down on top of his other disables, further contributing to his teamfight potential.
  • Necronomicon 1 icon.png Necronomicon is very powerful on Shadow Shaman as he can use the warriors either to help his Mass Serpent Wards during pushes, add more firepower to a teamfight, or focus down a Shackle victim while Shadow Shaman channels.