DOTA Hero Spotlight: Nyx Assassin
Over the last few weeks I’ve rekindled my long time on-again off-again relationship with DotA (or DOTA as it is now styled). I originally learned to play the game way back before MOBA’s as a genre existed, tinkering around in the custom game section of Warcraft III, and I have to say the transition from its simple beginnings to the slick presentation of Valve’s DOTA 2 is definitely noticeable while trying to shake the rust off some of my dota skills.
Nostalgia aside, I thought this made an interesting opportunity to take a closer look at some of the heroes I’ve been playing and my understanding of their roles and tactics – sort of a by beginners for beginners spotlight which might be interesting to anyone new to the game or looking for a fresh perspective at the amateur level (if you came here for some professional strats and number crunching, there is probably a better place to find it). Anyway with all that said let’s get started on the first hero I’ve chosen: The Nyx Assassin.
Name: Nyx Assassin
Primary Attribute: Agility
Attack Type: Melee
Abilities: Impale, Mana Burn, Spiked Carapace
Roles: Melee, Disabler, Nuker
Lane: Works well in all lanes (Safe, Jungle, Mid)
Play Style: Ganker/Assassin
The Nyx Assassin or Nerubian Assassin as he was known in original DotA is a bit of a mix-breed agility hero with a strong focus on intelligence and high reliability on his spells for success. While his stealth and insect-like design make him seem similar to Weaver, another Agility Carry, Nyx isn’t supposed to be found running around meleeing other heroes.
Instead, Nyx focuses on bursting down more fragile or unexpecting heroes as quickly as possible before making his escape – his battles are often as short as possible, and in team situations he is fairly easy to target and nuke down unless he deliberately buys items in order to avoid this (at which point he would have to be pretty fed and your team likely has bigger things to worry about).
The primary combinations of Nyx’s abilities largely depend on whether or not he has his ultimate. For the earlier levels, usually a player would level up his Impale as a first priority – its long stun range and aoe damage just make it too good to pass up. Mana Burn and Spiked Carapace are levelled up second, and the priority will depend on what Nyx is up against. Mana Burn works based off a multiplier of the enemies Intelligence so if you are up against Intelligence heroes this would be the way to go, Spiked Carapace works as a spell/ability defense by stunning anyone who casts one on you so it’s better off against melee heroes.
Regardless, usually I focus on getting one rank of either of these abilities and three ranks of Impale before level 6 where I pick up Vendetta. This allows me to pull of combos using Spiked Carapace to stun and following with stun and damage from Impale, or stunning with Impale and following up with Mana Burn to harass, or combining all three to keep a target locked down and do as much damage as possible.
Once Vendetta is available, his playstyle becomes a lot more fluid as you have enough damage on hand to burst down most Intelligence and Agility heroes in one combo. Vendetta functions as both a long stealth and a guaranteed critical hit coming out of stealth – working both defensively and offensively. On top of this, when you combine its high initial damage with the damage you can do with Impale, Mana Burn and a few melee attacks you can usually manage a kill in a matter of seconds.
But that’s when Nyx is acting on his own, how about in team fights? Well in team fights Nyx’s strategy is to either initiate by stunning as many enemy heroes as possible with his long and aoe stun or to try and “mop up” after your team has launched off most of its nukes by taking damaged heroes out of the fight. In a best case scenario, you launch off a stun which leads to a lot of spells landing on the opposite team and then clean up the heroes on half health or so with a few well timed abilities – worst case scenario the enemy team manages to stun and nuke you down before you get a chance.
In terms of item build I have one word: Dagon. The addition of another nuke (and an upgradeable one to boot!) on top of his skill set is almost priceless, and it combos seamlessly with your existing abilities to render your enemies helpless as you nuke them down before the stun from Impale has even worn off. Early game Nyx is best grabbing a Magic Wand or an Urn of Shadows as well as a pair of Arcane Boots, then head straight for that Dagon and don’t look back. Once you’ve got a decently upgraded Dagon, feel free to splurge on a Vladimir’s Offering or a Drum of Endurance to help out your team, but if you can’t make your kills start rolling in with just your Arcane Boots and Dagon then these probably won’t save you.
And that about wraps it up, my (pretty common sense) look at Nyx Assassin and how he fits in to my understanding of that crazy battle game DOTA 2.