Balanar: The Night Stalker DOTA 2 Guide and Strategy

Hello and welcome to my second DOTA guide here in Web Junkies Blog. This time around, I will be sharing a guide about the famous Night Stalker of DOTA, Balanar. The purpose of this guide is to improve your skills in playing the most fearsome Hero in the night. However, do remember that this is only a GUIDE to help enhance your playing skills with Balanar and not a step by step procedure on how you should be him up. The things you will see in this page will all be recommendations and were based on how I play Balanar and from what I've seen players do with this DOTA 2 hero. I will be pleased if you do share your thoughts concerning this guide or even suggest stuffs that you think is lacking on this guide. 

Now that we clear that up, let's now proceed to my Balanar: The Night Stalker DOTA 2 Guide and Strategy..

Know Your Role as Balanar The Night Stalker
In a team, your role is to be the main roamer in the game especially when it's night time. Do remember that Balanar may become and unstoppable force at night as his movement speed and attack speed will increase significantly and of course, the effect of his skills will be longer (Crippling Fear). It is a bad idea to stay on your lane at night as it will be a waste using the above mentioned advantage for just killing creeps to farm gold. Instead, roam at TOP, BOTTOM AND MIDDLE LANE and try to GANK WISELY. When I say gank wisely, this means that you should consider various things if your engaging an enemy. In short, PLAN AHEAD. 

Before Ganking, ask this questions first:

Can I take down this hero? 
Take into consideration the hero that you will be ganking. STR and as well as heroes which has disables isn't that easy to take down. a full health Sniper can be easy to kill by Balanar but not a full health Clockwerk. Choose those squishy ones if there's any on the other team. If they don't have? Then begin asking the second question.

What time is it?
Well this doesn't refer to night time or day time. This refer to the runes that will respawn in the upper or lower side of the river. Take note that runes respawn every 2 minutes. Basically, it will respawn on 2 mins, 4 mins, 6 mins, etc. (even numbers). Basically, you will need to get Bottle as your main item at early game. Not only that you get a rune that will help you gank an enemy, but it will also fill up your bottle which will become a benefit for you in times you need MP or HP quickly. 

Does the hero I will gank has escape mechanism?
Disable skills like stuns or silence are really a pain in the arse as a Balanar. This may result to a failed gank or even the enemy can earn the kill if he properly execute a counter attack. In addition, Teleport and as well as Windwalks may result to a fail gank. So at the beginning or at the planning stage, make sure you first check if the enemy has any escape mechanism or else, you will just waste your time and effort in doing so.

Are some other heroes missing in the map?
A wise Balanar always checks the mini map. Well in general, a wise DOTA player always take a peek on his mini map. Many players fail to understand the advantage of always looking at your mini map and that is why they fail. This is the most basic thing that you must do in order to gank as if other enemy heroes are missing and you still pursue on ganking your target, chances are they might be just waiting and hiding while they are just baiting that squishy hero for you to gank it and then rape you to death.

Are the enemies expecting me?
Intermediate to pro players will try to be cautious when the first night will come as they know that it's the time for Balanar to hunt them down. So basically, you must ask yourself "Are they already expecting me?" When you leave your lane definitely the team mates of your enemy will report that you are missing. They will say that Balanar going bot or Balanar going mid, depending on your position. Now, how to address this problem? MAKE THEM WONDER WHERE YOU WILL BE HEADING. For example, you are at the middle lane then head towards the rune on the bottom river then, you see that the enemy heroes has back down to do a tower hug, then you see that the top lane is pushing. You got a town portal, teleport to the first tower of the upper lane and go to jungle and then pawn those heroes on the top lane. DOTA 2 is a strategy game and you need to use your brains to win the game.

Strengths and Weakness of Balanar
Now that we know what is the role of Balanar and know some basic ganking skills, let's then proceed to what are the strengths and weakness of Balanar.

Pros

- So far, I can say that Balanar is the best roamer of the game due to his increase in attack speed and movement speed during night time. When the sun goes down, he gains tremendous speed which can make him outrun or outmaneuver enemy player.

- Balanar is a hero that is easy to play and as well as easy to master. If you do have the basic skills in ganking, juking and as well as different hero skills, then Balanar will be the best hero that you ever used.
- When he has Aghanim's Scepter, then his vision is unobstructed. Basically, this means that his some sort of a legal map hack as he will see the way far from the normal vision of other players. This will help him avoid being gank and being escaped by the enemy when ganking as he has clear vision on high terrains and even when there are trees.

- You can play Balanar differently according to the case he needs to be. He can be a semi-tank, carry, ganker and roamer for your team. But not to be a support of course :D.

Cons

- Well as how fearsome Balanar can be at night time, he can be not that fearsome at day time. Take note he needs to be in the shades of the night to make use of his abilities to its full potential.

- You must be good in last hitting creeps or even enemy heroes to earn the needed gold at the first night of the game. Well, almost every DOTA players must have this even if they are using a different hero.

- You must know the heroes of DOTA. Just like what I have said before on Ganking wisely, disables, teleport or any other escape mechanism will result to a fail gank. You must need to know some basic information of each DOTA heroes so that you can plan ahead on how you will rape him or her :D.

Skills of Balanar The Night Stalker

Void- Creates a damaging void that slows an enemy unit and deals damage. The slowing effect lasts longer at night. At max level, it does 335 Damage, Slows attack speed by 35% and movement speed by 50%. It micro stuns the target and does the full damage on enemy at day time but the only downside is, it only slows the target for 2 seconds. The damage of this skill will be a pain to squishy heroes like Sniper, Lina, Lion, etc. while the slow effect will be your key to gaining a kill. In addition to that the micro stun is quite useful as it can cancel skills which has casting time which basically means that it can cancel teleports.

Important Note: I advise not to spam this skill when it's ready. Instead use it wisely, make it your starting skill for a gank or after you have employed Crippling Fear for a hero that has escape mechanism or disables or, use it secondly when the enemy is about to teleport his way to town.

Crippling Fear- Night Stalker horrifies the target enemy Hero, causing it to miss attacks and become silenced. The effect lasts longer at night. At day time, 3 seconds silence wouldn't be of any help especially on ganking STR heroes with stuns. However at night, 8 seconds will be very long and can ensure you kills most of the time during ganking enemy heroes, especially if you use it on INT heroes. Try to imagine a Crystal Maiden killing you with just auto attack? LOL.

Important Note: If the enemy you will gank has an escape mechanism, then I suggest on casting this first and then Void. But remember that it's best used at night time.

Hunter in the Night- Night Stalker is in his element at night, attacking and moving with great swiftness. At max level, it increases your move speed 35% and your attack speed 70%. This will be the passive skill which will help you in ganking and roaming. Also, this passive will give you the ability to escape at situations where you are in hot water.




Darkness- Night Stalker smothers the sun and summons instant darkness, so that he might use his powers at their fullest. When used at night, it extends night time by Darkness' duration. SCEPTER UPGRADABLE: Grants unobstructed vision in the night. The improved vision does not depend on using Darkness. In contrast with other skills that can be upgraded by Aghanim's Scepter, this improvement does not have anything to do with his ultimate (Darkness), but instead is active all the time.

Important Note: One thing that you should know about this skill is, once you have activated it, it pauses the time. This means that if you activate it on day time, it will prolong the duration of the day so I strongly suggest not to spam this skill when its available at day. Instead only use this skill at day when you extremely need it like you need the boost on really badly or, you need to escape. In night time, this is a good skill to spam as it will prolong the duration of the night which means more stalking and more killing!

My Skill Distribution for Balanar Per Level is...
Level 1- Void
Level 2- Hunter in the Night
Level 3- Void
Level 4- Hunter in the Night
Level 5- Crippling Fear
Level 6- Void
Level 7- Hunter in Night
Level 8- Crippling Fear
Level 9- Void
Level 10- Hunter in Night
Level 11- Darkness
Level 12- Crippling Fear
Level 13- Crippling Fear
Level 14- Darkness
Level 15- Stat
Level 16- Darkness
Level 17- Stat
Level 18- Stat
Level 19- Stat
Level 20- Stat
Level 21- Stat
Level 22- Stat
Level 23- Stat
Level 24- Stat
Level 25- Stat

Item Build for Balanar the Night Stalker

Starting Items

Quelling Blade- There are many uses for this item and I strongly recommend having this as your starting item. You can create new paths for ganking, surprise your enemy coming from a way he wasn't expecting you would come or, you can use it to cut a tree and directly escape to that path, outmaneuvering your opponent on the jungle. And lastly, this item can aid you in creepings as it will incrase your attack as a melee hero and as well as grants you another last hit option as you can throw the blade and last hit a creep.Quite useful especially when you are facing a range opponent and you are being harass.

Tango- Well, you can't survive early games without going back to the tower at level 1-6 without this item. It's mainly use to help you stay on your lane and farm more rather than waste your time walking back to the fountain and healing yourself-

Gauntlet of Strength- Gives you +3 to STR, your primary attribute, and you can evolve them into Bracer or Urn of Shadows. Basically, you need this item for more HP and damahe at the early stage of the game. I suggest having two of these on your item slot.

Core Items


Urn of Shadows- This item is amazing on Night Stalker because gives you a powerful damage boost with the charges. Also you will fill it fast because you will keep ganking and roaming all the game. Not only that is use to boost your damage, you can also use this item as some sort of survival item. Do remember that this item has the ability to heal an hero for every charges it has.

Power Treads/Phase Boots- Power Treads is mainly for those who are good in switching to STR, INT or AGI. When you need a boost in health, switch to STR, when you need to cast void and your MP is short, switch to INT while if you need more damage, go for AGI. On the other hand, you can choose Phase Boots as it's also good for Balanar as the damage and as well as it's no collision effect can be quite useful in times when the enemy is about to run with many creeps blocking your path. But my personal preference would be Power Treads.

Core Options


Sange and Yasha- This works perfect for Balanar too and could be your main item if you are just beginning to play Balanar. Sange is for the slow effect while Yasha is for the increase of movement speed and attack speed and as well as the damage. This item is pretty easy to build and, it could be a great help to beginners as this will help them in farming fast.

Skull Basher- Another option that you can go with is this item. It grants the damage that Balanar needs to kill an opponent quickly and of course, the 1.4 seconds mini stun is really helpful. Do remember that with Hunter in the Night which increases your attack speed, you will have more chances of making the mini stun of this skill procs.

Helm of Dominator- This gives you the chance to rush towers, heal yourself without leaving the tower, the armor bonus is just great, and you can control creeps and send them to jungle to find some unaware prey to kill. Also if you can find the neutral with the Web skill, you can chase heroes, tangle them and kill them.

Important Note: Don't go with this if you have taken up Sange and Yasha. Instead go with Vladmir's Offering if you think you need the life steal.

Aghanim's Scepter- With this scepter you have a little legal map hack. You gain no view penalty from object such as tree, higher terrain, etc. Once you have scepter, unless you are very bad, no one can gank you. Ganking is ten times easy for you, because you know when your prey is alone, you know that no one is hidding in shadows, and when he starts running he can't juke you because you know where is he heading all the time. Also, you get some really nice stats, start with Ogre club since your primary stat is STR.

Black King Bar- This will be your core item especially when you are facing a lot of heroes which has disables. In every intermediate to pro games, Balanar's would rush getting this item as surely, they will be the first to be targeted by those disablers of the enemy team.

Luxury Items

Abyssal Blade- At late game, you can turn your Skull Basher to this.




Heart of Tarrasque- The Strength bonus this item gives to Balanar is really helpful. Plus, the Max HP and as well as the HP regeneration is grants heroes is really crucial especially in late games

Luxury Options
Satanic- If you decided to go with Helm of Dominator, then go with Satanic at late game. The life steal is just sick and you are really hard to kill, but keep in mind if you are facing a heavy crowd control team maybe you can not gain its Active bonuses.

Assault Cuirass- If you are not contented with the armor and as well as the damage and attack speed of Balanar, then go for this item at late game.


Situational Items

Vladmir's Offering- If you decided to take on Sange and Yasha and not Helm of Dominator, then go get this item for the life steal and the armor. This skill is also good for pushing as your allies like your creeps will also benefit from the bonus armor and life steal.

Vanguard- Having hard time? Owned by an enemy hero and you are just being 1 combo to death? Then go for Vanguard. In times where you are really struggling against heroes or you are close to becoming the feeder of the team, then this will be a good item to get so that you can recover from the disappointment of always dying.

Eul's Scepter of Divinity- You may say that "HUH? EUL's FOR WHAT? NOOB ITEM FOR BALANAR" But this item is really helpful for him especially in times when there are many disablers in the other team. You can run against a lane with 2 heroes forgetting about getting disabled, if they has 1 disabler, cast silence on him and attack the other, when the effect is fading, cast Eul's and you have 2.5 seconds to finish your main target. If they have 2 disabler, just cast silence on one, Eul's on the other one.

Strategies You Must Apply in Playing Balanar the Night Stalker

Early Stage of the Game
At the early stage of the game, I suggest that you go on the top lane with a partner. Good partners with Balanar are those heroes with stuns or slows and if they are good enough, you can ensure that you will have the First Blood. Another advantage at going on the top lane is that when the night comes you will start roaming so you partner can "solo" for a while. You have the Side-Shop and if you are on the Radiant side you have the secret shop in case of need and lastly, you will have some nice escape paths.

Alternative would be going to the middle lane solo. In this lane, you must have the Bottle first instead of the Quelling Blade and, you need to control the rune. One advantage of goind middle lane is you will level up faster and you can gank in no time.

Middle Lane or Top Lane, your goal as Balanar is to farm for gold and make sure that at the very first night, you will have Power Treads, Bottle or Urn of Shadows. Be sure to deny creeps and also, last hit creeps.

Middle Stage of the Game
In this stage of the game, your goal is to gank, gank a little more and gank some more. At this stage, you must have at least the Urn of Shadows and Power Treads and your only short for about a hundred gold in buying come core options like Skull Basher or Sange and Yasha. But of wait, erase that gank and gank and gank. Instead, make it GANK WISELY. When I say this, follow the ganking guide I have mentioned above and, gank only at night time or if the opportunity comes. DO NOT PROLONG DAY BY USING DARKNESS AT DAY. Instead, during the day, just go to any lanes that have been push a little and farm. You can also farm on the jungle if the enemy heroes aren't present or cannot be seen (missing in short) on the mini map. When the night comes, ITS STALKING AND KILLING TIME! In addition to this, make sure you bring Teleport Scroll. This may help you in not wasting time travelling in foot.

Late Stage of the Game
If you are good in handling Balanar, then the game will notgo to this stage. It will just end at middle game but if it the game does prolong to late game, then your goal here is to be with your team at all times. Don't go alone if the heroes aren't present in the mini map. I recommend that you form up a team which will help you gank enemy hero but this will be in extreme cases. Most intermediate matches in DOTA which prolongs to late game will lead to scenarios where team will always stick together. So, you must go with your team also and push towers, build up your luxury items/options and finish the game.

Bonus Tip: You might also want to bring a Blade Mail if you have problems on those hard carry heroes like Ursa.

Well, that's all about my Balanar: The Night Stalker DOTA 2 Guide and Strategy. You can post some comments below if you think you have something to add, compliment or criticize. Like I have said before, this is just a guide on to improve your skills in playing Balanar in DOTA and not a step-by-step process. Instead of whole-ly relying on this guide, just take some of my advice and form your own great strategy and build.
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