I've been playing most of the AP games lately with Demented Shaman after i found out (by chance) in an AR game how awesome this hero is when played properly and your guide has helped me a lot on improving my gameplay with this hero who is now my favorite.
If I'm allowed to throw in my two cents after playing this guy a lot lately, it would be that i always start off with a Guardian Ring as i can just buy the Scarabs down at the outpost (these scarabs are the first two items i buy as i will go for Nome's Wisdom as soon as the game allow me to). Saving those 325g at the beginning means that you can spend them on other stuff.
Personally, i always go with Phase Boots for the extra damage you get earlygame (buy the mats at the outpost) and Phasewalking trough a creepwave so you can kill them all with a well placed heal is great for golds and pushing.
Also with regards to items, I've found that in some games where you end up with mostly magic damage heroes, Harkon's Blade is a really good substitute for Hellflower as far as dps items goes.
Other heroes i enjoy pairing up with except the ones you already mentioned:
Kraken (his ulti + your heal = dead heroes)
Madman/Scout/Night Hound (healing them while stealthed next to enemy heroes)
War Beast (wolves can be healed)
If there is anything about Demented Shaman that i wish they could change it is the last level of Entangle as the only benefit you get is the 2 sec less CD (7 physical dps is so little it's hardly worth mentioning). Make the stun proc from rank 2 and let rank 4 stun for 2 seconds or just straight out buff the damage from the DoT a bit.
I just want to say thanks for this guide. It's very detailed and very thorough.
Same goes for Harkon's Blade, you aren't supposed to do damage and a 3.5sec disable/5sec silence is pretty much always of more use for your team, even if you have those 4 other cool nukers.
What kind of boots you use is a neverending discussion for almost every single hero and in most games i play (pubs) there isn't really the big advantage of having one over the other so i go with the type i prefer as it's a matter of flavor.
And with Harkons blade, i don't think I've used this item more then 3-4 times, but like i said, it's only good for shaman if you
A) Want to improve your autoattack dps
B) A lot of the team dps is magic based. And even with those two conditions, it's still a substitute for hellflower based on personal preference.
Why would you want to improve your autoattack dps, your main damage comes from heal and storm cloud(reducing their armor), not from autoattacks.
Also there is always an advantage that some items have over others, be it boots, hellflower/kuldra/harkon's/whatever.
If you are playing a pubstomp it doesn't matter what you get since you are winning anyways, sure, but even pub games can be close and then it DOES matter what boots you got and what other items you got.
Best guide I've read.
I've been getting both astrolabe and nomes (start = guard ring, 2 totem, runes, mana pot - use remainder towards scarab in lane). I like the build you propose with 2x crushing, ring, 1 totem, 1 mana pot.
More importantly though you answered my Q of nomes vs labe and proposed another item to get instead of these 2. Stormspirit is something I haven't used since I went on a pollywog run early on. This is definitely worth a go.
Not sold on power supply for DS - his regen is so good and spells so cheap that it seems silly to have conditional burst regen lying around taking up a slot - esp if you took 2x forti bracer.
Got Rage? Visit the Dump!
What about a Harkon's Blade? I understand he is mostly physical damage, but if your team has tonnes of casters wouldn't it be good for Demented Shaman to get it since he has near infinite mana? That's assuming we're at very late game and you have Nomes/SOTM/Stormspirit/Sheepstick/Astrolabe.
Cheap spells and a mana battery go together really well, actually. I'd go as far as saying it's a core item for DS.Not sold on power supply for DS - his regen is so good and spells so cheap that it seems silly to have conditional burst regen lying around taking up a slot - esp if you took 2x forti bracer.
I use to start with 2 +str gloves, 2 mana pots, 3 tangos and 2 minor totems.
I build the gloves into fortified bracelets when i have gold lying around, and the 2 minor totems into power supply, with the battery from outpost.
After that I rush nome's wisdom and then stormspirit. Works well every time.
Not much to think about now really boot wise. Phase ones go out of the picture. Steamboots are great now for both defensive and offensive play style. Plated boots work ok if noone else on your team is getting them/ enemy team has mostly physical dps.
Yeah updated the items section a bit after much more time in game with him.
Parred down the starting builds quite a bit; started using the first one at Fenald's suggestion and it really has been the best of the all around starting builds.
As far as boots go Plated Greaves are really the only sensible option at this point, which you'll see reflected in there. Though I do have reason to believe they'll take a swing from the nerfbat - we'll see.
The new boots are truly awesome for Demented Shaman. I always go full support and with items like Nome's Wisdom, Astrolabe, Plated Greaves you end up with a high amount of armor.
Altho i'm a big fan of Plated Greaves, i can totally see the nerfbat swinging it's way within the next coupple of days. The duration is a bit long compared to the cost and cooldown
Definitely a marvelous guide to go with a marvelous hero. This is by far one of the most detailed/mechanically observed guides that I have read, (even on DotA allstars forums) and you really grasp the concept of armor, healing wave, mana regen/stats. I have JUST started playing HoN myself and to my knowledge he isn't an exact replica of an existing here on DotA so I found interest in him quickly and will definitely use this guide to help out build my skill for my team.
I suggest this hero/guide to anyone who loves playing support as much as I do (support heroes win the games :P).
ONE MINOR TYPO THAT I SEE. In your skill descriptions you talk about Storm Cloud being a 600 radius skill, and when you talk about the staff that improves his ultimate by adding 800 radius, you said it it equals out to 1600.
600 radius + 800 radius = 1400 radius.
I am not sure if the actual base radius is 800 itself or you did actually make an error.
Like I said, nothing bad about this guide at all, just something I noticed so now you can see your guide IS perfect
This is by far the best, most in-depth and most usefull guide I've read so far.
Thanks so much, i allready play demented very good, but i actualy learned a lot of things from this, I was doing the ultimate wrong and a few minor errors.
I started building Nomes and Astro early and its wonderfull.
Thanks alot for this guide, very informative.
I taste like butter, but im not.
jesus mary and joesph. That's a rather epic guide if I say so myself :$
Dont forget that healing wave also downs catapults instantly when creeps surround them thats a fun way to push/get free gold