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Strategy Guide for Ish'kafel the Dark Seer

by michalferko (as of v6.60)

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1. Intro

1.1. Hero overview

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1.2. Why to choose

- to stomp a pub
- to surprise the enemy
- to have fun
- to support the hell out of your team
- to unexpectedly win a higher level play because of you

1.3. Pros and cons

- great farming capabilities
- is a good hunter
- perfect support
- nice pusher
- good INT and STR gain

- Melee
- If surge is in cooldown, he is very vulnerable
- vacuum requires a lot of mana

1.4. Role
- semi-ganker
- pseudo-tank
- support nuker
- pusher

1.5. Skill discussion

Ion Shell - This is your main harassing skill. Use it wisely and remember that the unit that has
Ion Shell isn't damaged by it. I am sick of seeing those noobs cast it on the enemy hero and laugh
that he's getting damaged. Early game, it should be cast on friendly melee heroes with a stun or a
slow. A perfect candidate is centaur or slardar. Another possibility is to cast it on friendly heroes
with wind walk or any type of invisibility.
Surge - Use it wisely, because when in cooldown, you are a free target. Since you will be mostly
casting ion shell on allied melee heroes with stun, they should also get surge to position their
stun. Another use of surge is of course for running, but can also be used to get faster to/from your
base. It's manacost is rather small, so don't be ashamed of casting it often.
Vacuum Your direct damage nuke. You should use it to finish off running heroes, because the
cast range and AoE are big enough. Also it can be used to destroy trees and eyes in the forest.
But careful, only in the center of the AoE get the trees destroyed. Again, use it wisely. You can
pull out heroes juking in the forest, making them vulnerable. In certain situations, it allows your
team to better position their AoE nukes.
Wall of Replica - The insane pushing skill. You double the number of heroes on your side and
sometimes even get a few bonus images from enemies. At lvl1 it lasts only 15 seconds which is
the reason it should be gotten later. When combined with vacuum, you can force the enemies to
create you a few more images. Should be cast before/during a battle and to take down barracks or

2. Skill and item builds

2.1. The typical

This will be your main build in most games. It offers offensive as well as defensive capabilities
throughout the game. Your main aim will be to farm on your lane, gank a bit and push.
Skill build
1 - Surge
2 - Shell
3 - Shell
4 - Surge
5 - Shell
6 - Vacuum
7 - Shell
8 - Surge
9 - Surge
10 - Wall
11 - Wall

Continue maxing vacuum. get wall lvl3 at 16.

Justification: Surge at first level? lolnub. here's why: To get faster to the base in case you get
ganked at lvl1, and to gank at lvl1 efficiently. The 3 seconds will ensure you 2 hits or allow your
teammate to aim a stun. Maxing shell is pretty straightforward since it's your biggest damage
output. One level of vacuum is gotten to avoid juking-escape and to move enemies closer to

Item build
You should start with circlets or branches, tangoes and clarities. Followed by completing a few
bracers/nulls depending on what you need. Power treads are not an option since you're not a
DPSer. Your core item should be guinsoo. You need HP, mana and a disable. Followed by
completing BoT. If you have trouble farming for guinsoo, you might consider being a
transportable fountain(mekan + arcane) or a beastmaster(necro). Another option is rushing
radiance but for that is another build. Finish your items with Shiva, Skadi or Manta for extreme
pushing. If you have trouble with casters, get BKB or linken.

2.2. The offensive

This build focuses on harassing the enemies as much as possible.

Skill build
1 - Vacuum
2 - Shell
3 - Shell
4 - Vacuum
5 - Shell
6 - Vacuum
7 - Shell
8 - Vacuum
9 - Surge
10 - Surge
11 - Surge
12 - Surge
13 - Wall
14 - Wall
15 - Stats
16 - Wall

Justification: You are offensive. Therefore you want as much damage as soon as possible. This
way you can handle a solo lane against 2 melee heroes but I suggest you NEVER go solo. Shell
and Vacuum combined with even the weakest slow or stun is deadly.

Item build
Again, get some regen and stat items early. There are a few possibilities for your core build. A
rushed dagon if you want to stomp a pub or Shiva if you want to do something for the team. If
you have mana problems, eul is quite good. Rushed radiance is also an option but only if you
farm very well. And since this skill build is aimed for farming and killing, you might be able to
do so. Finish your BoT and get what you like. Preferably Guinsoo and Necro. In a pub, you
might consider upgrading dagon since it got buffed in the last versions.

2.3. The defensive

This build focuses on staying on a lane and supporting teammates. Also on pushing.
Skill build
1 - Vacuum
2 - Surge
3 - Vacuum
4 - Surge
5 - Vacuum
6 - Surge
7 - Vacuum
8 - Shell
9 - Shell
10 - Shell
11 - Shell
12 - Surge
13 - Wall
14 - Wall
15 - Stats
16 - Wall

Justification: You use vacuum from distance to lasthit creeps and surge to quickly move around
the map. This skill build should be used when you are soloing(unwillingly) or when against
ranged nukers, since against those, shell is useless. You should always be prepared for a gank and
sometimes even help gank.

Item build
Again, get some regen and stat items early. Your core build will be the travelling fountain. Start
with arcane ring to spam vacuum. It shouldn't be a problem to farm. Followed by mekan to
increase team survivability. As next, depending on how well you farm, you should decide
between guinsoo and necro. In certain situations, necro is even better. Finish your BoT and get
Manta for superior pushing capabilities. Add in a shiva if you need a slow and another AoE.

2.4. The jungler

This build focuses on jungling early game, ganking mid game and dominating late game.
Skill build
1 - Shell
2 - Vacuum
3 - Shell
4 - Vacuum
5 - Shell
6 - Vacuum
7 - Shell
8 - Vacuum
9 - Surge
10 - Wall
11 - Wall
12 - Surge
13 - Surge
14 - Surge
15 - Stats
16 - Wall

Justification: Shell is gotten first because it's your biggest damage output. Vacuum with it to
maximize speed of jungling. You might consider getting 1 level of surge earlier if you don't have
trouble creep-pulling and camp-stacking.
Item build
Start with just tangoes and clarities. Get a chicken and a bottle. If you want to be good in
jungling, read some other guides. The main aim of this build is to rush radiance. You should get
sacred before the 25 minute mark, otherwise you failed. Until you are level 3, stay on scourge
top/sent bot lane and farm yourself. It would be best if a strong lane controller would be on the
lane so that he can manage it with you in the jungle. At lvl3, you are strong enough to go wipe
out the neutrals. Be careful and don't let them gank you. Once you have your radiance, you
should rush a few bracers/nulls and boots to be as effective as possible. Finish with Heart and
Shiva for tanking or Guinsoo + Orchid for ganking.

3. Gameplay walktrough

3.1. Early game

Go to your lane and lasthit. NEVER go solo. It's stupid since you cannot effectively use your
abilities alone. Choose a lane partner that has a slow or a stun. The best lane partners are: DK,
SK, SK, or heroes with blink. Weaver needs special mentioning, because the watcher-shell
combo is very deadly unless they get wards. And if you get wards too, a ward war can start. You
should stay on your lane as long as you can. Farm, farm, farm. With a good lane partner, you
should score fb at lvl3 or at lvl5 at worst. That way you can outlevel the enemies, which is one of
the two points of early game. The other is, you guessed it, farming.

3.2. Mid game

Not depending on which skill and item build you chose, it's your time to shine. Your nukes are
strong, you can give your teammates a short-lasting haste and therefore you should gank as much
as you can. It is prefered that you have bottle to improve ganking. You should also always carry a
TP scroll or have BoT already. That way you can gank a lot and even help your teammates. You
will be mostly casting surge on other gankers and Shell on tanks. Use vacuum wisely and don't
waste your ultimate. wall costs a lot of mana and you will be mostly using your other skills so
you won't have mana for it. I use wall only when pushing 2nd (or 3rd) towers or defending them.

3.3. Late game

Your time has passed. You should be supporting the carry heroes and semi-tank. From now on,
you will be using wall much more often because pushes become more important.

4. Advanced strategies

4.1. Using Vacuum

Your only direct damage nuke with a helpful moving feature.
- Pull back a running hero. If he's running and you're behind him, you have to have good timing.
You should get used to the cast range and the AoE. Both are big enough, but when a running
hero is quite close to you and you aim vacuum wrong, you may even help the enemy escape. If
the running enemy is quite near, cast vacuum literally on yourself. He will be dragged right to
you. if he is further away(not in the distance to be able to pull him to you) you have to predict
where he moves. I usually cast it right on him and since it's not instant and he's running, when
the pull occurs, he is approximately and the edge of the AoE, causing maximum pull and
therefore increasing the chance of catching him
- farming. When coupled with ion shell, you can use vacuum to drag all enemy creeps exactly on
the shelled unit, utilizing shell even more
- netting a kill. vacuum enemies to a friendly stunner. Works perfectly.

4.2. Using Ion Shell

Your biggest damage output. DOESN'T DAMAGE THE UNIT THAT IT IS CAST ON. don't
forget that. I am sick of pub players casting shell on the enemy hero and laughing that they're
gonna die.
Shell should be cast on friendly melee heroes with stun, but other heroes can utilize it too(ranged
tanks against a melee team).
- netting a kill. Cast together with surge on a friendly hero ensures a huge damage output.
- jungling. You should permanently have shell when jungling. Never forget it. Since it does much
more damage than vacuum, always max it when jungling(as mentioned before). Shell won't be
dispelled by purge, so don't fear the satyrs.
- farming. As mentioned in "using vacuum".

4.3. Using Surge

Great support skill. a 6.5 second haste can save people's asses and help get a few kills.
- Travelling. It can get you quicker anywhere you want. I suggest you use it always when going
to the fountain. Since it doesn't cost tons of mana, you can spam it once you have a few mana
- Hunting. As mentioned above.

4.4. Using Wall of Replica

Main pushing skill.
- pushing. Cast it on the cliff to the base. Tell your teammates to run through. Select all images
and attack.
- defending. Again, cast it on the cliff. If the enemies want to destroy the tower, they will run
through and the images will slow them down
- distraction. Cast it in the forest with all your teammates, send the images to a fake gank and
push the other side. You need a good team for this.

4.5. Using Shiva

Shiva will be your core build in most games. Use it wisely.
- Hunting. surge yourself, run towards the enemy, use shiva to slow them and vacuum to drag
them to your teammates.
- Team fights. shiva has a 30second cooldown, don't forget it. Use it as often as possible.
- farming. use it coupled with vacuum for instant gold.
- running. When the opponents get close, cast shiva to slow them, surge yourself and run away.
The same is possible when you're helping a teammate.

4.6. Using Guinsoo

This counts for all heroes with guinsoo, added just to be complete.
- Running. Obvious
- Hunting. Obvious
- Team fights. Hex the enemy carry or a threatening hero ( magnus, enigma, ...)

5. Other

5.1. Best allies

Weaver - Cast shell on him or watchers. Ownage ensured.
Dragon Knight - having a lane with him, you can always cast shell on him and he goes harassing
the enemies. He also has a long stun that won't be a problem to land if you use surge.
Chaos Knight - as well as DK, he has a long stun and also has blink which allows him to
immediately start dealing damage with shell. He also has the best base ms in the game which
improves the shell damage a bit.
Spiritbreaker - Surge him and he has huge damage for the next few seconds.

Disablers - any disabler is good, always lane with Rhasta or Lion, you won't regret it.
Nukers - Chaining nukes will ensure you a few kills
DPSers - they will love you lategame, 6 second haste is perfect.
Blink/WW heroes - Shell ftw.

5.2. Worst enemies

NA - THE feared hero, you're an INT hero, he pwns them. simple
Pugna - ward is a pain in the ass and decrepify stops the shelled unit.
Earthshaker - in most games, you will get necro and combined with wall, he will totally own you
with his ulti
Disablers - obvious
Silencers - obvious
Tanks - you can't nearly touch them and you need the help of a DPS hero to take a tank out

5.3. Best enemies

The best enemies are those melee low-hp heroes who get owned by Ion Shell.
Rikimaru - gets totally owned by shell and is even damaged by it while invisible.

5.4. Replays
Once I go stomp a pub, you get replays.

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