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SoIMBA.Com's Chaos Knight Guide
By Airwave
A guide explaining the basics and in's and out's of Chaos Knight. The guide explains his skill builds, item builds and ideal laning partners.
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Introduction to the Author
Hey guys, Gasai here. I've been playing games of the MOBA/DotA genre for the majority of the past four years, first in HoN and most recently in DotA2. In Heroes of Newerth I was an 1850-1900 MMR hard support player with 57-60 percent win in public matchmaking. More recently I've been a member of the teams CoN2 and Team Jacob as their offlane solo player while maintaining a 55+ percent win rate in the "very high" matchmaking bracket. This guide will be part of a longer series as I attempt to write a guide for every hero in the DotA2 hero pool. In this guide I will explain my Chaos Knight build when I play him as a carry either in a dual side lane, trilane or dual mid.
Introduction to Chaos Knight
Chaos Knight is a strength carry with mobility, a stun and the ability to deal extremely high damage without building pure damage items. True to his name, Chaos Knight is a very chaotic and random hero who can struggle or excel based on luck. His three normal skills have high levels of variance and a lucky crit or stun can be the difference between winning a teamfight and losing one. Unlike other carries he can be effective during the early stages of a game but he can struggle at the latest stages of a game.
Pros and Cons
Pros:
  • +Great base damage, even if it does have a large range
  • +2nd highest base movement speed (325)
  • +33% chance of landing a four second stun when Chaos Bolt is maxed
  • +Phantasm is great for pushing
  • +Highest non-ultimate crit damage in DotA


Cons:
  • -Mana starved
  • -Very random
  • -Easily kited when skills are on cooldown
  • -No inherent farming mechanism
  • -Large AoE spells can hinder Phantasm's effectiveness
  • -Only a ten percent chance to crit
Skill Build with Explaination
My Skill Build:
Chaos Bolt at 1/3/5/7
Reality Rift at 2/4/6/8
Chaos Strike at 9/12/13/14
Phantasm at 10/11/16

Tauliss Build:
Chaos Bolt at 1/3/5/7
Reality Rift at 2/4/8/9
Chaos Strike at 10/12/13/14
Phantasm at 6/11/16

[Q] Chaos Bolt:
Chaos Knight's stun which has a high level variance but is also capable of having the longest non-ultimate duration stun in the game. It is paramount that you get Chaos Bolt maxed asap in order to get the two second floor for stun duration. Keep in mind that the stun duration and damage will appear above the opponents head after the skill lands.

[W] Reality Rift:
The ability responsible for closing the gap between yourself and enemy heroes. Reality Rift places you and the targeted enemy at a random point between the two of you while granting CK bonus damage. This ability synergizes with both Manta Style and Phantasm since it teleports all illusions with CK as long as they're within a 1400 unit radius. It's important to level Rift second for the additional cast range as well as the significantly reduced cooldown (24/18/12/6).

[E] Chaos Strike:
A crit that deals a tremendous amount of damage (300%) but also has a low chance of proccing (10%). The Chaos Strike crit also applies to illusions of CK, giving him the ability to effectively one shot opponents if CK and his illusions crit correctly.

[R] Phantasm:
CK's ultimate, it creates 1/2/3 illusions of CK that deal full damage but take double the damage of CK. This ability really allows CK to take off late game since it causes his damage output to skyrocket. Phantasm can also be used to take a tower/barracks without putting yourself or teammates in any actual danger. While Phantasm is extremely strong it doesn't have an exceptionally high uptime (140 second cooldown/24 second duration) but should be up for most team fights.

The skill build that I listed is pretty "standard" with the only variance that I've seen is at level nine. Some players prefer to get their first level of Phantasm at nine although I think that one level of crit is slightly more useful because of CK's terrible mana problems along with the fact that one single illusion isn't going to be that helpful. That being said, Phantasm at nine can be better if you need the extra CK illusion to push (although it probably won't make a large degree of difference) or for it's disjoint (which is extremely situational).


Note: The second build that I listed is the build that our carry player uses when playing Chaos Knight. I disagree with it but I felt that it was necessary to list since he has more experience playing CK at tournament level than I do.
Item Build with Explanations
Starting Items: Stout Shield, Branch x 3, Tango x 1, Healing Salve x 1
Laning Items: Magic Wand, Boots of Speed
Early Game/Core: Drum of Endurance, Power Treads
Mid-Game: BKB
Late Game: Assault Cuirass, Heart of Tarrasque, Satanic
Situational Early Game: Bottle, Urn of Shadows
Situational Mid Game: Armlet, Manta Style, Helm of the Dominator

Starting Items

My common starting build for any type of carry. The three branches will eventually build into a magic wand, the stout shield just to help with any lane harass and double regen for the same purpose. If you don't want to go this particular starting build there are a few different variants, all of which build into different items:

2x Gauntlets of Strength -> Stout Shield + 1x Branch

Pros:
If you plan on building an urn with CK this is a better build. This build gives you +5 strength and cuts the price of Urn down significantly.

Cons:
You're going to need to spend an extra 53 gold for your magic wand (not a big deal) while also being much more susceptible to early game, in-lane harass


Ring of Protection -> Stout Shield

Pros:
My preferred trilane CK build. Ring of Basilius helps solve some of the mana problems CK has while giving a very helpful aura to yourself and your two lanemates. Somebody should always get a RoB in a trilane and in most scenarios it's easiest to build on the trilane farmer.

Cons:
Still leaves you susceptible to early game harass (although the armor does negate some of the effect) while forcing you to delay boots and other items to spend 325 on a Sage's Mask.

Mid-Game/Core

Chaos Knight has a lot of options in terms of what to build depending on whom he is facing and how well he is farming. I will usually make [[Drum of Endurance]] first if I have average farm since it allows me to be more active during the early-mid game stage while also providing an extremely nice boost to CK's mana pool. If my farm is going exceptionally well and I have a teammate who is going to build the Drums (such as Invoker, Bounty Hunter etc.) I'll either build immediately into a [[Black King Bar]] or an [[Armlet of Mordiggian]]. Black King Bar is my only "must have" item on Chaos Knight since getting kited is CK's biggest problem and BKB does a lot to prevent that. Armlet provides a huge boost to CK's health regen and while providing burst health when needed. [[Manta Style]] is a popular item on CK for a variety of reasons. Any type of illusion synergizes with CK due to Reality Rift while also providing good all-around stats (thanks to the Ultimate Orb) and adding to CK's already-top-tier movement speed (thanks to the Yasha). Personally I'm not a fan of Manta since I think that Drum does what Manta does except for cheaper, allowing CK to build into a bigger, more beneficial item such as Heart or a quicker BKB. I should note that I consider Manta to be more of a mid-late item than pure mid since it scales very well into the late game as CK gets more items and levels.

Late Game

[[Heart of Tarrasque]] is what I'll usually go for first as a late game item on CK since it greatly boosts the health and damage of both him and his illusions (40 damage, 1060 health), not to mention the regen that Heart provides. [[Assault Cuirass]] is a powerful anti-carry item that makes CK that much better against towers and enemy agility carries. Furthermore, the attack speed provided by [[Hyperstone]] is HUGE for a strength hero like CK. [[Satanic]] is a late-late game item that needs items to be fully effective but boosts CK's already massive health pool while granting a him a huge chunk of life-steal, especially when activated.
Ideal Laning Partners with CK
As a hard-carry with a targeted stun and strong damage output from an early level CK can always be played aggressively, assuming he has the right lane partner. While it may seem simple to pair CK with a high damage stunner/nuker, some heroes do better than others when put into a dual or trilane with Chaos Knight.

Lina and Leshrac

Lina is a fantastic nuker and lane support who is my favorite dual laner with Chaos Knight. Not only is she capable of dealing loads of damage, but her lane harass is also superior to Leshrac's in my opinion. Chaos Bolt sets up [[Split Earth]] and [[Light Strike Array]] equally well, allowing you to chain stun with ease while dealing maximum damage. While both Leshrac and Lina are similar lane partners for Chaos Knight, they offer different things as the game progresses. [[Laguna Blade]] makes Lina an exceptional and aggressive nuker throughout the early to mid game while a Leshrac who maxes [[Diabolic Edict]] over [[Lightning Storm]] becomes a phenomenal pusher, capable of giving your team a huge early game gold advantage via towers.

Jakiro, Lion, Keeper of the Light, Crystal Maiden, Ancient Apparition

Strong, but not as strong as the previously listed support heroes. Jakiro's [[Ice Path]] is arguably the best non-ultimate stun in the game due to it's absurd range and high duration when maxed, but Jakiro lacks the burst damage that both Leshrac and Lion provide. Lion is similar to Jakiro in that he has a very strong stun and deals slightly more damage but Lion is very level dependent and once again, doesn't offer the burst that other heroes do. Keeper of the Light is in a different boat than both Jakiro and Leshrac, [[Illuminate]] deals a lot of damage while [[Chakra Magic]] lets Chaos Knight spam Chaos Bolt. The downside to all of this is that KotL doesn't have a follow up stun for CK so unless CK gets lucky with a long duration stun the power of this combination can be stunted. Crystal Maiden is an underrated support and one who does great with CK if you don't get her aura. While [[Frostbite]] isn't a true stun it is a pretty strong disable while [[Crystal Nova]] provides AoE burst and a slow. She nearly made it into the above list but I don't think that she's quite as powerful as the other two heroes as the game progresses. Ancient Apparition is a popular dual laner with CK because of the synergy of [[Cold Feet]] with Chaos Bolt but I think that it requires too many levels to be as effective as the Lina/Lesh combination.

Useful Tips and Tricks
  • While some people considered the projectile speed change of Chaos Bolt to be a nerf because it allows for more disjointing, I wholeheartedly disagree. The change allows you to throw a Chaos Bolt and while the projectile is in the air Reality Rift to the enemy, meaning there is almost no downtime between you reaching the enemy and the enemy being stunned.
  • Phantasm actually allows you to disjoint some spells such as [[Magic Missile]]. It's disjoint property works similarly to Manta Style (with a cast animation).