How to Play Grimstroke in Dota 2

How to Play Grimstroke in Dota 2

Dota 2's newest hero can be difficult to master which has caused many to wonder how to play Grimstroke in Dota 2's current meta.

Grimstroke is one of the strongest supports currently in the game, but his kit can be hard to utilize for the uninformed player. But like many players are aware, a well-played Grimstroke can be nearly impossible to play against.

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Grimstroke has a unique kit, featuring a wide variety of disables from slows to silences to stuns. Every ability he has starts out with a base level of effectiveness but exponentially increases in power level when used correctly. For instance, his first ability, Stroke of Fate, starts out doing 120 damage and slowing for 50 percent, but that damage will increase with every enemy unit it passes through. This makes Grimstroke inherently better against heroes like Phantom Lancer, Wraith King, Broodmother, or any hero that summons units. Whether you're taking Grimstroke safelane, offlane or mid, always try to keep the creep wave between you and the enemy hero before using Stroke of Fate. This ability also gives vision at its very peak, so don't be afraid to blindly throw this out towards a fleeing hero.

His next ability, Phantom's Embrace, is a silence but with a few caveats. At first glance, it works similarly to Weaver's bugs: launching out a projectile that latches onto an enemy and slowly deals damage over time, except silencing instead of reducing armor. However, Weaver's bugs take four attacks to kill, and Phantom's Embrace starts out at two and maxes out at three (disregarding talents). Because of this, Phantom's Embrace can't be thrown out blindly.

The optimal time to use this is whenever the enemy doesn't want to stop and attack it; like when they're trying to run away or take a fight. Additionally, the correct usage of this spell breaks a fundamental rule of playing Dota 2, which is to never stack disables. This is a disable that demands to be used in tandem with others. After four to five seconds of the phantom being on an enemy, it will rend, causing massive damage and sending the Phantom back to Grimstroke and refreshing the cooldown. This means you want to combo it with any disable, as the duration running down is always better.

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The most recent patch brought a change to Grimstroke's third ability Ink Swell. Ink Swell no longer disarms the target or makes it immune to attacks, which means it can now be used as a powerful initiation ability on a hero like Ursa or Earthshaker.

Grimstroke's ultimate is best used in tandem with other abilities, as it chains two enemy heroes and makes any ability cast on one be cast on the other. So make sure your Phantom's Embrace and items are up before slapping this on two enemy heroes. This is best used in team fights, or any time two heroes are close together.


Itemization on Grimstroke is pretty straightforward. Most of the standard support items work wonders here, such as Aether Lense, Euls, and a sprinkling of wards and dust. However, the value of any single target item is suddenly doubled on Grimstroke, as his ultimate lets you essentially cast it on two heroes at once. Urn of Shadows is an amazing early pick up for Grimstroke, giving you stats, mana regen and a powerful damage over time ability to cast on two heroes at once. It also builds straight into its older brother Spirit Vessel, which is an even better item for Grimstroke. Blink Dagger and Force Staff are also amazing pickups for any stage of the game, as your abilities will only get better with more mobility.

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While it is possible to play Grimstroke as a mid or even as a carry, it's really not recommended. Grimstroke excels as a support, either going safelane and babysitting a carry or being aggressive in the offlane. If going aggressive, constantly put the pressure on the enemy carry and support by right-clicking as often as possible, as Grimstroke has impressive starting stats making trades usually come out in his favor.

As the game progresses, stick by your team and be ready to fight at a moments notice. Stack camps, save your cores, do whatever it takes to stay in the game. With proper positioning, itemization, and usage of skills, the wins should start to pile up easily with Grimstroke.

Photo courtesy of Valve

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