DOTA2: How To Play Grimstroke As Support And Dominate


It has been two months since Valve released the newest hero: Grimstroke at the largest tournament The International 8. Unlike new heroes like Monkey King, Dark Willow, … that only come in next game patch, Grimstroke got ported to the game right after Valve announced that hero, causing a great chaos across Dota 2 community. With the reputation of “delay porting new heroes for eternity after revealed” of Valve, the sudden appearance of  Grimstroke was a big surprise to players.



  • Have a lot of disable skills: slow, stun, silence and can bind two enemy heroes together.
  • Low cooldown skillset, which make them spammable.
  • Easy to farm.


  • Crappy HP, like any other intelligent heroes.
  • Very likely to be targeted first in combat- even if you hide well.
  • Mana thirst.


Get Ink Swell at lv1 to easily take bounty rune at start, then get all 3 normal skills at lv3 and max the first skill, this will increase the damage and reduce cool-down (also make it easier to farm with him). After maxing Stroke of Fate, 2 other normal skills can be leveled depend on the situation (it is recommended to max Ink Swell to have better escape mechanism). Get ultimate skill as soon as possible.

Hero Talents
+50%  Stroke of Fate Damage 25 +200  Ink Swell Radius
+2 Hits to Kill  Phantom 20 +600  Stroke of Fate Cast Range
+125 Cast Range 15 +12% Spell Amplification
+90 Gold/Min 10 +30 Movement Speed

Lv10: free gold with +90 Gold/Min.

Lv15: +12% Spell Amplification is better most of the time, because the longer range actually increase the odd of error for Stroke of Fate.

Lv20: if your team is winning, you should take +2 hit for Phantom’s Embrace to bully your enemies more. If your team is losing, take +600 csat range for Stroke of Fate, this will help you de-push effectively.

Lv25: with high error ratio of Stroke of Fate, it’s obvious that +50% damage on this skill can be unreliable. If you are a true support, take +200 Ink Swell aoe instead and you can stun the whole enemy team.



Game start: Observer Wardx2, Animal Courier, 1xTango, 1xHealing Salve, 2xMango, 1x Iron Brach.

  • Animal Courier: it’s your job as a support to buy this.
  • Tango: you don’t want to walk back to base at minute 1, right?
  • Observer Ward: support’s responsibility.
  • Healing Salve: one salve will help you stay in lane longer to contribute to the laning phase.
  • Mango: a quick mana regeneration can mean one extra spell to turn the tide of battles.
  • Iron Branch: useful stats boost at early game.

Early game:

  • Town Portal Scroll: alway keep one of these.
  • Observer Ward, Sentry Ward: provide vision for your team.
  • Magic Wand: this item can save your life a lot of times.
  • Arcane Boots: this hero can never have enough mana.
  • Smoke of Deceit: better chance at ganking when rotating.

Core Items:

  • Aether Lens: every skill of Grimstroke benefit from this item.
  • Euls Scepter of Divinity: great mana regeneration, can avoid enemy focus for 2.5 seconds.
  • Spirit Vessel: HP regeneration for your team.
  • Force Staff: you can you this item to save yourself or ally, or to chase enemies.
  • Scythe of Vyse: combine with your ultimate, you can hex two enemy heroes at the same time.

Extension items:

  • Dagon: burst magic damage to two targets.
  • Ethereal Blade: combine with dagon for even greater burst damage.
  • Octarine Core: make you even more spammable.


In some situations, Grimstroke can opt for different items to live longer in combat .

black-king-bar aeon-disk  blink-dagger

  • Black King Bar: In the chaos of combat,  BKB is a great item for Grimstroke to be able to throw all his spells. Remember that some skills will pierce BKB spell immunity like Black Hole or Fiend’s Grip.
  • Aeon Disk: Grimstroke has very low HP, he can die very quickly without knowing. Aeon Disk can delay the time for you to find an escape.
  • Blink Dagger: an alternative to Force Staff, you can Blink into Soulbind to surprise the enemy or a quick Blink can save your life from enemy gank attempts.


  •  Stroke of Fate: 0.8 second cast time, deal damage in a line, the damage is increased by each enemies it hits, also slow target for 1.5 second. This is the most annoying skills of Gromstroke. It can punish enemies stay behind their creeps, and the range of this skill is 1200. This evil beast can harass enemy team easily in laning phase, in mid game and lately, it can be used to farm and defend base.
  •  Phantom’s Embrace: Summons a phantom that moves quickly towards the target, latching to it when she arrives. Once latched, the phantom damages and silences. If she survives the full latch duration she rends her victim for heavy damage and refreshes Phantom’s Embrace’s cooldown. The phantom can take maximum 9 hits from creeps and 3 hit from heroes. Any form of spell immunity (Black King Bar, Omni’s repel) or invulnarable status (Eul, Manta) will remove the phantom.
  •  Ink Swell: Grimstroke shrouds an allied unit in ink, increasing its movement speed. Enemies in range of the allied unit are damaged with inky tendrils over time. After 3 seconds it triggers, applying damage and stun in an area around the unit in proportion to how much ink tendril damage was inflicted to heroes.
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  •  Soulbind: Binds a targeted enemy hero to its nearest allied hero within the bind radius of 500, preventing both from moving away from each other. Any unit-targeted ability that either bound hero receives also gets cast on the other hero. If the bind is broken before the duration expires, the initial target will be bound to its nearest allied hero in the radius.

Early game

Go with your teammates to fight for Bounty Runes at game start, with maximum effect Ink Swell at level one (220 dmg and 2.2 second stun), you can even score a kill if they want to fight. After that, you go to your offlane. Your main purpose is to harass enemy carry. Spam Stroke of Fate and harass enemy carry, if they are melee heroes, they will have a hard time but if they are ranged heroes, you need to position yourself better to dish out the most damage. Keep a Town Portal Scroll to backup and counter gank for other lanes, but your primary job is to harass and put pressure on enemy carry.

When yo uget level 6 and level your ultimate Soulbind, you can start roaming with your mid hero or your team ganker. This is a very interesting new skill, and can be very effective. When you bind two heroes together, if you can hold one of them in place, they both will not be able to run away (except they got blink) and if your teammates have targeted skills like Lion, then the double stun, double hex and double Finger can easily secure 1-2 kills.

Mid game

Your job is to bully enemies , go with your ganker to make space for your core heroes to farm crucial items. Gaining vision with Observer Ward and Sentry ward, keep Town Portal Scroll ready to back up or escape when necessary. You can take advantage of Stroke of Fate to farm enemy jungle as well. Buff your initiator with Ink Swell (like Axe or Centaur) to extend stun after they open the combat.

Try to get important items like Aether Lens and Eul Scepter of Divinity to increase survivability in combat (because if the enemy know what Grom can do, they usually love targeting him).

Late game

You can shine in the late game thanks to your Soulbind, combine with your skill Phantom’s Embrace and item like Scythe of Vyse. Be careful when you use Eul Scepter of Divinity because you can accidentally save two enemies heroes. Positioning is crucial for Grimstroke, and with long range spells, this should not be a problem for you.

At start of combat, try to Soulbind enemy cores – the best targets are mid and carry heroes, this will greatly increase your team positioning advantage. Use target disable (except Eul Scepter of Divinty) on one of the Soulbinded heroes to render them useless so that your team can focus down the important targets. Even if you don’t have abilities or items to follow up, Soulbind is still good in itself with 45% slow for 10 second.

Try to keep the vision up, and don’t go solo; always stay from behind to effectively use all your skills. Your appearance in combat is a huge threat to the enemy team, so stay alive.

In bad scenarios like your cores already dead and the enemy is pushing, Stroke of Fate become your reliable tool to clear creeps and defend the high ground. Hopefully this will buy enough time for your teammate’s resurrection.

Great allies and enemies

  •  Lich: Bounce range of Chain Frost is 600 whilen bind range of Soulbind is 550. Double Chain Frost of death!
  •  Lion: Double stun, double hex and double finger. Nuff said.
  •  Storm Spirit: Storm can have a lots of target disable items like Orchid, Vyse. He can quickly follow up with your Soulbind.
  •  Witch Doctor: double Cask is no joke!
  •  Axe: call into stun, great combination.
  •  Centaur: great to open combat with Ink Swell on.
  •  Anti-Mage: well, he is Anti-Mage
  •  Pugna: Nether Ward can kill you very fast, be very careful if they have this hero.
  •  Silencer: you are useless if you got silenced
  •  Doom: Neyaheh hah ahha ha, you’re doomed!

With Soulbind, a Grimstroke is capable of pulling amazing tricks, the mechanism of this skill is not stable yet and will be fixed from time to time.This article  Grimstroke: Soulbind and interesting interactions will give us some information about this trademark skill of Gromstroke.

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