Crixalis, The Sand King - DotA Hero Strategy Guide

The Sand King has been a regular pick in competitive games for a long time. He brings strong ganking power, with Burrowstrike, along with strong pushing power, and powerful AoE damage, with Epicenter and even comes with a pesudo-blink. He is considered one of the strongest initiators in the game, due to the ability to Shift-queue Epicenter and blink, or by simplying using Burrowstrike followed by Epicenter.

The Sand King burrows into the ground, tunnels forward impaling everything above him, then surfaces.
Level 1 - 100 damage, 400 maximum range.
Level 2 - 160 damage, 500 maximum range.
Level 3 - 220 damage, 600 maximum range.
Level 4 - 280 damage, 700 maximum range.

Notes :: One of my favorite spells. Allows you to not only stun and deal decent damage to a fairly wide area of effect, but allows you to jump into a combat situation or teleport up a hill for an escape / kill. I will get into using Burrowstrike perfectly later.

Sand Storm

The Sand King creates a fearsome Sand Storm. The storm blinds his enemies and he becomes invisible to them. The storm also causes his opponents to take damage.

Level 1 - 20 damage per second, lasts 20 seconds, 0.3 second delay before visible.
Level 2 - 40 damage per second, lasts 40 seconds, 0.6 second delay before visible.
Level 3 - 60 damage per second, lasts 60 seconds, 0.9 second delay before visible.
Level 4 - 80 damage per second, lasts 80 seconds, 1.2 second delay before visible.

Notes :: Great for farming if you do this build, great for escaping death. I don't use this ability too much.

Caustic Finale

Each of the Sand King's attack injects a deadly venom that causes the target to explode violently on death, dealing damage in an area.

Level 1 - 90 damage.
Level 2 - 130 damage.
Level 3 - 170 damage.
Level 4 - 220 damage.

Notes :: One of the best farming skills in the game. Nuff' said.


Sends a disturbance into the earth, causing it to shudder violently. All caught within range will take damage and slowed. The closer to the epicenter, the more damage taken.

Level 1 - 2.0 second casting time, 6 pulses of 110 damage.
Level 2 - 2.0 second casting time, 8 pulses of 110 damage.
Level 3 - 2.0 second casting time, 10 pulses of 110 damage.

Notes :: One of the key spells in any mass push / defense in any CAL game, or hell, any game of any kind for that matter. Good for solo kills, good for double kills, good to ward away, good to stop pushes, good for everything.

Skill Build
  1. Burrowstrike
  2. Attribute Bonus
  3. Burrowstrike
  4. Attribute Bonus
  5. Burrowstrike
  6. Epicenter
  7. Burrowstrike
  8. Attribute Bonus
  9. Attribute Bonus
  10. Attribute Bonus
  11. Epicenter
  12. Attribute Bonus
  13. Attribute Bonus
  14. Sand Storm
  15. Caustic Finale
  16. Epicenter
  17. Caustic Finale
  18. Caustic Finale
  19. Caustic Finale
  20. Attribute Bonus
  21. Attribute Bonus
  22. Attribute Bonus
  23. Sand Storm
  24. Sand Storm
  25. Sand Storm
Note: Sometimes if you are alone with a melee enemy hero, getting Caustic instead of stats earlier can be more effective.

Item Build

Gauntlets of Strength
Circlet of Nobility
Flask of Sapphire Water
Clarity Potion
Ironwood Branch

[First Trip To Well - Should have at least 1000]
Bracer Scroll
Circlet of Nobility
Gauntlets of Strength
Bracer Scroll
Boots of Speed
Flask of Sapphire Water

[Second Trip To Well]
Kelen's Dagger of Escape
Filler Bracers

[Later Game] Defense Build
Heart of Tarrasque (Vitality Booster+Messerschmidt Reaver+Recipe)Heart of Tarrasque (Vitality Booster+Messerschmidt Reaver+Recipe)
[Later Game] Offense Build
Monkey King Bar (Demon Edge+2x Javelin)
Heart of Tarrasque (Vitality Booster+Messerschmidt Reaver+Recipe)
Heart of Tarrasque (Vitality Booster+Messerschmidt Reaver+Recipe)
Heart : I actually underestimated this item when I first posted my SK guide. Heart is a very good item on SK, both defensive and offensive. It adds roughly 1000 HP and 35 damage, not to mention 11 HP / Sec regen. Combined with Aegis and perhaps another heart, it would take the Fire Well 11 seconds to kill you. Pretty damn nice Tank. It allows you to run in with Epicenter and STILL be targetted but live.

What about BKB? : Yeah, BKB makes sense right? Burrowstrike in, channel Epicenter, turn on BKB, and they can't stop the channeling of the spell. Frankly I don't like BKB too much. My reasons for this are that I get enough HP later with Heart, and if you have a Blink Dagger Epicenter will already be going off so there is no need to stop it. Plus, with BKB, if you Burrowstrike in and Epicenter, people will scatter and you will have less of an effect. With just Blink Dagger, they could be all together and not have time to react.

Only list a few items? : Yeah, late game you really can go whatever you want, there really is no bad item for the Sand King, with a few obvious exceptions (Scepter, Orb Effects). I only listed what I usually go, but I change alot so don't go by it like its a bible.


Early Game

Start off by going to the lane of your choice. The good thing about Sand King is he is an excellent solo hero, yet an excellent dual-lane assistant as well. So, it doesn't matter if you solo or not. Start off in the lane being very, very passive. Hold ALT and walk around with Crixalis until you see a creep with a small fraction of health remaining. As you see the creep start to lose all of its health, immidiately right click it, and go back to your walking around quickly. (To prevent auto attacking on creeps). This is a very common farming method and works amazingly well in the long run - though hard to master.

Sometimes at early levels you can bait yourself by rambo right-clicking the enemy hero (Don't do this if you know it will be dumb AKA into Crystal Maiden and CK.) Get him to about 50% health (You should be probably around 25% health). Make him think he can kill you, and then use the power of your creeps to kill him instead.

Once you hit Level 3 you can begin doing some damage, but don't look for any kills yet. (Unless there is an allied stunner in your lane.) If you notice an enemy hero being attacked by at least 2 creeps, Burrowstrike him and attack him 2 times. The combination of your stun, your 2 attacks, and the 2 creeps attacking him add up to around 280-340 health taken away. Continue farming and being passive (Unless a stun opportunity occurs.

Level 5 - is a pretty big level because Burrowstrike is now quite manueverable. You can start to strike up hills, down cliffs etc and the range is pretty long. Burrowstrike has more AoE than the actual spike effect shown.*

Level 6 - Yay. Now you can easily, easily get double kills. You need to think what the person you burrowstriked is going to do when they see the green glow come from your tail.

Try and think what your enemies will think.

Level 7-10 - Just farm, get a kill if you can. Work on that Blink Dagger money until you get it. Boring, yes. If an ambush comes, be prepared.

...Seconds Later...

And finally...

Level 11-14 - Hopefully you have a Blink Dagger by now, and if you do, then now you must learn the art of Blink Strike + Epicenter. Look at these images and then I will explain further.

After the blink with Epicenter "on" :

There isn't really an "art" of Burrowstrike + Epicenter, as it isn't rocket science. Yet, it is one of the most effective "moves" in DotA. It usually never fails. First, find a spot that is in the fog of war or out of sight of enemy heroes. Be at most 900 units away from the enemies. Begin channeling Epicenter, and after the green light goes away and you start pulsing (You may miss 1 or 2 pulses if you are a begginner, it's ok) immediately blink into the center of the enemy Heroes. After your pulses are up, Burrowstrike the remainders (if there are any) to sweep easy double kills.

A common misconception is when you Blink in with Epicenter "on" you should immediately Burrowstrike the enemies - This is false. If you do this, the time the enemy heroes spend in the air for Burrowstrike, they enemies are invulnerable, which means, no Epicenter damage. Wait untl all pulses are clear OR you can get a kill with a Burrowstrike.

Some people like to Channel Epicenter and then Shift-click Blink dagger so they wont miss a pulse - I do not like this as the target you want to blink to 2 seconds ago may change in the 2 seconds of channeling.

Later Levels - There is not much more that is new to the Sand King after Level 14. Sand Storm should be used for dire situations and you need to stall for allied heroes to rescue. There is a specific way you should farm with Caustic Finale. When you see a full creep wave, Burrowstrike every single unit. Immediately attack the necromancer of the wave, and then attack 1-2 ghouls. If you did this correctly, with Level 4 Caustic Finale, you should have killed the whole creep wave in a matter of seconds.

The Sand King is great for pushes - Do the Blink + Epicenter combo and it will totally screw up a team. Other than that, everything else just comes from practice. That is of course, once you can master the art of...

Mastering Burrowstrike

Burrowstrike is an incredibly versatile skill as you can transport to whatever location you want. It is especially useful for escaping by Burrowstriking up a hill.

Basics: There are times when you should and should not click a unit to Burrowstrike it. An example of when it is actually OK to click a unit is when you are both farming in the same lane. The good thing about clicking the unit is it will detect if he is in range, and if he leaves the range you won't burrowstrike, which can be useful. DO NOT EVER click a unit if you are CHASING it, as you will always Burrowstrike behind the unit. You need to aim a bit ahead in the direction of the runner.

Let the Blue Ball represent the Sand King and the Red Ball Represent an enemy Hero who is fleeing. In this situation, you have to click ahead of the unit, at the green X, or you will Burrowstrike not far enough. This spell is NOT like Impale, where you can target it and it (usually) can't miss.

Burrowstriking up a hill : To Successfully strike up a hill, you must be relatively close to the edge of the cliff you want to go up / come down. Click as close as possible away from you, but enough to be on the other side. If you click too far, the Sand King will try to run around the hard way and not strike up the cliff, which, will make you screwed very often.



Timing : Timing is essential with Burrowstrike since it is NOT a targetted spell like Impale. Estimate the speed of your target and their direction and time accordingly. This comes with practice. But once you master it, come on, how badass is it Burrowstriking down a cliff for a kill?

Burrowstrike / Epicenter :

This is the most famous combo of the Sand King. Burrowstrike a unit (or more than one) and then immidiately channel Epicenter, so that when the enemy is unstunned, they will be caught in the Epicenter. There are many ways you can totally screw up B/E combo. Here are some tips to prevent that from happening.

Disablers :

Disablers suck when it comes to Burrowstrike / Epicenter. If you Burrowstrike, say, Crystal Maiden, there is enough time for her as she is unstunned to Frostbite you and kill the Epicenter. Not only that, she might use Freezing Field and kill you. Unless their main disable is on cooldown, do not attempt to Burrowstrike Epicenter caster / disablers.

Late Game Strength Heroes :

Obviously if a Hero has 2400 HP, Epicenters roughly 1,000 damage at Level 16 wont do jack shit. Never try to just kill a Lone Centaur with it. Save it for a push when it will at least do some damage. Don't get me wrong though, an early game 1000 HP centaur can be killed pretty easily provided you avoid his stun.

Hot Spots :

I like to call certain areas of the map "Hot Spots." Why? Because the Sand King can use Burrowstrike to go to this area and be completely safe from harm for as long as he would like. If you go to a Hot Spot, it is an area that the enemy cannot have a line of sight to, and that only Burrowstrike can be casted to. You can transport ANYWHERE within the range with Burrowstrike.

45 Comments yet..:

Anonymous said...

nice strategy guide!
very nice!

Anonymous said...

GOOD DUDE...long time no use sand king...dunno y everytime i move my epicenter juz canceled even enemy no i only noe blink with epicenter on is a bloody combo (since i never saw a sk blink in with a epic on) all juz strike in & charge ulti

Anonymous said...

anonymous , if you move while casting epicenter .. it will obviously cancel lawl.

Anonymous said...

try having lothars with ur item builds, epi+lothars+blink=godlike hehehehe! nothing can stop u now even the stunners. hehehehhe

Anonymous said...

good job\

Anonymous said...

but if yu pick SK would u wouldn't have enough money to buy all the items...

Anonymous said...

good guide

Anonymous said...

buy 5 divine rapiers

Anonymous said...

owh now i get..buying dagger is for replacing burrowstrike skill..while 1st skill use dagger than epicenter..if the opponent still alive wif a low hp than using burrowstrike..
sure good

Anonymous said...

can we buy radiance?

Anonymous said...

can we buy radiance?

Anonymous said...

not necessary istead make a assault

Anonymous said...

Howbout if you put 2 sacred relics at SK lol

rgrgrgrgrg said...

cool strategy

Anonymous said...

nice strategy. . . just add lothars

chika said...

Nice blog,
M following,
check out my blog, think ull like it :)

Anonymous said...

crix needs dagger for his ulti,because burrowstrike + ulti
can easily be disabled,so just channel epicenter blink and they are all dead :)

Anonymous said...

what recipe must phoenix(icarus) buy???????????????:-)

Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

what about ulti

James said...

I have tried using madness on my SK and when i Cast the epi, Boom! My ultimate works so Fast!

Anonymous said...

Brick Gaming

Anonymous said...

can you use? Aghanim's Scepter to improve epicenter with a better numbers of pulses?

Anonymous said...

i prefer dis hero
1- dagger
2-bloode stone
3-shivas guard
4-h o t
6-b o t .......
i tried it n its a good combination .....:)

Anonymous said...

Ive played with crixalis thats my favourite hero , i agree with the person who posted up there but crixalis can also use ogre axe + the hammer that gives 24 damage and combine recipe with Avatar which makes him Huge so epicenter will deal more damage as the crixalis gets big with Avatar + Crixalis is immune to magic which means immune to stunts which means they cant break epicenter with the stunts and also scepter for crixalis which adds more pulses and thats the good combo actually but it depends versus which hero

Anonymous said...

What is Filler Bracers??

Anonymous said...

what is filler bracers???

Anonymous said...

Nice guide but u should get sand storm with Burrowstrike it will help u survive

Anonymous said...

for now the ulti has changed , so ulti, finish channelin n blink and walk, no disablers can stop your ulti .

Anonymous said...

Silencer is annoying when you cast epic then he silences you XD

YoGeS RaJ @ 3MaThAn6 said...

I wish i can master sk play style's ....

YoGeS RaJ @ 3MaThAn6 said...

i wish i can master sandking's playing style ...

Anonymous said...

OK ....

Anonymous said...

dota is awesome!!!!!!!!!!!

Anonymous said...

Nice Bro.I am a ametcher.But after read your article it is clear to me that I will be A pro of dota With SK.

Anonymous said...

What is "FILLER BRACERS" ???? please ANSWER GM!!! TNKS>!!! :))

Anonymous said...

Este heroe me GusTa..!! XD

Anonymous said...

epicenter+ kelens +stun

Anonymous said...

dude, attribute build? seriouslY?! as fore me, the skill build depends on your enemy on the lane.

Unknown said...

Pinoy Here :'D

Paul Chiong

Anonymous said...

it is possible to stop epicenter when its already cast??

Anonymous said...

it shud b epi+dagger+lothar bcoz if u use lothar b4 dagger, d invis will b cancelled XD

Anonymous said...

Thanks bro,now I can train easily because of this guide. :)

Anonymous said...

Much better instead of 10 pulses it became 12

Anonymous said...


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