Storm Bolt - This spell is awesome like said before. It helps in ganks, it helps in chasing, it helps in laning, and it has a really short cooldown which allows you to do so much with it.
Great Cleave - It's not as good early game because you don't have enough damage to make this spell worthwhile, but late game it can be a huge use in team fights, especially if you have a Mag/Enigma on your team.
Toughness Aura - The boost to armor is pretty good for neutraling, helping you survive ganks, and increasing your survivability in team fights, and is by no means a bad skill. It's best suited for mid-late game when people start doing physical damage.
God's Strength - This skill is the defining skill for Sven. It turns ganks around, it wins battles, and it's very good for neutraling, ganking, and it makes Sven the huge DPS monster that he is.
Level 1: Storm Bolt
Level 2: Stats
Level 3: Storm Bolt
Level 4: Stats
Level 5: Storm Bolt
Level 6: God's Strength
Level 7: Storm Bolt
Level 8-10: Stats
Level 11: God's Strength
Level 12-15: Toughness Aura
Level 16: God's Strength
Level 17-20: Great Cleave
Level 21-25: Stats
Storm Bolt is maxed early for good lane control/ganks. It's such an imba skill because of low cooldown, and it gives damage and a disable in one spell. Stats are good until level 10 because it gives you more HP to tank and mana to spam Storm Bolt. God's Strength maxed first is normal stuff. It allows you to do tons of damage, and helps you gank, damage during team fights, siege towers, and neutral.
Now here's the dilemma, Toughness or Cleave? The reason I chose Toughness is because until you become a DPS monster, cleave doesn't really do much damage overall. Yes, it helps a little when farming, but it doesn't make a big enough difference to get it. And anyway, it couldn't hurt to get some armor. Just get Cleave levels 17-20 when you start becoming a huge DPS monster. And the obviously finish up with stats.
Pretty cookie cutter build. Nothing special.
2x Tango + Circlet + 2x Branches + Clarity
Boots of Speed
Black King Bar
Mask of Madness
TP Scrolls (all throughout)
Before I say anything more, here is the item descriptions if you need them: http://www.dota-allstars.com/items
This is just a flexible build which applies to most situations. I'll discuss the different item choices below.
Bottle - This item is awesome for Sven. It allows him to keep mana for early spamming of Storm Bolt. It allows you to get complete rune control, and it allows you to heal 200 HP and 100 mana over 3 seconds. It's currently one of the best items in the game right now, and is a perfect choice for Sven.
Bracers - This item gives him HP to tank, mana for Storm Bolt, and a bit of attack speed. It's a no brainer item on him. Get it to tank towers and spam more Storm Bolts.
Power Treads - Treads give you the attack speed you need when you turn on God's Strength to deal huge amounts of damage. It also helps you when you are neutraling because it gives you more damage.
Blink King Bar - Yeah, it's kind of situational, but more often than not, there will be good disables on the other team, stopping you from doing full damage with God's Strength. BKB nullifies those disables and allows you to deal full damage.
Mask of Madness - This item allows you to deal a HUGE amount of damage with God's Strength. The extra damage is pretty much nullified by BKB + the lifesteal when you have God's Strength on, making this a very good item on Sven.
TP Scrolls - Besides the first trip, you should never leave base without this item. It's a pretty no brainer item on all heroes. It allows you to help gank, escape with really low HP, protect towers and raxes during pushes, and sometimes chase if the enemies are running to a tower.
Other Items to Consider
Boots of Travel - Get this item instead of Treads if you find yourself with a lot of money early game from ganks, and you are going to be the primary carry in your team. It allows you to be in team fights, as well as farm which is a great thing to do if you are Sven.
Blink Dagger - Some people always get this item on Sven, but I don't really find it as useful on him. Usually other heroes will have it, allowing you to Stun, instead of you initiating. If you initiate, you get focused and die. Rather, I like to get this item against Blinkers, because it allows you to chase them and kill them, where they would have just Blinked away.
Satanic - Some people like to go Heart in stead of Satanic on Sven, but I prefer to go Satanic, because when you turn on God's Strength, you will have tons of damage, add that with the extra lifesteal from Satanic, and you are damn near impossible to kill. Get this item when you aren't going BKB or MoM
Assault Cuirass - This item gives you what you need. Attack speed, a -armor aura so your attacks deal more damage, extra armor for added tanking, and attack speed and armor aura for your allies which helps out the team.
Heart of Tarrasque - Get this item after MoM in the BKB MoM build because you can't go Satanic, as the Lifesteal doesn't stack. It gives you extra damage and HP for tanking and doing damage.
First off is choosing a lane. You can solo, but you would rather not because you will simply get raped by the usual solo heroes (SF, Viper, Zeus, etc.), so pick a dual lane. Because you are melee, it's good to lane with a ranged hero so they can harass, allowing you to go for the kill. The best heroes to lane with Sven are Lina or Leshrac, because their Stun, Stun, Nuke combo along with their harassing ability owns a lane. However, other heroes that lane well with Sven are Zeus, Viper, QoP, PotM, and THD. He also works well in any lane.
Early game you just want to last hit, to get your Bottle ASAP. Try to avoid as much harassment as possible. Just last hit and let your ally harass. If there is a good opportunity to kill someone, take it, but make sure you don't waste your mana, because you have so little of it, and a double stun combination is huge with Sven.
Once you get your Bottle, start checking runes at every 2 minutes and ganking a lot. To do this, just check for rune, and regardless of whether or not you get the rune, try and gank the other lanes. Rune control is very important because it allows you to get the extra surprise or damage with him, and it allows you to heal, as well as denying the mid solo the ability to restore his HP and mana. Continue this process until mid game.
Once it's mid game, just farm. You need to farm mid game or you will be useless late game. I have made the error of not farming enough mid game before, and it's screwed me over many times, because I am not farmed enough lategame to abuse Sven's imba DPS power. Yes, participate in pushes, and defending, but no more. Your allies should be able to handle it especially because you ganked every lane and got most of the runes. Remember to pay attention to the map to avoid ganks. Ganks will completely screw you over.
During lategame, go around with your team. Take part in ganks, team fights, defending towers, and team pushes. You should have enough farm by this time to be a huge threat to the enemy team. Remember to abuse your items to their full potential, and use your stuns effectively.
Yeah, I know this walkthrough is short, but Sven is such a simple hero. There's only special techniques with him you need to know, and you can find this in the next section.
Techniques to a Better Sven
Stun with Backup - This technique isn't hard to do, but there aren't going to be many situations when you can do this, unless your opponent has no idea what he is doing. Basically what it is is when creeps are attacking your opponent between waves, stun them. The creeps will then damage him, along with yourself and your stun damage. If your ally has a stun as well, this can result in a quick first blood.
Backstabbing - A simple technique used with Storm Bolt. Basically, you run behind your opponent with the use of trees, allowing you to be right in front of him when you stun, allowing you to stun twice, and get in around 5 hits if not more. And it allows you to combo much easier with your lane partner.
Running and Stunning (Or Not) - You always want to be up as close to the enemy as possible, so usually you want to run up, then stun so you can get the most hits as possible. You usually want to do this, because if you don't, you usually won't get the kill anyway. Remember, you can run up, and not stun, to keep the enemy away from creeps, but only do that if you are against a solo, because if it's a dual lane, they will just combo you to death.
Stun Block - Sometimes when you are chasing, if you are already really close to the enemy, you can stun, then block their pathing when they run, which allows you to get extra hits in, and slows the enemy so your ally can maybe land an AoE stun. This is a pretty difficult trick to master, but it's devastating, especially when paired with God's Strength.
God's Strength Farming - Remember, you can use God's Strength to farm neutrals. It allows you to neutral much quicker, especially when facing Golems, high level Saytrs, high level Furbolgs, and most importantly, Ancients. Just make sure you won't need it by the cooldown time, because you always want to be able to have God's Strength when you need it.
God's Strength Blink - Remember you can use God's Strength, then blink into the fight if you have it. It allows you to use more of the amount of time you have for God's Strength, because every second of God's Strength is important, because every hit that you do with God's Strength does so much damage, and you should make full use of it.
Blink Stun - Basically, if you have Blink Dagger, and someone is going to get away, use Blink and Stun to catch them, and kill them. Not a tricky task, but can get you lots of kills, and stop people from getting away. Also helps when intiating ganks because they will not see you coming. Can also help stop TP's and channeling spells.
Strategies to Make the Best of Your Hero
Laning - Laning with Sven is pretty simple. Just try to farm without getting harassed, and try to get your ally to harass. If you can kill the enemy, stun him, and allow your ally to combo with you, getting you the kill. Use some of the tactics stated above to make the most out of your lane. If the lane gets really tough, and you can't farm in it, try and creep pull. If you are on sentinel bottom, pull that camp at X:15/45, where you attack it once, then rune down to your lane. It will bring your creeps over to the neutral camp, allowing you to farm it without taking any damage. If you have a tango, you can even pull the second camp for more money and experience without taking much damage. If you are on scourge middle, just attack the creeps at X:11/41 and your creeps will come to help you fight the gnolls. Immediately run up to the camp next to the one you are at and pull that to your creeps, getting you a good amount of gold in around 20 seconds.
Ganking - Basically, you want to get every time there's a rune coming up. Leave your lane at around :50 if you have Bottle, and get try to get the rune. Regardless of whether you do or not, try and gank. When you gank, you always want to use the Backstabbing tactic if possible, because it allows you to have a higher chance of catching the enemy, and a higher chance of you getting the kill. Basically, the ideal gank is to come in with shadows from behind to stun the enemy, and have your ally run up and cast his spells, you stun again, and you both hit to finish him off. Don't be afraid to gank from behind as well, because the element of surprise can prevent him from making a quick reaction.
Farming - If you are in a lane that's back, you want to keep it back, so the enemy can't farm, yet farm the lane. To do this, you should deny your creeps when they are at half health, and just last hit the enemy creeps. Also, when you neutral, be sure to make full use of the time. Remember, you can use God's Strength to help you neutral. Also, one main thing to notice when you are neutraling is the time. If it's X:53, then pull the camp away from the original location. This allows you to farm two times the amount of creeps you could have in the same amount of time.
Team Fights - Basically in team fights you are the DPS hero. You want to focus the low HP spellcaster. If you have BKB turn it on, and turn on God's Strength and destroy their heroes. Try to use your items to your advantage. For example, use Blink to stop people from running, and use MoM to completely destroy your enemies once you have BKB. Never focus the tank. I know this is common knowledge, but people still tend to do this anyway. Go for the casters first, then the DPS hero, then the tank last. Team fights with Sven are pretty simple, but you just have to focus the right people.