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Dota 2’s new Hero Grimstroke: The Ultimate Guide


Icefrog once again added a new hero to the game. Based on its abilities, this one could be one of the most effective support and will definitely be a pro game pick for tournaments to come. As the new champions of TI8 OG are celebrating, the entire Dota 2 community will be busy discovering what Grimstroke could bring to the game.

This interesting new hero is one you can’t miss and in this article, we will discover every available data and facts about Grimstroke and use it as a guide to increase your win rate and ultimately, your MMR.

In this article, we will discuss

  • Grimstroke’s background and lore
  • Skills & Abilities
  • Strategic combos
  • Counter Picks

Background & Lore

Before experiencing Grimstroke’s gameplay, let us first (at least) know the story behind the emergence of this hero into the world of Dota. Knowing Grimstroke’s story will enable us to easily understand the hero’s role and its potential impact on the game.

According to Dota 2’s official website, Grimstroke was an arcane guardian to his people. For some UNKNOWN REASON, Grimstroke gained his power by sacrificing his own people. After reading this excerpt,

Chosen to serve as an arcane guardian of his people, Grimstroke was instead responsible for their eternal corruption.

I can’t help but think of one interesting character in Naruto – Uchiha Itachi. Yes, the legendary Uchiha who massacred his own tribe to gain something very important.

The similarity is not surprising but interesting enough to consider this well-known character’s possible contribution to the development of Grimstroke’s storyline. Dota 2 and Naruto, or more specifically, Grimstroke & Itachi are both telling an important lesson that if something is of great value, it should come with great sacrifice.

The similarity between the story of Itachi & Grimstroke is not the only thing that you will notice if you read the new hero’s lore. Another interesting similarity is that of Sai, another well-known Naruto character.

Grimstroke’s inky attack will always lead you to remember Sai’s techniques. Does Sai and Grimstroke belong to a single tribe? It’s a stupid and wild question – but the similarity is so fascinating that it leads me to conclude that the creator of Grimstroke is an avid Naruto fan.

Now, let’s go back to Dota 2’s introduction to this new hero. According to Dota 2’s website,

Groomed from a young age to become a guardian of his people, Grimstroke’s path to power was instead built upon a sacrifice he was all too willing to make: the lives of his entire race. Consumed by the very magic that was meant to protect them, Grimstroke’s kindred now exist only as inky revenants, bound forever to his brush—their anguished screams and viscous forms apparent in the strokes of each dark mural he creates.

From this excerpt, one could conclude how Grimstroke was able to gain his power. The storyline, however, did not mention anything about Grimstroke’s tribe. Did Grimstroke able to gain his power all by himself? Or did someone or something more sinister influenced Grimstroke’s mind to perform such actions?

No one exactly knows for sure, but what is clear is that there was a massacre whose purpose is to give power to someone important enough to be part of Dota 2’s story.

Skills & Abilities

Now, before we proceed in formulating techniques and combos for Grimstroke, let us examine the hero’s skills & ability and understand how it works.


First Skill – Stroke of Fate

  • Damage Type: Magical
  • Cast Range: 1400
  • Cooldown: 11/9/7/5
  • Manacost: 100/110/120/130
  • Base Damage (w/out talent): 120/180/240/300
  • Base Damage (w/ talent): 180/270/360/450
  • Bonus Damage per Target (w/out talent): 16/24/32/40
  • Bonus Damage per Target (w/ talent):  24/36/54/60
  • Normal Move Speed Slow: 50%/60%/70%/80%
  • Description: Grimstroke winds up and paints a path of ink with his brush, damaging and slowing enemies in its wake. The damage increases with each enemy the ink strikes.

Second Skill – Phantom’s Embrace

  • Damage Type: Magical
  • Cast Range: 900
  • Cooldown: 32/28/24/20
  • Manacost: 110/120/130/140
  • Latch Duration: 4/4.5/5/5.5
  • Phantom Damage: 12/18/24/30
  • Attacks to Destroy (w/ out talent): 2/2/3/3
  • Attacks to Destroy (w/ talent): 4/4/5/5
  • Rend Damage: 120/200/280/360
  • Description: Grimstroke commands a phantom to latch onto his enemy, damaging and silencing it. If the phantom survives the latch duration, it rends the victim for heavy damage and refreshes Phantom Embrace’s cooldown.

Third Skill – Inks Swell

Grimstroke's third skill
  • Damage Type: Magical
  • Cast Range: 400/500/600/700
  • Cooldown: 30/25/20/15
  • Manacost: 90/100/110/120
  • Radius: 400 (AOE)
  • Buff Duration: 3
  • Movement Speed Bonus: 28%/32%/36%/40%
  • Damage: 55/70/85/100
  • Max Damage: 220/280/340/400
  • Debuff Duration: 0.55/0.7/0.85/1
  • Tick Rate: 0.2
  • Tick DPS (Damage per Second): 25/35/45/55
  • Max Bonus Multiplier: 3
  • Description: Grimstroke covers himself or an ally in ink, silencing the target while granting bonus speed and immunity to attacks. The ink damages nearby enemies over time before bursting, damaging and stunning in the area based on how much harm it caused along the way.

Fourth Skill – Soulblind

  • Damage Type: Magical
  • Cast Range: 700/800/900
  • Cooldown: 80/65/50
  • Manacost: 150/200/250
  • Chain Latch Radius: 550
  • Chain Break Distance: 700
  • Chain Duration: 4/6/8
  • Leash Limit Multiplier: 1.3
  • Leash Radius Buffer: 50
  • Movement Speed Slow: 15%/30%/45%
  • Creep Duration: 50%
  • Description: Grimstroke binds an enemy hero to its nearest allied hero in range, preventing each from moving away from the other. Unit-targeted spells that hit either hero affect both. If the bind is broken before it expires, the initial target will again be bound to its nearest allied hero in range

Strategic Combos

First Skill – Stroke of Fate

  • Magnus’s Fourth Skill (Reverse Polarity) *
  • Jakiro’s Second Skill (Ice Path) *
  • Elder Titan’s Fourth Skill (Earth Splitter) *
  • Sand King’s First Skill (Burrowstrike)
  • Enigma’s Fourth Skill (Black Hole) *
  • Dark Seer’s First Skill (Vacuum)

Second Skill – Phantom’s Embrace

  • Weaver’s First Skill (The Swarm)
  • Use Phantom’s embrace to silence supports

Third Skill – Inks Swell

  • Use inks swell to buff up carries
  • Use dagger successfully hit multiple targets
  • Tiny’s Second Skill (Toss)
  • Sven’s First Skill (Storm Hammer)

Fourth Skill – Soulbind

  • Lina’s Fourth Skill (Laguna blade)
  • Lion’s Fourth Skill (Finger of Death)
  • Bane’s Fourth Skill (Nightmare)
  • Dragon Knight’s Second Skills (Dragon Tail)
  • Tinker’s First Skill (Laser Beam)
  • Dagon
  • Any Targeted Spells

Counter Picks

Weak Points

  • Heroes with quick mobility skills like Anti-magi, Morphling, Queen of Pain & Storm Spirit will unable Grimstroke to effectively use Soulbind.
  • Naix will prove problematic to Grimstroke due to its spell immunity skill Rage.
  • Grimstroke’s Soulbind can be easily counter using force staff.

Strong Points

  • Stroke of fate can instantly wipe-out Broodmother’s spiders.
  • Ink Swell will be an effective escape mechanism to Broomother’s incapacitating bite.
  • Phantom’s embrace can be a very effective way to disrupt Crystal Maiden’s Freezing field.
  • Ink Swell is an effective counterspell to Legion Commander’s duel as this will prevent any damages caused by the attack.

Important Take Away

  • Most of Grimstroke’s spells are dodgeable.
  • Grimstroke’s Phantom’s embrace can be a very effective counterspell to powerful spells like Fiend’s Grip, Dismember & Freezing field due to its relatively long cast range.
  • Ink Swell can be a very effective escape mechanism, especially against melee heroes.
  • Use Stroke of Fate to farm.

Note: This guide will be updated based on Grimstroke’s actual performance. A study will be conducted to better understand the hero’s role in the game and discover new combos & techniques. You can also post suggestions on the comment sections of this article.

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