A Bangladeshi local newspaper has posted an article about Dota2. The guide particularly pertains to Shadow Fiend and its a guide on how to play him in the online scenario. You can read the original article here.
Oh my poor Shadow Fiend, how the mighty have fallen. One of the most iconic mid-laners in the game, Shadow Fiend (or SF) had always held a key position in the metagame until very recently. Similarly to how all the top professional mid-players have Invoker in their arsenal; Shadow Fiend is also among their most played heroes. Such was the dominance of this cuddly, black demon that Icefrog felt the need to nerf him into oblivion just a few patches ago. Having said, Shadow Fiend is by no means unplayable and he still possesses an unparalleled skill to takeover a game, though he is not quite the game-breaking animal that he used to be.
Your skill build on Shadow Fiend should always be the same. You max out your Razes (The Q, W and E, which share skill points, so 1 point gives you all three) and Necromastery as soon as possible. This means that you DO NOT get your ultimate at the usual level 6, but get it at 9 instead. There are two simple reasons for this: Until you get your maximum souls, your ultimate will not do too much, and you need your Razes to farm up those souls. After Level 8, get your ultimate whenever possible, with the other passive in between.
Playing Shadow Fiend in mid is really simple. First, you have to accept that your early game will be horrible. His incredibly low base damage means he simply cannot last hit very well until he has a few souls. Skill Necromastery at Level 1, sit back and kill some creeps. If all goes well, you should hit Level 7 without dying, as well as Level 4 Razes and Level 3 Necromastery. This is the point when Shadow Fiend really takes off. When maxed, two Razes kill an entire creep wave. Go from camp to camp killing creeps with Razes, and you will have a lot of money very quickly. A trick to landing Razes is to right-click on the target first so you turn to face him. The one limiting factor to your farming speed is mana.
Like most mids, your first item should be a Bottle. This should be followed by Power Treads and a Eul’s Sceptre. The Eul’s is essential for solving your mana problems as well as the one-shot combo. After this, you have a decision to make regarding the rest of your item build. On Old school SF, you would get a Shadowblade or Blink Dagger, a BKB and Sange & Yasha before right-clicking on people. You can probably sell the Bottle and Eul’s at this point for a Skadi and either a butterfly, Daedelus or MKB. However, in the new and tanky meta, SF simply does not have quite enough right-click damage to carry hard. As such there is a new school build going around, where you focus on using that big ultimate. You still get the Blink, Eul’s, and a BKB, but then finish with an Aghanaim’s and a Shivas Guard. The point of this build is simple: you blink in, Eul’s someone up and blow them to smithereens. You use BKB so you aren’t stunned, and the Shiva’s attack speed slow keeps you alive until your ulti hits and heals you up. Keep in mind that, if you die, you lose half your souls. So, like a brooding, emotional type, SF has to go soul searching when he respawns. Also, due to your farming speed, you are worth a LOT of money.
All in all, Shadow Fiend is not quite as abusive as he used to be, but as long as you manage your mana and stay alive, you can still dominate a game through sheer farming speed. He can still right click decently, but these days it may just be more worthwhile to build around that huge 42 soul ultimate, that will just about one-shot anybody with a well-timed Eul’s combo.