Sand King is a complete and total badass. He's an Initiator, Disabler, Semi-Pusher, Ganker, and a master of juking.
There are two main builds I use for his skills:
- Burrowstrike / Sand Storm / Burrowstrike / Sand Storm / Burrowstrike / Epicenter
- Burrowstrike / Caustic Finale / Burrowstrike / Sand Storm / Burrowstrike
In build 2, more levels of Caustic Finale can be substituted in, depending on the situation. It's generally good to have at least one level of Sand Storm for juking, but not always necessary. Sometimes, the splash from Caustic Finale is better.
Generally, Build 1 is used for dual laning. Build 2 is used if you're in a solo lane or an aggressive/push lane.
- Skilling Sand Storm is useful because of this piece Delay Before Reveal: 0.3/0.6/0.9/1.5. This gives you a lot of extra survivability and juking power.
- Caustic Finale is a great pushing skill and harassing skill. But you have to use it carefully or you will push your lane and have a difficult time getting farm.
- Early game, you can probably DPS more with Sand Storm than from auto attacking enemies. If they juke into the jungle, guess what, it's an AoE Spell so it will still hit them. It does have a fairly small radius though, only 525 at max level (for comparison, many ranged heroes have 600 range)
- Healing Salve
- 2 x Mana Potion
- 2 x Iron Branches
- 1 x Observer Wards / Courier
- Quelling Blade: If you're solo mid against a hero like Tiny who has high base damage.
- Stout Shield: If you're against a lane that you know will harass the hell out of you.
This will be dependent on what you're doing with Sand King. Almost any boots will work on him situationally.
- Arcane Boots: This is generally going to be your choice. Sand King needs mana and can fill a semi-support (aka Secondary Support) with this choice.
- Phase Boots: If you're pretty well farmed, this can help with chasing down enemy heroes to land another stun, move quickly between lanes for ganking, and once Epicenter is activated, you can activate phase to move through creeps and stay on enemies
- Power Treads: If you need extra HP, if you're planning on pushing with Caustic Finale, or having a rough game, power treads aren't a bad option either. Being able to switch between stats is very useful (i.e. Agi for pushing/farming, Int when you need an extra bit of mana, and Str for extra HP and base damage)
- Tranquil Boots: I generally don't use these, but they can be viable for a roaming Sand King.
- Boots of Travel: When you're farmed up and in late game, these are incredibly effective. Sand King is excellent at pushing lanes with Caustic Finale. When you see an opportunity, port to another lane and take a tower.
- Magic Wand: This gives good stats, is great for extra HP or mana in a pinch, just an all around good item to have.
- Blink Dagger: This is the bread and butter of your combo. It gives you great ability to catch players, to initiate, or escape.
- Aghanim's Scepter: This is a nice item for tanking up a bit. The upgrade will decrease the cooldown of your ult and increase the number of pulses. If they do not have a lot of magic resistance or you can get it early enough, Aghanim's is a great investment.
- Urn of Shadows: A good item for a ganking Sand King. It's cheap and has a good build up. If you're ganking a lot, it'll be full of charges, making Sand King even more deadly.
- Drum of Endurance: This item is excellent if your team doesn't already have one. The speed bonus makes Sand King's ult slightly more effective. The aura is useful for pushing and team fighting. Also, the build up is good. Sand King needs both STR and INT for mana.
- Black King Bar: This will greatly help with your initiations. Nothing can stop you once you jump in.
- Pipe of Insight: A good team fighting item. It also helps him take less damage in initiations where BKB is down or what have you.
- Shiva's Guard: The active synergizes well with your ult. As soon as you blink in with Epicenter going, trigger Shivas and watch your enemies melt even faster.
- Scythe of Vyse: This is a great support item to get. It gives Sand King lots of good stats, a larger mana pool, and the mana regen he needs.
- Bottle: If you're going mid, you'll want to get this as one of your first items. Otherwise, let mid buy it because they probably need the runes more than you do.
- Soul Ring: In the event you do not get Arcane Boots, Soul Ring will work as a substitute. You need mana and most of the time Sand King initiates, he gets a kill, thus making the sacrifice of HP less scary.
- Ring of Basillius: If no one else on your team has one and you're going to focus on pushing, this is a good pickup. It gives the creeps a little extra durability and gives you some bonus regen. Unfortunately, you won't greatly benefit from any of its upgrades, so towards late game, just sell it.
- Veil of Discord: Reduces magic resistance, allowing Sand King to dish out more damage with his ult. It also gives him armor and HP regen he needs, plus more Int (increasing mana pool).
Of course, these are just general suggestions. If the game calls for it, there are many other options (e.g. Radiance, Blade Mail, Blood Stone, Necronomicon, etc..)
- Use Shift-Queuing to set up your Ult --> Blink Dagger combo. After that, use BKB (if you have one) and your stun to keep all your enemies stuck in your Epicenter.
- Your main job is to chill off to the side and initiate with your Ult/Blink combo after telling your team you're going in.
- Load up on TPs. Sand King is so damn good at ganking and counter ganking.
- Smoke is one of your best friends. It lets you sneak all over the fucking place like the creepy arachnid you are.
- Sand Storm is great for juking. At level 4, you get 1.5 seconds of invis after you break the channel to escape into the trees and blink to safety.
- If you have mana potions while laning, don't be afraid to use spells. That's why you have the potions. Otherwise, they just go to waste.
You should do fine. Sand King is super easy after you get the hang of his Ult/Blink combo. He also fits in most lineups quite easily. Even if you're in a dual melee lane, you can use Caustic Finale (which has a range of 400) to harass ranged heroes that get too close. He's also a pretty powerful nuker, so half the time, you can just kill the enemies in lane and then farm.