Arena of Valor Dark Slayer lane Guide

Your turn to become a pro DS laner player!

The Dark Slayer lane in Arena of Valor is one known for its similarity to a 1v1 and of course for the Dark Slayer Pit nearby. Players who enjoy duelling and flexing their mechanical and micro-skills on the enemy are perfect for this lane as for the most part, Dark Slayer laners tend to stay in their lane, duke it out with the opposing laner and see who comes out on top. And as Dark Slayer laners often have a good amount of sustain and damage, junglers prefer to gank to Abyssal Dragon lane and take out the enemy marksman as marksmen are often squishy and less threatening in the early game when ganks occur. Therefore, Dark Slayer laners are usually confined in a 1v1 in their lane, relatively void of outside interference. To pick up the role of a Dark Slayer laner, you do not require high levels of Macro skill but you do need to have good Micro skill in order to win lane, and this guide will tell you exactly what you need to know to become a good Dark Slayer Lane player in Arena of Valor.

Characteristics of Dark Slayer laners in Arena of Valor

Arena of Valor Dark Slayer Laners

As of the current S14 meta, Dark Slayer laners with high sustainability are highly valued, even if it means relatively less damage. This is due to marksmen being able to actually carry all the damage of their team and thus there is little demand for an extra source of damage. However, if a Dark Slayer laner possesses both, they will certainly be a top pick within this meta.

These preferences are clearly proven by the viability of characters such as Florentino, Qi, Riktor, Maloch and Lubu within the most recent competition- the APL. They all possess both sustain and damage at the same time, thus highly favourable in the current meta. 

Characters with relatively lower damage but high sustain were also viable in the tournament such as Roxie, Veres and Omen. However characters with a high burst but low sustain such as Airi and Zuka were yet to be seen, the only example of a character like this appearing previously was Yena.

We highly recommend that you try out the meta champions we have listed above when playing the Dark Slayer lane.

Dark Slayer Lane macro gameplay tips & tricks in Arena of Valor

In this Dark Slayer Lane guide, we, of course, have to talk about the macro gameplay of laners in Arena of Valor. The Macro gameplay of the Dark Slayer lane is relatively easy when compared to the four other roles- jungle, mid, support and abyssal lane. For the most part, you just stay in your lane and clear wave, duel with the enemy Dark Slayer laner and just keep the enemy Dark Slayer laner in check. However, there are a few Macro tips that you should know when playing in the Dark Slayer lane.

Arena of Valor Dark Slayer Lane guide minion wave

As mentioned above, your job consists of clearing the minion wave, a simple and basic task that is essential to any MOBA. Many Arena of Valor players, in general, think that this task has no skill to it and you should clear your wave as fast as possible. In certain cases, you should, but there are so many other scenarios where that may not be the most optimal choice. Here are a few tips on managing your minion waves in the Dark Slayer lane and the scenarios you should use them in.

1. The First Wave (Speed Clearing or Waiting)

Speed Clearing

When the first minion wave comes, you have to deduce whether your character can clear waves quickly in the early game and whether they are strong during the early game. A good example of a character with a strong early game and a quick clear is Qi as she deals a good amount of damage with her S1 and has good sustain with her empowered auto attacks that follow, and as the first minion wave in Arena of Valor neatly walk in a straight line where Qi’s S1 can hit all of them at once, she is definitely a character that fits the description.

When you have a character who can clear waves quickly and is strong during the early game, it is highly recommended that you try to clear the waves before the enemy does, allowing yourself to get to level two before them. Thus, using your slight level advantage and the advantage of having one more ability to attack the enemy- this strategy is known as speed clearing. If they cannot clear the minion wave as fast as you do and also take the strategy of speed clearing, they are faced with two options when you reach level two and they don’t :

  1. They can choose to ignore you and attempt to clear the minion wave so that they reach level two as well. 
  2. They can choose to trade by retaliating.

In both cases it should still be a win for you. If they ignore you and attempt to clear the minion wave, you will get free damage onto them, forcing them to retreat and clear the next wave under their tower, putting you into an offensive position.

If they trade with you, it is most likely a loss for them as they have one ability less than you and thus you are more likely to win the trade or even kill them, once again forcing them to retreat under tower and putting yourself in an offensive position.


Waiting is suitable for characters with relatively weaker level 1s and is a measure to minimize the loss if the opposing laner is able to pull off a Speed Clear. During the first wave, you wait under your tower and don’t go out to clear, wait till the enemy wave crashes into your tower range before clearing them. Although this puts you in a passive position, you ensure that you won’t lose health, unlike if you proceeded with the scenarios mentioned earlier. Thus minimizing your losses.

Characters who are suited to this include Florentino and Kil Groth as their level 1 is suboptimal. This can also be used by beginner Dark Slayer laners as you may not have the required mechanical skill or a good enough understanding of your character to beat the enemy. Sacrifice your position instead of your head.

2. Freezing Lane and Free Time

Freezing your lane is a common tactic seen in many MOBAs, especially PC MOBAs. So we’ll tell you how to do it with Dark Slayer Lane in this Arena of Valor guide. The basic concept of this is to clear your wave slower than the enemy so that when the minions battle, it will be closer to your side, thus making it more difficult for the enemy laner to clear the wave as they will need to extend further towards you, leaving them more susceptible to ganks from your allies. However, in Arena of Valor, such mechanics are virtually impossible to do as the lanes are shorter, giving little to no room for you to manipulate your minions. However, lane freezing can still be applied into Arena of Valor but with a slightly different execution and purpose.

Freezing DS lane in AoV
Freezing lane in Arena of Valor

In PC MOBAs, lane freezing is to keep the minion fights at your side; but in Arena of Valor, lane freezing is to keep the minion fights in the middle. Note that lane freezing in Arena of Valor should only be used when you are in an offensive position, this means that you are generally winning the enemy Dark Slayer laner in terms of health, trades and mechanical skill.

When you have an offensive position, it is unlikely that the enemy will come and attack you, so you position yourself between where the minion wave is frozen and the enemy. You do not clear the wave unless an enemy minion is 1 auto attack away from dying, thus minimizing your interference with the minion fight and while maximizing your gold received ( last hitting minions grants extra gold ). 

During the minion fight, minions from your side will be killed, however because you are positioned between the minion fight and the enemy, the enemy is unable to get near the minion fight to kill the minions or even receive the gold from their deaths. By only allowing the enemy minions to kill your minions, you deny the gold and experience from the opposing laner whilst enjoying it yourself, thus setting back the enemy laner by a few minions worth of gold and experience.

By setting back the opposing laner’s gold and experience, you increase your likelihood of beating the enemy in trades and ultimately winning lane. And as you may have noticed, you will have cleared the wave earlier than the enemy, thus freeing up your time as you are free to do other things while they clear the wave.

When you have free time in the top lane, don’t spend it staring at the enemy laner in hopes of them engaging in a duel with you because that is not very likely to happen, so here are a few macro plays you can do in your free time.

Cutting their wave

Enemy wave in AoV
Ryoma cutting the enemy wave

To cut the enemy’s wave, you travel to behind their tier three tower and clear their minion wave prematurely, this once again allows you to clear minion waves earlier than the enemy, giving you even more free time.

To know when the enemy minions are between the enemy’s tier 3 and tier 2 towers, you simply check your minion wave as the time that they spawn are mirrored.

Clearing the enemy jungle

Arena of Valor Dark Slayer Lane guide
Ryoma invading the enemy jungle in the absence of the enemy jungler

You can choose to invade the enemy’s jungle and effectively reduce the economy of the enemy jungler and increase your own at the same time. However do note that you should only do this when you know the enemy jungler is on the opposite side of the map or just in a position where they cannot come back to their jungle in time. If you do not take these precautions before invading, it is highly likely that you will end up feeding the enemy team as their midlaner, support and jungler are highly likely to come and surround and kill you.

Going down to mid

As the mid wave is highly valuable, you could possibly roam down to mid and clear their wave. However this is under the prerequisite that your ally midlaner is not occupying the midlane. After clearing the mid wave, check the top lane minion situation. If minions are about to crash into your tower, return to your lane as soon as possible so as to deny the enemy as much damage onto your tower. However if you cut their wave earlier, you won’t have to fear their wave crashing into your tower as you cleared that wave prematurely, then you can choose to pressure midlane or even push midlane tower if the enemy mid laner is not present.

Assist teamfights

If a teamfight is breaking out nearby ( mid lane, nearby jungle, Dark Slayer pit ), Dark Slayer laners can rush to provide aid earlier than the enemy Dark Slayer laner without needing to give up their wave. Do keep in mind that unless you have superb mobility and roaming capability ( Superman, Riktor, Xeniel, Max), it is not advised that you go help teamfights on the other side of the map as by the time you get there the teamfight may already be over and the next wave of minions may already be crashing into your tower range. Making it a loss for you on both ends.

This option is generally near mandatory for Dark Slayer with high teamfight potentials such as Superman, Maloch, Veres and Florentino. Champions with low teamfight potential such as Omen can choose not to go and splitpush instead.

Take Spirit Sentinel

AoV Spirit Sentinel Arena of Valor Dark Slayer Lane guide

Spirit Sentinel, the mini dragon opposite to the baron spawns at 2 minutes into the game and allows hp regen and added movement speed, two buffs that will certainly provide an edge when duelling with the enemy and also provides a slight economic and experience lead. The buff might just be the determining factor of who wins lane so be sure to take it when available.

3. Lane Swapping

Swapping lanes in Arena of Valor is something you need to understand well, and we’ll help you through that in this Dark Slayer lane guide. Lane swapping occurs in Arena of Valor pro play when the enemy Abyssal Dragon lane’s tier 3 tower is destroyed. Now, why does this occur? This is because pros understand that within the current meta, ADCs (who are often the Abyssal Dragon laners) are the dominant role in the game, thus deserve more farm, ganks and overall care. Therefore people will focus on ganking the Abyssal Dragon lane in order to shut down the enemy Abyssal Dragon laner and to give a few kills or assists to their ADC, thus the Abyssal Dragon lane’s tier 3 tower should be the earliest to break.

If you are in a winning match and the enemy’s Abyssal Dragon lane tier 3 tower breaks first, the area of neutral areas on the lane increases, causing the minion wave to freeze closer to that of the enemy turret. As that neutral ground is closer to the enemy turret than it is close to your turret, ADCs may need to overextend into places that put their lives at risk in order to clear those waves, which is most unfavourable to them as they increase their susceptibility to ganks. Therefore they often go to the Dark Slayer lane to seek shelter.

Arena of Valor Dark Slayer Lane swapping

As the Dark Slayer lane is less ganked and less developed due to the focusing of the Abyssal Dragon lane earlier, the waves usually tend to stay in the centre of the distance between ally and enemy towers, thus and is favourable for an ADC to farm as they are less susceptible to ganks and can even zone out the enemy Dark Slayer laner as most Dark Slayer laners are melee champions. By switching lanes with your ADC, you allow them a better environment to farm and increase the chances of the ADC carrying the game.

However, remember that lane swapping is not necessary and should only be done if you can communicate with them ( if they are your friend ), and if they show a promising statline. Some ADCs aren’t skilled enough and even if you allow them better farm they still may not be able to carry, you shouldn’t give up your farm to them and choose not to switch lanes. Only switch lanes with the ADC when you are confident in their skill level and ability to carry.

Final thoughts

After mastering these macro plays, don’t forget to practice your desired Dark Slayer laner’s mechanics and your micro skill on them. Though macro plays can give you an edge over the opponent, it is up to your micro skills to finish the job. The Dark Slayer lane is where all the solo kills and 1v1 outplays get pulled off so do not slack off in your micro training and think that these macro skills are enough.

Many heroes in the Dark Slayer lane have high skill capacities and skill ceilings such as Florentino, Yena, Qi and Superman, there are combos and tips out there waiting to be discovered so it is crucial that you constantly practice your mechanicals skills, it is the other half of this guide that cannot be taught through short words but through lengthy experience, but as there are too many heroes that can be played in the Dark Slayer lane, we will not be covering them individually and we’ll let you figure out their best combos, builds and runes. Happy duelling!

That’s it from today’s Arena of Valor Dark Slayer lane guide. Did you find our Arena of Valor guide on how to play Dark Slayer lane in the game useful? Let us know in the comment section below!

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