Dazzle is my favorite - and one of the most underrated - heroes in DotA. His ability to turn around a situation early to mid game is almost unparalleled, and utilizing this with an aggressive playstyle really helps the hero shine.
Dazzle is what I call an attack-support. He doesn't need farm like a carry, but can do damage and get kills on his own/with teammates. He really shines when played as more of a semi support/ganker than a full on supporting ward *****.
Constructive criticism is appreciated, but please note this is not a cookie cutter guide, it is my personal playstyle. I encourage you to try it out before saying it's horrible for being slightly unorthodox.
Please note that this guide is for players who already are proficient with the generals of the game. There are many things I dont address.
Poison Touch [q]
This is your initiation ability. Use it to set up ganks for your lane partner by casting when there are no enemy creeps around (more on creep control later), when its level three, the stun should land him in the creep allowing for your shadow wave to really go to work.
This is dazzle's signature ability and definitely his best one. Using this seems obvious (gotta cast that on someone whos low) but in reality there are many small things to learn that make it really work to its full potential. Good judgement is the most important attribute to becoming a good dazzle player, when you're about to cast, make sure that you wont need it for a more important target soon. You should also make sure that by casting it you aren't going to get yourself killed, unless it is a situation where you can save the carry at that expense. ALWAYS ALWAYS ALWAYS take the death for your carry if possible.
Shadow wave is an interesting ability that most players don't fully understand, knowing thee power of it in pubs is absolutely the difference between winning and losing.
at level one it can hit 3 targets and do 80 damage AOE around those targets. Including yourself thats 320 damage at level one when used correctly. This is what will almost always get you first blood against melee heroes who try and gank you early on. simply run to the creeps, let them come into melee range, and then use it.
P.S. Make sure your lane partner understands this, and doesn't run away at the first sight of a gank.
Weave is an AOE ability that lowers/buffs armor to heroes. There isn't much to say about it, but try and always cast it right before a team fight for maximum effect.
For more on it's damage reduction/increase, look at This guide
He's included a very detailed summary of its use and amplification. The rest of the guide is great too, and in general it is more in depth than this one will ever be, but it isn't the only way to play dazzle. I suggest playing multiple ways and finding what suits you best.
How you level your skills is usually quite circumstantial. Don't always follow the same routine. If your lane is doing really good, you can wait for a little longer to level shallow grave. If it isnt, then you shouldn't focus on your q and max shallow grave and shadow wave.
Starting items are pretty straight forward. The iron branches will be built into a mek later, so it's nice having them for the stat buff.
A lot of people like to build pipe on dazzle, but I prefer having a mekansm because it really helps to save your teammates ***es.
Again, there are other possibilities for boots, phase boots are a popular choice, but I like mana boots. The extra mana can be the difference between saving your carry and letting him die.
Just a great all around item. Good stat gain, and great active. will save you and your teammates with shallow grave.
If youre the only support on your team, usually build a pipe instead of this, but dazzle is a very good pusher, and the damage and passive of desolator really helps to ppush towers/racks.
Shallow grave + Blademail = dead Lifestealer. This combo in some situations its an OP'd combination.
You will usually be stuck with the carry during the laning phase. Do what most supports should do and harass while your Magina farms. Once in a while take a last hit, and if youre good enough at last hitting take the ones your carry cant get to.
Always try to lane with a carry who has a stronger early game. I can not stress how offensively Dazzle can be played by a good player. You can easily get a kill or two against heroes who are ignorant of your potential. Always let your carry get the kill though, it can be very tempting to steal it with shadow wave.
If you are good at taking initiative, try and set up the lanes to your favor. It sounds greedy for a support to do, but with a good early game ganker you can turn the game very quickly, even if it makes the other lanes a little difficult.
Good heroes to lane with include:
and finally, my favorite:
You usually wont be able to lane with another support, as it might put your other lanes in a pickle, but if you do, this combination is devastating. at level 5, max your q and initiate with that, then both you and omniknight run to the opponent and both use your heals. It's a garunteed kill. Using this tactic can set up a mid game carry Dazzle, a very little seen playstyle (more on that later).
By now your ability to kill is starting to rapidly decrease, and you will fall into a more hard support role. Focus on sticking with you carries and keeping them alive at all costs.
make sure to use weave in teamfights, the difference it makes is huge. When youre not with your carry you should be pushing lanes or setting up a gank with Poison Touch.
In teamfights try to stay out of the fray, waiting for a good opportunity to do some damage with shadow wave, and keep an eye on your teammates health.
Since Dazzle has such a high intelligence gain and a great survival mechanism, He can be played as a semi carry in the right circumstances: