GUIDE RATING

103 Votes

Dazzle - My Shadow LEAPS Ahead! [6.79 Semi-Update]

January 29, 2012 by Mrs Warboys
Comments: 56    |    Views: 337946    |   


Build 1

Build : Skill Build

DotA2 Hero: Dazzle

Offense

Damage 41-59

Defense

Armor 1.94

Other

Movement Speed 305

Attributes

Strength 62.25
Agility 63.5
Intelligence 112

Basic Stats

Health 1670
Mana 1664

Purchase Order

Starter Items

Core

Extension

Luxury/Situational



Hero Skills

Poison Touch

9 12 13 14

Shallow Grave

2 5 7 8

Shadow Wave

1 3 4 6

Weave

10 11 16

Stats

15 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25

6.79

Patch 6.79 came out recently and here I'll discuss the changes a bit, in regards to Dazzle. The patch is way too new to perform any accurate analysis but here is what I think from a month's play...

New Poison Touch - NERF!
IceFrog changed Poison Touch so it's better at level 1 but worse at level 3. Now, compared to Shallow Grave and Shadow Wave it's even less useful... as you won't be stunning until level 7 at the earliest, and that includes sacrificing Wave and Grave power.

If you're in a game against someone with a big channeling spell ( Black Hole or Death Ward), or expect someone to TP back to fountain mid-gank, then it's worth getting 1 point in Poison Touch.

If you desperately need a slow, I'd recommend getting 2 points in Poison Touch by level 4 so you can instigate aggression against the opposing lane. Drop Shallow Grave levels to prioritize this.

New Weave - BUFF!
Weave experienced a buff in the later levels, but a nerf in the early-game. A flat 20 second duration at all levels is great, as is the 1.25 Armor increase/decrease speed at Level 3... but the Level 1 Weave is notably worse. It takes even longer to have an effect, so it's now completely pointless to pick it up at Level 6. Late game it's much better though, changing armor quicker is great.

The Aghanim's Scepter duration increase is removed, so I'm not sure how useful that pickup is. Dazzle loves long, drawn-out fights and the Armor rate increase means it's more powerful quicker... but past 20 seconds then it's a direct nerf!

New Axe - UBER NERF!
Culling Blade now has no cooldown if you get a kill on a Hero. So every time you Shallow Grave, he can kill the guy. Against a decent Axe, there's hardly any point in skilling Grave at all.

New Phase Boots - NERF!
Phase Boots have been reduced in non-phase speed, so you're slower than before. The new Tranquil Boots could be useful on Dazzle... but seeing as you can't attack with them on, and your damage is through auto-attacks, I can't see them being better than Phase.

New Eul's Scepter of Divinity - BUFF!
Cooldown of Cyclone is reduced by 5 seconds and movement speed bonus is increased by 5. This counteracts some of the Phase Boots nerf and makes Eul's Scepter overall a nicer pickup.

Introduction

Welcome to my guide to Dazzle.

Dazzle is a support Hero that has never really been in the competitive metagame due to his level dependence and early game defensive nature. Nonetheless, he is a very powerful Hero and does great outside of professional play. This guide is here to help you maximize your potential with Dazzle.

In-Game Guide Link

ZZZZZAAAP!

UPDATE: I have completely reworked the guide. Since the last update, I've upped my games with Dazzle to around 200 and I've learnt a lot as a player. So, I thought it best to completely overhaul the guide! Most of the content is similar, but there are changes here-and-there, mainly to my builds and the viability of certain playstyles.


A little about me, I'm just a pub player. I play in China (since I work here) and have 200 games as Dazzle. Here is a DotaBuff of my last 100 games (61% win rate), with my last 60 games at 71% wins (as of 4th October 2013).






Other Guides
If you guys like Axe and Jakiro, then check out my other two guides...

Mini-Guide

Early Skill Build
Depending on if you are in the support (5 position) or offlaner role, you will skill a little differently. If you're facing aggression, get an early level in Shallow Grave and possibly ignore Poison Touch. If you're feeling safe, go for 3 in Poison Touch ASAP.

  1. Wave
  2. Grave
  3. Touch
  4. Touch
  5. Touch
  6. Wave
  7. Wave
  8. Wave
  9. Grave
  10. Weave
  11. Weave

Skill Usage
When to use Poison Touch...
  • Don't use it before it's Level 3... it's a waste of mana
  • Interrupt Channeling like TPs, Black Hole and Epicenter
  • Chasing and Escaping
  • On melee carries in Team Fights

When to use Shallow Grave...
  • To save key targets from death
  • On key targets when there is a Lina or Lion in range (don't risk it, just cast!)
  • To bait enemies into committing to a losing battle (more on this later)
  • On Huskar and Ursa
  • On yourself if you are focused early in a team fight, if it's nearing the end of the fight... sacrifice yourself if someone else is low.

When to use Shadow Wave...
  • To save key targets from death
  • To nuke melee last hitters
  • To push a lane
  • When an enemy is surrounded by allies, perfect after setup.

When to use Weave...
  • Before a clash (when you know a battle will happen)
  • When Naga Siren casts Song of the Siren
  • Before a potential losing clash (Weave can scare enemies away, even if they're in an advantageous position)
  • When your carry is in range of multiple enemy targets

Changelog

22.10.2013
Added a disclaimer for 6.79 changes. I'll update the rest of the guide when I get some time.

11.10.2013
Complete Revamp! I've pretty much updated and changed everything. I've removed a lot of redundant builds (moved them into an 'Alternative Build' section) and updated items to reflect what I realistically use in 90% of my games.

06.06.2013
Updated for 6.78. Changes aren't too wild but there are some new considerations now. I still need to update Appendix A: Weave Numbers.

18.01.2013
Removed the 'What did 6.75 do for Dazzle?' section because it's out of date now. Put in the Poison Touch Level 4 notes into the Poison Touch section. Did some general clear up because some of the tangents were a bit distracting :)

Also considering trying out Armlet. It's been popular recently on a few Reddit threads and Dendi used it once, so maybe it's worth checking out. Stay tuned for updates.

17.12.2012
Added Soul Booster as an extension for those games where you just have no idea what to build and can't accrue enough gold for a Mystic Staff. Returned Eul's Scepter of Divinity to the Luxury items because I'm finding myself building it more and more after my core + Void Stone.

Plus there was a 6.77 change to Shallow Grave

11.11.2012
Added Build 4, the Utility Build. Recently I've been skipping Weave in order to have a maxed Shallow Grave and Shadow Wave sooner. It's been very effective and it's definitely worth thinking about.

10.10.2012
Added a little chapter for 6.75. No huge amount of changes but Poison Touch is now worth taking to Level 4 (although not early) in case you were skilling stats at 14. I'll update all the numbers for skills and stuff later, still at work ;)

31.08.2012
Added the Mouz vs DK International 2 Qualifiers game to the Homework section. This is the only game where Dazzle was picked. Also threw in a game of my own from tonight.

I'm going to come up with a bit more theory on early game Dazzle and an alternative build which relies on heavy teamwork to focus on ludicrous tower dives coupled with Shallow Grave. His main weakness in competitive play is his need for experience (which gimps him compared to the Venomancer, Vengeful Spirit and Crystal Maiden style supports). The only thing he has is death immunity... so which Heroes can take most advantage of that?

29.07.2012
Updated the Best Friends and Worst Enemies sections with the introduction of Undying, Naga Siren and Keeper of the Light.

21.07.2012
OK so I finally caved in. Well it wasn't really caving in but after about 80+ games as Dazzle I found myself getting Shallow Grave before level 9 on most occasions.

I think that a Dazzle player should ALWAYS assess the situation before investing that crucial point. I still think that Shadow Wave is better in many situations and if you're playing with a teammate on Skype/Mumble/Ventrillo then you could have a much better time in lane without Shallow Grave. However, if the opposing lane is playing extremely aggressive you can completely turn the tables on any hyper aggression with Shallow Grave. See the laning phase in the 'Shallow Grave Replays' section of the skill to see an excellent example of when Shallow Grave wins lanes.

25.05.2012
Probably the biggest round of changes yet. Mainly streamlining the item builds and separating Semi-Carry Dazzle from the default Aggressive Laning build. Removed a few Rare/Situational items that I found myself never ever building.

Made a LOT of changes to my recommended items and added a lot more analysis on Dazzle's place as a support and some more advanced tactics. To help break things up, I've added mini-guide style Summaries to the top of each Skill section.

08.05.2012
Added a Match ID replay of a situation when I max Shadow Wave over Poison Touch and skip Shallow Grave. Works very well in the laning phase and for early pushing with my Phantom Lancer lane partner.

Disclaimer: I'm not actually a great player, I know the theory better than I practice it... so don't be too cruel!

22.04.2012
Added the new Heroes; Lycanthrope and Brewmaster to Dazzle's Best Friends list.

05.03.2012
Added a Ward ***** build. If you're buying wards, babysitting and roaming around... you're not going to get much farm at all. Screw the Phase Boots, you will be underleveled and missed your early game time to shine.

I don't recommend Dazzle as a Ward *****, but if Vengeful Spirit and Crystal Maiden get banned... then I guess you might somehow be stuck with doing it.

25.02.2012
Added the Best Friends section which has some cool synergies between Dazzle and whoever your allies might pick.

Also noticed that I made it onto the front page, thanks for all your votes and comments! I intended this to be the best Dazzle guide around, now I'm dedicated to it!

01.02.2012
Added a herp derp Build 2 for morons who feel they have to downvote an entire guide without reading it because they disagree with my choice of Shallow Grave skilling.

Also added some 'Worst Enemies' and a section for enemies that Dazzle counters well.

Figured out some formatting too, so it should be easier to read long lists!

30.01.2012b
Added items justification.

30.01.2012
Guide is released! V1.0

Skills: Poison Touch


Casts a poisonous spell on an enemy unit, causing slowness and eventual paralysis.

Range: 600
Duration: 7
Time to set in: 1 / 2 / 3 / 3
Damage Per Second: 8 / 16 / 24 / 32
Total Damage: 56 / 112 / 168 / 224

Slow: 33 / 33 > 66 / 33 > 66 > Stun / 33 > 66 > Stun

Poison Touch applies a Mini-Stun ON IMPACT which breaks channeling abilities

Mana Cost: 100 / 115 / 130 / 145 Cooldown Time: 15 / 13 / 11 / 7

Poison Touch is by far Dazzle's worst skill, and the reason he isn't picked competitively. It's nigh on useless until it's at Level 3 (when it adds the 1 second stun), so don't cast it before then unless you desperately need a minor slow or a channel interrupt.

At Level 3 it's a superb ganking skill, but we hold off on Level 4 until we've maxed our other skills... as the 7 second cooldown is not necessary until you have the mana to support spamming it.

Summary
Early Game
Use the long range and threat of a 4 second slow to force enemy laners to back off. Cast it to secure kills at the start of a gank and if an enemy pulls creep aggro.

Mid Game
Use it for chasing and on melee threats, allowing your team to kite them. Interrupt channeling abilities if you have no need for the stun & slow.

Late Game
Use it defensively against carries to reduce their damage and ability to get into range. Target anyone attempting to attack your carry or anyone chasing a low-life ally (which you have usually Graved). The slow is considerable and the stun always helps.


Skill Analysis & Tactics - After Level 3
The main use of Poison Touch is to give yourself and your lane partner more time to attack an enemy target. Dazzle is all about physical damage and Poison Touch is a perfect ability for applying maximum physical damage. The only ability that rivals Poison Touch is a 4+ second stun. The long range (longer than Dazzle's attack range) is something you must remember and exploit, allowing you to cast it without warning and from relative safety.


I'm attacking the Ranged Creep and Poison Touch has 100 range on top of that


Poison Touch has very low damage, so relying on it to kill people is often unwise, however it's possible to kill on occasion as an enemy escapes into the Fog of War. Do remember that Weave and Medallion of Courage will amplify it's physical damage, so it can deal much more hurt than you think. The cooldown is low enough that in an extended gank or skirmish, you can often cast it when the enemy is under the full effect of your Weave.

Late Game you will be using Poison Touch defensively against melee carries and as an interrupt to channeling abilities.

When skilling Poison Touch it's best to get it to Level 3 as soon as possible (for the stun) and then leave it until you're level 14 to put the final point in. The reduced cooldown means that it's a superb chasing ability, although rather mana costly for sustained use. 145 mana is very expensive. Still, a 600 range long duration slow, mini-stun and regular stun is excellent on a 7 second cooldown.

Skills: Shallow Grave


An ally blessed with Shallow Grave, no matter how close to death, cannot die while under its protection.

Range: 550 / 700 / 850 / 1000
Duration: 5

Mana Cost: 140 / 130 / 120 / 110 Cooldown Time: 60 / 45 / 30 / 15


Shallow Grave is the most important skill you have!

Shallow Grave is an interesting ability. In certain situations it's pretty much the best thing since sliced bread. On most occasions it is delaying the inevitable or you're out of range when it is useful. Level 4 Shallow Grave is pretty damn awesome, with a low cooldown and huge range. Until then, it's very risky to use (except on yourself)... but never underestimate it!

Managing that risk is what will make you a good Dazzle player.


Ranges
These are static ranges for each level of Shallow Grave. Phase Boots allow you much more room and extended range when you learn how to weave in and out of fights.


Level 1 - 550 Range - Only for self-cast and extremely safe cases


Level 2 - 700 Range - Also primarily for defense and countering enemy aggression, you can sometimes cast from hiding places


Level 3 - 850 Range - Now the range is effective and you can use it more aggressively... as you are less at risk


Level 4 - 1000 Range - Monstrous range. You can cast from almost complete safety, even when your carry dives squishies in the back.



Summary
Early Game
Save it for enemy gank attempts or, if in a very aggressive lane, tower dives.

Mid Game
It will still have very short range, so cast it on yourself for baiting or on allies who find themselves in a sticky situation. Your heals are at maximum power at this stage, so Grave is perfect for turning the tide of a battle. Grave on your initiator is a good tactic in team fights, wasting enemy spells on a target that won't die... but don't get into close range unless you're 100% sure you can escape (this is what makes Phase Boots core on Dazzle).

Late Game
The cooldown is still long, but it's short enough that a prolonged battle will have multiple Grave casts. Save it for your carry, let initiators die (unless you've started the battle with a double kill) and don't take chances.


Skill Analysis & Tactics
Levels 1 and 2 of Shallow Grave have such a short range that it's usually only cast on yourself until late-game. Getting into 550/700 range in a team fight is likely to result in your death unless you're very careful. Level 3 and 4 is when Shallow Grave becomes gamebreaking.

Phase Boots are my core boots on Dazzle because of Shallow Grave

Shallow Grave works best on Heroes with lifesteal or healing abilities. It buys you time. Time to kill all your enemies or time for the target to heal up (as people generally won't target an enemy who is unkillable for 5 seconds). For Heroes that snowball while attacking (think Huskar and Ursa), Shallow Grave is pretty incredible.


Spirit Breaker is a great Grave target with Mask of Madness. He wins this fight.


A more advanced use of Shallow Grave is to bait ganks. At mid game, with 15 Magic Wand charges, Level 4 Shadow Wave and Mekansm you can go from 1HP to 550HP in 1 second. Run into a dangerous situation and take the flak your enemies throw at you (unless they can chain stun!). Cast Grave on yourself and run towards your allies waiting in ambush. There are many times when you can completely wipe an enemy team with this tactic. If you have cast Weave in advance, it's even more likely that this tactic will work (550HP becomes crazy effective with high armor). Of course, you can also use an ally to bait... just make sure you're in range!


Not a planned bait, but Graving someone out of a Pudge hook is a great way to turn the tide. Our team comes in as Kunkka uses Shadow Blade to escape, we teamwipe them.


Remember, Axe's Culling Blade debuffs before applying its execute effect. It will debuff Shallow Grave and kill enemies through it!

Skills: Shadow Wave


Shadow Wave heals several allies, and deals damage equal to the heal in a small area around them.

Range: 900
Area: 475 (Bounce between Allied Units) / 170 (Damage Range)
Damage/Heal: 80 / 100 / 120 / 140
Number of Targets: 3 / 4 / 5 / 6

*Maximum Damage: 240 / 400 / 600 / 840

Mana Cost: 80 / 90 / 100 / 110 Cooldown Time: 12 / 10 / 8 / 6

Shadow Wave is my personal favourite of Dazzle's skills. It's great for healing (early game at least), pushing, farming and killing. It's not going to save many lives at the 40 minute mark (although a maxed Weave gives a nice boost to Effective HP) but in the laning phase it's a godsend... especially when partnering with a fragile melee carry or when you play some heavy harass and want to negate creep damage.

Shadow Wave has a considerable range of 900, not including the bounce distance. This allows Dazzle to off-lane

Summary
Early Game
Use it to screw up enemy last hits, nuke melee last hitters and keep your lane partner (and yourself) topped up. Always keep in mind that your healing will win you long term harass wars against other laners, especially if you skip Shallow Grave.

Mid Game
Pushing and farming. Dazzle isn't a big farmer but he does need items. Level 2-4 Shadow Wave can gib creep waves, giving you free Observer Wards, Dust of Appearance or the next part of your Mekansm. It also allows you to protect towers from pushes and solo push towers for mid game split pushing. The 6.78 buff really helped Dazzle's early pushing with that extra healing/damage target at level 2.

Late Game
Sustained healing. That's it. While allied Armor increases late game, and Wave will provide strong Effective HP, it does not keep up with enemy damage very well. However, in a prolonged fight and with its short cooldown, the healing adds up. It's not nearly as effective as Necrolyte but it does make a difference! The damage component is useless late game.

Skill Analysis & Tactics
Early game, Shadow Wave can deal ridiculous damage. I added the maximum possible damage stats to the skill description above because it is very useful to know. 240 damage at Level 1 is enough to scare off any melee last-hitters. The psychological effect of chunking around 40% of an enemy's HP in 1 skill is not to be underestimated. At Level 8, it can cause 840 damage which does not include the amplification from Weave. Of course, this is often extremely situational... but people underestimate the nuking ability of Dazzle. Take advantage of that ignorance. Enemies like Tiny and Bloodseeker are completely and utterly screwed by smart use of Shadow Wave.

Shadow Wave also makes Dazzle a superb pusher from level 5 onwards. In the heavy push metagame, Shadow Wave is extremely useful for taking early towers and defending against pushes.

When partnered with Broodmother, Naga Siren or Shadow Demon, some teamwork can result in an overpowered combination of abilities as your teammate surrounds the target with units and then you apply the 840 damage chunk of Shadow Wave. This also makes Dazzle a great support pusher, as he can keep summons topped up under tower aggro.

Shadow Wave as a Hero killing tool does start to tail off towards mid-late game. The physical damage is often neutralized by increased enemy Armor values, so you'll want a good amount of Weave already active if you hope to deal serious damage with Shadow Wave. Or just use it to gib poorly positioned supports. It's not going to bring down an Anti-Mage.

Skills: Weave


Increases ally armor while decreasing enemy armor, one point per second.

Range: 2000
Area: 575 (775*)
Duration: 12 (18*) / 18 (24*) / 24 (30*)

Mana Cost: 120 / 160 / 200 Cooldown Time: 40

You should always consider ignoring Weave until around level 10-11. If your team is not teamfighting in the early game, or does not have considerable early game physical damage (no Sven for example), then it's sometimes worthwhile to max Shallow Grave or Shadow Wave sooner.

Weave is one of the best ultimates in the game and, along with Guardian Angel, the best support Hero late game teamfight ability available in the roster. After casting, any enemies caught in the massive area will lose 1 armor per second (up to -20 max) and any allies will gain 1 armor per second (up to 30 with Aghanim's Scepter).

Useful numbers for you...
-20 Armor = 71% Physical Damage Amplification
+30 Armor = 64% Physical Damage Reduction

So, yeah... that's a huge differential between Heroes in a team fight. Of course it does take time to become effective and that's half the skill in using the ability. Aghanim's Scepter provides extra damage reduction and, although Armor Reduction is capped at -20, the extended duration of damage reduction and amplification is what makes Scepter worthwhile on Dazzle (plus people have more Armor at that stage). It also increases the radius which makes it basically unmissable.


Windrunner gets caught by the entire enemy team as we wrap around the back. I stick Grave and Wave her... this is going to be a messy fight


I quickly cast Weave as Windrunner force staffs her way into the river. It hits 4 enemies as we flee for our lives... or so they think.


The enemy chases me as we run. Time is ticking. Outworld Devourer uses Astral Imprisonment and I'm surrounded... but notice the Weave buff. That's -14 Armor on 3 of their core Heroes...


Clinkz gets an Ultra Kill as Tiny and Lion return to the fight.


If you are in a well-oiled team, you can even pre-cast Weave a few seconds before an offensive manoeuvre. As long as you have a team that can force a team fight, starting with 5-10 Armor is quite the advantage in a clash. In fact, if your back is against the wall and you're defending your Rax... having a pre-cast Weave is great for surviving a push through pure attrition.

The most important thing to remember with Weave is that it's only powerful after time has passed. It's often a complete waste of your ultimate if you wait until a clash has already started. In battles with powerful initiators like Tidehunter, Sand King & Enigma, the fight can often end before Weave even gets going. My advice with this ability is to just use it whenever you can. Try and get a few allies and an enemy or two in the radius before **** goes down.

Weave also has a massive range of 2000...
I'm standing at the Medium camp by the river entrance and Weave extends almost into the Roshan Pit!

Skill Builds

Skill Build A - Poison Touch Focus
Skill Build A is the traditional Dazzle build for pub games. It relies on the fact that you need to make your own action with 4 strangers and you need Poison Touch to do that. Get it to Level 3 as soon as possible and then try to get kills.

  1. Wave
  2. Grave
  3. Touch
  4. Touch
  5. Touch

    At this point, you can decide what you prefer. I usually max Shadow Wave and then get Weave at 10/11, but read the game and decide for yourself.


    Skill Build B - Defensive Focus
    Skill Build B is what more competitive Dazzles play, as they can rely on other heroes to use their slows and stuns. They max Shadow Wave first and get at least 2 points in Shallow Grave.
    1. Wave
    2. Grave
    3. Wave
    4. Wave
    5. Grave
    6. Weave
    7. Wave
    8. Grave
    9. Grave
    10. Touch
    11. Weave

      Getting Weave at level 6 is important in this build, because you're a defensive 5-support. You will be level 5 for a long time and much lower than your opponents, so by the time you get level 6... you'll need Weave.

Items

Starting Items
3x Iron Branch - Cheap stats, ensures a GG and all that. Great for your Magic Wand
1x Tango - Cheap healing that doesn't cost mana
1x Sentry Wards - I find myself picking up Sentry Wards in every game now. Players are getting smarter and you don't want your pull camp blocked. Even if they don't block, a Sentry is always useful later on.
1x Animal Courier - Even if you're not supporting, you don't really need much in the first 2 minutes.



Core
Boots of Speed
Sage's Mask - Get the Sage's Mask after your boots, it helps sustain your mana.
Phase Boots - Take Phase Boots for awesome harassment. Phase Boots are the best boots on Dazzle in my opinion. Dazzle has great early game physical damage and the speed boost helps you duck and weave in and out of range for Shallow Grave and Shadow Wave.
Medallion of Courage - It delays your Mekansm but it's worth it in most cases. You need the mana regen from the Sage's Mask, the Chainmail gives you better survivability and the active is great for killing Roshan and securing early game kills. -6 Armor is HUGE.

Magic Wand - Finish up your Magic Wand whenever you feel like it. The 3x Iron Branch are probably taking up too much space anyway, so you could even get it before your Sage's Mask



Core Continued...
Mekansm - I used to never really get Mek on Dazzle, but since I've got better at farming and making money, I've been getting it in every single game. Start with the Buckler. The +2 Armor buff is amazing for pushing in combination with Shadow Wave, it also negates the -6 Armor of Medallion of Courage. In general, Armor rocks on Dazzle.

As a support with huge Intelligence growth and low mana abilities, you are a perfect Mek carrier. You can also pull off pretty crazy stunts with Shallow Grave and this will save your *** countless times in mid-late game skirmishes.

Observer Ward - In an ideal situation you should be warding after you get your boots and Sage's Mask in lane. You should probably buy a second batch after Phase Boots and before Medallion of Courage. Then you should also get a third batch before your Mekansm (I complete the Buckler and Headdress first).

In the end though, read the game and decide. In pub games you can often get away with being light on warding, in high skilled games you should probably be a bit of a ward *****. A 30 minute Mekansm isn't a complete failure if you've been warding well.

Void Stone
With Dazzle's high intelligence and gain, Void Stone provides extremely effective mana regen. If you feel you need extra mana, and have a free slot... pick it up! I get one in every game now... it's just so important to have mana as Dazzle and it builds into a Eul's Scepter of Divinity which is a superb pickup.



Situational
Eul's Scepter of Divinity - I pretty much get this in 90% of games where I complete my Mekansm. The regen is only beaten by Scythe of Vyse or Bloodstone (which you'll never afford as Dazzle) and the active can save your *** on numerous occasions... especially after Grave. The speed boost is super useful, as it increases the boost of your Phase Boots giving you even more range flexibility on your spells. Finally the active is like a Shallow Grave on yourself so you can often save your *** with Eul's and not waste your grave. AND it's a great chasing tool! You might be building a Void Stone as an extension anyway... so why not finish it?

Soul Booster
People hate on Bloodstone but a plain ol' Soul Booster is a surprisingly effective item. You get a free +100% mana regen when it's complete, it comes in very small parts which all give instant effectiveness to Dazzle and anything that makes you tankier is a blessing. When you find yourself between minds when selecting your post-core item (and don't have the cash to go for a luxury), Soul Booster is a great choice that gives you much needed survivability, mana and mana regen. Everything Dazzle needs.

Pipe of Insight - Pipe rocks. It can swing battles and when coupled with your healing and damage reduction your team can blitz team fights. However, never get Pipe and Mekansm on the same Hero!! You're already public enemy #1 with Shallow Grave! The reason I always tend to take Mek over Pipe is because of the Armor on Mek and the fact that Dazzle doesn't really need health regeneration at all.

Orchid Malevolence - This grants some pretty powerful stats but no survivability. Unlike Desolator (another offensive item), this isn't completely useless if you want to transition back to support Dazzle (mana regen and silence is very handy). If you're stomping but unsure if you can finish the game early, pick this. If you have too many supports and need to be a Damage Dazzle, pick this. If Anti-Mage is crushing early game, sometimes you should just aim for this... it really helps ganking.



Other Possibilities
Arcane Boots - 99% of the time I'll get Phase Boots, they fit my playstyle more and the speed boost is great for lifesaving Shallow Graves and for chasing with Poison Touch. When you're having an awful early game or if you are on Ward ***** duty, then you will miss your time to deal heavy supporting physical damage. When this happens, you might as well get Arcane Boots for the team mana boost.

Heaven's Halberd - After Medallion of Courage, Mekansm and Eul's Scepter of Divinity, Halberd is a great pickup. The evasion is nice, Sange tanks you up and the active is a great anti-carry ability.

Aghanim's Scepter - Survivability will be your only concern if you ever manage to get this far down the shopping list. Sell your Medallion or Magic Wand and then get Scepter. Health and mana on top of your massive Armor, heals and Shallow Grave is all you'll need at this point. The Weave improvement is just icing on the cake.

Shiva's Guard - The only time I would get this is if I had bought the Plate Mail for Assault Cuirass before realizing it was a bad idea and going back to caster Dazzle. Shiva could work fine on Dazzle, but often you will not get the farm for a Mystic Staff

Scythe of Vyse - It's the best item in the game, if you somehow manage to farm up a Mystic Staff then you might as well get it. Can't say anything bad about this item.

Force Staff - I've actually never bought this on Dazzle, but it does seem like a strong item. It grants a nice escape. It used to provide extra damage and some attack speed but now it gives ****py regen. It's Force Staff, it works on everyone... but it's a little less cool than it used to be (when it provided Attack Speed and Damage)



Semi-Carry Dazzle
Core Items - Same as regular Dazzle. Your Medal, Phase Boots and Wand are all essential.

Desolator - Early game, semi-carry Dazzle can cause some major pain with Deso. It grants -6 Armor on top of your -6 Armor from Medallion of Courage on top of your Phase Boots and naturally high attack damage... on top of Weave and with the incredible chasing ability of Poison Touch. Early game the power is incredible... but it grants no survivability which is Dazzle's biggest weakness.

Assault Cuirass - More survivability + damage combined with slight support. You'll be an Armor Reducing machine which will allow your allies to carry better too.



REJECTED ITEMS
Soul Ring - Soul Ring SUCKS on Dazzle. Stop buying it. It gives a pitiful amount of mana, which gives you a 'free' heal on an ally every 30 seconds. Your heal also pushes the lane and static mana sucks on Dazzle. Medallion grants more survivability, the same regen and has a ridiculously strong active. Save some money and get a Void Stone instead, it's way better.

Dazzle in Competitive Play

Dazzle is never picked in competitive play. He may show up in some random strats but he's no-where near a regular or even rare occurrence in the pro circuit.

Why is this?

  1. Shallow Grave is too risky until level 3
  2. Shadow Wave doesn't push lanes until level 3
  3. Poison Touch doesn't stun until level 3
  4. Weave doesn't have a huge effect until level 2

See the pattern? Dazzle is just not a great Hero until level 5. Quite frankly, he's awful. All Dazzle contributes until level 5 is a very weak slow and a little lane sustain with Shadow Wave. Once he hits level 5, he has a powerful slow with a stun, a situational nuke (level 1 Shadow Wave) and Shallow Grave... although at level 1 it's likely suicidal to use it on your part.

Even at level 5, Dazzle is a pretty average support. Lich, Earthshaker, Vengeful Spirit and Crystal Maiden are all much more powerful than him until about level 7-8.

Dazzle can babysit reasonably well, but without some early farm and even a kill or two, he's missing out on his true potential. Dazzle needs items way more than a typical 5-support. He needs LEVELS more than anything, which he won't get if he's stacking and pulling creeps.

Dazzle's only use in competitive play is with niche strats that turn his ****py early game tools into powerful early game tools.

Shadow Demon's Disruption + Shadow Wave
Naga Siren's Rip Tide + Mirror Image + Shadow Wave
Undying diving like a crazy person + Shadow Wave & Shallow Grave

These are the only cases where Dazzle has been used effectively in pro play.


Good Competitive Dazzle Games
Quantic used Dazzle in a superb upset vs Alliance. From a Dazzle point of view, he was just a Shadow Wave machine. Quantic's strategy was to use Outworld Devourer's Essence Aura to sustain permanent healing from Dazzle and permanent Nether Blast from Pugna. And it worked very well. The Naga Sleep + Weave Combo was used, but not extremely effectively in my opinion.

Early game, he was also completely useless. He was put in a tri-lane and Quantic just dragged the game as long as they could until their items (namely Mekansm) and levels were up.


Alliance basically GG the game at 8 minutes with the Dazzle + Axe + SD combo vs Mousesports

Roles: Semi-Carry Dazzle

What first prompted me to write a Dazzle guide was the idea of semi-carry Dazzle. A bunch of threads on PlayDota were saying how Dazzle was being misused as a supporter. After playing a bunch of games (on around my 40th in Dota 2 right now), I'm of the impression that semi-carry Dazzle is pretty effective if you can get an early Desolator (like 20mins in). If you can't, you'll end up being too squishy to carry anything, even with Shallow Grave.

Just a warning for ya!


An offensive, semi-carry Dazzle is going to require a solo lane. Dazzle's ability to heal himself and cause massive damage to enemy melee last-hitters, make him an absolute nightmare for typical melee mids like Pudge and Tiny.

Every time they go to last hit with a packed creep wave, hit them with Shadow Wave. Early on, this skill can take off 50% of their health in one cast. One hit of this ability is enough to start the snowball rolling as you scare them out of range and force them back to their tower.

He's pretty awful against a ranged Hero though.

At this point, you can start ganking other lanes with your Level 3 Poison Touch. Dazzle isn't a crazy good ganker very early on, unless enemies are standing in a bunch of allied creeps. But once he gets his Phase Boots and Medallion of Courage he can easily shred a target before they know what's happening. Unfortunately, it will be around the 10-12 minute mark by the time you get those items, so your solo ganks from mid will be over by then.

Unfortunately there are a lot of Heroes in Dota 2 that will have higher priority than you. 99% of the time, you'll be in a side lane.

Hyper Aggression Theory

Dazzle doesn't see much competitive play. The reasons are quite simple...

  • He has no nukes - Nukes are extremely potent early game, he lacks one
  • He has poor crowd control - Dazzle cannot lock down an opponent. He can significantly slow at Level 5 but that is too late

When you look at early game powerhouse supports, they all have one or both of these requirements met from Level 1-3. Dazzle is plain bad at this stage of the game.

So I said Dazzle is terrible in competitive play, but could he make an appearance? Here's some theorycrafting...

When is Dazzle a good support?
Dazzle really starts to overtake early game supports in the mid game, and vastly out-supports them by late game (only Omniknight and Shadow Demon compare in my opinion). But in the current metagame of fast aggressive pushing, Dazzle can't get to that point without being a detriment to his team.

What can Dazzle do until that point?
  • Level 1-3: Prevent death for 5 seconds
  • Level 4-6: Sustain a lane partner, Prevent death for 5 seconds
  • Level 7-9: Hold back a minor push, Sustain a lane partner, Prevent death for 5 seconds

So if we look at his strengths, Dazzle is useful in an extremely dangerous lane where himself or his partner is taking damage. Would he be viable in the suicide lane? I suppose he would... although his escape mechanism Poison Touch is severely lacking. Plus, he'll be chain stunned before he can Shallow Grave in a 1v3 lane or an aggressive Chen / Enchantress jungle.

How about babysitting? Dual lanes aren't really in fashion right now. Lanes are usually out of balance, so you'll either be in a 2v1 safe lane (with a jungle supporting as a pseudo-trilane) or a 1v2 suicide lane.

There are only two dual lane combos which I've seen in competitive, and that's 2v1 dual mid... usually with Lich + a hard carry (such as Anti-Mage) or the Chaos Knight + Io combo. Could Dazzle play the Lich role? No.

Lich supports his partner by denying creeps and keeping the mid lane creeps constantly near your own tower. It's a highly defensive combo. In a 2v1, your partner is going to be extremely safe... so you won't need to use your abilities defensively. But what if you use them offensively? What if you use Shallow Grave to repeatedly tower dive the mid lane opponent?

Which partners could effectively kill an enemy under the tower and escape with the help of Shallow Grave?
  • Omniknight - In theory, he's pretty much the best dude for the job. Repel means the enemy can't even stun or slow him, Purification is massive pure damage and Degeneration Aura means they can't even run if he manages to get in range (which he will with Poison Touch)
  • Undying - If Omniknight is the best dude, Undying is 2nd. This guy is built to play in ultra aggressive lanes and dive towers.
  • Riki - Deals plenty of damage, has his Smoke Bomb to prevent defensive crowd control. Just needs time to stab. Can Blink Strike back to you to escape.
  • Axe - Deals the best early game damage if he gets lucky with Counter Helix. Crazy dives are his specialty and he's tanky enough to reduce the risk of dying post-Grave.
  • Leshrac - Diabolic Edict is epic for tower diving. Just need to remove the creep wave. Not exactly reliable but it could work
  • Sven - Storm Hammer is the best level 1 stun in the game, so Sven's high physical damage and natural tankiness and speed (with a Warcry) should give him some killer diving potential.
  • Tiny - His crazy combo insta-gibs almost anyone. The problem is getting close to use it, but perhaps the 'safety' of the tower will bring down an enemy's guard.
  • Huskar - He's the king of Shallow Grave in any situation, but diving under the tower for extra Burning Spears stacks is very powerful... and his increased damage and speed with Berserker's Blood means that nothing will survive a Huskar dive.
  • Drow Ranger - Her orb effect and natural mega damage really help diving.
  • Juggernaut - Spin under their tower.

Whenever I've seen Dazzle in competitive play, it's generally been as a defensive support, which is a waste of his abilities.

Early Game - Laning

Summary

  • Deny like a beast
  • Harass the enemy whenever possible
  • Get Level 3 Poison Touch and then gank the enemy

As mentioned above, Dazzle has very little going for him before level 6. Therefore, you will have to rely on your superior positioning, decision making and denial skills to get an early advantage.

Dazzle really shines when he has a good start because he reaches that level 7-8 mark and gets out of **** tier. That can be said for a lot of Heroes but Dazzle's high base damage, base intelligence, intelligence growth and attack animation give him a real advantage at mid game compared to other Heroes. All it takes for a Dazzle to thrive early game is a Medallion of Courage and Phase Boots.

Phase Boots: 1400g
Medallion of Courage: 1075g

Total: 2475g

Early game you want to get Poison Touch to level 3 as soon as possible while harassing like a madman. If you're at full mana, use your Shadow Wave to screw up enemy last hits and (if they're melee) make sure they're scared every time they try to take gold for themselves.

Dazzle really is an incredible harasser, be aggressive. Keep enough mana for one life-saving Shadow Wave and a defensive/counter-gank Poison Touch and let your partner get most of the last hits. After my Boots of Speed, I will usually pick up Sage's Mask just so I can harass more.

As soon as you get your level 3 Poison Touch, you can kill. Wait for an opportune moment (usually if the enemy harasses and attracts creep aggro) and then hit them with Shadow Wave and Poison Touch.

Mid Game - Ganking and Pushing

Summary

  • Defend or push a lane
  • Ward up, if you're the ward monkey

After the general laning phase (when people begin roaming), Dazzle has two options.

Gank

At this point there is often no need to babysit, so let your carry farm in their own little dream world while you roam the map and assist other lanes. With Shallow Grave and Weave, you're pretty amazing at forcing kills. Lead with your Poison Touch, Weave the enemies and then finish them off. If any survivors move under their tower and are on 50% health, you can probably dive them with assistance from a teammate.

When killing, here's the order you want to go with...
  1. Poison Touch (It's DoT so you can cast it first)
  2. Weave
  3. Medallion of Courage
  4. Auto-attack and chase between hits
  5. Shadow Wave if allies have joined in.

Not much can survive that. Instant -7 armor which will be -11 by the time Poison Touch ends. That's 42% damage amplification (on a target with zero armor... so it's a little weaker in real life) and at least 4 seconds of you and your allies hitting the target

OR

Push a lane
When not ganking, Dazzle can quite capably push a lane on his own from level 7-8 onwards. Level 3-4 Shadow Wave can obliterate creep waves and keep your own waves strong. After ganking, keep the pressure on the lanes by clearing a creep wave or two.

If you're still in a duo lane (because you're either rocking the house or your carry needs help), you can force the enemy team to deal with you by pushing hard. This lets other lanes push and can reduce the pressure on them (if they're doing badly). The enemy team has to deal with you & your hard carry. Use this to your advantage by warding defensively and counter-ganking, or by just pushing the tower down. Either way, it's a win-win situation.

Late Game - Teamfights and Carry Protection

Summary


Late game, Dazzle's survivability and game-breaking abilities (level 4 Shallow Grave and Weave) will make it difficult for you to be offensive. Even Semi-Carry Dazzle has to relegate himself to a more supporting role when the game hits the 30-40 minute mark.

Fortunately, by this point it's likely that you have Mekansm and/or Pipe of Insight so you still have plenty to do. Stay at a safe distance ( Shallow Grave now has a huge cast range) and concentrate on what's happening in the fight...
  • Focus on your Carry, if they are anywhere near close to death... stick Shallow Grave on them. Don't be tempted to wait until the last second. It's amazing how many times you get stunned when waiting for a last second Grave.
  • Try to stay within range for a Mekansm or Pipe of Insight cast. The most important thing is to protect your carry but if it's safe, you should try and hit everyone.
  • Save your Poison Touch for potential channelling abilities or, if there's no danger of being Black Hole'd, hit the enemy carry with it... especially if they're melee. Poison Touch is great for keeping disablers off your carry.
  • Probably stop activating your Medallion of Courage. Unless you're in a perfectly safe location (the back of a chokepoint or elevated ground), you could probably do with the Armor yourself.

The most important thing is to stay alive. Shallow Grave has a 15 second cooldown, if the fight drags on... you will most probably win if the enemy cannot kill your carry twice over. Late game you are very similar to Necrolyte, your heals will add up over time.

Conclusion

Thanks for reading this far. I hope that this guide has helped you and that you're ready to make your enemies pale when they see the face of Dazzle!

If you remember anything from this guide, remember this...

Early game, Dazzle supports through harassment and amplifying damage for your carry. Early farm is worth it and your carry will thank you later as you get the levels and supporting damage you need to be the ultimate side-kick. Late game, Dazzle becomes a gamebreaking support. Stay alive and make sure key targets are protected from damage and death!

Any feedback is much appreciated, please leave a comment and vote!

Thank you

Appendix A: Weave Numbers

Just in case you're interested, here is a list of amplified damage numbers at every enemy armor value.

Because of diminishing returns, the increases in damage are much higher at the start of Weave. Waiting those extra couple of seconds to cast Shadow Wave or Poison Touch can mean the difference between a kill and those occasions when the target escapes with a sliver of health.

In my opinion, after 10 seconds it's not worth delaying an ability to milk the damage amplification. The 1 extra second after those first 10 isn't worth risking an enemy getting away... so the most important choices you make with your skills are in those first 10 seconds of Weave. Remember that using Medallion of Courage turns those first 10 seconds into 4 seconds. Medallion is so strong because it jump starts all your abilities instantly.

Skill levels are based on my skill order above
Apologies, but I'm a bit too lazy to upgrade the Shadow Wave numbers for level 2 after the 6.78 patch

-1
/ Poison Touch level 3 24.24 per second, 169.68 total
/ Shadow Wave level 2 106 per unit, 318 max
/ Shadow Wave level 4 148.4 per unit, 742 max

-2
/ Poison Touch level 3 26.64 per second, 186.48 total
/ Shadow Wave level 2 111 per unit, 333 max
/ Shadow Wave level 4 155.4 per unit, 777 max

-3
/ Poison Touch level 3 28.08 per second, 196.56 total
/ Shadow Wave level 2 117 per unit, 351 max
/ Shadow Wave level 4 163.8 per unit, 819 max

-4
/ Poison Touch level 3 29.04 per second, 203.28 total
/ Shadow Wave level 2 121 per unit, 363 max
/ Shadow Wave level 4 169.4 per unit, 847 max

-5
/ Poison Touch level 3 30.384 per second, 212.69 total
/ Shadow Wave level 2 126.6 per unit, 380 max
/ Shadow Wave level 4 177.24 per unit, 886.2 max

-6
/ Poison Touch level 3 31.44 per second, 220.08 total
/ Shadow Wave level 2 131 per unit, 393 max
/ Shadow Wave level 4 183.4 per unit, 917 max

-7
/ Poison Touch level 3 32.4 per second, 226.8 total
/ Shadow Wave level 2 135 per unit, 405 max
/ Shadow Wave level 4 189 per unit, 945 max

-8
/ Poison Touch level 3 33.36 per second, 233.52 total
/ Shadow Wave level 2 139 per unit, 417 max
/ Shadow Wave level 4 194.6 per unit, 973 max

-9
/ Poison Touch level 3 34.25 per second, 239.73 total
/ Shadow Wave level 2 142.7 per unit, 428 max
/ Shadow Wave level 4 199.78 per unit, 998.9 max

-10
/ Poison Touch level 3 35.04 per second, 245.28 total
/ Shadow Wave level 2 146 per unit, 438 max
/ Shadow Wave level 4 204.4 per unit, 1022 max

-11
/ Poison Touch level 3 35.76 per second, 250.32 total
/ Shadow Wave level 2 149 per unit, 447 max
/ Shadow Wave level 4 208.6 per unit, 1043 max

-12
/ Poison Touch level 3 36.48 per second, 255.36 total
/ Shadow Wave level 2 152 per unit, 456 max
/ Shadow Wave level 4 212.8 per unit, 1064 max

-13
/ Poison Touch level 3 37.2 per second, 260.4 total
/ Shadow Wave level 4 217 per unit, 1085 max

-14
/ Poison Touch level 3 37.92 per second, 265.44 total
/ Shadow Wave level 4 221.2 per unit, 1106 max

-15
/ Poison Touch level 3 38.4 per second, 268.8 total
/ Shadow Wave level 4 224 per unit, 1120 max

-16
/ Poison Touch level 3 39.12 per second, 273.84 total
/ Shadow Wave level 4 228.2 per unit, 1141 max

-17
/ Poison Touch level 3 39.6 per second, 277.2 total
/ Shadow Wave level 4 231 per unit, 1155 max

-18
/ Poison Touch level 4 53.44 per second, 374.08 total
/ Shadow Wave level 4 233.8 per unit, 1169 max

-19
/ Poison Touch level 4 54.08 per second, 378.56 total
/ Shadow Wave level 4 236.6 per unit, 1183 max

-20
/ Poison Touch level 4 54.72 per second, 383.04 total
/ Shadow Wave level 4 239.4 per unit, 1197 max

Appendix B: When Shallow Grave is OP

Shallow Grave is an epic ability but early game it's mainly used on yourself. The range is too low for you to use it on others effectively (they'll die anyway), but there are some cases where you should aggressively use Shallow Grave in the early game.

  • Tower Diving
    At least 5 seconds of hitting an enemy under the tower without risk of death. Of course, you wait for their health to drop before using it... so that's probably around 8-9 seconds. I wish I'd see more pros try this.
  • With Huskar
    5 seconds of fully maxed out Inner Vitality and Berserker's Blood. Probably the most powerful combo in all of Dota during the early-mid game.

  • With Ursa
    Similar to Huskar, the longer Ursa is in a fight, the more powerful he becomes. Give him 5 extra seconds to rampage through an enemy team.

  • Versus Necrolyte
    Shallow Grave protects against an executing Reaper's Scythe. Necrolyte's level 4 Sadist grants 600 Mana upon killing an enemy, that's an incredible boost to his healing in a teamfight. You cannot allow this to happen. In fact, a Necrolyte will often position themselves very aggressively when they know they're going to get their mana back. If you wait long enough, you can ****block that ******* and he'll be in the middle of a team fight with no mana and no heals.

  • Versus Ancient Apparition
    Ice Blast executes and your healing from Shadow Wave is invalid, so Grave is worth skilling early.

  • Versus Lina, Sniper and/or Lion
    Waste their ultimates by predicting who they will cast it on. Or, discourage them from casting it on your carry by just pre-emptively placing Grave. The longer range on a level 2-3 Grave means you won't get targeted. It's not at all that hard, but preventing Sniper from securing a kill on runners always feels satisfying!

  • Versus Anti-Mage
    He will often use Mana Void to execute targets (he's allowed to kill-steal whenever he wants). If you see him jump your mages, Grave them when they drop to about 50% mana.

  • Versus Zeus
    Greedy Zeus players will often want to finish off escaped allies with Thundergod's Wrath. It's difficult to time, but sometimes you can get lucky.

Appendix C: Dazzle's Best Friends

Dazzle is best friends with a LOT of Heroes. He's every carry's best friend (no-one makes them more effective... except perhaps an Invoker with an Alacrity build), but I'll list some good synergies so you can think about your lane composition.

BFFs

Huskar
Berserker's Blood + Shallow Grave. He deals crazy physical damage and is constantly on the brink of death. It's a shame all his audio lines are about Rivalry, because Dazzle and Huskar are like BFFs on the battlefield.

Sven
Double stun lane with ******** ridiculous physical damage when he has God's Strength. An AoE physical damage reduction strat with Warcry + Weave. Sven, like Kunkka is a Hero that really needs a long slow on his targets. You are that slow and you boost his insane damage by up to 71%.

Ursa
Along the same lines as Sven & Kunkka, your Poison Touch will seal his target's fate. Ursa is also like Huskar in that he can pull off amazing comebacks from the brink of death if he's not slain. Shallow Grave gives him enough time to regen crazy life while stacking Fury Swipes.

Undying
Undying is a superb teammate for Dazzle. First, you both have ridiculous damage amplification ( Weave and Medallion of Courage making Flesh Golem even more powerful). Secondly, Tombstone is great for pushing and counter-pushing in conjunction with Shadow Wave. Third, Undying likes to stand in a massive bunch of enemies and gets focused... so you Grave him and enemies have even more damage amplification that they can't do anything about for 5 seconds. During that time, he's healing from every dead creep and Hero... and he has massive Armor. Truly Undying.

Naga Siren
Naga Siren is custom built to work with Dazzle. Ensnare gives you 5 seconds to crush people with physical attacks and it cannot be escaped... if 5 seconds isn't enough, you've got Poison Touch. Mirror Image is Shadow Wave's ultimate ally, granting ludicrous pushing power as well as nuke damage on enemies surrounded by 4 Sirens. Rip Tide synergizes perfectly with your Armor Reduction strategy, add Medallion of Courage in there and 4 angry Sirens are dealing crazy damage to a rooted and slowed target. Song of the Siren allows Weave to set in (giving you 7 seconds of free Weave). Finally, Shallow Grave owns for carries... we all know that. But Song of the Siren is another guaranteed lifeline... so the enemy has to basically kill her 3 times to win the fight.


Buddies

Alchemist
For a nice Armor Reduction strat, his Acid Spray will add 3/4/5/6 instant Armor Reduction to your targets. You're a great babysitter and an Alchemist left to farm can quickly become incredibly rich. Late-game, you'll be slowing his targets and making them squishy.

Broodmother
Broodmother is the reason I want to find a partner to login to Skype and lane with me. The possibilities with Spawn Spiderlings and Shadow Wave are endless. You help them survive pushes and tank more tower hits, you also can use them for INSANE Shadow Wave nukes on enemy Heroes and creep waves. Broodmother is already an amazing tower pusher, you make her better. If she goes for a Carry build, your Armor Reduction will help her lifesteal more, and she's one of those lifestealing carries who can go from 1 HP with Shallow Grave and regen right back up to full. In lane you're an absolute menace as well. Invisible Shadow Wave bombs, constant harass, constant healing... it's a match made in heaven and I wish more people played Broodmother!

Enigma
Another summoner who, with coordination, can really destroy lanes with his Jungle ganks + Shadow Wave. On top of that, a great Black Hole will give ample time for your Weave to set in (5 free seconds to increase your armor and decrease theirs).

Lycanthrope
2 extra instances of Shadow Wave damage with those wolves of his. He doesn't really NEED a slow but it always helps and he deals purely physical damage so Weave is great for him. Howl is also quite nice for your early game aggressive harassment and it's global so you don't even need to be near him. Another advantage is that you or him will buy Medallion of Courage, so you can either get it yourself and save him the money... or he gets it and you go straight for Mekansm (don't forget the casual Sage's Mask though)

Brewmaster
Double slow in your lane with Thunder Clap. His tankiness from Drunken Brawler makes the effective HP of Shadow Wave much higher. Poison Touch is very nice for his Primal Split (more time for them to wail on a guy) and surrounding a target then synergizes with Shadow Wave. Shallow Grave pretty much guarantees that he can initiate and cast his ult without any fear of death. These guys are pretty much a perfect team.

Kunkka
Weave and Tidebringer is a very powerful combo, giving him insane AoE attacks every 4 seconds. Your Poison Touch stun gives him a very easy Torrent cast too. Kunkka is one of those melee Heroes who could really do with a slow, so Poison Touch and X Marks the Spot will make escaping impossible.

Nature's Prophet
Like Broodmother, his summons give you crazy nuking potential and he is undoubtedly one of the strongest pushers in the game. You supplement his powerful pushing and Grave + Teleportation can infuriate the calmest of enemies.

Slardar
The original Armor Reduction strategy. You turn Slardar into an unkillable beast while your enemies have the combined Armor Reduction of Amplify Damage + Weave. Your Poison Touch + Slithereen Crush combo in lane is very powerful and save him having to use Sprint to get into range.

Vengeful Spirit
Double armor reduction, double stun, extra physical damage bonus and you can Shallow Grave her when she swaps. You guys are a support dream team, if your team can support two supports. I would love to tri-lane with this girl.

Dragon Knight
So this is a case where the synergy between DK and Dazzle's skills isn't blatantly obvious for Wombo Combos, but Dazzle's power with a fat Elder Dragon Form DK is very strong in a real game scenario. You probably won't lane with him, but late game you are an excellent pair in team fights. His AoE physical splash damage is ridiculous with your AoE damage amplification. His natural tankiness gives Shadow Wave and Mekansm surprisingly effective late-game HP regeneration. On top of that, you've got Shallow Grave which makes this already tanky Hero even harder to bring down.

Appendix D: Dazzle's Worst Enemies

Apart from Axe, not many Heroes can counter Dazzle or his abilities.

Bad Team Composition
This is applicable to most supports but Dazzle more than most.

  • If you can't lane with someone who deals Physical Damage and is capable of killing something then don't bother with Dazzle. You need early levels and gold.
  • If you have no physical carry, don't bother with Dazzle. You're just a walking Shallow Grave and even then Grave is only amazing when cast on a Carry late game.


Axe
Culling Blade goes through Shallow Grave. He can only cast it once per fight (on average, without Scepter), but it's still a massive pain.


Enchantress
Pure damage Impetus isn't effected by your awesome Weave bonuses. Not a huge counter but be wary of it. Untouchable is a massive pain in the *** for physical attackers though, and with no nukes you'll have to rely on someone else to deal with her.


Silencer
This dude pretty much counters everyone, and early game his Global Silence can really screw you if you want to attempt a close range Shallow Grave. Remember not to spam spells near him in a team fight, if you get Last Worded... you might proc it and won't be able to Grave.


Doom Bringer
He counters everyone, but especially a squishy spellcaster like yourself... who tends to have a bunch of active items. However, if he doesn't Doom you, you're actually a very powerful counter to Doom Bringer.


Keeper of the Light
This dude is absolute hell for Dazzle. He pushes harder than you with Illuminate, which can deal so much surprise damage that you won't even have time to Shallow Grave someone. Keep your eyes WIDE open and Ward more than usual. His Chakra Magic gives his lane partner nuking power that you cannot outheal. On top of that, he can Mana Leak you which prevents you getting into Shallow Grave range until you've maxed it out. To top it off, Blinding Light is the ultimate counter to physical attacks... neutralizing the offensive component of your Weave.

Appendix E: Who Dazzle Counters

Any executing Hero, except Axe
Shallow Grave for the lulz.


Huskar
The 6.78 changes turned Huskar into an overpowered piece of ****, but Dazzle is probably his best counter. Now he receives Magic Resistance with Berserker's Blood, he's almost impossible to kill when he's low. Thankfully you deal physical damage with all your abilities. Huskar loves to jump into a big crowd of your allies, so wait until he's around 30% health (WAITING IS IMPORTANT!) and then kill him in one big Shadow Wave.

Slardar
He's melee so Poison Touch helps kite him. He often runs into masses of allies for Slithereen Crush... so Shadow Wave him. Weave reduces the effects of Amplify Damage and increases the damage Slardar takes during Sprint. Basically, you wreck Slardar.


The low armor crew; Doom Bringer and Tiny in particular
With high physical attack, 2 physical damage abilities and massive armor reduction, Dazzle tears low Armor Heroes to pieces.


Axe
While he counters your Shallow Grave, you counter his playstyle. He loses his Armor advantage with Berserker's Call and his early game strategy is to surround himself with your allied creeps to trigger Counter Helix. As long as you can stay out of his range (which is easy with Poison Touch), he'll be food for your Shadow Wave.


Riki
If he jumps you, you're dead... but that's what he's designed to do. If he doesn't jump you, you reduce his ability to catch anyone with Poison Touch from far outside his Smoke Screen. On top of this, he's often a sitting duck when he tries to kill someone who you've graved. Riki is extremely squishy, so slap Medallion of Courage on him and he'll drop in about 2 seconds of focus fire. Killing him through invisibility with Shadow Wave is always hilarious too.

Appendix F: Homework

Here is some material for you to go over if you want to rest from playing and see some of the situations in this guide played out.

Replays
Pro Games
Dazzle is not picked up much in pro games. But recently DK picked him up in a game against Mousesports in The International 2012 Qualifiers.

Match ID: 36036525

Admittedly, it's an awful game by Dazzle. DK.ZippO just plays badly, simple as. In fact, this game really highlights what is wrong with Dazzle as a support in competitive games. DK run him as a pure support, wards, dust and smokes a-plenty. But anyone can do that... Crystal Maiden can do that.

He contributes a couple of good Shallow Graves but he really brings nothing to the table all game. They do not play him to his strengths and it just baffles me how bad his positioning is on a number of occasions.

This game has really made me think about the viability of Dazzle compared to other supports. The one thing he can bring to this super aggressive metagame is hyper aggression through use of Shallow Grave for ridiculous tower dives. Unless you do that, what are you really doing that a Shadow Demon, Crystal Maiden or Vengeful Spirit can't do?

High Skill Games
Purge Plays Dazzle
(Skip to 6 mins)
Watch Purge completely and utterly destroy an Anti-Mage in a 1v1 solo lane. Showcases the ridiculous power of early Shadow Wave and a Phase Boots + Medallion of Courage Dazzle early game.

Check out Purge's channel too, it's a great place for all kinds of awesome Dota information and videos.

PS: I'm super jealous of Purge... This guy is so much better at last hitting than me...

My Games
So I'm not that good of a player (I know the theory better than the practice) but here are some games which I think I played pretty well and that showcase some of the things in this guide.

NEW: Match ID: 322134762 - 25th September 2013
Well, here you go... Carry Dazzle. In a way.

Ogre Magi and myself started in the suicide lane and I found myself possessed by the god of Last Hitting. Probably my best lane performance ever on Dazzle, from a CS point of view.

OM then leaves and I get the solo lane. The Naga was our carry but wasn't capable or built for it, so I decided I had to go for some sort of carry build... but I'd started as a Mekansm building support. So, while I got my Orchid Malevolence I was no-where near able to carry with right clicks. A game we threw, after some great early pushing and excellent team fights. A mix of lag spikes (the 1v1 vs Drow Ranger which I would have won) and terrible teammate decision making ( Ancient Apparition buying a 2nd Mek... 15 minutes after I finished and was spamming the first one) caused us to lose the game.

It goes to show... Carry Dazzle just isn't viable. He's a early-mid game 'carry' if he snowballs hard (we stomped all their towers and mid rax with our sustain and -armor strat), but he just doesn't cut it in the late game.

Guide Discussion
1 2 3 4 5 6 >>
Quote | PM | +Rep by Leech » January 31, 2012 4:44pm | Report
No shallow grave until lvl 9? I saw your explanation why but I think it should rarely be taken at 9 and taken more around some time between 2-4 and possibly reflected that way in the guide seeing as most players looking for a guide should wait unless you know what you're doing.

Leech
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Quote | PM | +Rep by Mrs Warboys » January 31, 2012 7:39pm | Report
Yeah, I think I'll add the disclaimer to the top of the mini-guide. The way I play Dazzle usually gives me level 9 before I leave the laning phase... and I assume my lane partner won't rely on Grave (no other Hero has it... early game it's an insurance plan). An earlier Shadow Wave really helps push down early towers and can get you a few lucky breaks when enemies are careless around your creeps. Really turns the tables.

But yeah, with the lane partners I've been having recently... Grave at level 4 is sometimes helpful.

Mrs Warboys


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Quote | PM | +Rep by Leech » January 31, 2012 7:43pm | Report
I agree with your reasoning the problem is when you save grave that long it opens up a problem against ganks and the skill build currently in this guide assumes you have smart team mates and derpy enemies. Still good though as a semi-carry dazzle guide.

Leech
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Quote | PM | +Rep by Mrs Warboys » January 31, 2012 9:21pm | Report
When the next update goes in (I have a ton of stuff but I need help with formatting so I'm holding it back for now), I'll explain it better. Thanks for the feedback!

Shallow Grave is 99% a herpy derpy skill though. It's an insurance policy that your allies should not be used to using (unless you're in some sort of clan that always picks Dazzle). While I do use the Shadow Wave nuke as one reason to skill it first (which, as you said, relies on a bit of enemy derp), I also think it's useful in a lane for more, less derpy, reasons like pushing, farming, harassing and saving lives.

Mrs Warboys


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Quote | PM | +Rep by Ikuu » February 1, 2012 5:10am | Report
Leaving Shallow Grave to 9 is such a terrible idea.

Ikuu


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Quote | PM | +Rep by Mrs Warboys » February 1, 2012 7:22am | Report
Ikuu, did you downvote an entire guide for that? I even explain in the guide the reason for doing so and that you can take Shallow Grave at level 4 if you really want to.

/sigh, a 4800+ word guide that gets a downvote for 1 digit in a skill build visualizer...

Mrs Warboys


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Quote | PM | +Rep by Leech » February 1, 2012 9:48am | Report
Unfortunately downvotes are inevitable. In fact a lot of guides with no negative feedback get downvoted. At least this guy said something prior to voting. This guide is still solid and it will be upvoted and downvoted in the future. Stick with it your work wasn't for nothing.

Leech
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Quote | PM | +Rep by ixFusion » February 1, 2012 11:41am | Report
Regardless of how nice your guide is. People play heroes differently and some people play them so differently that they can't imagine trying it your way or another way. Which therefore in their mind makes your guide **** and means they down vote.


For my opinion on this guide. One of the best guides I've seen in awhile. Although I do not agree with not taking one Shadow Grave as it helps you're team a lot and allows you to be a better supporter (which is what you are). Even if I do not agree with your skill tree and I do appreciate the neatness, the time you put in and the rest of your tips and tricks. Your effort really shows +1

Kyle

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Quote | PM | +Rep by Mrs Warboys » February 2, 2012 7:28pm | Report
Yeah I guess I need to just ignore it!

Thanks for the feedback Kyle/FuSioN and Gunker

Mrs Warboys


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Quote | PM | +Rep by Eleven » February 21, 2012 12:31am | Report
A very nice guide, it got me a good kickstart on playing Dazzle. Now, the one problem I do have is surviving, even with the recommended items. Pipe can handle some damage, and the phase boots will give me a bit of a speed boost, but most times it just isn't enough. What are your thoughts on getting Shadow Blade as a way for quick escapes? Is it worth it?

Eleven


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