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From Sub-Zero to Hero

March 29, 2016 by Plutarch
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Build 1
Build 2

Support

DotA2 Hero: Winter Wyvern


Purchase Order

Early game

Early mid game

Mid game

Late game

Situational (if you have spare gold)



Hero Skills

Arctic Burn

1 12 13 14

Splinter Blast

2 5 7 10

Cold Embrace

3 4 8 9

Winter's Curse

6 11 16

Talents

15 17 18

Introduction

My third guide is about another favorite support hero of mine: Winter Wyvern.
Winter Wyvern has been around the roster of hot-pick supports since she was introduced in Dota 2. Though she came through several balance changes, she is still among the deadliest support I've ever played. She possesses all the fundamentals of a support, nuking, healing, versatility and an ultimate that scales nicely into late games.
Several requirements are needed to be met when picking Winter Wyvern.
First, though she is quite lethal and important for this role, she is not a heavy combatant that can jump straight into a fight, all actions of her must be carried out at a safe distance, if you like entering chaotic combat during your usual gameplay then this hero is hardly a recommendation for you.
Secondly, she is also one of a few rare supports that needs a decent amount of items to become powerful given the large amount of mana consumption by her skills, squishy physical attributes and slowness in everything else.
Thirdly, she is as essential in team fight as in supporting, you can't expect to be commended for your Wyvern if going warding and roaming all the time without performing a vital role during combat, more over, Wyvern's skills are a little tricky to combine if not taken with discretion during rush moments.

Pros/Cons

Pros

- Nice nuking and healing techniques that have an interestingly long cast range that isn't often seen in other nukers.
- A powerful ultimate that evolves as the game processes, she has one of those deadly ultimate that is the reason opponents want to take her out first.
- Possess high versatility and flexibility during combat that makes her less of a slow poke we often regard supports as such.
- Make the enemy's numbers against them, she is one of those heroes who favor the crowd than a single target.

Cons

- Squishy, decent strength but low agility gain, results in low health, attack speed and a disappointing movement as well.
- Almost offend-less when facing a single enemy, because some of her skills requires as many enemies as possible to be effective.
- Partly item dependent due to spamming capability without sufficient mana, with high mana cost skills and weak attributes in overall. The fact that she survives in combat is sometimes more important than sacrificing herself for the carries like we use to expect from supports.

Skill 1: Arctic Burn


General information


Winter Wyvern soars upon an arctic wind, granting her unobstructed movement and allowing her to exhale a blistering chill into each attack. While soaring, her attacks travel further and faster, and slow enemies with a burning freeze that strips them of 8% of their current health each second. Her sight is also hardened against night's chill, granting her 400 additional vision range at night while soaring.

Cast Time: 0+0
Attack Range Bonus: 275/375/475/575
Attack Projectile Speed Bonus: 500
Night Vision Bonus: 400
Current Health as Damage per Second: 8%
Move Speed Slow: 19%/26%/33%/40%
Debuff Duration: 5
Arctic Burn Duration: 6
Cooldown 50/40/30/20 Mana 120/110/100/90

Breakdown:


- Turn WW into a flying unit, but does not grant flying vision, instead she gains 100 sight range around herself when crossing blocked vision area such as the woods just like a land unit, the bonus vision also has this rule applied, as it is only granted when she enters area where her normal vision reaches.
- Only one instance of the debuff can be placed on each unit, attacking it again does not refresh the duration nor stack.
- Her base attack range is 425 so it increases her attack range to 700/800/900/1000 and reduce attack point from 0.25 to 0.1, which means she releases the projectile faster for the duration.
- Does not affect Roshan.

Personal opinions:


- As she becomes a flying unit with a fairly short cooldown, Arctic Burn is very beneficial when escaping or skipping paths, it is also quite effective when chasing an enemy crossing complicated terrains.
- Since the debuff can only be placed once on each enemy, as well as the damage is based on the target current health. This nuke is not lethal and it is advisable that you try to hit every heroes for the duration to achieve the most damage.

Footage



Skill uses


Chasing and Escaping

A hero with unobstructed movement is very flexible in moving and almost inescapable by mere running, very few heroes achieve this ability and Auroth is one of them.
Though many may have known this, but a lot players still think Arctic Burn will increase Auroth's movement speed, and many activate this ability due to sheer panic in chasing or escaping. Artic Burn does not increase Auroth's movement, it only allows her to cross impassable terrain, therefore it is quite useless to activate it when the enemy is running in a straight line surpassing your attack range (even for the bonus attack range). Though in most cases, the slow is what counts more than unobstructed movement.

Using Arctic Burn to skip paths when chasing is very beneficial, especially when the chases happen in the jungle or around the rune areas, where trees and cliffs deter visions and movement. The slow works nicely to prevent the enemies from getting away.

Crossing the woods and slowing an enemy



Scouting

While Arctic Burn has a long cooldown for the first few levels, it actually refresh faster in LV4, and it allows Auroth to move towards high cliffs where wards are often placed to scout the area.
This can also be helped by Blink Dagger, by blinking up the sites then use Arctic Burn to get down or vice versa.



Stacking creeps

The exceptionally long range Auroth obtains with Arctic Burn can be very useful when stacking multi-camps, when activated, she can hit the first camp at about 0:52 or 53 (due to the slow, the creeps will probably not move out of the camp fast) then fly cross the cliffs or woods to the second camp and hit it at 0:55.

Below is updated stacking camps map in 6.86 (sources: reddit)

Skill 2: Splinter Blast


General Information


Launches a ball of brittle ice towards an enemy. The ice shatters on impact, leaving the primary target completely unaffected, while hurling damaging splinters into nearby enemies in a 500 radius. Enemies struck by these splinters are slowed by 25%.

Cast Time: 0.3+1.17
Cast Range: 1200
Splinter Search Radius: 500
Damage: 100/180/260/340
Move Speed Slow: 25%
Slow Duration: 4
Cooldown 7 Mana 120/130/140/150

Breakdown:

- Neither initial, nor secondary projectiles can be disjointed.
- Fully affects invisible units and units in the Fog of War.
- Splinters spawn for spell-immune and invulnerable units as well but does not affect them.
- Linken's Sphere blocks the initial bolt, but does not block secondary bolts.

Personal Opinions

- Splinter Blast makes a handy and powerful nuke with low cooldown and long cast range, you can use it to clear creeps and farm without steering to close to the frey.
- The primary target takes no damage, and the blast range is a reserved 500 Aoe so be discreet when selecting targets and calculating about the range.
- The slow stacks independently with Arctic Burn so it makes a great disables and nuke combining with her first skill.

Footage



Skill uses


Harass

Though with an enormous manacost, Splinter Blast actually has a relatively short cooldown for a nuke, and since this ability is most likely to be maxed out first, it is very useful tool to harass enemy heroes, and the slow will only make way for you to trade hits efficiently.

Farming and clearing creeps

A LV4 Splinter Blast will always kill the mage creeps and melee creeps below 70% of its hit points, sometimes the 4 second slow will allow you to clear a wave of creep by yourself, as you are 3 second away from another hit when it ends. 2 Splinter Blast will ensure a total clear of all creeps

No matter how crowded the enemies are, Splinter Blast will always release an even amount of projectiles for them.

Nuking and finishing off an enemy


Splinter Blast has 1200 cast range and deals an amount of damage equal to 75/135/195/238 magical damage (after reduction). Though Winter Wyvern is squishy in team fight, she actually deals a large amount of nuke without being seen. The blast radius is 500 surrounding the primary targets and can not be disjointed. Sometimes it is quite beneficial when dealing with heroes with mass summon units like Broodmother or Lycan. As they are usually near their minions, so targeting Splinter Blast wouldn't be too difficult.

Skill 3: Cold Embrace

General Information


Encases an ally in an icy cocoon, freezing them solid while healing a base amount as well as a percentage of their maximum health each second. The cocoon blocks all physical damage.

Cast Time: 0.3+0.63
Cast Range: 1000
Base Heal per Second: 20
Max Health as Heal per Second: 3%/4%/5%/6%
Duration: 4
Cooldown 24/21/18/15 Mana 75

Breakdown


- Stuns the target and turns it immune to physical damage. Target can still be attacked and affected by magical and pure damage, some attack modifiers that trigger a secondary effect like mana burn, lightning or disables still affects the target, though if the bonus damage is physical, it remains blocked.
- Heals in form of health regeneration, so it heals for 2 + 0.3%/0.4%/0.5%/0.6% health in 0.1 second intervals, starting 0.1 second after cast, resulting in 40 heal instances.
- Can heal up to 80 + 12/16/20/24% of maximum health over the duration.
- Cannot be cast on allies who have disabled help from Winter Wyvern.
- Pierce spell immunity and cannot be removed in anyway.

Personal Opinions


- The ability stuns and disables the target, so it can cancel the ally's channeling ability, sometimes you may accidentally put them in danger or interrupt them despite the good intentions. It is a healing technique that need some determination of the situation before casting.
- It is beneficial when saving an ally during dense combat or completely out of the fight, though it is not very spammable with long cooldown when not maxed out, so it is less likely a casual heal during early game when out of combat.
- It is a healing technique that befits greatly in late game as it heals based on the max HP of the target.

Footage



Skill uses


Healing off combat:

With 15 second cooldown and healing approximately 1/3 of an ally total health with each cast, Cold Embrace serves an efficient healing technique without having to repeat too much like Dazzle's Shadow Wave and adapts as the game processes, since it will heal more the higher the target HP is.

Saving an ally:

The cocoon blocks all physical damage, making it an advantageous save in every stage of the game, especially late game, where physical crits attacks are well known.
Note that you should take a very brief moment to determine the situation before casting it, as the cocoon renders the target completely disabled, sometimes heroes such as Lifestealer, Legion Commander or Pugna have a better way to save themselves, as the target is still vulnerable to magical damage, you may accidentally draw them closer to being owned.

Pushing:

A trick when pushing with Auroth is that you can cast Cold Embrace on the creep being hit by the tower, as it is untouched and healed over time, you can give yourself about 7 extra second of pushing, as the 4 second of healing and a melee creep usually takes 4 hits from tower to be killed.

Also you can tank the creeps yourself when pushing, by placing Cold Embrace on yourself when attacking the creeps, be sure to cast Splinter Blast first to buy you more time. The sequences should be as below:

+ +

Ultimate: Winter's Curse

General information


Winter Wyvern freezes an enemy in place while striking those nearby with a maddening curse which causes them to attack their frozen ally with increased attack speed. The frozen ally and those cursed to attack their ally are immune to all damage from their enemies.

Cast Time: 0.3+1.37
Cast Range: 800
Radius: 500
Curse Damage Reduction: 100%
Curse Attack Speed Bonus: 70
Duration: 3.25/4/4.75
Cooldown 120/110/100 Mana 250

Breakdowns


- The primary target get stunned, and its allies within the Radius will force to attack it.
- It affects spell-immune primary target, but does not affect spell-immune secondary targets.
- The effect remains sticky on both targets, which mean if the primary target is forcibly moved, the affected allies will follow it. And if the affected allies are also forcibly moved, they will return to attack the target if the duration prevails.
- Any new ally that steps in the radius will also be affected for the remaining duration.
- Does not affect targets that are not allies to the primary targets (Neutrals, Roshan etc..)
- All external damage is negated on both primary and secondary targets, except HP removals (such as Heartstopper Aura)
- If the primary target dies, the effect ends immediately, and Auroth is credited for the kill (though if Necrophos's Reaper's Scythe hits the target, he is credited for the kill instead)
- It has lower priority than Duel, meaning Legion Commander will not attack the primary target even if she is within the radius, and alternatively, the affected ally that is being dueled will not be affected by Winter's Curse. It has the same priority with Axe's Berserker's Call, which means if Winter's Curse affected the targets first, then Berserker's Call will not force those targets to attack Axe and vice versa.

Personal Opinions


- Probably the most important information to pay attention to: is that the primary target and its allies are COMPLETELY immue to most damage source from the outside, which means a really high chance that your allies who do not know Auroth that well or are new to Dota or even in sheer panic, accidentally place their combos on them, which wasting the mana and cooldown and even partially save them if they get disabled for the duration. If you are not sure your teammates can act accordingly, it is not redundant to remind them about this and tell them to stay out when this ability takes effects.
- The taunt range is 500, so it is quite likely to miss most ranged heroes who have their attack range above this range, Drow Ranger, Sniper, Lina and Windranger are examples, all of them have at least 600 attack range or above, so you may want to plant your ultimate carefully to pull the most allies to it. Though it makes a great ultimate against melee DPS-ers.

Short summary of the most common effects which do not trigger on allies:

- Most attack modifiers (critical strike, cleave and all active attack modifiers): Blade Mail, Spiked Carapace, Counter Helix and Corrosive Skin.

Short summary of effects which do react on allies: All damage block, all sources of damage negation and reduction:


- Reactive Armor, Return, Essence Shift, Cloak and Dagger, Headshot. Note though that in the case of spells like Dispersion or Bristleback ability, the reflected damage or passive quill sprays do not hit allies, but enemies still. The only exception is Centaur's Return, which damages allies.
- All bashes excluding Spirit Breaker's Greater Bash and Slardar's Bash works on allies. Examples: Berserker's Rage, Monkey King Bar, Skull Basher, Time Lock.
- Some item attack modifiers also work against allies. Examples: Desolator , Sange and Yasha, Eye of Skadi.

Mystery of Winter's Curse

There's an unexplained phenomenon in which the primary target being affected by Winter's Curse can be denied by their allies, I have encountered this once and around the web there were also a few incidents recorded. So far, most people agree that this is a bug, though I don't have an answer for myself. But if it is not a bug, there are three possible explanations generated by me and other forums:

- The duration expires before the ally lands the killing blow, which means it would be regarded as deny an ally.
- The primary target is being affected by deniable debuffs when its health dropped below 25% (such as Doom, Venomous Gale...]
- Winter Wyvern dies before the kill is complete, thus she is not credited for it.

Footage




Skill uses


Killing a fragile support

Since patch 6.86, Winter's Curse source of damage only goes to a single enemy, and that damage is dependent on the strength of your enemy's allies, it is very unlikely to land a kill in early game, especially when targeting a hero at full health with Lv1 ultimate.

Though from middle game and beyond, squishy supports like Crystal Maiden or Witch Doctor, who also have deadly channeling ultimate and are less likely to have high health in any stage of the game, could be ideal targets for Winter's Curse, especially when there are hard carries on their teams. Moreover, these supports tend to steer close to the combat in order to execute their combos effectively, Winter's Curse bonus attack speed will make sure they are removed as fast as possible.

Also, you can easily aim Splinter Blast while Winter's Curse is active, by determining the primary target, you can quickly cast Splinter Blast as soon as your ultimate expires as a finishing stroke if the target is still alive.

Initiator

While back up has not yet arrived, Winter's Curse can be useful in giving you a few seconds of team stuns while your allies are coming. Since it is generally accepted that you hardly can do anything while Winter's Curse is active, it is better using it as an initiative tool when starting combat.

Escaping


It works nicely when you disable the entire party chasing you and teleport away, if not use Arctic Burn to run through terrains, or blink away. The duration will always allow you to do any of the above.

Killing a carry

Though this sounds difficult, if there is more than one carry on the other team then it is possible. With the help of Refresher's Orb.

Build Explanation - Style 1: Pure Support

Early game



When starting as a support, you are all they expect you to be with the below items:



Enchanted Mango: Auroth is kind of mana dependent in early game, one Arctic Burn and Splinter Blast and she drops 3/4 of her mana pool while the intensity of early combat relying mostly on nuking. Also the +1 hp regeneration works well on all fragile heroes.

Iron Branch: Give you extra stats, buy as much as you can once all of the above have been satisfied, plus this item is the key to many of her later items.

Early mid game



A support needs only mana and decent health regen to survive. Though you would be spending a lot for the wards and tele scrolls, you should manage to lay hand on the below items:



Magic Wand: A cheap and convenient items that is every support's favorite, it provides small stats and instant mana and health gain during dense combat, though it is not very potential in helping you survive, you can endure a little longer than having to retreat for lacks of mana or be cleared too early.

Headdress: Provides bonus HP regen and stats, the one component of Mekansm means more than its cheap price.

Arcane Boots: If possible, skip Headress and buy Energy Booster, you can disassemble it later to buy Aether Lens or keep it that way.

Mid game



Though as a support, Auroth shouldn't be very empty-hand at this stage of the game, as she is very important in team combat, she can't be killed so soon, she's a kind of support that your team can't afford to lose during dense combat. Though if the situation gets difficult, things can be flexible, but the below line-up should be followed:



Mekansm: A luxury item to get during professional or difficult games for a support, though if space is created, Auroth isn't an amateur in farming lane creeps, and should gold be spared, you can rush for this item or the below.

Shadow Amulet: It makes Auroth a moving ward and can be upgraded to Glimmer Cape later, which is a nice item for her.

Late game



This is where at least 3 of Auroth's skills shine. Arctic Burn, Cold Embrace, Winter's Curse all develop potential as the game processes. Some items are strictly needed:



Glimmer Cape: To get you closer to the frey and land your ultimate unnoticed, also to save yourself and allies too.

Gem of True Sight: Anything could happen, right?

Expensive situational:

Build Explanation - Style 2: Combatant

This style focus more on making Auroth a core hero rather than a pure support, though some of her abilities have been adjusted to be less effective than it used to be. Auroth remains deadly still and this build can help her recreate that glory.


Early game



Though this style have more offensive items for late game, it is not hurt to partially fulfill some warding or roaming. Though there's a slight different in item build:



Quelling Blade: Can increase your versatility in the jungle, such as pulling, stacking creeps and destroy wards without having to be over reliant on tango.

Early mid game





It is possible to achieve the above roster, get Arcane Boots and you can always disassemble it to make Aether Lens later, then build Tranquil Boots as it is the only source of passive health regeneration now.
Null Talisman is a nice stats item that can be upgraded to Dagon later.


Mid game





Not all of them should be acquired as the game may not go so well, but Blink Dagger or Glimmer Cape is a must choice, while Dagon is optional. Note that you should at least have Aether Lens and Tranquil Boots right now.

Late game





Orchid Malevolence works nicely as you can mute annoying enemies, while Arctic Burn and Splinter Blast alike make a huge chunk of damage to wrap up in the last blow of damage, it also provides intel stats and some mana regeneration that works out well for Auroth.
Refresher Orb is a must, if the damage of the enemies are high enough, you could actually kill 2 support in a row, or use both of them on a single dangerous carry. The 90 second cooldown of a nerfed ultimate is a toll to wait.

Expensive Situational



Brief description about Winter Wyvern general gameplay

Auroth is a ranged nuker and a support. And unlike many other heroes who pose similar potential, she isn't a fast-responding combatant who can swing around combat with a big wand like Rubick or Lion. She makes her presence from the distance and the longer she survives teamfight, the more of a threat she poses.

She is physically squishy, with low damage, attack rate and movement. So you can not expect to escape swiftly with her when get caught with high mobility enemies, even with the help of Arctic Burn or her ultimate, those skills suit better in offending purpose. So she is best advised to be a roamer, moving slowing across the map stacking creeps, warding, dewarding and joining combat whenever possible. Her only mean of farming should comes only from Splinter Blast with its high range and damage, and the further she stays away from direct lane, the better.

When combating, here's a few things to remember:
- Once Arctic Burn is activated, remember to hit EVERY enemy heroes on sight, because each of them can only be affected by one instance of the debuff, regardless of how many times they have been hit. And Auroth's low physical damage is not worth spamming on a single enemy.
- Splinter Blast should only be targeted at a creep as a primary target, or summoned units, or any enemy that isn't hero unless you have no other choice, this to make sure every enemy is hit by a projectile and is affected by 2 stacks of slow.
- Cast Cold Embrace on any ally being focused, in most cases, not many heroes have better ways of saving themselves, but take a slight moment of discretion to see if they do.
- Prevent using Winter's Curse during dense combat as you may cause your teammate to waste their combos on them. When you use it as an initiator or any of the above uses, make sure that your team is aware of what you are going to do (which can be difficult if you are playing a pub game). If the advantage is on your side, avoid using it unless forced. This ultimate, since the latest patch, is best use as the last resort of combating tool or when the enemies are having the upperhand and arriving in pack. During chaotic moments, using it may backfire (in most cases) unless you are certain that your target can be killed. Winter's Curse could be a savior and also a disaster if you don't consider it carefully before approaching.

Item builds:

I restate that Winter Wyvern is a support that need some items to be useful due to large manacost spells and fragile in approaching, otherwise she loses her potential pretty fast and sometimes the fight moves on but she couldn't do anything, literally.

If farming is an issue, take these simple builds to your account:

Arcane Boots or Tranquil Boots + Aether Lens
- Take 1 of the above as your first build, Arcane Boots should cost 1300 while you can always disassemble it for the second combo, which is 3250 (individually) but only (1850) if you have acquire Arcane Boots first.
Try not to buy the combo of Arcane Boots + Aether Lens, it adds a huge trunk of mana but zero in other stats, plus it is costly and inefficient.
- Always buy a teleport, you can always use the combo Arctic Burn to impassable terrain then teleport.
- Mekansm shouldn't be on your list if game is too difficult, despite that I include this item, it is a rather expensive one and aside from the healing, it does not add much versatility to Auroth. Though you should get it at some point if healing is a virtue your team lacks.

Glimmer Cape or Blink Dagger or Force Staff
- Take 1 of the above and try not to acquire too many of it.
- In my opinion, Glimmer Cape is the best solution, though if facing tough opponents Blink Dagger is a better choice since it is less likely to be counter. Force Staff isn't a bad choice either given the small stats.

Last reminders

Information worth remembering the most about Winter Wyvern



- Arctic Burn only applies a single instance of the debuff on every enemy, attacking it again won't reset the duration nor stacking the effects, so try to hit every enemies on sight which is not difficult to be done given the long attack range.
- Splinter Blast hits all invisible units, units in fog of war, cannot be disjointed, and is not blocked by Linken's Sphere if it is a secondary target.
- Cold Embrace blocks all physical damage, whether from spells or attacks, which means it can be used to counter Omnislash, Duel, Tricks of the Trade, Walrus Punch, Death Ward.
Alternatively, it cannot counter attacks that use Pure damage like Arcane Orb, Impetus, Glaives of Wisdom nor preventing enhancing effects from occurring like Mana Break, Chain Lightning.
- Winter's Curse renders the primary and secondary targets COMPLETELY immune to all external damage.
- Remember to make the most out of the long cast range of most of her spells.

End

My thanks to all the readers, though I have to say Auroth is partially nerfed in recent patches. She remains quite cool and I think that her skills adjustment redirects her to a different play style, not just nerfed.
Perhaps my guide still has some mistakes or debating opinions. I have to say that I don't have that many games with Winter Wyvern, but every hero that becomes my favorite I tend to spend a lot of time researching about them and playing as quite often.
I hope that I have pulled off enough tricks on her, if you disagree with some points or have better suggestions, feel free to leave it in the comments, it would improve my gameplay and others as well. Perhaps I will update my guide with that and give credits to you if you allow. Thank you for your time with my 3rd guide. :)

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