Winter Wyvern,also known as Auroth, is one of the most well-rounded supports in Dota2. She has an extremely strong potential to turn games around and to counter-initiate the enemy team if positioned correctly. I fell in love with the Wyvern ever since her release in Dota1. She quickly became one of my favorite and most-played heroes when released in Dota2.
She has recently received a lot of hate and was considered a low-tier pick after EG's captain, Cr1t, was blamed for the team's loss for picking her in their final game against Team Empire in the International 2017. While her skills may not synergize perfectly, I truly believe that she is a viable and a top-tier pick especially since she has witnessed nothing but buffs ever since 6.88.
Similar to many other heroes such as Io , Keeper of the Light , and Enigma, the key to playing Winter Wyvern right is to communicate effectively with your teammates; Executing an excellent Winter's Curse followed up by your team taking advantage of the enemy team clumped together needs to have the team communicating. Same goes with Cold Embrace as it could be fatal to whomever you are using it on since you are disabling that player for the full duration of the skill. Now I'm not saying that communication is only needed when playing those heroes, communication is key in all MOBA games. However, it is most critical playing those heroes. You need to inform your teammates of what's in your mind and to communicate effectively with them to execute that beautiful combo; After all, you don't want Earthshaker and Winter Wyvern to cast their ultimates together because of lack of communication.
This is a general guide on communication coming from SirActionSlack that I found informative and hilarious.
In this chapter, I will be listing information and facts about Winter Wyvern's stats and skills that I believe most people don't know. Now I won't bore you with basic stuff about what each and every skill does. If you don't already know Winter Wyvern's skill set, I advise you to watch this video and to try her out a couple of minutes in Demo mode.
I found a lot of players believing that Winter Wyvern has a low distribution of stats! Which is entirely false; here is Winter Wyvern's rank in stat distributions vs all 40 intelligence heroes in Dota2:
Base Strength: Winter Wyvern has 24 base strength at level 1 making her the 2nd most intelligence hero with starting base strength with Jakiro being the 1st having 25 starting base strength!
At level 25 however, she has a total of 81.6 total base strength ranking the 8th amongst intelligence heroes with Ogre Magi having a skin as thick and hard as his head is being the 1st with 107 total base strength.
Agility & Armor: Most intelligence heroes are below average when it comes to Agility. Winter Wyvern ranks the 14th in Base Agility at level 1 with 16 base Agility while Outworld Devourer tops that list with a base Agility of 24.
Auroth ranks the 15th in total base Agility at level 25 having 61.6 base Agility while Silencer having the most base Agility between Intelligence heroes at lvl 25 with 94 base Agility.
When it comes to Armor, Winter Wyvern isn't even in the top half of the list of heroes with most armor. She has 1.29 starting armor.
Intelligence and Damage: The Ice Dragon doesn't fail to deliver when it comes to intelligence as she has a swooping 25 base intelligence at level 1!
Winter Wyvern is ranked the 7th among all heroes in Dota2 in total base Intelligence at level 25 with a base Intelligence of 99.4! This is no wonder since she is an Eldwurm herself who reads a lot of books as you can see in the picture below. Pugna tops that list with a total of 134 total base intelligence at level 25.
However, Winter Wyvern is one of the heroes with the least damage output with a maximum starting damage of 45. This is why her first skill, "Arctic burn", is really vital in the early stages of the game for kiting and harassment since it gives Auroth the boost she needs to both her damage output and range.
Base Strength: Very high base strength: 24 at level 1 and 81.6 at max level.
Agility: Moderately low Base Agility: 16 at level 1 and 61.6 at max level.
Intelligence: Very high base intelligence: 25 at level 1 and 99.4 at max level.
Starting Damage output: Minimum damage: 38 ~~ Maximum Damage: 45
Movement Speed:: Very low 285 MS.
Damage Type: Magical. I was surprised to learn that it also affects wards! Note that since it deals bonus damage based on CURRENT HP, enemy units can't die from it.
The Aghanim's Scepter upgrade doesn't only make the skill toggelable but it also refreshes the debuff placed on the enemy!
While the skill makes Winter Wyvern a flying unit, it doesn't give her flying vision but gives her night vision.
Since the debuff from Arctic burn doesn't stack nor refreshes, it is best to try and hit as many enemies as possible in team fights and not focus on one hero.
Laning Stage: Arctic Burn is Winter Wyvern's harassment and kiting/zoning skill in the early stages of the game. Since most offlaners are durable and tanky, this skill is one of the greatest harassment tools in the laning stage as it deals 9% of the enemy's current health as bonus damage. That means laning against high hp heroes like Bristleback , Axe, Kunkka, Clockwerk, or even Faceless Void alongside many other heroes will give you an advantage since you are turning their strength against them.
You can also stack both, the small camp and the hard camp using Arctic Burn given you have the vision.
This skill is extremely helpful in catching fleeing enemies as well, as it slows enemies by 22% at level 1. The unobstructed pathing Arctic Burn gives is also really helpful when you have to flee enemies especially when encountering roamers while you are on your way to that delicious Bounty Rune. You can fly over terrains and over trees and get to safety. Watch how EG player, Cr1t, managed to escape from Slark using Arctic Burn
The downside of Arctic Burn is that it consumes a lot of mana at level 1 ~ 120 Mana which is almost 1/3 of Winter Wyvern's Mana Pool at level 1. Arctic Burn also has a long cooldown of 50 seconds at level one! So you gotta be careful when you are trying to ward or take a rune as your only mean of escape might either need more mana or be on cooldown.
Mid-game to Late-game: Arctic Burn can be used at the beginning of teamfights were enemies have high current HP. It can also be used in grave situations to escape.
The night vision Arctic Burn gives is not to be underestimated; It gives 400 bonus night vision which is much greater than what a consumed Moon Shard gives (150 night vision) and still greater than the night vision bonus of a non consumed Moon Shard (300 night vision). Arctic Burn's night vision bonus along with the gigantic bonus attack range can be used to surprise enemies and to find pickoffs!
Again, just because your dragon started flying doesn't mean that you have flying vision (highground vision); when exploiting areas/going high ground to ward/deward or take runes, you shouldn't use the stairs as an enemy unit might have vision of you and wait for you there. Take advantage of the pathing Arctic Burn gives you and fly over terrain to ward a deep ward or even to deward from distance!
The initial projectile is disjointable unlike the secondary projectile! That means you can't dodge the spell itself by going invisible or blinking away or by using for example Phase Shift or Chemical Rage as it still will produce the secondary projectiles. You can however dodge the secondary projectile using the mentioned abilities.
The spell can be used to break (activate the effect of) Linken's Sphere especially that it has an amazing cast range of 1200 and a relatively low cooldown of 7 seconds. This is especially useful when you are fighting a Weaver or escape heroes like Ember Spirit and Storm Spirit!
I'm sure most of you witnessed a Winter Wyvern in his games using Splinter Blast when chasing down a fleeing enemy! Always keep in mind when using Splinter Blast that the target doesn't get affected in anyway! That means no slow no damage no anything.
Splinter Blast needs a lot of mana just like Arctic Burn~ 120 manaat level 1 ! It then increases by 10 for every level. I generally prefer to max this spell first as it really help Winter Wyvern in getting some gold or xp and in "securing" early kills and pickoffs.
Unlike many other hard supports, Winter Wyvern actually has an ability that clear waves! When you are going from a place to place and you pass by the middle lane, spit a Splinter Blast on that Seige Creep and watch your gold ticking!
Passing by the enemy's jungle after a fight on the top lane and you found a juicy triple stack in one of the camps? Spit three Splinter Blasts and get that Glimmer Cape you've always dreamed of getting but couldn't because you had to buy Observer and Sentry Wards and support the team.
Normally and if you survived until the end of the teamfight, you can use Splinter Blast quite often. Try to target creeps, if any, and damage + slow all nearby enemies. If there are no creep units available, target the higher hp heroes to help kill whomever your team is killing and to minimize the possibility of that enemy escaping.
This skill is what make our Ice Dragon a beast vs heroes with summons like Brood Mother , Nature's Prophet, and Enigma as you clear their summons by a couple of Splinter Blasts and gain quite a lot of money out of them.
This skill synergizes well with Winter Curse as you can spit (target) on one of the enemies attacking the Winter Cursed target as the duration of Winter Curse is ending and finish him off if Winter Curse wasn't enough. If you are certain Winter Curse will finish the target off, then it is a great opportunity for you to use it on the Winter Cursed enemy as the spell is ending or as he is dying and damage all of those that were attacking him. This might be confusing but it is a lot easier than it sounds.
The downside of Splinter Blast is the large mana cost this spell require. The radius for pulling off the secondary effect of this spell is kinda small ~ 500 radius ~ and will require setting up to hit multiple units.
Gives a total extra hp regen of 100+24% maximum hp at max level
Understanding your enemies' abilities type is crucial to using Cold Embrace right. A lot of players, for example, still confuse Exorcism for a Magical type instead of Physical. Using Cold Embrace against enemies with Pure and Magical type skills will not only be hindered useless, but will negate the chances of survival of the Cold Embraced target as you are disabling them for the full duration for the ability!
I have seen a lot of Winter Wyvern players do the mistake of embracing an ally against Spectre whose Desolate is of Pure type!
Cold Embrace is almost always maxed last as it doesn't really offer much in the early to mid game since most allies won't have that high maximum hp. It is basically just skilled to save allies in dire situations against physical attacks and since the duration doesn't increase with levels, it is best to keep it at level 1 until later on in the game.
Also, Cold Embrace can be used on the creep the enemy tower is targeting when that creep is low on hp to both heal him/her? and make that creep invulnerable to the tower's attacks thus help push the lane.
I have recently seen a lot of suggestions to change and improve Cold Embrace.
Best suggestions were for Winter Wyvern to be able turn off or cancel out Cold Embrace just like Bane can cancel out his Nightmare. Others suggested for Auroth to be able to target Splinter Blast into a Cold Embraced ally. I find both suggestions to be truly reasonable but even more reasonable if they would implement it as a talent upgrade instead of that useless "+1 second Cold Embrace Duration". Winter's Curse
Offensive:The common known usage of turning enemies against each other. This can either be used on a squishy hero like Crystal Maiden or Ancient Apparition when that hero is beside the fat farmed carry. This will allow for you to have the advantage of fighting 4v5 and can potentially be the reason you win the whole next teamfight!
Or it can be used on any hero whenever enemies are clustered up. Winter's Curse has a rather small radius of 500 but has a decent cast range of 800. This can allow the team to follow up with their big ultimates such as Black Hole , Freezing Field , or even Death Ward. It can also be extremely fatal to the enemy team if you have a Sven in your team ready to slaughter them with a couple of hits with his Great Cleave or Ember Spirit with Sleight of Fist , Phantom Assassin with Battle Fury and so on ..
A Defensive usage: Sometimes, you can't do anything to an Enraged Ursa while he is under the effect of Black King Bar and you want to use anything to stop him from ripping your team apart, that is when you use Winter's Curse and cancel out his Enrage ability and Black King Bar to follow up with your stuns and disables.
Another extremely effective defensive usage of Winter's Curse is to counter-initiate the enemy team with it. You basically have to lurk between the trees and Fog-of-War and wait for the enemy's initiator to .. well .. initiate and Winter Curse him as soon as the enemy's teammates follow up with his initiation. Think of Magnus , Tidehunter , or even Earthshaker.
Watch how Mirana baits the enemy Earthshaker and his team to initiate only for Winter Wyvern to counter that with her brutal ultimate!
A Defensive usage: Sometimes the enemy team catch you off-guard placing that ward or taking that Bounty Rune; it is safe in this situation to use Winter's Curse and disable them all while you teleport to base. It is a similar usage to the Song of the Siren use+tp. Watch how Winter Wyvern was caught by Slark placing a sentry and had to use Winter's Curse tp buy some time to safety.
We start off skilling Arctic Burn at level 1 as it grants us a very good chance getting first blood with it either in contesting runes or in lane vs the offlaner. Arctic Burn together with Orb of Venom slows the enemy a lot and gives Winter Wyvern a lot of potential to harass the enemy offlaner out of the lane.
We then carry on leveling Splinter Blast and try to max it out first at level 7. Splinter Blast is also a great harassment ability which you can use on a ranged creep whenever the enemy offlaner gets near with a long cast range. You generally want to max Splinter Blast first as it greatly helps you get the gold you need for items and the exp to level up!
We skill Cold Embrace at level 4 and keep it at level 1 until we have nothing else to level up. As we mentioned, most heroes have little hp in early-mid game and the 1% extra hp regen the skill gives isn't really that big of a deal by then. We skill it once to have that powerful ability to stop all incoming physical attacks.
Obviously we need to skill Winter's Curse at level 6,12,and 18. This is your signature ability and the skill that the enemy fears the most!
I highlighted what needs to be picked in almost all matches when playing as a support in yellow and in blue a situational choice also as a support. At level 10, you get to either choose between 90 Gold/Min and +50 Attack Damage
Wow! +90 Gold/min on level 10? You can't say no to that! This helps you a lot in buying your items and the support items especially with the increase in prices for Smoke of Deceit and Observer and Sentry Wards. However, the +50 Damage is also a very good choice especially when paired with Arctic Burn! At level 15, you get to either choose between +350 Health and +600 Night Vision
Paired with the night vision Arctic Burn gives, the +600 Night Vision is insane! The +350 HP isn't at all bad especially if you are getting kited a lot and you are dying a lot but generally and if you are playing right, you really don't need the extra raw hp and it's really much better to choose the night vision. At level 20, you get to either choose between -5 Cold Embrace duration and +15% Arctic Burn Slow
Wow again! We got Winter Wyvern's previously lvl 25 talent of +15% Arctic Burn to lvl 20! Both talents are great, however, if you are rarely using your Cold Embrace because there are many magical users against you (think about Pugna , Skywrath Mage , Invoker, and many others) then your best option is to choose the increase in Arctic Burn's damage. I never really chose the -5 Cold Embrace since going from 15 seconds CD to 10 isn't really something I felt like I needed especially too late in the game when you are level 20!
The other talent choice makes Arctic Burn's slow a ridiculous 55%! This amount is really high and not to be taken lightly.
I'd generally go with the Arctic Burn upgrade as it is more critical and much more game winning than reducing Cold Embrace's cooldown by five seconds. At level 25, you get to either choose between +1.5s Winter's Curse Duration and Splinter Blast 2s Stun.
This is the talent I choose when wanting to have fun and disabling enemies every now and then. The Splinter Blast upgrade makes our Ice Dragon have a 2s stun every 7 seconds from a cast range of 1200! This is a really great talent especially with heroes that pull heroes together like Magnus and Dark Seer. This talent choice is especially great with Aether Lens as you can spit from really really far away and do significant amounts of damage and 2s stun.
However, the other talent choice makes Winter's Curse's duration = 6.25! Imagine being able to disable the whole enemy team for a 6.25 seconds!
I'd generally go with this talent choice as you are disabling heroes for the full duration of 6.25 seconds! You can also disable the effect of Black King Bar which can be critical in many situations. You can even kill the tankiest tanks with this upgraded Winter's Curse if you caught him up with his team's damage dealer. The Splinter Blast upgrade is a really good one and it really depends on the game but this talent is generally more critical in games especially in your role as a counter-initiator.
Total cost = 625
As a hard support, you are expected to buy the Animal Courier ask the other support or roamer to give you an Observer Ward to place it in the safe lane to see incoming ganks or rotations. Buy Tango and give the mid hero a Tango (Shared) if he wants one.
Since After 7.07 with the increased cost of Animal Courier, you don't have the money to buy a Clarity anymore so buy it as soon as you can later on since Winter Wveryn's abilities cost a lot of mana so you need to get a Clarity.
A lot of players get Wind Lace instead of Orb of Venom, it is understandable since the Wyvern lacks movement speed and critically needs it. I don't think that you do need it however if you are going safe lane. Getting an Orb of Venom almost always guarantee that first blood. You can then proceed with the earning money to buy a Wind Lace.
Winter Wyvern needs a lot of mana and this item provides that to you and your teammates. If no one in the team has an Arcane Boots, then you should get it and later build it to a Guardian Greaves. If someone has it however, and your team is not really mana dependent, then you can get that juicy Tranquil Boots that gives you amazing movement speed and armor.
This item is like a diamond ring on the Ice Dragon! Force Staff] gives Auroth the mobility she needs and boosts her intelligence which in return increases her mana which is something she truly needs. Not to mention the health regeneration. She can also save the [[Cold Embraced target from stuns and hooks. This item is great in order to get close at that right time to use Winter's Curse. It is good in using it one allied heroes to catch up to that fleeing sucker! All in all it is a must get item in every game with Winter Wyvern.
One of the most famous items as it provides the Cold Embraced target with everything he needs. It provides invisibility for the duration of the spell which keeps the allied hero safe from single target abilities. It also gives the allied hero bonus magical resistance while under the effect of the glimmer cape.
I buy this item on every intelligence hero I play. It is my favorite item in the game. It just gives you so much for so little. For Winter Wyvern it gives her everything she could dream of; Intelligence ~ Mana, mana regen, and movement speed. Do I need to start about what the active can do? Because this needs a guide by itself. You can use it onself to disjoint or evade spells or use it on enemies to either cancel a channeling spells or debuff certain spells. The best item on Winter Wyvern that gives her everything she needs!
Aether Lens gives our Wyvern the boost to her ultimate's 500 cast range. It increases the damage of Splinter Blast and further increases its range. It also allows Winter Wyvern to ward from a much further distance allowing her to keep a safe distance as well as confuse enemies about the exact location of the ward placed.
If no one else in the team has bought Guardian Greaves or GG boots then you should! It removes silences and most debuffs and makes Winter Wyvern much tankier. It also heals the whole team every 40 seconds.
If the game gets late and you have got the money, get this item. It is really great as it gives Winter Wyvern the mobility she needs to initiate or counter-initiate. It can also be used to disjoint certain abilities and to run away to safety. It is generally a very good item on all heroes.
Armor, Intelligence, an active that fits the queen dragon of ice, what more can one ask for. The Active ability of Shiva's Guard is a great addition to Splinter Blast which is to be used after the ultimate ends. It deals 200 Magical damage and slow down those that got hit by it.
The downside of this item is that it reduces the attack speed of those in a 900 radius around you, and you don't want those hitting the the Winter Cursed to get their attack speed slowed. So, you have to move away for a couple of seconds after casting Winter's Curse and come back with Blink Dagger or Force Staff to continue the execution by this item's active and Splinter Blast.
There are tons of situational items that can benefit Winter Wyvern depending on the game.
Are you facing an enemy hero in lane that keeps spamming spells like Zeus , Batrider or Bristleback ? Then get yourself a Magic Wand, It will fill up with charges in no time and will be a constant source of instant mana + hp for you.
Depending on your team's lineup and whether they are heavy mana users, If the 4th position in your team and/or your offlaner got an Arcane Boot, it is safe to get a Tranquil Boot to increase your movement speed and survivability. This item is usually paired with Soul Ring to give your hero the mana she needs to use her spells and regenerate the hp lost either by Tranquil Boot passive or by Cold Embrace. Soul Ring also provides Winter Wyvern with mana+hp regeneration.
This item increases the damage of Splinter Blast and decreases your spells mana cost! What could be better? However, this item's value falls later on in the game and it will be taking a precious slot that could be used to carry an item that boosts Winter Wvern's Mobility or survivability. Let's hope this item gets an upgrade some time soon!
Solar Crest is a great item as it increases the survivability and tankiness of Winter Wyvern with the armor and evasion it gives. This item is great vs physical damage lineups and you can use it on allies to further increase their evasion and armor. You can also use it on the Winter's Cursed enemy to reduce his/her armor and increase the chances of his successful execution.
Scythe of Vyse is an awesome item on all intelligence heroes as it boosts intelligence and provides a great boost to all attributes as well as plenty of mana regeneration to feed Winter Wyvern's costly spells. Hex is a powerful hard-disable that greatly increases her ability to contribute to pickoffs and teamfights.