Bookwyrm - a Winter Wyvern overview
May 14, 2015
Winter Wyvern is an offensive Intelligence Support, with a variety of damage, debuffing and support skills at her disposal. Winter Wyvern provides great harass in lane, very strong spammable nukes, strong scaling in both healing and damage, and an ultimate that turns a team's offensive power against themselves in a creative way.
Pros and Cons
+ High Intelligence.
+ Strong at all stages in the game
+ Can turn the strength of a powerful enemy carry against its allies.
+ Long cast range on abilities and the ability to phase through terrain allow her to contribute to fights safely.
+ Has a nice scaling heal.
+ Punishes enemies that rely on sticking together.
+ Has decent farming ability.
- Requires decent communication with your team to play correctly
- Low base movement speed makes her slower than most heroes.
- Base attack range is pretty poor when not using Arctic Burn.
- Base attack damage is also low, at around 41.
- Squishy, with low strengh and agility.
- Doesn't scale particularly well with items.
- Vulnerable against lone enemies
Most of Winter Wyvern's skills come in the form of slows and disables, which she can deliver safely from range. To play Winter Wyvern you need to be constantly aware of both your position and the position of your enemy, so to keep yourself safe and land your skills effectively.
Briefly provides Winter Wyvern a variety of different buffs that give her extra attack range, the ability to phase through terrain, and an attack bonus that places a slowing and damaging debuff on any enemies she attacks. In addition, Arctic Burn provides an extra 400 night vision, and increases the speed of her attack projectiles to 1200.
Skill duration: 6 seconds
Bonus Attack Range: 275 / 375 / 475 / 575
Damage per second: 6% of current health
Movement Slow: 25% / 30% / 35% / 40%
Debuff duration: 5 seconds
Mana cost: 120 / 110 / 100 / 90
Cooldown: 50 / 40 / 30 / 20
This skill gives Winter Wyvern some nice harass in lane, allowing her to safely hit an enemy and reduce a good portion of their max health. The slow, extra range, and phased movement also make it superb for chasing down enemies in ganks and mid-game encounters. It provides unobstructed pathing similar to Firefly
or Spectral Dagger
, allowing her to phase over trees and impassable terrain to cut enemies off or lie in wait for them. The flying movement also provides a limited but handy escape if you know your attacker cannot chase you over unobstructed terrain, just be warned you do not get flying vision, only increased night vision.
The downside of this ability is that it is expensive to use, has a hefty mana cost and long cooldown at earlier levels. The buff doesn't last very long either, making optimal use of its short duration extremely important. This skill easily benefits the most from skill points, so you usually want to max it first.
The damage and slow are dealt through a debuff that lasts about as long as the ability itself. The debuff will not be stacked or refreshed on targets, which means it is typically better to spread the debuff across as many different high-health heroes as possible. It is possible to hit a hero with the debuff twice at the beginning and end of Arctic Burn's duration, but requires you to get close and is very hard to do, so don't expect to pull it off.
The damage dealt is a percentage of the target's current health dealt as Pure damage, making it a great way of wearing them down in lane. They are then put in an awkward position where they need to stay in lane, but have to do so at a considerable disadvantage. When used on an enemy near death, the damage is fairly minimal, so you need to rely on the slow, range and your own attack damage to complete the kill. The DoT has the benefit of disabling items like Healing Salve
, Urn of Shadows
, Blink Dagger
etc, and the slow can be used on other enemy units to set-up your other AoE skills on your target.
The auto attack range increase on this ability is gigantic, so be sure to exploit it. Optimal use of this ability requires you to practice cancelling Winter Wyvern's backswing, so you can effectively chase and hit as many targets as you can.
An ability that actually does nothing to the unit you target it at. However, any units around that unit in a 500 radius will be hit with a projectile that slows and deals a hefty amount of damage. It has a high mana cost, but also a low cooldown considering its damage and massive range to use it from.
Damage: 100 / 180 / 260 / 340
Movement slow: 25%
Slow duration: 4 seconds
Initial cast range: 1200
Split radius: 500
Mana Cost: 120 / 130 / 140 / 150
Cooldown: 7 seconds
A very damaging and spammable AoE nuke, this skill possesses considerable range and an added slow to boot. This is strong in fights, in ganks, and gives Winter Wyvern a decent farming mechanism too. The main downside is that is is useless against a lone target, so you need to ensure your enemy is near other enemy units before using it.
This skill can be slightly awkward to use, as you have to instinctively learn to NOT target the unit you want it to damage, but once you are accustomed to its quirk you have a very deadly skill, provided you also have the mana regen to back it up, as its mana cost and spammability can tempt you to deplete your mana fairly quickly.
The skill itself has a travel speed, as do the projectiles themselves, so it can sometimes not hit all the targets you wanted to especially when used at its full range. Although it is hard to land, neither the main projectile or the splinters can be disjointed and it cannot be avoided by invisibility either.
Overall it remains a great way of contributing to fights because of just how much damage it does and how often it can be used, compared to most other AoE nukes. This is either maxed first, or after Arctic Burn.
Disables an allied unit and makes them immune to physical damage. Whilst the ally is disabled, they are healed for 80 health, plus a percentage of their maximum health, over a period of four seconds.
Base health gain per second: 20
Additional health gain per second: 3% / 4% / 4% / 6% of target's max health
Duration: 4 seconds
Cast range: 1000
Mana cost: 75
Cooldown: 17 / 16 / 15 / 14 seconds
A fairly basic ability that gives a nice heal over time that scales with your allies health at any point of the game. It is a typical double edged sword type of ability, using it on an ally will heal them for a pretty good amount and protect them from physical damage, but leaves them vulnerable to other threats. It might seem tempting to skip using this due to its drawbacks, but it's benefits are not to be underestimated.
Generally knowing when to use this isn't the easiest. It's good for sustain in lane, keeping your allies healthy, and the physical immunity allows you to deal with the aggro from creeps and towers making it fantastic for diving and then getting out alive.
If you're not part of a communicative team, it's generally best to use this selfishly unless you know you aren't dooming your ally to a grisly fate, or until you get a Force Staff
which will allow you to use this a bit more liberally to move your allies out of danger.
Since it scales pretty well, you usually max this last and get an early value point for the laning stage, but as Winter Wyvern's cheapest spell you can also choose to max this alongside one of your other nukes if you feel the sustain is necessary. Don't be tempted to skip this skill, it's good even if you only use it for yourself.
The Ultimate that makes squishy supports scared to stand near their carries, it is another long-range AoE ability, and it delivers two disables at once. First it disables a single hero, and then any of allied units nearby will be forced to attack that hero, effectively disabling those units too. It operates on a similar basis to Berserker's Call
, but the target is completely at the mercy of their own team.
It lasts up to 3 seconds or until the targeted unit dies. It will pierce through Spell Immunity on both the initial target and the surrounding targets. Heroes that get killed by their allies under Winter's Curse will have that kill credited to Winter Wyvern.
The main downside of this skill is that units attacking your intended target will take less damage, requiring you to focus your aggression on a single unit, and save AoE based skills for before or after the skill is used.
Duration: 2.5 / 3 / 3.5 seconds
Berserk radius: 400
Cast range: 800
Mana cost: 250
Cooldown 110 / 100 / 90
Outside of being a funny ability, this is a scary skill because it turns fed carries against their allies, making it relevant at almost any point in the game and arguably stronger as games go later. Units who enter the AoE after it has been cast can still become affected for the remainder of its duration, meaning enemy heroes will sometimes walk into it before they can react, creeps will walk right into it, and displacement abilities will still be useful after the initial casting of the ability.
Similarly to Splinter Blast
, it relies on enemies being grouped for it to have an impact. You also need to choose who to disable - you want the enemy carry to be unable to act so it's tempting to use Winter's Curse on them, but at the same time it can be better to have them attack and even kill one of their squishier allies. However don't forget that it is still a lengthy BKB-piercing disable and will reduce damage to surrounding enemies, so expect to use it on lone targets to secure a kill, the AoE will still punish assistance from heroes or creeps who get too close.
Its downsides are that it will also expire prematurely if the unit you target dies too quickly, essentially wasting it, especially if you mistakingly choose an illusion. And you need to use it carefully alongside your own and your allies abilities, since it will reduce damage done to enemies affected by it, with the exception of your main target who will take full damage.
Getting a truly ideal Winter's Curse off also requires someone else to initiate, so if you are expected to initiate then you are probably not going to land them well. However it still remains dangerous and the respectable cooldown means it is typically ready for every big fight - the threat of this skill is almost as strong as the skill itself and it will affect how enemies position themselves, be sure to exploit it.
As Winter Wyvern you are great without items, which means you should get the courier, wards or other consumables. However you also suffer from low mobility and your high mana costs will take a toll on your mana pool, so you should try to deal with these issues when you are purchasing items.
s and a Clarity
are all you really need for laning. You are a support so buy the Animal Courier
or Observer Ward
s, but you shouldn't be expected to get both.
If have enough starting gold left over you can get a Sage's Mask
which builds into lots of upgrades, or an early Boots of Speed
will makes you less vulnerably early on. If you're on the midlane you can save for a Bottle
if you want one, or get a Blades of Attack
to make last hitting and harassing easier, this will build into Phase Boots
Early and Core Items
As far as Boots go, I recommend either Phase Boots
or Arcane Boots
. Tranquil Boots and Treads do not compliment your playstyle, so ignore them. Your choice of which depends on which skill you want to max first: if you want to make use of Splinter Blast
's damage early then Arcane Boots will support the mana cost. Personally I prefer Phase Boots as in most scenarios you want to max Arctic Burn
first, the Phase Active lets you make the most of its short duration to either harass, chase or escape, and the extra damage is great for that purpose too.
Eul's Scepter of Divinity
is the only other item Winter Wyvern really desires. It is the cheapest and easiest fix for your expensive spells, the extra movement speed on top of Phase is fantastic, and the Cyclone active will let you deal with single enemies more easily. Cyclone will also purge off silences and other debuffs from yourself, or bait enemies to clump together when you land so you can hit them with your AoE spells. It's a fantastic item and you should always be aiming to get one.
In every game you can't expect to get a timely Euls and Phase Boots, so do consider cheaper items like Urn of Shadows
and Medallion of Courage
, both of which provide mana regen and the survivability that every intelligence support wants. You can expect to be involved in kills so Urn combined with Cold Embrace
is alot of healing for your allies. Medallion will allow you to really hurt the unfortunate targets of Winter's Curse
, or let you tank up an ally on the frontlines whilst you assist from behind. Mekansm
is also a decent item on Winter Wyvern, but you will probably need Arcane Boots or at least a Soul Ring
to maintain both its mana cost and the use of your own spells. If you have a push heavy line-up, consider adjusting your early build to include it.
If you have extra gold to spare then Force Staff
is excellent for general mobility, use it to escape danger, or deal with the times when you get stuck in terrain after using Arctic Burn. Particularly Force Staff allows you to be more liberal with how you use Cold Embrace
as you can use Force on allies affected by it to move them away from danger. It can also be used offensively to land Splinter Blast
s you otherwise could not, push enemies into an ongoing Winter's Curse
, or even Curse one hero and push them into another one. For such an affordable item it does loads for your versatility, and is rarely a bad pick-up. You can also consider Blink Dagger
if you are reliant on getting a good initiation off.
Other luxuries that provide a boost to your mana pool are good pick-ups. Orchid Malevolence
and Scythe of Vyse
will provide really great disables for slippery enemies or those that try to loop round and take you out during fights. Rod of Atos
similarly will allow you to deal with scary melee carries, and its long range synergises with your playstyle. If you need more push or have to deal with invisibility, consider Necronomicon
. Eye of Skadi
is also a fantastic item that increases your bulk, mana pool, and synergises with Arctic Burn
for a really strong slow on a single target.
will give you lots of mana regen to work with, extra usage of your other skills and items, and of course two uses of Winter's Curse
in one fight to really disrupt the enemy team. Refresher Orb is good on any Intelligence hero with fairly lengthy cooldowns to simply increase the amount of time you are relevant in a fight, and Winter Wyvern is no exception. Also never forget that Refresher Orb refreshes item cooldowns, so it only gets better if you have Hex and Soul Burn actives to use.
(It may be tempting to go for standard right click carry items since you technically have a "steroid" - but its duration is tiny, the debuff doesnt stack, and cooldown is lengthy. Without it, you are a slow hero with small range. Outside of Eye of Skadi, try to avoid damage and AS items)
As Winter Wyvern you should aim to play similarly to Warlock
, Ancient Apparition
and Skywrath Mage
, which means staying far away from danger, but you can also afford to buy defensive items if this playstyle simply doesn't work out. If the enemy team has lots of physical damage, get a Ghost Scepter
. Shiva's Guard
and Linken's Sphere
will boost the survivability of you and your team as well. Black King Bar
may also be necessary in certain circumstances, specifically against global skills like Thundergod's Wrath
and Ice Blast
, and to quickly purge off a Global Silence
And of course, don't forget to buy Boots of Travel
if you need them.
Utility supports like Winter Wyvern got a selection of new items to make use of in 6.84.
is a great item as it synergises nicely with Cold Embrace to protect you or allies from most damage sources, and is good generally to let you move around fights without being instantly bursted down. If you decide to pick up a Medallion, Solar Crest
provides an excellent upgrade option for more armor changes and throws in a blind or evasion buff too, use to blind enemies or amplify the damage on the targets of Winter's Curse
If you decided to get Arcane Boots
, you can now turn them into Guardian Greaves
, which provides mana and regen like before, as well as a regeneration aura that increases the bonus for low health allies, works excellently with all your skills. Lotus Orb
is slightly more on the expensive side, but it provides both armor and regen, and has a useful active that provides either Winter Wyvern or her allies a handy buff that dissuades enemies from focusing them down with single-target spells, yet again providing synergy with Cold Embrace.
If it's a long game or you come across alot of gold, Octarine Core
is a value pick up on any intelligence hero who is restrained by spell cooldowns. Getting an Octarine Core will give you a decent amount of health and mana, reduce the CD on your longer spells whilst making Splinter Blast
and Cold Embrace
Octarine Core Cooldowns:
: 20 -> 15
: 7 -> 5.25
: 14 -> 10.5
: 90 -> 67.5
Remember Octarine Core also affects item actives, so if you have items like Eul's Scepter of Divinity
or Scythe of Vyse
you'll be able to use them more often too.
Friends, Foes and Food
Winter Wyvern combos well with most heroes, having a variety of different skills that scale for most line-ups and strategies. Typically teams looking to force fights benefit well from her AoE abilities. Winter Wyvern is an extremely good hero to pick against mostly melee teams as she punishes enemies who clump up, and kites them very well with her slows.
Winter Wyvern's biggest weaknesses are long-range magical damage; she has ways to deal with close range magical nukers and long range physical attackers, but magical nukes that can reach her from a distance are an issue. Winter Wyvern also hates solo gankers, her skills allow her to deal with groups of enemies better than most supports, but not heroes on their own.
Winter Wyvern can be an initiator, but is best saved as a follow up on other initiators as even a skilled Winter Wyvern needs a moment to know who to target her abilities at. Tanky heroes that can clump enemies together and draw attention make great partners. Just be careful where Axe
is concerned because Berserker's Call
and Winter's Curse
are guaranteed to interfere with eachother if used at the same time.
Winter Wyvern is very good at chopping down high health enemies with Arctic Burn
, so heroes that capitalise on lost health make for a good combination.
Winter Wyvern's squishiness can be taken advantage of by focusing her down with long range magic damage, so try to avoid heroes who specialise in this. Heroes that can punish poor positioning such as Mirana
are particularly annoying as they can and will capitalise on a badly timed Cold Embrace
, as well as possessing skills that Winter Wyvern has difficulties countering.
Winter Wyvern needs to stay back and her limited escape capability means solo gankers with silences, disables or lots of burst will be a big annoyance. Unlike most heroes, you want people to try and attack you in groups, not alone. Items like Force Staff
and Eul's Scepter of Divinity
become necessities so you can deal with these heroes, then you can use Arctic Burn
to slow them and then hopefully fly over trees or cliffs to a safer location.
Global heroes can cause you trouble. Global Silence
will mess with you if you havent used your spells, and spells like Thundergod's Wrath
, Wrath of Nature
and Ice Blast
can hit you when you least want them to. Be sure to itemise against these skills and position yourself correctly on the map.
Winter Wyvern punishes melee heroes, especially melee right click carries, pretty well, as you can kite them with slows and use her AoE spells if they bunch up. Also keep in mind that Arctic Burn
's damage is dealt as a percentage of health, so high strength heroes lose lots of health when facing her.
And indeed any heroes that do most of their damage through right clicks are good to go up against as they either hit their allies really hard in Winter's Curse
, or can't damage your allies in Cold Embrace
. Ranged carries require a bit more planning to catch in your spells, but a good initiation or well timed Force Staff
can win fights.
Whilst most heroes can handle having to spread out, Micro heroes like Lone Druid
and Arc Warden
are typically always found with company ready to turn on their owner and become viable Splinter Blast
targets. Similarly this is the case with illusion heroes, though you'll need to find the real hero first. You can expect to have an edge over most micro heroes, especially if you fancy watching Meepo beat himself to death.
As with most heroes you generally want to save your first skill point for when you need it, but in most scenarios you want Arctic Burn
first. Its great range and flying movement means you can leave lane to pull or ward and be confident you can respond to attempts on your carry pretty quickly. Max your Arctic Burn first as it gets so much better with levels, but don't skip the other two skills as they are both decent value points early on. Be willing to rotate to other lanes and assist in aggression as whilst you don't have a reliable disable, you have two slows available at a time they are at their most effective.
If you are in a mid lane, try to use Arctic Burn
whenever it's off cooldown and chip away at the enemy. Getting a high ground Observer Ward
is very useful for general vision of incoming ganks, as well as being able to target your opponent when they move uphill. You aren't particularly good at contesting runes so stick to your lane unless you have a Bottle
of your own, or you see a rune that will help you assist another lane. If you suspect a gank from enemy supports consider saving your Arctic Burn and positioning yourself where you can exploit the terrain to quickly put distance between you and your attackers. Don't spend too long in the mid-lane, you are there to get some quick level, your Phase Boots
, and then start applying pressure on the map.
Mid game you will either be clashing with enemy teams, pushing, or trying to gank and shut down enemy carries. You are pretty good at all of these objectives. Ideally you want Splinter Blast
maxed by now and a Eul's Scepter of Divinity
to support it so you can be outputting a good amount of AoE damage in any big fights. Mobility and regen is key unless you are building towards specific counters, stick with allies and be vary wary of blink initiators. If you are doing really well you can work towards a big item like Eye of Skadi
, Refresher Orb
or Scythe of Vyse
, otherwise consider a Force Staff
Few supports want to be in the late game but Winter Wyvern is happy enough there with three scaling skills. Keep your distance from enemy carries and be ready to deal with enemy heroes trying to take you out before your team can respond.
should be prioritised on the tankiest enemy heroes and to slow enemy carries. Winter's Curse
is extremely strong in the late-game so getting good ults off is key to winning fights and turning an opponent's strength against them. Make sure you have mobility such as Blink Dagger
or Force Staff
, or defensive items like Ghost Scepter
if you need them. Your ability to push or defend the base isn't great, so expect to be trying to pick off lone enemies or teamfighting.
The behaviour of Winter's Curse uses the same system as denying allied units. Attack bonuses or abilities that work on allied creeps or heroes will affect the targets of Winter's Curse. Some hero abilities will harm attacking allies too.
Attack Bonuses/Modifiers that DO affect cursed targets:
Attack bonuses/Modifiers that DO NOT
Passive abilities that cursed targets can harm their allies with:
, Corrosive Skin
and other similar abilities will not be procced by attacking allies.
V1: General Outline.
V2: Winter Wyvern has been released in the test client.
V3: Winter Wyvern is now available to play! She has received a few small changes too.
V4: Winter Wyvern recieved a few changes in 6.84. Arctic Burn is not fully countered by Spell Immunity. Winter's Curse now reduces damage done to enemies who are attacking your target, nerfing Splinter Blast. However WW now has new items to use that fit her utility support playstyle much more effectively.