The idea of this guide is to offer an easy way to play Winter Wyvern. The hero used to be a powerhouse and is now seeing a big drop in her winning rate, after a multitude of nerfs, as well as a rework (which is also a nerf) on her ultimate, Winter's Curse, changing entirely the way the hero plays out after the laning phase.
When pro players pick Wyvern, something that happened much more on the glory days before the nerfs, they followed some simple skill-build recipe: one point into Arctic Burn, one point in Cold Embrace, maximize Splinter Blast. This makes a lot of sense, they had the best of all worlds:
* good laning with Arctic Burn;
* save potential with Cold Embrace;
* progression to a teamfight hero with Splinter Blast;
* more teamfight material with Winter's Curse;
* Push/Depush power with Splinter Blast.
This, together with a Blink Dagger, and some way to sustain your manapool, you got a strong hero all stages of the game.
The issues here are:
a) The hero received nerfs in all skills;
b) Pro players manage their manapool and cooldowns much better than we, trench tier mortals;
c) Winter's Curse is not a teamfight skill anymore.
Winter Wyvern has a big manapool problem. The skill pro players prioritize, Splinter Blast, has a huge manacost and shouldn't be spammed. Arctic Burn is one of the only skills in game that gets a reduction in manacost as you level, and after the nerfs, you need to prioritize it to get the best of its slow. That, coupled with the facts that it is now her best skill to get a kill (since her ult is now a situational skill), and that Arctic Burn also gets a cooldown reduction when leveling it up, suggests another take on Winter Wyvern skill build: Prioritize Arctic Burn.
The above skill build does that, while still keeping its save potential by picking Cold Embrace, and still picking Winter's Curse at all possible levels, although the second and third points may be delayed.
Use Arctic Burn to harass your enemy out of the lane. After some levels, and a decent pool, use it every fight when it's available. It becomes very spammable in the lategame.
Use Splinter Blast to counter push lanes, and during teamfights. Later in the game, you can use it to push, when you have the pool.
Cold Embrace value point is still worthy it for the saves, and if it heavily counters some enemy, like Legion Commander, feel free to prioritize it.
It is worthy noting that Arctic Burn is very strong against Strength heroes, since it deals damage as % of HP. Also Important to say that you should always try to aim different heroes within the duration of it, since hitting the same hero twice with it doesn't refresh the debuff.
The items I suggest here are semi-standard for supports up to the early game: buy the Animal Courier, wards, sentry's and some cheap stats and regen, in Iron Branch, Tangoes and Clarity. Sometimes people help you out with these, so you can get some extra stats in more Iron Branches, but, at least in my case, you will usually have to do all the work, so yeah...
More often than not, I buy a Sage's Mask to help with mana, and also because it can be turned into Medallion of Courage or Urn of Shadows later. Buying a stick ASAP will also help with mana.
Finishing your boots may be of some priority, specially if your team is in need of some Arcane Boots, but what I do is delaying the upgrade in favor of an earlier Force Staff. Force Staff combines very well with Wyvern, providing more utility, in the form of saving yourself and your allies, and helping with a follow-up initiation. Also, it gives manapool and mana regen, along with 10 damage, in the form of 10 Int. Last, you can buy an early Ring of Regen to help during the laning phase.
The next items you buy should consider both enemies lineup and current item progression of your team. If the enemy has a lot of nukes, turning your Sage's Mask into a Urn of Shadows can be good for the HP, but you need to check if noone else built it. Buying a casual Cloak and then turning it into a Glimmer Cape also helps against nuke-heavy teams.
If the enemy has strong right-clickers, or if your team needs it, you can turn sage's into Medallion of Courage. In this case, if you skipped your boots upgrade, you can buy Power Treads to have some extra HP (and some damage), or just a Bracer which can be turned into Drum of Endurance.
If you didn't need Arcane Boots so far, and don't need extra lifepoints from Power Treads, then you can get Tranquil Boots as a cheap and very cost-effective upgrade.
You can get it before Force Staff if you are in need to roam through the map, too.
Blink Dagger is less useful in the hero since Winter's Curse change, but if you need extra mobility to enter teamfights, and to apply some saves with Cold Embrace or Force Staff / Glimmer Cape, then it may be worthy. Aether Lens is also viable in this matter, even tho it doesn't affect Arctic Burn, but has many added benefits, with its nice stats and extra damage for Splinter Blast.
Finally, if you are very rich, consider getting Scythe of Vyse. There are other options, like Shiva's Guard, the very underrated Rod of Atos, Guardian Greaves if noone else got it or Orchid Malevolence. Octarine Core can be purchased in a very lategame scenario where you want your cooldowns on Arctic Burn, Cold Embrace, Splinter Blast, Force Staff, Scythe of Vyse and any other active items you got, reduced. It is very expensive, tho.
Since the change, Winter's Curse is not the same teamfight skill anymore. It used to be a guaranteed AoE stun, that could even be used against solo enemies, specially since it goes through magic immunity. Since that's not the case anymore, here I'll give some ideas on how to use it.
Always keep in mind that Winter's Curse now makes every enemy caught within it INVULNERABLE. As a rule of thumb, when you are not sure if you should use it, don't. Mostly during Team Fights, you can deny a kill and make every ally angry.
On an enemy out of position
One idea is to use Winter's Curse the same way you'd use Eul's Scepter of Divinity to initiate at an enemy caught out of position. You will hold him in place up until your team can come and get the kill.
Against a Gank
I feel this is underused, but it's very good. You can use your ult to escape, holding everyone in place while you run, and dealing some (or a lot) of damage to the cursed enemy in the process.
To solo kill a squishy hero
The infamous Io killer ult, now it is much more functional. Supports tend to die fast when focused down by the carry boosted by 70 extra attack speed, so, using curse on a support will take him out fast.
To take someone out of the teamfight fast
Like the previous scenary, you can ult a squishy hero during a teamfight to kill him fast. But you need to be much more careful here, since you need to be sure the enemy is dying and no damage is being wasted in the process. You need a lot of communication with your team, or you may end up with a completely wasted Sonic Wave or Ravage, among others. If you are not certain, don't do it.
To waste Black King Bar time
Finally, you can use your ult to help against a core with a BKB. Some heroes, like Phantom Assassin or Shadow Fiend, have too good of a time when fighting under the effect of a BKB. Since Winter's Curse goes through magic immunity, you can cast it on such heroes to delay a fight. Keep in mind that, if it is a teamfight, you need to make sure no spell damage is wasted, the same as previous use.
To reset a teamfight
Sometimes, some teamfights start all wrong, with everyone out of position, and quickly start looking ugly. Similar to what Naga Siren can do, you can ult someone (preferably a support) to give your teammates time to reposition or to catch up to the fight. Again, if you cast it when Shadow Fiend's Requiem of Souls was about to pop, then it's on you.
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