|1.||The Story So Far...|
|2.||What Winter Wyvern Brings to the Table|
|3.||Pros and Cons of Auroth|
|4.||A Breakdown of Wyvern's Abilities|
|5.||Auroth's Talents: Why Level 20 is the Easiest Choice in the World|
|6.||Picking Winter Wyvern: Lock In and Watch Your Opponents Panic|
|7.||Laning Stage: How to Have a Midlaner Break Their Keyboard and Why Pushing is Good|
|8.||Win(ter Wyvern) Conditons|
|9.||Items: Why You Don't Get Shiva's to Cosplay a Super Icy Dragon|
For those of you that watched The International 2017, you know that Evil Genius' captain Cr1t drafted Winter Wyvern against Empire in Game Two of their Elimination Series and was beaten fairly handily. The result saw the typical excuses of fans attempting to justify the loss. While I'm not the biggest fan of EG, the hate felt really misplaced -- especially towards Winter Wyvern.
Auroth has always been one of my favorite heroes, but I avoided spamming heroes in my games because it would get tedious after a while. After seeing all the hate directed towards Wyvern, I decided it was time to prove the haters wrong. I make it my goal every game for all other 9 players to know just what it means to insult my favorite Ice Dragon.
Winter Wyvern is a long range support with exceptional pushing, counter-pushing and team fighting abilities. There is potential to run her as a core but is takes a lot of levels and items for that to become viable. Instead, I prefer to run her as a roaming support because her early game impact is some of the strongest in the game. If a game goes long enough, you sometimes are able to transition into a core role with enough items like a roaming Earthshaker. As a core she turns into a magical damage version of Sniper, dealing constant AOE damage and significantly slowing her opponents' movement.
While getting levels on her is helpful, a lot of what she does it easily achievable while only being level two or three so having her as a support for early game is better. As you transition into the mid game, your pushing and team fighting can easily take or defend towers and slowly choke the enemy out of the map, gradually giving your team a victory if you play smart. If you're on the losing side of things as you go into midgame, your wave clear keeps your enemies from pushing and Winter's Curse is a strong deterrent against team fights.
Acrtic Burn: 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 9% 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.
Mana Cost: 120/110/100/90
Bonus Attack Range: +275/375/475/575(Base Attack Range is 425)
Bonus Projectile Speed: +500(Base Projectile Speed is 700.
Night Vision Bonus: 400(Base is 1200)
Movespeed Slow: 22%/28%/34%/40%(Level 25 Talent: 37%/43%/49%/55%)
Arctic Burn Duration: 8(Aghanim's makes duration indefinite)
Aghanim's make the ability toggle-able, costing the initial mana cost and an additional 40 mana every second it's active.
Slow and Damage over time are both purgable with a basic dispel.
Why this ability is important:
This will be your early game harassing tool. At level 1, your attack range becomes 700 which means you can out range any hero in the game(Except Techies). Because of how the damage works, you want to hit the target with as high health as possible because the burn damage is based off of current health unlike most abilities. With a single Arctic Burn auto attack, any hero at full health can be brought down to ~65-66% HP without the affects of any outside regen. Like I previously mentioned, this ability is based off of current health so this damage can be done regardless of how high a level the enemy hero is.
Beyond that, Arctic Burn is a great mobility tool as you gain flying movement and vision for eight seconds. You can begin a gank by flying over terrain which is normally impassable, easily find someone juking through the trees with flying vision, or escape death by moving over a cliff and hiding on high ground. Additionally, you do not trigger Techies' Proximity Mines during the duration but since nobody plays Techies anymore it's a bit of a non-factor.
Splinter Blast: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.
Cooldown: 7(Level 25 Talent: 4)
Mana Cost: 120/130/140/150
Cast Range: 1200
Splinter Search Radius: 500
Move Speed Slow: 25%
Slow Duration: 4
Cannot target spell immune enemies, but the secondary projectile will still launch out with no effect. Secondary Projectile will affect Linken's Sphere targets but will be blocked if it is the primary target. Secondary projectile can be disjointed while the primary cannot. Secondary projectiles are able to affect units that invisible or in Fog, provided they are within the Splinter Radius.
Why This Ability is Important:
Splinter Blast is what makes Wyvern a great pusher and counter pusher. With this ability at level four, you can instantly kill a ranged creep and damage the melee creeps(the ones that wouldn't be the primary target) down to 40% HP. In addition, this ability is able to 'target' invisible units with the secondary projectile, so a Riki that just barely got away while running through a creep wave can still die if you cast this ability on a creep close enough to him.
With a range of 1200, you usually begin a gank by casting this ability on unit nearby the enemy hero and then flying in with Arctic Burn. The combined slow should reduce the enemy's movespeed to about 50%(with Arctic Burn being level 1) while doing a sizeable amount of damage. Even if they survive, most heroes will be forced to back or use a shrine to be in fighting shape in anytime soon.
Cold Embrace: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
Mana Cost: 75
Cast Range: 1000
Max Health as Heal per Second: 3%/4%/5%/6%
Duration: 4(Level 20 Talent: 5)
Targeted hero is immune to all physical forms of damage, but can still be attacked and affected by passive's like Manabreak from Diffusal blade or Antimage. They don't do the damage but will still burn the targets mana. Pure damage and magical damage can affect the target. Cold Embrace DOES affect a target with spell immunity, making the target immune to all damage except pure and bkb piercing abilities.
Why this ability is important:
This is one of two abilities which make Wyvern frustrating. Casting this ability on a hero who is trying to escape can result in them dying rather than being saved. Heroes like Invoker and Skywrath can easily snipe people who are immobile for seconds by targeting them with Sunstrike or Mystic Flare. If used properly, this ability can rescue allies while enemy heroes are forced to withdraw after a now failed gank.
This ability is also able to be used offensively. If you know there is nobody coming to contest a push, you can protect a creep wave by casting Cold Embrace on the creep taking tower aggro. By doing so, you can prolong a creepwave's live and continue pushing with an even larger wave behind you.
If you mess up enough times and have your allies disable your help, you are then unable to cast Cold Embrace on them.
Winter's Curse: 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.
Mana Cost: 250
Cast Range: 500
Curse Attack Speed Bonus: 85
Is able to target spell immune enemies but will not 'taunt' enemies who are spell immune. Linken's will block the ability if they are the target but not if they are one of the enemies attacking. Once a unit is affected by the taunt, it cannot be broken -- even if they are made magic immune. Does not disable abilities like Leshrac's Pulse Nova, but most passive abilities do not affect allied units(IE: Tiny's Craggy Exterior, Axe's Counter Helix, Slark's Essence Shift, and Troll Warlords' Fervor and Berserker's Rage Melee Bash chance do not proc/gain stacks while attacking allies).
Why This Ability is Important:
This is what can get a Winter Wyvern reported for losing or commended for winning a game. While under the affect of Winter's Curse, enemies take damage from anyone on Wyvern's team. This can result in a team fight being won after four enemies beat a Faceless Void to death before he can get Chrono Sphere off, or a team fight being lost when your Lina's Laguna Blade is cast on a Life Stealer the same instant you cast Winter's Curse on him, resulting in him living and being able to jump into a passing creep wave.
This ability is strong in two ways. The first way is the most obvious: being a magic immunity piercing disable that can allow your allies to set up for a beneficial team fight. The second is less obvious, because it relies on your enemies' ability to auto attack. If the opposing team's Templar Assassin has Blight Stone or Desolator, the Disruptor you target with Winter's Curse will suffer the minus armor affects of his ally's items and take more damage as a result. Illusion based heroes like Chaos Knight will have his Phantasm illusions melt his Dazzle in a few hits if he's sufficiently farmed, and Meepo can kill himself in a few seconds if four clones hit the original one a couple times.
Winter Wyvern's Talent are fairly straight forward, and can be reliably picked the same way almost every game with little thought. That being said, I'll explore the options at each level.
Level 10: +7 Strength / +8 Intelligence.
The Level 10 talent is a basic stat increase. The easiest way to tell which one you should go is to look at how the game is going. If you are dying quickly and unable to get your spells off in a fight, you might want to pick the strength talent and give yourself a little more wiggle room to survive. If you're living in fights but unable to cast spells because you're out of mana, you might want to consider picking the intelligence talent. That being said, I usually avoid initially skilling this talent until I have to. Getting extra levels into your Cold Embrace is better because it lowers the ability's cooldown and allows you to heal your team mates more often and be able to push more which is Wyvern's specialty.
Level 15: +75 Damage / +35 Movement Speed
The Level 15 talent tends to be my hardest choice. On the one hand, a bonus 75 damage is fantastic with your Arctic Burn because your attack range is now 900 and allows you to either siege towers from a safe distance(provided you have vision) or to apply extra damage to heroes running away under the affects of a 40% movespeed slow. If you find yourself sitting safely at the back of fights and not having to move around much, I suggest picking the +75 damage. On the other hand, Wyvern is one of the slowest heroes in the game at a 285 base movespeed. Even with boots, she's only marginally faster than a creep wave at 330 ms. If you're unable to get into position and constantly find yourself being chased, the extra 35 movespeed can give you the edge to get away with a quick Arctic Burn, flying over a tree line to safety.
Level 20: +1 Second Cold Embrace Duration/ +120 Gold/Minute
This is easiest decision to make in terms of talents for Winter Wyvern. The Cold Embrace duration increase give you a bonus 25 + 5% heal to the target, but keeps them disabled for a total of six seconds. Five seconds is already a long duration, and the bonus heal is negligible anyway. The longer your ally is disabled, the longer it gives your enemy to recover and the longer it is that you aren't pushing. The bonus 120 Gold/Minute will allow you to start purchasing more impactful items like Blink dagger and Force Staff(If you don't already have them), and transition you away from a support into this long range core that the enemy is unable to reach.
Level 25: -3 Seconds Splinter Blast Cooldown/ +15% Arctic Burn Slow
Both of this abilities are exceptionally strong, but you will not be able to pick them very often as games tend to finish before support heroes reach level 25. Regardless, the one you will most often pick will be the Arctic Burn slow. Applying a 55% slow to your enemies from 900 range as well as applying the Arctic Burn damage debuff will make running away from you a nightmare for your enemies. If you transitioned into the core roll and are able to get Aghanim's Scepter, this will be your choice as well. If you're being pushed into heavily by Furion's Treants, Broodmother's Spiderlings, or Illusion heroes like Phantom Lancer or Terrorblade, getting the Splinter Blast cooldown reduction will have you blowing up waves of creeps before they're even able to hit your high ground tower. Being able to spam this ability from 1200 range also means your able to consistently contribute in teamfights. The only downside is that spamming a 150 mana ability can sometimes leave you with very little mana, so I only suggest going this if you absolutely need the wave clear or you have sufficient mana regen.
Too many times have we all been in pick phase with our role, wanting desperately for someone to pick before us so we don't get countered. In our case, we want to be countered. Being countered means our opponents avoid picking right slickers or select magical damage reliant heroes. If they do 'counter' us by avoiding physical damage carries then we're happy because it makes pushing difficult for them. If they counter us by picking heavy magic damage heroes, we're still happy because we can buy Pipe of Insight, Glimmer Cape, and Hood to keep ourselves and our team mates alive with a little bit of coordination. If they don't 'counter' us and pick normally, then we're still happy because we can use their right clickers to melt their supports before the fights starts or we can save our team mate getting wailed on by a Troll Warlord and his zero magical damage capabilities.
In general, there are very few heroes we avoid as Wyvern. Dotabuff shows that Wyvern is weak against Timbersaw, Death prophet, Tinker, Pugna, and Necrophos which are all understandable. All of them are magical damage carries who can still push(Pugna and Death Prophet), are mobile and rarely stay still long enough for us to target them during a team fight(Timber and Tinker), or are able to stand in the middle of team fights ignoring physical damage (Necrophos).
Other heroes on that list include Antimage who can still burn the mana of someone under the effects of Cold Embrace, Huskar who's burning spears deal stacking magical damage, and Phantom Lancer who can create so many illusions making it difficult to target the correct one with Winter's Curse. Invoker is able to snipe your Cold Embrace target if they're in the open, and Skywrath Mage is able to do the same with his mystic flare. These factors -- while annoying -- are ultimately unimportant because at the end of the day, they're picking to counter a support while(presumably) the rest of your team is able to play with one of the enemy's heroes focused on you rather than them which is the goal because to get to you they have to go through your entire team or have their threats avoided by coordinating with your team.
In terms of heroes that Wyvern is strong against, it's very straight forward. Meepo, Legion Commander, Troll Warlod, Lifestealer, and Chaos Knight are the top 5 heroes that Wyvern wins against. Like previously mentioned, a Meepo can easily kill himself under the effects of curse when 3 clones are smacking a single target for 4 seconds, a Troll Warlord has very minimal magical damage making his attacks against a target under Cold Embrace unimportant, and a Chaos Knight casting Phantasm can easily blow up his own team mates just as quickly as they would blow up one of yours. Legion Commander's Duel can almost be negated entirely by casting Cold Embrace on her duel target and Lifestealer loses his survivability when the target he cast Open Wounds on is suddenly unable to take physical damage or when his teammates are hitting him after he casts Rage in an attempt to burst one of your fellow heroes.
Other heroes Wyvern does well against are Broodmother because her and her invisible spiderlings are able to be hit by Splinter Blast giving you easy gold, and Nature's Prophet for his treants also being a gold farm. Additionally, a Furion's Spourt-Teleport combo can be interrupted by a Wyvern giving flying vision and the potential to stun the channeling target.
Alright: We've picked the best dragon in the game and we're loading in now. Your first job is to pop that smoke and fly your *** out to the middle lane at your 330 movespeed and drop that ward down with vision of the high ground of the opposite side of the river and of one of the rune spots. I prefer to get vision of the top rune spot for Dire and the bottom rune spot for Radiant but it can be your midlaner's preference. The reason for doing this is that we A) Want to know where the enemy supports are if they're rotating, B) Want to give our midlaner the potential to control the lane as much as possible, and C) Give you knowledge and possible control over the runes.
Got that? Good. About thirty seconds should have passed. You need to ask yourself a couple questions: Are we able to invade their bounty rune? A good way to answer that question is to look at the line ups. Do you have a hero that can stun or slow them? Do they have someone that can disable your heroes? Do they have an Earthshaker that can split your team up as soon as you commit your spells? If you feel comfortable invading, get your safelaner and the other support and start running over toward the enemy midlaner's rune. We target the midlaner because we want them to have a bad game. We want them to be at every possible disadvantage in the world because if your midlaner gets ahead, they'll -- ideally, at least -- begin to snowball the rest of your lanes, and with Wyvern on your team that also means pushing lanes until every building outside of their base is gone. Reminder: Getting first blood gives your team more gold than a bounty rune, and giving first blood is just as bad. If you can't kill them, then burning as much regen is the next best thing. The bounty rune is the bonus, not the goal.
If you didn't decide to invade, the next step is to still look at the midlane. What hero is it? Do they struggle in the matchup? Do they get an early bottle? Do they ferry out an early salve? We ask these questions because what we're going to do is go for a courier snipe. If their midlaner gets that bounty rune, odds are they have just enough for a healing salve which they'll buy and immediately run out to themselves. If you didn't use Arctic Burn for an early kill, you can wait on nearby the offlane rune spot and get a lot of vision of the path the courier would walk. If they don't have someone piloting the courier, you can fly out and whack that courier in the face for two attacks and kill it, giving your team a total of 875 gold(175 to each hero) as well as denying the enemy team from using the courier for 3 minutes and incentivizing them to play reserved as they can't ferry themselves out more regen. If you don't think the courier is coming after abount a minute, you can look toward the midlaner and see if there's kill potential. If there is, let them know your coming in hot(or rather, cold). Ideally, you should fly over trees(since you'll be hidden from vision that way) and hit the midlaner. Even if there's no kill potential, give your mid an advantage by doing about a third of their health. If you take a tower hit or two doing so, that's fine. Just make sure you aren't about to be stunned under tower by a roaming Slardar.
Now then: you've used your spell and there's a minute until you can use it again. Your next step is to get level two. Not a lot of people know that Wyvern's cooldown is so high at level one, so just being a body is sometimes enough. Stack and pull for your safelane if it's safe and the tower isn't taking damage, or stack the camps for your mid to farm later. When ever Arctic Burn is off cooldown, you should be ganking or looking for a gank. The damage and the slow make for an easy kill, or at least kills any potential for a push by dropping a third of someone's health. Once you have your level two, you can be a little more aggressive and you don't have to wait for Arctic Burn anymore. If you have both, then use both but if you have one you can still kill or save someone. Keep a tp on you at all times and be looking for kill potential everywhere. If you're having mana issues, don't be afraid to run back for a clarity or to send one out on the courier. Your early game items are all about keeping you mobile between lanes and keeping you at enough mana to cast your spells consistently.
There are a few rare cases when you can potentially level Cold Embrace as level two, but keep in mind that the heal is fairly insubstantial at level one and should be used as a last resort. Use it as a way to counter heroes like PA and Bristle who are reliant on physical damage and are able to dive towers. If they're diving and their damage is reliant on nukes, Cold Embrace isn't going to do much past prolong the inevitable and it'll be fine to wait until level 3 to get -- or even level 4 if the game is going well enough.
A big part of being a roamer is knowing when you are and aren't welcome. Do not stay and soak experience from a lane while waiting for your spells to come off cooldown. That's not your job. Be mobile. Take the runes when they spawn and run around as much as you can. If you see them stacking a lot, block the camp with a ward. If you see their roamer constantly rotate, 'follow' them and keep your laners safe by slowing down their aggression. If your midlaner is ganking, soak exp in the midlane and last hit with Splinter Blast. Keep their creeps off of the towers. A lot of people are obsessed with creep equilibrium, losing their mind if they start pushing. No: **** that. We want to push. We want to keep all of their heroes in the lanes and on the map, giving us as much information as possible. If we can see them on the map, it means we know where they are, but more importantly we know where they aren't.
If their Invoker is in the middle lane, it means he's not farming the jungle or rotating bot with a haste rune. If their Antimage is running back and forth between the safelane heavy camp and the lane creeps, we know he's doing pretty well with his farm so we should rotate top with our midlaner or our offlaner and contest that camp. The best way to get more information is to push your creeps as far forward as they can go and then ward up the spaces you do want to see. Once you cores get a key item or two, get your team together and start shoving creeps down a lane as far as they can go. If they contest, great. Pick someone off with Winter's Curse(if you have it) or poke them down with Splinter Blast. If they don't, even better because now you got a free tower and are pushing into the next one with a creep wave that they have to take care of or it'll happen again. Wyvern is about creating as much space as possible by having the lanes stretch as far as they can onto the enemy's side of the map. If they get farm, your ultimate will still kill them and if they don't it just means your heroes are getting stronger while theirs are still too scared to push out a lane underneath their T2's.
Bad puns asides, Wyvern is ideal for ending or prolonging games. It's hard to push into a tower if their team lacks physical damage after counter picking a support, and even if they do it's hard to take buildings if the creep wave is halfway dead before it's even within range of the tower. At level 4, Splinter Blast practically kills a creep wave. If your carry is afraid to split push and is content to farm jungle camps then let him. If he's too scared to fight lane creeps then he's going to be too scared to fight enemy heroes. Put on your big dragon pants, buy a TP scroll and run down a lane while they get nice and fat in the jungle. Hide in the trees and cast Splinter Blast whenever you can. Once the wave has passed the halfway point on the map or you start to see enemy heroes rotate towards you, teleport back and start pushing with your team. They've farmed enough and it's time to start running down lanes. You know the enemy heroes on the other side of the map so you can push freely. Repeat until you have the tools to save your carries, enable them to kill the enemy heroes a lot easier, or you have enough gold to call yourself a carry.
I'll go through items step by step(as well as the title), explaining why you get them at each stage.