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15 Votes

Winter Wyvern, the lovely lady dragon [6.84]

July 24, 2016 by ChiChi
Comments: 29    |    Views: 57882    |   

Build 1
Build 2

Ice burns but also heals

DotA2 Hero: Winter Wyvern

Hero Skills

Arctic Burn

1 3 5 7

Splinter Blast

4 8 10 12

Cold Embrace

2 9 13 14

Winter's Curse

6 11 16


15 17 18

Guide introduction

Welcome to my Winter Wyvern guide!

Hi, I'm Chi-Chi! You might know me already because of my other guide on Crystal Maiden, "Crystal, the underrated support". For any more details on how to support, please go there, since I will try to make this guide shorter.

Art by dotopoop on
As you can see, CM and Wyvern are great friends.

I started playing some years ago, and I usually play support, because it is the role I find most interesting (being all about others and such). Also it is what most pub games lack - usually people don't pick supports at all or they don't do it properly, and there's few things so irritating as the lack of wards :)

I decided to write this guide about Winter Wyvern because I think we're lacking a proper and up-to-date guide to a Position 5/hard support Wyvern in Dota Fire at the moment. I think her importance is now, after TI5, more than evident; just check out the games where she was picked here. She's a very strong pick not only because of her devastanting ultimate, Winter's Cursa, which is an AoE disable that goes through BKB, but also because her stats are pretty good for an Inteligence Support.

English is not my native language, so excuse me for any mistakes. Naturally I would very much appreciate comments on how you would do things differently (and if you want to correct any gramatical error too please be my guest!)

Hero presentation and abilities

Winter Wyvern is a lovely dragon because she has very good skills to both confront her enemies and to help her allies.

You can see a good explanation of her abilities here:

And check all the juicy details in Dota Wiki.

In my opinion she is best played as a Position 5/Hard support, since all of her abilities are configured as a set-up for others - she has a DOT, two slows, a cure, a physical damage protection and a AoE stun, but no real damage for herself - and she scales well with less farm than other heroes, while also being an excellent babysitter in-lane for a core. This opinion is confirmed both by Dota Buff statistics and by her competitive appearences (where Wyvern has been seen more often lately).

Pros and cons


  • Great harasser in the early game
  • Good at shuting down physical damage dealers
  • Has some kind of escape mechanisms and a good casting range on her skills

  • Mana dependent
  • Squishy and low armor, as most mage supports
  • Her skills have a rather long cooldown

Skill build

Arctic Burn

Arctic Burn is, to me, the best Wyvern's ability, to be maxed out asap, even if it still scales very well into the late game. If functions as an Attack Modifier, which grants you:
  • Flying mouvement (you can now pass through impassable terrain, trees, units and buildings, as if you were Batrider when he Fireflys);
  • Incresead attack range (from your usual 425 to 1000);
  • Incresead night vision;
  • An attack projectile speed bonus of 500 (the projectiles of your attack fly faster);
  • A move speed defuff of 40% on each enemy;
  • A Damage over time (DoT) debuff which deals a percentage the enemy's current health as damage per second. This means you can deal up to 34.09% of the target's current health as damage (before reductions).

These debuffs do not stack nor successive attacks refresh their duration, so you will want to attack once each one of your enemies (also, these debuffs are purgeable).

It's because of the HP debuff that you're such a good counter to high HP heroes, such as Axe, Centaur Warrunner , Timbersaw and Huskar.

With this ability you have a way of initiating at a very far distance, by slowing and damaging your target. Also, you can use it to escape, by passing trough otherwise impassable terrain. As you max it, the cooldown and mana cost decrease, so I like to have it maxed out by level 7, to use as often as possible when engaging the enemy or trying to escape an hairy situation. You can use it easily in the early game to harass an enemy offlaner out of XP range, not having to worry about your personal safety since you will be sufficiently far away (and you have a nice HP pool for a support from the start with your 606 HP, anyway).

I prefer to max this ability asap as my playstyle focus more on a safe-lane carry babysitting and roaming support and ganker - and to do both of these, Artic Burn and a point in Cold Embrace are better than Splinter Blast. If, however, you prefer the ability to push earlier alone, and your team lacks a nuke, you might want to max Splinter Blast first, with only one point in Artic Burn for utility. If you want to know more info in comparing both builds, please check the comments below.

To escape, use this ability to pass terrain that would normally be unpassable, or go beyond trees and TP out - only when the cooldown ends are the trees around you cut, so you will be safe from the enemy there (unless, of course, he has a way of chopping down trees).

Splinter Blast

Splinter Blast is the ability I max out second, for its damage. It's kind of a weird skill, in the sense in which you must target someone you don't want to be affected, in order for it to affect the people who are around it. It functions as if you're lauching an ice shard towards your enemies, and it will shatter on impact, not damaging the hero or creep you targeted but all his nearby enemies in a 500 radius. These enemies, besides damaged, will have their mouvement speed slowed. The cast range is huge: we're talking about a spell that you can use at 1200 range, and that has 500 split search on top of that (enemies that are in 500 range of the impact will be affected).

As you already can imagine, this skill is good for teamfights as a kinda of an AoE nuke, and it is also your main way of farming/pushing lanes. You don't want to use it in the lane stage despite having a low cooldown, as it will push the lane and consume your mana, since it is expensive mana wise (150 mana). Also don't use it when you're confronting someone solo, since it will not work on them. Otherwise, it's pretty spammable, use it to farm, push lanes, and contribute to teamfights.

The good news is the projectiles from this skill can't be disjointed, and they fully affect invisible units, so use it to detect or affect them (but bear in mind it does not reveal them). Also, use it if you want to disable Blink Daggers at a very long range.

Cold Embrace

Cold Embrace is what makes Winter Wyvern such a special support. It encases you or your teammates in ice, healing a base amount as well as a percentage of your maximum health each second (up to 24% of maximum health over the duration). While you're in that "ice prison" you can't move nor use spells, which would make you way too vulnereable to your enemies, but actually you're also immune to all physical damage applied to you while in that ice cocoon.

These make it a two edge sword: you can make beautiful saves with it, but also huge mistakes and ending up killing someone who may had a way of escaping. Because of this complexity, I advise you to use it with much caution when targeting your allies. A good rule to help you with this by "oversimplifying" would be to think if they have the slightest chance of escaping - in that case don't use this spell - or not - if they're doomed anyway, go ahead. Be weary that physical damage immunity only means the person in the ice is vulnerable to the other types of damage (magical and pure), so be careful not to use it in situations where your enemy will profit more from them than you - for instance if it's a Lina that will just nuke you away with all of her spells, or a Pudge that will profit from the immobility to hook, dismember and rot.

However, all of these can be remedied, if you buy a Glimmer Cape and a Force Staff - you can use both on units under your cocoon, so if they're are already immune to physical damage they will also be 75% magic resistent and possibly away from the initial area of casting (use Force Staff to take them out of the fight).

This skill is not blocked by spell immunity nor purgeable.

I opt for only a point in it in the early game for those really urgent saves and heals, since the fact that it is percentage base makes it more worth it only later. Anyway, the fact that you have this skill makes it useless, in my opinion, to buy Tranquil Boots or an Urn of Shadows for the heal. Instead, buy a Magic Wand if you're feeling you need more survivibility.

If you want to take down a tower and you expect there is not going to be a teamfight soon, use your Cold Embrace in a creep that is being focused down by the tower. This way he will tower aggro for more time, helping you secure the last hit on it.

Winter's Curse

Winter's Curse, Wyvern's ultimate, is an awesome "AoE stun": it freezes an enemy in place (working completely like a stun for him), while making every teammate of his that stands in a 400 radius attack him.

This ability was considered OP for some people, so it was changed since with this suble detail: Units cursed to attack their ally take 70% reduced damage from all sources. This means you'll use it as a 3.5 stun for someone you want to stop (the carry comes to mind), and the secondary effect only to help you kill that initial target or to make a reliable set-up for someone to initiate on the clumped enemies as soon as the effect expires (someone like Lich, Enigma or Witch Doctor).

It still is an amazing ability, in the sense that it stops anyone through Black King Bar, and you can use it in some circumstances not as a set up but to get a free kill, if you see your enemies' support standing near their carry - their carry will kill it for you, and you will get credit for the kill (Wyvern gets credit for targets killed by allies during the curse).

The taunt affects every ally of the target, including invisible units and units in the fog of war, but not buildings, wards, invulnerable or hidden units and neutral creeps.

The taunt has the same priority as Berserkers Call (which means that the affected units attack either Axe or the curse target, depending on which taunt affected the unit first) but a lower priority than Duel (which means the heroes under the curse can still be dueled).

If you used your ultimate only in one hero, but the rest is not very far behind, you might want to try to either Force Staff the affected unit near his teammates or the opposite; the AoE of your ulti accompanies the initial target, so anyone that gets near him during its duration will be caught up on it, and you can use your disable to its fullest with the positioning options Force Staff gives you.

Here's a very handy list of all the interactions of Winter's Curse with other spells and auras that affect allies of the target:

Item build

Initial Items

As a support, it's your job not to leave base without these. The Tangos are optional if you're planning on living life dangerously (because you have Cold Embrace to heal), but I recommend getting them anyway, to save mana and to give them to your allies in need.

These are your mana refill options. If you're planning on going a more roaming style, than an Enchanted Mango can be better than the other options (and in that case, you can also try to rush your Boots of Speed). Most people prefer a Soul Ring, with the lost HP being compensated by your Cold Embrace (and in that case maybe skipping updating your boots until later). You can buy it entirely in the side shop. If you get it, sell it from the mid to the late game when you have other mana options available, unless you're planning on buying a Bloodstone.

These are other options for your initial items, if you have someone helping you with the support. The Ring of Protection is good to upset your initial lack of armor, and you can turn it later into a Ring of Basilius (which is specially good if you're planning on going for a build more focused on pushing, through your Splinter Blast). The Mantle of Intelligence can be bought on the side shop if you want that extra inteligence, which benefits Wyvern a lot (consider it if you're trying to lane more aggresively). Both of these are cheap items that you can dispose of later.

A regular game

Arcane Boots are, for me, the best choice for Wyvern in most situations, although in reality she can make use of any kind of Boots. She has mana issues, profits from having a larger mana pool and can ultimately look up to buying a Guardian Greaves in the late game. Both Phase Boots and Power Treads are only appropriate for a core-Winter style, which I do not endorse here, and Tranquil Boots seem to me to be, in most cases, a waste in a hero with a healing spell (and HP regen from the Force Staff). You can opt for these, though, if you're facing a difficult game where you would like to have more sustain, to help you face the HP cost of the Soul Ring, and if you have bought the Ring of Protection earlier. This way you can also save up more mana.

After your boots, you will want to think about buying a mobility item. Force Staff is my favourite in this regard in most games, for the fact that it isn't disabled when you take damage, gives you extra HP regen and more Inteligence. If your ahead in the game, though, or you want a way to initiate on a target difficult to lock down (such as a Storm Spirit or Anti-Mage, save for that Blink Dagger.

Tip: You can upset the problem of having your Blink Dagger disabled with the active of Eul's Scepter of Divinity: use it to give your Blink time to get off coldown and as you come down from the cyclone show your enemies those click-mouse skills by blinking away to safety.

Before or even after your mobility item, if you're doing your job right you will face the problem of being focused down in teamfights, or your teammates in Cold Embrace being nuked to death by magical damage. Glimmer Cape solves this problems, and you can use it on people under your Cold Embrace to make them also +55% magic resistent. That is almost the same of being Omniknight with both Repel and Guardian Angel on. No need to explain further, but the attack speed is also nice to help you when in Arctic Burn form.

Eul's Scepter of Divinity can be acquired before or after the Glimmer Cape, and it solves all your mana issues, while at the same time providing a nice disable/purge and mouvement speed, all of which sinergize well with Wyvern. You can look at it as a perfect 4th and final item in a regular pub match.

The perfect game

Guardian Greaves are the natural extension after acquiring Arcane Boots for the late game. I wouldn't advise going straight for them, though, as they are expensive and there are other items with more utility to get before. Also, I don't like Mechanism as a sole item for Wyvern, since she has some mana issues before getting a bit Inteligence item, so upgrade to Greaves only after your core.

Instead of the Greaves you may need more armor and your team would like the extra slow from Shiva's Guard. Synergizes perfectely with Wyvern.

Double ultimate? Yes please.

I said it before, and I repeat: Scythe of Vyse is probably the item most mages want, like the Apple Mac to a hipster. Gives you even more disable against a pesky foe, and more Inteligence. Consider it your luxury accessory.

We're in the late, late game, and you're rich. Go for either of these items you think more useful: Boots of Travel or Octarine Core, depending on your bigger need of being there for the pushes or having lower cooldown spells and items available.

Other options for dealing with right clickers

If you have or are against a line-up that deals a lot of physical damage and that would profit from an early Medallion of Courage, or if your enemy team has that going for them, getting a Solar Crest may turn the tides in your favour. It's an excellent support item in the right circumstances, which you can use to grant more armor and evasion for your carry, or take armor and give a missing chance to their carry. Try it for instance in a Juggernaut before he uses his Omnislash, it's beautiful.

The amount of physical damage is too much, and after you've used your Cold Embrace on someone it's your turned to be focused down and killed by that fast and furious Ursa. Go ahead and get a Ghost Scepter. It is, though, a very situational item, only to be acquired if you need the survivibility and Cold Embrace is not being enough (if you buy one of these and the enemy also has a lot of magical damage you're ****ed).

Other options for dealing with magical damage

If you're facing Leshrac, Queen of Pain, Zeus, Lina and Shadow Shaman... Self explanatory. It also makes you a bit more tanky. But I would say it's highly situational.

Orchid Malevolence is a very good option if you're against someone with much magic damage who is **** without it - think Queen of Pain, Leshrac and Storm Spirit, all heroes which are very common in this meta. Take this also if you want to deal with someone with a blink ability, or just if you're into more of a position 4 and like the extra damage and attack speed.

Pipe of Insight is good if you're team as a whole needs one against heavy magic damage and no one else is best suited to get one.

Also highly situational, it can be good in some situations where you see you're being focused down first by nukes and disables that are targetable spells. It can be better than a Linken's Sphere because, besides the mana regen, it also gives you armor. Even better, it has a purge effect, that you can use both on you or you allies, to take away those nasty disables or curses.

Other items worth considering

These are the famous kit for survival. Take them if you need them, and dispose off when no longer needed.

An extra slow and more HP. What's there not to like, in case your other needs (specially mana) are fulfilled.

It can be good if you're looking to be more durable and being less time dead. It's also the natural extension if you bought an early Soul Ring.

You're a very good pusher support, because of your Splinter Blast. You can add to this a Necronomicon to make your pushing ability even stronger, and profit from the true vision and stats it gives.


This section is the short version of the one on my other guide, because I will assume here that you're not new to Dota.

If you are new, an excellent and summarized yet complete guide you can turn to when learning how to support is Sando's guide here on Dota Fire.

Laning Phase
  • Help your teammate survive and last hit, by harassing the enemies, and deny;
  • Use your consumables or buy more to use in your teammate in need;
  • If you are on the safe lane, pull, by atracting your creeps into the forest neutral creeps around seconds 13/15 and 43/45 each minute (see here how, also for double and triple pulling);
  • If you can leave your carry long enough for the pulling, try to stack creep camps, by attacking at approximately 0:53 each minute.
  • Also, if your teammate in the safe lane can cope on his own for a bit you can roam, gank other lanes with a smart rotation and a Smoke of Deceit (more on ganking and roaming here). WW is a very strong ganking hero, because you can appear from unexpected angles, cross cliffs and trees, and use a very long range slow on someone, easily killing him with the help of a friend who provides the necessary damage.
  • If you are on the hard lane, ward the forest entrance or any other path to your backs and always be watchful for that missing heroes on the other lanes;
  • Call out the missing heroes on your lane (either by writing on the chat or simply by Alt-Clicking the missing enemy's photo) - let's face it, as the support you will have a game far more peaceful than that of the carrys, so it falls upon you to worry most with this type of things;
  • Watch out and warn of the existence of runes.


This is maybe the most technical thing you will have to learn playing as a support.
  • Always ponder where you need vision in that specific point of the game: to defend a certain area of farming for your carrys? To push on an enemy's tower?
  • Some places are always good to ward, such as those high marked places, or the entrance to Roshan's pit (you want to know if your enemy is trying to sneak in there).
  • Be attentive of where you place your wards and their "life time", in order to be able to notice your enemies' counterwarding;
  • Counterward yourself, trying to guess by their mouvements where the enemy has placed its wards and killing them by using Sentry Wards;
  • Use your wards to block your enemy's neutral creeps camps (by putting either an Observer Ward or a Sentry Ward in that camp's vision) The way I usually go about this is profiting from our team's movimentation in the enemy's jungle for a bit to clean up the camps for myself and then I usually place a Sentry Ward, if I already have vision near with a normal ward (because sentries, even being more expensive, do not have cooldown, and I want to save those Observer Wards to spot on more interesting places). This is a very interesting thing to do if your enemy team has late game farmers, as it will stop their peace-time farming in the jungle and thus make their item progression more difficult.

I recommend you this video on how to ward (and its sequels):

And this really complete guide from Wulfstan on this Dota Fire guide, for every aspect of warding.

And see below the mini map (unfortunetelly outdated, will update as soon as I find the same thing on the new map - careful with the biggest change, Roshan's pit), marked with the most common ward spots:

  • Stay at the back, or on the side: far enough not to be the first one targeted, but close enough to jump in and start using your spells;
  • If, on the other hand, your teammates expect you to initiate, you can do it by activating your Arctic Burn and putting its defuff in every enemy you can, followed by a Splinter Blast and finally Winter's Curse in any important target (don't forget to use your Cold Embrace to heal anyone if needed meanwhile);
  • Activate a Dust of Appearance or place a Sentry Ward at the beggining of the fight, if you think that invi hero is bound to make an appearance any time soon (no pun intended);

Dull moments
  • Ward, do the ocasional farm and stack (as I explained above).
  • Never be alone unless you are: i) farming; ii) warding; iii) safely defending a lane near your tower - and these only if you are safe, that is, accompanied or have enough vision of the enemy to not except a five man gank on you.
  • Chose a place where you think your enemy has no vision of you and call your teammates to do a smoke gank, by Alt-Clicking the Smoke of Deceit in your inventory. Ensuring your enemy has no vision there is very important: don't just smoke up on the lane near enemy creeps or in somewhere they could obviously have wards, because watching a whole team suddenty disappearing will at least be a sign for concearn. Instead try to be casual about it, show yourself somewhere in a lane and then quickly encounter your friends in a safe (warded by you) corner and smoke up, then head for your enemies's jungle or Roshan's pit.
  • Defend your towers and push a bit the lanes, always safely (once again, if you are accompanied, have vision, or don't venture too far).

Sample games

1. Kuroky plays safelane Winter Wyvern

9 Kills | 1 Deaths | 19 Assists

She bought, by this order: Arcane Boots --> Glimmer Cape --> Blink Dagger --> Eul's Scepter of Divinity --> Pipe of Insight.

You'll notice he did the babysit in lane, initiated with Arctic Burn, and maxed out this skill and Splinter Blast after with only one point in Cold Embrace until later. She didn't do support, as she had a more greedy role in this game. Notice, however, how her item choice still matched the one I explained to you about as a farmed #4 or #5. That is, Arcane Boots for mana, the Glimmer Cape for survival and magic resistence, then the mobility of Blink Dagger, and then an Inteligence item. The Pipe of Insight at the end was unnecessary, but probably bought to fill a 6 slot just because it was the only expensive item that can be exclusively bought at the enemy's main shop (the others must be completed from the secret shop).

That nice trick at 22:23 for farming two neutral camps at the same time using Splinter Blast simultaneously stacking one of them.


2. Na'Vi vs Vega Squadron

4 Kills | 8 Deaths | 22 Assists

The item progression was as follows: Brown Boots --> Soul Ring--> Tranquil Boots --> Glimmer Cape --> Force Staff --> Refresher Orb --> Maelstrom --> Boots of Travel.

Here Wyvern was played by SoNNeikO, in an amazing comeback. At level 4, he had a 1 - 2 - 1 build.


3. Secret vs Evil Geniuses

7 Kills | 2 Deaths | 18 Assists

The item progression was as follows: Tranquil Boots --> Bracer --> Glimmer Cape --> Blink Dagger --> Boots of Travel.

Here Wyvern was played by ppd (his first Wyvern in a competitive). At level 5, he had a 3 - 1 - 1 build.

Friends, Foes and Popsicles

Art by Eva, published in the Steam Community


The set-up kinda of people, helping you cast a wonderfull Winter's Curse.

The set-up thing also works the other way around: you help these guys do excelent ultimates if you manage to get three or more heroes in your Winter's Curse.

You function very well in lane with someone who's aggressive in the early game or has some DoT ability, which combined with you Arctic Burn will make things pretty hard on your enemies.

What Phoenix needs most is something that disables enemies during his egg. Winter Wyvern would like something to damage those enemies that she disables. So you put together Supernova and Winter's Curse and you have a very nasty combo for teamfights.

And finally the famous wombo combo with Oracle. Not only both of you have ways to cure your teammates, but Fate's Edict can be cast one someone under your Cold Embrace, making them completely invulnerable to both magical and physical damage (but still affected by other types of damage).
Fate's Edict can also be used on someone you will Winter Curse, making them receive an extra 50% damage from all sources that aren't magical (in other words, from the hits of their own teammates).


Powerful nukes can, off course, blast Winter Wyvern to pieces, if she is caught out of position - and these heroes tend to buy Orchid Malevolence which makes you useless. Fortunetelly we have Bracer, Magic Wand, Glimmer Cape and Eul's Scepter of Divinity (purging the silence) to help solve this.

Outworld Devourer

These heroes have a way to protect their teammates caught in Winter's Curse by using Disruption and Astral Imprisonment on them. To answer this, be sure they end up on your ultimate.

Silences, of course. Without your skills, you're still beautiful, but as threatening as an ice fly.


Your Arctic Burn is perfect to burn HP from heroes with high strenght.

Enemies that deal only or mainly physical damage will hate you forever, when they are trying to do their damage and you just Cold Embrace someone, Glimmer Cape another and finally use Eul's Scepter of Divinity on yourself.

Wyvern is very good against heroes with summons or illusions, since you can use Splinter Blast on a summon/illusion to damage the real hero, or just spam it to determine who's who.

Finally, my favourite mention. Your Winter's Curse is, of course, great against squishy supports who like to hug their carry - and who does this better than Io? Counter-pick those competitive try hards and this hero is completely useless, as if he stays near someone, he will get punished for it.

When you see these heroes, avoid picking Wyvern

Unfortuntely this section has to be made. These heroes are not exactly foes to Winter Wyvern herself, but to her teammates: if you Cold Embrace them near these heroes, you're helping them do their job. So, to make it simple, avoid picking Wyvern when you see one of these, if possible.

Also, be very weary of using your Cold Embrace on a teammate when he's near to someone who profits from the fact that their stunned to deal high magical or pure damage, such as Timbersaw, Crystal Maiden or Venomancer. A good way to deal with this problem is to purchase the Glimmer Cape asap and use it on the person you Cold Embraced.


Winter Wyvern is all about making those spectacular saves, sacrificing yourself for others and flying around like the pretty dragon that you are.

I hope that my guide helps you doing exactly this. Please share your thoughts on the hero or my options in the comments bellow.

Wyvern's son says goodbye!

Good luck, have fun!


  • Edited some sections to include suggestions made in the comments;
  • Added Phoenix to the Friends section.

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