Dota 2 Dark Willow Guide to Mastery
Dark Willow is one of the most recent additions to Dota 2. However, unlike the other Dota 2 heroes, Dark Willow has quickly become a favorite pick for professional support players.
This has been eminent in the recent Dota 2 Major and Minor events that were organized after the release of Dark Willow where the hero turned out to be a prominent winning option. At the GESC Indonesia Minor, Evil Geniuses favored the hero in their semifinal match against Na`Vi and the final against VGJ.T. The team eventually won the event, and the hero played the vital part in the team’s triumph.
The hero was favored by teams like OG and Newbee at the DreamLeague Season 9, and although both teams edged out in the early stages, they had a 100% win rate with the hero.
At the most recent Dota 2 Asia Championships, Mineski outshined every team to win the event with style. During their run to the final, Mineski picked the hero, a few times and while the Dark Willow had mixed results throughout the tournament, it is important to note that teams have already started to make Dark Willow a part of their strategy.
This is why today, we thought of covering a detailed guide for Dark Willow so that you can also become good with the latest support hero of Dota 2.
What is Dark Willow all about?
Mireska Sunbreeze, the Dark Willow is one of the few supports that deal heavy damage and can remain viable even in the later stages of the game. Having all active spells, Dark Willow is heavily mana dependent. However, she can be up and running with a few items in her slot and can single-handedly change the course of the game if played right.
Her combo can be used to set up kills, harass enemy heroes, and allow your teammates to escape dangerous situations.
She can play as a roaming support, help feed your core in the lane and at times can be played as a core hero as well. It all comes down to how you want to play her and how your allies are expecting you to play.
When should you pick Dark Willow?
If you want to go for heavy lockdown, then Dark Willow is your hero. Just like any other magical spell dependent heroes, you would want to ensure that your enemy heroes are not obvious BKB carriers.
If that is the case, Dark Willow can be rendered useless as she won’t be able to do much. But still, you can catch the enemy support heroes off-guard and prevent them from helping out the enemy cores.
If there are more than one melee heroes on the enemy draft, Dark Willow can be a great pick. Her long range harass will allow you to pick off opponents in any lane easily. Plus, since the hero can scale well into the late game, Dark Willow can also make a transition into a core provided you have equipped yourself with the necessary items.
Dark Willow should be your pick if you are in need of team fight spells and lockdown. However, it is important to note that Dark Willow should be played as a position 4 support rather than 5 as you will need items to spam the abilities.
Dark Willow Talent Tree
Based on how the game progresses, you can lead Dark Willow towards a carry or more team fight oriented all-rounder. This is pretty obvious if we just take a look at the overall talent tree for the hero.
Probably, the best thing for Dark Willow is the +125 Cast Range. This allows her to be at a very safe distance before spamming her abilities. Although the Shadow Realm gives her an extra 1075 attack range, she usually has to play deep in team fights to have maximum impact. Getting the extra +125 Cast range at Level 10 greatly enhances her survivability. On the other hand, you can go for +20 damage talent if you choose a late game core for yourself.
At Level 15 you have the option to choose between +90 Gold/min and +40 Movement speed. Both are good options. If you are deprived of the early farm, then +90 Gold/min talent would do you wonders. The +40 Movement speed is also a prime factor as it allows you to catch fleeing enemies with ease, and also keep yourself at a safe distance if you find yourself caught in team fights.
At Level 20, I would recommend the +300 damage on Shadow Realm as it can give you a huge damage burst. This will allow you to single-handedly take out enemies. At Level 25, when the game is in make or break situation, you have the option for increased attack speed of one-second addition to terrorize duration. Both are good options, and it all comes down to how the game has panned out, based on which you can select the talent.
The skill build that you should follow when playing Dark Willow is as follows.
This is irrespective of the role that you take, as it is more of a hybrid skill build that you can alter to your needs in the later stages of the game.
Just like any other support hero, you will have to start off the game with wards, courier, few tangos and clarity portions. In case of Dark Willow, we recommend you stack up clarities rather than having tangos, as it will allow you to have more mana sustain in the laning phase so that you can spam as many spells as possible.
In case your opponents are going ham on you, denying yourself from the neutrals or sacrificing your life for the benefit of the team is far better. But be sure to use all your spells before dying so that the enemy heroes also have to retrieve to the shrine, or at least spend some gold to regenerate.
As the game progresses, your first go-to item should be the Eul’s Scepter of Divinity. This item is a great tool for you to set up your Bramble Maze perfectly. In the time of need, it can give you a 2.5 second time span in case your Shadow Realm is on cooldown. You can also do a combo where you target the enemy hero with Cursed Crown, Eul him and cast Bramble Maze just afterwards. This way the enemy hero will be rooted as soon as she touches the ground followed by a chain stun from Cursed Crown that triggers after a four-second delay. Here is an example
You can choose from Aether Lens and Kaya as one can greatly enhance your damage output while the other gives you additional cast range that stacks up with your talent as well. Based on how the game transitions, you can now choose between damage dealing items or escape items. This is where you can build Veil of Discord, Glimmer Cape, Force Staff which can later be upgraded into a Hurricane Pike.
Starting off the game is just like any other support. You will need to make sure that you have placed necessary wards in important positions so that your team feels safe in the lane or when they are trying to rotate.
Your best bet would be to stick with the carry as this is where you can take full advantage. You can protect your carry as long as you have clarity portions by your side. If your core is being harassed, you can do the same with the enemies in the lane with the Bramble Maze and a DPS burst with Shadow Realm. We considered adding other images showing different gank possibilities and combinations but then thought that an actual gameplay video would be the best thing to learn from. Here is none other than Team Liquid’s captain and support player Kuro “KuroKy” Salehi Takhasomi doing his magic with Dark Willow.
If your carry is doing well, then you are better off harassing enemy heroes in other lanes and ganking them. Combine with a good CC from any other allied hero; you can take off just about anyone with ease.
As the game passes the 10 minutes, you will have yourself two of the most OP spells in the game that can give you immense burst damage while also give you a way to line up enemies that can either be used to run or set up for other CC ultimate to follow up.
That’s about it on how you can play good with Dark Willow. Being a relatively new hero, players find it hard to understand how to play it and how she can be mastered. And it also plays an important role as to how much grinding have you done with the hero. Being dependent on spells all of which need to be timed to do maximum damage, you need a lot of time to master the hero.
The Dark Willow guide will benefit you only if you have decided to play at least two games with the hero every day. Only reading it here and hoping to master it won’t do you any good. Thus it is important that you keep all the things in mind and gradually start to implement the key takeaways from this guide to improve your game.
Skill and Item build are something that can be altered to your needs, and thus it is advised that you NOT solely follow the build mentioned above and change it according to the needs of the game.
I hope this guide will help you in mastering yourself as a Dark Willow player. If you find it informative then do let us know so that I continue adding more of such guides in the future.