Dota 2 Hero Guide – Dazzle

After receiving a skill rework in patch 7.20, Dazzle has gone from support to core—with a whole new method of play in tow.  Learn all about it with our guide.

Dazzle, the Shadow Priest, is a ranged intelligence hero known best for being a hard support that can prevent himself or his teammates from dying for a short period of time. This is enabled by his signature ability Shallow Grave, which places a buff that prevents a hero from falling below one point of health throughout its duration. This effectively makes the hero immortal for a whole five seconds, though they can still be stunned, disabled, and damaged as normal.

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The rest of his kit before his ultimate are also conducive to support play. Poison Touch applies a potent slow and damage over time debuff in a cone, striking multiple enemy units in its radius. Whenever affected units are attacked or damage, the debuff’s duration is reset to full—making it extremely irritating and a huge pain in gank attempts and teamfights. Shadow Wave heals allied units that are close together, bouncing between them while also damaging enemies that might be nearby. Shadow Wave becomes quite deadly when there are multiple allied units to heal, dealing almost 1,000 points of damage if it bounces between six friendlies.

All in all, his non-ultimate abilities make it seem like he would be limited to a support role—but a radical change to his ultimate in patch 7.20 (November 2018) have given him a new lease on life as a core hero. Bad Juju, which replaced his old area-of-effect ultimate Weave, passively reduces his cooldowns by up to 50 percent, while also reducing the armor of enemy units in a 1,200 unit radius whenever he casts a spell.

Image via Valve

This new ability alone has opened up new avenues for Dazzle players, particularly when it comes to push-heavy strategies revolving around the item Necronomicon. With Bad Juju at Level 3, Necronomicon’s cooldown is cut from 90 seconds to 45, which overlaps with the minions’ 60 second timed life by a whole 15 seconds. Essentially, Necronomicon will have 100 percent uptime thanks to Bad Juju, allowing Dazzle to safely push lanes and annoy enemy heroes no matter where he is on the map. Of course, this doesn’t even touch on what his ultimate does for his abilities, with Shallow Grave having an insane 7.5 second cooldown and Shadow Wave being up every four seconds. Poison Touch being up every 9 seconds also means that he can control teamfights quite easily, and dish out constant damage in the process.

Despite his new toy, however, Dazzle still has some of the classic weaknesses that he’s had since he was implemented into the game. He is still a very fragile hero without a natural escape mechanism, relying almost entirely on Shallow Grave to stay alive whenever he is caught in gank attempt. Of course, since Shallow Grave is a single target spell (outside of its own Aghanim’s Scepter upgrade), Dazzle being forced to use it on himself means that he will be unable to save a more valuable ally should they be put in harm’s way as well. His lack of a hard disable also means that his teammates will have to provide the lockdown themselves.

Even with his shortcomings, though, Dazzle remains a true force in the metagame, terrorizing the lanes with his low cooldown spells and items. His newfound strength may be a bit unorthodox compared to his traditional style, but rest assured that this Shadow Priest’s new curses are very dreadful and fatal in equal measure.

Dazzle Skill Build

Dazzle’s skill progression doesn’t really change much from game to game, though it certainly can depending on your team’s draft as well as the opponent’s lineup. The traditional lane support Dazzle build is always there for players to fall back on, but there is also a way to build a more aggressive, harassment-focused version of the hero.

The traditional route involves maxing Shadow Wave first, in order to maximize your healing power and your ability to babysit your lane partner well. Value points in Poison Touch and Shallow Grave are also taken before hitting Level 6, as each one has its uses even when left at their starting levels. Poison Touch is your main harassment tool, dealing respectable physical damage as long as you can reset its duration with your regular attack. Shallow Grave is of course there to save you or your lane partner in a pinch. Just remember to be near your partner if you ever have to cast it; its cast range at Level 1 isn’t exactly out there.

From there, Shallow Grave will be maxed out next, in order to gear up for the mid game. More teamfights and small engagements will start to occur around this time, after all, and sometimes you won’t have the luxury of walking towards the target you want to save just to get in range to cast Grave. Getting Grave to Level 4 as soon as possible will help immensely when it comes to keeping your teammates alive. Poison Touch will be saved for last, as it is far less important for this build than the other two abilities.

As for the aggressive route, both Shallow Grave and Shadow Wave are delayed to make way for more points in Poison Touch early on. Laning against a Dazzle with this build can be a daunting task, due to the duration reset mechanic of Poison Touch and Dazzle’s decent attack range. This build in particular can be useful if you do plan on building Necronomicon and other such items normally reserved for core heroes, but it does make you useless to your team for quite a while. Be sure to communicate with your teammates about your intentions before settling on this build. Regardless of your chosen path, though, we recommend getting Bad Juju at every level possible.

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Our recommended skill builds, therefore, are as follows:

Support

  • Poison Touch
  • Shadow Wave
  • Shadow Wave
  • Shallow Grave
  • Shadow Wave
  • Bad Juju
  • Shadow Wave
  • Shallow Grave
  • Shallow Grave
  • Level 10 Talent: +75 Damage
  • Shallow Grave
  • Bad Juju
  • Poison Touch
  • Poison Touch
  • Level 15 Talent: +20 Shadow Wave Heal/Damage
  • Poison Touch
  • Bad Juju
  • Level 20 Talent: +40 Movement Speed
  • Level 25 Talent: +0.5 Bad Juju Armor Reduction

Aggressive

  • Poison Touch
  • Shadow Wave
  • Poison Touch
  • Shallow Grave
  • Poison Touch
  • Bad Juju
  • Poison Touch
  • Shadow Wave
  • Shadow Wave
  • Shadow Wave
  • Level 10 Talent: +75 Damage
  • Bad Juju
  • Shallow Grave
  • Shallow Grave
  • Level 15 Talent: +20 Shadow Wave Heal/Damage
  • Shallow Grave
  • Bad Juju
  • Level 20 Talent: +40 Movement Speed
  • Level 25 Talent: +0.5 Bad Juju Armor Reduction

Dazzle Item Build

Just like his skill progression, Dazzle’s item build will depend on the chosen playstyle and his position on the draft. If he is to play the traditional support role, then items that have more utility than straight up damage will be of great use to him. We recommend aiming for a Medallion of Courage as your first support item, as it synergizes supremely with your kit’s physical damage output. Remember that armor reduction does not only amplify regular physical attacks, but also physical damage from spells. On the flipside, Medallion of Courage can be used to give more armor to one of your teammates, which can prove useful in a pinch. Medallion of Courage is also quite cheap for what it does for you, making it very easy to obtain in the early game.

From there, we suggest pickups such as Urn of Shadows, Arcane Boots, and/or Glimmer Cape. Urn of Shadows gives you a way to heal your teammates without having to spend mana, though of course you will need to participate in ganks early on in order to charge the item. Arcane Boots supplies you and your teammates with additional mana to use in early engagements, and pairs well with mana-dependent lineups. Glimmer Cape provides you with a way to save your allies without having to spend Shallow Grave cooldowns—though of course this is dependent on whether or not the opponents carry detection with them regularly.

Going into the mid game, you will likely have to delay your item progression in favor of buying Wards and other consumables for your team. This is also done in order to help the utility support player (position 4) get his items online first, as it is very likely that the hero he is playing requires items at a certain timing in order to be useful. Once he is able to take over warding duty, then you may continue building up your inventory.

For mid game items, we recommend pickups such as Aether Lens, Eul’s Scepter of Divinity, and/or Holy Locket. Aether Lens augments your cast range significantly, allowing you to save allies and slow enemy units down from even further away. If you have Arcane Boots, you may disassemble them and use the Energy Booster to make an Aether Lens later on. Eul’s gives you a much-needed hard disable, and is sort of like a secondary Shallow Grave that can only be used on yourself. The mana regen is nice, of course. Holy Locket, on the other hand, turns you into a true cleric, pumping up your Shadow Wave’s healing power by 25 percent.

As a hard support, you probably won’t have much in the way of luxury items in the late game—but in case the game does go on for an extended period of time, you have a few choices. A Force Staff could be very useful for disengaging after long cooldown spells have been used in a teamfight. Spirit Vessel is an obvious choice versus regeneration-dependent lineups. Solar Crest is the natural upgrade for Medallion of Courage, making it even more useful against physical DPS carries. If you find yourself getting focused down early in teamfights, consider getting an Aeon Disk. Aghanim’s Scepter kicks Shallow Grave up several notches, making it an area-of-effect ability rather than just a single target spell.

But if you are going to be a core hero in your draft, you will want to get a Necronomicon as soon as possible. Before that, though, we recommend purchasing a Blight Stone, as it will help you immensely in the laning phase when it comes to boxing your opponents out with Poison Touch and regular attacks. After that, you are free to farm towards a Necronomicon, which you should have by around the 15 minute mark. Continue upgrading the Necronomicon until it hits Level 3, then shift gears back over to team utility items. You may refer to the items listed above for that. Be sure to keep your Necronomicon minions up at all times, though you should also exercise some caution when sending them to enemy lanes. After all, they have hefty gold bounties attached to them, which the other side will definitely appreciate and exploit if you aren’t careful.

Dazzle Combo

Because of his slow movement speed and the average cast range of Poison Touch, Dazzle typically isn’t looked at as a hard initiator. Instead, you will typically want to follow up on your offlaner or utility support’s initiation abilities, by applying Poison Touch to as many enemy heroes as possible. Afterwards, you’ll want to use Shadow Wave to heal your allies and harm your opponents at the same time, which will make everyone else’s cleanup duties much easier. Use Shallow Grave on teammates in danger as needed.

Throughout all of this, remember that Bad Juju has two components to it. The armor reduction mechanic should not be underestimated, and the more spells you are able to cast in a teamfight, the better your chances of coming out of it victorious. Make sure to keep an eye on your cooldowns so that you can optimize your spell chaining, so to speak.

Dazzle Counter

Countering Dazzle will depend on which build he is going for. The traditional build is most reliably countered by long disables and silence effects, as they all prevent Dazzle from even getting Shallow Grave off in an engagement. Silencer, Night Stalker, Bloodseeker, and other heroes with built-in silences work well against him as a result. Orchid Malevolence carriers such as Queen of Pain and Storm Spirit would also do well to focus Dazzle down first, by jumping him with their respective mobility skills and using Orchid’s active ability on him as soon as possible.

Failing that, drafting Axe is one way to bypass Shallow Grave entirely, as it causes the Graved unit’s death instantly as long as its health is below the threshold. Ancient Apparition’s ultimate ability Ice Blast doesn’t quite have the same power over Shallow Grave, though it does prevent Shadow Wave from healing anything affected by its debuff while also lasting longer than Shallow Grave.

Illusion-based heroes are also fantastic picks against Dazzle, as he does not have a way of dealing with them unless there is an absurd amount of allied units next to them. Having no movement abilities means that if he is ever caught by an army of illusions, his only way of escaping is by casting Shallow Grave on himself and using a Town Portal Scroll to get away. This can be prevented by using silence effects as usual, or by equipping an illusion hero with Diffusal Blade.

Outworld Devourer is a rather unique counter to Dazzle, thanks to the effects of Astral Imprisonment. With the proper timing, Astral Imprisonment can be cast on Dazzle or his Shallow Grave target right before Shallow Grave ends—thus killing them instantly once the prison dissipates. It is also a long duration banishment effect, which can be used on Dazzle himself to take him out of the fight before he is able to get his spells off.

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* FirstBlood® is NOT AFFILIATED, AUTHORIZED, LICENSED OR ENDORSED by Dota™, Dota 2™, Steam™, Dota 2™, the Dota logo® and Steam™ are trademarks of Valve Corporation.

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