At first glance, Radiance doesn’t really seem to do much for what it costs. As an item with a single component that costs a whopping 3,800 gold, it happens to be one of the most difficult weapons to even build in the first place. The climb towards the Sacred Relic alone is incredibly arduous, in spite of the fact that Radiance works best when purchased as soon as possible.
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But underneath the surface lies a decently versatile item, capable of fulfilling a few purposes. A select few heroes in the game even have it as one of their core items, and these heroes are made so much better than they would otherwise be without it. On these heroes, walking the long road to a Radiance is well worth it, thanks to its innate ability to accelerate farm and applications in combat.
Illusion-based heroes in particular love this item, as Radiance’s Burn ability propagates to illusions. This gives them the freedom of pushing lanes and farming creeps without putting themselves in danger of being ganked, which in itself is already a huge deal. It is not uncommon to see these heroes regularly send their illusions to different lanes, in order to stem the tide of creeps and maintain map control for their team.
Spectre is perhaps the most iconic wielder of the Radiance, thanks to her design as a “tank and return” type hero. Radiance doubles down on her kit, giving her additional damage output outside of her passive ability Dispersion. Her ultimate ability haunt also uses Radiance to full effect, immediately applying Burn onto heroes that her illusions spawn next to.
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Radiance is also the only viable farming item on Spectre, as she does not really have the attack speed and damage necessary to make Battle Fury a worthy investment. Spectre players should aim to get Radiance by the 18 minute mark or earlier, in order to maximize its farming acceleration. Any later, and going for Vanguard/Diffusal Blade usually becomes a better idea.
Radiance Alchemist has been around since the hero was implemented in DotA Allstars, all the way back in 2006. Radiance synergizes ridiculously well with Alchemist’s abilities, helping him rake in the gold by combining Burn and Greevil’s Greed, and leveraging his natural durability in order to deal passive damage for as long as possible.
Burn’s blind chance component also helps Alchemist greatly in deep late game situations, especially against carries that can put out more physical DPS than he can. It’s the next best thing to buying a Butterfly on him—but it’s safe to say that item isn’t exactly one of his usual pickups.
Weaver’s lack of a built-in flash farming item and extremely small mana pool (thus discouraging liberal use of Shukuchi for farming) make Radiance a good fit for him. Going for it, however, does require him to have a good laning phase—one where he isn’t boxed completely out of the lane by denies or harassment.
Once he has it, though, his GPM is greatly increased, as well as his damage in teamfights. Weaver’s longevity thanks to Shukuchi and Time Lapse make it relatively easy to keep hurting your enemies the longer the teamfight goes, and his ability to reposition with the former gives him a lot of flexibility with the item.
Of course, who could forget about the king of the wraiths himself? Wraith King already happens to be very hard to take down—which is made even more difficult by the presence of Radiance. Not only does the Burn discourage heroes from sticking close to him for too long, but it also assists him when going toe to toe with other carries.
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Moreover, his ultimate gives him more time to keep enemy heroes under the Radiance aura, which can eventually turn the tide of battle.
As mentioned before, illusion based heroes like Naga Siren can get really creative with Radiance. Her long-lasting illusions are perfect for split pushing and farming with Radiance, all while keeping her safe from harm elsewhere on the map. She can farm in at least four different places at once with the item, and stop pushes from the enemy team almost singlehandedly.
The fact that Lone Druid effectively has 12 inventory slots means that he has more than enough room to have a Radiance in his pocket. That is to say that his back pocket is his bear summon, who can carry the Radiance for him. This effectively “softens” the disarm mechanic on the bear when it is at least 1100 units away from Lone Druid himself—prior to Aghanim’s Scepter.
As mentioned before, Radiance is one of the hardest items in the game to build. Because it is an item whose effectiveness falls off sharply after a certain point in the game, it is pretty much an all-or-nothing purchase; you either get it early or you skip it altogether. Make sure to tell your team if you are aiming for Radiance, so that they can adjust their expectations and gameplan accordingly.
Also, considering asking your team to draft defensive supports for you as a Radiance carrier, as any early game deaths can set you back significantly. Once you get close to the 3,800 gold mark, try your best not to show yourself on the map or place yourself in precarious positions.
Later on in the game, Radiance becomes invaluable at disabling enemy Blink Daggers, preventing heroes from escaping or even initiating (in the case of heroes like Spectre, Naga Siren, Weaver, or Lone Druid). The annoyance factor alone can win entire games for you and your team—so whenever there is an opportunity to harass a key initiator on the enemy’s side, try to make it happen.
Turning off the Radiance aura manually (done by activating the item in your inventory) seems counterproductive, but it is useful when you are invisible or posturing up for a gank attempt outside of enemy vision. Besides, you can just turn it on again after the gank attempt begins.
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