Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Dazzle Guide


Since his skill rebuild in 6.54, Dazzle has become one of my favorite heroes in DotA. Before 6.54, he was simply a babysitter/warder with a carry loving ultimate. With his skill change, he has become a powerful member of team fights, able to keep his team alive against the most viciously farmed carries while simultaneously crippling enemies. While Dazzle is still a warder and babysitter in the early game, his role in team battles, i.e. the mid to late game, has completely changed. As I have seen only a few guides outlining the new Dazzle, I decided I wanted to write one and share my experience with him.

Pros and Cons


[+] Item independent

[+] Very high intelligence gain (second to Pugna and tied with Enigma)

[+] As a result of high intelligence, also high base damage

[+] Pretty high stats (64 points) and stat growth (6.95 points per level)

[+] Able to semi-carry in a pinch

[+] Versatile and very spammable skill set


[-] No disables (Poison Touch only ministuns, no full stun)

[-] Low health

[-] No nukes

[-] Reliance on Physical Damage (which has declined a lot)

[-] Requires heavy spell spam, which eats mana

[-] Requires teamwork and coordination to play well


Range: 500 | Move Speed: 305 | Primary: Intelligence

Str: 16 + 1.85 | Agi: 21 + 1.7 | Int: 27 + 3.4

Damage: 41-59 | HP: 454 | Mana: 351 | Armor: 2.0


Little is known to the Shadowtooth Clan, likely because this group of shadowy trolls never unveil the secrets of their mystifying sacrament. Nevertheless, the Loa they worship is much more powerful than most elementals, thus their favors must be kept in confidentiality. In return, these Primal Gods granted these trolls the power over paralyzing toxins, life-bending voodoo, and even endowment of life beyond the grave. A living eternity of death and misery, Dazzle now marches within the ranks of the undead, announcing the apocalypse of the Scourge that may lead them to much anticipated ascendancy.


Poison Touch

A poisonous magic is placed on an enemy unit causing it to move slowly becoming paralyzed. The longer the poison takes to set in, the slower the unit will become. After the poison sets in, it takes physical damage per second for 7 seconds. Target moves slower per level.

Level 1 - 7 damage. Takes 1 second to set in.

Level 2 - 14 damage. Takes 2 seconds to set in.

Level 3 - 21 damage. Takes 3 seconds to set in.

Level 4 - 28 damage. Takes 3 seconds to set in.

Cooldown: 15/13/11/9

Manacost: 100/115/130/145

Dazzle's most important tool in ganking. Poison Touch slows its target to stop at level 3 and 4 which allows you and your teammate(s) to catch up to almost anyone. The low cooldown allows you to cast it many times in battle, especially after Weave, which of course amplifies the damage. The two small problems with Touch is the mana cost (it builds up very quickly to you having no mana) and the minimal effect it has at levels 1 and 2 (level 2 does have a little more of a slow). It should be known, lastly, that Poison Touch does not slow for the duration but rather it slows over the first 1-3 seconds and the damage begins after the initial slow. A very good skill that makes Dazzle a good lane partner. Also this ministuns at all levels, since I forgot to put it back in when I was revising.

Shallow Grave

Shallow Grave prevents any damage from killing the targeted hero for 5 seconds.

Level 1 - 90 Cooldown. 400 cast range.

Level 2 - 70 Cooldown. 600 cast range.

Level 3 - 50 Cooldown. 800 cast range.

Level 4 - 30 Cooldown. 1000 cast range.

Cooldown: 54/40/26/12

Manacost: 140/130/120/110

While the old Shallow Grave was incredibly powerful, this spell has also proven itself to be quite a handful. This can save heroes getting ganked or prolong a carry's life so he can finish his job. While the concept is similar to something like Borrowed Time, Shallow Grave has a small visible animationsplaced on the unit (I am not 100% sure but if there are buffs, they are quite hard to see) so enemies will not always be aware that they are targeting a Graved hero. A very good skill for the end game.

Shadow Wave

Sends forth a Shadow Wave to heal a few units. Healed units also damage a small area around them for the same amount. Dissipated damage is Physical.

Level 1 - Dissipates 80 damage. 3 targets.

Level 2 - Dissipates 100 damage. 3 targets.

Level 3 - Dissipates 120 damage. 4 targets.

Level 4 - Dissipates 140 damage. 5 targets.

Cooldown: 12/10/8/6

Manacost: 80/90/100/110

Shadow Wave is probably Dazzle's most versatile spell. It allows you to simultaneously heal, push and farm. The low cooldown ensures that it will be cast many, many times. Also Weave boosts the damage quite a bit if cast correctly.


A powerful shadow magic used to increase or decrease defenses over time. Changes armor by 1 every second. Affects allied and enemy heroes in a 600 AOE.

Level 1 - Lasts 12(18) seconds.

Level 2 - Lasts 18(24) seconds.

Level 3 - Lasts 24(30) seconds.

Cooldown: 40

Manacost: 100

Ah, Weave. The skill that makes me love Dazzle so. Originally, Weave targeted one unit and allowed Dazzle to be somewhat of a carry by giving him retarded amounts of armor or making a carry seem much weaker. Now, as his ultimate, Weave targets an area of 600 (a little bit more than Dazzle's attack range) and has a casting distance of 2000. This second fact is not well known I feel because I see many Dazzles run into battle and then cast Weave to target themselves. You do not need to Weave yourself. You do not even need to Weave your teammates. Weaving 3 enemies can usually be enough to get three kills for your team. In addition, because this skill changes armor, it makes Dazzle's damage go up quite a bit because he deals purely physical damage with his skills and is still very relevant in the late game unlike other intelligence nukes. Because of its long range, it allows Dazzle to stay out of the middle of the battle when larger AoEs are being cast so he doesn't take much damage or get disabled and he can swoop in with Grave, Touch and Wave to pull his team back from near death.

I'm updating this because of the addition of Aghamin's Scepter to Dazzle. There are two bonuses: a boost to duration (shown above) and a boost to to AoE (600 => 800). These are both quite helpful numerically, but I will discuss below whether or not I believe Aghamin's is a viable choice on Dazzle.

Item Build


There is not a whole lot to justify for Dazzle's item build. He is a babysitter and a warder. He loves to have a courier bring him his items so he can spend as much time in lane. He spends most of his time healing/boosting his allies or weakening enemies so his allies can kill them. Unlike other spell spam heroes (like Akasha or Nerubian), he has a very large mana pool and does not need a Guinsoo/Ring to prolong his staying time early game. While I agree there are other possibilities for Dazzle's items, I feel that these have the best effect in a competitive game where you have teammates you can communicate with.

Obviously Dazzle isn't always the best hero to be warding or getting a courier, but he sure is a good candidate. At the very least, if you have another warder on your team, Dazzle can buy the courier (or vice versa)

Though I said originally that I wouldn't take a bottle on Dazzle, hiphophomies disagrees with me with some strong reasoning:


Void stone is extremely inefficient compared to bottle and lends towards a static style of play that does not suit Dazzle, who should be on the move traveling to whatever spot needs the most help or has the best opportunity for him to make his presence felt.

While I haven't tried Bottle personally, (scratch that, I've tried Bottle, its a good option) this is a very good point (of course this needs to be coupled with the rest of his argument to have the full understanding). Dazzle is a very dynamic hero and should benefit from that style of play. In addition, I can't read the difference between 60 and 70 (which is 30 mana from a full Bottle - actually a big deal). Therefore, I would consider taking Bottle as a core item.


These are a few items that you should get after your core of Bottle and Shoes (as the rest are consumables). They will boost your survivability so that you can gank and stay in the lane more effectively in the early game.

You are probably puzzling over why I recommend Healing Salves. Salves don't cost mana and they heal you. Dazzle has the ability to take a lot of damage but not quite die and using a Salve will prevent you from getting ganked (or ganked again) or needing to return home. In addition, Salves can also be used on teammates quite easily. Salves allows Dazzle to conserve 100-200 mana easily at the cost of 100 gold (not that hard to make for him). I recommend having a Salve or two on hand at all times.

Bracers are obvious on Dazzle. He doesn't have great health and Bracers give him 114 a pop. Two will put his health between 800-1000 in the early game, which will give you more mana to Wave and Grave your teammates when you don't need to place it on yourself.

Mekansm is very good on Dazzle. He can make the money to build it pretty easily (I have gotten it in under 8 minutes when being in a solo lane) and it gives more armor and health to his allies and gives him a little extra survivability. However, Dazzle should be trying to build Mek quickly, usually his 3rd permanent item. Note that you can rush Mek and completely skip other items for it if you feel that it is a more effective approach.

I have also recently added Magic Wand as it is an all around good item. It can give 225 mana maximum, which is about 2 of Dazzle's spells, which is pretty good. It serves a role similar to Bottle, but just like on many other heroes, it acts like Radar, warning you of all sorts of nonsense within a pretty noticeable range. So consider it if you really need mana.

As a no brainer, you should always have a Scroll of Town Portal ready after level 8 or 9.

Luxury Items:

These items are Dazzle's next concern while he simultaneously will be warding. I have put it in order of priority but I believe that you should be able to get a Boot upgrade and part of a supporting item as I discuss below.

Once you have your Mek, next should be a Boots upgrade. This is very doable in even a relatively short game and you should have a good amount of money by 15-20 minutes.

Because of the incredible boost they provide, I would recommend Phase Boots because it protects you from regular attacks better and you will always out run other gankers with Poison Touch. They are also cheap and you will be able to move quickly to your next item.

I used to be partial to Treads. Dazzle has very high base damage throughout the whole game and Treads only makes that damage go up. It also lets you jungle more efficiently. It is also a necessity if you plan to Semi-carry and ignore most of the team oriented play I have suggested.

I wouldn't buy Travels unless you have nothing else to buy.

Dazzle is already a pretty heavy support hero and these items will only make the job easier.

I highly recommend Guinsoo's as it will cause Dazzle to have infinite mana between his already high intelligence and the large regen bonus.

Shiva's Guard should be gotten when there is no other hero that can buy it and you need more Burst Damage.

Necrominicon should only be gotten when there is no other that can buy it AND there is a need for true sight.

I have recently added Khadgar's Pipe of Insight because it a very obvious choice on Dazzle. I would highly recommend this when you are looking down many heavy gankers (Zeus, Nerub, Potm, Puck). Dazzle is a perfect bearer. Just toss a bracer in place of this beauty.

While I highly doubt the game will ever come to the point where Dazzle will need any of these, he does have enough base damage and attack speed (with Treads) to be an effective Semi-Carry. Orchid or Stygian can both be purchased but I don't recommend it unless you really need a semi-carry.

I think I need to futher clarify this point. If you want to, you can go ahead and skip all the above items and rush Stygian Desolator. You will have very high DPS. I am not dismissing it as a possibility but I personally wouldn't take this route.

As I said above, I would wait to discuss this item choice. I am not really a fan of Aghamin's Scepter on Dazzle. Heroes who tend to buy scepter get a large boost from it (Rhasta, Chen, Invoker). However, in Dazzle's case, the only real benefit is the AoE. Generally, the other team will be dead before the duration of Weave is even over. The 6 extra seconds per level is only useful in the early levels. I would not buy this item before Guinsoo's or Pipe but I may buy it if the game really drags on and armor reduction goes from a luxury to a necessity.

With all that being said, Dazzle can pick up almost any item, but I would highly recommend the following as your ideal items (keep in mind that this is of course not exhaustive of Dazzle's item choices):

Skill Build

While I have seen a few people advocate maxing Shallow Grave early, why do this? It greatly limits Dazzle to purely baby sitting. Poison Touch is an incredibly powerful spell. Shallow Grave can save people pretty well early game with its buffed cooldown, but you may be limiting yourself greatly.

For those of you who think Shadow Wave is better to max before Poison Touch, you can still hit for about 270 damage with level 1 Shadow Wave if you use it correctly (for only 80 mana), so keep that in mind.

1 Shadow Wave (1)

2 Poison Touch (1) /Shallow Grave (1)

3 Shallow Grave (1) /Poison Touch (1)

4 Poison Touch (2)

5 Poison Touch (3)

6 Weave (1)

7 Poison Touch (4)

8 Shadow Wave (2)

9 Shadow Wave (3)

10 Shadow Wave(4)

11 Weave (2)

12 Shallow Grave (2)

13 Shallow Grave (3)

14 Shallow Grave (4)

15 Attribute Bonus (1)

16 Weave (3)

17-25 Attribute Bonus

Starting Items

If you are the warder, start with:



x 2 (100)

/ (90/100)


x 2 (106)

x 1-2 (90-180)

x 1-2 (100-200)

x 1-2 (150-300)

Levels 1-6/7

Starting the game, you want to pick up bottom lane in Sentinel side or top lane in Scourge side along with a carry or a strong lane controller so you can pull the Neutral Camp. You want the long lanes because it will allow your carry to get more experience and prevent you from pushing too far into the lane. The best carries to lane with are those who normally have a poor early game or can't farm well (Riki, Mortred, Spectre are pretty good examples). If you are with a strong lane controller (PotM, NA, Rhasta), you can probably take first blood very quickly. Another good option is to take a dual mid lane so you can control the river better. Dazzle and a teammate can steal runes from a Tinker/Zeus/Nevermore to prevent roaming easily.

When you are in lane, last hit and deny frequently and try to help the carry last hit (auto-attacking a fresh enemy wave to knock some health down makes it easier for the carry to get last hits without getting denied if you coordinate). Remember that Shadow Wave at level 1 will prevent last hits and denies from the enemies.

Harass with your regular attack often. It is quite strong and you can get many hits in on melee heroes, which can give you an easy first blood. You can also take a lane with someone who has slows or disables and get a pretty easy first blood on a squishy heroes without escape mechanism or disables of their own.

Feel free to leave your lane once you have your 3 level in Poison Touch so you can gank. You can easily take down low health heroes with a little help to put some pressure on the other team.

Lastly, don't be afraid to pull enemy creeps closer to the tower by attacking enemy heroes. This will bring you closer to your tower and make it harder for enemies to deny.

While Dazzle can solo, he is much more suited to a dual lane. If you are forced to solo or wish to for some reason, you do not have to make any changes to your item or skill build. Make sure to apply the same tactics as the dual lane but try to pick up as many last hits and denies as you can and do not auto-attack creeps as you have no carry to pick up last hits. Dazzle has a very nice attack animation and good damage so you should be able to pick up a decent amount of cash.

Once you have Weave, you can move around and use your spells to support your team. Remember to let your allies know when you want to Weave so they can act accordingly.

Levels 8 +

By the time you are 8-10 (probably 12-15 minutes in), you should have either:


You could also have part of Orchid or Deso at this point if you trying to semi-carry.

You should be pretty mobile if you have Bottle or Mek and helping your team get kills and pushing out lanes. Make sure you get Wards and Salves to gain more control. If you find that your enemies have a very large amount of nukes and you are getting ganked and dying, get some Bracers or Magic Wand. By the time you hit 11, you really will need to pick up a Voidstone if you don't have an Orchid so you do not have to go back to base at all.

Dazzle does not need to spend a lot of time farming; if his team takes towers and pushes well, he will have all the money he needs. If you find yourself strapped for cash, you can farm neutral creeps in addition to the lane creeps. While I don't think Dazzle is a great farmer, Shadow Wave can farm a lane rather quickly. Remember that each bounce deals 140 damage; for 5 creeps, this comes up to 700 damage, which will usually kill all the creeps. One finally consideration is to buy Dust/Gem for invisibility heroes. Dazzle is a good candidate for this because chances are that he will not be hit by large disables like Ravage or Overgrowth if he is careful and he can come in to reveal anyone in waiting.

If you are really making large amount of cash in the later part of the game (15+), Guinsoo's is your highest priority item because it will give you a disable. You should have gotten the Voidstone already if you aren't building Orchid, so slowly buy the other components while picking up wards/dust, consumables and scrolls. If you built Orchid by now, start on that Guinsoo's or Eul's if you can't make money.

The use of Dazzle's spells does not change much throughout the game so here are some tips that will help you place them better:

Using Poison Touch

Poison Touch gives you the ability to both save allies and stop enemies. However, it is very strenuous on your mana to spam it endlessly, so don't use it to harass. On a Weaved hero, it becomes a very dangerous nuke, generally dealing 200-300 damage, which can pick up kills on heroes with escape mechanisms.

Using Shallow Grave

Shallow Grave is a difficult spell to place right. You do not want to waste any of its time to maximize its use, but it has a .5 second cast animation so you do not want to wait till the last second. In addition, don't be afraid to use it on yourself; it can allow you to get away from some very dangerous enemies that would normally be inescapable with only Poison Touch (Broodmother and Krobie come to mind pretty quickly). This will also prevent sudden death from a Necrolyte.

Using Shadow Wave

Shadow Wave is Dazzle's bread and butter so it should be used whenever an ally gets into orange or below health. Try to use it on stunned heroes that are surrounded or on creep waves to pick up last hits. Make sure to spam Wave during Weave if people are tightly engaged in melee to deal ~200 per bounce. Also remember that Wave will target units even if they have lost sliver of health, so don't feel bad throwing a wave into the fray to put on some easy damage. It Dazzle's main damaging spell, so don't be afraid to spam it once you have some decent regen (Voidstone) or a slightly larger pool (1000+).

Using Weave

Weave costs 100 mana, making it Dazzle's least expensive spell. Therefore, I encourage that people use it regularly on allies and enemies. If your team has a lot of physical DPS (Rexxar, Juggernaut), try to hit large groups of enemies boost DPS. If you are facing a large number of farmed carries who have mostly physical DPS, try to hit your entire team so you can shake off the damage while you Wave and Mek your allies back to full. It is always a good idea to open with Weave when you see a group of heroes before your initiator goes into the fray.

One of the most difficult things about Weave is that it requires planning to have the largest effect. Simply placing Weave on a group will not guarantee a kill or safety of an ally. You will need to be able to communicate well with your team so they are aware of when and where you Weave so the armor reduction can be take advantage of fully.

Other General Advice

Even without mana, Dazzle can still be a good supporter. Learning how to hero block is very important for Dazzle because he is quick enough to get in front of many heroes to stop them from getting into attack range without putting himself in danger when Poison Touch isn't an option.

A new point I think is very relevant with my addition of Bottle is using the Bottle-Crow combo. Dazzle will benefit greatly from this because he can keep all his allies in high health will being able to restore his own health very quickly. For those of you unfamiliar with this strategy, it involves you buying a Bottle for your Crow that will bring it to and from the fountain so that your allies can reap the benefits of constant health and mana regeneration. This is a tricky strategy, but it is definitely worth trying.

General Warding

Any competitive player should know how to ward properly and I'm sure almost everyone has read the guide to proper warding on DA. In the case that you haven't, you may want to take a look if you want to play Dazzle as a warder:

Armor and Stygian Desolator

Weave reduces armor; therefore, we have to consider how an item like Stygian will change Dazzle's damage. I am putting up a link to Dky�€™s guide on Slardar (from DA) because it gives mathcraft on the statistics for armor in the second main section:

While I will not go into this much detail, I can say that the statistics that are relevant to armor loss for Slardar are the same for Dazzle. Considering that Dazzle's armor reduction is slightly more than Slardar's, we can use his expanded table in that section to see that the inclusion of a Stygian is most effective against heroes with 21 armor (-24 + -6 = -30). Heroes who reach that much armor consistently are vary greatly based on hero; therefore, you should evaluate carefully whether or not Dazzle should pick up Stygian if he is the only possible bearer.

In most games, Weave alone will be sufficient, but there are always situations that arise where the extra reduction will help make a difference. However, I strongly urge that you pick up Guinsoo's before Stygian as Hex is usually more game breaking than -6 armor.

As a last comment to Dky's calculations, the armor reduction array represents what is known as a Gaussian or Bell Curve and the Malus of armor corresponds to a shift in the maxima position and height. This means that as armor reduction increases, it will have the largest noticeable effect on heroes with higher armor than on lower armor but it should also be noted that more lost armor will always result in more damage. Therefore, Stygian is an good item on Dazzle assuming he is the only possible bearer or there is a strong need for a semi-carry.

Other Heroes

Best Allies

As I said before, Dazzle very much depends on teamwork and coordination; therefore, there are some heroes that can take advantage of his skills (specifically Weave and Poison Touch) much more than others.

Armor reduction is great for Carries because they deal physical damage for the most part (Enchantress and Silencer can be partially excluded from this). Weave is one of the best armor reduction spells, which can boost physical damage significantly for carries. In addition, Poison Touch and Shallow Grave will make it easier for them to squeeze every last hit point out of the other team. Keep in mind this also works with any hero that has physical DPS spells.

Dazzle is primarily a support ganker after he hits level 8, so he should be roaming and helping heavy gankers get kills. Try not to ks your teammates, you don't need much money. 2 or 3 kills at most in the laning is the best you should hope for.

Disables are an important part of the game and granted every hero benefits from them, but being able to get many free hits on standing heroes allows for Weave to have a greater effect by killing heroes faster than they can fight back. The ability to group together also allows abuse of Shadow Wave.

More armor reduction means more damage, thus, the more the merrier. Lanaya and Slardar tend to be two common Stygian bearers (actually, lately everyone can pick up a Stygian, but these guys have more than just Stygian in their pack); pairing up with one of them will allow you to form a very deadly duo which can take down almost any hero in the mid game thanks to very long periods of slow and disables.

I have added Naga Siren at the request of dondy, who believes me to be an idiot for not recognizing the large potential this can have:


not mentioning naga siren as the BEST ally to dazzle is utter fail, srsly >.>

While I am very cautious about picking Siren (too much fail in the past from underfarm Sirens on my team), he is right. Mirror Image is an almost automatic abuse of Shadow Wave. In addition, Poison Touch and Ensnare can be chained together very efficiently for about 8 seconds of disable, not including the bonus from Shadow Wave capitalizing again. Lastly:


dazzle: weave works in siren call

This means you can get essentially bonus armor/armor loss. In addition, 6/7/8 seconds of sleep time means that Shadow Wave and Poison Touch should both cooldown.

If you are playing with a Naga who knows their shit, then I think Dazzle can be a good lane partner for her. Especially with her recent buffs, she is a much better hero.

Dirge makes everyone good, end of story. He does a little clumping than others with his Tombstone so he might be a little better with Dazzle than others.

Worst Enemies

Dazzle is a squishy hero, there is no doubt about that. As a result, heroes that can deal 700-1000 damage quickly can knock him out. These heroes will enjoy relentlessly ganking you in the mid game, so find a friend to follow around so he/she can protect you in exchange for your help in some ganks of their own.

Anti-Mage will be able to drop Dazzle very quickly thanks to his large mana pool in many points of the game. If you aren't careful, a single Mana Void will kill Dazzle almost instantly. Do yourself a favor a keep distance from Anti-Mage at most points of the game.

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