Dark Willow is the second Dota 2 hero that joined the roster with the Dueling Fates update. You can try the new nuker in the test client. Let’s analyze her skills.
Dark Willow is a master of crowd control, possessing three AoE disables: a root, stun, and fear effect. Honestly, I don’t understand why Valve gave her only one point out of three as disabler. Fear and root aren’t as strong as a stun, but overall she has a great skill set.
She is also a great nuker with a spammable 20 seconds cooldown skill that can inflict up to 3,600 damage - useful in teamfights, ganks, or simply to farm a creep wave.
Finally, her survivability isn’t only assured but the huge number of disables, but also by Shadow Realm, an ability that will render Dark Willow untargetable for 5 seconds.
The hero is listed also as a support, but at least in pub games I expect her to be played mostly as a core: her skills, particularly Bedlam, will greatly benefit from a quick level up.
Dark Willow creates a maze of brambles in the target area. Enemies that walk into a bramble take damage and are rooted.
- Creates 8 brambles in the target area that last 15 seconds
- Enemies that walk into a bramble are rooted for 1/1.5/2/2.5 seconds and receive 100/150/200/250 damage
- 40/35/30/25 cooldown and 140/150/160/170 mana cost
Bramble Maze is a great crowd control skill for teamfights that take place in a determinate location. For example, near the Roshan’s Pit or while defending/attacking a tier 3 tower.
Dark Willow recedes into the shadows, becoming untargetable. Her next attack has increased attack range and deals bonus magic damage, and will end Shadow Realm.
- 5 seconds duration
- Maximum damage: 120/200/280/360
- Damage scales based on how long she remains under the effect of Shadow Realm. The maximum is reached after 3 seconds
- The attack range bonus is 600 at all levels
- 30/24/18/12 seconds cooldown and 70/80/90/100 mana cost
Shadow Realm is a survivability skill paired with a nuke. While the damage will become negligible in the late game, being untargetable for 5 seconds will save your life in multiple circumstances.
Dark Willow casts an ancient fae curse on the target. After a delay, the target and nearby enemies are stunned.
- Delay: 4 seconds
- Stun duration: 2/2.5/3/3.5
- Stun radius: 325
- 19/16/14/12 seconds cooldown and 100/120/140/160 mana cost
Cursed Crown is a simple delayed AoE stun. The radius isn’t huge but if well used you can potentially stun 3-4 heroes for 3.5 seconds. A great skill for both ganks and teamfights. You can chain combo it with Bramble Maze, disabling the heroes affected for a total of 6 seconds.
Dark Willow’s pet wisp roams around her for the duration, rapidly attacking nearby enemies.
- Attack damage: 75/150/225
- Attack interval: 0.25
- Attack radius: 300
- Attack targets: 1
- Roaming radius: 200
- Roaming duration: 4
- 20 seconds cooldown and 100/150/200 mana cost
- Bedlam cannot be used while Terrorize is active.
What surprises me the most about Bedlam is the 20 seconds cooldown. You can just spam it no stop to push lanes or farm the jungle. It is basically a moving turret that for 4 seconds will attack 1 target at a time with 0.25 attack interval.
In 4 seconds, you can hit the opponents up to 16 times for 225 damage each, inflicting a total of 3,600 damage!
I had to see it with my eyes. After trying Bedlam in the game client, I can say that when maxed out it can clean an entire creep wave, and simultaneously also kill a 1k hp hero. All in 4 seconds.
Dark Willow releases her pet wisp to terrorize her enemies. After a short delay, all enemies in the target area become fearful and run toward their home fountain.
- Fear duration: 4
- 100/80/60 seconds cooldown and 150 mana cost
- Terrorize cannot be used while Bedlam is active
Definitely, Terrorize will ruin many pub games. I can already imagine how many times the Dark Willow in my team will save the opponents from a sudden gank, or move them away from the teamfight location.
The skill can have different uses: the most obvious is disengaging from a fight and running to safety, but you will also use it to destroy the enemy formation for an easier initiation.
+300 Shadow Realm maximum damage will bring the total to 660. It is a good nuke against squishy heroes, with only 12 seconds cooldown.
Credit: Images and videos by Valve
Vincenzo is an esports writer with five years of experience. Former head editor for Natus Vincere, he has produced content for DreamHack, FACEIT, DOTAFire, 2P, and more. Follow him on @SkulzDota.