The top 10 most popular Dota 2 supports during 7.20. We will learn the best support heroes in the meta, how to play or counter them, and the patch changes.
Article released during 7.20e.
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In Dota 2, most heroes can be played on several roles depending on the meta, the tactic of the team, and the lineups in a particular match.
For this article, I have considered the actual meta and how these heroes are used in high rank pubs. The situation is extremely complex because heroes such as Windranger or Skywrath Mage could be picked as a core or a support depending on the match.
In the end, I have selected the heroes who have been played the most on a support position. While the list might not be perfect, I believe it is quite accurate, but you mustn’t forget that there are also viable meta picks such as Lion played as a core in the mid lane.
The heroes are arranged by pick rate, and the data considers all games played in any region in the 5k+ (Divine) bracket. Note that we can’t filter data for just a particular patch, so the past 30 days are examined. Statistics from Dotabuff.
Note: I have already talked about Lich in a previous analysis.
Dazzle - Gameplay revolutionized by Bad Juju
In this article, I will feature Dazzle. He became an absurdly strong and versatile hero after the changes brought in by 7.20.
IceFrog tried to adjust him nerfing the cooldown, mana cost, duration, and cast range of all his abilities in the following patches, but in my opinion a drastic nerf to his new ultimate is necessary to rebalance him.
The old ultimate Weave has been replaced by Bad Juju. The new passive skill reduces the cooldowns of his abilities and items by 20%/35%/50%; and every time Dazzle casts a spell, all nearby enemies will also have their armor reduced. The debuff stacks and refreshes its duration (8 seconds).
Poison Touch received a big buff as now every time the targets affected are attacked, the debuff duration is refreshed. The ability deals up to 364 damage in 7 seconds (to each target), and it goes up to 679 damage with the level 20 talent +45 Poison Touch DPS.
These two changes led to the rise of Dazzle. He became a very versatile hero who could be played anywhere from position 2 to 5; it is possible to pick him even as a mid laner.
He still works great as a position 5 because he can do his job even with almost no items, but I suggest playing him as a position 4 to farm a few items and exploit the massive 50% cooldown reduction provided by Bad Juju.
The following list shows the most bought items on Dazzle by pro players during December:
Medallion of Courage
The Necronomicon synergizes with Dazzle’s skills
The Necronomicon deserves an extended explanation because this item is amazing on Dazzle. Generally, it is a fam accelerator for any hero who can use it often, and thanks to the cooldown reduction granted by the new ultimate, the Necronomicon has almost 100% uptime once you hit level 6.
It is a game-changing item even on a support Dazzle, and I suggest buying it as a position 4 whenever possible:
It lets you farm ancient and neutral creeps very easily.
Poison Touch refreshes anytime the target is attacked by a hero or a player-controlled unit, so the Necronomicon summons can be used to proc it constantly.
Shadow Wave heals the friendly units and damages all the enemy ones standing nearby, so in ganks and team fights you can use the Necronomicon summons to damage the opponents.
It is important to point out that both the minions deal piercing damage. This attack damage type inflicts 150% damage to creeps, 50% to heroes, and 35% to towers. The minions do not show their full potential when attacking an enemy structure, but they are an amazing pushing and farming tool to deal with both jungle neutrals and creep waves.
The item pays itself quickly thanks to the added farm speed, it gives you a solid power spike, and synergizes well with your abilities.
Many players suggest leaving the Necronomicon to level 1 because it doesn’t scale well in the late game and it is quite expensive to upgrade. I believe that it depends on your priorities and the enemies faced: for example, your 100% uptime is great both to deward and to spot any invisible hero.
Dazzle with heroes able to summon minions
It is worth to note that most of the perks brought by the Necronomicon can be achieved for free by playing Dazzle in team with a hero able to summon units under their control. Lycan and Beastmaster are typical examples, and particularly the latter as he is a solid meta hero.
He can maximize Call of the Wild Boar and utilize it to reapply permanently Poison Touch during the laning phase. It is really an absurdly strong duo to face for the opponents in the easy lane.
Shadow Wave benefits from Bad Juju
The 50% cooldown reduction of Bad Juju doesn’t affect only items but also skills, so Dazzle can spam his AoE heal every 4 seconds (and at the same time also damage the opponents during a team fight).
In the current meta there are many high-HP heroes, so percentage based heals are generally stronger than flat ones, but Dazzle can still heal 980 HP (when all bounces hit) every 4 seconds! The level 15 talent +20 Shadow Wave Heal/Damage brings the total heal to 1120 HP. Instead, the single target heal is quite poor (140 without talent).
Thanks to the low cooldown, you can keep both your Necronomicon minions and the creep wave constantly fully healed: a big help for all the push attempts in the mid game.
The Holy Locket is also a viable item if you are going for a healer-based Dazzle, but I have my reservations on it because the hero is so different if compared to the previous patches. Before, his main goal was healing and saving the members of his team, while now he is a versatile pick who can even out-damage a modest number of heroes.
Support items for Dazzle
If you are looking for a more support-oriented item build without Necronomicon, I suggest buying the Medallion of Courage first because the item is cheap and synergizes well with your own armor reduction, so you will dramatically boost the damage of your physical auto-attackers.
Afterwards, survivability should be your priority. Items such as the Glimmer Cape and the Force Staff are of great help both for yourself and your teammates, while the Eul’s Scepter of Divinity and the Ghost Scepter are situationally necessary when facing determinate opponents. The Mekansm can also be very efficient thanks to your cooldown reduction.
The late game items depend on the situation, but I suggest upgrading the Medallion of Courage into the Solar Crest as now it is really powerful when used on your main DPS. The item is a solid pick also in combination with the Necronomicon because it boosts the damage of your minions.
If you happen to become rich, give a chance to the Lotus Orb. This item is very underrated in pubs, and most players are not used to it, so it might have a bigger impact than expected. Thanks to Bad Juju, the downtime of the Lotus Orb goes down to less than 2 seconds.
Header image: Darkclaw Emissary loading screen for Dazzle - Valve