Dota 2's latest hero, Valora the Dawnbreaker, finally arrived alongside the game's much-awaited 7.29 update, which was released on Saturday (10 April).
Read on for a breakdown of the new hero's abilities, our first impressions of her, and a quick guide on how to play her effectively:
Valora the Dawnbreaker
Dawnbreaker is a melee strength hero that can deal a lot of burst damage to enemies while healing and reinforcing her allies. She is innately tanky and is best placed in the middle of a teamfight, where she can deal as much damage to enemies as possible while providing healing for her allies.
Here's how her abilities work:
Dawnbreaker's first ability, Starbreaker, works like a three-hit combo where the first two hits damage nearby enemies while the third and final hit stuns any foes caught in its area-of-effect. The combo has a duration of 1.1 seconds and deals damage based on her attack with bonus damage depending on which part of the combo the hit is.
The first two hits of Starbreaker damage enemies in a 360 radius around Dawnbreaker, with each hit adding a bonus of up to 55 physical damage on top of her normal attack damage. The third hit stuns for up to 1.4 seconds in a 250 radius, with a bonus of up to 115 damage. Starbreaker has an 11 second cool down at max level and a flat mana cost of 80.
Starbreaker is Dawnbreaker's bread-and-butter ability as it allows her to deal a lot of damage to a small area of enemies around her and its damage also scales the stronger her normal attacks get. Starbreaker also works in conjunction with Dawnbreaker's passive, Luminosity. While the combo itself is executed fairly quickly, fast-moving enemies can still sidestep around its area-of-effect, so it's best to use Starbreaker on enemies that are either slowed or stunned.
Dawnbreaker's second ability, Celestial Hammer, hurls her warhammer at a target, damaging enemies struck along the way. The warhammer stays at its destination for two seconds at the destination before flying back to Dawnbreaker, damaging any enemies it strikes as it returns while leaving a trail of fire. Dawnbreaker can also recall her warhammer at any time, pulling her towards it so that they meet in the middle.
Celestial Hammer deals up to 150 magical damage every time it strikes an enemy, with the fire trail it leaves upon returning dealing 20 damage per second and slowing the movement speed of any enemies standing on it by 35%. The ability also has a cast range of 1,300 and 12 second cooldown at max level with a flat 110 mana cost.
Celestial Hammer is Dawnbreaker's primary harassment and mobility tool, as it allows her to either deal damage to enemies from afar or close in on them to start using Starbreaker. While Celestial Hammer is primarily used offensively, you can also use it to escape by throwing it away from an enemy and immediately returning to it and gain some quick separation.
Dawnbreaker's passive ability, Luminosity, powers up every fourth attack she dishes out by making it a critical hit and providing healing to her and any nearby allies. The ability works on both heroes and creeps but provides half the healing when used on the latter.
Luminosity empowers Dawnbreaker's attack to a 180% critical strike at max level, providing 40% of the damage dealt as healing to her and 35% to her allies within 650 units. Luminosity gives Dawnbreaker and her allies sustainability either during the laning phase or in fights. It also works in conjunction with her Starbreaker ability.
Dawnbreaker's ultimate, Solar Guardian, creates a pulsing effect at a location within 350 units of an allied hero anywhere on the map, damaging enemies and healing allies with each pulse. After a 1.6 second channel time, she flies to the target location, dealing additional damage and stunning enemies upon landing.
Solar Guardian both heals allies and damages enemies by up to 70 per pulse in Dawnbreaker's landing location. Upon landing, any enemies in a 400 radius of her are dealt 190 magical damage and stunned for up to 1.5 seconds. Solar Guardian has a 100 second cooldown and 250 manacost at max level, it can only be cast in an area around an ally or Dawnbreaker herself and cannot be stopped once used.
Solar Guardian lets Dawnbreaker reinforce her allies regardless of their location on the map. This lets her either turn around a gank on an ally, reinforce a gank herself, or even open up a teamfight. While Dawnbreaker cannot stop herself from channelling Solar Guardian once she casts it, enemies are able to do so, therefore it's best to use it away from any stuns or while magic immune.
Level 10: +20 movement speed or +8 strength
Choosing the strength talent gives Dawnbreaker a bonus 160 health and 0.8 health regeneration
Level 15: -20 seconds Solar Guardian cooldown or +20 damage
Choosing the Solar Guardian cooldown talent reduces the cooldown of Dawnbreaker's ultimate to 80 seconds at max level
Level 20: +40% Luminosity Crit or 2 Starbreaker charges
Choosing the Luminosity Crit talent increases the critical strike bonus from Dawnbreaker's passive to 220% of her normal attack damage
Level 25: +1,100 Celestial Hammer Cast Range or +200 Solar Guardian Radius
Choosing the Celestial Hammer cast range talent increases its range to 2,400, double the cast range of Blink Dagger. Choosing the Solar Guardian radius talent increases the landing radius of Dawnbreaker's ultimate to 600
Dawnbreaker first impressions
Valora the Dawnbreaker is best played in a core role, preferably as the safelane carry or the midlaner. Her primary contribution in fights is a ton of burst damage, both physical and magical, to a small area of enemies, though she also provides a considerable amount of healing and some crowd control.
Starbreaker and Celestial Hammer will be her primary tools in teamfights, as both are fairly low cooldown abilities that she can use to initiate the engagement and keep them within striking distance. Luminosity gives her a periodic burst damage potential that also sustains her and her allies through the clash. Finally, her Solar Guardian ultimate can either keep allies alive or help finish enemies off, with Dawnbreaker making a dramatic entrance to save the day.
Dawnbreaker seems to peak in strength early in the midgame once her Starbreaker and Celestial Hammer abilities are maxed out, which allows her to quickly burst through enemies. She can then turn into an unstoppable force in the late game with the right item build, as Starbreaker scales with her attack damage while Luminosity reliably gives her both a critical strike and a heal.
What abilities to get
In the laning phase, Dawnbreaker should have two points each in Starbreaker and Celestial Hammer as well as a value point in Luminosity by Level 5. Of course, her Solar Guardian ultimate must be learned whenever available. It would be best to have both Starbreaker and Celestial Hammer maxed out by Level 10 and skipping learning a Level 10 talent later. It is also better to prioritise maxing out Luminosity and Solar Guardian before learning a Level 10 talent, only getting it at Level 16 after you have already maxed out all of Dawnbreaker's basic abilities and learned one of her Level 15 talents.
Your choice of her Level 20 talent depends on how you want to play her heading into the late game. If you want as much burst damage as possible to finish fights quickly, it would be best to pick the Starbreaker charge talent as it allows you to use that ability twice in succession. Otherwise, the added Luminosity crit talent increases the damage and healing from Dawnbreaker's passive and is great in drawn-out fights where she can get multiple Luminosity procs off.
The Celestial Hammer cast range talent is clearly the better talent to get in most cases, as it vastly increases the range of that ability for both offensive and defensive purposes. But if enemies keep bunching around your allies in fights, then it might be better to choose the Solar Guardian radius talent instead.
What items to buy
Dawnbreaker wants to use her abilities as much as possible, so Soul Ring is a great choice to sustain her mana pool if you don't have a Crystal Maiden on your team or didn't get a Arcane Ring to drop from neutral creeps. Falcon Blade is also a good choice for some mana regeneration. If you are running her mid, then a Bottle is a must for sustain as well as rune control.
Power Treads are the boots of choice for the attack speed and stats, though you can't go wrong with Phase Boots either. If you have the opportunity to get an extra item before building your first core one, then Orb of Corrosion is a great choice to help slow down enemies in fights.
Stacking a lot of attack speed is a must for Dawnbreaker so she can get as much use out of her Luminosity passive as possible. Echo Saber and Armlet of Mordiggian are great options if you feel like there is going to be a lot of fighting, otherwise Maelstrom will help you farm faster and scale better by turning it into either Mjollnir or Gleipnir depending on your needs.
Sange synergizes well with the heal from Luminosity, with the added status resistance just a cherry on top. You can then turn it into Sange and Yasha for more attack speed and better synergy with Luminosity.
Of course, Black King Bar is a must so that you won't be interrupted by disables when using Starbreaker or Solar Guardian. If you are having trouble with catching enemies, consider buying a Blink Dagger, which you can then turn into Swift Blink in the late game for even more synergy with Luminosity.
In the late game, Dawnbreaker needs a good balance of damage and attack speed, so you want to have Assault Cuirass, Daedalus, or Abyssal Blade on top of the midgame items you've picked up. Ideally, your late game item slots should include at least two of the following: Black King Bar, Sange and Yasha, Abyssal Blade, and Assault Cuirass.
Since Dawnbreaker is a new hero, she doesn't have Aghanim's Scepter and Aghanim's Shard upgrades yet, so don't buy those unless you want to waste gold or appear in someone's next Overwatch case.
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