Finally, the long-anticipated Dota 2 Patch 7.29, also known as Dawnbreaker, has arrived. This update contains numerous map, hero, and item changes, as well as a new carry. It’s been a long time since we’ve last seen IceFrog introduce a carry hero into the game, so everyone is probably excited about this new addition. Or are they?
Dawnbreaker at a Glance
To be honest with you, this patch feels underwhelming. It simply doesn’t have the excitement of what you might call a major update. And Dawnbreaker as a carry simply… sucks. You can see it in the hero’s win rate on Dotabuff: 35% win rate in the safe lane, where she’s supposed to be played. That’s about as abysmal as it gets.
Of course, IceFrog is known to miscalculate the strength of a new hero’s abilities, so he usually misses the mark at first. Then come the minor patch updates. These updates either buff or nerf the new hero’s abilities, depending on the results. In Dawnbreaker’s case, I think we’ll need to see some massive buffs ASAP. Otherwise the hero will be regarded by everyone as being dead on arrival. I mean, why pick this when you can pick Spectre or Nature’s Prophet?
As a hero, Dawnbreaker has 4 abilities:
This is by far the hero’s best ability. The impact is felt immediately, simply because you get to attack multiple times in a short span of time. But then again, so does Pangolier. And he does this with much greater effect. That aside, this ability is an AoE one, which means that you can affect multiple units in front of you. The whole thing takes place over 1.1 seconds, which practically means that you get cleave damage + an attack speed increase + bonus attack damage + a small stun at the end, along with some more bonus damage. All of this sounds amazing, except the bonuses are quite small. And the longer the game goes, the more insignificant they become.
Given that this is Dawnbreaker’s most impactful ability, the hero is practically forced to be ahead at all times, just like a Templar Assassin, and should be used in high-tempo strategies. You do not want to pick this thinking that the game will last for 30+ minutes. Because by the time you get there, an enemy carry like Troll, Spectre, Juggernaut, and just about any other carry in the game will decimate you. At equal farm, Dawnbreaker is super weak.
This ability can be best compared with Batrider’s Firefly. And it works like this: you throw your hammer and after a 2 seconds pause at its destination it comes back to you (even if you’ve changed your location), leaving a fire trail in its path. This trail slows enemies (35%), damages them (20 DPS) and does some additional damage as it passes through them (up to 150 at level 4). The fire trail duration is 2.5 seconds. The cooldown of the ability is 18 – 12 seconds.
Needless to say, when you compare this with what other heroes have in their toolkit, you really don’t feel like picking Dawnbreaker as your carry. The underlying assumption when using Celestial Hammer is that you’re ahead and chasing the enemy heroes. Or who knows? Maybe you’re running away and simply try to slow them down. But there’s a huge problem: the 2 seconds delay makes the hammer very likely to miss. In the hit of battle, telling the enemy hero what’s going to happen 2-3 seconds from now guarantees that they’ll simply dodge. Usually, the higher the skill bracket, the faster you need to do things in order to have the element of surprise that allows you to be effective.
After every 3 attacks, you deal a 4th attack that’s imbued with critical strike damage. Sounds good, except Juggernaut’s proc chance is 35% instead of 25%. And his 180% critical strike damage is available starting from level 1. With Dawnbreaker, your level 1 critical strike damage is only 20%! That’s next to useless.
The slight benefit of Luminosity is that your allies get healed for some percentage of your damage if they are close to you (650 radius). But the healing is only 40% of your damage (at level 4!) and that damage is not going to be amazing unless you’re significantly ahead of the enemy carry.
After quite a bit of channeling, you arrive at a map location, dealing some damage and stunning units for 1.1 – 1.5 seconds in a circle of 400 radius. The damage is 130 – 190 (almost insignificant), the channeling can’t be stopped once you’ve activated the ability, and you can only teleport next to an allied hero. When comparing this ability to Nature’s Prophet Teleportation or Spectre’s Haunt, it looks like a complete joke.
My Verdict for Dawnbreaker
I’m not sure what IceFrog was thinking but I feel like he missed the mark completely in the case of this hero. The buffs will need to be absolutely massive. Personally, I would start with decreasing delays (because they make everything you do predictable and ineffective), mana costs (keep in mind, this hero has a +1 Intelligence gain per level), and increasing damage overall, for each of Dawnbreaker’s abilities.
Right now, it’s hard to call Dawnbreaker a carry. When you look at other carries and how well equipped they are to farm, fight, and survive, she simply does not have an edge. And on top of that, the hero has no escape mechanism and no surprise mechanism. In effect, you get absolutely no incentive to pick her over a dozen other carries.
Photo credit: Valve