Valora, the Dawnbreaker, is one of the newest Dota 2 heroes to enter the scene — but she’s already making her name known.
A few patches on from her introduction, the addition of a powerful Aghanim’s Shard and various buffs have made her the game’s premier do-it-all. No matter what role you favor, consider adding Dawnbreaker to your repertoire — because that’s what pros are already doing.
Why Dawnbreaker is becoming the new “it girl”
Dawnbreaker isn’t just popular in the competitive scene — she’s seeing play in every single role. This is an exclusive club — even recently busted and versatile heroes like Death Prophet and Monkey King generally see a massive spike in just two positions, with the rest only seeing an out-of-the-blue flex.
Meanwhile, Dawnbreaker is winning games across every position, with several pros already finding success on her:
- Anton “dyrachyo” Shkredov
- Sumail “SumaiL” Hassan
- Ludwig “zai” Wåhlberg
- Kenny “Xepher” Deo
- Tal “Fly” Aizik
She’s also proving to be an excellent counter initiator, thanks to her global presence, whether it’s from a core or support position.
When played as a core, Valora is good at clearing waves with her high damage spells, and is sustainable when played against popular zoo strat heroes, like Beastmaster, Lycan, and Visage. Starbreaker and Luminosity will keep her topped off at all times.
As a support, Dawnbreaker offers a tanky yet damaging presence that’s suitable for protecting weaker cores, or as a kill lane follow-up. High base stats means that she can spend her whole time trading with little concern, evolving into a flexible hero that can buy any item the team needs.
What role or lane is Dawnbreaker best at?
Arguably, her weakest role is hard carry. She falls into the scale of semi-carries that excel in the offlane because of her laning advantages, but can fall off later on since her damage scaling is tied to an ability — ala Night Stalker, Bristleback, and Dragon Knight. She’s still most popular in the offlane, according to Dota 2 Pro Tracker, but retains a respectable win rate across every position.
Conversely, this means she’s an extremely powerful mid-game timing hero — Starbreaker can instantly destroy supports, and its stunning nature discourages straight brawling into her. Celestial Hammer gives her an inbuilt way to initiate or disengage, which means she can buy more damage or utility items rather than a Blink Dagger. She also has global presence because of her ultimate, Solar Guardian, allowing her to take dangerous, otherwise inaccessible farm and still be in every teamfight.
In lane, she uses her AOE abilities to dole out damage and push out waves when needed. Just hitting level two is a massive power spike for the hero, who gets so many instances of damage with Celestial Hammer’s double hit and DOT, as well as Starbreaker’s three swipes. This combo, along with a suitable stun or nuke, is likely more than enough to punish any hero, which makes playing a melee hero into Dawn a nightmare.
Flexible item purchases make it easy to switch priorities
Pushing into the mid-game, a big part of her flexibility comes from her variable item builds. Yes, her Starbreaker scales off damage, but it’s also a stun that gives her spell immunity once upgraded with an Aghanim’s Shard.
It’s so easy and efficient to trade certain aspects of her between each other. A core Dawn will never buy Aghanim’s Scepter, using Solar Guardian as little more than a way to join fights. But a support Dawn can fully focus on her ultimate with Holy Locket and Scepter, granting ungodly amounts of heal and evasion.
A high-farm priority Dawn can leverage her high net worth and experience to quickly get to her damage talents and buy greedy damage items like Desolator. But if she feels equally comfortable just by being tanky, getting Wraith Pact and Shard to contribute as utility can help win games. Plus, she can join fights whenever she wants, so auras are valuable even if you need to split push.
What to buy on Dawnbreaker
In general, Valora’s builds can be split broadly into core and support.
Core builds will generally look something like this:
- Soul Ring
- Phase Boots
- Echo Sabre
- Aghanim’s Shard
- Black King Bar
Mid players can forgo Soul Ring for a Bottle. This hero casts a lot of spells, and mana is generally at a premium.
Players looking to build her more as a carry can elect for more damage with Desolator and Assault Cuirass. And many players still opt for a Blink Dagger eventually, but that’s because it builds well into Overwhelming Blink, leveraging her high strength and making Starbeakers easier to land.
On the other hand, support builds will look more like this:
- Arcane Boots
- Holy Locket
- Aghanim’s Scepter
- Aghanim’s Shard
- Drums of Endurance/Boots of Bearing
There’s a heavier focus on utility and healing here, compared to other supports that might go for items like Glimmer Cape and Force Staff. They can still be good in the right games, but Dawnbreaker’s mobility lets you get away with different item choices.
She’s a good candidate for Wraith Pact, the flavor item of the month, if nobody else is getting it, along with any other utility like Lotus Orb. Remember, Arcane Boots can be disassembled to form an earlier Holy Locket or Lotus, should you require the saving potential of these low-cooldown items.