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Introducing Dark Willow: A quick look at Dota 2’s newest support

With stuns and forced-movement abilities, the fairy will be a darkly-delightful support.

Dark Willow, one of Dota 2’s new heroes with the Dueling Fates Update.
Dota 2 Dueling Fates Update/Valve

Both heroes as promised at The International 7 are arriving with the Dueling Fates Update, and one's going to be a spooky treat with plenty of early-game action to offer.

Mireska is narrated, and featured in the Dueling Fates trailer, as a sinister trickster, but her lore is far darker, as she burnt down her family estate after growing bored with social norms and traditions. Her skill set as released by Valve thus far certainly positions her to be equally as threatening as the tale goes.

Valve describes Dark Willow with the following tags:

  • Medium difficulty
  • Ranged
  • Support
  • Nuker
  • Disabler
  • Escape

Given Dark Willow is an intelligence hero, her designation as a support will likely be one of Valve’s more reliable tags. And Mireska’s certainly a disabler, as she has three different ways to make enemies stop—and she can even turn on their heels and make them run.

Bramble Maze

Dark Willow creates a maze of brambles that latch onto enemies who walk into a thicket, damaging them and applying a root.

Dark Willow gets a nice, simple triggeted root, an excellent crowd control at all stages of the game. While it's not a full stun, it creates another big problem for enemies to be mindful of.

Shadow Realm

Dark Willow recedes into the Shadow Realm, becoming untargetable and gaining increasing bonus magic damage for her next attack the longer she remains in the shadows.

This is a squishy support's dream: a simultaneous escape and initiation tool. The lack of targetability combined with her disables makes her a great candidate to charge into battle. Or, if things go awry, she can easily slip out of a teamfight and force her chasers home with Terrorize.

Cursed Crown

Dark Willow bestows a cursed fae crown upon an enemy. After a four second delay, the target and any other enemies nearby are stunned.

As if the world can have enough AOE stuns, this one's AOE and targeted. It's a great punishment tool for large groups of enemies in large teamfights, or those that stay too close in lane.

Bedlam & Terrorize

Bedlam—Dark Willow's companion Jex circles around her, dealing damage to nearby enemies. Cannot be used while Terrorize is active.

Also paired with:

Terrorize—Dark Willow's companion Jex strikes fear into her enemies, causing them to run towards their home fountain. Cannot be used while Bedlam is active.

Technically, Bedlam and Terrorize are both your “Ultimate” abilities, which level up simultaneously—but according to the Test Client gameplay, they’re separate abilities. Think of it, then, as leveling up “Jex,” the sprite companion that Mireska carries.

Bedlam seems like a pretty typical damage-dealer. Terrorize, on the other hand, is a disable much in the same way that Axe's Berserker’s Call is: it can stop channels and other similar abilities by forcing enemies to return to their home fountain.

And much like the name of that ability, Dark Willow's lane and and initiation presences are something to be terrified of in early-game fights and with good late-game placement. Valve's "support" tag will be a more reliable label, as she'll shine with items and builds that emphasize her reliance in any stage of the game.

With a slew of disables and some solid damage sources, Mireska certainly make a lasting, haunting presence in any game.

Looking for a more daring core? Check out our preview of Pangolier, the other new Dueling Fates hero.