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    Dota 2 – A Glimpse into the Future: Arc Warden

    In our latest Blog Post we have discussed the most probable addition to the Dota 2 hero roster – Abyssal Underlord. Yet, it is not everything we can be excited about – apart from Dota 2 Reborn coming out of beta and receving needed bug fixes, there is also another hero down the line – Arc Warden.

    There are many reasons to be more excited about Arc Warden than about Abyssal Underlord – his skillset will probably appeal to a larger crowd and he is not as one-dimensional. A preview of the hero was due and it will follow the same structure as the last time – we will briefly look at the abilities of the hero and will try to conclude his potential impact on the game and his viability in different roles.


  • Flux – Engulfs an enemy unit with swirling volatile energy for 6 seconds, slowing its movement speed by 50% and dealing damage over time if it is alone. The effect is muted if there is a nearby enemy unit within 225 units.
  • The damage from this ability is pretty good (90/180/270/360) and the slow is insane, especially in the early levels. This, however, comes with a condition which has to be fulfilled and there are only two scenarios where this spell will truly shine: zoning an enemy offlaner or forcing the enemy heroes to group up.

    The first scenario will be quite common and solo offlaners will have a really hard time dealing with this effect – they will either have to eat a decent amount of damage and remain slowed for 6 seconds, or will have to position themselves closer to their own creep wave, potentially forcing them out of the safe zone. Either way – the kill potential is quite high with the openings the spell provides.

    In teamfights, a range of 900 at level 4 of the spell makes it possible to target the backline – which are usually supports. It creates an opportunity for a stronger AoE game with Light Strike Array or Split Earth by forcing the supports to hug their frontline teammates. Alternatively, it can sometimes trick retreating enemies to go back and help out their slowed teammate resulting in an extra kill for your team.

    Overall, the mecahnics of the spell are very interesting. In practice, however, I feel it is very inconsistent in what it does and sometimes it does pretty much nothing. It will take a while for people to learn how to use the spell, especially with how quickly people will come up with different counter-plays.

  • Magnetic Field – Distorts space, generating a circular field that grants 100% evasion and bonus attack speed to allied heroes and buildings within. The field has a radius of 275 units.
  • It is one of the most annoying spells I had to play against. With a strong focus on well-scaling magic/pure damage heroes it is probably less effective in the current meta, but a shift to a more right-click oriented game will make it truly shine.

    Even without a decent AS buff, it is still unbelievably strong, even with a single point spent. It essentially creates a zone in which your team can fight with a massive advantage and a huge AoE and Cast Range of 900 means that you will not have to risk your own life.

    It working on towers/barracks is something that is often overloooked – an extra 5 seconds of glyph (except for specific cases) can make all the difference in the world.

    This quite powerful spell is balanced by a massive 50 seconds cooldown, but with Arc Warden’s ultimate discussed further, it becomes less of an issue.

  • Spark Wraith – Summons a Spark Wraith that takes 3 seconds to fully materialize. Haunts the targeted area until an enemy comes within its range and then fuses itself into them dealing magical damage.
  • It is basically a visible Land Mine which can not be destroyed. It is good? In specific cases it is, but in a teamfight scenario it doesn’t do much – even given a ridiculously low cooldown of 4 seconds and a cast range of 2000.

    The probelm with this spell is that it takes a lot of time to activate – 3 seconds is usually enough for the enemy team to either initiate or reposition – you can slowly decrease the amount of space enemy gets to work with, but it is more of a long-term positioning game, rather than a damage burst.

    It is, however, good at defending/breaching highground. It can lead to a quick unexpected kill (or force out a BkB) when you are sieging side lanes – in most cases as the team defending from Arc Warden you want to stay away from forestation.

    Same goes for defending – limiting the space in which the enemy can operate and forcing them to group up more that they are comfortable with is the name of the game for the hero. Yet again, it combos really well with most AoE heroes. Even if the spell does not do a lot on its own except for specific cases, it is still achieving something.

  • Tempest Double – By vibrating at extreme speeds, Arc Warden is able to create a perfect electrical incarnation of himself for 20 seconds, at the cost of his current health and mana. This incarnation can use any spells or items he has, and spawns with his health and mana after the cast.
  • A very exciting spell – previously only Meepo could boast illusions which were capable of casting spells. Add using items on top of it and you get something very new to the World of Dota.

    In theory there are many possibilities when it comes to using this spell – double Midas sounds like a decent idea, as well as Dagon and a multitude of other options. The forums are full of people claiming their x-build is amazing on the basis of several games in highly volatile skill-wise Dota 1 games. Do not listen to these claims – the skill level of Garena/iCCup Rooms for Dota 1 is rather low – my personal experience will put most of the games I played in the sub 2.5k region.

    More on that in discussing the heroes role.



    In theory, Arc Warden seems like a decent offlaner – he has a form of escape similar to Windrun, albeit on a very long cooldown and he has the ability to ensure a safe zone with Spark Wraith he can always retreat to.

    In practice his 0 starting armor and an unimpressive HP pool/Strength gain make him an easy target. Additionally, the safe zone ensured by Spark Wraith has the potential of pushing the lane, forcing you to get out of position more often than you should.

    Top it with a below-average Movement speed of 295 and the ideas seems less and less feasible.

    He is also incapable of clearing jungle stacks – something many current offlaners tend to fall back to after the initial stage.


    Personally, I tihnk he can be a decent mid hero when it comes to laning. He can get last hits with the help of Spark Wraith while being relatively safe with a much shorter distance to the tower. Additionally, enemy support rotations are easier to predict and they do not happen as often as offlane clashes, making Magnetic Field a lot more potent.

    The question is, what does he bring to the table with the extra XP from the middle lane?

    He is a good mid laner, a bit overrated in my opinion. But definitely ok to be in a mid position! To say that he is one of the best solo mids etc is really exageration, he was played like 0 times in a high level LAN, you need way more to comapre him to Shadow Fiend, Magnus or Puck.

    He can’t flash-farm the jungle to get to his core item really fast and snowball, as it is done on other popular Mid heroes. He is a decent ganker, but only in very specific situations. And he does not scale that well despite all the claims.

    There are ideal scenarios which theoretically work and there is reality – e.g. double Midas only works once every 55-65 seconds and does not grant bonus XP from the Double. It does give you a lot of gold and if my calculation are correct Hand Of Midas, if used as soon as it is off cooldown, pays for itself in 8 minutes, assuming level 6-11 Arc Warden.

    It means that in ideal scenario at minute 15 you have boots/midas/stick and ~2k gold. On a hero who has pretty terrible stats, abilities which cannot be called gamebreaking and which do not scale well/have the same scaling effect on teammates. A hero who is easily shut down and in the late game will be weaker than most carries as well as other popular cores.

    The all-in on burst magic damage is very risky and the payoff is generally a quick burst (rarely a kill) on an enemy core at the beginning of teamfight and very little utility from you after you’ve used your big cooldowns. It is a high risk-medium reward situation in a game with a core Arc Warden.

    I might be wrong, and there is a possiblity he is going to become something similar to 6.8x Tinker, but the probability of him becoming the next Oracle, where everyone tries to get Dagon and fails miserably 99% of the time, is much higher.


    Personally, this is the only position I am ever going to play the hero in. Excellent zoning game and offlaner kill potential, as well as ganking prowess will make for a scary active support, while not sacrificing defensive capabilties.

    Later on, I will treat Tempest Double as a free refresher on two of my skills (one of which is amazing) and a really strong boost to Spark Wraith.

    I will not take lane farm from someone who scales better and comes online faster. If the early game is a huge success I might get Hand of Midas, since it can boost the XP gain, but will not use my high-cooldown ultimate for an extra 190 gold – I might need it in the next gank/engagement I am already planning in my head.

    If, for some reason, I come across a lot of gold, I will build disables – Eul’s Scepter of Divinity, Orchid Malevolence, Heaven’s Halberd or even Scythe of Vyse. Otherwise, having two Glimmer Capes or two Solar Crests can be amazing – that is if I have little money after buying the wards.

    Finally, I will always try to get my hands on Necronomicon, since it deals a lot of damage and burns mana, while providing tactical/strategic benefits.


    I think Arc Warden is an amazing hero with a high skill cap that is extremely rewarding – there are simply too many interactions between enemies/teammates to mention in a single Blog Post, but since a lot of his utility comes from itemistaion his versatility is probably among the highest across all heroes.

    That said, I feel he will be soon forgotten, since the usual mindset of Dota 2 player is to get as many kills as they possibly can – disregarding the actual outcome of the game. He is not particualrly good at it – he can be, but as I said, it is a high-risk – average reward kind of thing. Tinker farms faster and has higher potential in the late game as a core, even after the nerfs, yet we don’t see him being a popular pick. He is also easier to handle.

    As a greedy support, Arc Warden is among the best. And the neat thing is – with his early game kill potential and current state of gold distribution, a team can afford a greedy support like him. It will be a shame to see him disregarded just because people are incapable of grasping the concept of opportunity cost when it comes to drafting.

    As seen on Dotabuff

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