The Transformation from Support to Core Dazzle, traditionally known as a reliable support in the Dota 2 arena, has showcased a sudden and impactful shift as a dominant mid-laner during TI 2023. As we inch closer to the commencement of the playoff bracket, Dota 2 enthusiasts are eagerly watching the performance of the pink Shadow Priest. Contrary to previous tournaments, Dazzle isn’t shining in the supportive role. Instead, he’s stealing the limelight in the mid lane.
In the group stage, the strategic drafting of teams saw Dazzle being picked as a core hero, especially for those teams who could strategically draft him. An astonishing performance has been recorded with Dazzle winning five out of his six matches in the mid lane. The renowned stats platform, Spectral, pinpoints Dazzle’s win rate to be unmatched by any other mid heroes. Only Primal Beast, despite having played 11 matches with an impressive 72% win rate, comes close to rivalling Dazzle’s prowess.
The Regular Player’s Perception
However, this trend isn’t mirrored in regular ranked matches. Dotabuff statistics highlight that 71% of the player base still picks Dazzle as a hard support. The esports professionals’ unique approach hasn’t significantly permeated the broader community yet.
Recent Buffs: The Game Changer
The updates leading up to TI 2023 have been particularly kind to Dazzle. Unlike other top picks that underwent nerfs, Dazzle reaped the benefits of multiple buffs. These ranged from significant stat boosts to adapting to the Universal trait introduced in the New Frontiers update. A major turning point was the rework of his Aghanim’s Scepter upgrade in the 7.34 update, enhancing the Shadow Wave’s capabilities, drawing parallels with Gyrocopter’s Flak Cannon. This makes it almost mandatory for professionals to prioritize the Agh’s upgrade post their Power Treads.
The typical itemization for Dazzle includes an early Yasha upgrade to Manta Style, ensuring increased mobility and illusion generation. Subsequent item choices are tailored based on opposing team compositions. Predominantly, professionals during TI12 selected Agh’s Shard to enhance the Poison Touch, followed by Black King Bar or Silver Edge, especially effective against formidable opponents like Bristleback.
For optimal lane pressure, Poison Touch is the preferred skill to max out. This is soon followed by significant upgrades to Shadow Wave. Shallow Grave, albeit essential, is often relegated to the background, with only a single level picked up initially.
Facing the Drafting Dilemma
Despite the undeniably dominant performance, Dazzle’s true challenge lies in navigating through the draft phase. With the highest ban rate at TI 2023, surpassing even the Treant Protector, it remains to be seen how much more of Dazzle we’ll witness during the playoffs.
Dazzle’s emergence as a formidable mid-laner cannot be ignored. While his dominance in professional matches is evident, it’s only a matter of time before this trend cascades down to pub games, influencing the broader Dota 2 community.