An in depth guide to one of Dota’s most iconic heroes, we show you every thing you need to know to play the fire-breathing Dragon Knight!
Davion, the Dragon Knight, is perhaps one of the most iconic heroes in Dota 2. One of the most new-player friendly heroes, Dragon Knight is easy to learn but hard to master. It might be easy to figure out what each of his skills does, but it’s hard to figure out what to do with them as the game goes on. My goal with this guide is to go over the basics of Dragon Knight, and some strategies and item builds to help you build your skills.
When to Pick Dragon Knight
In many cases, Dragon Knight is a jack of all trade’s kind of hero. He is generally played in the position 2 and 3 roles but can be flexed to the position 1 role. The main things that Dragon Knight gives you in your draft, are instant stuns, and tower push. In this patch, DK has been picked up to deal with elusive heroes like Puck, that can be locked down and bursted with the right spell combinations. He is sufficiently strong as to be first two-able when you are drafting.
Dragon Knight’s Skills
Breathe Fire is a Targeted Cone ability that both deals damage and reduces the amount of damage that enemy attacks deal to everyone. This ability is your primary harass tool, and it is also good for securing the ranged creep in your lane.
You don’t necessarily want to take the skill at level one but depending on whether or not you have a favored lane, you can pick it up early to get in some harass and perhaps go for a kill. It can also be used to secure last hits in a tough lane match-up.
This is your bread-and-butter stun. When in human form, the ability is melee targeted, so in lane it’s often used to mess up your opponent’s last hit, so you can deny the creeps.
You can also use it to set up for kills if your lane allows it, or if you get a good gank opportunity. The damage also scales good at lower levels, allowing it to wear down your enemy over time.
This is DK’s passive ability and part of why he is such a tanky boy. With every level in the ability, you gain more armor and more health regen.
Dragon Blood is pretty much essential for any lane matchup you’re gonna be playing into. It’s even more so when you’re dealing with a heavy harass lane.
Elder Dragon Form (Ultimate)
Dragon Knight’s Ultimate is really what the hero is centered around. The ability turns you into a dragon, gives you ranged attacks, extends the range of your Dragon Tail, and gives your auto attacks a different effect at each level. At level one they do damage over time, including to structures.
At level two they gain splash damage, and at level three they slow. This ability is your tower push, and your team fight all in one. It’s also great for initiating ganks because of the increased range of your stun.
In most games, you will be the main initiator and frontline for your team. With that in mind, your item decisions should reflect how you intend to fulfill that role. In general, it’s best to buy items that help you tank up, and if the game goes late, invest in some that will help you scale. Here are some of the more common items you will see on DK.
If you’re going mid, you usually want to rush a bottle, so you can keep spamming out your abilities. Also, bottle is just too good on midlaners right now. Quelling blade is a must to help compete for cs, and perhaps a little regen. If you think you are gonna need to tank up, consider buying a Bracer for more regen, or a wand if your laning opponent will spam spells, for example Death Prophet.
Early to Mid-Game
Soul Ring- Similar to Bottle, Soul Ring gives you much needed mana at the cost of some of your health. Because of Dragon Blood, your health regen will naturally be greater anyway, so the health penalty will not bother you as much. The item also gives you some more strength stats which is always helpful.
Power Treads- If you’re gonna need to scale more, usually if you’re the position 2, treads are the way to go. They are a way to eke out just a little more efficiency and give a bit of a edge in crucial fights. If you find you’re struggling with catch, go phase boots
Blink Dagger- This is almost a must buy for Dragon Knight. You’re on the slower end of heroes, and the initiator for your team. Blink Dagger gets you into the fight or into the back lines to lock down key targets. This will often be your first or second item. If you have another offlaner or midlaner who will be the main initiator for your team, you can forgo Blink Dagger in favor of tanking up earlier, but it’s often best to still buy it later.
Black King Bar- While being a physical damage sponge, DK still needs a bit of protection from magic damage. He’s also vulnerable to stuns as he doesn’t have an escape mechanic beyond a Blink Dagger. BKB is pretty much a must buy on Dragon Knight. Just buy it. Please, for the love of Gaben.
Aghanim’s Scepter- Agh’s is a great way for you to scale on Dragon Knight. It adds a Black Dragon form to his ultimate, which makes him deal more damage, slow more, and even gives him some increased magic resistance. If your game is going late and you need more damage, it’s a great item to pick up.
Assault Cuirass- Who doesn’t love more armor. Apart from also buffing your teammates, AC helps you to do a big thing that DK is good at, taking buildings. With a +30 attack speed buff you can chunk towers fairly quickly. Providing you with a bunch of armor as well, it’s just an overall great item for the hero.
Heart of Tarrasque- As if Dragon Knight wasn’t tanky enough, get the ultimate tank item. Providing you with even more regen, this will help you if your team game plan is long, drawn-out fights.
Heaven’s Halberd- This item is situational. Often times you wanna by this even you’re dealing with a very heavy auto-attack carry, like a Sven or PA. It also gives you a bit of strength scaling and status resist as well so it’s also helpful even the enemy team has a lot of stuns.
Now we’re going to take a look at DK’s talent tree. I’ll give you a look at his best options and also tell you which may be better in some circumstances.
Level 10- I honestly can’t imagine a situation where you’d want to take the 15-damage talent unless you were really desperate. The Dragon Breath 50% damage reduction is just so good. It’s great in teamfights, it’s great for pick offs, it’s just great overall.
Level 15 - If you need to lock down pesky targets, the Dragon Tail stun duration can give you half a second more for your team to shut them down. If you need more health to be able to survive fights, take the 400-health talent.
Level 20- In general, I’d say the +20 strength talent is much better than the attack range for the Dragon form. It just helps you scale better, and helps you be more survivable. However, you can take the range talent if you’re having a rough time taking high ground, or if it’s a game where it’s very risky for you to go in during fights.
Level 25- The AoE Dragon Tail Talent is absolutely disgusting. As Speed says, it’s basically DK’s version of Black Hole. Dragon Knight is already a very good lock down hero, but this just makes him even better if you can get off some clutch Dragon Tails. The +12 HP and Armor Dragon Blood Talent does make you much harder to kill, so it could be an option if you already have a lot of initiation. In general I think the AoE is superior.
Your Game Plan With Dragon Knight
During the laning stage, your one objective is to survive and farm. Dragon Knight is not the easiest hero to kill with, and certainly not the easiest hero to kill. Use your Dragon Breath and Dragon Tail to disrupt enemy last hits and survive the lane till you get your ultimate. Once acquire, either push the enemy mid lane or safe lane in order to gain space and map control.
While in the mid game, focus on farming your Blink and your BKB, that way you can help your team initiate and take pickoffs. Naturally, the pickoffs should lead to towers so that you can take further map control. When Dragon Form is on cooldown, be sure to take it easy as it is very hard for DK to participate in fights when it’s down.
In the late game, hit buildings. By this point, your itemization should be at a point that makes it easy for your team to help you take high ground and take a few barracks while you’re there. Lock down key targets in fights and be sure to peel for your backline.
Tips and Tricks
- When you get your Blink Dagger, standing behind the tree line can be a good set up for ganks. Assuming the enemy team doesn't have wards, you remain out of sight, ready to strike if someone moves out of position.
- A good way to irritate your enemy is to stun them just before they try to last hit. It's especially annoying if you stun them right before they go for a ranged creep. Once you stun, you can easily deny the creep.
- If you're struggling with wave clear on your team, Dragon Knight's shard, Fireball, is a decent option. You can just blast the wave and forget about it without risking too much.
- Your stun is on a low cooldown, but save it for key targets. Usually you use this to jump on high value cores to kill them quickly. In teamfights, either blink in to key saving or high damage supports, or squishier core targets.
- In the super late game, should need a bit more damage, Overwhelming Blink is a great option. It gives you a slight nuke when you jump in, and provides you with more strength gain. Since you likely already have Blink Dagger, the only investment is really monetary.