Learn how to play Winter Wyvern Mid from Tundra’s Nine – who made it look monstrous in the WEU TI10 Qualifiers. From abilities to items to playstyle, we’ve got you covered.

If you’ve been playing pubs lately, you’ve most likely already encountered a Winter Wyvern mid. No, it’s not a grief – the strat is actually pretty damn good. So good in fact, that Tundra almost won the WEU TI10 Qualifiers with it.

Winter Wyvern Portents of the Elder Myth Loading Screen
Portents of the Elder Myth Winter Wyvern Loading Screen (via Valve)

It’s no secret that Winter Wyvern can dish out a TON of damage, and it’s not the first time she’s been utilized as a core either. So how does this new iteration of WW work, and why is it so terrifying? Don’t worry – that’s what we’re here to look into, with some help from Tundra’s Nine.

How Does Mid Winter Wyvern Work?

Arctic Burn has always been an absolutely broken ability, with it’s only downside being it’s long cooldown. At max level, it can do 38% of an enemy’s current health with a SINGLE HIT (over 4 seconds). It’s no surprise it’s the single highest win-rate ability in Ability Draft. Having the ability active also gives Winter Wyvern 1000 attack range, the highest in the game (minus Sniper with Lvl25 Talent).

Winter Wyvern’s Agh’s Upgrade

Winter Wyvern’s Aghanim’s Upgrade turns Arctic Burn into a toggleable ability, which is already pretty insane on it’s own – but that’s not all. The skill normally has a one-target limit, meaning you can only apply the debuff on a single enemy at a time.

With the upgrade, this cap is removed, allowing Wyvern to melt just about anyone she can reach. Speaking of reach, did we mention it also increases her movement speed? Yuuuuuuuuuuup, it’s pretty nutty.

Think of it like a Tinker or Sniper, but packed with a whole lot more safety and utility. The percent-health based damage also allows Wyvern to scale well into the late game, and synergizes well with items like Witch Blade. When she’s fully online, the Flying Poison Sniper Dragon is nigh unstoppable.

How Tundra’s Nine Plays WW Mid

While Tundra’s Leon “Nine” Kirilin is by no means the inventor of WW mid, he did bring down OG with it so we’re going to be looking at how he pilots the hero.

One of Wyvern’s biggest pains is her godawful laning. This was made a bit more bearable with minor buffs in 7.29, but the hero still struggles against strong laners. For the most of the early game, Nine opts to farm up for core items and play relatively reserved.

While Arctic Burn is the skill that makes Wyvern so strong, early on Splinter Blast is your best friend. Wave-clear AND the ability to farm stacks is a big component of getting to those core items, so fire away. Nine maxes Splinter Blast first, then Arctic Burn, taking a value point in Cold Embrace for the save.

As for items, here is a general build that should serve you well. Start off with a Quelling and 2 branches for the Bottle Rush. From there, a Null Talisman and Magic Wand will tide you through the early game. Nine sometimes rushes Boots of Travels, which allows him to clear waves and farm/traverse the map faster.

From there, Witch Blade gives Wyvern everything she needs – armor, intelligence, attack speed and of course the juicy juicy projectile speed. After that, it’s Agh’s time baby. The rest of your slots can be adjusted based on the game. Some items to consider are BKB, Bloodthorn, Silver Edge and perhaps even Hurricane Pike.

Your ideal items for Winter Wyvern mid inspired by Tundra Nine

What talents do I pick for Winter Wyvern Mid?

Winter Wyvern's Talents
Nine’s Talent Choices on Winter Wyvern

As for Talents, the +50 Damage at Level 10 gets a special shoutout for the huge boost it gives to the hero.

At Level 15, the health is definitely a nice chunk, but +400 Night Vision on top of the 400 you get from Arctic Burn lets you find and stick onto priority targets.

The Level 20 talent is a no-brainer, since we’re building for Arctic Burn, and the Level 25 stun on Splinter Blast adds more utility and dimensions to Wyvern’s already packed kit.

Navigating Teamfights

We’ve mentioned Sniper/Tinker already as a comparison earlier, and for good reason. In teamfights, Winter Wyvern wants to play on the outskirts – all while pelting opponents with her icy breath.

Your priority in fights is to apply Arctic Burn’s debuff on as many enemy heroes as possible, and then proceed to target squishy heroes. Don’t forget that Wyvern can damage opponents through Winter’s Curse, so use that to your advantage! Even with no enemy heroes around to kill their friends, the ability disables for 2.5 seconds, giving you more than enough time to melt your target.

Be sure to communicate with your team as to when you’re using your ultimate though. The last thing you want is for you to ruin a combo or counteract what your allies are trying to do.

In terms of positioning, use the flying movement and massive Night Vision you have to your advantage. With all these tools at your disposal, you can approach key targets from fog through paths they might not expect.

As much as you’re having fun dishing out loads of damage, don’t forget that you have Cold Embrace too! This spell provides an immense amount of healing and complete immunity to physical damage. Put it on an ally who’s getting focused down, they’ll love you for it. Just like your ultimate, be sure to communicate this as well.

Winter Wyvern Mid isn’t without it’s weaknesses though. Just like Tinker, if you want to kill a dragon you’ve got to have catch. Any hero that can either jump her, or find WW as she’s soaring over the trees is a good in game counter. Notably, OG used Disruptor in Game 5 of the TI10 Qualifiers to displace Nine repeatedly, preventing him from playing on the edge of the engagements.

Winter Is Most Definitely Coming

Whether you like it or not, Winter Wyvern Mid is going to be the new pub plague. If you follow our guide, you’ll can be on the better end of the stick, and rack up sweet sweet MMR in no time.

In terms of the pro scene, the hero is starting to make waves even outside of Tundra. We’ve just seen Team SMG try it out for themselves in the BIX Invitationals Summer. From what we can tell, mid Winter Wyvern is here to stay, at least until the patch hits.

If you want to check out other fun (but scarily good) builds, like the Axe Manta build – be sure to check out Esports.gg’s Dota 2 guide section.

For more Dota 2 content, news and guides, stay tuned to esports.gg.

Mike Tsang - Writer of the Month: April

Mike Tsang

Writer of the Month: April | Twitter: @permasneeze | Twitch: permasneeze

Mike is a digital content producer from Singapore who lives and breathes Dota 2. When he's not playing or watching the game, he can be found slurping ramen or sleeping next to his cat.