Dota 2

Dawnbreaker Discussion: Armlet vs Echo Sabre before BKB

Armlet has historically been underpicked so it makes sense that it hasn't received a lot of attention on Dawnbreaker. Armlet and Echo Sabre solve different problems with Dawnbreaker's kit, have statistically the same winrates on Dotabuff, and cost the same, but I hope that after reading this some of you will consider trying early Armlet on DB. Note that first-item BKB is also an option and is something I talk about at the end.

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  1. Dawnbreaker's Early Weaknesses:
  • Need armor (base 5 armor, we need to be durable)
  • Need control (W provides decent slow, but we cant let enemies can walk out of her Q)
  • Need damage (secure kills with Q, and damage makes our E go from weak to actually decent)
  • Need mana (can empty her mana pool quickly in a big fight)
  • Need health (lower priority, we are the team's durability but her str gain is already very good)

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2) Armlet (2475 gold) vs Echo Sabre (2500 gold) in DotA Buff

Armlet DotaBuff: https://www.dotabuff.com/items/armlet-of-mordiggian

  • Armlet has 2nd highest winrate on Dawnbreaker (55.35%) after Huskar (56.15%) in games with >20,000 picks this week.

Echo Sabre DotaBuff: https://www.dotabuff.com/items/echo-sabre

  • Echo Sabre has 2nd highest winrate on Dawnbreaker (56.48%) after Abaddon (56.70%) in games with >20,000 picks this week.

We can conclude that, statistically speaking, the winrates for Armlet and Echo Sabre on Dawnbreaker are within the margin of error. We'll have to look at Armlet and Echo Sabre's stats and figure out how to build around each.

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3) Stats Comparison

  • Look at these stats subjectively and don't forget that Armlet charges health degeneration for the damage.
Armlet of Mordiggian (active) – 2475 gold Echo Sabre – 2500 gold
+75 damage +30 damage
+10 armor
+25 attack speed +10 attack speed
+500 health +300 health
+7.5 hp/sec (+5 from item, +2.5 from strength) +1.5 hp/sec (strength)
-40 hp/sec (net regen = -32.5/sec)
+120 mana
+2.75 mana/sec (2.25 from item, 0.5 from int)
Second Attack + Slow every 5 seconds
  • Armlet takes care of her armor issues, gives more damage, attack speed, and health. Armlet is lacking in mana and target slows, plus the net -32.5 hp/sec hurts but our passive can help a little since AoM gives +75 damage for Luminosity. Soul Ring + Orb of Venom/Corruption are early game solutions to her mana + target slow issues, while smart use of Q + E as well as a Morbid Mask to build into Satanic lets us keep Armlet toggled on.
  • Echo Sabre takes care of her mana and targets slows issues, and the Echo passive gives extra right clicks, but Echo provides only modest bonuses to damage, attack speed, and health, and its passive has no effect on the damage of her Q. Warning: Might be a bugged interaction, but if you initiate Q with Echo Sabre off cooldown, it will put Echo Sabre on cooldown but will NOT deal an echoed hit to your enemy. Items that can boost her damage, armor, and sustain like SnY and AC are not early game solutions, so you'll have to address those deficiencies later.
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4) Item Buildup

  • Armlet Route:
    • 2x Gauntlets of Strength (for Soul Ring), Tangoes, 2x Ironwood Branches, and a Quelling
    • Magic Stick is value
    • Orb of Venom + Boots helps us catch, works with W
    • Soul Ring is +2 armor, and fixes our mana issues – each Soul Ring cast is a free Q + a free W.
    • Helm of Iron Will gives excellent armor and hp regen
    • Then work towards Phase Boots, finish Armlet, and move to BKB.
  • Echo Sabre Route:
    • Orb of Venom (earlier), Tangoes, 2x Ironwood Branches, and a Quelling
    • Magic Stick is value
    • Orb of Corruption + Boots helps us catch, works with W
    • Phase Boots is our only source of armor this early.
    • The work towards Echo Sabre, and move to BKB.

Armlet requires Helm of Iron Will, which by itself doubles her early armor and gives nearly a ring of health worth of regen for 925 gold. Paired with Phase Boots, Soul Ring, and her base armor, Dawn will have 18+ armor going into the midgame. Completed Armlet requires Blades of Attack, Gloves of Haste, and a 650 gold recipe.

Echo Sabre requires and Ogre Axe and an Oblivion Staff, neither of which feel particularly strong on their own in my opinion. Combined, these items increase the frequency of her E procs, give her right clicks a boost + slow every 5 seconds, and provide a variety of small stat bonuses without a particularly stand-out stat.

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5) After BKB

https://imgur.com/a/LPYxaV8

I put together two late-game builds on a level 20 Dawnbreaker so you can see objective hero stats. Both builds are worth similar amounts of gold, and are based on common item choices for Dawnbreaker. The Echo Sabre build costs 14,525 gold and includes a Belt of Giant Strength but not a complete basher (I'm trying to keep the budgets similar and completing basher would bring the Echo Sabre build to 17k gold). The Armlet build costs 14,680 gold.

  • Armlet + Soul Ring together give 12 armor, so instead of AC this Dawnbreaker can go for Satanic. 344 right-click damage + Satanic active make Dawnbreaker very hard to kill. Satanic Active + Q will heal Dawnbreaker to full 3 times in a row, or 6 with her lvl 20 talent. Her regen of 26.4 hp/sec in this example means that Armlet is removing 14.6 hp/sec, which is easy to manage. This build also has 700 more HP.
  • Echo Sabre is left with low armor after BKB, hence why AC after BKB has such a high pick rate. 219 right-click damage in this example, but also enemies will have 5 fewer armor than in the Armlet build above so that 219 goes a bit further. Echo Sabre has slower attack speed than Armlet but the Echo gives it good overall attacks per second. Has 4 more armor than the Armlet build after finishing the AC, but relies entirely on her E to heal through damage.

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6) Final Items

The Echo Sabre setup builds into Basher and eventually Abyssal Blade to improve control in fights. Orb of Corrosion can be traded for Skadi for survival and slow, while Echo Sabre is commonly sold for Desolator or SnY.

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The Armlet setup sells Soul Ring + Orb of Corruption for two of the following based on the situation. Her damage is already very high so an Armlet DB is looking to add more control to teamfights.

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7) Final thoughts

I didn't want to end this discussion without mentioning that first item BKB is also quite common.BKB-first builds will have both armor AND mana regen issues, but may be the only way to reliably player Dawnbreaker in some circumstances. The most stand-out example is Nyx, whose carapace can cancel your ult and completely screw your teamfight if you engage without BKB. High magic-burst heroes like Skywrath, Leshrac, and Pugna (decrepify) are hard to engage upon, and her worst matchups include Batrider, DP, Lina, and Timbersaw all with >3.5% disadvantage on DotaBuff. Also note that Silencer can cancel your ult with his Global Silence during your cast time regardless of whether you have BKB. This ensures that you can never ult into a teamfight.

If you do plan to go BKB first, keep in mind the list of Dawnbreaker's weaknesses in section 1 above. BKB helps to address control and gives a little more right click damage than Echo Sabre, but you will need items focused around those weaknesses if you want any relevancy in the mid to late game.

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