Dota 2

Why you should be playing Dawnbreaker offlane, not safelane

Being the latest addition to the Dota 2 universe, Valora the Dawnbreaker is tested in multiple roles, starting with the middle lane and then the safelane. However, according to a few of our coaches from Gamejitsu, She is actually, in fact, best played in the offlane.

Now hear me out, even though her hammer might look painful enough to be played as a carry, bear in mind that Omniknight is useless… I mean, not played as a carry, and he has a hammer too. Her spells scale with damage, but she doesn’t have a robust farming mechanism aside from the occasional hammer swinging (Starbreaker) to actually farm the items to give her enough damage to carry a game. However, she is both scarily tanky without items, as well as the fact that she can create 5v4 situations easily.

Why Dawnbreaker Offlane?

  • This beast has a 720 HP and 5 armor level 1.
  • She trades nearly as well as a Legion Commander or a Chaos Knight offlane thanks to Luminosity and Starbreaker.
  • 12th highest winrate in the Divine / Immortal bracket, standing at 53.28%. Her offlane winrate is 53.71%.
  • She’s extremely similar to Mars and Legion Commander in a sense, with a touch of Nature’s Prophet’s global backup ability.
  • Extremely versatile regarding itemization. You can build aggressive damage builds on her such as Echo Sabre, S&Y and Abyssal Blade, yet in other situations stuffs like Pipe, Crimson Guard and Solar Crest are all great options too.
  • Strong at all stages of the game, as ger spells scale and global presence is a useful thing to have at all stages of the game.
  • With Solar Guardian, she can solo-push a single lane and force the enemies to react and then force 5v4 teamfights at the other side of the map by teleporting away with Solar Guardian. Do consider BKB if enemies have a way to stop your teleportation, and remember to always get the Solar Guardian cooldown talent.
  • With the current meta gearing towards the safelane carry teleporting to the enemy safelane and trying to push the tower 3v2 with their offlane, Valora’s Solar Guardian is the biggest deterrent to that, and it prevents the enemy offlane from ending the laning phase early to wreck havoc in your safelane jungle.

Of course, she has her weaknesses too.

  • Celestial Hammer costs a ton of mana for Valora early in the game, as well as having pitiful damage. The 20-50 burn damage for 2.5 seconds almost seems like a joke from Valve because they have nothing else to add to the hammer mechanic. The pull range is half of the spell’s actual range, which kinda sucks pre-level 25 talent.
  • Solar Guardian’s cooldown early game is pretty long, which means the enemy can record and remember her cooldowns and dive towers when they know you aren’t going to be counter initiating from the other side of the map any time soon.
  • Some mana issues early game, yet not the best candidate for Soul Ring because Starbreaker costs only 80 mana, but has more than 10 seconds cooldown to be able to cast it twice during the Soul Ring’s 10 seconds duration. While you can add Celestial Hammer into the combo, the damage Celestial Hammer provides is a joke for waveclear with the damage to mana ratio.
  • Doesn’t actually provide spectacular damage output during the lategame. Her primary job is to just whack squishy heroes in a teamfight while proccing Luminosity as many times as possible. If you’re looking for the damage output of a Mars or Legion Commander lategame, don’t even think about Dawnbreaker.
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Alright, so now how should we play Dawnbreaker?

  • Dawnbreaker is a pretty decent laner overall, albeit not disgusting enough to outright force enemy carries out of the lane. We want to be farming while trading with the enemy carry as much as possible. Overall, the primary task in the offlane is to reach level 6 ASAP. If you can lane against two heroes alone, you can have your position 4 leave the lane and go stack / gank / pull / do whatever.
  • As Starbreaker has bonus damage during the swing, and even higher bonus damage during the final hit (smash), we want to ideally attack anything once to have 1 charge in Luminosity so our smash can proc Luminosity. If you don’t do that, you might have 3 charges in Luminosity and you’ll then have to proc it with a normal right-click, which does not have bonus damage.

The correct combo during laning is to whack creeps once when enemy heroes come near to last hit creeps, then Starbreak straight away and then even deny the creep if possible.

  • Once you reach level 6, gauge whether the enemy carry is strong enough to be switching lanes and pushing your safelane tower. If the enemy carry had a rough lane against you, you can have your position 4 leave the lane and go play top lane instead, creating a 3v2 situation. If the enemy carry decides to react, just commit Solar Guardian afterwards and further force a 4v3 situation. Abuse Solar Guardian and always go for the numbers game — fighting fewer heroes with more is the key to playing a good tempo game with Dawnbreaker.
  • If the enemy carry leaves the lane, start committing wards in the enemy safelane jungle. This is done so that you know if the enemies are trying to gank you, as Dawnbreaker wants to keep the enemy lanes pushed. You want heroes to react to your push, while your teammates start teamfights on the other side of the map, and you Solar Guardian in. Think Dawnbreaker as Nature’s Prophet except she counter initiates waaaaaaaaaaaaay better. One of our 7k MMR offlane coach was a Legion Commander spammer until Dawnbreaker came along. (Shameless plug: You can get coaching from him on Gamejitsu!)
  • If no one is committing anything on you, just farm and push the lane while farming the enemy jungle too. More often than not your job is to act as an annoyance because if the enemies don’t react to you, they lose towers and their jungle. If they do, they lose heroes on the other side of the map. The only losing scenario that will happen is that they manage to kill you before you Solar Guardian away, hence the wards.
  • Try not to pick Valora into heroes that can interrupt your Solar Guardian teleporation while laning well against you 1v1. Batrider and Doom comes to mind, because you can’t kill them, can’t really run from them and can’t Solar Guardian away from them.
  • Lategame-wise, the gameplan stays generally the same, except you want to be timing your Solar Guardian well enough to ensure whoever on your team that needs to stay alive receives your Solar Guardian backup. It can be your carry who got jumped, your support Lion who needs to stay alive against the enemy Storm Spirit or even your mid Templar Assassin who has the most amount of burst damage to deal with the enemy Lifestealer. Use Starbreaker as much as possible, on as many targets as possible to abuse the stun and the extra charges from the talent.
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There are multiple ways to use Solar Guardian. You can use it as a counter-initiation tool, or even a Phoenix Egg / taunt in the middle of the teamfight to force enemies to either try to stun you or risk getting stunned instead.

How do we itemize Dawnbreaker?

  • First of all, Phase Boots is the most important item you want to have. Don’t go for Treads just because you think you can proc Luminosity more often — We aren’t playing her as a right-click carry here. You want to ready Luminosity, then Phase up to the enemy carry and whack him. Remember, heroes give more heal compared to creeps.
  • Magic Stick / Wand gives better value compared to Soul Ring regarding Valora’s mana issues, as Starbreaker is the spell we want to spam to farm and it costs only 80 mana.
  • Orb of corrosion is a decent item on Valora if you have a better matchup against the enemy carry. Avoid this item if you realise you can’t outfight the enemy carry.
  • During the midgame, you should consider Echo Sabre if you had a decent start. If you’re playing more of an aura bitch role, Vlads and Vanguard can be a decent choice. Don’t underestimate Vlads on Valora, Solar Guardian-ing into a teamfight while having Vlads provides a ton of healing which is deceptively good for counter-initiation teamfights, not to mention Luminosity providing AoE heal. It’s almost like turning your whole team into Huskars.
  • Sange and Yasha are decent value items, because Sange amplifies your healing, while Yasha gives you bonus attack speed to proc more passives.
  • Crimson Guard and Pipe of Insight can be bought if your team needs them. Aura items are all great on Valora because, with Solar Guardian, you can make sure your team will be benefiting from it almost every single teamfight.
  • Assault Cuirass is also great on Valora for obvious reasons similar to the ones above.
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Guide created by our coaches at Gamejitsu.

What is Gamejitsu?

  • Gamejitsu is a coaching platform with our own in-house technology focusing on replay analysis. Visit us to grab a review and step up your game! For an infographic of what we are, check out

How does Gamejitsu differ from current coaching?

  • Contrary to live coaching, we are not disruptive on your games. Our coaches do not talk while you play the game, hence you can focus on playing the game alone and have our coaches analyze your plays after. Our system lets you skip through the game and only watch important moments where coaches talk about your plays.
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