Dark Willow/Guide

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Dark Willow Guide Header.png


Dark Willow minimap icon.png Dark Willow is a sinister spellcaster, capable of dishing out bursts of magical damage with the help of Jex, her companion wisp. She excels at crowd control, entangling foes in the thorns of Bramble Maze or forcing them to flee with Terrorize. Despite her potent spells, Dark Willow's low health makes her quite vulnerable, and her long early game cooldowns require judicious use of her abilities.
Pros Cons
  • Multiple disables.
  • Zones out enemies.
  • High magical burst damage.
  • Fulfills both support and ganker roles.
  • Fragile.
  • Ineffective against spell immunity.
  • Vulnerable against AoE abilities.
  • Long cooldowns in the early game.


  • Put value points into Cursed Crown and Bramble Maze early to protect your team and lock down enemies.
  • Shadow Realm deals heavy damage to zone out the enemy in lane, as well as helping Dark Willow escape.


  • Focus on leveling Shadow Realm, Bramble Maze, and Bedlam to deal magical damage in ganks.
  • More tips needed.

Ability Builds[edit]

Generic Dark Willow
Bramble Maze icon.pngShadow Realm icon.pngShadow Realm icon.pngCursed Crown icon.pngShadow Realm icon.pngTerrorize icon.pngShadow Realm icon.pngBramble Maze icon.pngBramble Maze icon.pngTalent icon.pngBramble Maze icon.pngTerrorize icon.pngCursed Crown icon.pngCursed Crown icon.pngTalent icon.pngCursed Crown icon.pngUnknown icon.pngTerrorize icon.pngTalent icon.pngTalent icon.png


Hero Talents
+1.3 Terrorize Duration25+110 Attack Speed
-10s Bramble Maze CD20+50 Damage
-2s Shadow Realm Cooldown15+32 Bedlam Damage
+100 Cast Range10+0.4s Cursed Crown Stun Duration
  • This attack damage talent is added as raw attack damage, so it does not benefit illusions, and is not affected by most percentage-based damage increasing or reducing effects.

Tips & Tactics[edit]


  • Dark Willow excels as a support due to her many disables and nukes.
  • Dark Willow's magical burst damage requires her to get close to her targets, exposing her to retaliation.
  • More tips needed.


Bramble Maze[edit]

  • Use Bramble Maze to block off narrow points, such as stairs or the Roshan Pit.
  • Use Bramble Maze sparingly in the early game as it has a long cooldown.
  • Use Bramble Maze as an initiation tool, centering the inner circle of brambles around the target.
  • Bramble Maze's formation is always the same.
  • Cast Bramble Maze slightly off-center to put a single bramble in the enemy's way, or block off a narrow path.
  • Use Bramble Maze as a protective zone for Dark Willow and her allies.
  • Use Bramble Maze pre-emptively before a teamfight since it has long duration.
  • Zone out last-hitters or set up early kills by placing Bramble Maze directly on the enemy hero.
  • More tips needed.

Shadow Realm[edit]

  • Shadow Realm's damage scales well in the early game, so max it out first.
  • Use Shadow Realm to harass enemies in lane.
  • Use Shadow Realm's long attack range to finish off enemies escaping.
  • Shadow Realm disjoints and makes Dark Willow untargetable by anyone, including herself and her allies.
  • Shadow Realm does not protect from AoE abilities, meaning that area nukes and disables like Sanity's Eclipse and Rolling Thunder can still hurt Dark Willow.
  • When ganking, use Shadow Realm with Bedlam to deal high burst damage, and to avoid being disabled by the target.
  • Use Shadow Realm before channeling Town Portal Scroll icon.png Town Portal Scroll to increase Dark Willow's chance of escape because the ability protects her from unit-target disables, such as Malefice.
    • However, disables that do not target unit, like Song of the Siren, can still ruin the combo.
  • You can use items like Eul's Scepter of Divinity icon.png Eul's Scepter of Divinity, or work with abilities like Disruption that hold the enemies in place, buying time for Shadow Realm to charge up damage.
  • More tips needed.

Cursed Crown[edit]

  • Use Cursed Crown followed by abilities and items like Eul's Scepter of Divinity icon.png Eul's Scepter of Divinity to pin target in place, eliminating much of the stun delay.
  • Use Cursed Crown in the middle of teamfights, or after placing Bramble Maze to stun multiple enemies.
  • Use Cursed Crown on aggressor to dissuade them from chasing Dark Willow or allies.
  • In the later stage of the game, enemy heroes will have plenty of time to use Black King Bar icon.png Black King Bar before Cursed Crown's stun goes off. So, try to save it for heroes without spell immunity.
  • As Cursed Crown is counting down, it shows the stun area with faint visual effect.
  • More tips needed.


  • Bedlam deals more damage against a single target.
    • Stay on the edges of enemy clusters to have Jex focus fire on the outermost enemy.
    • Stay on top of the enemy for as long as possible to deal more damage.
    • Moving in circles around the target will keep Jex firing on the enemy for almost the entirety of the duration; easier to do against stunned or rooted enemies.
  • Dark Willow can choose to use Bedlam to clear creep waves as it has short cooldown.
  • Use Bedlam with Shadow Realm, allowing Dark Willow to stay close to enemies without them retaliating.
  • Use Bedlam with Eul's Scepter of Divinity icon.png Eul's Scepter of Divinity to deal damage while avoiding incoming damage.
  • Use abilities and items like Eul's Scepter of Divinity icon.png Eul's Scepter of Divinity to remove one enemy so Bedlam has one less target to attack.
  • During Bedlam, the visual effect around Jex indicates its attack range.
  • Bedlam is a poor ability for teamfights as it requires Dark Willow to get dangerously close to the enemy and loses effectiveness against multiple targets. Use Terrorize and your basic abilities to control the fight, saving Bedlam to pick off survivors.
  • More tips needed.


  • Terrorize applies fear to make enemies run toward their fountain.
  • Position Dark Willow behind the enemy team to catch terrorized enemies with Bramble Maze and Bedlam.
  • Try not to use Terrorize and make enemies run away from allied abilities like Chaotic Offering or Death Ward.
  • Use Terrorize to protect allies and disengage from a losing fight.
  • Use Terrorize to counter-initiate as enemies have committed powerful and expensive disables like Black Hole, Stone Gaze, Vacuum, or Dream Coil, ruining their combo and saving caught allies.
  • Use Terrorize to waste powerful enemy abilities like Metamorphosis, Chemical Rage, Shapeshift, Guardian Angel, Insatiable Hunger, and Strafe.
  • Use Terrorize to stop enemy channelers like Pugna minimap icon.png Pugna, Witch Doctor minimap icon.png Witch Doctor, or Crystal Maiden minimap icon.png Crystal Maiden, even if they gain invisibility with Glimmer Cape icon.png Glimmer Cape.
  • Since terrorized enemies cannot spread out, use Cursed Crown's area stun to disable multiple targets as Terrorize ends, or use it to herd enemies into Bramble Maze.
  • Try to aim Terrorize to make some heroes run away, so your team can slaughter the remaining ones.
    • If the enemy team is attacking your tower, the separation between the attacking ranged and melee heroes gives an opportunity to remove either from the fight.
    • Supports tend to stay at the back of a fight; Terrorize them to put enemy carries at a disadvantage. Alternatively, use Terrorize on carries will allow you to focus on the supports.
    • Since Terrorize does not last forever, opt for these tactics only if your team can kill the unaffected heroes within time; otherwise, just Terrorize all heroes and escape from the fight.
  • More tips needed.


Starting items:

  • Clarity icon.png Clarity helps Dark Willow play more aggressively in the early game with supply of mana.
  • Tango icon.png Tango supplements Dark Willow's low natural health with regeneration.
  • Healing Salve icon.png Healing Salve restores health to keep Dark Willow alive.
  • Iron Branch icon.png Iron Branch combines with Tango to heal more, or builds into Magic Wand.
  • Enchanted Mango icon.png Enchanted Mango restores mana for Dark Willow to use abilities in the early game.
  • Observer Ward icon.png Observer Ward provides vision on the enemies so Dark Willow and allies can gank.

Early game:

  • Boots of Speed icon.png Boots of Speed increase movement speed to chase or escape.
  • Wind Lace icon.png Wind Lace helps Dark Willow keep up with enemies during ganks, and builds into Eul's Scepter of Divinity.
  • Magic Stick icon.png Magic Stick can save Dark Willow in an emergency by restoring health and mana.

Mid game:

  • Magic Wand icon.png Magic Wand gives Dark Willow a quick mana and health restoration.
  • Arcane Boots icon.png Arcane Boots help Dark Willow use her magical nukes more often, as she has five active abilities with high mana costs.
  • Eul's Scepter of Divinity icon.png Eul's Scepter of Divinity works well with any of Dark Willow's abilities: setting up Bramble Maze's root and Terrorize's fear, buying time for Cursed Crown to stun and Shadow Realm to peak in damage, removing an enemy for Bedlam to concentrate on others, and combining with Shadow Realm for longer period of untargetability. It also provides intelligence and mana regeneration for her to use said abilities.
  • Blink Dagger icon.png Blink Dagger helps Dark Willow get close to enemies to land as many Bedlam hits as possible, and allows her to get behind enemies for Terrorize. If trying to escape from enemies, Shadow Realm may help Dark Willow survive the 3 second cooldown and blink to safety.
  • Glimmer Cape icon.png Glimmer Cape grants Dark Willow a layer of protection with invisibility and magic resistance, so she can stay on top of the enemies when using Bedlam.

Late game:

  • Scythe of Vyse icon.png Scythe of Vyse provides a large damage boost and a strong single-target hex to complement her natural AoE disables.
  • Guardian Greaves icon.png Guardian Greaves protects Dark Willow with dispel and heal when she is ganking with Bedlam.

Situational items:

  • Phase Boots icon.png Phase Boots allow Dark Willow to keep up with enemies while using Bedlam.
  • Bottle (Full) icon.png Bottle facilitates rune control, offsetting the high mana cost of Dark Willow's abilities.
  • Veil of Discord icon.png Veil of Discord gives a core Dark Willow high damage and kill potential with her own nukes. It also provides additional attributes, which the hero lacks.
  • Kaya icon.png Kaya increases Dark Willow's burst damage, and reduces some of her high mana costs.
  • Force Staff icon.png Force Staff helps Dark Willow escape, stay next to enemies during Bedlam, or push a fleeing enemy with Cursed Crown into their team.
  • Spirit Vessel icon.png Spirit Vessel sustains Dark Willow and teammates with heal, and it can also help in ganks by countering enemy healing and dealing some damage.
  • Rod of Atos icon.png Rod of Atos applies root to keep the target within range of Bedlam.
  • Linken's Sphere icon.png Linken's Sphere protects Dark Willow from single target disables, which can kill her in the late game.
  • Aeon Disk icon.png Aeon Disk protects Dark Willow from high damage nukes and initiations with strong dispel and damage reduction, giving her 2.5 seconds to use all of her abilities to help in teamfights or to disengage.
  • Aghanim's Scepter icon.png Aghanim's Scepter increases lots of damage output and works well with the attack speed talent for a core Dark Willow.
  • Boots of Travel 1 icon.png Boots of Travel, along with Shadow Realm, help Dark Willow teleport and split push.