The best way to build and level Dragon Knight in Dota 2

Steven Rondina • August 4, 16:21

Dragon Knight has become Dota 2’s main character since the reveal of the DOTA: Dragon’s Blood animated series. That’s appropriate, because Davion has long been a solid hero that is friendly for new players while still remaining viable in high-level play.

There are a number of different ways to play as Dragon Knight in Dota 2, with a classic mid-lane build that turns him into a formidable core hero or an offlane build that makes him a tank-initiator hybrid. Here is a complete guide to how to build Dragon Knight in Dota 2.

Is Dragon Knight good in Dota 2?

Dragon Knight has never been the top pick in Dota 2, but has generally remained one of the better heroes throughout the game’s existence. He has fulfilled a number of different roles over time, but most recently has been played as either an offlaner or mid.

As a mid laner, Dragon Knight’s strength lies in his ability to quickly hit level six and become a fearsome early and mid-game pusher. Though players mostly recognize the strength of Elder Dragon Form to be turning Dragon Knight into a ranged hero, it’s the Corrosive Breath attack modifier that really changes things, allowing DK to easily clear waves with Breathe Fire and knock over towers with his Corrosive Breath.

Dragon Knight is also a solid offlaner thanks to his Dragon Blood passive. Dragon Blood allows Dragon Knight to have a ridiculous 17 armor and 20 HP regen at level seven without a single item boosting those stats. That gives Dragon Knight the ability to comfortably sit in lane, soak up hits, and get farm with Breathe Fire even against the most difficult opponents.

What should I buy on Dragon Knight?

Dragon Knight can hypothetically be built in a number of different ways, but extra mobility is a must. This could be in the form of a Shadow Blade or Blink Dagger, but allowing the hero to close the distance, stun, and deal some quick damage is critical. Unlike cores such as Anti-Mage and Morphling, Dragon Knight has no built-in mobility options and therefore needs to make buying additional mobility through items a priority.

After that, it depends on what Dragon Knight’s role on the team is going to be. Aghanim’s Scepter and Black King Bar are strong options in any situation, but Dragon Knight might also want to build up damage or extra tankiness. Here are the two best catch-all builds for Dragon Knight.

How to play mid Dragon Knight in Dota 2

Dragon Knight is one of the better early-game pushers in Dota 2, and is capable of knocking down towers as soon as he hits level six. That makes him a fine mid-laner and allows him to threaten towers without any backup or advanced itemization. 

The best way to start threatening towers is to have a strong tool for clearing creeps, which sees Dragon Knight best served by maxing out Breathe Fire quickly. Depending on the lane opponent, Dragon Knight could need some extra base health regen with levels in Dragon Blood. At least one level in Dragon Blood is necessary in order to comfortably use Soul Ring.

The ideal situation sees Dragon Knight maxing Breathe Fire to both keep the wave on the opponent’s side of the river and to open up the option to occasionally knock down an easy jungle camp.

After hitting level six, Dragon Knight can clear the creep wave with Breathe Fire and begin bashing down towers with Elder Dragon Form. Depending on the lane opponent, this can be easier said than done. If the opponent rotates for a gank, Dragon Knight can easily make them pay for it by taking a tower in response.

In terms of itemization, Dragon Knight needs to largely focus on damage and attack speed. In most cases, the best approach is to look at items like Daedalus and Assault Cuirass, though Silver Edge might also work against specific enemies. From there, Black King Bar or Blink Dagger is likely best to round out the build.

Though it’s tempting to build up a big and bulky Dragon Knight, most teams are relying on their mid-laners to scale into proper late game carries. Dragon Knight needs to aggressively itemize in this direction, or else he falls off hard in his damage capabilities.

How to play offlane Dragon Knight in Dota 2

While mid Dragon Knight needs to go hard for damage-dealing items, offlane Dragon Knight leans on the hero’s natural bulk and excellent stun to serve as a frontline initiator. Itemization is fairly rigid with offlane Dragon Knight, as the hero absolutely needs to rush Blink Dagger to set up kills and then go for Black King Bar to stay alive once fights break out. 

Offlane Dragon Knight can still apply intense pressure to towers, but the primary function of the hero is to blink forward, land a stun, and then start attacking. From there, Dragon Knight can build utility to provide additional value to his team. Depending on the enemy lineup, Heaven’s Halberd can do a lot of work, while Meteor Hammer can provide some extra pushing power if the team needs it.

Aghanim’s Scepter is always a strong option, as it gives Dragon Knight extra bulk and range. Force Staff can also also do a lot of work if needed.

How do you counter Dragon Knight?

Dragon Knight’s biggest positives are his strength gain, the natural bulk that comes with the Dragon Blood passive, and his early game pushing. Unfortunately, the hero is either mediocre or bad in most every other regard and only scales moderately well as a result.

Dragon Knight isn’t the most efficient farmer, relying on Elder Dragon Form to clear camps in an expedient manner. This is unfortunate, as the cooldown for the ability is long enough that he can’t routinely farm with it and doing so may leave him vulnerable in any fights that follow. This puts him at a disadvantage compared to heroes like Luna and Anti-Mage that can easily empty out the jungle and then hop back into action.

On top of that, Dragon Knight’s not overwhelmingly tanky in the late game, and if players invest in items like Satanic and Black King Bar they’ll find themselves not hitting particularly hard. This forces players to effectively choose between being a hard-hitting carry or a bulky tank, rather than both.

Dragon Knight doesn’t have any especially hard hero counters, but Viper and Huskar can shrug off Dragon Knight’s damage in the mid lane. Dark Seer historically has a strong edge over Dragon Knight as well, which is thanks to his ability to Surge the enemies that Dragon Knight initiates on. In terms of items, armor reduction from Solar Crest or Desolator goes a long way against Dragon Knight. 

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