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Published on December 16th, 2013 | by APant1


Have a Holly Jolly Wraith Night

In yet another holiday-themed game update, Valve just released a new Dota 2 game mode called Wraith Night. This celebration of slaughter in the name of resurrecting the Skeleton King character (now known as the Wraith King) plays out as a 13-wave survival map. Each wave has a theme and an accompanying bad pun name, like “Left 5 Dead” for the zombie wave and “Bear Force One” for the swarm or bears. It’s also stupid hard, even when you have a team of five competent friends, expect to end up below the dirt a lot.

The mode features only a small selection of heroes, a few new items, and some abilities that have been altered. I wanted to get a short guide together of the dos and don’ts of the Wraith Night festivities.


Kiting is a video game term meaning “running without the intention of fleeing.” In this case, it’s used for getting a group of enemies to a better location for the team. All you need to do is attack a creep, and the whole group will start following you away from a fallen teammate, toward a hero with a stun ready, or just around in circles while a tower picks them off. The enemies have largely the same AI as the normal game, so it’s good practice.

 Sven is Your Friend

With the limited hero selection, every pick has some good traits, but Sven is a massive damage dealer. His ability to cleave should be prioritized, as he can attack everyone around him instead of just a single target. His ultimate ability got a bonus of reducing the cooldown time on all his abilities when you attack, meaning you can throw stuns, power up your allies, and even re-cast your ult much sooner when you jump in to battle and start swinging. Remember than any hero within a certain range gets experience from kills, but it’s split between the heroes. Sven can’t afford to lose out on XP, so try to take on a lane solo as much as possible


Unlike regular Dota, when you kill a creep, you don’t automatically get gold in Wraith Night. Creeps drop a bag of gold sometimes that a hero needs to run over, or it will disappear after only a few seconds. Don’t leave money on the table, it’s scarce enough as it is. At the end of a wave, you get bonus gold for every tower that is still alive, so protect those as well.


What else are you going to do with all that gold? Some items have been added or changed, but the new boots stand out. An improved version of the Arcane Boots is always the first big item I get in a game, they restore a ton more mana when you use them, and the new Halcyon Slippers let you heal all teammates and towers (!) in range when you use them, but it’s a channeled ability, so you have to sit still while using them. A friend of mine usually grabs both. I’m not sure how you wear two pairs of boots, but whatever.

For damage dealing heroes like Sven and Axe, a Vanguard is great to block some damage, and a Helm of the Dominator has some good tweaked bonuses, but they removed the ability to take control of an enemy with it to make up for it. Then go for the massive damage-dealers like a Daedalus. As a support character, a Shiva’s Guard is fantastic for slowing down a big wave of creeps.

Ward It Up

Venomancer is great for this mode because he’s both easy to use and effective. When you level up his Plague Ward ability, it also levels up a new ability for this mode called Scourge Ward. These both throw down mini turrets that shoot poison at any enemy in range, the mana cost is negligible, and you can put down another every few seconds. Don’t forget that someone needs to manually collect the gold.


There are two types of rewards for playing Wraith Night: Phantom Fragments and Shining Fragments. You always get Phantom Fragments, but you only get their shinier cousins when someone on you team has activated an item called Wraith King’s Favor. This costs a buck real-world money and lasts for 500 minutes of playing the mode. Multiple Favors can stack with each other for a 10 percent bonus. Phantom fragments can be traded in for a random item of Frozen quality (which does nothing special), and Phantom fragments can be used to buy one of a few random items or a recipe that turns 5 Frozen quality items into one of a few Corrupted quality ones (which once again, does nothing, the qualities are all just cosmetic). Mostly, just play it for fun and to have a blast with friends.

As always, Dota 2 is available for free on Steam.

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