From playtesting different builds, I best like Winter Wyvern in the Support role. I first tried playing Winter Wyvern as a DPS hero (a hero who has a high damage output though its physical attacks) but that role was a complete wash-out. Besides the pathetically low damage that it deals, Winter Wyvern just does not have the attack speed which is important for most DPS heroes. None of its skills helps with attack speed and although I even tried buying a Mask of Madness (which gives huge boost to attack speed for a period of time when activated) it was no help at all.
On the other hand, playing Winter Wyvern as a Tank worked out pretty well. Essentially, a Tank takes damage for the team by ‘pulling aggro’, meaning that enemies automatically identify it as the biggest threat and focus their attention on taking it down first. Hence, a Tank either needs lots of health or lots of health regeneration in order to continue ‘Tanking’. To play the role of a Tank for Winter Wyvern, a ‘mekanism’ (an item that boosts a hero’s health) is a must. Hood of Defiance and Crimson Guard are recommended. A Heart of Tarassque is also good to have if the game drags on. But Cold Embrace, which provides complete immunity to physical damage, is what gives Winter Wyvern its Tankyness. Although vulnerable to spells, the insane amount of health regeneration provided by this skill makes it all the more difficult to kill Winter Wyvern. However, it does require quite some commitment to farm up health-improving items given the low base damage of Winter Wyvern.
One other role that worked surprisingly well was in taking the Middle Lane. The Middle Lane is one of the most demanding lanes in the game as the Middle Lane is almost always taken up by a single hero instead of the usual 2 in the other lanes. Dota has 3 different lanes — the Safe Lane (easy), the Middle Lane and the Off Lane (both about equally hard). The victor of the game is usually decided by the player who has taken the Middle Lane. Essentially, once a player has control of the Middle Lane, his team has the double advantage of ‘ganking’ (attacking with superior numbers) and map control. To control the Middle Lane, a player has to try and out-regenerate its opponent by constantly harassing and damaging them faster than they can recover. Winter Wyvern can easily out-regen almost any hero, if played properly. This is because Winter Wyvern has the painful Splinter Blast nuke as well as the health regenerating Cold Embrace. To play the Middle Lane, I usually start off with 1 point in Arctic Burn for instant enemy harassment. I would then max out Splinter Blast instead of Cold Embrace as my intention is to damage the enemy as much as possible. Also, since the Middle Hero usually buys a Bottle (an item which heals health and mana when activated and can be replenished by Runes spawned on certain locations of the map), a good Offense is the way to go.
Winter Wyvern does have to beware of certain heroes that can counter its skills, like Bursters (heroes who use items or spells to bring down much of an enemy’s health in an instant). Since Cold Embrace is no protection against Magic/Pure damage, Winter Wyvern is particularly squishy against Bursters. The most dangerous enemy for Winter Wyvern, I feel, is the Skywrath Mage. Skywrath Mage is notorious for its silencing skill that temporarily prevents its target from using its skills. This makes Winter Wyvern practically useless as it can no longer use its healing or nuking abilities. To make things worse, Skywrath Mage’s Ultimate is most effective against stationary heroes – such as those affected by Cold Embrace. Using Cold Embrace on oneself in the presence of an enemy Skywrath Mage is just asking for trouble.
Still, heroes who have foes have friends. All Dota heroes have a weakness against some hero types, but synergize and work well with other hero types. One hero which works well with Winter Wyvern is Dark Seer. Dark Seer is famous for its Vacuum skill. When cast on the ground at max level, Vacuum sucks in any enemy unit within 550 radius towards the point of casting. Once Dark Seer’s Vacuum concentrates a large number of enemies into a tight group, Winter Wyvern’s Ultimate, Winter’s Curse, becomes frighteningly effective. When executed properly, this combo, along with the assistance of the other allied heroes, has the potential to wipe out an entire enemy team almost instantly.
Winter Wyvern is a versatile hero. With practice, it can be one of those few Supports that create a serious nuisance to an enemy team by constantly keeping its teammates hale and hearty. Although it does take some patience to master this hero, it is definitely enjoyable to play, particularly in the Support role!