Dota 2 Item Guide: Blink Dagger(s)

Dota 2 blink dagger mistwoods update
Blink Dagger got a lot better with the Mistwoods Update. (Credit: Valve Corporation)

Another weekend, another Dota 2 Item Guide. We continue our series with the Blink Dagger, and its upgraded versions!

If you’re looking for more Dota 2 Item Guides, you can easily find them on our website - Blade Mail, Eul's Scepter of Divinity, Abyssal Blade, Manta Style, Spirit Vessel, and more. Today's topic is Blink Dagger, an item older than some Dota 2 players.

Blink dagger artifact
Blink Dagger is an essential part of Dota 2! (Credit: Valve Corporation)

Blink Dagger

Let's take a look at this item's stats:

  • Patch created: Back in DotA (around 2004)
  • Total cost: 2250 gold
  • Active: Blink - Teleport to a target point up to 1200 units away. Blink Dagger cannot be used for 3 seconds after taking damage from an enemy hero or Roshan. Max Blink distance - 1200; Penalty Blink distance - 960; cooldown: 15 seconds.

Blink Dagger is one of the oldest items in DotA and Dota 2. It received only slight changes over the years, but its core concept is the same - you can blink a short distance, and reposition your hero to either escape or initiate. Quite simple right? Wrong. The max Blink distance is set to 1200, but if you overextend, the item will actually punish you by reducing the distance to 960. It takes some time to get used to, but once you master it, Blink Dagger won't let you down.

It can be used to disjoin projectiles, and that's a huge plus against some heroes like Tinker. On the downside, any damage you take from enemy heroes will prevent you from blinking for three seconds. If you're really quick about it, there's a brief period where you can still blink after getting the damage over time effect applied on you. Alternatively, you can avoid dots with spell immunity, or a Hood of Defiance.

EarlyGame Tip: In order to use Blink Dagger, you'll have to be facing the direction you want to blink in. If that's not the case, your hero will have to turn first and then blink. That'll cost some extra time, and might end up killing you if you're trying to escape - so plan ahead.

When to buy it

Blink Dagger isn't an item for every game or every hero. In fact, during most of your matches, you won't buy it unless you're spamming a couple of heroes that desperately need it. For instance, you'll rarely see a Blink Dagger purchased on a core hero (at least until the Mistwoods Update, but we'll get to that later). Instead, the characters that usually prefer it will be heroes with a massive area of effect, crowd control, or a mix of the two. Here are some heroes that usually go for Blink Dagger (usually):

  • Axe
  • Tidehunter
  • Magnus
  • Earthshaker
  • Enigma
  • Sand King
  • Puck
  • Centaur Warrunner
  • Slardar
  • Legion Commander
  • Pudge

There are many others as well, but you get the idea. It's heroes that can catch you with a nice stun, taunt, or leash. For some of these, getting Blink Dagger early can give you quite the advantage - like Axe. Once you acquire BD, you'll be focusing on catching heroes out of position. Be careful though, if you end up feeding then the enemy team might just get ahead. In a way, Blink Dagger is a double-edged sword. You sacrifice 2250 gold (money that can be otherwise spent on survivability, or damage) in order to initiate, but if there's no follow-up you're screwed and you lose the tempo.

What are the alternatives?

There are only a few items that can contest Blink Dagger in terms of initiation and those are:

  • Force Staff (2175 gold)
  • Shadow Blade (3000 gold)

Depending on the situation, they might be better or worse. Force staff is actually a tiny bit cheaper, and provides you with some HP regen and intelligence - that's always nice. In order to use the active, you'll need 100 mana – something that's not necessary with Blink Dagger. Furthermore, the push distance is only 600 units, making it twice as short as when compared to a max-range blink. It's also a lot slower, so many players will be able to react that sort of initiation.

Shadow Blade is usually the other item a lot of players go for when Blink Dagger doesn't quite fit them. It's 750 gold more expensive, gives you damage plus attack speed, and it makes you invisible. The latter guarantees easy initiation IF the enemy doesn't have detection. The truth is the higher you go, the more sentries enemies will be buying. You might get away using it a few times, but eventually, they'll learn. Then again, Blink Dagger can also be countered with regular observer wards.

Which one you choose is ultimately up to you. Just make sure you look at the bigger picture.

The Upgrades

The Mistwoods Update, aka patch 7.28, brought a whole lot of changes, and one of them was the three new upgrades for Blink Dagger. There's one for every stat you might need - Strength, Agility, and Intelligence. They all cost 6800 gold, which makes them one of the most expensive items in the game.

  • Overwhelming Blink - Blink Dagger + Reaver + Recipe

This version gives you +25 strength. In addition, after teleportation, all enemies in a 800 AoE have 50% movement speed slow, and 50 attack speed slow for 6 seconds. They also take damage equal to 200 + 100% of your strength. Remember those fat strength heroes we listed earlier? They're all going to get it (probably).

  • Swift Blink - Blink Dagger + Eaglesong + Recipe

This version adds +25 agility. In addition, after teleportation, you gain 40% phased movement speed, +50 Attack Speed, and +50 Attack Damage for 6 seconds. This one doesn't look as impressive as the strength version, but it's a decent pick for many heroes who tend to deal a lot of damage after blinking in - Juggernaut, Legion Commander, Ursa etc.

  • Arcane Blink - Blink Dagger + Mystic Staff + Recipe

The big brain version provides +25 intelligence. In addition, after teleportation, you gain 25% Ability Cooldown Reduction and 50% Cast Point reduction for 6 seconds. This one is probably the most disgusting version of them all. Sure, intelligence doesn't give you more survivability, but the passive effect is insane. An extra 25% cooldown reduction, with 50% cast point, is something else.

Heroes with long cooldown spells like Enigma, Magnus, or Earthshaker, can use it to considerably lower the timer. Others like Shadow Fiend can pull off insane combos, thanks to the cast point reduction. Many others like Sand King and Monkey King also benefit from the cast point upgrade. I can't say one is definitely better than the other, but in terms of tempo, Arcane Blink is really powerful. This is because it allows scary heroes to use their spells a lot more often, and that can catch you off guard.

Which Blink Dagger upgrade is your favorite? Tell us on our Facebook page or Discord server!

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