Image by Swade
Some time in the recent past we did a post on “supports you might be playing wrong” and as it turns out, we overlooked yet another candidate for it: Jakiro, the Twin Head Dragon. The hero is currently among the most successful supports in Divine+ games and is a good fit for a slightly slower contemporary meta.
Jakiro did get nerfed in 7.27b, the big hero balance patch we were waiting for, but the hero is still among the most successful supports in Divine+ who fits well in virtually any lineup. He is a strong and tanky laner, good pusher, has access to some superb follow-up crowd control and deals a surprising amount of damage in a teamfight.
The big problem is Jakiro players, especially when playing the hero as a low farm-priority position five support, have to choose which aspect of the hero to emphasize, and that is what makes the hero very interesting indeed.
Dotabuff has a lot of very helpful features that can provide tons of information at a glance: our guides and builds tabs on the hero pages are especially useful for beginner players or players who are returning to Dota after a bit of a break, to catch up on the meta.
Jakiro is no exception: while last year, maxing out Ice Path was the staple in both professional and pubs scenes, currently most players tend to go for maxed out Dual Breath and find a lot more success when building the hero in that manner.
We touched on the idea of Pub vs. Pro scene in our previous post on the topic and this is, perhaps, yet another case where a concept from the professional scene was blindly applied to a regular matchmaking environment. Maxed out Ice Path is incredible: it is one of the best follow-up stuns in the game with good duration, massive cast range, good area of effect, and pretty low cooldown. The problem is, while well-coordinated professional teams can make full use of the extra lockdown, random teammates frequently can’t.
The other reason is even simpler and, perhaps, more important: Dual Breath is simply amazing in its own right. For 170 mana you can deal up to 440 damage and slow the enemy by 40% for five seconds. Moreover, this ability has a cooldown of 10 seconds, meaning that it has a 50% uptime on AS and MS slow. It can also be applied to targets as far as 1000 units away, making it incredibly safe to use in the majority of cases.
No matter how good your opponents are, they are not going to have their BKBs as early as professional players. The meta in general also rewards slightly greedier playstyle with no emphasis on early magic immunity, so the window of opportunity to use this ability to its full extent is pretty wide.
Worst case scenario: it will force an earlier BKB usage in a midgame teamfight. Best case: enemy melee carry can be completely neutered 50% of the time, since most of them will find it hard dealing damage with a 40% MS slow applied. By playing smart and keeping your distance, while knowing your priority targets, Jakiro can be the most important piece on the board for the first 20 minutes of the game.
Eul’s Scepter was the go-to item for Jakiro when Ice Path was considered a priority. It was an easy setup that also provided a potential dispel and defocus for Jakiro himself and is still an all-around great item. However, while Eul’s might not be a bad idea per se, Force Staff is probably a much better option in the current patch.
The cast range on Eul’s is quite limiting: 575 is a bit too close for comfort for a support, especially the one that has spells that work from 1000+ distance. It is better to learn to time your spell usage correctly or use it as follow-ups, rather than rely on this makeshift catch for almost 3000 gold. Naturally, if your team fully relies on you to hit your stuns, the situation might force you to go for it nonetheless, but it is rare for a team to have absolutely no stuns apart from Ice Path.
Force Staff gives you save and repositioning, and can also be purchased much earlier: it is cheaper by roughly 30%. Moreover, Jakiro can really benefit from it as a save item himself, since he is quite tanky as a hero. It can and should also be used as an offensive tool: it has a cast range of 850 for when you are using it on enemies and that means you can quickly reposition an opponent to get him in range of your Dual Breath+Ice Path combo.
Items like Glimmer Cape, Lotus Orb or even Aether Lens are also pretty nice for the hero, though we would give the first two a priority in most games: active save and dispel are usually much better than a non-crucial increase in cast range: the latter can be a must on some other supports, who really struggle to use their abilities while keeping a good positioning, but Jakiro, with his massive natural cast ranges, doesn’t really belong to this category of heroes.
Given the newest iteration of ranked all-pick drafting stage, going for reliable, flexible, multi-purpose supports in the first stage of the draft is more or less a must in high-level pubs: you can’t just open with Grimstroke or Pudge and expect your team to adapt to your hero. Jakiro fits the bill perfectly and as such is probably the support hero worth training the most currently.
This drafting situation is probably not ideal, but it is a reality for support players. Sometimes the stars do align and a core picks a very flexible hero in the first-second stage, and that is when supports get to experiment with their niche, signature heroes. These situations are rare, however, and if you are primarily concerned with winning, Jakiro is a very safe bet.