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A few weeks ago, there was a bit of skepticism in regards to the two week patch updates. A month into the new system, we can see it builds up the excitement every odd Thursday. Today was supposed to be a bit extra special as whatever changes came in with 7.10 would directly affect the play style in the PGL Bucharest Major, which will be starting on the 4th of March. Although there are a lot of changes, there aren’t any drastic ones that will change the the way the meta is placed. Let’s take a look at which heroes will be grinning while who will be left in tears..

Item Changes

1) Aeon Disk
* Cooldown reduced from 100 to 90

Of all the new items that have been thrust into the scene in 7.07, Aeon Disk is the one that is least seen in the professional scene. The reason for that is probably the high cooldown. Even long drawn fights do not last for 100 seconds, or even 90 seconds for that matter. I don’t think this item will see much use even after this small buff. What would see it used more is lowering the cooldown to 50 or 60 seconds (with some balancing, ofcourse) which would mean it can come into play twice atleast.

2) Boots of Speed
* Cost increased from 400 to 500
* Movement bonus increased from 40 to 50

The movement speed bonus is a nice one, but the added cost is going to make it almost impossible for a support to be getting boots at the start. There are certain supports that do benefit from getting boots at the get go, like Pudge for instance. Boots and Tangos will basically mean no stats on the hero and not many players will be keen on doing that. The change also delays the roaming support’s impact on the early game. I wonder if this small change have an effect on early game kills!

 

Winners

1) Abaddon
* Level 15 Talent increased from +50 Mist Coil Heal/Damage to +60
* Level 20 Talent increased from +15% Cooldown Reduction to +20%
* Level 25 Talent reduced from +250 Aphotic Shield Health to +225

It’s not as if Abaddon is not seen at all. In a few games in every tournament, he’ll make an appearance. After all, no one else in Dota 2 has two Strong Dispels in their arsenal. While the 10 added damage/heal is definitely a positive, the main winner is the better cooldown reduction. With three usable abilities, this will surely strengthen the hero. With a combination of the talent and Octarine Core, Aphotic Shiled goes down to 3.6 seconds while Borrowed time is just 24 seconds (downtime of 18 seconds).

 

2) Ancient Apparition
* Level 15 Talent increased from -1.5s Ice Vortex Cooldown to -2.5s
* Level 25 Talent changed from 4 Charges of Cold Feet to 900 AoE Cold Feet

The level 15 talent brings the cooldown for Ice Vortex to 1.5 seconds. You can literally make enemies crawl. AA is not a hero that will always get to be 25 in a game, but in the event he does, the 900 AoE Cold Feet can be a game changer! Especially combines with a Ravage or Blackhole, it is guaranteed to keep the enemy team in place.

 

3) Arc Warden
* Level 10 Talent changed from +5 Armor to 8% Cooldown Reduction
* Level 15 Talent increased from +2s Flux Duration to +3s
* Level 20 Talent increased from +100 Attack Range to +125
* Level 20 Talent changed from +10% Cooldown Reduction to -1.5s Spark Wraith Cooldown

Valve tried to push Arc Warden to the core in recent patches and there was a time when many teams did pick him. But the poor guy had an appalling win rate and was lost again. These changes might definitely help his cause, especially the 8 % cooldown reduction. Not only does it help in getting out the Tempest Doubles faster, the cooldown reduction also applies to Hand of Midas (both, the original hero and the Tempest Double), a sure shot item on the hero.

 

4) Doom
* Base Intelligence increased by 2
* Level 10 Talent changed from +25 Movement Speed to +16% Scorched Earth Movement Speed

How much movement speed would you expect to have at level 10? Around 340 (a Doom with Boots)? The earlier talent, along with Scorched Earth, increased his movement speed to 416. The current one makes it 442! And the best part is, you need only one skill point in Scorched Earth. There is the slight downside that there will be no increase in movement in speed without Scorched Earth, but the skill is generally used when a fight does break out and that is when Lucifer will be running after you to take you into the depths of hell.

 

5) Dark Willow
* Enabled Dark Willow in Captain’s Mode

Need I say more? We all know the hero is brocken to an extent. 7.08 saw nerfs to Pangolier and I thought it was an indication he would be brought into Captain’s Mode. But instead, it’s Dark Willow. I remember the time Monkey King was brought into Captain’s Mode, just before DAC 2017 and he sort of took over the tournament, thanks to Boboka! It could be a similar story in PGL Bucharest. If midway through the tournament, teams realize she cannot be dealt with, getting first pick will be very important. The team with second pick will have to waste a ban on her!

 

6) Drow Ranger
* Level 15 Talent increased from +400 Gust Distance/Knockback to +550
* Level 20 Talent increased from +2s Gust Duration to +3s

Drow Ranger and Sniper hit hard, but when an enemy hero gets a jump on them, it’s game over. With the level 15 talent, Drow can Knockback and opponent 900 units away, and secure her escape. The night time vision for most heroes is 800. With this buff, Drow can essentially Knockback an enemy out of vision during when it is night.

 

7) Jakiro
* Level 10 Talent increased from +25% XP to +30%
* Level 15 Talent increased from +250 Attack Range to +300

The only reason these changes can benefit Jakiro is that it is a fast paced meta. Better experience gain means he get to level 15 quicker and the increased attack range lets the Twin Head Dragon spam Liquid Fire on to towers from 900 distance away.

 

8) Lina
* Level 10 Talent increased from +100 Cast Range to +125
* Level 10 Talent increased from +25 Damage to +30
* Level 15 Talent increased from +300 Health to +350
* Level 20 Talent increased from +10% Spell Amplification to +12%

Lina has literally vanished after her initial cameo when Dota 2 7.00 was released. Recently, Team Secret did play the hero and beat Team Liquid with it at ESL One Katowice. An all round buff to her might mean we see more of her in Bucharest!

 

9) Lion
* Mana Drain slow increased from 14/16/18/20 to 16/19/22/25%
* Level 10 Talent increased from +75 Damage to +90
* Level 15 Talent increased from +90 Gold/Min to +120

The Man Drain slow was supposed to make Lion viable again, especially early game. But a hero is usually ignored till he is made really strong by IceFrog, after which the hero is picked in more than half the games. See what happened to Shadow Shaman! I think that is what will be happening with Lion. Wonder if some teams will try to get cocky and play him as a mid hero. +90 damage at level 10 is crazy!

 

10) Monkey King
* Base damage increased by 2
* Fixed Mischief not showing the right particles for the first bounty rune
* Level 10 Talent increased from +150 Tree Dance Vision AoE to +300
* Level 15 Talent increased from +300 Tree Dance Cast Range to +600
* Level 20 Talent increased from +300 Primal Spring Damage to +400

It’s nearly been a year and Valve are missing the position 4 Monkey King that everyone grew sick of at DAC. All the buffs point in that direction though and who knows, we might see a few of those at Bucharest.

 

11) Sven
* Level 15 Talent changed from +30 Damage to Storm Hammer Dispels Enemies
* Level 20 Talent changed from Storm Hammer Dispels Enemies to -5s Storm Hammer Cooldown
* Level 25 Talent changed from -9s Storm Hammer Cooldown to +0.75s Storm Hammer Stun Duration

The carry pool has become saturated in the last couple of tournaments and I am really hoping we get  to see a few new heroes in the upcoming Major, with Sven being one of them. Let’s be honest, Sven doesn’t need the extra damage, he already has a lot of that. What the Rogue Knight does need however, is a way to prevent enemy heroes from kiting him. God’s Strength, Warcry, BKB, Blink in only of the enemy to use a Ghost Scepter or Pugna help someone with a quick Decripify. Storm Hammer Dispelling is a talent that could prove to be useful early on, not just against the statuses mentioned above, but also to get positive buffs off enemies in a fight.

 

12) Treant Protector
* Level 10 Talent changed from +35% XP Gain to +2 Living Armor Block Instances
* Level 15 Talent improved from 3s Tree Respawn Time to 2s
* Level 25 Talent changed from +6 Living Armor Block Instances to 700 AoE Living Armor (heroes and buildings)

It is a fast meta and it is also a merciless meta. Lose one fight near your base and there is a stark possibility of losing the barracks on all three sides. Defending megas with tier 4 towers intact was a lot easier earlier, but with T4s no longer regenerating, it’s become harder. Like AA, it is not every day that a Trent will become level 25, but if and when he does, the team is guaranteed 560 damage block over 7 instances (including buildings!). With the level 10 talent, it becomes 720 damage block over 9 instances. We talk about how the meta is not suitable for late game heroes like Spectre, but coupled with a Treant Protector with 720 damage block every 12 seconds might change that?!

 

 

 

Losers

1) Dragon Knight
* Agility gain reduced from 2.2 to 2.0
* Level 10 Talent changed from +30 Attack Speed to -20 % Breathe Fire Damage Reduction

68% win rate in 44 games at Katowice? Damn son, you need to take it slow. And slow is how he will be taking it, with both buffs ensuring a considerable hit to his attack speed. The -20 % Breathe Fire Damage Reduction might actually see him used more in the offlane, as a initiator or utility hero.

 

2) Naga Siren
* Sleep buff linger time reduced from 0.5 to 0.4
* Song of the Siren manacost increased from 100 to 100/150/200

This was coming from a mile away. Naga Siren was a part of 50 of the 64 games played at ESL One Katowice (17 picks, 33 bans) and something was bound to happen to the Song that is causing so much drowsiness in games. The nerf does not make her unplayable, but could force supports to go for Arcane Boots and not straight for the damned Meteor Hammer. Naga might be in for some sleepless nights!

 

3) Omniknight
* Purification cooldown increased from 11/10/9/8 to 11

The nerf may not seem like one too dire, but when it comes to team fight to mid game team fights, those clutch heals are what win you the fight. A clytch heal coming 3 seconds late will have to be on a dead hero. Like Naga Siren, shouldn’t make him unplayable, but will probably take a hot on his pick rate.

 

4) Shadow Fiend
* Shadow Raze damage increase per stack reduced from 80 to 50/60/70/80

Let’s just put this nerf into perspective. Earlier, if SF got all three Razes onto a hero at level 1, the total damage would be 510 (before reductions), which is huge! Now, it is 420. I wouldn’t say it is balanced, but atleast it is better than before. A better way to scale it would be 35/50/65/80.

 

5) Tinker
* Laser Scepter bounce radius reduced from 650 to 400
* Laser manacost increased from 95/120/145/170 to 110/130/150/170
* Level 20 Talent from +100 Damage to +10 Armor

A lot of the r/Dota2 community has been calling out for a nerf on Tinker, although he isn’t really making big strides in the professional circuit. There were those two flashy games by Abed and No[o]ne, but other than that, it hasn’t been the best of times for Tinker. And it just got worse with a dual nerf on Laser. The Scepter bounce nerf is something I agree with though. Having the ability to continuously make the entire enemy team miss all their attacks is a bit overpowered.
The Ones That Got Away

This is a bit of a rant section, aimed at those heroes who have been having a great time in the meta these past few weeks, but have hardly hit by the nerf hammer. Well, I shouldn’t even say hit. It’s a slight nudge on the shoulder.

 

1) Gyrocopter
* Improved visual effect for Flak Cannon projectiles
* Homing Missile bounty increased from 25 to 50
* Homing Missile cooldown increased from 20/17/14/11 to 26/21/16/11

How is this nerf going to affect Gyro? Grated carries usually skill just one level of the missile, but they do not spam it like retards, The Missile usage is pretty much reserved to when there is a potential to kill the opposition hero in the lane. There is going to be a lot of Gyrocopter seen in Bucharest.

 

2) Razor
* Static Link manacost increased from 50 to 65
Really? A 15 mana cost increase for Static Link is supposed to be deemed as a nerf?

 

3) Terrorblade
* Base HP regen reduced from 3.25 to 3.0
* Reflection no longer reduces attack speed

This probably came in as the biggest shock/disappointment. After seeing what the hero can do, all he has to bear is his enemies not having reduced attack speed in Reflection. Most of the times, enemies are more bothered about running when Reflection is cast, not hitting back. The 6 second Reflection cooldown stays on and so does the 5 second Sunder cooldown. Before the patch was released, Miracle was having a good time on Twitter, indirectly indicating his strength.

Post nerf, he still seems to be pretty happy with it.

 

Looking at the big picture, there have been changes but not drastic ones. The PGL Bucharest Major might have a few new faces, but majority of the hero pool from ESL One Katowice should be the same. I hope I am wrong as I wish to see some change in the playstyle, but considering there are just four days after the patch to practice, teams will want to stick to the tried and tested. Also, this patch has confirmed IceFrog’s favorite heroes to be Gyrocopter, Razor and Terrorblade. Atleast for now..

 

Feature Image Credits: TeeKeeuS87

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