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Dark Willow and Pangolier were introduced to Dota 2 with the 7.07 patch in November 2017. While Dark Willow got her entry into the professional scene in 7.10, it’s now Pangolier’s turn to beam with his arrival in this patch. It’s not that Pangolier has not been played at all in competitive Dota 2. He was played in Captain’s Draft 4.0 (which was a Minor in the Pro Circuit). The stats till now (although just for three games) are quite unimpressive.

Games played: 3
Games won: 1
Average GPM: 344

The hero wasn’t figured out at least until early January. And with 7.12 being released in the midst of DAC 2018, I doubt too many teams will try to experiment it, unless they have a player really confident with the hero. I believe Daryl Koh ‘iceiceice’ Pei Xiang is quite good with it, so team playing against Mineski better watch out!

Besides the Pangolier inclusion, quite a few heroes have undergone changes. The trend seems to be alternate changes to game mechanics or other stuff not related to heroes or items for a patch followed by hero changes the next patch. Let’s look at what items and heroes have suffered or benefitted.

 

General Changes:

Neutral Creep Stack bounty increased from 15% to 20%

20 % bounty for not clearing a single creep is pretty sweet. Again, this shouldn’t really affect the professional scene as they do stack for their cores, extra bounty or not. But for pubs, more incentives for supports (if there are any in your team).

 

Major item changes:

* Clarity: Mana Regeneration reduced from 3.2 to 3.0 – IceFrog really wants to get of roaming supports, doesn’t he? They’ll probably be the ones being most affected by this change, the likes of Earth Spirit, Tusk and Elder Titan.

* Nullifier: Projectile speed decreased from 1200 to 900 – Initially, the new items from 7.07 didn’t gain too much traction. But with time, all of them have seemed to settle in with the players, especially Nullifier, which is seeing a lot of use these days. A small nerf was imminent. It will basically increase the time after casting when the Mute/Purge hits the target, increasing the time by 33 %.

* Satanic: Duration increased from 4.5 to 5 seconds – Not a lot of Satanics seen these days. The extra half second could mean one extra hit, which is a lot of HP.

* Spirit Vessel: Enemy current health based damage changed from 3% Direct HP modification to 4.5% Magical Damage – Say what you will, this item is a bit broken and this change fixes it a bit. The earlier damage did not have any reduction. With it being converted to magical, there are quite a few ways to mitigate it.

 

Winners:

 Dark Seer

* Dark Seer: Vacuum AoE increased from 250/350/450/550 to 400/450/500/550
* Dark Seer: Vacuum cooldown rescaled from 32 to 60/50/40/30
* Dark Seer: Vacuum cast range rescaled from 500 to 450/500/550/600
* Dark Seer: Vacuum Pull duration increased from 0.5 to 0.3/0.4/0.5/0.6
* Dark Seer: Vacuum damage rescaled from 40/80/120/160 to 25/50/100/200
* Dark Seer: Wall of Replica incoming illusion damage reduced from 400% to 300%
* Dark Seer: Wall of Replica width increased from 1000 to 1300

Dark Seer is one of those heroes who through the ages (patches) has only received nerfs. The reason for that is he was never really out of the meta. How much ever IceFrog nerfed him, teams always found him useful until the nerfs really took over. Although the changes are a combination of nerfs and buffs, the major change here is the AoE increase for the level one Vacuum. Agreed the cooldown is higher, but landing the Vacuum once in a gank is more beneficial than a second time without the Wall of Replica. Coming to the Wall, it has seen a buff as well, with an increased chance to create illusions with the higher width.

 

Drow Ranger

* Drow Ranger: Precision Aura attack damage bonus increased from 10/18/26/34% to 10/20/30/40%

Complexity Gaming must be elated looking at this change! They were the only ones who deployed Drow strats once in a while post TI 7. A precision Aura damage bonus of 40 % is crazy, especially running it with the likes of Medusa.

 

Leshrac

* Leshrac: Base movement speed increased from 325 to 330
* Leshrac: Lightning Storm damage rescaled from 50/100/150/200 to 80/120/160/200
* Leshrac: Lightning Storm slow duration rescaled from 0.7/0.8/0.9/1.0 to 0.4/0.6/0.8/1.0
* Leshrac: Lightning Storm cast point reduced from 0.45 to 0.4

The last time Leshrac was running Rampant was during TI 5, after which he’s only made cameo appearances. The buffs to Lightning Storm make him a lot dominant in the laning stage. The slow duration has been nerfed, but the increase in early damage is a great way to drive the opposition out of the lane. OG’s S4 and LGD Gaming’s Maybe (Somnus) are quite good with the Disco Pony and we just might see a bit of dancing at DAC 2018.

 

Lion

* Lion: Earth Spike manacost rescaled from 100/120/140/160 to 70/100/130/160

This buff by itself isn’t the biggest deal, but the culmination of small buffs along with the fact that quite a few of the meta supports are being nerfed could make it a big deal for Lion. Additionally, with the Bounty Rune losing its XP gain and the mid tower distance decrease from the river, there is a possibility teams may wander away from roaming supports like Earth Spirit and Tusk, which works perfectly for the Demon Witch. He went to hell, but might be back again!

 

Magnus

* Magnus: Skewer AoE increased from 125 to 135
* Magnus: Reverse Polarity stun duration increased from 2.25/3/3.75 to 2.75/3.25/3.75

That’s a 0.5 second AoE stun increase. Could be the difference between winning and losing a team fight. However, I don’t think too many teams will pick it based on this, though I hope I’m wrong.

 

Monkey King

* Monkey King: Wukong’s Command soldier attack rate improved from 1.4 to 1.3

When Monkey King was first introduced to Dota 2, the BAT of the soldiers was 2.0. To balance nerfs, it was reduced to 1.6, then 1.4 and now, it’s 1.3. Only Alchemist in Chemical Rage has a better attack rate than this. Those soldiers are going to be hitting like a bunch of crazy monkeys.

 

Shadow Demon

* Shadow Demon: Demonic Purge slow now always scales linearly with time from 100% to 20%
* Shadow Demon: Demonic Purge cooldown increased from 40 to 60 (affects charge replenish)
* Shadow Demon: Demonic Purge duration increased from 5 to 7 seconds
* Shadow Demon: Demonic Purge no longer roots non-hero units for 3 seconds
* Shadow Demon: Demonic Purge now continuously dispels the target

The big take aways from this are Demonic Purge duration increased by 2 seconds and the fact that it continuously dispels the target. That is huge, to be honest, considering the fact that Demonic Purge is undispellable. It is literal hell for 7 seconds.

 

Slardar

* Slardar: Guardian Sprint no longer has a 15% damage amplification
* Slardar: Guardian Sprint duration reduced from 12 to 10

Whaaaatttttt? No more damage amplification against Slardar in sprint? Should be a game changer.

 

 Slark

* Slark: Base HP regen increased from 1.5 to 2.75
* Slark: Turn rate improved from 0.5 to 0.6

Nahaz mentioned in a Tweet that Slark was once of the heroes that needed some love from Valve, and he seems to have gotten it. These two buffs will be very helpful for lane survival and that’s all Slark needs, right? Once he’s farmed, may God help the opposition.

https://twitter.com/NahazDota/status/978680916825530369

 

Undying

* Undying: Undying Zombie critical health attack speed boost increased from 50 to 75
* Undying: Flesh Golem hero kill heal increased from 10% to 15/20/25%

The critical health attack speed boost is the boost the Tombstone Zombies get when the target goes below a certain HP. Increase in that attack speed is surely going to be a bigger menace, especially for supports who don’t have the attack speed to kill off the Zombies.

 

 Zeus

* Zeus: Attack range increased from 350 to 380
* Zeus: Base damage increased by 5

It’s been long forgotten in professional Dota that there is a hero called Zeus. I had mentioned in an article a few weeks ago how Zeus is languishing in all stats as compared to other mid laners and needs a major buff. This isn’t a major buff, but at least it is something to get him started off in the lane. Zeus’s attack damage being too low, he has to rely almost exclusively on Arc Lightning to get last hits, which ends up pushing the lane. This will change that, although I don’t really see teams picking the hero because of this buff.

 

Losers:

 Death Prophet

* Death Prophet: Spirit Siphon charge restore time increased from 45 to 60/55/50/45
* Death Prophet: Silence manacost increased from 80 to 80/90/100/110

Spirit Siphon makes ganking Death Prophet in lane quite a difficult task, more so if she has a Tusk with her who can Snowball her with the Siphon still draining HP from the enemy. Nerf to early levels will make her a bit more vulnerable in the laning stage, much like Shadow Fiend’s Raze damage stack nerf. The mana cost could be a factor in seeing her pick rate go down, as DP is a hero who have four usable skills and doesn’t build into Arcane Boots, so mana is a small issue.

Disruptor

* Disruptor: Static Storm no longer lingers on your hero for 0.5 seconds after walking away from the AoE (it already ends immediately once the spell is over)
* Disruptor: Kinetic Field cooldown increased from 13/12/11/10 to 19/16/13/10

Disruptor has been picked a lot since the turn of the year and a nerf was much needed. These nerfs don’t seem like a reason for making the hero totally unpickable, but at least it tones down Disruptor’s effect a bit.

 

Enchantress

* Enchantress: Untouchable slow rescaled from 40/70/100/130 to 20/60/100/140
* Enchantress: Enchant cooldown rescaled from 30/24/18/12 to 55/40/25/10
* Enchantress: Enchant slow increased from 2.25/3.5/4.75/6 to 3/4/5/6
* Enchantress: Enchant dominate duration rescaled from 80 to 50/60/70/80
* Enchantress: Impetus manacost rescaled from 55/60/65 to 40/55/70

Most of the nerfs Ench has received are targeted towards the position 4 roaming Enchantress. The offlane Enchantress should still be a viable pick, but currently, we mostly only see Liquid’s Mind Control play it in a core role.

 

Gyrocopter

* Gyrocopter: Flak Cannon cooldown increased from 30 to 40
* Gyrocopter: Homing Missile hits to destroy reduced from 3/3/4/4 to 3

It’s hard to be too mad at Gyro because he really was out of the game for a long time. That being said, it is getting a bit too repetitive to see him in pro game. Flack Cannon is his only physical damage dealing skill and nerfing that will surely affect his farm rate. The early game magic damage is still strong though, so I don’t see a big dip in pick rate. Maybe a small hit on the win rate.

 

Omniknight

* Omniknight: Repel manacost increased from 50 to 85

IceFrog is really after Omniknight and rightly so. The hero, along with Sand King, has been in the meta since before TI 7. In 7.10, the cooldown on Purification was increased by 3 seconds. Now it’s the mana cost for Repel. These may seem like small changes, but for a strength hero like Omni (who doesn’t always make Arcane Boots), it is a factor that can make a difference.

 

Razor

* Razor: Static Link cast range reduced from 600 to 550 (break range still 800)
* Razor: Unstable Current damage reduced from 100/130/160/190 to 60/100/140/180

Basically makes the hero easier to lane against. Razor has to come closer to get the link off and you don’t get zapped for God-awful quantities of damage if you get too close.

If there’s one thing to be taken from the nerfs to the meta heroes, IceFrog is targeting to the laning stages. If the hero can get to the late gate, it’s all good.

 

Sand King

* Sand King: Burrowstrike stun duration rescaled from 2.17 to 1.9/2.0/2.1/2.2
* Sand King: Base movement speed reduced from 295 to 290

Again, an early game nerf. And if you ask me, quite less than what the Scorpion needs. The combined nerf to the early Burrowstrike and Movement Speed might deter teams from picking him. Well maybe not a 4 position SK, but an offlane SK could still be viable.

 

Tiny

* Tiny: Base Health Regen reduced from 2.5 to 1.5
* Tiny: Avalanche cooldown increased from 17 to 20/19/18/17

I keep repeating it, because that’s how it is. An early game nerf to Tiny as well. The 1 HP regen won’t be a decisive factor towards the later stages, but early on in the game, it definitely is. The nerf to Avalanche is more of a nerf than it may appear as a lot of times, players prefer to keep the Ava-Toss at level 1 each and max out Tree Grab.

Not all the professional players may have gone through the changes as the DAC games ended late in China and there is a possibility some might have been asleep when the patch was released. But there were a few reactions regarding 7.12:

Observer Weppas seems quite excited about the new changes:

 

And even though Crystal Maiden hasn’t been buffed a lot, OG’s captain, Tal ‘Flyu’ Aizak can see a comeback trail:

 

Day two of the Dota 2 Asia Championships 2018 should be really interesting with all the new changes. A lot of players don’t like the changes in the middle of a tournament, but I think it spices up things a bit, at least for the spectators. The big question is, will anyone pick Pangolier?!

 

headline image source: Mihalceanu’s steam workshop

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