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The new season started with 7.07. On realizing the high number of tournaments in the season, Valve switched to a biweekly patch system. With the biweekly patches starting from 7.08, we have probably what is the last major patch before TI 8, which is 7.16. With the advent of 7.16, Valve announced that all subsequent patches will be tweaks to balance the game instead of major changes.

Announcement:

The upcoming patches will be mostly focused on balance tweaks in preparation for The International. There are a few more biweekly patches planned, with the primary ones scheduled around the final Major and the TI Qualifiers. After TI, we expect the first half of the new season to have longer periods between gameplay updates.

The increase in time between patches most probably stems from the dissatisfaction of the professional circuit with players bringing up the point of inability of getting used to a patch and style of play. It remains to be seen what the time period between patches will be. My guess is the mechanics changes and hero changes will be merged together to form one patch every month.

7.16 was supposed to be a hero change patch, but as it will be the last major patch, a few mechanics have been altered as well.


Major Mechanics and Item Changes:

* Melee Barracks health increased from 1800 to 2000
IceFrog really wants the casters to work for their money. The game has already slowed down quite a bit, and this should make taking high ground just a bit tougher.


* Bounty Runes team gold reduced from 40 + 3/min to 40 + 2/min
This was a necessary change. A team getting all four bounty runes at the 20 minute mark would lead to a 2k net worth swing! That’s quite a bit for picking four runes. Every player would get 400 gold. With the change, it’s 1600 gold distributed amongst the team and it gets lower in comparison as the game time increases.

* Increased Base HP regen to 1.75 for the following Agility heroes: Anti-Mage, Arc Warden, Clinkz, Drow Ranger, Meepo, Pangolier, Phantom Assassin, Templar Assassin, Troll Warlord, Vengeful Spirit
A bit more sustain for all those agility carries that aren’t getting picked a lot. To be fair, TA and Troll are not shunned out as much as the others, but they get some love as well.

* Roshan attack damage upgrade over time increased from 2.5/min to 4/min
Those early Roshan kills are getting tougher with every patch. It might promote easy Rosh takers like Ursa, Troll and Slardar. It’s not that Rosh becomes impossible, but with the small increases in the difficulty level, it takes more time and gives the opposition time to react and contest Rosh.

* Enchanted Mango: HP regen reduced from 0.6 to 0.5
Enchanted Mangoes have become a very liked delicacy. In nearly all professional games, you can see a bunch of Mangoes in the starting items. The HP regen is useful no doubt, but the item is more sought out for that early game burst out mana that helps secure the First Blood or get on the early harass.

 

A small nerf was in order. I don’t think it will affect the early game potential or popularity of the item.

* Hand of Midas: Cooldown reduced from 100 to 95
Hand of Midas has fallen so far down the pecking order that Miracle has stopped making the item even while playing Invoker! Instead, he goes Power Treads into Aghanim’s Scepter.
Midas was nerfed quite a bit when around 5 to 7 players on the map started making it (I believe it was with the start of Dota 2 7.00). It is time to bring back the item again. I highly doubt this change alone will fix it. Maybe with a couple of more small changes, it could be back.

* Sentry Ward: Duration increased from 4 to 6 minutes
Always nice to see a change that makes support life a bit easier.

* Vladmir’s Offering: Mana regeneration increased from 0.65 to 1.0
Vladimir’s Offering has literally gone missing from the game, just like Clinkz. This change is a start, but it’s hardly the thing that will get it back in the game. Ever since Morbid Mask and Satanic lost their orb effects, Vlads was largely ignored. A slight rework or maybe an active ability might be needed to bring it back.

 

Major Hero Changes:

Winners

* Bloodseeker: Level 10 Talent increased from +4 Armor to +8 Armor
* Bloodseeker: Level 20 Talent increased from +14% Rupture Damage to +18%

The additional 4 armor is a considerable amount of physical damage mitigation at early levels, when the natural armor is not high. The 18% additional damage makes it 78% Pure Damage of the distance moved! That can get scary..

The small buffs are piling up on Bloodseeker. And we saw what that did last year. BS was one of the most played heroes at TI 7. At some point, people are going to suddenly really this hero is not that bad and he will be back.

 

* Clinkz: Intelligence increased from 16 + 1.55 to 18 + 1.7
* Clinkz: Strafe dodge no longer has a count limit

Clinkz was the only unpicked hero in the in pro games from 7.12 to 7.16. Feels bad man, right? The added intelligence will make it easier to spam arrows. No dodge limit for Strafe means Clinkz can just pop Strafe and hit towers without having to worry about a stun or nuke hitting him in the face. But 3.5 seconds is too little time. The buff is good, but not good enough to make Clinkz better than the meta picks.

 

* Crystal Maiden: Arcane Aura self mana regeneration increased from 1.3/2.2/3.1/4.0 to 1.6/2.4/3.2/4.0
* Crystal Maiden: Base Damage increased by 2 

CM’s base damage has seen an increase in 5 combining the buffs from patch 7.12 and patch 7.16. Right now, it stands at 40-46, which is still low but at least she’s not a Techies!  The self mana regen is helpful, but what would really bring her into contention is the buff to the aura mana regen or a bit of movement speed. AT 275, the poor girl is crawling.


* Dark Willow: Bedlam cooldown reduced from 40/35/30 to 30
* Dark Willow: Bedlam duration increased from 4 to 5

She came, she saw, she conquered, and she was nerfed and forgotten. One of the biggest issues with her was the Bedlam damage and how a position 5 Dark Willow could solo kill a position 1 or position 2 opposition hero in the early stages of the game. With increased duration and reduced cooldowns at level 1 and 2 of the ultimate, that problem could possibly come back.

 

* Huskar: Life Break increased from 34/38/42% to 34/39/44%
* Huskar: Inner Vitality manacost reduced from 170 to 140/150/160/170
* Huskar: Inner Vitality base regen increased from 10 to 12

To be honest, I’m not sure what to make of this change. The 42% to 44% isn’t that big deal. The buff to Inner Vitality does give Huskar better sustain in lane as well as a greater chance to stay alive going for the early game kills. Still, Huskar is a very niche pick and I doubt his pick rate will go up by much. But, I might be wrong!

 

* Invoker: Invoke manacost removed

The only players who still play Invoker are Miracle and Abed and that is because they are the best in the world at it. Other than that, Invoker is very rarely seen in professional games. Invoke only had a mana cost of 40 before, so it is not the biggest change in the world. But that 40 mana cost can be a hamperer of plans in the early game. Want to get that Ice Wall off to save yourself? Oops, no mana! It’s a small thing, but in Dota 2, the small things make the difference.

 

* Magnus: Empower cleave distance increased from 460 to 625 (matching Battle Fury)
* Magnus: Empower cleave end radius increased from 240 to 330 (matching Battle Fury)

Position 4 Magnus to forgo the Battlefury? Or a position 2 mid Magnus taking the benefits for himself? This will accelerate the farm of melee carries a lot.

 

* Ogre Magi: Multicast 2x chance from 40/50/60 to 60/60/60%
* Ogre Magi: Multicast 3x chance from 0/20/25% to 0/30/30%
* Ogre Magi: Multicast 4x chance from 0/0/12.5% to 0/0/15%
* Ogre Magi: Level 10 Talent increased from +60 Gold/Min to +9

I would be surprised if Ogre Magi didn’t show up in games now. All three levels of Multicast buffed along with he GPM talent at level 10. The ultimate buff is a sort of buff to all his skills. Additionally, he’s durable in lane and good at harassing.

 

* Pudge: Meat Hook cooldown increased from 14/13/12/11 to 17/15/13/11
* Pudge: Meat Hook damage increased from 90/180/270/360 to 150/220/290/360

The cooldown isn’t a big deal for Meat Hook. Early game, Pudge doesn’t have the mana pool to spam hook anyways. But additional 60 damage for level 1 Hook..that too Pure damage. Definitely a recipe for First Blood. However, it isn’t the best reason for teams to pick the abomination.

 

* Tiny: Tree Grab building bonus damage increased from 60/80/100/120% to 90/120/150/180%
* Tiny: Tree Throw splash damage increased from 100 to 130%

The splash damage nerf in 7.14 absolutely destroyed Tiny! At least now there is some love thrown in his direction. And with the towers and barracks a bit harder to kill, the bonus building damage will definitely come in handy.

 

* Treant Protector: Living Armor regen increased from 4/7/10/13 to 4/8/12/16

16 HP regen for 15 seconds is 240 HP, which is 60% of a Salve. Imagine having 60% of a Salve every 12 seconds at level 7. That is an insane amount of heal. Not just to heroes, but buildings as well!

 

* Ursa: Level 15 Talent changed from -1s Earthshock Cooldown to +25s Fury Swipes Reset Time
* Ursa: Level 20 Talent changed from +25s Fury Swipes Reset Time to +12 Fury Swipes Damage
* Ursa: Level 25 Talent changed from +14 Fury Swipes Damage to Enrage gains 80% Status Resistance

Let’s be honest, the +1 Earthshock duration was never that enticing. The +25 seconds reset time is very helpful in long drawn fights, especially against opponents like Slark who like get in and out of fights. Ursa’s main problem is that he gets kited a lot come the late game. Enrage with Scepter and the Status Resistance should take care of that. I mean, 80% is a crazy amount of Status Resistance! It makes a 5 second stun into a 1 second stun. But there’s also the issue of getting to level 25 on an Ursa. The hero isn’t the best of farmers. All in all, it is definitely a buff. Remains to be seen what the pro circuit thinks of it.

* Wraith King: Mortal Strike no longer has a chance to kill creeps
* Wraith King: Mortal Strike now gains skeleton charges for every 2 enemy units you kill
* Wraith King: Mortal Strike skeleton count rescaled from 4/5/6/7 to 2/4/6/8
* Wraith King: Mortal Strike skeletons bounty reduced from 15/15 XP/Gold to 5/5
* Wraith King: Mortal Strike manacost reduced from 75 to 30/45/60/75

Probably the most interesting change of the patch. This change ensures that WK will definitely have new skeleton warriors ready every 15 seconds. Eight skeletons with an average damage of 37.5 makes it 300 damage at level 4! That’s like having a Divine Rapier but not in one piece, as 8 small pieces. If WK goes for the additional Skeleton damage talent along with twice the skeletons summoned, it becomes an additional 1000 damage every 50 seconds! The only thing is, the skeletal minions cannot be controlled. But if activated rightly during a fight or a push, there is some substantial damage coming through there.

* Zeus: Base damage increased by 5
* Zeus: Strength gain reduced from 2.6 to 2.3
* Zeus: Arc Lightning damage rescaled from 85/100/115/145 to 70/95/120/145
* Zeus: Lightning Bolt cast range increased from 700 to 700/750/800/850
* Zeus: Lightning Bolt damage increased from 100/175/275/350 to 125/200/275/350

Again, coming patches 7.12 and 7.16, Zeus has received a base damage buff of 10! The Arc Lightening nerf is not a big deal as it is usually kept at level 1 to get last hits. The typical Zeus build is 1-3-1 where Lightening Bolt damage maximization is the plan. Now, with the extra base damage, Zeus could actually go for a 0-2-1 build and have a 200 damage nuke (before reductions). Add on to that the damage from Static Field and the Thunder God does a crazy amount of damage at level 3! Like Kyle said, this can also be done using a position 4 Zeus. Yapzor must be a happy man.

 

 

 

Losers

* Clockwerk: Power Cogs manacost increased from 50/60/70/80 to 80

Clockwerk relies a lot on Cogs for winning the lane. Shocking the enemy out of mana or trapping a poor hero trying to escape. 50 mana seems like a steal for it at level 1. The increase in mana will hurt Clockwerk as he is a strength hero with not the biggest mana pool in the world.

 

* Death Prophet: Base movement speed reduced from 310 to 305
* Death Prophet: Spirit Siphon manacost increased from 70/65/60/55 to 70
* Death Prophet: Level 10 Talent reduced from +50 Damage to 40

Even after a series of nerfs, DP continues to be a popular hero. The +50 damage talent is so good for farming that players get it over the magic resistance talent and then go on t build a Hood of Defiance for magic resistance. I don’t think there changes will banish her, but the pick rate will go down a bit.

* Gyrocopter: Call Down Missile One damage reduced from 200/275/350 to 150/250/350
* Gyrocopter: Level 10 Talent reduced from +25 Damage to +20

The only hero, besides DP, who has been prominent in all patches since 7.07. No nerf can hold him back and his win rate shows it. Every tournament, Gyro boasts of a very good win rate (which is usually above 50%). The Call Down damage reduction along with the damage talent change makes the early game a bit tough on him. However, these changes will not make Gyro disappear. The nerfs are minor and I believe Gyro will continue to picked up a lot.

 

* Kunkka: Level 25 Talent changed from +50% Tidebringer Cleave to -1.5s Tidebringer Cooldown

After what happened with Sccc and Maybe’s Kunka, this was coming for sure. I mean, you should not be able to one hit a Dragon Knight late in the game. It’s one thing the cleave considers armor reduction of the primary target only, add to the 50% additional cleave and it’s just insane.

 

* Morphling: Morph now only dispels on initial cast, rather than on all toggles

Morph was like the opposite of Demonic Purge. You could literally dispel off negative effects every second. Won’t be able to do that now.

 

* Phantom Lancer: Doppelganger can no longer be cast while rooted

Gotta build that Manta Style now, or you’re in big trouble. Image PL getting netted by Naga’s Ensnare and just sitting there for just 5 seconds, unable to do anything.


* Night Stalker: Void no longer applies a ministun during the day
* Night Stalker: Darkness no longer sets enemy vision to a fixed amount
* Night Stalker: Darkness now reduces enemy unit and ward vision by 25% (doesn’t affect buildings)

NS just got punched in the gut by IceFrog. Punched hard at that. The first change makes Void useless in stopping TPs and channeling spells during the day. Well, bot completely useless as it still does damage. But enemies don’t have to play around the cooldown that ministun.

Earlier, Darkness set all enemy vision to 675 and ward and building vision to 800. Now for units and wards, the vision will be 25%. Ward vision at night is 1600 (same as day) and that will be reduced to 1200 (and not 800 as before), which is probably the biggest nerf. When it comes to hero vision, most heroes have 800 vision at night. Their vision will decrease to 600 (from 675 earlier). But there are others who have better night vision

 

* Sand King: Caustic Finale slow reduced from 30% to 21/24/27/30%

With the recent nerfs, SK’s pick rate and win rate had gone down in the tournaments prior to ESL One Birmingham. But somehow, he still managed to be the most picked hero at ESL One Birmingham. Hopefully, this nerf will set him back by a bit.

 

* Tusk: Ice Shards cooldown increased from 21/18/15/12 to 23/20/17/14

Another hero, who like SK, has seen regular nerfs and still just continues to dominate the picks. Combining 7.12 and 7.16, it is a 4 second cooldown increase for Ice Shards, not to mention the nerf to Shard duration in 7.14. But looking at the trend, this will stop him from being picked. It will definitely make him a bit weaker though.

 

There are a lot of changes in the Dota 2 patch 7.16. The best place they will be displayed is the Dota 2 Supermajor in Shanghai, which starts on the 2nd of June. This will be the last tournament in the DPC circuit and will decide who gets the direct invites. I just hope this patch brings in a bit more diversity and we get to see more heroes played instead of the same old Gyrocopter, Sand King, Death Prophet and Dragon Knight.

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