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The International 2018 was one of the best TIs ever because we got to witness games with a lot of ups and downs. Games went on for a long time as it was a slow meta and that gave teams a chance to make a comeback. The first big patch of the new season, patch 7.20 made the game a lot faster. A lot of attack speed related buffs and grouping up and team fighting moved things faster. With Dota 2 patch 7.21 being released today, it seems IceFrog and Valve miss the the old meta and have decided to migrate back to the long games. A lot of the changes made in patch 7.21 slow down the game which is bound to make games last longer. Let’s try to analyze how most of the general changes will affect the game.


General Changes

* Melee creeps average gold bounty reduced by 3
* Range creeps upgrade cycle gold bounty increased from +3 to +6

An average reduction of 3 gold per melee creep is basically an average reduction of 9 gold per creep wave. That makes it a potential 90 gold deficit in the first 10 waves (which is around 5  minutes). It isn’t the biggest deficit, but it does slow down cores who are dominating lanes and getting every creep from getting out of control. With denies now giving gold, it has become easier for the stronger laner to farm faster. This should restore some parity.


* Replaced the primary jungles’ ancient camps with big camps

This can be viewed in two ways. Heroes that can farm the jungle early on but can’t really farm ancients, like Storm, Medusa and Alchemist (between level 6-9) get an extra big camp to farm. That is advantageous to them. But for heroes like Drow Ranger and Phantom Assassin, who enjoyed early Ancient farming with their new skills, this is a major setback. That early influx of gold, which only few heroes can claim from ancients, will be unavailable. On the whole, as the game goes on, the dearth of gold in the jungle will be felt due to the missing ancients. Teams with two farming cores will run into problems.

Average big camp gold is 101. Average ancient camp gold is 173. Not considering the increasing neutral creeps bounties, for a 60 minutes game, that is a potential loss of 4320 gold! Of course, no one is going to farm ancient camps right from the start, but it is surely worth an additional item on a core or a buyback.

 New Radiant large neutral camp

New Dire large neutral camp


* Heroes no longer gain 25% more benefit from their primary attributes (affects attributes from both items and the hero)
* All heroes’ primary attribute growth values increased by 15%
* Health per strength increased from 18 to 20

This is a change about which I’m glad. The difference in rewards from stats depending on a hero’s primary attribute made things a bit complicated. The HP increase per point of strength is going to make all heroes more tanky and difficult to kill, especially strength heroes as they will have the additional 15% increase in strength as well. For agility and intelligence heroes, it’s like an 11.11% increase in HP while for strength, it is a 12.22% increase in HP (increase in HP gained from strength).


* XP required to reach level 7->12 changed from 640/660/680/800/820/840 to 720/750/780/810/840/870 (the difference is +80/90/100/10/20/30 XP)

Another change to curb the snowballing effect of dominating cores, especially mid heroes. Getting from level 7 to level 12 is now slower than before, especially getting from level 8 to level 9 which requires a 100 more XP as compared to the game from 7.20 and the prior patches. The total XP increase is 330, which is not too huge considering it is over 5 levels. It just gives mids who have fallen way behind an bit more of a chance to bridge the gap in levels somewhere around the level 9 mark.


* The following melee heroes now have +5 movement speed: Naga Siren, Underlord, Monkey King, Nyx Assassin, Bloodseeker, Riki
* The following melee heroes now have +10 movement speed: Alchemist, Dragon Knight, Meepo
* The following melee heroes now have +15 movement speed: Legion Commander, Lifestealer, Lycan, Sven, Ursa, Wraith King
* Ranged heroes with 295 movement speed and above now have 5 less movement speed

Ranged heroes are going to have a tough time digesting this change. A good 15 melee heroes have had their movement speed buffed while ranged heroes will be left crawling, especially in lanes where there aren’t a lot of items and base movement speed is what everyone depends on. Supports are going to have a hard time getting away from those melee goons. Some of the melee heroes did really need that increase in speed though, like Alchemist, LC, LS and WK. They are nowhere to be seen and a decent movement speed buff is probably the first step to bring them back. Bristleback could have been another ideal candidate for a movement speed buff.


* Tier 2 tower armor increased from 14 to 15
* Tier 3 tower armor increased from 14 to 16
* Melee Barracks armor increased from 13 to 15

The Tier 2 tower effective HP (EHP) went up from 2780 to 2814 (base HP 1900)
The Tier 3 tower EHP went up from went up from 2926 to 2998 (base HP 2000)
The Melee Barracks EHP went up from 3177 to 3258 (base HP 2200)

Structures are harder to kill! The difference might just take a couple of extra seconds to get a building down, but in Dota 2, those two extra seconds are the difference a team needs to bring in reinforcements and make short work of the opposition!


* Tower Protection armor bonus for Tier 2/3/4 increased from 3 to 4

Not only towers harder to kill, so are the heroes standing besides them! The increase in armor is bolstered by the fact that the armor formula was changed in 7.20 and is now better than what it was in the 7.07-7.20 era.


Major Item Changes

A lot of items of undergone changes, but here, we’ll glance at the ones that could have the most impact.

* Holy Locket: Now uses Energy Booster instead of a Void Stone (provides +325 Mana)

Holy Locket is only ever, if ever, made on Timbersaw. To make a Holy Locket on the likes Dazzle or Oracle or even Warlock, who are saving supports mostly played in the position 5 role, it isn’t monetarily feasible. But with this change, a support can go for Arcane Boots and as the game progresses, can convert those into a Holy Locket. This also gives supports an option to change the Arcane Boots to either Guardian Greaves, Aether Lens or now, Holy Locket. The raw 325 mana should also make a case for it.


* Phase Boots: Recipe changed from Gloves of Haste to Blades of Attack
* Phase Boots: Armor bonus increased from 5 to 6
* Phase Boots: Now gives +18 damage on melee (and +12 on range) instead of +20 attack speed
* Phase Boots: Melee active speed increased from 20% to 22%

Phase Boots have gone a full circle and come back to the same place again, just that now they also provide armor! With both, damage and stats being transferred to Power Treads, Phase Boots seemed a lot less lucrative. With 6 armor, 18 damage and 22% increased movement speed during the active, Phase Boots are bound to be one popular pair of boots!


* Power Treads: Recipe changed from Blades of Attack to Gloves of Haste
* Power Treads: Attribute bonus reduced from 14 to 10
* Power Treads: Now gives +20 attack speed instead of +12 damage

Power Treads did have a decent chunk of power with them for a while, but it is nice to see them back to their old trusty form, providing damage and attack speed. Some things are meant to stay the same forever. The number of heroes making power treads is bound to go down, with Phase Boots’ getting a piece of the action.


* Vladmir’s Offering: No longer uses Headdress nor provides its hp regen/stats
* Vladmir’s Offering: Now requires a 525 gold recipe

A few weeks ago, no one was using Vlads. It got popular with the new meta, everyone started using it and now, it has lost one of its major components – the Headdress of Rejuvenation! The 2.5 HP regen was a nice bit of HP regen, especially in the early game. But with the item providing so many benefits with the aura, I believe it will continue to stay popular in patch 7.21. The Vlads aura still provides:
-Lifesteal (15% for melee, 10% for ranged)
-Attack Damage Bonus (15%)
-Mana Regeneration Bonus (1.75)
-Armor Bonus (4)

Doesn’t seem too bad, does it?!


On the whole, the general changes made in the Dota 2 patch 7.21 are to the tune of making the meta slower and the games longer by curbing the snowballing effect of heroes and making heroes and buildings harder to kill. The first real test of the meta will be in the qualifiers for the DreamLeague Major, which start off in less than a week. A lot of changes have also been made to heroes, but mixing those up with the general changes will do justice to neither. Another article will be coming up which will have a detailed analysis on what heroes will make it big in the Dota 2 7.21 patch while which ones will be sent to last levels of hell!


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