A new balance update hit DOTA 2 barely days after PSG.LGD won OGA Dota PIT Invitational— the penultimate Tier 1 tournament before TI.
Dota’s 7.30c patch adds some major changes with the addition of the newest hero, Dawnbreaker, as well as nerfing the most powerful strategies and heroes in the previous patch. We’ve compiled the most important changes and what they could mean for your pubs and how it affects the meta heading into The International.
Neutral Camp Stacking Nerfs
This is the biggest meta-shifting change in this sub-patch. In the previous patches, the early and mid game was focused on stacking jungle camps for your team, and conversely, raiding the enemy’s stacks.
Securing ancient stacks meant securing the game. This nerf to stacking means that the meta heroes (Sven, Gyro, Luna, etc) that loved to clear stacks will now have to wait a bit longer to come online. Expect playmaking mids and non-flash farming cores to make a comeback.
The nerfs to Echo Sabre are justified mainly because it was too efficient. Heroes such as Slark, Sven, Tiny, and Pangolier enjoyed the mana regeneration, the stats, and the active as well. The build-up to the item was also practical for many cores and offlaners— they would build the item for stats and mand then disassemble the item for BKB in a later stage of the game.
Sange remains the only item with flat status resist. It would seem that the nerfs to status resist items like Aeon Disk is an indirect buff to BKB. It’s a relatively small nerf, but since a lot of heroes use the item, expect it to affect many win rate percentages.
Helm of the Overlord
The current flavor of the patch seems to be toning down the most viable strategies of the previous patch, one of which was the partial return of the “zoo meta” due to this item in particular. The build-up to HotO was changed to Helm of the Dominator and Vladimir’s Offering— two items that beast-keeping heroes like Chen, Beastmaster, and Lycan would use. These slight nerfs will not eliminate the strategy altogether but expect other alternatives to take their place in some games.
Dawnbreaker could be the X-factor heading into TI. This is the first instance wherein the professional debut of a new hero will be in TI. This hero who has never skipped leg should not be underestimated. Professional teams can and will maximize the global presence and versatility of this tanky offlaner or support.
In usual Valve fashion, Alchemist has once again received buffs pre-TI. The nerfs to other flash farming jungle heroes plus this slight buff could mean that Alche is once again the most viable jungling core/mid.
Lycan and Beastmaster
The Zoo meta has been nerfed from all angles. From creep stacking to aura items, they have all been tweaked one way or another. While the strat is still viable, these skill and talent changes seek to nerf their other abilities even more.
Clinkz was also one of the strongest carries in the previous patch. He has transitioned from this midgame ganker to a late game DPS machine. It is not surprising that he has been bonked hard with the nerf hammer. But the slight numbers tweak shouldn’t affect his overall playstyle or his powerspike in the end game.
Batrider has always been a staple pick in almost every iteration of DOTA. And while his daytime vision remains the same with Firefly active, his nighttime vision, which was his greatest advantage in initiating, has been nerfed. The damage numbers nerf seem pretty irrelevant, since he still outputs a ton of DPS damage with Sticky Napalm.
Keeper of the Light
Core KotL was a circumstantially broken yet enjoyable hero. This new patch tones down the cooldown and damage of Illuminate. With the new changes, the meta build of three Null Talismans still won’t be enough to clear a creep wave in a single blast. It would seem that KotL is relegated back to his usual role as a hard support or even the rare position 4.
An offlane or support Omni was one of the best complements to the strongest carries of the patch. His Heavenly Grace buff used to provide 50% undispellable status resistance for 10 seconds (50% uptime). Alongside Sange, cores could almost skip the BKB. The nerfs making it dispellable seems like a no-brainer.
These are just some of the most important changes in the new patch. If history is to repeat, some slight buffs could make some heroes suddenly viable. DOTA 2’s balance is very delicate and fragile. This usually isn’t a problem but with TI looming just around the corner, teams are definitely scrambling to find the next best strats.
(Header image via Wykrhm Reddy)