The landscape known as the Dota 2 professional metagame can change drastically at a moment’s notice. For patch 7.05, however, most of the changes across the board are aimed more towards toning popular heroes down slightly than taking the game apart altogether. It’s been Valve’s method over the last few major patches, which they’re comfortably able to use thanks to the flexibility of talents.
Still, as with nearly every update in Dota 2, there are more than just a few changes to take note of — some of which will heavily affect how certain popular heroes play. Yes, we’re looking at you, you damn monkey. Not only that, but some heroes may even see the light of day thanks to some much-needed buffs.
This is important because the Kiev Major is less than a fortnight away. If DAC taught us anything, it’s that knowing the patch a tournament is played on is extremely important; after all, it helped Invictus Gaming rocket forward to the grand finals, which they finished by absolutely annihilating OG. How the teams participating at Kiev will learn the patch is up to them, but the importance of doing so cannot be understated.
Controlling the Mischief
Monkey King was absolutely the flavor of the month at DAC. Don’t let the fact that he finished well below the top 15 in terms of pick rate fool you — he was still worthy of selection and/or banishment throughout the whole tournament. A total nuisance both in the laning stage and in late game teamfights, Wukong was quite hard to deal with at Shanghai.
His prowess as a lane harasser took a hit in 7.05, though. The scaling of Primal Spring’s mana cost has been reversed, causing it to take away 130 mana at level 1 instead of 100 as it did previously. This will curb his ability to simply spam the skill at the earliest levels, which formed a large part of why he was such an efficient game start ganker in the last version. Boundless Strike also received a direct nerf to its stun duration at all levels, which is quite justified considering the skill’s range and potential damage output. So did Wukong’s Command, which will definitely neuter the hero’s ability to take teamfights so often.
We don’t think the hero will straight up disappear, though. Players will likely simply adjust the skill progression depending on if they need solid lockdown in Boundless Strike, or scouting ability coupled with a strong early game slow in Primal Spring.
Managing the Acidity
Alchemist has been a fairly popular mid hero in Dota 2 for quite some time now. OG’s ana has made a name for himself playing Alchemist when he’s not playing Outworld Devourer. His control of the mid lane comes in the form of Acid Spray, a cheap but infuriating zoning spell that forces opposing melee heroes to either get hurt if they want to continue farming or be content with sapping experience from a distance. The third option is to buy a Ring of Basilius, but that 500 gold could have been spent on Boots of Speed and some TP scrolls instead.
In 7.05, however, Acid Spray will have a scaling radius instead of a fixed one. With level 1 starting at 400 units and maxing out at its original size of 625. Gone are the days of the incredible value of the skill’s first level, forcing players to rethink the hero’s skill progression. In all likelihood, the focus will still be on Greevil’s Greed, because the passive is simply too good to not max out early. Coupled with a 10 second increase to Chemical Rage’s cooldown, this nerf definitely hurts the hero and might even be enough to stunt his pick rate.
Despite being behind significantly after a botched laning phase, Wings Gaming managed to take two sets of barracks down with Brewmaster and his ult. Before this patch, the Earth Brewling did a sickeningly massive amount of damage to buildings: 300% of its total attack damage, to be exact!
You read that right — it tripled all of the Brewling’s building damage, which means that everything from damage auras to Empower helped it out. Wings very nearly stole their do or die game away from EG that day, but alas, it was not meant to be. Either way, Faith_bian’s Brewmaster was responsible for a whopping 9,000 points of building damage that game, and for convincing Dota 2 lead developer, IceFrog, that these shenanigans were to stop immediately. Fortunately, the hero did get buffs to his other talents in order to compensate, so it’s possible he’ll still be picked at Kiev… at least by Wings themselves.
Ah, Doom. Love him or hate him, he’s been an iconic hero in Dota 2 since the Allstar days, and has seen action in many, many tournaments throughout Dota’s history — but since TI4 he hasn’t really been the oppressive force he once was. This time, he might actually be back with a fiery vengeance.
Doom got buffed to high hell in 7.05. Every single talent was given improvements, and Doom’s damage per tick was increased by 5 at each level. The most significant change? He can now use Devour on Ancient creeps at level 20, instead of 25 prior to the patch — assuming the corresponding talent is taken. Getting it five levels earlier is huge, allowing Doom and his team to push for the win with Ancient creep auras and buffs. Not to mention that Midas is usually an item that Doom picks up anyway, so reaching level 20 isn’t exactly difficult for him.
Will we see him picked more than the twelve times that he was seen at DAC? More importantly, will he come out of Kiev with a winrate close to 50%? We’ll have to see, of course, but either way this is a step towards Lucifer once again unleashing hell itself upon the Dota 2 pro scene.
Speaking of Midas, Hand of Midas has had its numbers tweaked significantly. As an experience point engine, Midas is usually valued more for that fact than it is for its flat GPM increase. The reason why is obvious: getting a reliable burst in EXP means you hit your talent power spikes earlier. With the meta revolving around teamfighting often in order to secure map control, experience is king.
This is probably the reason why IceFrog decided to turn the item around, literally. Midas now has a smaller EXP multiplier, down from 250% to 175%. Losing 75% per use is a huge deal, and is a nerf to several heroes that are reliant on this experience gain. Poor Invoker. On the flipside, though, the gold bonus on cast has been increased from 190 to 220. Sadly, that increase is far less than the average that you get from a melee creep, so we’re calling this a net nerf.
Queen of Pain’s Shadow Strike received help in the form of longer cast range and more damage per tick. QoP has been in an awful, awful place since the Blade Mail/Octarine Core build was completely removed from the game. Improving her lane presence even by just a little is certainly welcome.
Quelling Blade has finally lost that stupid stacking interaction with Iron Talon, an item which it already builds into. This will definitely hit junglers and offlaners that rely on this particular item combo hard.
Lifestealer’s Open Wounds now costs a huge amount of mana at level 1, but Zeus knows teams will still pick him anyway because he’s just so good at teamfighting often. Finally, the slow duration on Earth Spirit’s Rolling Boulder has been reduced drastically at the earlier levels. Since we all know Kaolin has been a staple in competitive play ever since he was re-enabled in Captains Mode, nerfs to him in practically every patch should be expected by now.
All in all, we should see slightly less impact from the problematic heroes seen at DAC. Slardar and Rubick, the two heroes that topped the pick numbers at Shanghai, were completely untouched by the patch — but both of them are fairly balanced despite being very reliable pickups.