Wednesday, February 5, 2014

6.80 Patch Analysis




Big Changes



  • Night vision reduced from 1400 to 800
  • Unstable Concoction maximum shaking duration reduced from 7 to 5.5
    • Max Power is still reached at 5 seconds
  • Unstable Concoction no longer continues to get stronger while it is in the air
I see this as a pretty major impact to the hero. The Night Vision reduction will make it more difficult to pull off stuns at night. It is a necessary change to put Alchemist in alignment with the way most other heroes' vision works. Additionally, concoction becomes less powerful overall and far more of a skillshot than it used to be. It's a good way to have its power balanced, while still giving it status as a reliable stun (i.e. not being able to explode in air).

Overall, I see Alchemist as a solid pick when drafting, but he may fall out of insta pick/ban status.


  • Call of the Wild Hawk duration reduced from 60/70/80/80 to 60
  • Call of the Wild Boar duration reduced from 70/80/90 to 60
  • Call of the Wild no longer destroys previous summons on cast
Overall this is a pretty big buff to Beastmaster in my eyes. The cooldown on your summons is 40 sec for each. This means that for 20 seconds, you can have 2 of either out at a time.

Perhaps this belongs in the "Could Have Some Impact" section, but I see this playing out as having 2 Boars in mid lane to harass and help you last hit. A huge amount of lane control. Or one last hitting/harassing, and the other summoned to stack the ancients.

As the game progresses, having 2 Hawks gives massive amounts of vision for those 20 seconds. Having 2 Boars could be the difference between getting a tower or not.

I just feel there is a lot you can do with this. Beastmaster is already a pretty strong (though a bit dull) hero. It could bring him up a tier.


  • Can no longer leave the map boundaries
  • Spin Web no longer provides 200 vision
  • Free pathing is now removed when enemies have vision over you
Welp. Brood is returning to utter garbage tier. Going outside of the map boundaries was dumb to begin with. The Free Pathing made her really annoying, but I feel like that was one of the few things that made her viable. Now she can get stuck in trees and stuff. Her Spiderites are still a huge liability. There is basically nothing good about this hero anymore.

Earth Spirit

  • Stone Remnant recharge timer increased from 25 to 35
  • Geomagnetic Grip now does a 2/3/4/5 second silence instead of a 1/1.5/2/2.5 second stun
  • Geomagnetic Grip damage rescaled from 125 to 100/150/200/250
  • Boulder Smash damage rescaled from 100/150/200/250 to 125
  • Boulder Smash now does a 0.75/1.25/1.75/2.25 second stun instead of a 3.5/4/4.5/5 second silence
  • Boulder Smash radius from 225 to 200
  • Rolling Boulder now also gets interrupted if disabled during the initial 0.6 rolling charge, instead of only while its moving
  • Geomagnetic Grip now kills trees along the path of a dragged allied hero
  • Targeting someone directly with Boulder Smash will now be blocked by Linken's Sphere
  • Fixed being able to cast Geomagnetic Grip on magic immune allies
  • Fixed Boulder Smash being able to target Magic Immune units
  • Fixed Rolling Boulder travel distance going further than intended if you use a Stone Remnant near the end of the roll
From what I collect, this is going to turn Earth Spirit into more of a high skill cap hero. 

I see the Rolling Boulder change as being huge. Now that it's interruptable, there will be far less ridiculous escapes.

I also see the Magic Immunity changes as being big. Previously, he was really good for handling BKB'd units (both allied and enemy). Now that utility is gone.

Hard for me to say much else because I don't have a good feel for the hero overall. But I do know it was about time he got nerfed.


  • You can now cast and attack while in Waveform
This could mark the return of competitive Morphling. With this change, I believe going shotgun build (i.e. rushing Ethereal Blade) will be viable again. That means he can get aggressive far earlier, which is good with the current playstyle in competitive matches.

However, he has received a lot of buffs and nerfs since his TI2 dominance. Other heroes have also been buffed.

Personally, I think this will allow him to fit in with the meta. With some early and mid game potential (i.e. shotgun build), and paired with his ability to split push in mid to late gme, I think Morphling will return as a strong pick.


  • Base armor increased by 3
  • Warcry cooldown reduced from 36/30/24/18 to 32/26/20/14

Even more buffs for Sven. I see both of these increasing the viability of Sven, as more than just a carry too. I don't know that it's worth it to run him as support right now, but this is a pretty considerable buff to him as something like a dual core.

This will boost his early game and especially laning presence because of the bonus armor. It also makes pickups like Mask of Madness less detrimental when he has so much physical damage reduction from armor.


  • Focus Fire manacost reduced from 200/300/400 to 150
  • Focus Fire no longer has a cast animation
I actually think this is a pretty big buff to Windranger, especially in this patch. Focus Fire wasn't always worth taking early before. Now it seems like it will be a far better pickup early on. With Focus Fire getting picked up early, it makes her a decent split pusher. I could see her being given mid, offlane, or solo safelane with this buff.


Blink Dagger

  • Blink no longer has a manacost
This is huge for a number of reasons. Firstly, you no longer have to think about whether you have enough mana for Blink + whatever spells you wanted to use. Secondly, several heroes that normally wouldn't rush Blink now can. Slardar is one hero that comes to mind. His base mana pool is incredibly low, but he has huge initiation power once he has Blink. In late game, you also may see some more supports picking it up over other items because now they don't have to worry about mana regen issues while out in the field.


  • Necronomicon units bounty increased from 100/125/150 to 100/150/200
  • Necronomicon units armor reduced from 6/8/10 to 4
  • Necronomicon cooldown increased from 80 to 95
A lot of nerfs to this very powerful item. I doubt that you'll see less of them, but it at least puts the item on a more level playing field.

Observer Wards

  • Can be targeted on allies to transfer one charge
I think this has a lot more implications than what appears on the surface. The obvious is that you can give an offlaner one ward, or give one to mid to ward across the river. That saves time.

The big thing to me is the ability to confuse an enemy. Now that you can split wards apart, they won't know whether you placed one or only started with one in your inventory. It makes counter-warding more difficult.

I do see a downside being the potential for accidentally placing one when you instead wanted to transfer.

Sange & Yasha

  • Sange and Yasha slow duration increased from 4 to 5 seconds
  • Sange and Yasha slow increased from 30 to 32%
This item will be huge soon. It's been buffed several times. With changes like this, plus a shift for early aggression, I think S&Y is very strong and very viable.

Sentry Wards

  • Can be targeted on allies to transfer one charge
Similar to the Observer Wards, this is a pretty big change. It has less impact than Observer Wards, but still has some good efficiency implications.

Take for instance when the other team has a Weaver and you don't know if he's solo safe lane, in an aggro trilane, or what. You can split the Sentry Wards to cover both cases, which saves time and money when you need to transfer them to the other lane or face an unchecked Weaver in midgame.

Another example would be when you want a carry/semi-carry to go split-push, but you want both parties to have Sentry Wards. Now you don't have to buy another set.

As a final example, you can split the Sentries on supports to ensure there is one available in a teamfight even if one support gets picked off.

Shiva's Guard

  • Arctic Blast range increased from 719 to 900
  • Arctic Blast speed increased from 300 to 350
This item was already stupidly good. With this, I can hardly see a reason not to have one on your team. There are just too many benefits and excellent stats.

Could Have Some Impact



  • Roshan no longer stops upgrading his hp/damage/armor at 45 minutes
  • Roshan upgrade rate increased by 20%
  • Roshan bounty rescaled from 105-600 to 150-400
I don't exactly have a feel for how this will play out, but I can't imagine it will have a huge impact. This should just put Roshan to a state where he's not stupidly easy to kill. I don't see this hurting level 1 Roshan tactics. I just see this making Roshing more dependent on a team effort, but still viable for a few heroes to do.



  • Attack animation time improved from 0.5 to 0.3
A hero with the utility of Batrider can have one small tweak that can make or break the hero. While his initial damage is low, the stacks of Sticky Napalm give him insane DPS. Improving his attack animation could easily swing him back into being a high priority pick (I doubt Tier 1, but up there).


  • Thirst Bonus Speed and damage rescaled from 7/14/21/28 to 5/15/25/35
  • Bloodbath now gives the full hero kill benefit (instead of only half) if he is within the 325 AoE when a hero dies
I still don't see Bloodseeker as more than a niche pick against a hero like Slark. However, these are two great buffs for him. This increases his early game presence with the Thirst buffs, making him a lot more powerful when he's in persuit.

I can also see the Bloodbath change potentially making him viable in more situations than just against Slark. You can play far more aggressively and he'll require much more focus because if you don't kill him fast, he'll survive through ganks and team fights with ease.


  • Primal Split cooldown reduced from 180/160/140 to 140/120/100
This is a very good buff for Brewmaster. With the increase aggression in early game, it really felt like Brewmaster just wasn't able to fight enough and he fell into obscurity. With this, you'll be able to fight early and often if you give him a solo lane. I think for mid-game oriented lineups, Brewmaster could return as a powerhouse pick.


  • Hits required to kill Power Cogs rescaled from 3 to 2/2/2/3
As a fairly high priority pickup, I can see this showing some impact on competitive matches. Especially in the early phase of the game, having to hit the Cogs only 2 times could result in less kills. I don't feel like this will change how often Clock is picked up, or have much showing on his impact, but as a skill you don't level up much early on it will change the outcome in some skirmish.

Crystal Maiden

  • Base intelligence reduced by 3
She's a hero that is often first pick/ban material. While this is a subtle change, I do see it having some impact on how the hero plays early on. Her base mana pool will be reduced by 36 mana, and she'll also lose 3 damage. This will give her less early game presence.

While I think CM will remain a high priority pick-up, I do see this putting more pressure on teams to get a kill with her first spell use, otherwise her mana pool will be gone quickly and her right click is less than what it used to be.

Dark Seer

  • Ion Shell cooldown reduced from 10 to 9
This is the first Dark Seer buff in a while. Dark Seer has almost vanished from the competitive scene. However, he's still a very strong hero. Something like this may be enough to get players picking him up again.

I don't see the change as having a huge impact on how the hero plays, it looks like it will just make Double Ion Shelling more effective/easier to do (i.e. using 2 at once to cut a creep wave against weak lanes or solo heroes). Ion Shell lasts for 20 seconds, so it doesn't have to be timed perfectly to get 2 out for 10 seconds now.


  • Weave duration increased from 20 to 24
I could see this convincing some teams to pick Dazzle up. With the popularity of heroes like Bristleback (a classic hero pairing with Dazzle), a slight buff can suddenly make an associated hero far more viable.

Overall, I see this as a bit lackluster, but I'm happy to see Dazzle buffs. His ult has a lot of utility, but it takes time and coordination. Giving players some more time to work with is definitely a plus.

Dragon Knight

  • Dragon Tail cooldown rescaled from 9 to 12/11/10/9
As a strong competitive pick right now, I see this hurting Dragon Knight a bit. It was a bit crazy how frequently you could stun. What's nice is that its uptime remains the same at level 4, and his tower pushing presence remains the same.

Drow Ranger

  • Reworked Silence
    • Description: Releases a wave that silences and does a minor non-interrupting knockback.
    • AoE: 250
    • Distance: 900
    • Silence Duration: 3/4/5/6
    • Knockback Distance: inversely proportional to travel range, 350 at closest, 0 at 900
    • Knockback Duration: 0.2
    • CD: 13
    • Manacost: 90
I tentatively consider this a buff. Overall, I think this will have more utility for Drow. It gives her a fraction of a second to start attacking, or to turn and run. It can also help in teamfights, but still won't stop TPs. I feel like Drow is viable and this change helps more. But I don't know that she will get much competitive play, even with this change.

Earth Shaker

  • Base movement speed increased from 300 to 310
  • Strength gain increased from 2.5 to 2.9
I don't see this being a huge impact, but I think Earth Shaker needed buffs. The movespeed helps a lot because of how positioning dependent ES is. It also may incite more use of ES as a roamer (how he was traditionally played).

However, this does buff him in some ways that were most problematic.


  • Black Hole AoE increased from 375 to 400
  • Black Hole cast range increased from 250 to 275
I like this change, but don't know how much impact it will have. Heroes like Enigma and Magnus rely on the enemy to be focused on something else to get good Black Holes or Reverse Polarities. As a channeling hero, I think Enigma needed something like this to make his ult have a bit less risk involved, otherwise it's incredibly easy to break (or steal if you're Rubick).

This could increase Enigma's presence in the pro scene, especially since he offers you more XP and Gold because he's a jungler (i.e. less heroes sharing lanes).


  • Forge Spirits armor reduced from 2/3/4/5/6/7/8 to 0/1/2/3/4/5/6
  • Forge Spirits attack range reduced from 300->900 to 300->690
  • EMP burn increased from 100->400 to 100->550
  • EMP delay from 3.7->2 to 2.6
  • Alacrity manacost reduced from 75 to 45
  • Ghost Walk movement speed from -30/-25/-20/-15/-10/-5/0 to -30/-20/-10/0/10/20/30
The only impact I see this having is maybe incentivizing a few additional points in Q/W early on.
The Forge Spirit nerfs are nice. I've felt that they were incredibly strong compared to their bounty.

The other changes, I find interesting. However, I don't really see them as being enough to have anyone commit to a build that isn't centered around early levels of Exort. EMP seems like it will be a lot more useful early to mid game, but that's about it.


  • Divided We Stand level requirement reduced from 4/11/18 to 3/10/17
  • Divided We Stand now passively reduces your revive timer by 10%/20%/30%
I really like this change. You get to the core of the hero sooner (i.e. multiple Meepos). The Revive timer buff is also pretty crucial to keeping your XP lead against enemies.

My instinct is that we won't see any increase in competitive Meepo picks because he's risky (and he is very niche still in regards to when you can pick him). But this does give him higher impact earlier on, and able to farm much faster starting at level 3 (you could hit the jungle and clear camps with Poof).


  • Base HP regen increased from 0.75 to 1.5

One of Riki's issues is the lack of staying power in lane. I don't know that this will be enough, but it could have some impact on picking the hero.

Shadow Demon

  • Shadow Poison max effective stacks increased from 4 to 5

Realistically, I don't think this has many implications. It's very difficult to get a 5 stack on good players, unless you have some phenomenal teamfight lockdown.

However, I don't think it can be taken lightly that this is exponentially increasing damage for 1 more stack now. Also, Shadow Demon was never a bad pick-up, he just fell out of favor.

Shadow Shaman

  • Shackles duration increased from 2.5/3.25/4/4.75 to 2.75/3.5/4.25/5
  • Mass Serpent Wards can no longer trap Roshan

The Shackles duration is a considerable laning phase buff. An extra .25 sec is pretty good. Towards the upper end, I think it will be rare to see full 5 second Shackle durations. One thing I'm not sure of is how this plays into the number of Serpent Ward hits a player will now take at each level of Shackles. That could be one potential benefit.

Part two of Shadow Shaman's changes was an exploit that needed to be fixed. While this has relatively little impact for most teams, there was at least one pro team that was soloing Rosh with Serpent Wards.


  • Take Aim range bonus increased from 80/160/240/320 to 100/200/300/400

This hero keeps getting buffed each patch. I don't know when the tipping point will be, but he's getting pretty stacked. Yes, I know he still lacks some utility and is fairly gankable, but when you're on the offensive, Sniper still can be a beast.


  • Base strength reduced from 25 to 22
Another nerf for Timbersaw (last patch was Timberchain being interruptable). This hero is taking hits to his offlane potential. With less STR that means he's easier to kill. I still think he's a very powerful hero, but this might shift him from less of a first pick to something you have to be more careful about.


  • Added Aghanim's Scepter: Doubles Laser cast range and Heat-Seeking missile count
This seems pretty situational. But if you can get this up early (i.e. either a good laning phase mid, or solo safelane farm), then it gives you a huge initiation range, lots of burst damage, amazing stall potentia, and pretty decent base siege.


  • Secondary units hit by the Snowball now take the same impact as the primary unit
  • Removed 50% threshold mechanic from Walrus Punch
  • Walrus Punch base crit increased from 3x to 3.5x
I think this helps Tusk quite a bit. He seems to be pretty viable in a 2 or 3 role (i.e. solo mid, aggro trilane farmer, etc.) This gives you more incentive to initiate with Walrus Punch, then it might be up again later in the fight. You lose a bit of the damage, but you gain consistency and less hesitation to use it.

Vengeful Spirit

  • Wave of Terror armor reduction increased from 2/3/4/5 to 3/4/5/6
A slight buff for an already pretty decent hero. She's still a bit situational, but a lot of heroes with armor reduction seem to be getting buffs (e.g. Dazzle, Slardar). Their buffs, along with this one, may bring more attention to VS picks.


  • Base movement speed reduced by 5
  • Grave Chill manacost rescaled from 70/80/90/100 to 100
  • Familiars are now properly magic immune
Visage is starting to get hit pretty hard by these nerfs. He's squishy and slow. Yeah, he has good damage output and Familiars are still strong, but I feel like the Grave Chill and MS changes really hit his laning stage hard. I expect to see him picked up less.

Witch Doctor

  • Maledict AoE increased from 150 to 165
  • Voodoo Restoration initial manacost reduced from 25/50/75/100 to 20/30/40/50
  • Paralyzing Casks can now bounce to units in Fog of War
These are all pretty great changes for WD. His healing aura is actually far better now. Before it was just horribly mana inefficient.

Wraith King

  • Reincarnation slow increased from 50 to 75%
  • Reincarnation slow duration increased from 4 to 5
WK has actually been getting buffed in a way that makes him somewhat more interesting in a role such as a 3 or 4 (e.g. secondary carry, aggro farmer, second support). With buffs to his lifesteal aura last patch, and now a big slow from reincarnation, he could be a powerful initiator / bait.


Arcane Boots

  • Manacost increased by 10
Overall, I think these are still a very strong pick-up. What this changes from my viewpoint is that Tranquil Boots become a somewhat better option if you're looking for early, aggressive roaming support. Arcane Boots are stilll superior for group activity and mana hungry lineups though.

This is a pretty negligible nerf, but along with other changes in this patch, it seems like it could have a larger impact from domino effect.


  • Can now be used on your allies by holding down the Control key

While I don't see this having a huge competitive impact, it is a nice feature to have. You cut down on time when you're full HP/Mana, but a nearby ally isn't. Instead of passing the Bottle, you can just offload charges before refilling.

Where I see the impact is moreso in pub games where you can't always communicate well with your allies, or they're stupid and wander off with your Bottle.


  • Changed the area type that is used when Static Charge hit units
This basically helps deal damage in a wider area. While it's a small change, I think it helps with making this more viable. Especially in this meta with lots of early aggression. Mjollnir has been an item that is fairly easy to build and made of several small components.


  • Attack damage bonus increased from 60 to 65
This item has been getting buffed over the past couple patches. This is another one where I'm not sure where the tipping point is, but it's incredibly strong at the moment in my eyes. Not an every game item, but still very strong.

Ring of Aquila

  • Agility bonus increased from 6 to 9
I felt this item was already strong, but now it will be even more cost effective for several AGI carries and semi-carries. I'd assume we'll see it more often, especially because there were some players who had harped on it before for falling off too early.

Smoke of Deceit

  • Duration decreased from 40 to 35
This is pretty minor, but still gives teams less time to use the item to gank. You'll have to be slightly more careful about your timing and where you use it.

TP Scroll

  • Stacking delay decreased from 3/5/6/7/8 to 3/5/5.5/6/6.5
  • Max targeting range increased from 525 to 575
Overall seems pretty negligible. It will affect some situations regardless, but mass TPs are pretty uncommon.

Tranquil Boots

  • Movement speed increased from 85 to 90
  • HP Regen increased from 10 to 12
While this only makes the item marginally better, I think the impact comes from the style of gameplay we're seeing with more early roams from supports. I'd expect to see these more frequently.

The Little Details


All Pick

  • You now lose one gold per second if you haven't picked a hero after the selection timer runs out in All Pick
  • All Pick selection time increased from 60 to 75
  • All Pick pre-creep time reduced from 90 to 75 
This is just to get rid of the stupid stuff you see in All Pick where people finally pick as the creeps are spawning. Doesn't affect competitive play, so this is classified as a little change, but I expect it to have pub impact.


Ancient Apparition

  • Ice Vortex spell damage amplification increased from 10/15/20/25 to 15/20/25/30
  • Ice Vortex duration increased from 12 to 16
  • Ice Vortex aura stickiness increased from 0.1 to the standard 0.5 aura value
I see this as a good change, but I don't know that it will bring Ancient Apparition out of being more of a niche pick. It seems like his role is being driven towards a support that amplifies the presence of other heroes (e.g. Vortex amplifies magic damage, his ult disallows healing, etc.)


  • Mana Void radius increased from 300 to 450
  • Added AoE targeting cursor for Mana Void
Good general change that will give Anti-Mage slightly higher early presence, and a bit better niche role in drafts that include a hero like Magnus, Enigma, or Dark Seer.


  • Base HP regen increased from 2 to 3
  • Berserker's Call duration increased from 1.5/2/2.5/3 to 2.0/2.4/2.8/3.2
  • Berserker's Call cooldown rescaled from 10 to 16/14/12/10
I don't see this as a change that will increase how often Axe is seen competitively. However, this is a really interesting change in that you can now get 1-2 levels of Call and it will be extremely effective. This gives you a much better presence into the mid game. Because of how good that is for Axe, it only makes sense they nerf the CD at early levels.


  • Base damage reduced by 4
I honestly don't see this doing much. It may be slightly harder to last hit in lane, but I believe his presence will be roughly the same. His base attack damage isn't awful (it now dips down to 48 which isn't great, but still viable), and as a melee hero, you can always pick up a Quelling Blade.

Centaur Warrunner

  • Stampede cooldown reduced from 120/90/60 to 90/75/60
For what his ult does, it didn't seem justified to have that long of a cooldown at the early levels. Overall, this is a good change for Centaur, but I don't think it will be enough to see him in competitive matches.

Death Prophet

  • Exorcism cooldown increased from 100 to 115
  • Silence AoE increased from 350 to 425
What this says to me is less pub stomps and more competitive viability. I don't think it will change how much she's see in pro games or pub games though. The Silence buff is very nice, but I doubt it will mean much.


  • Base armor reduced by 1
As a very strong pickup, it's good to see her roped in a little bit. This just makes her a little easier to kill early game, which is also where she has a huge impact. It's a change that just rewards (slightly) more thought out ganks and well timed spell uses.

Faceless Void

  • Chronosphere cooldown reduced from 120/110/100 to 120/100/80
  • You now have 1000 movement speed and phase while you are in Chronosphere
  • Timewalk manacost reduced from 120 to 90
There's a lot of hype around this change, but I really doubt it will have an impact competitively. Faceless Void just doesn't have enough early presence and his late game relies on poor positioning from your enemy.

I think the biggest buff here is the 80 second cooldown on his Chrono at level 3. Part of the problem he had was how long the cooldown was for a spell that really is the essence of the hero.

The Timewalk manacost is good too. It's a huge investment for what it does.

However, the 1000 ms and phase, while feeling like a good change, doesn't seem to be what he needs for competitive play.


  • Burning Spear duration increased from 7 to 8
  • Inner Vitality bonus heal below 40% increased from 15/30/45/60% of primary attribute to 30/45/60/75%
  • Inner Vitality cast range increased from 450 to 550
Huskar will still be a low tier hero, but these are some interesting changes. The Burning Spear change increases his lane presence a bit. The Inner Vitality changes are also good, giving him more utility.

I almost wonder if he's being pushed more into a greedy 2nd support role, but in either case, he still won't be a priority pickup.


  • Ice Path damage rescaled from 25/50/75/100 to 50
  • Liquid Fire DPS increased from 10/15/20/25 to 15/20/25/30
  • Dual Breath burn and slow duration increased from 4 to 5 seconds
  • Dual Breath DPS increased from 5/10/15/20 to 16/36/56/76
  • Dual Breath damage interval improved from every 1 second to every 0.5 seconds
  • Dual Breath Attack Speed slow increased from -20 to -30
  • Removed initial impact damage from Dual Breath
    • Total damage on Dual Breath is now rescaled from 90/180/270/360 to 80/180/280/380
While this looks like a lot of buffs, I don't feel that they actually do much. I don't see Jakiro being a great pick based on the current popular picks (he needs to combo with heroes like Mag, Dark Seer, or Faceless Void).

To be honest, I feel like this change hurts him. Early game, you're usually leveling Ice Path because of its utility. Now it does less damage, so you'll potentially see pros only skilling the first 2 levels of it.

The best changes here are the increased DPS on Liquid Fire, and the attack speed slow on Dual Breath (as well as the duration increase). The DPS changes for Dual Breath are really almost unnoticeable.


  • Blade Fury cooldown reduced from 30/28/26/24 to 30/27/24/21
This is a really minor tweak that I don't foresee having any impact. It just means that if you use Blade Fury in a team fight for the magic immunity, you might be able to use it shortly after the team fight for magic immunity again. This doesn't impact early game much.

Keeper of the Light

  • Mana Leak stun duration increased from 1.3/1.6/1.9/2.2 to 1.5/2/2.5/3
This won't change KotL in competitive at all. He either needs buffs, or someone like PL needs to see buffs for KotL to have play time. Right now he's just a bit weak compared to other supports. 

Legion Commander

  • Moment of Courage now only procs one extra lifesteal attack
  • Moment of Courage buff grace period increased from 0.5 to 1.0 seconds
  • Moment of Courage cooldown reduced from 1.2 to 0.9
Overall, this looks like a bug fix and then buffing the skill a bit. From what I see this looks pretty neutral. Others have said they feel it is a slight nerf.


  • Lightning Storm jumps from 4/6/7/8 to 4/5/6/7
  • Lightning Storm damage from 80/145/205/265 to 80/140/200/260
  • Lightning Storm cooldown reduced from 5.5 to 4
  • Lightning Storm manacost reduced from 100/115/130/145 to 90/100/110/120
This spell has been kind of crappy for a long time. I don't think this is what the spell needs, but it looks like the spell will be slightly better.


  • Dragon Slave Initial/Final AoE increased from 275/150 to 275/200
  • Fiery Soul duration increased from 7 to 9
  • Fiery Soul movement speed increased from 4/5/6/7% to 5/6/7/8%
I like that this change helps differentiate Lina further from Lion. However, I don't see it changing how often she's picked up. I can see some teams experimenting with her as a mid or something, building more right-click on her. The duration of Fiery Soul should actually help a lot in regards to amassing stacks. In the end, I think it's a positive tweak and fits just fine.


  • Aghanim's Scepter now causes Finger of Death to hit units within a 200 AoE of the primary target
This is one of those changes that sounds super cool and is hyped. But in reality, in order for you to get an Aghs on Lion your team has to be crushing, or you have to give him solo farm (e.g. mid). It's something that could be fun in pubs or niche lineups where you can run Lion mid and have an offlane Dark Seer or something, but it just seems like a luxury item still. The one good thing was that it gives his Aghs more purpose (the CD reduction was nice, but the CD was already really short).

Lone Druid

  • Spirit Bear's Entangle is no longer an Orb Effect
This is fairly beneficial, but I doubt it will have much impact on competitive games. I may be mistaken, but I believe Entangle is an Orb Effect in the way Maelstrom is - it would only override other things when it triggered. If that's true, then it just means that you can apply something like Desolator debuff and Entangle on the same hit.


  • Wolves Fade Time decreased from 3 to 1.7
  • Level 3 Lycan Wolves now have Invisibility
  • Level 4 Lycan Wolves now have a passive ability that gives them 15 HP regen
Some cool changes, but I don't think they will come early enough in the game to have an impact. If the wolves had the regen earlier, then Lycan would become a viable mid or jungler with some basic micro. The level 4 buff only seems useful against Rosh. In any team fight, Wolves would just blow up.

Good changes, but I don't think we'll see more competitive Lycan with these.


  • Base intelligence increased by 2
This gives Magnus 26 more mana to play around with. I see it having relatively no impact. The only case might be against an OD mid, giving him a bit more of a chance.


  • Mana Shield damage absorption increased from 0.75/1.25/1.75/2.25 to 1/1.5/2/2.5
It's a nice buff, but really doesn't change anything for her.

Nature's Prophet

  • Wrath of Nature manacost increased from 150/200/250 to 175/225/275
Minor nerf. Not much to see here.


  • Death Pulse now hits units in Fog of War
A good minor buff, but not much to talk about.

Night Stalker

  • Crippling Fear's night miss chance increased from 40 to 50%

Nyx Assassin

  • Cast Range on Impale now matches the travel range

Ogre Magi

  • Unrefined Fireblast manacost changed from 400 to 60% of your current mana
Really odd change. First off, it's rare to find enough farm for Aghanim's (which is how you get Unrefined Fireblast). Secondly, this spell is now way more efficient at low levels of mana. Seems pretty irrelevant because you rarely see OM in competitive games, and even rarer would be for him to get an Aghs. However, the strength is that you can ALWAYS cast this spell when it's off cooldown.

Omni Knight

  • Degen Aura stickiness increased from 1.0 to 2.0 seconds
Always glad to see Omni getting some buffs, but this really doesn't help much in that he's very difficult to find a lane for. All this does is allow the move slow to persist an extra second if Omni is outrun or juked.

Outworld Devourer

  • Astral Imprisonment cast range reduced from 550 to 500
This shouldn't have much of an impact on the hero. He's still incredibly strong. This just does two things: (1) decreases his utility, (2) makes the range a bit closer to his auto attack range (which is 450). Either way, he will still see lots of play.

Phantom Assassin

  • Invisible heroes now trigger Blur
  • Blur delay reduced from 1.5 to 0.75
If I'm understanding this correctly, then PA gets a bit more utility in being able to figure out if invis heroes are around. I don't think that's worth picking her up, but it helps with map awareness and counter-ganking.

Queen of Pain

  • Sonic Wave Scepter cooldown rescaled from 100/70/40 to 40
A straight up buff to QoP, but she still has issues against current popular picks. Scepter is also pretty situational on her (generally overshadowed by Orchid, BKB, Sheep Stick, etc.) so it's not something that would have a huge impact anyway.

Sand King

  • Sand Storm radius rescaled from 275/325/375/525 to 525
I don't see this making any impact really. To me, this just incentivizes only putting 1-2 points in Sand Storm early on. Some say that this may impact doing jungle stacks for Sand King, but the neutrals disperse, so that seems too slow to be viable.


  • Global Silence cooldown reduced from 140 to 130

This is a pretty solid change. Especially with the faster paced games as of late, even 10 seconds less time on the cooldown will make the hero feel a bit better to play.

Skywrath Mage

  • Mystic Flare damage increased from 600/900/1200 to 600/1000/1400

Really don't see this as having an impact. He's a pretty situational pick, and this would only make a difference if you had a huge level advantage or an early Aghs.


  • Bash damage increased from 40/50/60/70 to 40/60/80/100

This is pretty interesting, but I don't know that it will change much about the hero. What it does is add incentive to put Slardar in a lane where he gets XP fast, or makes him choose between Sprint and Bash leveling early game.


  • Pounce damage reduced from 70/140/210/280 to 60/120/180/240
  • Shadow Dance cooldown reduced from 65 to 60
Overall, this feels like a buff for Slark. Being able to ult once a minute is fairly important. Especially when there are heroes like Bloodseeker, Bounty Hunter, and Slardar that have or are slowly moving back into the meta. Bloodseeker is still usually a situational pick (mostly a Slark counter-pick), but BH and Slardar are being picked more frequently now.

Spirit Breaker

  • You now gain vision over your target while you are casting Netherstrike

I think Spirit Breaker really needed a buff like this. After it became so easy to cancel his charge, you're just left with going all-in on SB. It was getting really annoying to have a target move into fog and you can't even finish them off because Netherstrike cancels due to its long wind-up.

Storm Spirit

  • Base movement speed reduced from 295 to 290

This is a pretty reasonable nerf. Storm is pretty strong at the moment, and he has Ball Lightning to get him out of most situations. It makes sense that his base move speed be pretty low.


  • Kraken Shell debuff threshold reduced from 600 damage taken to 600/550/500/450
  • Kraken Shell damage block increased from 9/18/27/36 to 10/20/30/40
Some minor buffs. I think this makes offlane Tidehunter a bit more viable. But overall this is a bit odd. Kraken Shell is becoming more powerful in general because of the shift towards early aggression (which you can also see by the amount of Vanguard pick-ups lately in pro games increasing).

Treant Protector

  • Overgrowth AoE increased from 625 to 675
  • Nature's Guise cast range increased from 300 to 600
Still a situational pick, but these are nice buffs after his core ability (i.e. Global Armor) was nerfed pretty hard.

Troll Warlord

  • Fervor max stacks rescaled from 2/3/4/5 to 4
  • Fervor attack speed per stack rescaled from 20 to 16/22/28/34
Overall this is a buff for Troll Warlord. By level 3 of Fervor, you'll surpass what it gave you at level 4 previously (i.e. old lvl 4 = 100 AS, new lvl 3 = 112 AS). You also get to max speed faster. However, I don't see that having a huge impact considering the nerf to Troll's ult (i.e. its uptime was reduced significantly) was what killed competitive Troll picks.


  • Soul Rip cooldown reduced from 25/20/15/10 to 24/18/12/6
Undying really needed a buff, but I don't think this will be the buff that solves his issues. Right now, Undying is still constrained to early game, especially trilane vs. trilane. This gives him more utility in mid-late game fights, but he still doesn't seem to scale well enough.


  • Base damage reduced by 5
  • Base HP regen reduced from 0.75 to the default 0.25
Considerable nerfs, but they won't change Veno pickups. He's still very strong in a lot of lineups. All I see this doing is putting more emphasis on his DPS from Poison Touch, and playing more carefully without as much HP regen.


  • Upheaval max duration increased from 12 to 16
This really seems pretty negligible. I don't see many situations where you'd use Upheaval for the full duration.


  • Arc Lightning cast range increased from 700 to 850
Seems like this just contributes to some minor viability at mid. This allows him to be further back while going for last hits using this spell. However, Zeus will most likely remain a fairly weak competitive mid.


Ground Courier

  • Ground Courier bounty per player reduced from 175 to 150
Since this affects both teams evenly, I don't see it having much of an impact. If anyone, it hurts supports a little bit. However, Courier pick-offs are not extremely common unless you have Nature's Prophet or Bounty Hunter. Even then, they are somewhat rare.


  • Cleave AoE increased from 225 to 250
I see this as a pretty negligible change. There aren't a large number of battlefury rush heroes, nor do you have as much time to farm the item, then farm with it anymore. I think buffs make sense, but this seems mostly like a way to buff it where it won't be OP.

Diffusal Blade

  • Agility bonus increased from 22/26 to 25/30

The item was already strong in its niche, so this seems a little irrelevant, but still a nice buff.


  • Number of charges increased from 4 to 5
  • Recipe cost increased from 800 to 875
What this says to me is that Drums are meant for more semi-carry heroes that are pretty active around the map. You rarely saw it on supports in pro matches anyway, but with the increased cost it's a little less good on supports. However, the extra 75g for another charge is pretty worth it.

Eul's Scepter

  • Cyclone cooldown reduced from 25 to 23
While this is a positive buff for an item that's pretty strong when it's applicable to buy, it doesn't have a huge impact. All the spells that synergize with it (at least that I can think of) have shorter cooldowns than 25 seconds anyway.

Force Staff

  • Force travel speed is reduced
I think this is a very smart nerf. Force Staff is incredibly powerful, basically a core support item at this point. This nerfs the item, but not in a way that makes it impossible to farm. I don't see this impacting the item in a way that makes it less viable though, it will still be a high priority pickup.

Iron Branch

  • Gold cost reduced from 53 to 50
This is pretty irrelevant. I can't think of a starting build this really impacts.

Mask of Madness

  • Lifesteal increased from 17% to 20%
Another change that I don't think will make this item more widely applicable, however, this is a good change that will set it apart from other Lifesteal items (i.e. Morbid Mask = 15%, Helm of the Dominator = 15%, and Vlads = 16%).

Refresher Orb

  • Recipe cost reduced from 1875 to 1800
This is pretty negligible to me.

Rod of Atos

  • HP bonus increased from 325 to 350
This item is ridiculously powerful when you can pick it up. I think this is more incentive to buy one, but there are still items that seem more versatile. Once heroes get BKB, or if they have a natural escape, this item falls off hard other than the stats. Buffing the HP bonus helps in that regard, but it's still not a widely applicable item.

Shadow Amulet

  • Fade delay improved from 1.8 to 1.5
  • Can now be used on allies
I enjoy seeing changes like this, where items get more utility.  However, this just seems mostly pointless. If you have the item in your inventory, the other team will know you're going Shadow Blade. It's a pretty useless support item, giving very few benefits for a support. This just seems dumb overall. I'd like a buff on this item, but not this.

Veil of Discord

  • Strength/Agility/Damage bonus increased from 3 to 6
This really doesn't change much. The item is good when it's applicable. The stats help, but won't make or break it.




  • Fire Spirits Attack Speed slow reduced from 150 to 80/100/120/140
  • Fire Spirits can now be cast during Icarus Dive
  • Fire Spirits DPS reduced from 20/40/60/80 to 15/35/55/75
  • Icarus Dive is now interrupted if you are stunned during it
This is hard for me to judge because Phoenix was added to the game after I stopped playing WC3 DotA, so I have no idea what the hero's relative strength is.


  • Sunder cooldown reduced from 160/110/60 to 120/80/40
  • Sunder is no longer partially blocked by Magic Immunity
  • Reflection cast range increased from 250 to 275
This is also hard to judge because I haven't played Terrorblade since WC3 DotA. I don't even know if he's similar to what he was when I left for DotA 2.

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

On The Existence of "Elo Hell"

As of mid-December 2013, DotA 2 released an official Ranked MMR Queue. As with any ranked ladder, "Elo Hell" quickly becomes a matter of discussion.

What is "Elo Hell"?

First off, Elo is a rating system for competitive sports and games. However, as I understand it DotA 2 uses something more closely related to the True Skill rating system.

That aside, Elo Hell is supposed to be a threshold on the lower end of the MMR system in which no matter how well you play, you have about a 50% chance to win. The reasoning behind this is that the players you're matched with/against are so bad that the game is basically a series of random occurrences. You could be doing phenomenally well, but your ally is feeding because they are brand new, cancelling out everything you're doing. Or your team has the opportunity to win, but abandons the push to go farm, throwing the game.

According to the myth, you could drop a Pro Player into "Elo Hell" and they would take the same amount of time to crawl out of it as any other player.

Does it Exist?

Low ranked players will generally defend the existence of Elo Hell. However, you'll most commonly hear "no" or "it's all in your head" from players that are mid-high tier. Basically, it comes down to psychology.

Personally, I view it as an issue of adaptation. But, I'll explore both here.


There are two ways to approach this.

1. Confirmation Bias

Confirmation Bias refers to people having a tendency towards collecting or highlighting information that supports their belief or theory. 

So if you are struggling in games and feel it is largely due to the incompetence of your teammates, then every instance of that you see will be added to the list of support you have for your belief. Meanwhile, if you have a good teammate or a neutral one, it will be an anecdote that is disregarded, considered an outlier, or just won't stand out as much in your memory.

2. Dunning-Kruger Effect

Dunning-Kruger Effect is a phenomenon that is often given lots of attention in competitive gaming communities (to the point it's like a mantra on forums). What it essentially claims is that low-skilled individuals will often overestimate their own abilities, and not recognize the skill of others. Basically that when you don't really understand what's going on, you're not the best judge of how anyone is performing.

This also can work the other way around in that high-skilled individuals will underestimate their relative ability. What this means is that if the high-skilled individual finds a task easy, they assume all others are finding the task equally simple. So while they assess their own rank quite accurately, they may make bad assumptions about their teammtes, opponents, etc.

In relation to Elo Hell, that can mean two things:
  1. The low-skill player belongs their, but is poorly estimating their own skill, as well as the skill of their teammates
  2. A semi-competent player is overestimating the skill of their allies/enemies and thus not getting the kind of play they expected in the match

Poor Adaption

This is my personal theory about "Elo Hell", and is in a way similar to the issues a higher-skill player would be affected by Dunning-Kruger Effect.

What I believe is that players that believe they are stuck in Elo Hell are actually just playing the match-up incorrectly. You need to take advantage of things that your opponents are bad at. What I mean by this is that there is a reason Bloodseeker stomps the low-tier games, and Chen is a high-tier pickup in competitive matches.

Bloodseeker is a hero that punishes map awareness and a lack of understanding of game mechanics. He gets several easy kills in low-skill games, then proceeds to snowball to the point that he can practically 1v5 the other team, or at least keep the other team down long enough that his team can farm until they're 6-slotted and then end the game. Additionally, as a hero that tends to get lots of kills in low-skilled games, you have the opportunity to take up a leadership role. While low-skill players may not assess skill correctly, they do understand that the 20-0 Bloodseeker is either a good player or at least someone that they can feel safe next to. So when the Bloodseeker says "come with me guys", his/her teammates are more likely to listen.

In contrast, if you're a good player amongst low-skill players on a hero like Chen, you'll run into the issue of not being able to herd cats. Even if you take several towers, execute great ganks, and keep vision up, you will eventually need to push to win. If no one will stop farming, you're kind of screwed because a 6-slotted Chen isn't really going to end a game on his own. He also isn't the best at getting solo kills, even with a perfect Troll net into Ursa thunderclap. And when you can't get solo kills that well, you're already at a loss when you also can't count on your allies to respond to your gank.

So in my mind, you need to play in a way that exploits your bracket and make the correct assessments about your teammates. You may look at Pro games and say "Sniper sucks", but when you're in a low-skill game and no one punishes the fact that you have a Sniper, that disadvantage doesn't really matter. Same thing goes for stuff like Warding. If you're buying and placing wards that your teammates are ignoring because of their poor map awareness, you're basically throwing away money. It doesn't matter that high level supports do that, what matters is the game you're in. You always have to adapt to your surroundings.

On a similar note - this is very much in the same area as not picking your newbie friend a hero like Visage for their first Captain's Mode game. Visage is a hero that requires some micro, and a pretty decent understanding of game mechanics, as well as watching indicators like charges of Soul Assumption and Gravekeeper's Cloak. Yes, Visage is a high-priority pick-up in pro games, but you'll get a lot more milage out of a hero like Lion (who is all point and click spells with pretty simple functions) when a new player is at the controls.

What this all boils down to is to not be blinded by your expectations and/or notions of how you believe the game is/should be played at a high level.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Resources in DotA 2

One aspect that is important in Real Time Strategy (RTS) style games (DotA being considered an Action RTS, or ARTS) is resource accumulation and usage. There are some very obvious resources in DotA 2, but there are also some hidden ones, as well as actions directly linked to resources.

In short:
  • Obvious Resources
    • Gold
    • Experience
  • More Subtle Resources
    • Intelligence / Vision
    • Gold - Reliable
    • Gold - Unreliable
    • Inventory
  • Linked Resources
    • Time
    • Structures

The Obvious Resources

There are two resources that should become apparent very quickly:

  1. Gold
  2. Experience
These resources are directly linked to your hero and your team, to some extent. There isn't a huge amount going on at the surface level here. You want to accumulate a lot of both of these resources and eventually use your advantage to win the game.

To most new players, it should be pretty clear that you want to be in experience range, denies help you build an early level advantage, etc. Similarly, you want to get last hits, hero kills, tower razes, etc.

Because of how important Experience is, you see heroes like the 6.79 incarnation of Lich making quite an impact on the pro scene. Now that Sacrifice gives you XP for your own creep, you can build an advantage a lot faster. If you Sacrifice far enough back, you also deny your opponent the XP and the change to get the last hit (and therefore Gold).

More Subtle Resources

Some resources are just less obvious because there is no number associated with them, while others are hidden by less apparent mechanics.

Intelligence / Vision

This is an invaluable resource that there is no number or score for. It's something that over time, players pick up on the common sense that the more they can see, the better decisions they can make. Vision is important across all RTS rooted games. For instance, StarCraft players constantly scout and collect information about their opponent.

In DotA, this is important enough that Observer Wards have a cap and restock time, or how the 6.79 tweak to Night Stalker's ult limiting vision propelled him into a top tier pick.

Vision isn't just important for seeing enemy movement, it also allows you to inspect their inventories and make better judgements on what build you should use or gauging what kind of strategy they are aiming for.

Alternative Forms of Intel

From a different angle, you can learn a lot from the Intel you don't have too. For instance, when you only see one hero farming a lane on the other team, the 4 that are missing can give you a big hint that something else is in the works, be it a gank, Roshing, or what have you. Regardless, having good Vision tells you a lot even in this case because you know all the places they are not at.

Good Vision can also lead to good Counter-Intelligence (i.e. Counter-Warding). You'll often see top tier teams like Alliance put up wards even before Rune Spawn so that they can see when the opposing Supports go to Ward and where they Ward. This allows them to knock out their Vision and take advantage of the opposing team's lack of knowledge.

One other important way to collect knowledge is from getting caught out, killed, or failing a gank due to the opponent backing. Often, this tells you that they had Vision of you, like getting ganked at the Secret Shop, or seeing an opponent back as you sneak up on their flank.

Heroes and Intel

A number of top tier picks are valuable because of the Intel they provide. This also becomes an integral part of the balancing process because that extra utility needs to be factored in.

Some major examples:
  • Batrider - gives flying vision while using Firefly. This allows you to scout out areas like the Rosh pit, or find heroes juking through the jungle
  • Clockwerk - Rocket Flare allows you to scout as it moves, but it also gives you 10 seconds of vision at the impact site.
  • Templar Assassin - Psi Traps are good for monitoring high traffic areas like ramps, gank paths, Runes, and Roshan
  • Slark - his ultimate's passive will deactivate if they have vision of you. Often, this is a good indicator that an enemy ward is nearby.
  • Luna - Lunar Blessing will passively give you better than average vision at night

Reliable Gold

This is a mechanic that many newer players overlook, but it is incredibly important. Reliable Gold is gold that is absolutely safe when you die. That means it is safe and available for Buy Back, or that you can play riskier if more of your money is Reliable.

Reliable Gold is earned basically by achieving "objectives" or playing aggressively. You can earn it from:
  • Getting Kills
  • Destroying Towers
  • Killing Roshan
  • Using Hand of Midas
When you die, Reliable Gold is used first when buying back. When you make an item purchase, Unreliable Gold is used first.

The basic idea of this type of currency is that you are rewarded for doing things that progress the game or make it exciting. And by having reliable gold, you're at a lower risk when you attempt a risky play. Because you don't lose Reliable Gold on death, it's an incredibly important resource to have and manage.

Unreliable Gold

Though Unreliable Gold is less useful than Reliable Gold, it's still important. When you make item purchases, it's much better to use up Unreliable Gold and try to leave your Reliable Gold available for buy backs or very important item purchases. This is often why you see players with Hand of Midas building up a large pile of Gold in the bank before making a purchase.

Unreliable Gold is the easiest gold to come by, for the most part. You get it from:

  • Creep Kills
  • Neutral Creep  & Ancient Kills
As of the 6.79 patch, there is another huge change that impacts Unreliable Gold and that's the new Buy Back mechanic. If you Buy Back, you can only gain Reliable Gold, so that means you have to make your Buy Backs count (i.e. kills, tower pushes, etc.).

This is very important and exploitable. If the other team can bait you into a Buy Back, then you not only lose the gold you spent, but you also lose some of your time while up because you can't even start farming back your loss.


You have 6 inventory slots that are incredibly valuable. These can be manipulated by certain heroes or item pick ups. For instance, if a Shadow Blade is picked up, now the enemy supports need to be carrying around additional Sentry Wards, Dust, or purchase a Gem. Likewise, a pickup such as Butterfly may warrant making a Monkey King Bar in response.

While this resource isn't something you always want to manipulate, it's something to look out for. If a support is forced to buy extra detection and sacrifice 1+ item slots to carry it around, that could mean something beneficial to them is sitting in their stash or it could set back other item purchases.

Linked Resources

There also exists what I'd consider a "Linked Resource" in that it relates to one or more resource listed above, but also can be counted as a resource on its own.


In a lot of ways, time is an obvious resource. But it's also something you see many players mismanage.

Time filters into a number of other resources:
  • Experience - the longer you're out of lane and away from battle, the less experience opportunity you have
  • Gold - similarly, the more time you're doing other tasks, the less time you're spending on getting gold
  • Intelligence - even if you're spending time gaining Intel, you're also giving enemy the intel that you're missing from lane. On Supports, who often are missing early game to do pulls (at least in pre-6.79) may go unnoticed, but core heroes missing will give the opposing team intel that your team is making a play. This is why it's important for plays like ganks to be done quickly.

Time is also part of the reason why kills are important. Not only are you gaining a power advantage, you're setting a player back quite a bit in terms of time to gain gold and XP.


Structures relate to a huge amount of resources, whether they be your own or belonging to your opponents.

  • Time - with structures like Towers down, your team cannot react or move as fast to certain situations or plays. You are denied a teleport location which slows your team down significantly.
  • Gold - your team gets Reliable Gold for taking down a number of structures. This can lead to critical gaps in net worth for your team to exploit. Similarly, losing Towers will put you in a bad situation economically.
  • Intelligence -  Towers not only give you vision, but they keep the wave pushed back. The vision you gain from your own creeps can tell you a lot about what's going on over the river.
  • Win Condition - the most obvious thing you get out of structures is they move you towards the win condition of the game, taking the opposing Ancient (i.e. Throne/Tree of Life).


Final Remarks

DotA is a deep, complex, and often convoluted game. Just managing Gold and XP will help you get better, but there are a lot of other very important resources that often go overlooked.

If you take a look at any traditional RTS, you'll see players constantly poking and prodding at their opponent, just to get some hint of what their plans are. Many DotA players seem to parody this without understanding the full depth of how to gain intelligence on their opponent. Most players get that Warding is important, but may not see it as a vital resource akin to Gold or XP. Intel makes you, the player, more dangerous while Gold & XP aid your hero in game.

Likewise, Time and Structures need to be managed because they are direct feeds into other resources. Most players get that they shouldn't waste time and that you need to take towers while defending your own. However, sometimes Gold and XP can blind you, like running back to lane instead of teleporting there. or going for kills instead of pushing a tower.

The important thing here is to understand all the different resources and how to manage them, not to tunnel vision onto Gold and XP.

Sunday, October 20, 2013

6.79 Patch Analysis


Table of Contents



Major Themes

  • Support Buffs - a lot of indirect/pseudo support buffs, like not being able to pool regen early game meaning supports have more money.
  • Game Flow - the meta will go through a shift after this patch because there are a ton of very disruptive changes to how laning will work and the game in general
  • Aggression - seems like IceFrog is continuing to encourage more aggression by increasing gold rewards, modifying laning, and making more lane configurations viable
  • Standardization - many aspects of the game are being standardized which allows players to build more all-encompassing schemas (i.e. reducing the number of special cases you need to memorize). Lots of spells have been affected in terms of dodging and dispelling, auras being set to 900 AoE, what Doom affects, hero night vision, etc.


  • Cast Point = "cast animation" or time from when you click the button to when the spell actually manifests in the game world. 
  • Reliable Gold = gold you do NOT lose when you die. This is gold gained from "objectives" like hero kills, towers, Roshan, and using Hand of Midas
  • Unreliable Gold = gold you do lose when you die. This is gold gained from farming creeps and neutrals.
  • Dispellable =  able to purge
  • Dodgeable = "disjointable". You're able to do things like Blink as a spell goes into its finishing animation, but before damage is applied, or use Naga's Mirror Image to avoid being hit.
  • Pooling = "pooling resources" like regeneration, or giving another player your regen while still in the pool/spawn

Captain's Mode Changes

  • Broodmother and Slark are temporarily disabled from CM, they will be added back shortly.

Big Changes

Game Play


Buy Back


  • Buyback prevents gaining unreliable gold (creeps, neutrals, etc) until your normal respawn time finishes 
    • NOTE: Reliable gold comes from things like using Hand of Midas, killing Roshan, killing Heroes, and destroying Towers
  • When buying back, 25% of the remaining respawn time will be added to your next death
Pretty big changes that make buy backs a lot less attractive. This should shift them into being solely for emergencies. Before, you were able to buy back if you didn't want to lose time farming. Now you can't gain gold, so it's either to team fight or defend.

Neutral Spawns / Pulls

  • Swapped the medium pullable Neutral Camp with the small camp
  • A neutral creeps camp will no longer spawn the same set of neutral creeps twice in a row
  • Small reduction to the pull timing duration of the mid Radiant and mid-top Dire camp
Until I test this, not sure if this means the end of pulling, or just making it more difficult. Seems to be a change that encourages more conflict in the laning phase. The alternating spawns is kind of nice so you don't get stuck with big stacks of Mud Golems, or so you can actually find a good creep as a hero like Chen/Enchantress/Doom.

Neutral Creeps / Jungling / Ancienting

  • Satyr Mindstealer XP bounty reduced from 88 to 62
  • Satyr Tormentor XP bounty reduced from 155 to 119
  • Mud Golems XP bounty reduced from 119 to 88
  • Mud Golems armor reduced from 4 to 2
  • Dark Troll Summoner bounty XP reduced from 155 to 119
  • Hellbear Smasher HP reduced from 1100 to 950
  • Hellbear armor reduced from 5 to 3
  • Satyr Trickster's Purge cast point improved from 0.5 to 0.2
  • Dragon Ancient Neutral Camp now have flying movement capability
  • Fixed Neutral Envenomed Weapons debuff dispelling regen items
Several neutral creeps have reduced XP amounts meaning jungling will be much slower. In a way, this seemed like a necessary change. Top tier teams like Alliance and Na'Vi seem to run a jungler whenever they can to maximize XP and GPM. In addition, Chen and Enchantress can hit high levels very quickly in the jungle.

The Hellbears were hit quite hard, but they were also one of the best creeps. Though having no stun, they have a decent slow and deal a considerable amount of magic damage. I classify this as neutral because for some junglers, this is seen as a buff, while to heroes like Chen/Enchantress, its a nerf.

The Dragon Ancients mean that it will be very difficult to do Ancient farming tricks like Quelling Blade Wind Runner / Mirana.

Roshan / Aegis

  • Roshan will respawn at a random time between 8 and 11 minutes after death
  • When Aegis expires unused, it heals the hero fully over 5 seconds (regen dispels on damage from players or buildings)
The respawn time is a very odd change. On one hand, it means that it might be harder to secure Rosh a 2nd time because you don't want to camp him for 3 minutes. On the other hand, it gives Dire a bigger Rosh advantage because it's much easier for them to check the pit.

The Aegis change is kind of nice, just so that it does something if unused and it lets you know that it is gone (you should be checking your inventory / know the timing anyway).


  • Starting gold increased from 603 to 625
  • Random Gold bonus reduced by 50
  • Gold for ending a spree changed from 75->600 (3x->10x) to 125->1000
  • Your gold income is now 1 per 0.6 seconds, up from 1 per 0.8 seconds
  • Tower last hit bonus gold increased from 100-200 to 150-250
Lots of gold changes making it easier to get and encouraging more aggression. The added starting gold somewhat offsets: (a) Bottle cost increased, (b) no Pooling of regen allowed anymore, (c) small camps swapped with the medium pull camp, (d) random gold reduction. I imagine it might impact what you choose to purchase first, but we'll see what happens.

Random gold nerf is nice. I get that it's supposed to be a bit of a learning crutch, but it's also an unnecessary advantage in pubs.

Ending a killing spree is a much bigger deal now and I think that's good. It allows for teams to stay in the game more easily. However, it also puts some pressure on your player that has a large killing spree.

The base GPM increase is a bit odd. I suppose its to help out supports or offset the pull camp being changed to low bounty small creeps. I think every one of these changes still encourages more items and more aggression, while not making it a game of 5 carries.

Lastly, the tower gold is increased, making knocking them down a bigger reward and more attractive. 



  • Chemical Rage no longer provides 250/500/750 bonus HP
  • Chemical Rage HP regen increased from 15/30/60 to 50/75/100
Very interesting change. The bonus HP made Alchemist very intimidating early-mid game so he'll be far squishier in early skirmishes.

However, with that regen, building Armlet becomes much more viable because you can balance it out with just level 1 of your ult. The regen also means that Alchemist can solo lane much easier after he hits level 6 by putting up with harass quite easily.


  • Base damage reduced from 48-52 to 38-42
  • Vision reduced from 1400 to 1200
  • Flaming Lasso cast range reduced from 175 to 100
We all knew it was coming. Huge nerfs to the most picked/banned hero.

The damage reduction seems like he'll be trash at mid. He has become a very popular offlane pick, so perhaps that's where he'll land himself as a more permanent home instead of his current viability almost anywhere in your lineup.

Vision changes are nice. That's a very desirable resource and his flying vision was insane. The Lasso change also increases his skill cap a bit because it'll be much harder to grab someone and pull them out without knowing the exact Blink Dagger ranges.


  • Base movement speed reduced from 305 to 300
  • Thirst is now global instead of 6000 range
  • Thirst bonus now stacks for each unit that is low HP
  • Thirst HP threshold increased from 20/30/40/50% to 50%
  • Thirst movement speed bonus reduced from 15/25/35/45% to 7/14/21/28%
  • When Thirst is active, movement speed cap is removed on your hero
  • Thirst no longer provides armor bonus
  • Thirst provides bonus 7/14/21/28 damage
  • Thirst no longer grants full hero vision around low HP targets, it only shows their model
  • Thirst no longer lasts for an extra 3 seconds when the target is dead
  • Indirect Changes
    • A number of spells are now "dispellable", which recently became an innate part of Bloodrage
HOLY SHIT did this guy get a face lift.

The only thing that even kind of sucks is that you lose full hero vision of low HP targets. But you can just carry dust/sentries/gem for that. Yeah, losing armor sucks too, but DPS is better in my opinion.

At one point in time, BS was considered the shitty Night Stalker. But now, he can get aggressive so early with the global Thirst range. If your team gets the enemy trilane low, BS can gank the lane at lightning speed with significant bonus damage and just clean up. Night Stalker still needs to wait for night. 


  • Spin Web AoE increased from 650 to 900
  • Spin Web cast range increased from 600 to 1000
  • Spin Web cast point nerfed from 0.2 to 0.4
  • Spin Web no longer destroys trees
  • Broodmother now has completely unobstructed movement when under the web (can walk over cliffs, trees, etc)
  • Removed buffer time when leaving Spin Web (you now immediately lose your regen/movement/pathing/invis bonuses)
This could very well be the return of competitive Broodmother.

The main thing to take note of is the unobstructed movement. You can pull off a lot more daring escapes, wild ganks, or just use it to mooch XP with ease. The AoE and cast range is also pretty nice. This allows for far more influence over the map (900 AoE is roughly the size of the T1 to T1 towers in mid lane). The increased cast range also allows you to put webs in unpathable areas with ease or even use them to pursue an opponent.

Not destroying trees can be seen as either a buff or nerf, but I feel it's more of a buff in combination with the rest of Brood's changes. You used to use the webs to knock down trees in the offlane making it near impossible for supports to set up a kill on you. But now you can just wander through the trees, so who gives a fuck. You are guaranteed XP in the offlane because what are they going to do? Knock down ALL the trees?

Understandably, the cast point had to be nerfed.

Drow Ranger

  • Precision Aura damage ratio increased from 16/20/24/28% to 18/24/30/36%
  • Precision Aura no longer affects creeps
  • Precision Aura can now be manually casted to affect creeps globally for 30 seconds (120 cd)
  • Marksmanship attribute negation AoE increased from 375 to 400
This may turn out to be far less influential than I imagine, but a 30 second DPS bonus to creeps globally seems pretty strong in terms of pushing power. Just thinking about that in combination with a Nature's Prophet is scary. However, it does give her the utility she needs to be a more viable pick.

I still think Drow will be difficult to lane competitively though, hence why I almost put this in "Could Have Some Impact".

Night Stalker

  • Darkness causes enemy vision to be reduced by 25% (affects heroes, creeps and wards)
Maybe this will turn out to be less useful than I expect, but to me vision is one of the most precious resources you have in game. A hero that can take it away is on par with a hero like Dark Seer that can reposition his enemies.

What makes this even more interesting is that it affects ALL your vision.

Treant Protector

  • Leech Seed damage per pulse reduced from 30/45/60/75 to 24/36/48/60
  • Leech Seed number of pulses increased from 4 to 6 (duration from 3 to 4.5)
  • Living Armor cooldown rebalanced from 15 to 32/26/20/14
  • Living Armor manacost increased from 25 to 50
  • Nature's Guise cast point improved from 0.5 to 0.3
I know Treant isn't a rampant competitive pick-up, but this will drastically make teams reconsider picking him up. The Living Armor nerf is the main thing to note. With the cooldown so long at early levels, it will make Treant a lot less useful. This is in part offset by the increased duration of Leech Seed, which is his early game crowd control slow.




Courier / Flying Courier



  • Ground Courier
    • Movement speed increased from 300 to 350
    • HP increased from 45 to 75
  • Flying Courier
    • Cannot be purchased until 3 minutes after creeps spawn
This is a rather large change for mid players and courier sniping. The courier will be a lot more vulnerable while delivering the Bottle to mid. However, the Ground Courier has a slight buff now making it faster than a hero with no Boots, and it will be less 1-shot-able.

Armlet of Mordiggian



  • Unholy Strength STR gain is provided over 0.7 seconds
  • Unholy Strength has no toggle on or off cooldown

This may not be a huge change, but it will have a considerable presence due to how frequently we see Armlet Toggling. This solves the issues presented by players using scripts/macros (i.e. able to Armlet Toggle perfectly with the aid of programming).

Armlet Toggling will still be effective, but it is no longer this bullshit instantaneous stuff.

Regen / Pooling



  • Clarity Potion
    • Is no longer shareable (but can still be used on a target ally)
  • Healing Salve
    • Gold cost increased from 100 to 115
    • Is no longer shareable (but can still be used on a target ally)
  • Tango
    • Charges increased from 3 to 4
    • Gold cost increased from 90 to 125
    • Is no longer shareable
    • Tango can be targeted on an allied hero to create a 1 charge non-stacking tango item in their inventory. If the inventory is full, the item will be placed on the ground. This item has a 60s cooldown.
Welcome to the death of pooling items. You can still cast them on allies, but you can't just give them to an ally so they can go to lane with them. For teams like Na'Vi, this may present some major issues (i.e. Puppey basically starts with nothing and pools a ton of regen).

Looks like Salve had its price increased in congruence with the starting gold buff.

The Tango changes are pretty interesting. This may be so that they can be pooled a bit? But the increase in Tango charges is just a bit odd overall.




  • Observer Ward
    • Duration increased from 6 to 7 minutes
    • Killing Observer Wards now grants a 50 gold bounty
  • Sentry Ward
    • Duration increased from 3 to 4 minutes
    • No longer gives permanent vision around it
    • Gives ground vision in a 150 area around it for 12 seconds when placed
Kind of peculiar changes. Killing Observer Wards is already a bonus in the first place, getting an extra 50g is just added benefit. This will become a bit of an extra money outlet for supports, I suppose.

The duration increases seem to be putting more emphasis on doing things that progress the game (e.g. pushing/killing), rather than having supports running around warding all game.

The Sentry Ward changes seem to say that the 12 seconds of vision are just for counter-warding. After that, they are there for invis detection, not to fuck the other team over for an extended period of time.

Smoke of Deceit



  • Smoked units are now always hidden until the buff is removed (rather than being hidden only from minimap and partially from world)
This is a great change that makes Smoke ganks even more dangerous. I think this just makes sense to have in general. I can imagine this having a huge impact around the Rosh pit because it sounds like Sentry Wards will no longer reveal if Smoked units are nearby, just hero proximity / attacking.

In my mind, true invisibility has some pretty serious implications.

Tranquil Boots



  • Reworked
    • Old
      • Active Boots: +75 MS, +3 Armor, +3 HP Regen
      • Ability: Heal - Restores 250 HP over 20 seconds while out of combat. 60s cooldown. 25 mana cost.
      • Broken Boots: +25 MS
      • Restores when the last 10 seconds don't have 3 instances of damage.
      • Can be diassembled
    • New
      • Active Boots: +85 MS, +4 Armor, +10 HP Regeneration
      • Broken Boots: +60 MS, +4 Armor
      • Restores when you haven't attacked or been attacked in the last 13 seconds.
      • Cannot be disassembled
To me, this looks like the boots we were all expecting when they initially came out. They look like roaming support boots. Even when they're broken, they're faster than basically any other boot outside of BoTs.

Everything here is something roaming supports want: move speed, armor, and regen.

On the downside, they can't be disassembled, but they should still be cheap as hell, so who cares.

Could Have Some Impact

Game Play


Creep Waves


  • Creeps now meet a bit closer to the tower in your offlane
Hard to say how this will affect the game in combination with all the other changes. If offlaners are still a thing, then this will make it a bit easier for them to get XP. However, for those that pull creeps (e.g. Lone Druid, Nature's Prophet), this will throw them off for a bit because creeps will be on a different time schedule.

Creep XP / Denies

  • Ranged Heroes now get the same denied experience as melee heroes (instead of less)
  • XP AoE increased from 1200 to 1300
  • Non-Ancient Neutrals now split XP with all heroes in the AoE instead of just the team that killed them
The Ranged Hero deny XP is interesting. It will mean that in solo melee vs. ranged match-ups, you cannot just attempt to out-deny your opponent to gain an advantage and ultimately win the lane.

The other changes mean that its easier for supports to accidentally mooch XP in lane (if you're avoiding doing so), or for the offlaner to mooch XP from a safer distance.

The neutrals splitting XP is kind of something that should have been there all along, but ultimately it means that its easier for the offlaner to contest the pull camp (or whatever it becomes). It will be much harder to zone them out.


  • Day/Night length decreased from 6 to 4 minutes
  • The following heroes now have the standard 800 night vision: 
    • Drow Ranger
    • Mirana
    • Puck
    • Leshrac
    • Enchantress
    • Ancient Apparition
    • Meepo
    • Treant Protector
I think the Day/Night cycles will encourage some more early ganking.

But more importantly, they will have a huge impact on Night Stalker. By the time the first night cycle hits, he won't be very leveled or farmed. However, instead of having to wait till 18 min for the 2nd cycle, he'll only have to wait until 12 min. There seems to be a push to have a huge amount of action happen around level 11, which he could very well have obtained by that time. Overall, Day/Night changes will mean that Night Stalker has a more evenly spread presence in the game.

The night vision changes seem to be normalizing all the other heroes that had oddly large night visions. The exceptions will be Night Stalker, and Luna.


  • Melee Barracks HP regen increased from 2.5 to 5
  • Ranged Barracks HP regen decreased from 2.5 to 0
  • Ranged Barracks HP reduced from 1500 to 1200 and armor increased from 5 to 10 (same EHP vs physical damage)
Just a little balancing around the raxes. Melee Rax has always been the higher priority and now it's a bit harder to kill than the Ranged Rax and Regens infinitely faster.

I doubt this change will affect your priority target, but it will put pressure on your team to keep attacking the melee rax so it can't regen.


  • Evasion now stacks diminishingly
Doubt it will change much, but you can stack Evasion now (previously you could not stack it at all). You can now choose to pile on Evasion on a hero like Phantom Assassin, but it will be hard countered by MKB.

Orbs (Attack Modifiers)

  • Can no longer orb-attack while attack restricted (such as Ethereal or Frostbite)
Basically a direct nerf to Ghost Scepter on Huskar, which previously made him more or less invincible temporarily (i.e. could not attack Physically and his Magic Armor from his passive made him nearly magic immune).



  • Base agility increased from 16 to 22
  • Drunken Haze affects a 200 AoE around the target
  • Thunder Clap is now dispellable
  • Primal Split selection order is now Earth/Storm/Fire
  • Reworked Primal Split Aghanim upgrade.
    • No longer upgrades any stats, cd, duration, etc on Aghanim.
    • Instead, it now grants Thunderclap to Earth, Drunken Haze to Storm, and Drunken Brawler to Fire.
    • The skills granted are at the same level as Brewmaster's skills.
    • Cooldowns are independent of the original Brewmaster.
Overall, I see these as generally favorable changes to Brewmaster (even the ult, which I'm cautiously marking as "neutral").

The agility buff is nice - slightly higher attack speed (which synergizes with crits) and a bit more armor (more viability in mid).

Drunken Haze was always one of his more underwhelming abilities because it's single target and BKB dispells it. Now that it's AoE, you can hit more than just the carry and not every hero will have a way to purge it.

The Thunder Clap change makes sense, they're standardizing lots of spells.

I think the ult rework is nice. Now his spells come into play while using his core ability. I think Drunken Brawler is especially nice on Fire Spirit because he'll have more EHP (Effective Hit Points).


  • Attack point improved from 0.4 to 0.3
  • Viscous Nasal Goo is now dispellable
  • Viscous Nasal Goo cast point improved from 0.4 to 0.3
  • Warpath max stacks increased from 5 to 5/6/7
  • Warpath stack duration increased from 10 to 14
While I think Bristleback will still be hard to run in competitive games (high farm dependency, lots of mana issues, etc.) this makes him a lot more attractive.

The attack point changes are nice, especially for Nasal Goo which you need while in pursuit.

What stands out most to me is the Warpath stacks. That's some serious fucking damage. At max level and stacks, you can be getting a bonus 210 damage and 28% MS increase (compared to 150 & 22%). He could be a monster in teamfights with the right lineup.


  • Test of Faith teleport is now dispellable
  • Hand of God cooldown increased from 140/130/120 to 160/140/120

Chen has been a staple of the competitive scene forever. Some balance tweaking/nerfing was bound to happen.

Test of Faith is being standardized with many other spells so that it's dispellable. Makes sense.

Hand of God is a very powerful spell, so it also makes sense to nerf it a bit at early levels. In late game, I think it's fully appropriate to leave it at 120 sec because the heal becomes less and less of an issue (plus, the Aghs upgrade makes the cooldown ridiculously low).

Won't affect how often he's picked, but this weakens one of the strongest competitive heroes.


  • Searing Arrows damage increased from 20/30/40/50 to 30/40/50/60
  • Searing Arrows manacost increased from 8 to 10
  • Searing Arrows is no longer blocked by magic immunity
While this won't affect Clinkz' laning issues (i.e. mostly viable as a safe lane solo), it makes him more attractive when you find yourself in a situation where he can be picked.

The damage buff makes him more powerful in lane, but it's still not good enough to make him a suicide laner (i.e. 3v1 in hard lane) because his attack animation makes Crystal Maiden's base move speed look like Formula 1 Racing.

The biggest change here is that he can still DPS really fucking hard through BKB. It makes sense, Searing Arrows are Physical Damage. Another standardization change, I like it. Reducing special case knowledge means new players catch on faster and the schemas your mind build become better (i.e. you can think about these things less).

Understandably, the mana cost for Searing Arrows was bumped up. But 2 mana for +10 damage AND going through BKB? That's a really, really good deal.


  • Weave duration rescaled from 12/18/24 to 20
  • Weave armor per second rescaled from 1 to 0.75/1/1.25 (scepter is 1/1.25/1.5)
  • Poison Touch damage increased from 8/16/24/32 to 14/20/26/32 (7 seconds worth)
  • Poison Touch is now dodgeable
  • Poison Touch slow timings reworked
    • Both have initial 0.01 second ministun to start
    • Level 1
      • Old: Slow target by 33% for 1 second
      • New: Slow target by 33% for 3 seconds
    • Level 2
      • Old: Slow target by 33% for 1 second, then slow the target by 66% for 1 second
      • New: Slow target by 33% for 2 seconds, then slow the target by 66% for 1 second
    • Level 3
      • Old: Slow target by 33% for 1 second, then slow target by 66% for 1 second, then stun target for 1 second
      • New: Slow target by 33% for 1 second, then slow target by 66% for 1 second, then slow target by 100% for 1 second
    • Level 4
      • Old: Slow target by 33% for 1 second, then slow target by 66% for 1 second, then stun target for 1 second
      • New: Slow target by 33% for 1 second, then slow target by 66% for 1 second, then stun for 1 second
I think this makes Dazzle slightly more viable (especially as a support) at the competitive level. Previously, his issue was that he needed lots of levels and was a bit lacking at level 1.

With these changes hit ult becomes more interesting to pick up at level 6, before it was highly situational to pick up at level 6.

Poison Touch now is far better at early levels. At levels 1-2, this spells is clearly a better incarnation of Poison Touch. However, at level 3, it loses the stun in exchange for a 100% move slow (and MS is capped off at something like 100). It used to be the case that generally you wanted to level up Poison Touch to 3 ASAP for the stun. Now you'll have to wait till level 4. My feeling is that you'll see a lot of Dazzle's only putting 1 point into Poison Touch early on, unless they absolutely need the damage or additional slow. His other spells look a bit better by comparison in my opinion though.


  • Kinetic Field AoE increased from 300 to 325
  • Glimpse cooldown reduced from 60/50/40/30 to 65/50/35/20
  • Static Storm AoE increased from 375 to 450
  • Static Storm max damage increased from 170/220/270 to 200/250/300
  • Added Aghanim's upgrade: Static Storm silences items, and lasts an extra 2 seconds
A solid round of buffs for one of my favorite heroes. The Glimpse buff/rescale is especially nice.

I like the AoE changes because his spells are a bit sloppy in team fights, so it really expands his utility.

As far as his ult goes: the damage increase is nice, but I don't feel like it would be enough to level your ult past 1 as support Disruptor (until your other spells are maxed). The ult is nice for damage, but mostly for the Silence.

I really like the Aghs upgrade too, but realistically, you will never farm it unless you play him as a mid. He's not the fastest farmer anyway, so you'd need to rack up a lot of kills or save for a long time. And he's really not the best at killing, his specialty is utility and set-up.


  • Doom cooldown reduced from 110 to 100
  • Doom now removes positive buffs on the target before applying the debuff
  • Doom Aghanim AoE requirement increased from 550 to 900
    • NOTE: This is the AoE that is considered when freezing the duration of Aghanim upgraded Doom.
  • Indirect Changes:
    • Abaddon's Borrowed Time now longer activates while Doomed.
    • Spirit Breaker's Greater Bash no longer works while Doomed
    • Viper's Corrosive Skin no longer works while Doomed
    • Huskar's Berserker's Blood is now disabled by Doom
While I think Doom will still get the same amount of gameplay he currently does, this set of changes helps his viability. There were so many things that were stupid about his ult. He'll be much better against Abaddon now, and it's nice to see other passives and buffs being stripped away while heroes are affected by Doom's ult.

The scepter change makes it slightly more attractive, but overall, it's still a very niche item on Doom.


  • Midnight Pulse dps increased from 3/4/5/6% to 4/5/6/7%
  • Added Aghanim's upgrade: Adds Midnight Pulse damage to your Black Hole. This damage stacks with Midnight Pulse.
Seems like a sort of shocking change to Enigma. He was already pretty good in his current state. Now he's that much better.

The interesting part is the Aghanim's upgrade. Midnight Pulse is already universal damage (i.e. it goes through magic immunity, but is reduced by magic resistance, and deals 1.4x to Ethereal units). There are notes on the dota wiki saying that Midnight Pulse does have a damage cap, but I'm not sure how that will be affected. You may be looking at dealing 50%+ of their HP (pre-reduction from magic resist), or it might just reach the damage cap faster.

Realistically, this will be used independently of Midnight Pulse because it's hard enough to land good Black Holes, it'd be very risky to cast another spell before that.


  • Agility reduced from 20 + 2.4 to 15 + 1.4
  • Berserker's Blood is now disabled by Doom
  • Indirect Changes
    • Can no longer orb-attack while attack restricted (such as Ethereal or Frostbite)

Dude got hit hard by the nerf stick. The Doom change was good because it should disable passives.

The Agility reduction makes some sense. He already gets great attack speed from Berserker's Blood, no reason to give him base attack speed (and armor). He was incredibly strong in the pub scene.

The orb-attack change is basically a direct nerf to Huskar too since the popular build utilized Ghost Scepter and attacking with Burning Spears.

The change here is that he will probably drop off pretty hard in the pub scene.


  • EMP restores Invoker for 50% of the mana it drains from heroes (excluding illusions)
  • Invoke Max Spells rescaled from 1/2/2/2 to 2

While I really like this change, I don't think it will change much for the pro scene. Having 2 spells with level 1 invoke is pretty nice, but he still seems to have lost a lot of his mid-lane power due to previous nerfs.

Then again, Cold Snap + Forge Spirits is incredibly strong in the early phases.

I think the EMP change will help some alternative builds be more viable, especially Quas/Wex.

On the whole, it's hard for me to say since I'm not really an Invoker player.

Io (Wisp)

  • Tether now does a -100% MS/AS slow instead of a stun
I feel that Io will start falling out of the competitive scene with this change. It really depends on how much teams value the utility of relocate. But with all these nerfs, I don't know if Io is even worth picking up unless you have a Chaos Knight. The stun made Io more viable with a wider array of pairings. You basically need a dedicated stun, then follow up with the Tether slow.


  • Healing Ward movement speed increased from 300 to 450
  • Omnislash Scepter cooldown reduced from 110/100/90 to 70
  • Omnislash no longer stops if the target is Ethereal (it still doesn't do damage)
  • Fixed not being able to use items during Omnislash
A lot of nice buffs for Juggernaut. He's already a pretty strong hero, so I imagine you'll see him even more in aggressive trilanes and dual core lineups.

Scepter just keeps getting better and better on him. And the healing ward MS increase means that it will be a lot easier to use when you're in more hectic situations (i.e. don't have to fall back as much to use it). The MS is enough to outclass heroes.


  • Frost Armor has half effect against ranged heroes
    • Previously had 0 effect against ranged heroes
  • Frost Armor slow now stacks with the slow from Frost Nova
  • Sacrifice cooldown increased from 35/30/25/20 to 44/36/28/20
  • Sacrifice mana gain increased from 15/30/45/60% to 25/40/55/70%
  • Sacrifice no longer denies enemy XP
  • Sacrifice now converts your own creep for XP (shared in AoE as normal creep xp bounty)
What stands out the most is the XP gain you get form sacrificing a creep. This means Lich may be a bit more viable in a solo lane, or as a support. I foresee a bit of experimentation being done with Lich.


  • Mana Drain duration increased from 4 to 5
  • Hex cooldown increased from 15 to 30/25/20/15
  • Hex duration increased from 1.75/2.5/3.25/4 to 2.5/3/3.5/4
What's most interesting here is the level 1 hex. That's a really long duration for such a powerful spell, but it's balanced out by the cooldown increase.

The mana drain changes are getting interesting too. For a long time, Mana Drain was considered a shit spell and only really useful for Linkens popping. Now I think it's getting to the point where you may consider an early level of it for zoning, especially with the buff to the Hex duration making it less important to level it early on.


  • Base armor reduced by 1
  • Turn rate improved from 0.5 to 0.65
  • Earthbind cast point improved from 0.5 to 0.3
  • Divided We Stand leveling rebalanced from 6/11/16 to 4/11/18
  • Removed 30% stat sharing on non-aghanim Divided We Stand
The ult change is interesting. Meepo doesn't feel very Meepo until he gets his ult. That will add some early game viability. But I still feel that he will be a very niche pick for teams that enjoy running him (i.e. Fnatic). He still has a lot of vulnerabilities and is very easy to counter pick.

Outworld Devourer

  • Base damage reduced by 3
  • Items no longer trigger Essence Aura
The base damage doesn't matter much because he gets so much from Astral Imprisonment.

The items no longer triggering Essence Aura is a big change for the hero. You'll see a lot less Tranquil Boots and active items in general because they don't have the same benefit they used to. Previously you wanted as many chances to proc Essence Aura as you could.

Phantom Assassin

  • Stifling Dagger shares the same crit chance/factor as Coup de Grace
  • Stifling Dagger is now dodgeable
  • Stifling Dagger damage rescaled from 50/100/150/200 to 60/100/140/180
Overall, I think this makes PA a little more viable than she already was. Her early game presence is upped quite a bit (and it was already pretty decent) because Dagger is very spammable and it's pure damage. 


  • Can now use Blink Dagger
  • If you hook a unit onto an unpathable ledge, the unit gains free pathing for 5 seconds
  • Flesh Heap magic resistance reduced from 4/8/12/16% to 6/8/10/12%
  • Dismember Scepter strength multiplier increased from 0.75 to 1.0
Realistically, this doesn't affect much other than Na'Vi. This is basically standardizing Blink Dagger, and in some ways making up for the recent nerf to Pudge where units are hooked to the location the spell was casted (i.e. the death of Fountain Hooking).

Because Hook will be easier to hit with Blink, I think it makes sense that Flesh Heap is reduced.

Oddly, Scepter is buffed, but it wasn't something a competitive Pudge would really opt for generally.


  • Decrepify damage amp on allies reduced from 40% to 25%
  • Decrepify damage amp on enemies increased from 40% to 50%
  • Nether Ward now requires 3 hits to kill instead of 75/150/225/300 HP (heroes hurt it for 1, others for 0.25)
  • Life Drain restores mana if it tries to heal you while you are full hp when targeting heroes

This really looks like they're making Pugna more supportish. Decrep is a little more versatile now that it doesn't hurt allies as bad, plus it got a buff when used aggressively. Netherward is buffed a bit going into late game as well.

The Life Drain change is interesting as well, giving it more flexibility in team fights when you're low on mana.


  • Smoke Screen cast range increased from 425 to 550
  • Riki is no longer revealed out of Permanent Invisibility when he casts spells or uses items
    • When he starts his attack from Blink Strike, he will be revealed
Riki is a fairly difficult hero to work into lineups, but this change gives him a lot more utility and initiation power. Could be enough to bring him out of obscurity a bit, but he's still a risky pick as a core hero.


  • Telekinesis cooldown increased from 18 to 22
  • Rubick can no longer steal the Aghanim upgrade of the enemy if they have Aghanim and he doesn't
  • Added Aghanim's upgrade: reduces cooldown from 20/18/16 to 5, increases cast range from 1000 to 1400 and makes all stolen spells be considered to have their Aghanim's upgrade

There is a lot of talk that this makes Rubick more interesting as a mid, which is true in part. I really don't think teams will pick him as a mid though, beyond some initial experimentation. The Fade Bolt nerf patches ago really made him a lot less effective there. 

What this change represents is a huge detriment to him as a support. It makes sense, he is a fairly high priority support pick-up at the moment.

I do think that Aghanim's change was needed though. Previously, Aghanim's was not worth it on Rubick at all. Anyone that had a good Aghs upgrade would already be planning to pick one up. Therefore, you never needed it.

Skywrath Mage

  • Int growth increased from 3.2 to 3.6
  • Added Aghanim's upgrade: reduces Mystic Flare's cooldown from 60/40/20 to 20/10/0

I don't see this making a huge impact, but the potential for Skywrath to pick off a target has gone up quite a bit (if he has the mana). That can be a large game changer in a team fight if say Naga nets the carry and Skywrath unloads 2 ults before the fight begins.


  • Shadow Dance duration reduced from 5.5 to 4
  • Shadow Dance cooldown increased from 25 to 65
  • Shadow Dance can no longer be revealed by Truesight
I can see this making some impact just because its the first spell to give true invisibility. For the duration of Shadow Dance, nothing can see him. That's guaranteed heal and speed boosts for Slark and a lot of potential when doing early dives.

However, Slark still isn't the easiest hero to run in a lineup, so while this may make him a slightly higher priority to pick-up, it won't necessarily be easier to craft him into your draft.

Vengeful Spirit

  • Can now use Blink Dagger
  • If you Netherswap a unit onto an unpathable ledge, the unit gains free pathing for 5 seconds
The basic piece here is that you can Swap and instantly Blink out (using shift-queueing).

This may have less impact than I'm giving it credit for because a support may not get Blink until very late. However, having the ability to displace an opponent and make it out alive is huge.


  • Poison Nova no longer ignores invis/fogged units
  • Venomous Gale no longer ignores invis units
  • Venomous Gale damage over time rebalanced from 15/30/45/60 to 0/30/60/90
  • Poison Sting duration increased from 6/8/10/12 to 6/9/12/15
  • Poison Sting dps no longer dispels healing or disables dagger
  • Plague Wards now have Poison Sting for 50% of the damage at the current skilled level (When both Venomancer and a Plague Ward affect a target, only the highest dps is applied)
  • Plague Wards XP bounty increased from 12/12/25/25 to 20/25/30/35
I think the biggest thing here is the Poison Sting on wards. That's pretty critical in scouting and slowing someone who is attempting to escape. Since the wards are getting better, it follows that the XP is increased.

A lot of the other changes just make Veno a little more competitive, like it was dumb that Poison Nova and Gale didn't hit invis targets.

One huge blow to Veno is that Poison Sting doesn't disable regen and blink dagger.

Overall, not sure how this will affect Veno overall, but it gives him a slight advantage compared to the old Veno in my opinion.


  • Poison Attack cooldown reduced from 4/3/0/0 to 0
  • Corrosive Skin no longer works while doomed
Overall, this doesn't make a huge difference, but what it says is that if you get caught out by Viper early game, you're probably boned. I think this combined with the recent influx of Viper in competitive may boost him to be even more present.




Boots of Travel



  • Now prioritizes nearby structures first within 325 AoE from targeting position (when ground targeted)
I see this as being a small buff to the item, but a pretty important one. In my opinion, this is saying that if you hastily target a TP with BoTs, you don't have to worry about risking targeting a creep which can be killed by the enemy, therefore disabling your TP.

Eul's Scepter of Divinity



  • Cyclone cooldown reduced from 30 to 25
  • Movement speed bonus increased from 35 to 40
This item has been getting better and better. It isn't the highest priority pick-up because of the massive utility supports get out of stuff like Force Staff, Mekansm, etc. But this could make for some incredibly aggressive support plays and mid-game roaming / kill set-up.

I know a lot of players have started picking this up more often in pubs and experimenting. Could make a competitive debut this patch.

Linken's Sphere



  • Linken's Sphere can now be cast on an allied hero to transfer the buff
    • When on cooldown it does not work on you. Goes into cooldown when cast and once the buff is used up.
    • If the cooldown ends and the buff has not been used up, the buff ends and does not trigger another cooldown.
    • 700 cast range
I see this having a minor impact on the competitive scene. Not a huge amount of heroes or situations call for a Linken's Sphere over other items. However, it's a pretty cool utility change for the item, making it more team oriented. It could be enough to make it worth it in a few situations where it previously would have been skipped.

Shadow Blade



  • Shadow Walk cooldown increased from 18 to 28
In my opinion, this is actually a pretty considerable nerf. I think this really shifts the item into much more of an aggressive usage, and really seems to be targeted towards Nature's Prophet who can port around the map and use the item as an escape with all too much ease.

Veil of Discord



  • Now uses Null Talisman instead of Robe of the Magi (from +12 int to +6 int, +3 str, +3 agi, +3 dmg)
  • Magic weakness duration increased from 20 to 25 seconds
This looks like a change to make supports a bit more aggressive, or for INT mids. This may be in anticipation of something like expecting supports and roamers to have more money.

Overall, I like the change a lot, but am curious to see where this actually goes.

The Little Details

Game Play

Backswing on Abilities

  • The following abilities no longer automatically ignore backswing time by default: 
    • Rupture
    • Malefice
    • Venomous Gale
    • Stifling Dagger
    • Flamebreak
    • Wave of Terror
    • Shadow Word
    • Power Cogs
I don't see this having an impact most of the time, but basically just means they have to complete the full animation. It will be a little bit harder to do something directly after these casts.



  • Base armor reduced by 1
  • Myst Coil self damage increased from 50/75/100/125 to 75/100/125/150
  • Aphotic Shield is now dispellable
  • Borrowed Time no longer activates while Doomed
A bunch of necessary changes to balance him out a bit. I especially like Doom being indirectly buffed. It was silly how survivable Abaddon was against that.

Ancient Apparition

  • Ice Vortex cooldown reduced from 5 to 4
  • Ice Blast cooldown reduced from 45 to 40
  • The Chilling Touch buff is now always applied to Ancient Apparition even if he is not within the target area
  • Chilling Touch cooldown reduced from 50/46/42/38 to 50/42/34/26
A lot of small, but good buffs for AA, a hero we barely see. Having no reliable crowd control, I think many of these were necessary to increase his viability as an early aggression hero (think Visage style support). I especially like the Chilling Touch buffs, allowing him to stay on the outskirts of a fight, while still getting the spell buff.


  • Berserker's Call
    • Berserker's Call AoE increased from 275 to 300
  • Battle Hunger
    • Battle Hunger duration reduced from 10/13/16/19 to 10/12/14/16
    • Battle Hunger damage reduced from 15/21/27/33 to 15/20/25/30
    • Battle Hunger movement speed slow/bonus increased from 8% to 10%
    • Battle Hunger is now dispellable
  • Counter Helix
    • Counter Helix cooldown reduced from 0.55/0.5/0.45/0.4 to 0.45/0.4/0.35/0.3
    • Counter Helix now hits siege units
  • Culling Blade
    • Culling Blade no longer goes on cooldown if it successfully kills a hero
    • Culling Blade threshold reduced from 300/450/625 to 250/350/450 (Aghanim upgraded version is still 300/450/625)
    • Culling Blade speed bonus increased from 25% to 40% and AoE from 600 to 900
    • Culling Blade 40% speed bonus now applies to attack speed as well
    • Culling Blade Aghanim allied buff duration increased from 6 to 10
    • Culling Blade manacost reduced from 150/200/250 to 60/120/180
The utility of Axe has skyrocketed from these changes. He has a lot of  Move/Attack Speed buffs he can conditionally give to allies. However, this comes at the cost of big nerfs to Battle Hunger damage, and Culling Blade's insta-kill HP requirements.

Axe is looking like he'll move more into a 2/3/4 farm priority position, but Culling Blade kills are actually pretty useful now. I don't think it'll be "carry Axe" worthy, or necessarily mean he'll get picked up at all, but we'll see what happens.


  • Inner Beast AoE reduced from 1000 to 900 (standard aura AoE)
  • Inner Beast attack speed rescaled from 18/26/32/40 to 15/25/35/45
  • Call of the Wild now has two abilities for summoning each unit independently
  • Call of the Wild manacost reduced from 25 to 15 and cast point improved from 0.5 to 0.3
While the Inner Beast AoE is technically a nerf, it does standardize Auras throughout the game, which is good. Auras will become a schema that you can rely on to decrease the amount of special rules you need to know.

Everything else is a nice minor change. The aura is weaker at levels 1 & 2, but slightly better at levels 3-4.

The biggest change, by far, is the independent summons. It could turn into extra feed when you needed one summon and not the other (i.e. fuck the bird of feed / scout hawk lvl 1). The cast point change is nice too, allowing you to summon slightly faster (though I imagine summoning both take 0.6 sec all together), but it could make the difference when you need your Boar to land his slowing auto attack.

Centaur Warrunner

  • Stampede slow duration increased from 1.25 seconds to 1.5
Kind of understandable from a competitive perspective. In pubs, this may seem to shout "why does he need another buff?!" But he's hard-ish to run competitively and the added utility makes him more interesting.

Chaos Knight

  • Chaos Bolt damage and stun values are now inversely related
Doesn't change much about the hero, but adds a nice balance tweak to him. Basically, all this says is that if you get a 4 second stun, you'll do a low amount of damage. Now neither CK nor his target get completely fucked by Chaos Bolt. It either deals good damage, a good stun, or somewhere in between.


  • Units knocked back by Power Cogs destroy trees in 100 AoE around where they land
Seems to be a change mostly affecting the ability to Cog trap opposing heroes in trees.

Crystal Maiden

  • Freezing Field AS/MS AoE slow increased from -20/-30 to -30/-30
  • Freezing Field Scepter AS/MS AoE slow increased from -50/-30 to -50/-50
Really nice change making her ult a bit easier to memorize the values, as well as a nice utility buff for team fights in general.

Dark Seer

  • Vacuum cooldown increased from 24 to 28
DS will always be a top tier pick (not many heroes have spells to displace other heroes), but this adds some more balance to him.

Death Prophet

  • Exorcism Spirit damage increased from 43-48 to 53-58
While I like this buff, I don't think it will be enough to see Death Prophet anymore than we do right now. However, it is a pretty significant increase in DPS (+10), which is all physical and works on towers as well.

In my opinion, if you want a hero similar to Death Prophet, then Dragon Knight is still the better option (most of the time).


  • Enchant Totem damage increased from 75/150/225/300% to 100/200/300/400%
  • Fissure range increased by 100
It's good to see ES getting buffs, but I think he still needs more to boost his appearances in competitive play.

I really like the Fissure buff. That's a unique spell and it's the core ability on the hero.

Enchant Totem still seems like a shitty spell that's only useful to proc the stun from his passive. It just never feels worth leveling past 1 until you have no other spells to level. The DPS boost for 1 attack isn't enough to justify it.

Elder Titan

  • Ancestral Spirit damage reduced from 120/160/200/240 to 80/120/160/200
A slight nerf to reign this hero in. He's incredibly strong right now and seems to just need a bit of tweaking.


  • Untouchable attack speed slow increased from 20/50/80/110 to 30/60/90/120
Seems like an odd buff to me. She was already pretty good, but perhaps this is being done in response to the jungling changes made in this patch or to increase her mid-game presence.

Faceless Void

  • Timewalk slow rescaled from 25/30/35/40% to 20/30/40/50%
  • Chronosphere AoE increased from 400 to 450
I see these as both neutral changes. The Timewalk change is mostly a buff, but still slightly worse at level 1.

The Chrono change is generally good, but you always run the risk of trapping teammates in one.


  • Liquid Fire is now a castable Attack Orb (same cooldown, no mana cost)
This is very nice for Jakiro. Being able to control when you cast Liquid Fire is great when you want to pick up an early level and not completely fuck up pulls or accidentally hit lane creeps.

The other nice thing is that you'll be able to do a little orb walking (i.e. not aggroing the creeps when you harass). So despite Jakiro's lower attack range, he'll be able to do some decent harass without any worries about the creeps.

Keeper of the Light

  • Blinding Light now destroys trees in a 150 AoE around where the target is pushed
I think this is basically on par with the Clockwerk changes, just making sure you can't push opponents into positions where they're trapped.


  • X Marks The Spot cooldown reduced from 16 to 13
  • Ghost Ship damage increased from 350/450/550 to 400/500/600
Some more buffs for Kunkka.  These are very minor, so it's just pushing him a bit closer to a fully balanced state.


  • Diabolic Edict cast point improved from 0.7 to 0.5
  • Pulse Nova scepter damage increased from 88/133/177 to 100/150/200
Pretty minor, but very good buffs. Edict's cast time was so long before, so this will make it a bit more usable.

The scepter damage is sort of "whatever". It's a rare pickup for Leshrac since he's normally run as a support. Overall, a good buff, but it won't see much action.


  • Rage cooldown increased from 17 to 19
  • Open Wounds and Infest cast points increased from 0.01 to 0.2

He just keeps getting nerfed. I honestly don't even think he needs more nerfs at this point, but here they are. The Rage cooldown makes sense when you compare it to BKB. Likewise, the cast points for his other spells were pretty ridiculous in terms of speed.


  • Attack range increased from 635 to 650
Lina is becoming another Sniper. She outranges every hero other than him, but I suppose that in part is to make up for her poor attack animation.

She's already picked up plenty, so I don't see this changing much, but maybe there's a chance she'll be pushed towards a mid role given how well she can zone even some ranged heroes.

Lone Druid

  • Base movement speed increased from 315 to 325 (still 280 in True Form)
  • Spirit Bear XP bounty increased from 196 to 300
I like these changes a lot, even though they're pretty minor. The base MS helps Lone Druid stay alive in teh offlane. The XP means that you need to be even better at controlling your ridiculously strong bear.


  • Moon Glaive can now bounce back on the same units if it already hit all other units nearby
  • Moon Glaive bounce damage reduced from -30% to -35%
  • Eclipse Scepter beam count limit per target removed
These are nice changes for Luna, making her a bit more powerful as a carry. Her farming/pushing will be slightly worse, but her teamfight is improved because she is getting a pseudo-Geminate, more or less.

The Scepter change is pretty irrelevant at the moment. I can see how that would be beneficial if she could be run more like Juggernaut (i.e. aggressive trilane carry in a dual core), but that doesn't seem to be the case at the moment.


  • Armor increased by 1 (Shapeshift total armor is still the same as before)
  • Base damage increased by 5
  • Howl bonus damage for non-hero units increased from 4/8/12/16 to 5/10/15/20
  • Wolves magic resistance increased from 50% to 80%
Some solid changes. They don't mean anything like the return of jungle Lycan, but they make him slightly more attractive as a pick-up. The armor/base damage make him slightly more viable, as do the Wolves magic resist. Meanwhile, IceFrog buffed his ability to push/split-push with additional Howl Damage.

I think teams may experiment with him, but I don't know that it will be enough to make much of an impact on the pro scene.


  • Turn rate improved from 0.5 to 0.8
I like this change because of how reliant he is on turning for spells like Skewer and Shockwave.

However, he still has issues because he can only situationally mid now after all the nerfs and bottle-crow nerfs.


  • Mystic Snake now does Pure damage to units in Stone Form
She was already being used, so I doubt there will be any impact on how often she's picked up. However, this is a great change because now her kit has more synergy.


  • Leap AoE AS/MS speed bonus is granted at the cast location rather than the destination
  • Leap AoE AS bonus increased from 4/8/12/16 to 8/16/24/32

Seems to be making her slightly more aggressive and having a bit more utility and/or carry potential. Where the bonus is granted looks like an attempt to have a bit easier targetting for the buff.


  • Morph level 4 shift rate improved from 0.25 to 0.2
Small buff, but still won't change much about the hero.

Naga Siren

  • Rip Tide AoE reduced from 450 to 350
  • Ensnare manacost increased from 75/85/95/105 to 90/100/110/120
Minor nerfs to a top pick support.

Nature's Prophet

  • Treants' XP Bounty increased from 20 to 30
  • Treants' Gold Bounty increased from 12-16 to 14-20
Some much needed nerfs. Those treants are super tanky.


  • Base armor increased by 1
  • Indirect Changes
    • The Buy Back nerf can be viewed as a slight nerf to Aghanim's Scepter on Necrolyte
Looks like they're giving him some slightly higher viability as a solo laner, but hard to tell with such a small tweak.

The Buy Back nerf can also be seen as something of a nerf to Aghs on Necro. It was a rare pickup to begin with for competitive Necro (not like he saw much play anyway), and now it's slightly less effective because players won't be buying back to farm. Really has almost no change, but something to keep in mind.

Nyx Assassin

  • Spiked Carapace no longer stuns your hero when your summoned units proc it (the summoned units get stunned instead)
  • Impale no longer has unit targeting, it is now only a point targeted spell
Solid changes. It was super lame when you'd get stunned by carapace when you didn't even attack him directly.

The Impale change is a fairly big nerf because you can no longer guarantee certain stuns. But Nyx has so much utility already that this makes sense.

Ogre Magi

  • Ignite duration increased from 4/5/6/7 to 5/6/7/8
  • Ignite is now dodgeable
  • Ignite can now multicast to cast at a random enemy unit in 1400 AoE (prioritizes ones that do not already have the debuff)
  • Unrefined Fireblast cooldown reduced from 10 to 6
Looks like they want to bring OM out of being a niche pickup. I think he still will be, but these are a lot of nice bonuses.

The dodgeable bit is more standardization stuff.


  • Degen Aura AoE increased from 315 to 350
  • Degen Aura stickiness increased from 0.5 seconds to 1.0

Omni is a strong hero, but has such odd laning. The tweaks look good for the hero, but won't change much for his competitive presence.

NOTE: the "stickiness" is just how long it stays on the player after they leave the AoE.

Phantom Lancer

  • Spirit Lance is now dodgeable
More standardization.

Queen of Pain

  • Shadow Strike manacost rescaled from 80/100/120/140 to 110
Slight balance tweak to one of QoP's most annoying early game spells. A lot of players would just get one level and it worked pretty well to be a nuisance, making it difficult to use Bottle for quite a while. However, in late game it will be less mana now, when it's far less effective anyway.

Sand King

  • Sand Storm dps increased from 20/40/60/80 to 25/50/75/100
  • Epicenter attack speed slow is now same as movement speed slow (10%->30%)
Minor tweaks to Sand King. He's pretty viable in competitive, but melee supports aren't always prioritized. Plus, he has a fairly high skill cap because of how important his ult is.

I'm glad to see Sand Storm getting buffs because it wasn't super useful beyond the Fade Time / Juke capability.

Shadow Demon

  • Shadow Poison AoE increased from 180 to 190
SD has fallen off a bit competitively, but is still in a pretty balanced state. Very minor tweak allowing him to hit more players in team fights, as well as scout a bit wider range.

Shadow Shaman

  • Mass Serpent Ward count increased from 8 to 10
  • Changed Mass Serpent Ward placement structure
It's good to see him getting a slight buff. He's fairly outclassed in terms of pushing right now (especially since his wards are immobile), so the extra Serpent Wards help.

The new structure looks like it will be a lot simpler to ward trap players too.

Still think he'll remain at about the same level of play he currently gets. He's a very slow and squishy support, despite having lots of good lockdown.


  • Intelligence Steal is an innate part of the hero rather than an element of Glaives of Wisdom
Much needed change so that Silencer becomes a bit more versatile. Stealing INT is a huge part of the hero, but if you pick Silencer up as a support, it may not be in your best interest to level Glaives. Now that pain is gone.

Skeleton King

  • Base Intelligence increased by 5
  • Removed Mortal Strike active
  • Vampiric Aura now provides full effectiveness on ranged units
  • Reincarnation slow increased from 30% to 50%
  • Reincarnation slow AoE increased from 700 to 900
A lot of nice and interesting changes, but I don't know if that's what he needs to be a competitive pick yet. He's looking a bit more like a melee support in some ways, but his skills don't really synergize for that.

The biggest change here is the Vamp Aura working on ranged units. That's a considerable amount of lifesteal if you run a ranged carry. However, not many ranged carries are picked up at the moment.

The Reincarnation buffs give him a bit more utility and higher initiation potential.


  • Amplify Damage armor reduction increased from 8/14/20 to 10/15/20
  • Sprint speed increased from 20/27/33/40% to 20/28/36/44%
  • Sprint manacost removed (was 50)
Glad to see Slardar getting buffs. But as good as the armor reduction is, I don't think it will make up for how awful Sprint is. It has no synergy with the rest of his spells.


  • Take Aim attack range bonus increased from 75/150/225/300 to 80/160/240/320
IceFrog is really specializing Sniper in his role with this. I'd guess this has a bit to do with the Lina range buff.

I don't see this affecting Sniper's "pick-ability", but it could have an impact if you have excellent teamfight and positioning.


  • You can now continuously use Reality on your illusions
  • Reality cast point improved from 0.3 to 0
This basically just says that you can port around to your ult illusions with instant casting.

It could make some difference if you're trying to escape or accomplish multiple pick-offs while ulting, but it seems pretty niche.

Spirit Breaker

  • Base attack time nerfed from 1.7 to 1.9
  • Greater Bash no longer works while doomed
  • Nether Strike now uses 1.2 Cast Time instead of a 1 sec magic immune delay (can be interrupted as a result)
Nerfs to one of the biggest pubstompers. Looks like this will affect his ability to perma-bash. The rest of the changes seem to be additional standardization of how spells work kind of changes.


  • Stormbolt cooldown reduced from 15 to 13
  • Stormbolt is now dodgeable
Seems like these two balance each other out a bit. Dodge-able is now a standard thing (which is pretty exciting). The cooldown reduction is nice because there is more potential to get multiple off in a team fight, or in highly aggressive trilanes.


  • Kraken Shell damage block increased from 7/14/21/28 to 9/18/27/36
A nice minor tweak to Tidehunter, who sees much less play. I'm not sure if this is in preparation for something like a 2-1-2 meta, or to give him more potential in an aggro/suicide lane.


  • Chakram manacost increased from 75/125/175 to 100/150/200
To be honest, this seems like a relatively small nerf for one of the most dominant heroes in the competitive scene right now. But on the other hand, it's good to see him getting slowly moved into a balanced state rather than a large sweeping change.


  • Craggy Exterior chance increased from 6/12/18/24% to 10/15/20/25%
  • Craggy Exterior stun duration increased from 1.2 to 1.2/1.3/1.4/1.5
Pretty interesting way to buff Tiny's utility. He is rarely picked up with the exception of teams that like running him a lot (i.e. Duza). Overall, Tiny has felt pretty balanced, but hard to run as a carry unless you have Wisp.

Troll Warlord

  • Berserker's Rage movespeed bonus rebalanced from 20/20/20/30 to 10/20/30/40
  • Whirling Axes (Melee) damage reduced from 125/175/225/275 to 75/125/175/225
These changes don't mean much for Troll because they won't affect his build really. Players have always maxed out Whirling Axes first, and you get the early level of Berserker's Rage for the HP.

This just puts him in a bit more balanced state, though his ult still seems incredibly strong. But then again, that is the core of the hero and this game is more or less balanced around having specialized heroes that all feel imbalanced in some way.


  • Frozen Sigil now requires a constant number of hits (3/3/4/4) instead of 200/220/240/260 HP (heroes hurt it for 1, others for 0.25)
Seems to be another standardization change, similar to what was done with Pugna's Netherward. It helps the spell scale a bit better into late game.


  • Decay steal duration increased from 25/30/35/40 to 40
Doesn't change a huge amount, but makes him a lot scarier in Trilane vs. Trilane. This also makes leaving Decay at level 1 a lot more attractive, and therefore you could opt to level Soul Rip a bit more for added utility.


  • Base armor reduced by 1
  • Base magic resistance reduced from 25% to 10%
Visage is in almost every game as a pick or ban, so it makes sense to tweak him because he doesn't feel super broken or anything.

What I find interesting here is that he will be one of the few heroes with a base magic resist that is not 25%. This will put more pressure on the player to pick up an early level of Gravekeeper's Cloak for the resist now. Most already do that, but there are more aggressive builds out there.


  • Fatal Bonds now links the closest units to the initial target, instead of randomly choosing targets in its AoE
  • Upheaval cast range increased from 700 to 1200
  • Upheaval duration increased from 10 to 12
  • Removed Chaotic Offering 100 impact damage
  • Chaotic Offering Golem armor increased from 5/7/10 to 6/9/12
  • Chaotic Offering manacost increased from 200/250/300 to 200/300/400
Looks like a lot of good tweaks for Warlock. I like removing more RNG (Random Number Generation) from the game, especially in a spell like Fatal Bonds where it will now require some more skill to hit high impact bonds.

Upheaval was due for a buff, dunno if this is what it needed though.

Overall, not sure if this will change much because Warlock really needs a solo lane, dual lane, or to be in a lane that crushes early on so he can get the necessary farm to maintain impact.


  • Base attack time nerfed from 1.7 to 1.8
Weaver has quickly risen to a prominent pick. He feels pretty balanced overall, so a minor tweak is nice because he is still incredibly annoying.


  • Focus Fire remains sticky on the target you cast it on
    • This means that you can change targets and when you return to the original target, your attack speed bonus will resume.
This is such a nice buff for Windrunner. Her ult is pretty mediocre overall (which is made up for by her versatile kit), but the fact that it was broken so easily was infuriating. This will allow you to switch targets for a moment, then return to whatever you were rapid firing.

Witch Doctor

  • Death Ward cast range increased from 400 to 600
  • Voodoo Restoration AoE increased from 350 to 500
  • Voodoo Restoration manacost over time reduced from 8/14/20/26 to 8/12/16/20 (50% of the heal amount)
  • Paralyzing Casks now lasts 5 seconds on illusions (same as creep duration)
All these are great changes for Witch Doctor. The ult buff will allow him to stand more on the outskirts of a team fight while still being involved in DPS.

His heal really needed a buff because it wasn't the most efficient spell. Also, as a very fragile hero, he basically had to stand on top of the other player to keep the aura up while getting aggressive.

I also really like the Cask change, which will give it a lot of utility against a hero like Phantom Lancer - he won't be able to spawn illusions as quickly and you'll be able to pick out the real one a bit more easily.

However, none of these changes seem to make up for the main issues with the hero: he fragility + need to be close to enemies, his lack of guaranteed utility, and his need for farm.




Arcane Boots



  • Movement speed bonus reduced from 60 to 55
I find this to be rather unexpected. I suppose its to sort of highlight the changes to Tranquil Boots, which will allow supports to roam better early on. This change makes Arcane Boots a bit more slow moving and therefore team-fight oriented (which is kind of their purpose anyway).

Black King Bar



  • Recipe cost increased from 1300 to 1375
Yet another nerf to the item. It is incredibly good, so it's hard to modify the item much without losing all use. This just shifts it to a slightly more balanced state without killing the item.

Blink Dagger



  • Damage disable no longer ignores self damage
    • This means stuff like Rot will trigger it, but HP loss like Soul Ring will not
This literally looks like it was targeted at Pudge so you can't do bullshit like Rot ==> Blink ==> Devour.




  • Now gives the +10 damage from its components
I like this change a lot because it makes the game more standardized. Item bonuses shouldn't really just go away because you combine them or slap a recipe on them. One less thing to think about.




  • Gold cost increased from 600 to 650
This is really just in congruence with the starting gold buff. Bottle is relatively a little bit more expensive, but still easily farmable in < 2 min.

Dust of Appearance



  • Slow increased from 10 to 15%
I like this a lot. The item is fairly expensive with a long cooldown. It's good to see the slow getting a buff so locking down kills is a bit more guaranteed.

Eye of Skadi



  • Eye of Skadi MS/AS slow increased from 30/20 to 35/35
Glad to see a minor buff to this item given how expensive it is. It's not enough to make it a huge priority pick-up, but for any time you were going to pick it up, it makes it that much better.

Gem of True Sight



  • Gold cost increased from 850 to 900
I do think this kind of sucks for supports (who are most likely to pick up a Gem for the team), but it makes sense given base GPM has been increased.

Hand of Midas



  • Transmute no longer works against Necronomicon units
This was just dumb in the first place.

Helm of the Dominator



  • Dominate can no longer control Necronomicon units
Similar to the Midas change, this was dumb in the first place.




  • Gold cost reduced from 2100 to 2000
Kind of an interesting change. I suppose this means that AC/Mjollnir will be cheaper overall. Hyperstone is incredibly expensive for an item that just increases attack speed.




  • Chain Lightning AoE increased from 500 to 900
Looks like just increasing it to the default AoE of 900. This makes the item slightly better, but it will still be built at all the same times it used to.




  • Static Charge radius around attacker increased from 300 to 450
  • Static Charge hit count increased from 3 to 5
  • Chain Lightning AoE increased from 500 to 900
  • Indirect Changes
    • Hyperstone from 2100g ==> 2000g

I kind of doubt this will make the item more desireable, but it definitely makes it feel a bit more balanced. I always liked the item, but it generally feels outclassed by a number of other options. This adds a bit of an increase to the potential Magical DPS you can deal with the item.

Plus, it is also 100g cheaper now (via Hyperstone buffs).




  • Summoned units duration increased from 35 to 40
  • Indirect Changes
    • Hand of Midas: Transmute no longer works against Necronomicon units
    • Helm of the Dominator: Dominate can no longer control Necronomicon units
I'm surprised to see this item get buffs beyond the indirect ones (which were stupid mechanics in the first place). This item is already really strong, so the added duration makes it just a bit better. Everything else just makes it less "counter-able".

Phase Boots



  • Movement speed bonus reduced from 55 to 50
Another pair of boots with a MS nerf. I'm not sure why there are so many boot nerfs, all I can think of is to really set Tranquil Boots apart as the speedy boots.

Pipe of Insight



  • Barrier AoE increased from 500 to 900
I like this a lot from a standardization point of view, and for the fact that Pipe has some more ability to be used defensively now. Before it was almost exclusively an aggressive item (i.e. Pipe up then go in with the bonus). It will be a lot easier to use this in a reactionary way now.

Power Treads



  • Movement speed bonus reduced from 55 to 50
Another set of boots getting a slight MS nerf.




  • Burn Damage AoE increased from 650 to 700
It's good to see a radiance buff. The item is very hard to justify buying at the moment. If you rush it, you will be very fragile. If you get it late, it doesn't do enough (except some situations).

I don't think this will change much, but it's a step in the right direction.

Refresher Orb



  • Now gives the +10 attack speed from its components
I'm glad to see this change because it just makes sense. Another great standardization change.

Rod of Atos



  • Cripple cooldown reduced from 16 to 12
For the cost, this item is already insanely good. However, it is hard to justify buying it because Cripple doesn't work against units that have BKB'd.

Another change in the right direction, but still not enough to have a huge impact.

Sange and Yasha



  • Movement speed bonus increased from 12 to 16%
This is a pretty cool change. Yasha on its own gives you +10% move speed. This helps set S&Y apart, especially with the recent nerfs to most Boots' movement speed.

Additionally, this makes everything in S&Y some sort of +16 bonus (i.e. AGI, STR, Attack Speed, Maim Chance, Damage). This is a lot easier to remember than all the various attributes, of which S&Y affects a ton of stats.

Shadow Amulet



  • Fade delay reduced from 2.4 to 1.8
This doesn't really change much. The fade time is still crazy long.

Urn of Shadows



  • Soul Release cooldown reduced from 10 to 7
Nice minor buff. Not much to say here.




  • Damage Block chance increased from 70 to 80%
It's good to see Vanguard getting some sort of buff, but this isn't what I would've expected to help bring it back. The item is still pretty expensive for something that doesn't scale well past mid-game.