Tuesday, June 11, 2013

6.78 Patch Analysis


Table of Contents

  • Big Changes
  • Could Have Some Impact
  • Aghanim's Scepter Upgrades
  • The Little Details



Major Themes

  • Vision - many heroes had flying vision taken away, or vision reduced. Wards had a lot of changes too.
  • Aghanim's Scepter - tons of new Aghanim's Scepter upgrades
  • Aggression - reworks to Bottle-Crow make mid-lane more aggressive, also changes to when you hit level 11, XP gain, etc. will add some more action to mid-game.


Big Changes




  • Vision decreased from 1800/800 to 1400/800
  • Flamebreak manacost increased from 80/100/120/140 to 140
His vision has been broken for a long time. No more easy scouting (especially around the Rosh pit). The Flamebreak nerf isn't quite as big, but it means that you can't pick up a casual point or two in it for the knockback without having an impact on your mana pool.


  • Power Cogs no longer knock back magic immune units
This will make Cogs a lot less disruptive in team fights, especially against BKB carries. It's somewhat balanced out by the BKB nerfs in this patch, but it's still a big nerf when using Clockwerk against a hero like Lifestealer who heavily depends on his mana.


  • Shadow Wave target count increased from 3/3/4/5 to 3/4/5/6
  • Shallow Grave can now be cast on magic immune allies
The Shallow Grave buff was something that Dazzle needed. One of his core team fight spells was made pretty useless by the fact that almost every carry picks up BKB. This buff makes him a lot more viable as a support pickup because of how low he can keep a hero alive.


  • Open Wounds cast range decreased from 600 to 200/300/400/500
This is a huge nerf to Lifestealer's Trilane potential. You might see him being used less in Aggressive Trilanes as most of his setup has been killed. Supports will really have to step it up with initiation during the laning phase because Lifestealer won't be able to get close enough to Open Wounds a target.

I expect Lifestealer to still pick up one level of this - it's a good follow up spell. However, there will be a lot less kills in a Lifestealer lane because it won't be so easy to catch someone out of position and slow them.

Lone Druid

  • Spirit Bear now has its HP drained by Armlet when active
  • Spirit Bear bounty increased from 100 to 300
Both were necessary changes. Armlet bear was just stupid because it required no thought or skill. Now you actually have to be able to micro the bear to make it effective with Armlet. Most likely, we'll see a sharp drop in Armlet Bear usage.

The bounty increase is also something nice, and makes a lot more sense than 100g. Even Familiars are 100g and they are a lot harder to kill (though they can stun and aren't limited by proximity to the hero). I don't expect this to make a huge impact on the pro scene - it just really makes early game more risky (e.g. wave pulling with the Spirit Bear).

I'm very happy with these two changes, it will force more skill from Lone Druid players and punish idiots in pubs.




  • While empty, causes couriers to move 30% slower
Basically the Bottle-Crowing nerf everyone expected. We might see a drop in the number of melee/strength mids (i.e. Magnus, Dragon Knight) who rely on Bottle-Crowing a bit more. Generally, I think this change will make mid a more interesting lane because Rune Control is a lot more important. Bottle-Crowing is also a bit more punishable by supports that smoke gank the courier.

Observer Ward

  • Initial Stock now starts at 1 instead of 2 (max stock is still 2)
Pretty big change for early game in certain situations. You have to make a decision now early game of where you want vision. It hurts a lot more to be immediately de-warded. And you also can't ward out jungles against jungling heroes.

Sentry Ward

  • AoE decreased from 950 to 800
This change has some tie-in with the Observer Ward changes, making it a bit more difficult to counter-ward. Placement has to be a bit more precise. Same goes for counter-warding river wards. Placing a Sentry in the middle of the river might not cover all potential ward spots.

Basically, this change affects the skill and information collecting surrounding counter-warding.

Game Play


Captain's Mode

  • Captain's Mode bans changed from 2/3 to 2/2/1
  • Captain's Mode picks changed from 3/2 to 2/2/1
  • Adjusted ban/pick/reserve times Captain's Mode
Basically makes CM a bit more precise and strategic. Though, I feel like this will also affect surprise picks. When you have time to think about the last hero the other team might go for, it should be pretty apparent by the time they've picked 4 heroes (e.g. if they might get Ursa and early Rosh).

Experience Requirements

  • Level 11 XP requirements reduced from 6500 to 6000
  • Level 12 XP requirements increased from 7700 to 8200
This is just a reshuffling of XP. You'll hit level 11 (and get lvl 2 ult) faster now, but getting past that will take a lot longer (1200 XP ==> 2200 XP). Seems like this change is really working toward more early/mid game excitement.

Buy Back

  • Buy back cooldown increased from 5 to 6 minutes
Even longer between buy backs now. Not a huge impact necessarily, but enough that you'll need to be more cautious about buying back because you can now only buy back once in a 10 minute period (2 buy backs in 12 minute span). And when games only last around 40 minutes or so, that's pretty huge.


Could Have Some Impact





  • Strygwyr's Thirst now gives you bonus 3/4/5/6 armor when active
  • Bloodrage dispels the target before applying its buff
  • Rupture damage is now HP loss
A bunch of much needed buffs to this long time trash-tier hero. I don't know that it will be enough to get him picked up in a competitive setting, but it does add more incentive to, now that he has some benefits as opposed to Nightstalker (for those that don't know, Bloodseeker has forever been "the shitty Nighstalker") .

Bloodrage now gives him some utility - dispelling the target. This can be used offensively to get rid of things like DD. It can also be used defensively to remove debuffs (e.g. Ancient Apparition's ult).

While Rupture being HP loss is pretty good, it might mean that early game you can Salve through the damage (HP loss generally doesn't count as "damage" so Healing Salve wouldn't stop).

Dragon Knight

  • Corrosive Breath passive from Level 1 Elder Form now carries over to Level 2 (the DPS)
Basically, this changes his build slightly. It used to be that if you had supports stacking camps, you could take Level 2 Elder Form at Level 11 so that you could clear the camp for the fast farm. However, most of the time Dragon Knight didn't have that happen or he wasn't the primary carry. In that case, you kept Level 1 Elder Form so that you could push (Corrosive Breath works on Towers).


  • Turn rate improved from 0.4 to 0.6
  • Fissure range increased from 1200 to 1300
  • Echo Slam now considers illusions as heroes
I don't see him getting picked up that often, but maybe as a niche pick against someone like Phantom Lancer or Chaos Knight. These were a  lot of buffs that he needed. The turn rate is especially useful for him because he is heavily reliant on turning quickly to cast Fissure. The Fissure range is also nice, as now it's even a bit further than Jakiro's Ice Path (which is 1100), and Ice Path has been considered somewhat "a better Fissure" (since you can be stunned by walking into it post-cast, it has the range, and it doesn't block allies).

However, keep in mind that his cast animation is still utter shit.

Io (Wisp)

  • Spirits no longer provide vision, except temporarily when they collide with an enemy hero
  • Overcharge hp/mp cost increased from 3.5% to 4.5%
I don't think this is enough to stop players from picking Io, but it does hurt Io quite a bit. It's a little harder to scout with Wisp or to find heroes that are juking through the trees. Also, Overcharge is going to be slightly more micro intensive as you'll run out of HP/MP a bit faster.


  • Mana Drain break and cast range improved by 100 (750/1100 -> 850/1200)
  • Aghanim's Finger of Death CD decreased from 160/100/40 to 100/60/20
Kind of mild changes, but might make him a bit more viable at mid, especially with the Bottle-Crowing nerfs. Mana Drain has never been a really great spell. It's more annoying than effective, and doesn't really get good until level 4 - which by that point it doesn't matter anyway.

The Aghs upgrade is something that you could only see if Lion is run at mid, where he might get enough farm to rush the item at about the same rate a Queen of Pain would. Having his ult on a 20 second cooldown means he could potentially get multiple off during a single team fight (if his mana pool can handle it).

While it's not a huge change, it's something that might cause a few times to try him out at mid. 


  • If a unit dies under Reaper's Scythe, it will be credited to Necrolyte
  • Aghanim's Reaper's Scythe causes buyback to be disabled on heroes it kills for that death
The first change is something Necrolyte absolutely needed for teamfights. He relies on getting kills in order to trigger his Sadist regen and in turn, spam more Death Pulses.

The Aghanim's upgrade is something that is interesting, but it still requires a lot of farm and there are a number of other items Necrolyte usually builds before he would even consider an Aghanim's.

Necrolyte is also a hero that is hard to place in a lineup. He can work OK at mid, but it's situational. He's also not the best carry around. His place seems to be semi-carry, but there just isn't much space in a lineup for that.

Phantom Lancer

  • Spirit Lance, Dopplewalk, Juxtapose and Phantom Edge illusions damage dealt decreased from 25% to 20%
Continued nerfing of PL. Basically just impacts his split push a bit, and his teamfight to some extent.  We can probably expect to see even less of Phantom Lancer.


  • Eye of the Storm duration increased from 20/25/30 to 30
  • Eye of the Storm strike interval decreased from 0.75/0.65/0.55 to 0.7/0.6/0.5 (Aghanim's to 0.55/0.45/0.35)
  • Unstable Current movement speed bonus increased from 3/6/9/12% to 4/8/12/16%
He's a hero that has seen some slight increases in play. While these are slight changes, they do help Razor's early-mid game and his snowballing potential. I expect to see more teams picking Razor up and experimenting with him, maybe even as a mid ganker.

Skeleton King 

  • Reincarnation slow now affects attack speed as well 
  • Reincarnation slow happens immediately upon death rather than after reincarnating
  • Critical Strike Reworked (Allows you to temporarily trade Critical Strike for a 7 second 20% max life drain)
The Reincarnation buffs were absolutely necessary. When Skeleton King dies, everyone knows to move away so you don't get hit by his rez debuff. This will increase the odds that someone gets hit by the slow.

The Crit rework is pretty interesting. I see it mostly being effective early game for Trilanes. Removing 1/5 of their HP makes a hero that much easier to kill with nukes. It's almost a bit like a carry version of Undying. Lategame I see it as something that will be OK, but not great.


  • Base Strength increased by 3
  • Int growth increased from 1.8 to 2.4
  • Chakram initial manacost rescaled from 125/150/175 to 75/125/175
  • Chakram move speed increased from 800 to 900
Any time a hero gets this many buffs, they'll usually get picked up at least once to try it out. All these are pretty good for Timbersaw - the STR is needed because of how close he needs to get for kills early game. The INT growth and mana cost reductions are great because he relies so heavily on mana. I doubt it will change his build, but it will allow for a bit more aggression before he is totally out of mana.

The Chakram MS buff is also nice, because that thing is slow as hell.

However, while we might see a flare up of Timbersaw, I don't think he'll be any more competitively viable. He lacks base breaking ability, and finding a spot in your lineup for him is still difficult.


  • Fury Swipes duration increased from 6 to 15
Ursa is a hero we've seen make a slight comeback due to the rampant Lifestealer pickups. This buff should help Ursa be a little better in team fights. So many heroes will do hit and runs so Ursa doesn't have time to stack charges of Fury Swipes on them. It should also make early Rosh attempts easier, but mostly in pubs. Get a few Salves and you should be OK for level 1 Rosh.



Black King Bar

  • Magic Immunity now has a 6th level of decrease
BKB is an item that is picked up on almost everyone. The nerf makes magic based carries slightly more viable late game, now that BKB's lowest form is 4 seconds of Magic Immunity.

Dust of Appearance

  • Now stacks in inventory
  • Now slows heroes with an invisibility buff on them by 10%
Not a huge buff, but the inventory stacking was needed. Dust is fairly expensive and it was always dumb that it didn't stack.

The slow is only going to really affect heroes like Phantom Lancer, Bounty Hunter, and Riki who aren't absurdly fast while invisible. Clinkz and Weaver will remain pretty untouchable speed-wise.

Gem of True Sight

  • Gem can no longer be destroyed
  • Gold cost increased from 700 to 850
This is more of an interesting change than a nerf/buff. In ways, it's nice for support heroes that invest the gold in it and will never have to see it destroyed within a minute of its purchase. If you want to get rid of it, you can still put it in the fountain. But, there will always be that temptation to take it out for dewarding or just holding it because you can't kill it, leading to some more interesting play around the Gem.

Game Play

Tower Kills

  • Towers no longer have separate bounty values when creeps or allies get the last it, it now gives the same reliable bounty to all players as if a creep killed it.
  • Hero getting last hit on tower gives 100-200 bonus gold. Does not affect team bounty in any way
This basically just says that it is now ALWAYS better for a hero to kill the tower than a creep. Before, your team as a whole used to get more gold if a creep killed the tower, but if a hero killed it - they would get a substantial amount of money.


Aghanim's Scepter Upgrades

Pretty much all of these have "cool" or "wow" factor to them. However, the item is just too expensive on a lot of these heroes to really make an impact.
  • Ancient Apparition: Added Aghanim's Scepter (Ice Blast duration increased from 8/9/10 to 17)
  • Brewmaster: Aghanim's Primal Split units now gain your current level of Drunken Brawler.
    Fire Spirit no longer upgrades damage with Aghanim's Scepter
  • Crystal Maiden: Aghanim's Freezing Field's attack speed reduction aura increased from -20 to -50
  • Doom: Aghanim's Scepter upgrade duration reworked (duration doesn't count down while near Doom)
  • Enchantress: Aghanim's Scepter bonus attack range increased from 165 to 190
  • Lion: Aghanim's Finger of Death CD decreased from 160/100/40 to 100/60/20
  • Necrolyte: Aghanim's Reaper's Scythe causes buyback to be disabled on heroes it kills for that death
  • Omniknight: Added Aghanim's Scepter (Global and affects buildings)
  • Shadow Shaman: Aghanim's Mass Serpent Wards damage increased from 53-59/74-79/94-100 to 85-90/105-110/125-130
  • Silencer: Added Aghanim's Scepter for Silencer (Adds CotS to all units and increases duration by one)
It's hard to imagine many of these heroes actually going out of their way to farm Aghs, but the effects are really interesting and make the heroes more unique. I could see a carry Necro building Aghs in late game potentially, or a Utility Doom picking it up to force a key hero out of a team fight. But most of these really just seem like great items if you manage to have that much luxury gold sitting around. And by that point in the game, you've probably already won.

The Little Details




  •  Counter Helix cooldown decreased from 0.65/0.6/0.55/0.5 to 0.55/0.5/0.45/0.4

Just a nice little buff, knocking 0.1 off his Counter Helix cooldown at all levels. Axe is a hero to watch, he's been getting better and better. I think he's pretty underestimated at the moment.


Ancient Apparition

  • Ice Vortex cooldown decreased from 6 to 5
  • Ice Blast base AoE increased from 225 to 275
  • Added Aghanim's Scepter (Ice Blast duration increased from 8/9/10 to 17)
Out of all these, the Ice Blast AoE increase is the biggest. It just makes the spell slightly easier to hit, especially at close range.

The Vortex buff is pretty minimal. Likewise, the Aghanim's effect is really cool in concept, but in practicality, you'll never afford Scepter unless you run AA mid. That might be viable after the Bottle nerf, but it's still unlikely that he'd manage an Aghanim's in anything but a pub game.



  • Greater Hawk invisibility fade time decreased from 5 to 4
A nice buff, but very minimal. Beastmaster didn't even really need this, but it just makes that Hawk even better.


Bounty Hunter

  • Track manacost from 70/60/50 to 50
Bounty Hunter has fallen off quite a bit as people learned how to deal with him in the offlane. It's a nice buff for a hero that has a pretty terrible mana pool and his ult was already nerfed to not give the armor debuff.



  • Aghanim's Primal Split units now gain your current level of Drunken Brawler
  • Fire Spirit no longer upgrades damage with Aghanim's Scepter
I haven't done any of the calculations, but it seems like this might help him scale a bit better into the late game. At some point, those Pandas just melt in team fights. Not sure what the DPS will be like.

However, it's not a change that will really affect when you pick Brewmaster.



  • Quill Spray hit memory increased from 10 to 14 seconds
Bristleback is pretty niche at the moment and needs buffs like this to help him be more viable. Four seconds is a lot of time when you're in an Aggressive, or even Defensive, Trilane. Still don't think it will change when he's picked, but it makes him a bit better when he is.



  • Incapacitating Bite miss chance from 10/20/30/40% to 30/40/50/60%
  • Spawn Spiderlings unit count increased from 1/2/3/3 to 1/2/3/4
Some nice buffs for Broodmother. IceFrog has really been shifting her into more of a hero killer than a tower pusher. I don't think this will change much for her until players learn to use her in a different way. Her old play style doesn't work and players know how to deal with it.



  •  Strafe cooldown decreased from 60/50/40/30 to 45/40/35/30
Doesn't change a whole lot, but gives him a bit more early game presence. Especially with the way he's normally build that puts emphasis on Searing Arrows and Skeleton Walk. Overall, a nice change.


Crystal Maiden

  • Brilliance Aura mana regen increased from 0.5/1/1.5/2 to 1/1.5/2/2.5
  • Freezing Field explosion AoE increased from 215 to 230
  • Aghanim's Freezing Field's attack speed reduction aura increased from -20 to -50
Some nice buffs, but I think everyone still believes she needs a move speed buff to be more viable in this gank heavy meta. Right now, it looks like she's being shifted into a walking mana battery.

The ult buff is nice, but it's minimal. Likewise, the Aghanim's upgrade is cool, but she will NEVER get Aghanim's in any game that's above low-tier. She has to be balling out of control to work towards that. There are just too many other items she needs more than Aghs.


Dark Seer

  •  Vacuum cooldown increased from 22 to 24
A slight nerf to a hero that's been a staple of the scene for a long time. I really don't see this changing anything, just slight tweaking to put him more in line with where he should be.


Death Prophet

  • Movement speed decreased from 285 to 280
  • Silence AoE increased from 200/275/350/350 to 350
  • Witchcraft move speed bonus increased from 4/8/12/16% to 5/10/15/20%
The Movement speed nerf is actually just to balance out the changes to Witchcraft, so she'll be just fine. Mid-Late game, it should actually work to her advantage.

The Silence AoE is a huge buff though. At level 1, her silence was utter shit because it was hard to hit and was barely worth a point to skill. I still see her builds focused mostly around Crypt Swarm & Witchcraft, but now a point in Silence won't be totally unwarranted.


  • Thunder Strike from 3 strikes over 4 seconds to 4 strikes over 6 seconds
  • Thunder Strike damage per strike decreased from 50/75/100/125 to 40/60/80/100
  • Thunder Strike AoE increased from 200 to 240
Note that the total damage output shifted: 150/225/300/375 ==> 160/240/320/400

Generally nice changes to Thunder Strike. He'll still be picked up primarily for his other skills, but this makes Thunder Strike a little more impactful. The damage really didn't change, but you'll have vision longer and it makes it more difficult to pop a Salve or use Bottle.

One thing to note is that before, you could use Thunderstrike as an indicator of where Glimpse will send them back to (it lasted 4 seconds, Glimpse sends them back for seconds). Now, you'll have to do a little more estimating, but you do gain the benefit of 2 more seconds of vision of your target.



  • Doom now disables Feast, Backtrack, Dispersion, Juxtapose, Bristleback and Blood Bath
  • Aghanim's Scepter upgrade duration reworked (duration doesn't count down while near Doom)
Basically making Doom's ult what it should be - just disabling everything a hero can do.

The Aghanim's upgrade sounds cool, but it's really impractical. Aghanim's still won't be a high priority pickup on Doom, unless you're running him as a Utility instead of a Carry. Carry Builds still need to address his DPS and lack of Armor. In my book, this is just slightly better than building Aghanim's on Faceless Void.

On a positive note, it does have some interesting potential to really shut down a hero in a teamfight - you can't even stay near the fight or your timer will never run down.

Who knows, maybe Aghanim's will be a niche pickup (but probably in a dual or tri core lineup).


Drow Ranger

  • Trueshot Aura increased from 14/18/22/26% to 16/20/24/28%
Still trying to tweak the aura to make it useful enough to pick Drow up. She's not the best carry, not the best support (in comparison to Vengeful Spirit). I think her position will settle around Utility/Semi-Carry. It's a good change, but not enough to make her a much of a competitive pick-up.

However, pubs will be annoyed, as she does trash the low-tier.


Elder Titan

  • Ancestral Spirit vision type from Flying to Ground
  • Natural Order aura increased from 20/40/60/80% to 25/50/75/100%
A lot of this patch seems to be centered around vision. This vision change hurts him in scouting and a bit of base breaking (which he was already really good at and still will be).

The aura buff will make this awesome hero even better.



  • Aghanim's Scepter bonus attack range increased from 165 to 190
A slight buff to a niche item in pro games. She could already outrange towers with the old version of Aghanim's, so just a minor buff.



  • Malefice scaling reworked (now 3 ticks with 0.25/0.5/0.75/1 sec stun and 75/120/165/210 damage)
This change is kind of neutral in my opinion. The old Malefice had every stun as 1.0 seconds. Now it is kind of mini stuns. At level 1, it actually gives you less total stun duration (0.75 instead of 1.0).

On the bright side - it makes it harder to Salve/Bottle while you have Malefice on you at any level, also the damage received a slight buff.

I don't think it will change much about Enigma and the meta game, but it's an interesting re-scale.



  •  Flak Cannon cooldown increased from 20 to 30
A slight nerf that was needed. Flak Cannon is a great skill and will still be very effective. It's just more difficult to use it twice in a fight now. Seems like Gyrocopter is being shifted into either a Carry that needs some more skill/decision making, or a Utility role.



  • Base Strength increased by 3
  • Burning Spears DPS increased from 4/8/12/16 to 5/10/15/20
  • Life Break HP cost increased from 35/30/25% to 40/35/30%
  • Berserker's Blood Reworked (now has 4/5/6/7% magic resistance and 8/12/16/20 attack speed per stack)
  • Removed from Captain's Mode
The Life Break change isn't exactly a nerf because now Berserker's Blood gives you Magic Resist. Also, the spell can be completely negated by BKB.

These changes really seem to say that IceFrog wants Huskar to pick up Burning Spears (most players got 1 level or skipped it entirely).

As a hero that gets better the lower his HP is, Huskar will still be a rarity in competitive (and he is out of CM for now), but this seems like a good change that makes Burning Spears more viable and gives him some more early-mid game presence.

IMPORTANT NOTE: you can have a maximum of 14 stacks of Berserker's Blood. That puts Huskar at 98% magic resist when maxed out (however, for the 14th stack he needs to be lower than 3% HP).



  • Alacrity manacost decreased from 100 to 75
  • Ghost Walk slow increased from 20/23/26/30/33/36/40 to 20/25/30/35/40/45/50
  • Ghost Walk cooldown decreased from 60 to 35
  • Tornado damage rescaled from 70+(Wex+Quas)20 to 70+(2Wex+Quas)*15
Pretty much all good buffs. Everything here centers around mostly Wex, but also Quas to some extent. The Tornado (WWQ) rescale doesn't give it a huge buff at max level (350 damage vs. 385 damage). However, it does add slight incentive for Wex builds. Tornado is a strong ganking spell.

Similarly, Ghost Walk (QQW) and Alacrity (WWE) are buffed. Seems like IceFrog is just trying to even the playing field for Quas and Wex, as most players tend toward Exort after Invoker's base damage was nerfed a couple patches ago.



  •  Omnislash no longer jumps on Tombestone Zombies
 A nice little change to make Juggernaut not utterly worthless when Tombstone is dropped.


Keeper of the Light

  • Base Strength decreased by 2
A great change. KotL is a hero that has an amazing kit of spells that is borderline "doing too much". Nerfing the hero himself allows KotL to keep that versatile kit, while not being totally stupid.

While I don't see it impacting him much, it might change a few minds to build something like Treads on him rather than Tranquil Boots because he'll need the HP a bit more.


  • Ghost Ship damage increased from 300/400/500 to 350/450/550
  • X Marks The Spot manacost decreased from 80/90/100/110 to 80
  • X Marks The Spot vision from 1000 flying to 400 ground vision
Ghost Ship is becoming a really potent nuke on a short cooldown. It is hard to hit most of the time, but it is really good early-mid game. Even in late game, 550 damage is quite a bit for an AoE.

X got some ok changes. It's not a spell you pick up early that often. Again, another vision change, but it's pretty negligible in this case. The manacost changes are nice. Kunkka is pretty mana starved. There's a chance you might see him as a 2nd support. But in reality, not much is different here.


  •  Chainfrost bounce count increased from 7 to 10
A slight buff to a mediocre spell. Chainfrost is only really good when you have something to combo it with (e.g. Chronosphere, Call Down, etc.). The bounces are nice, but won't change Lich's presence in the competitive scene at all.


  •  Attack range increased from 625 to 635
A really nice change. Lina has an absolute shit attack animation. Giving her some extra range adds to her Trilane presence. She'll continue to be picked up as a support, maybe even a bit more now.


  • Armor increased by 1 (Shapeshift total armor is still the same as before)
Doesn't change too much. His jungling viability will remain the same. Just able to deal with lane harass a bit better.



  •  Reverse Polarity damaged decreased from 150/225/300 to 50/125/200
 Really good change. Reverse Polarity is a great initiation tool. No reason it needed to be an outstanding nuke as well. Hopefully, this will give Enigma some more incentive to be picked up instead of Magnus.


  • Stone Gaze Reworked
    • Any unit facing Medusa will have its attack, movement and turn rate reduced by 50% until the end of the spell. If you accumulate 2 seconds time (in total) facing Medusa, you will turn to stone.
    • Stoned units are disabled, have 100% magic resistance and take extra damage from physical attacks.
    • View Angle Spread: 85 
    • Gaze Duration: 6 seconds. 
    • Stone Duration: 3 seconds 
    • Bonus Physical Damage: 30/40/50% 
    • AOE: 1000 
    • CD: 90 
    • Manacost: 200
    • Note: Kills illusions instead of petrifying them
  • Medusa: Removed from Captain's Mode
This is a good change for Medusa, but doesn't make her much more viable. She still has a pretty awful early-mid game. While her ult is much better now, she won't see any more play competitively.


  • Innate magic resistance increased from 25% to 35%
Kind of a neat change. Meepo has a lot of weaknesses centered around magic that make him less viable competitively. Nukes (e.g. Laguna Blade), big AoE (e.g.  Earthshaker's ult), etc. really screw him over. As far as I know, he's the only hero to have more than 25% magic resist naturally now (minus things like Null Field & Gravekeeper's Cloak).



  • Elune's Arrow now deals up to 100 extra damage based on distance the arrow traveled
  • Moonlight Shadow cooldown decreased from 160/140/120 to 140/120/100
  • Starfall will choose a new target for the second star if the first died before impact
  • Reduced arrow size by 10%
  • Reduced arrow saturation
A few minor, but nice buffs. Mirana seems to be in a spot right now where she needs a nudge more towards support or more towards semi-carry. She can't offlane because of her awful turn speed and how reliant she is on turn speed + Leap. Her DPS isn't good enough to carry. She doesn't do much in a team fight.

What she is good at is ganking. But it's hard to justify picking her up for ONLY that reason.



  • Base attack time improved from 1.7 to 1.6
 Don't think it will really change anything, but it's a nice tweak for Morphling who was nerfed through the floor not too long ago.


Naga Siren

  • Rip Tide cooldown rescaled from 19/16/13/10 to 10
Really nice buff for Naga. After her base damage was nerfed, she sort of fell out of the scene. This buff might be enough to bring her back as a second support, or semi-carry perhaps.


Nyx Assassin

  • Mana Burn drain and damage decreased from 5x Int to 3.5/4/4.5/5x
  • Mana Burn manacost rescaled from 130/120/110/100 to 100
A good change, but still seems like Nyx's main problem was how long his Carapace lasted. IceFrog apparently went the route of nerfing everything else about Nyx. This would indicate IceFrog wants Nyx's main purpose to be disrupting team fights. In that case, this change makes sense. Having the max damage at level 1 was a bit crazy. Now it makes the build something you have to think about.



  • Hunter in the Night attack speed rescaled from 30/45/60/75 to 45/55/65/75 (MS remains 20/25/30/35)
This gives you a bit more flexibility in your Nightstalker build. You get a huge amount of the benefits to start with by skilling Hunter in the Night. It's a change that makes Nightstalker a bit better and even more aggressive that first night.


Ogre Magi

  • Ignite DPS increased from 26/32/38/44 to 26/34/42/50
 A small buff just to do slightly more damage over time.


Outworld Devourer

  • Movement speed increased from 310 to 315
  This gives OD even a little more viability. As a hero with no real escapes, move speed is all he has.


Phantom Assassin

  • Blur level 4 evasion increased from 35% to 40%
A pretty nice increase making PA even harder to kill. Some speculate this will put her near Tier 1 carry material. I don't think she will be necessarily, but certainly a great counter to carries like Lifestealer or Ursa.



  • Flesh Heap strength bonus increased from 0.9/1.2/1.5/1.8 to 1/1.5/2/2.5
Seems like a big buff, but it's really only 13.3 HP more at max level.



  • Nether Blast structure damage increased from 33% to 50%
  • Decrepify can now target Tombstone
In my opinion, this was a necessary buff to make Pugna more viable as a pusher. He rarely gets picked up at this point. Being able to Decrepify the Tombstone was something it should have always done.



  • Permanent Invisibility fade time decreased from 3/2.25/1.5 to 3/2/1
Seems like it was probably a buff to correlate with the Dust of Appearance buff. It's nice, but doesn't change a whole lot. Riki still has issues functioning as a carry unless he's in a dual lane.


Sand King

  • Invisibility fade delay when exiting Sand Storm improved from 0.3/0.6/0.9/1.5 to 1.5
  • Sand Storm now has a smoother damage interval (1->0.5, total damage is the same)
The fade time buff is actually pretty huge. You used to level Sand Storm mostly to up the time you were invisible for juking. The DPS on Sand Storm is kind of negligible considering you can't move and it doesn't have the best AoE. Now you can instead put points into Caustic Finale.


Shadow Demon

  • Base Intelligence decreased by 3
  • Shadow Poison no longer gives vision over the targets with the debuff
Some much needed nerfs as Shadow Demon is insanely good at a lot of things (he does lack a true disable, but Disrupt is pretty good anyway). He'll have a little less flexibility early game with 39 less mana (3 Int). The vision nerf doesn't make a huge difference, he never should have had that in the first place.


Shadow Fiend

  • Requiem of Souls slow rescaled from 15/20/25% to 20%
  • Requiem of Souls damage reduction increased from 15/20/25% to 50%
Interesting changes. The damage reduction mostly because that's a huge jump from 25 to 50. It gives Shadow Fiend a lot more utility, which is what he was kind of lacking in as a solo mid hero.



  • Global Silence now affects sleeping units
A minor change, most likely because of the release of Elder Titan (Tauren Chieftain). He also has an Aghanim's upgrade that was added this patch (discussed above).



  • Bash damage type from magical to physical
  • Sprint cooldown decreased from 40 to 28
Slardar is becoming a physical damage powerhouse. After the changes to Bash, now he has no magic damage spells. Sprint was in need of a buff, but this still isn't what it needs. Overall, Sprint is a pretty awful spell because of how vulnerable it makes Slardar. The cooldown reduction is nice, but won't change much about the hero.



  • Shrapnel AoE increased from 360 to 400
Kind of an absurd buff in my opinion. Shrapnel is still a mediocre spell at best, much like the hero that possesses it. Sniper still needs buffs to be more viable competitively. Right now he relies heavily on positioning in fights and his early game presence is almost non-existent.


Spirit Breaker

  •  Charge of Darkness will now also Greater Bash its target
A nice little buff that gives the spell some more impact. The hero is interesting, but still very difficult to fit in a lineup. This buff won't really change much.


Storm Spirit

  •  Electric Vortex cooldown decreased from 20 to 21/20/19/18
This is a pretty awesome buff  for Storm. Vortex is most of his utility, so any buff to it will be great for him.



  • Ravage AoE rescaled from 825/925/1025 to 1025
This might be enough to see Tide picked up a little more. The problem with him, in general, is that he's a melee support hero (or situational offlaner). Especially with the introduction of Magnus, Tidehunter saw a lot less play. He still has issues with his ult being dodgeable.



  • Toss cooldown decreased from 10 to 9
  • You can now Toss units to Runes
The cooldown decrease gives Tiny a bit more utility. Toss is already an incredibly useful spell, and now it can also be used for rune control. This can come in handy in the event of a dual mid, which we've seen with Dignitas running Tiny + Wisp at mid.


Treant Protector

  • Leech Seed slow increased from 24% to 28%
  • Leech Seed's healing effect no longer ends when the target dies
Even more buffs for Treant. He's seen a huge spike in play because of his huge early game presence. Unfortunately, Leech Seed won't add much to his late game, but it will help teams snowball and win early on.


Troll Warlord

  • Battle Trance cooldown increased from 20 to 30
  • Battle Trance duration decreased from 10 to 7
Much needed nerfs to Troll Warlord. His ult was disgustingly broken.



  • Snowball cooldown decreased from 24 to 21
Another buff that's nice, but won't make a huge impact. Slightly higher chance that you can get 2 Snowballs off in a single team fight, but really won't make much of an impact. Still hoping to see Tusk pushed with in a 2nd support role direction or to increase his mid lane presence.



  • Soul Rip cast range increased from 650 to 750
Nothing much changes about Undying, but it gives him a little more flexibility and utility now that he has more range.


Vengeful Spirit

  • Strength increased from 16 + 2.3 to 18 + 2.6
  • Nether Swap cast range rescaled from 600/900/1200 to 650/925/1200
The Strength change is pretty significant. As a hero that can easily find herself in bad situations due to Nether Swap (and her low range), she gets buffed with a little more survivability. It isn't huge, maybe 1 more hit, but it's something.

Nether Swap gets a slight buff too, making her just barely outrange most Ranged heroes at level 1 of her ult.



  • Poison Sting duration increased from 6/7/8/9 to 6/8/10/12
This is actually pretty significant in my eyes. Venomancer gets a huge buff to his ability to harass in lane. His harass  has always been pretty good though because he's able to hit a hero every 6+ seconds and stay efficient unlike heroes that have to constantly find openings to attack.

It makes Venomancer just a bit more desireable because right now, he isn't seen a lot in the pro scene due to his low speed and fragility.



  • Corrosive Skin affects any damage source not just regular attacks
  • Viper Strike is no longer removed by Dark Pact or Kraken Shell
Buffs that make Viper almost Nyx level annoying. It helps Viper to be more effective against heavy magic damage heroes like Zeus.

The buff to his ult is pretty interesting as well. Viper is getting to the point where it's hard to kite him as long as you don't have a built in blink.


Witch Doctor

  • Death Ward cast range rescaled from 300/350/400 to 400
  • Maledict cast range increased from 400 to 525
The Death Ward buff is something that's just nice. Maledict, however, that's a pretty significant buff as it's generally a hard spell to follow up with while chasing a hero that's been stunned by Cask only a moment ago.




Drums of Endurance

  • Recipe cost increased from 750 to 800
Drums are good at a lot of things, so they're being nerfed accordingly. I feel that in part, this is because of the amount of carries that pick up Drums.


Armlet of Mordiggian

  • HP regen decreased from 8 to 7
A nerf because Armlet gives you a huge amount of benefits. You get a ton of free regen (Helm of Iron Will is normally +3 HP Regen). Especially with Armlet toggling, such a high amount of regen is unnecessary.


Assault Curiass 

  • Positive armor aura is no longer prevented from stacking with other items
This is a pretty big change because now AC can stack with items like Vlads. This change makes something like a support hero carrying Vlads while a carry or semi-carry holds AC a lot more viable and something we might see.


Blade Mail

  • Armor increased from 5 to 6
  • Damage Return cooldown decreased from 22 to 17
Blade Mail has been slowly getting buffed. It's mostly seen as a niche pickup, but has a lot to offer (particularly against glass cannon carries). I like these changes a lot, especially the reduced cooldown. Right now it's pretty easy to avoid someone who is using Blade Mail for a few seconds. With this change, you might not realize that it's back up again and they use it a second time during a fight.


Blink Dagger

  • Cooldown decreased from 14 to 12
I'm liking this change a lot too. Blink Dagger makes games a bit more exciting.



  • Initial charges increased from 6 to 8
  • Can be activated to instantly kill yourself (requires a ground target)
The increase in charges makes Bloodstone viable to pick up a little later instead of rushing it. The active is pretty interesting too. You only lose one charge on Bloodstone by suiciding with it, however, the cooldown is pretty long.

I don't think this will change when Bloodstone is picked up though. It's too expensive of an item with a huge lack of utility. Even heroes that it's good on will tend to opt for other items like Orchid, which provide many similar benefits and have more utility.



  • Courier no longer block neutral creeps from spawning
  • Courier Speed Burst from 100% to 50% MS bonus (still reaches max speed)
The change for not blocking spawns is just pretty nice. While I think it's mostly so that ferrying items to yourself can't screw up your neutral spawns. However, I think I've seen it used offensively maybe one time.

The speed burst is just to balance out the Bottle-Crow nerf.



  • Recipe cost decreased from 1300 to 1250
 Seems to just be putting Dagon on par with other items like Necronomicon.



  • Corruption armor reduction increased from 6 to 7
I think this is in part to encourage players to buy the item, but also because Tier 1 & 2 towers had their armor increased from 18 to 20. Deso is a great item, but it's often overshadowed by other items, especially because it has a Unique Attack Modifier. It was in need of a buff because it's just raw damage and no survivability.


Ethereal Blade

  • Self or ally cast duration increased to 4 seconds
A buff that mostly just makes sense. E-Blade is built out of Ghost Scepter, and Ghost Form lasts 4 seconds. It's more logical.


Eul's Scepter of Divinity

  • Movement speed bonus increased from 30 to 35
Eul's is already a pretty good item. This will encourage more players to pick it up in this gank heavy meta. It buffs one of the main strengths of the item, setting it apart from others a bit more.


Force Staff

  • Recipe cost decreased from 1000 to 900
I like this change a lot too, basically just putting the recipe cost on par with other support items such as Mekansm or Pipe.


Headdress of Rejuvenation

  • Regeneration Aura AoE increased from 500 to 750 (now equal to Mekansm's active)
 Another buff that just makes sense, for the sake of item progression.


Linken's Sphere

  • Cooldown decreased from 20 to 17
This is something that was needed as well. Linken's is pretty overshadowed by other items at the moment. With the BKB nerf and this buff, Linken's might slowly start coming back into the scene. However, it still has a very different purpose from BKB. Linken's prevents the unexpected. BKB prevents the expected.


Medallion of Courage

  • Cast range increased from 800 to 1000
This is pretty big for supports who rely on staying out of the middle of a fight to remain effective. You might see this item picked up a bit more early game now too, when heroes are a bit slower and need the range to cast the debuff.



  • Regeneration Aura AoE increased from 500 to 750 (now equal to active)
Another buff that just makes sense. It seems a lot of this patch is just smoothing item effects out as well.



  • Armor bonus AoE active increased from 700 to 750 (now equal to Mekansm's active )
More of the same with the Mek buffs.



  • Warrior and Archer armor type changed from Heavy to Hero (takes less damage from creeps)
I like this change a lot. Most of the time, you use Necro Books Warriors for PvP and pushing. It will be nice not to see them melt to creeps. This makes the item a lot better of a pickup for team fighting.


Null Talisman

  •  Recipe cost decreased from 145 to 135
Another good change. Null Talisman is arguably the worst of the 3 basic items. Bracers can be built into Drums, Wraith Bands into Ring of Aquila. Null Talisman becomes Dagon, which is pretty shitty in competitive matches. That, and INT arguably gives the least benefits (minor mana and minor regen, whereas the other stats give survivability).


Quelling Blade

  • Can now target Observer or Sentry wards dealing 100 damage (wards have 200 hp)
  • Cast range increased from 100 to 350
Kind of a neat buff. Everyone thought this meant you could kill your own wards (which would be great for counterwarding pulls), but that's not the case.

This really gives two main benefits:
  1. You can help counter-ward stuff on cliffs as a melee hero
  2. You can cut down trees early while juking, so that Quelling Blade will be off cooldown a bit sooner while you juke.



  • Burn damage increased from 45 to 50
A minor buff, but with items like Armlet being nerfed, this might mean the return of Radiance Spirit Bear and the like.


Sange & Yasha

  • Minor changes to stats (+1 Attack Speed, +1% Maim Chance, +4 Damage)
Really not going to change anything, but any buff to S&Y is good. Kind of like Mekansm, seems to just be leveling out the item benefits to all be 16.


Shadow Amulet

  • Fade time decreased from 2.6 to 2.4
This buff is nice because Shadow Amulet is kind of silly on its own. The attack speed is nice, but it tells everyone that you're going for Shadow Blade. It needed something more, because there isn't a huge amount of incentive to pick it up alone/before you have Shadow Blade finished.


Shadow Blade

  • Damage decreased from 30 to 22
A really nice nerf to an item that gave way too many benefits. Claymore only gives +21 damage. Getting essentailly +9 free, and a bunch of other benefits was too many. This change pushes the item more into its role of initiation.


Shiva's Guard

  • Aura AoE decreased from 1000 to the standard 900
  • Attack Speed reduction increased from -30 to -40
Balances changes that sort of even each other out. The attack speed debuff change is pretty huge. Shivas has way more incentive to buy it now, especially on tanky heroes. This could tie into seeing more INT mids and semi-carries (e.g. Death Prophet, Necrolyte), who have all been slowly getting buffed.


Veil of Discord 

  • Discord AoE increased from 550 to 600
Pretty nice change to see. Veil doesn't see much action, but is a really great item. And 50 units can mean quite a bit in dota measurements.Still don't think it's enough to bring this item out on more supports, but definitely adds more utility to it.


Game Play



  • Deny XP and Bonus XP/Gold AOE is now the same as regular XP AOE (1000->1200)
  • 4 hero XP bonus changed from 15+6Level to 20+5level
  • 5 hero XP bonus changed from 10+5Level to 15+4level
 Minor changes and rescaling. The Deny XP makes offlane a bit easier. The bonus XP makes early team fights a bit more beneficial and lenient.

As for the 4/5 hero XP bonus, it is a rescale that incentivizes early team fights (start with a higher flat bonus).



  • Gold for ending a spree changed from 50->400 (3x->10x) to 75->600
An interesting change that, in a way, makes it slightly easier to come back from a total beatdown. The gold still isn't high enough to cover the XP debt the killing spree caused though, most likely. So it's nice, but not enough of a change to impact much.



  • Level 1 and Level 2 towers armor increased from 18 to 20
  • Backdoor protection now also reduces incoming damage by 25%
A slight change that will help with defending your outer towers. I really like the backdoor change. It's a legit strategy, but it still feels a bit dirty. I like to see it decentivized, especially against heroes like Nature's Prophet who can DPS towers quite a bit with an item like Desolator + their minions.



  •  Siege units HP increased from 500 to 550
Basically just makes it so Siege creeps always take 4 hits for a tower to kill them.


Pick Screen

  • Repicking a randomed hero now re-adds the hero to the pool
  • Swapping a hero that you randomed now costs you 100 gold
Repicking has been messed up forever, so a nice fix. I really like the cost of swapping being added. It was too easy for stacks to random a few heroes, then swap to basically get free courier + wards.


  1. What the heck man!
    How long did it took for you to write all this awesome analysis down??
    I read it from the start to the finish;
    such a nice read!
    Well done!

  2. I spaced it out over a few days, but it took a lot longer than expected. I think I'm going to make it more concise next time. Some of the changes probably didn't need a paragraph, but I wanted to be complete and thorough. I felt like a lot of the other analyses out there missed many major points or over emphasized changes that will make almost no impact.