Sunday, October 20, 2013

6.79 Patch Analysis

OVERVIEW

Table of Contents

Key

  • BUFFS
  • NERFS
  • NEUTRAL

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.

Definitions

  • 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).

Gold

  • 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. 

Heroes


 Alchemist




  • 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.

 Batrider




  • 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.

 Bloodseeker




  • 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. 

Broodmother




  • 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.


Items

 

 

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.

Wards

 

 

  • 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

  • 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.

Raxes

  • 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

  • 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).

Heroes


Brewmaster




  • 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).

Bristleback




  • 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.

Chen




  • 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.

Clinkz




  • 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.

Dazzle




  • 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.

Disruptor




  • 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




  • 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.

Enigma




  • 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.

Huskar




  • 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.

Invoker




  • 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.

Juggernaut




  • 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.

Lich




  • 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.

Lion




  • 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.

Meepo




  • 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. 

Pudge




  • 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.

Pugna




  • 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.

Riki




  • 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.

Rubick




  • 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.

Slark




  • 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.

Venomancer




  • 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.

Viper




  • 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.

Items

 

 

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.

Heroes


Abaddon




  • 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.

Axe




  • 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.

Beastmaster




  • 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.

Clockwerk




  • 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).

Earthshaker




  • 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.

Enchantress




  • 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.

Jakiro




  • 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.

Kunkka




  • 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.

Leshrac




  • 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.

Lifestealer




  • 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.

Lina




  • 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.

Luna




  • 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.

Lycan




  • 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.

Magnus




  • 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.

Medusa




  • 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.


Mirana




  • 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.

Morphling




  • 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.

Necrolyte




  • 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.

Omniknight




  • 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.

Silencer




  • 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.

Slardar




  • 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.

Sniper




  • 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.

Spectre




  • 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.

Sven




  • 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.

Tidehunter




  • 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.

Timbersaw




  • 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.

Tiny




  • 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.

Tusk




  • 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.

Undying




  • 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.

Visage




  • 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.

Warlock




  • 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.

Weaver




  • 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.

Windrunner




  • 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.

Items

 

 

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.

Bloodstone

 

 

  • 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.

Bottle

 

 

  • 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.

Hyperstone

 

 

  • 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.

Maelstrom

 

 

  • 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.

Mjollnir

 

 

  • 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).

Necronomicon

 

 

  • 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.

Radiance

 

 

  • 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.

Vanguard

 

 

  • 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.

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