Wednesday, February 5, 2014

6.80 Patch Analysis


Overview


Key

  • BUFFS
  • NERFS
  • NEUTRAL

Big Changes

Heroes

Alchemist

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

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

Beastmaster

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

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

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

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

Broodmother

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

Earth Spirit

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

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

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

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

Morphling

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

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

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

Sven

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

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

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

Windranger

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

Items

Blink Dagger

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

Necronomicon


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

Observer Wards

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

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

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

Sange & Yasha


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

Sentry Wards

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

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

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

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

Shiva's Guard


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

Could Have Some Impact

General

Roshan

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

Heroes

Batrider

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

Bloodseeker

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

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

Brewmaster

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

Clockwerk

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

Crystal Maiden

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

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

Dark Seer

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

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

Dazzle

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

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

Dragon Knight

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

Drow Ranger

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


Earth Shaker

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

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

Enigma

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

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

Invoker

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

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

Meepo

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

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

Riki

  • Base HP regen increased from 0.75 to 1.5

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

Shadow Demon

  • Shadow Poison max effective stacks increased from 4 to 5

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

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

Shadow Shaman


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

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

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

Sniper

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

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

Timbersaw

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

Tinker

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

Tusk

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


Vengeful Spirit

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

Visage


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

Witch Doctor


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

Wraith King


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

Items

Arcane Boots

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

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

Bottle

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

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

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

Mjollnir

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

Radiance

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

Ring of Aquila

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

Smoke of Deceit

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

TP Scroll


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

Tranquil Boots


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

The Little Details

General

All Pick

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

Heroes

Ancient Apparition

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

Anti-Mage

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

Axe

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

Bristleback

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

Centaur Warrunner

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

Death Prophet

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

Enchantress

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

Faceless Void

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

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

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

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

Huskar

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

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

Jakiro

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

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

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

Juggernaut

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

Keeper of the Light

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

Legion Commander

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

Leshrac

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

Lina

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

Lion

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

Lone Druid

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

Lycan

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

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

Magnus

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

Medusa

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

Nature's Prophet

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

Necrophos

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

Night Stalker

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

Nyx Assassin

  • Cast Range on Impale now matches the travel range

Ogre Magi

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

Omni Knight

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

Outworld Devourer

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

Phantom Assassin

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

Queen of Pain

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

Sand King

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

Silencer

  • Global Silence cooldown reduced from 140 to 130

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

Skywrath Mage

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

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

Slardar

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

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

Slark

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

Spirit Breaker

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

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

Storm Spirit

  • Base movement speed reduced from 295 to 290

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

Tidehunter

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

Treant Protector

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

Troll Warlord

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

Undying

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

Venomancer

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

Warlock

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

Zeus

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

Items

Ground Courier

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

Battlefury

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

Diffusal Blade

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

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

Drums


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

Eul's Scepter

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

Force Staff

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

Iron Branch

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

Mask of Madness

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

Refresher Orb

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

Rod of Atos

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

Shadow Amulet


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

Veil of Discord

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

Uncategorized

Heroes

Phoenix

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

Terrorblade

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

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