At the time of writing, it has been exactly 50 days since IceFrog set out to make sure our battles for the ancient are never the same again (see what I did there?), and with it Valve’s painstaking work of correcting the many rights and wrongs that are but a complimentary feature of any patch has begun. And the humongous jump from 6.xx to 7.xx bore no exception. If one insanely long-ranged hero capable of destroying hours of farming to push the high ground wasn’t enough to tilt opponents, now there’s two of them. While the Alche/Luna SD combo saw, what in my opinion was a fair share of decline in being picked in the competitive scene, thanks to the much-needed rework to the illusion meta which hoarded the majority of the otherwise balanced 6.88 patch (e? f? Even I do not remember), the Ember Spirit found love in dealing insane amounts of magic damage.
With that being said, we take a nuanced yet brief look at how the third installment of a mod that went on to shape a generation of competitive gaming shapes up 49 days in.
- Great time to be alive as a support! (With added reasons since the last time you probably heard me say that)
Supports seem to have occupied a rather seasonal soft corner in the heart of our dear amphibian. What seemingly started with the introduction of observer wards and sentries using up only one slot in the inventory, and the costs for TP scrolls going down along with wards, they continue living at the receiving end of power. Why, you ask?
Now, while my early days into supporting my teammates went into trying to figure out warding locations, the undeniable fact of supports gaining XP with a faster pace undoubtedly brought up my overall experience a few notches high. Thanks to the added bounty runes, roaming has started feeling more rewarding, and failing a gank in mid need not cost you several minutes lost in walking back to the fountain and then again to your lane thanks to shrines! As an ardent SD picker (sorry meta haters) as well as the occasional rubick-lord, I couldn’t have asked for more.
2. Core Lich, Jakiro and Rubick are more viable than ever?!
The ‘talent system’, introduced by the patch in discussion brought in a revolutionary change into the world of DotA. While haters of this system are around, I shall go ahead in expressing my personal opinion – I fucking love it. Why, you ask?
Lich receives +150 Damage at level 20 and an ‘Attacks Apply 30% MS and AS slow’ talent, making it a rather viable machine gun that unleashes napalm-ish havoc over their teammates late game, while giving it an entire lane in the name of mid, a rather underrated nuker early on. While Aui_2000 and popular streamer SingSing have already tried out this strat in pubs, his viability in the pro scene is yet to be tested.
Jakiro similarly receives an equally destructive force in the form of a ‘+400 Attack Range’ talent at level 20. Add in the relatively new Dragon Lance in your inventory alongside a 4 sec CD nuke that applies to towers and you have a hell of a pushing line up for your high ground. Rubick, while already having existed as an x-factor when considered for the mid position, something that has seen the light of being picked by professionals to wreck havoc, courtesy Maybe and Miracle-, his level 10 talent (+50 damage) lets him make a more viable Treads instead of your regular arcane boots.
At the end of the day, it is the intricacy of this wondrous game, its seemingly endless combinations and permutations combined with the sense of an achievement that makes us fall for this game over and over again, and what a better way to throw in yet another roll of a dice by bringing about an absolutely fresh twist to heroes that you have grown accustomed to for more than 10 years! Speaking along those lines though…
3. Sniper Druid and Ember ‘I had 68% winrate in Dotapit’ Spirit – Mixed Reactions
Lone Druid is back as a 1st phase pick! Bulldog from the TI3 era, however, would probably not be impressed with the builds that have been popularized in 7.00. OSFrog has shown extensive love for LD which faced unpopularity post the infamous Alliance-nerf patch. With what can only be called as ridiculous, +200 Attack Range at level 10 combined with the lethal +65 Damage talent, what you have is a sniper with an insanely tanky bear that can languish in the trenches while Sylla (that is his name, kinda cool) unleashes insane amounts of physical damage with his 2nd ability activated.
The new magic damage Ember relatively does not match up to the pure ‘imbalance’ exhibited by Lone Druid. And it can also be argued that people have slowly paved their way to bringing this hero to equilibrium, understanding what goes and doesn’t go up against the Ember, mainly preying on high mobility based heroes such as Storm Spirit or the Timbersaw, who received no love with the new root mechanics.
While checking out the new druid has been nothing short of fun, and the same in discovering just insane the nuke from quick 3 remnants be, being on the receiving end has surprisingly been not that fun. Also, watching professional teams get crushed by the same just by having no idea how someone even deals with a first pick LD hasn’t exactly been fun too. It will be interesting to see whether IceFrog provides Sylla with a new voice command that sounds a lot like Santa laughing down the chimney or whether we see the return of the Midas radiance bear!
4. Monkey *drum roll* fucking *drum roll intensifies* King
You are Io. Having the need of just another 50 gold to completed your much needed bottle since your team forced you to buy wards and courier, you prance your way happily to the bounty rune. With just another 500 units of space left to cover, you already begun planning how you intend to move across the map with it. And BAAM! The fabled Jingu Bang extends itself from the empirically harmless rune across your lightening balls as a boundless crit of the same throws you into oblivion.
If LC duels or the ‘one dagger and I’m die’ memes weren’t enough to discourage newbies from joining the support life, meet the newest addition to the DotA roster. Monkey King stays true to his powers in the lore, for he has single-handedly defeated a rather large number of villains and spirits in it, and continues to do so in the game itself in rather amazing fashion. It should be interesting for our readers to note that OG.Ana currently sports a 100% winrate on this hero. Gotta feel for the people who match up against him till Monkey King receives a sizable nerf, which he actually may not also considering he only has a 49% winrate in pubs.
5. Radiant side OP Please Nerf
An argument that I make not out of opinion, but out of pure facts, supported with yet another fact that heroes on the radiant side are currently experiencing a higher winrate of more than 5%; you statistically have a higher chance of winning on the radiant side then when you are on the dire side. There really isn’t much for me to say here on this point, but the radiant faction is the new pubstrat, or the new Omniknight and the current Necrophos if you may. But let us not get caught up in this point, considering the diversity of the number of aspects I would need to cover.
6. Can I please have my old HuD back?
If the raging debate regarding 7.00 was a storm, the change in the HuD was its eye. While the fire surrounding this has certainly dwindled with Valve’s earnest try to bring what the fans wish to see in on their screen, and while these changes post the implementation of 7.00 has to a point, gone down well with the community, I’D STILL LIKE TO HAVE MY OLD HUD BACK.
I am a huge fan of designer HuDs. The only thing designer left in the current HuD is its borders. I also happen to look at the bottom-right of my screen to check my last hits. And what I do like is seeing my stats without the need to strain my eyes to get a proper look at it. Why Gaben? Just, why?
With all that being laid out, there still needs to be another patch put out by Valve for us to truly understand which one of these was a fail in general, thus receiving a nerf. It shall be interesting to see whether my second favorite thing about this patch, namely the viability of traditional supports seeing the prioritization for farm above their general position sees more love too. The Starseries qualifiers nears an end which has been played out entirely in this current meta, alongside Dotapit Season 5 whose finals saw a ridiculous 100% winrate and pickrate for the Range Druid. So Valve most certainly has data to work on in building their next patch from the pros too.
I’d still like to have my old HuD back though. Sorry not sorry. Until next time!