Three weeks into 7.20 and we’ve already had three additional mini patches, but it hasn’t been enough to stem the trends of this patch’s best and worst heroes.
Look no further for an exhibition of Phantom Assassin than NoPangolier’s run through the Chongqing Major qualifiers, where they went 6-3 overall, with all their wins coming off the back of Naive’s Phantom Assassin.A 15 minute Desolator timing is all Naive needs to control the mid game
It’s no surprise that Phantom Assassin was promptly nerfed after the qualifiers. Her Blur now has a 0.4s cast time, limiting it for more offensive purposes. Still, with 7.20’s Armor rework, the buff to Desolator, Wraith Bands, and PA’s Phantom Strike, she still stands to be strong going forward.
Dazzle’s new ultimate, Bad Juju, brought to light what had already been strong on the hero. Great base damage, animation, and Poison Touch is one of the strongest spells in the early to mid game. Now, with a cooldown reduction ultimate, Dazzle has been seeing some play as a core.VP.No[o]ne gets ganked and brings down two with him off Poison Touch ticks
Throughout the Chongqing Major, the hero has seen play as an offlaner in the hands of LGD.Chalice and a midlaner with Liquid.Matumbaman and VP.No[o]ne. While Midas offers great value with CDR, pros have opted for a Necronomicon 1 rush, which doubles both as a farming tool and a synergistic, offensive item with Poison Touch and Shadow Wave.
Sand King’s new sandstorm is a nuisance, even in skill brackets that are adamant on detection. He’s at a 54% win rate across all brackets—a 10% increase from his 7.19 rate. He’s been nerfed in subsequent patches, but it’s only dropped his overall win rate about 2%. Sand King didn’t fare as well during the Chongqing Major, but his new buffs have made an impact on any pub players who have had to lane against him.
There’s no stopping Slark now that Dark Pact clears Hex again. Pounce can now be broken by Force Staff (and not Hurricane Pike) and gets the new Leash mechanic, which prevents TPs. If that’s sacrifice to dispel Hex again, Slark players will take it. The hero’s issues in lane makes him a little more situational in professional play, but his success in pubs (54%) has garnered him his share of nerfs. The hero has been out of the meta so long that it’s about time he’s at least viable, if not overpowered again.
Ursa went through 7.20 unscathed, then patch 7.20c came for him and reduced Fury Swipes from 12/18/24/30 to 10/16/22/28 along with the Agility bonus of his level 15 talent from 16 to 14. This change also comes on the heels of patches 7.19b, c, and d—three patches, each with its own share of Ursa nerfs. The net change is that Fury Swipes now does 30% less at level 1 (15 to 10) and lasts for 8 seconds (from 20). His win rate has dropped since from close to 54.6% in patch 7.19 to 48% today.
Centaur peaked around 56% win rate in the previous patch and now he’s hovering barely above 50%, one of the largest drops in patch 7.20. It doesn’t seem like there will be any solace for Centaur players, as 7.20’s corrective patches have been aimed at heroes that have been overbuffed. Retaliate does help his laning stage, but it came at a cost of several nerfs to the hero. Double Edge no longer has its early-mid game burst, and Stampede’s mana cost and cooldown were drastically increased. Level 1 Stampede’s cooldown is almost two minutes (110 seconds) and its level 3 cooldown is as long as its original duration at level 1 (90 seconds).
To punctuate how bad Clinkz has been since his rework, patch 7.20d essentially gave his ultimate a 100% dps increase. The change was enough to buff his win rate 5 points to 51% overall, but the hero feels different with the loss of Death Pact. He's now more Necromancer/Archer than glass cannon. Skeleton Army's spawn rate makes it a bit clunky to use, but it does deal respectable amounts of damage now.
Storm Spirit was most affected by the new Boots changes, such that neither the new Phase Boots nor Power Treads fits on him. The original Power Treads gave him much needed attack speed and damage for his power spike at level 6, but now it seems that Arcane boots and a gradual buildup to Bloodstone is the more viable build. Storm Spirit was one of the best users (or abusers) of Bloodstone’s reduced respawn rate, since he could reenter a fight nearly anywhere on the map. But the reworked Bloodstone has hamstrung this potential, not to mention changes to Intelligence affecting mana regeneration scaling. Storm Spirit wasn’t exactly overpowered in the previous patch, but he felt too strong in the right situations. Now, those situations are far and few between.