The new patch was surprisingly tame when it comes to hero balance changes, but it is more than understandable. New items are already doing a lot of work to shake up the meta and today we would like to concentrate on the most interesting and impactful items in the new patch.
When an item can almost single handedly increase the winrate of a hero by more than 5%, it definitely deserves to be discussed. Lycan did get buffed in 7.28, but the buffs were rather small and it is HotD 2 that made him the bane of high level pubs once again.
Heroes like Chen, Beastmaster and Visage, who frequently incorporate HotD in their build are also winning considerably more games. Once again, without receiving any significant direct buffs.
It probably doesn’t mean the Zoo meta is back, at least not yet, but players should definitely be cautious, especially in the higher level brackets.
This unassuming blade is basically a stat-agnostic Ring of Aquila in disguise. It does cost slightly more than the pre-neutral Ring of Aquila and is weaker on Agility cores, but we will probably see a lot of it on carries who want to use mana to farm.
Definitely a weird item that can be pretty powerful on position four supports who got some early extra gold and want to apply even more pressure across the map. Worth considering on position two Ember Spirit, perhaps, but otherwise this item shouldn’t be particularly impactful or game-changing.
The actual ability on the item is pretty cool, at least thematically, but it is pure stats efficiency that makes Witch Blade worth considering in some cases on Intelligence cores. The question is, when do you go for it over Orchid Malevolence, and we aren’t sure yet. For ~900 extra gold you get a much better active, extra mana regeneration and more damage.
Perhaps it will find good use in games where you will eventually need a harder lockdown (e.g. vs. dispels or natural Eul’s builders), but still need an acceleration item. +6 Armor shouldn’t be underestimated as a farming and sustain boost.
This is a late game upgrade for Rod of Atos that is perhaps worth considering after all your other slots are exhausted. Against a single target it doesn’t provide any particular benefits, compared to Rod of Atos. The AoE is huge, certainly, but we are not completely sure 3400 extra gold over Atos are justified, unless it is the only thing you can upgrade.
This can be very good on active agility cores in some matchups. Think Monkey King or Ember Spirit: heroes who want to join fights earlier to create space and typically start from mid.+20% Magic Resistance should be more or less the primary effect you want from this item, however, otherwise there are better options.
This is a very fun new option for frontline spellcasters. Heroes like Timber and Bristleback can get a lot of utility from the Eternal Shroud, taking advantage of the Magic Resistance, the extra mana and the spell lifesteal. Best used when the enemy has some sort of AoE magic damage: think Calldown from Gyro or Leshrac’s Pulse Nova.
1750 Gold Recipe on all types of new Blink Daggers means they are the last slot you are upgrading into in the very late game. Of the three, only the Overwhelming Blink deserves to be purchased earlier, since the effect is considerable, unique and useful.
Swift Blink is very specific: not many Agility carries actually want to have a Blink. Probably at its best on ranged cores who want to have mobility options: think Drow Ranger or Sniper. It might also be useful on Strength carries in the late game: once upon a time not so long ago even Butterfly was built on Sven, CK and Tiny, and the extra movement and attack speed are usually what these heroes want. Extra Armor can also come in handy.
Finally there is Arcane Blink and -50% cast point can be excellent for many reasons, but not on heroes who want or typically can actually farm up almost 7k gold. Best reasonable candidates are probably Death Prophet, Leshrac, Tinker and Lina, while the best candidate overall is definitely Jakiro, but unless we see him in a core position, it is ill advised.
Wind Waker is an overpowered item, but it also costs an overpowered amount of gold, so it is only fair. There is a reason it is the most expensive item in the game: having an ability to ensure an allied hero stays alive through any initiation is worth a lot. We will probably see it quite a lot and potentially quite early in professional games: the cost is very, very prohibitive, but the gains are very, very lucrative.
The item is back to being somewhat stat-agnostic and it was a necessary step. It wasn’t particularly great that only melee Strength cores could reap the full benefits of a very specific item.
Big oof for MKB. Massive decrease to damage and cost increase finally make this item balanced. Still probably on the strong side and definitely shouldn’t be disregarded, but at least it is not blatantly overpowered anymore. The bigger hit could possibly be the introduction of many new Magic Resistance items, rather than nerfs to MKB itself.
There seems to be two main themes for new items: they are either very late-game progressions for intermediary items like Eul’s and Rod of Atos. Or they are early game, “my first item” type of options. Both are definitely welcome, especially several new sources of Magic Resistance and general survivability for Agility cores.
Overall it feels like the TTK in the game should go up: strong damage items got some small nerfs, while there are more early game survivability options to select from. This might have an interesting impact on the overall feel of the game: the chances of narrow escapes and close kills is higher, so Dota should be more fun for the majority of players.
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