Cap explains the two biggest changes of Patch 7.31 and what it means to Dota 2 cover image

Cap explains the two biggest changes of Patch 7.31 and what it means to Dota 2

Need a deeper look into Patch 7.31’s biggest changes? Dota 2 caster, Cap offers you his quick patch analysis! welcomes an expert on board, Dota 2 caster, Austin "Cap" Walsh to explain the biggest changes of Patch 7.31!

The new patch is out and it’s full of shiny new items, ability reworks, and a brand new hero. However, despite the immense amounts of text to read through, 7.31 will be more similar to its predecessor than many other major patches. Many of the meta heroes remain untouched (or even buffed!?) and some heroes got lines and lines of text about a rework where the end result is mostly the same.

However, there are two changes that you might have overlooked, that I believe will change how the game is played at both pro and amateur levels.

Stronger neutral creeps enables more aggressive plays

The first is a bit more obvious - neutral creeps. These living, breathing, little bags of gold and XP are tired of being farmed for the betterment of others. With this revolution of the masses, the neutral creeps have decided to arm themselves to better fight off the butchers and farmers of their kind. Neutrals now have all new offensive abilities and stat changes that make them more dangerous to farm.

New neutral creep - Ancient Ice Shaman
New neutral creep - Ancient Ice Shaman

On top of that, they’ve apparently installed little home gyms in each of the neutral creep camps, so these fantasy creatures will be getting more and more swole every 7.5 minutes.

Patch 7.31 update on neutral creeps
Patch 7.31 update on neutral creeps

The overall outcome has a twofold effect. Farming jungle areas are more dangerous than before, and as such, you’re more susceptible to support rotations and smoke ganks than before.

If carries do not feel as comfortable to farm, then they must fight. Expect to see more aggressive carries that hit timings faster than before.

Zoo Dota appears more spicy than ever

On top of this, Chen and Enchantress (and any other hero that utilizes Helm of the Dominator) have been given all-new tools for their armies. Expect to see these junglers back in play, having a huge effect on the timing of the game.

Towers will fall sooner, and five-man pushes will be stronger than ever with neutral abilities like Death Throes and Rally.

Patch 7.31 update:

  • Death Throes : Hellbears give base attack damage and attack speed on death.
  • Rally : Skeletons give +3 damage aura.

No longer does killing these armies with several AOE spells leave Chen useless, but buffs up his allies to dizzying degrees.

Aghanim's Shard's buff will speed up the game

Patch 7.31 update: Aghanim's Shard purchase time
Patch 7.31 update: Aghanim's Shard purchase time

The second change is the Aghanim’s shard change reducing the buy time from 20 minutes to now 15. Many heroes have shards that are very impactful on the viability of the hero.

This now gives clearance to those heroes to feel powerful even sooner. Again, expect this to speed up the nature of the game, with more heroes wanting to fight sooner than before. Some shards are more powerful the earlier they’re picked up as well.

I think some of the best examples are Jakiro, Nature’s Prophet, and Chen.

Aghanim's Shards ability:

  • Jakiro : Adds Liquid Frost ability.
  • Nature's Prophet : Sprout can summon Greater Treants.
  • Chen: Allows Holy Persuasion to target Ancient Creeps.
Nature's Prophet Greater Treants
Nature's Prophet Greater Treants

They all have very powerful shards that lend themselves to teamfights and pushing towers. Chen and NP especially, because the strength of their units is relative to the physical damage the enemy can put out.

What in the world is a carry Anti Mage with a Battle Fury going to do when a Greater Treant and an Ancient Black Dragon walk up at his tier 3 tower and slap his supports' ass? Probably not a whole lot.

Overall Patch 7.31 heads to stronger teamfights and objective push

Combine all this with buffs to several early-midgame teamfight and pushing heroes like Pugna, Brewmaster, Huskar, Lone Druid, Shadow Shaman, Techies, Underlord, Venomancer, and Visage.

On top of this, the teamfight healing supports like Dazzle, Oracle, Omnknight(?), and Phoenix all got buffs as well. Time will tell which one of these heroes is actually viable and which are not, but at least some of them will have heavy influences on the win rate of this patch.

Don’t forget two new teamfight items, Wraith Pact and Boots of Bearing.

These two are seemingly designed for supports and offlaners to have more teamfight presence and area control. Are these items any good or are they garbage? Who knows!? But it’s just another tool in the toolshed.

A couple of items that we KNEW were garbage before were Pipe of Insight and Crimson Guard, both of which got decent buffs while the early stat items of Bracer, Null Talisman, and Wraith Band might be worth having midgame now that they double their bonuses at minute 25.

Patch 7.31 update: Bracer, Null Talisman, and Wraith Band now double their bonuses after minute 25.

A change in general game strategy

All of this astute analysis not convincing enough? Let me add in a couple more tweaks that support my argument.

Holding the “triangle” jungle is a defensive technique for stalling out the game without losing too much farm.

Dire's "triangle" jungle
Dire's "triangle" jungle

However, holding that area has lesser incentives now that IceFrog has taken the Bounty Rune from that area and distributed it to the primary jungle area that is harder to hold.

Patch 7.31 update: Moved the bounty runes from the triangle to the primary jungle.

As a result, aggressive early game map control is more rewarding than before. Even the reward for killing heroes on early kill streaks is less valuable, so there is less risk to build up to four or five kills in the first 20 minutes of the game!

Patch 7.31 update: Reworked bounty gold streak formula.

Sure, the higher kill-streaks are more rewarding now to deny, but ideally, your game is already done before you become BEYOND GODLIKE.

Ultimately, Dota is a complex f*cking game, and deciphering these changes on paper will only take us so far.

Chances are pretty decent that I’ll look back at this write-up and look like an idiot. Until then, all we can do is grind out more games and see where IceFrog is taking us.

You can find the full Patch 7.31 notes here. Stay tuned to for more Dota 2 expert insights!