After 72 hours of Dota 2 with the new Patch 7.29, we take a look at the heroes at the top of the pack, and the ones you should probably stop picking.
It's been close to three full days since the release of Patch 7.29. We've had some time to play around with all the new changes, along with the brand new hammer-wielding celestial - Dawnbreaker. There's still much experimenting to be done, but players are slowly sifting out the trash from the treasure. We take a look at the emerging winners and losers of the patch so far.
1) Huskar - The Current King of 7.29
With all the buffs (both direct and indirect) to the Sacred Warrior in the latest update, it shouldn't be a surprise that he's at the top of this list. Huskar currently has the highest win-rate compared to all other heroes, at 55.66% across all matches.
Traditionally considered as a cheesy last-pick hero, Huskar thrives against casters without escape, and drafts that lack damage. Despite being a notorious pub-stomper, he rarely sees play in the professional scene without an Oracle behind him. Notably a signature of Team Liquid's cheese specialist Max "qojqva" Bröcker, Huskar also had one highlight-worthy match played as a jungling position 4.
So what's responsible for the 7% surge in his win-rate from a measly 48% pre-patch? In terms of hero changes: an increased Strength gain, a slightly buffed Inner Fire, and health cost on Burning Spears reduced by 1%. Doesn't sound like much at all, until we look at the item changes.
Armlet of Mordiggian and Satanic - two of Huskar's prolific items have been buffed significantly. Most notably, the basic dispel on Satanic is huge - as it lets him shrug off pesky disables easily.
When put together, these changes add up to make Huskar beefier and give him more control over his HP levels. This in turn makes him less susceptible to his main weakness - overwhelming magical burst. So bursting him isn't an option, but running isn't either. This is all on top of an absolutely nutty Aghanim's Shard and Scepter upgrade.
Is this the start of Huskar's rise from being just a last-phase cheese pick? For all our sakes - hopefully not, but that's definitely what it's looking like.
2) Drow Stands Her Ground in patch 7.29
Another benefactor of the patch is Drow Ranger, with her win-rate jumping from 47.4% to a healthy 53.4%. The hero's changes once again do not tell the full story. A slight attack point improvement, Gust mana-cost reduced and a small buff to the Multishot Cooldown talent - it all seems rather uninspiring.
For a hero designed to stand and deliver, Drow still falls prey to being gone on and focused in fights. This is where the general mobility nerfs play into her favor. Getting on top of Drow is even harder now - with the culling of movement spells overall.
All of Drow Ranger's key items received significant buffs as well. Manta Style finally gives ranged heroes equal rights - with the cooldown and illusion damage received made same as melee. A bump to the Agility from Dragon Lance and the small nugget of HP that Hurricane Pike now provides allows Drow to keep the arrows flying.
Similarly to Huskar, although Drow still has her glaring weaknesses - she's definitely seeing a revival in the meta.
3) Faceless Void Playable Again?
For the entirety of the Mistwoods Update (7.28), Void's not only been faceless, but largely forgotten as well. The hero's been played in only 3 games across the entire DPC Regional Leagues, winning just one of them. Before being hit with the nerf-hammer, he was one of the most picked heroes professionally back in patch 7.27. Throughout Patch 7.28, he's barely been picked up, and in times he does, it's mostly met with confusion.
Seemingly out of pity for his sorry state, Ice Frog has tuned him up significantly in Patch 7.29.
The important changes to note are a new and improved Time Dilation, and increased Chronosphere radius. The slight buff to Timelock helps out in getting early kills as well.
While the hero's win-rate has improved significantly by slightly over 4%, his overall win-rate is still mediocre - a flat 49%. His prior issues of Chrono's long cooldown, and a lack of good item progression still remain unsolved, and until they are - it's hard to see the hero prevail over his counterparts.
Although we can't exactly call him a winner overall, there's something to be said for being playable again. Faceless Void fans may just have to wait for the next patch and hope for GabeN's blessing.
Honorable Mention - Dazzle's Poison Turns Deadly
The biggest breadwinners aside, significant buffs to Dazzle may see a return to the Shadow Priest being played as a core. The hero's win-rate has increased by a full 4% post patch, and is rising in popularity as well.
Dazzle has always enabled physical damage thanks to the armor reduction from Bad Juju. With the new update, his talents now support this line of play (+50 Damage, 60 Attack Speed and 36 Poison Touch DPS at Levels 10, 15 and 20 respectively). Dazzle now can turn into an oppressive physical damage dealer himself. The Agh's Shard upgrade also adds a hex to Poison Touch, as if the spell needed to be more annoying.
Lycan's Pack is Gone
The removal of Necronomicon has left poor Lycan licking his wounds. The hero's win-rate sits at an abysmal 39.3%, dropping all the way from a flat 50.4% just a week ago. Lycan previously saw play consistently across the DPC, ran in all 3 core roles as well.
Despite the hero base abilities being buffed to compensate, Lycan can't seem to do much without his demonic friends. The thing is, apart from chasing people down and killing them, the wolf man really doesn't do much else. The only other utility he had, his Aghanim's Wolf Bite, was also mildly nerfed.
Succeeding as Lycan used to mean farming Necro, and A Clicking all your units on a target with your ultimate on. For such a one-dimensional hero, losing his main identity puts him in an awkward spot. It isn't really clear what role Lycan fits into anymore, let alone item choices.
For all zoo haters, we can enjoy our peace for this patch at least. It's going to take a major reimagining of Lycan's playstyle for him to find his place in the game again.
Alchemist Closed For Business?
We first saw this hero make his way back into the meta with OG's revival of Factory Alchemist. Fast forward to the Singapore Major, it became a priority first phase ban/pick for many of the successful teams there. The sheer speed at which Agh's could be farmed, enabled by the prevalence of jungle stacking made this pick a ticking time-bomb for opponents.
The only nerf to Alchemist was reduced Greevil's Greed values but that alone was enough to send him to the shadow realm. The hero's win-rate has plummeted by a full 7%, since the patch and is only getting worse as the days go by.
It goes without saying that Greevil's Greed is the hero's most important skill, and it shows through this patch. Even if the value adjustments don't seem much, it's worth keeping in mind that the numbers represent exponential gold gain. Apart from gold advantage, Alchemist doesn't really bring much else - and that may be why he's faltering now.
It doesn't help that Huskar completely destroys Alchemist as well. On top of all that, the reduced value of bounty runes as a whole is just the rotten cherry on top of a miserable Alchemist cake.
It's always hard to balance a volatile mechanic like exponential gold gain. We've had our fair share of it in the past month, and perhaps it's time for the Factory to close for good.
Io - The Spirits Are Dead!
For a hero that didn't lose a single game in the Singapore Major when played as a core, Io had it coming. Arguably the most contested hero after Puck, it was completely oppressive with it's Aghanim's Scepter and Helm of the Dominator.
In response to the dominance, Ice Frog knocked the little Wisp down a notch, with nerfs across the board.
These changes have seen Io's win-rate drop from a 49% right before the patch, to a miserable 45.3%. With the nerf to creep movement speed on Helm of the Dominator, and Tether no longer unlocking max movespeed, Io can't just peace out of situations like he used to.
It seems the changes were enough to weaken him significantly, judging from the win-rate at least. Pros are still playing the hero, but it's popularity is dying down slowly (via Dota2ProTracker) We should be grateful, as that probably means it won't be auto-banned in every pro game anymore.
Honorable Mentions - Death Prophet becomes Dead Prophet and Monkey King's Followers are Fleeting
The theme of heroes successful at the Singapore Major doesn't end here, as significant nerfs to Death Prophet and Monkey King leave these previously strong heroes now at the bottom of the barrel.
To say Death Prophet was popular is an understatement, being picked or banned in 93.33% of games in the Singapore Major (exactly the same as Io). The hero was simply way too flexible, being able to be ran in positions 2,3 and even 5.
With the new patch, her ridiculous movement speed got nerfed back to its original value, from 335 back to 320. That, coupled with a few other stat reductions were enough to dock her win-rate down by 5%, at 44.8% currently. Similarly to Io, she's still being picked up, but she's no longer as strong as she was just a week ago.
Monkey King's Aghanim's Scepter was a huge powerspike for the hero and opened his game up. The Wukongs Command Soldiers allowed him to farm faster, fight better and even take free Roshans. Even in cases where he got killed first, his remaining soldiers would simply beat opponents to death. This strength was addressed in the patch, with the soldiers now dying along with Monkey King. Slight value tweaks to his spells also made him weaker, which his win-rate reflects as well at 44.1%.
While clear trends have emerged indicating the relative strength of heroes, the patch is far from figured out. There's still a lot more Dota 2 to be played and discoveries to make. As Season 2 of the DPC begins, we can expect to see exciting new picks and strategies. Stay tuned to esports.gg for all the latest Dota 2 and DPC related news.