One week has passed since the new patch was released and we would like to have a look at how exactly it shook up the meta. There are definitely some obvious losers in this patch, but this isn’t particularly interesting: we all knew some heroes will get nerfed into oblivion. So instead of doing our regular Winners and Losers of a Patch blog post, we will instead concentrate on what is really good right now.
Spectre is easily among the biggest winners of the patch: her average winrate went up to 57%, with a very respectable 53% in Divine+ games. The hero is simply too good. Radiance is cheaper, Lina is out of the picture and everyone is still figuring out how to play the game optimally.
Late-game oriented carries thrive in situations like this and it shows, though we fully expect her winrate to fall slightly in the coming weeks, once patch is better figured out. It is unlikely to fall below 50% so the hero should remain a good pick for a while.
Another thing worth pointing out, outside of the obvious Radiance price decrease, is the new farming tool on Spectre — Meteor Hammer. The item is more or less everywhere right now, but as a Blade Mail substitute it works wonders. The farming speed is quite similar, Spectre gets a good boost to mana regeneration and, perhaps most importantly, she gets some much needed tower damage, for when she finds herself next to the enemy tower.
It might sound stupid, but if it is stupid and it works, then it isn’t stupid. Give it a try, before they nerf Meteor Hammer.
Clinkz buff was seemingly small, but incredibly powerful in terms of life quality. Giving a Skeleton Archer on every Skeleton Walk usage might seem trivial: it is a 30% + Searing Arrows damage every 1.6 seconds, which isn’t particularly impressive damage-wise. Utility-wise though it is the only thing the hero truly needed: a way to always have a respectable Death Pact target.
Clinkz isn’t a transformation hero per se and he gets a 100% uptime on his Ultimate eventually. The problem was always finding a target at an opportune moment and that is the reason why Shard was almost mandatory on the hero: it gave you a Death Pact target on demand.
At the same time, spending an early 1400 gold on a tempo hero that is supposed to snowball is a big ask. With this Change Clinkz now gets to concentrate on all the things he wants: Falcon Blade for Mana regen, Maelstrom for farming speed and damage and ultimately Gleipnir and Black King Bar.
Valve also removed a wonky interaction with Burning Barrage and Shadow Blade that could potentially allow for a lot of extra damage. Not that it was particularly broken and players are no longer building extra invisibility on Clinkz, which is a net positive for the hero.
Jakiro received some pretty strong buffs to both Ice Path and Macropyre, while being an overall decent hero already. The end result is a very solid support that is an excellent first phase pick material due to his flexibility. Depending on his build he can fill in many different support roles, be it a teamfight machine, a lane babysitter or a cheeky and annoying pusher.
Surprisingly, most high level players opt for a very aggressive and damage-oriented build. Maxing out Dual Breath was considered wasteful just a couple of months ago, but it is hard to argue against one of the most efficient damaging spells in the game.
Ice Path scales with +0.3 Stun Duration, +0.5 Path Duration and -3 sec. Cooldown which is very respectable in its own right. It was the go-to ability to max out previously and depending on the game it might be better to concentrate on it after two “mandatory” Dual Breath levels for the laning stage.
If your team is lacking stuns or if you are playing against heroes with built-in Dispel mechanics that don’t really care about Dual Breath, Ice Path is the way to go. Just don’t max out Liquid Fire on a position five Jakiro. It is a very strong ability that can come in handy during downtime, and maybe even two levels in it are warranted, but the skill points on supports are a precious and rare resource that have to be spent with the team in mind.
Axe received a couple of small buffs making him an all-around better hero. Five extra movement speed, some extra range on Counter Helix and, hilariously, Meteor Hammer buffs made the hero a lot more interesting to play.
Vanguard with Brown Boots into Meteor Hammer into Blink Dagger seems to be the play right now. You can use an early Vanguard to survive and maybe even thrive during the laning stage: depending on the matchup both outcomes are possible. Then you use the same Vanguard to farm some Ancient stacks, get the gold for a very early Meteor Hammer by disassembling the Vanguard for Ring of Health and reach a minute ~15 Blink Dagger.
At this point you Blink in, disable the enemy for ~2.8-3.2 seconds with a level three or four Berserker’s Call, immediately follow it up by an extra second of stun from Meteor Hammer and then feel good about yourself. Axe doesn’t really do much while being hit by the enemy, so Berserker’s Call is both a perfect setup and a natural complement to this surprisingly effective Hammer.
Later progression involves getting Blade Mail, Black King Bar and the leftover Vitality Booster from your Vanguard can go towards Octarine Core. Don’t forget that Crimson Guard is an item, though: it can help your supports survive against heroes like Lycan and Visage.
The game doesn’t necessarily feel fresh, but there is definitely a light breeze of change in the air. As with everything in Dota, one small change can lead to many different outcomes so we won’t be surprised if there are even more meta developments down the line.
For now though, these are the biggest winners of the patch, who now have over 50% winrate and are good, solid or even devastating picks in pubs.
What other heroes do you have success with in your games? Share your thoughts and experiences in the comment section below.