It’s been a week since the latest Dota patch was introduced to the game and now is the best time to look at some preliminary trends. Spoiler alert: the game still needs some small fixes.
The much-hated zoo meta is still a part of the game, but now it only truly works in the highest level bracket. Necronomicon changes might have slowed down farm on heroes like Lycan and Beastmaster, but they are almost as effective as they were when it comes to teamfights.
Because of that, Lycan, who might look like he’s been tamed, is still among the most successful heroes in the Divine+ bracket with a win rate of ~55%. He is considerably less popular and isn’t picked in every other game as it felt previously, but in the right hands he is still a force to be reckoned with.
Same goes for Beastmaster: the hero wins almost 52% of his games in Divine+. Personally, we feel he is in an ok spot: he is a hero with much higher counterplay potential and isn’t as frustrating to deal with. That said, we still hope some small-scale nerfs are introduced to both heroes in the next balance patch. Especially Lycan.
Changes to Echo Sabre and its progression into Silver Edge are allowing some melee carries to start making a comeback. The biggest winners of this change are Wraith King and Slark, who both really enjoy the stats and the passive the item provides.
Slark, who was decently powerful in the previous patch, currently sits at 51.5% win rate, but we expect this value to increase in the near future. It is uncertain whether the Diffusal Blade or Echo Sabre build is better in most games and once players figure out which works better in what situations, the hero will probably start gaining momentum. The hero now appears in every fifth game, so the amount of experimentation from the community will definitely speed up this process.
Wraith King is an even bigger winner of the patch: he was always good in lower-level pubs, but is now actually pretty powerful in Divine+ games as well. Once again, there is still a bit of a debate on whether Radiance build is still worth it, but it seems the best players still stick to it: the farm acceleration from the item is indisputable and going Radiance into Sabre sometime later is definitely much faster and more consistent than going for Echo Sabre and then hoping you get your gold through pressure and teamfights.
The last part also highlights one of the more global changes in the patch: the games are longer and that means heroes who scale naturally feel better to play and are more successful. Having a farming tool is not necessarily a must, if you know what you are doing, but it is definitely a big bonus.
Whenever the game slows down, two “femme fatales” always make a comeback: Spectre and Medusa are fully back in the meta, with the former reaching almost 56% win rate across all brackets. More importantly, Spectre also feels pretty powerful in Divine+ games as well, so the hero is actually good and not just allowed to farm up by less experienced players.
One interesting aspect of the hero was that she would sometimes go for Helm of the Dominator to accelerate farm, but we don’t believe the trend will continue: the item was nerfed in 7.27a. For now, the Radiance build looks like the default build for the hero, with perhaps one or two cheap survivability items before it.
Medusa, on the other hand, might be a part of the meta, but she isn’t a reliable pick in higher-level brackets. She works wonders up until around 3.5k MMR, but then falls down to 48% win rate — an almost 5% drop. Personally, we don’t know whether the hero is really worth experimenting with right now: she didn’t get much stronger from the item changes and while the slower meta does benefit her, she isn’t as good in a 1v5 situation as Spectre is.
When meta slows down, it isn’t only the late-game carries that benefit from it. Better scaling supports also get much stronger, typically, and there are several heroes we would like to highlight.
Dark Willow now wins 52% of her games and almost reaches 50% in Divine+ brackets. Strong AoE disable works wonders in the later stages of the game, but the biggest reason for her resurgence, we believe, is that she now gets the time she needs to get her core items: the hero is very reliant on having at least Eul’s to work well. On top of it, level 18 makes the hero a lot more powerful in terms of DPS, and it is much easier to get there in a slower meta.
Warlock is another surprising winner of the patch. The hero has access to some of the best talent in the game at level 20, but the Fatal Bonds scaling in prolonged matches shouldn’t be underestimated either. Shorter BKBs allow Warlock to be patient and use the skill once the enemy no longer has access to dispel.
Finally, there is Ogre Magi, who was similarly highlighted in one of our previous articles. Once against, longer games really benefit this typically not greedy support. While acceleration through Bloodlust is definitely a big bonus to his team, once Ogre reaches level 25, he becomes an all-powerful killing machine, and given how well the hero can help with holding the high ground, getting there is almost trivial.
The latest patch was definitely a step in the right direction and nerfs to both Necronomicon and Helm of the Dominator makes the game feel fresh once again, but, if we are being completely honest, we want more changes.
Sure, the game is slower and that allows for new heroes to be experimented with successfully, but there are heroes who have been absent from the professional and pub scene for too long: iconic heroes like Leshrac, Phantom Assassin and Sven are pretty close to unplayable right now, at least in high-level games, and have been in that state for over a year.