The strongest heroes took a hit before the next round of the Dota Pro Circuit.

17:00, 11 Jan 2020

The sixth subpatch for the Outlanders update recently dropped for Dota 2, right before the start of the WePlay! Bukovel Minor. Valve has seen fit to nerf some of the most powerful heroes in the patch before the next Dota Pro Circuit tournament, but has not given any buffs to the weaker heroes.

Surprisingly, Templar Assassin’s dominance at the ONE Esports World Pro Invitational Singapore escaped IceFrog’s attention. The hero, while popular among professionals as a hard-hitting, fast-farming mid laner, has performed poorly in the pub scene. Regardless, should the hero remain first phase drafting material in the next set of DPC tournaments, there should be more nerfs coming to the hero’s robust kit.

Freakish early gold gains removed

While 10 heroes were nerfed in 7.23f, there was only one general change to the game. Now, the gold bonus multiplier has been altered slightly, not taking into account differences less than 1000 gold.

While the gold bonus multiplier was intended as a comeback mechanic, giving the team with lower net worth a sizeable increase in kill bounty should they manage to take down an opposing team member, it caused some seriously whacky situations to happen in the early game. As the multiplier kicked in right from the start of the game, it unintentionally caused huge gold swings in the laning phase.

This usually cropped up in lanes where heroes trade kills. The player that was previously winning the lane would get very little gold for the kill, but the opposing player will get double or even three times the kill bounty for a retaliation kill due to the minute gold difference. This nullified the better laner’s advantage tremendously.

An example of this inadvertent interaction happened during game two of the upper bracket finals between Evil Geniuses and Gambit Esports. Tal “Fly” Aizik’s Disruptor earned 570 gold after earning a solo kill on the Treant Protector. Due to the different multipliers like solo killing and net worth disadvantage in place, Fly gained an obscene amount of gold equivalent to about three waves of creeps at that point in the game.

For comparison, the first blood that happened seconds before this only earned 324 gold, which included the bonus 150 bounty that comes with the foremost kill in the game.

Puck and Ursa’s pseudo-blinks no longer works rooted

Puck and Ursa were two heroes that received pseudo-blinks in the Outlanders update. Puck gained an additional 350 range movement with Waning Rift, while Ursa added 250 range to his Earthshock.

These gave the two heroes unprecedented mobility. For Puck, it allowed the hero to skip Blink Dagger, especially as a support with the level 10 cast range talent. For Ursa, it gave him another way to chase down heroes besides his insane movement speed, along with the Abyssal Blade change that basically removed the hero’s overwhelming reliance on mobility items.

The spells will still work when casted while rooted, but won’t move the heroes. This prevents them from going over cliffs, or avoiding non-targeted spells like Mirana’s Sacred Arrow and Lina’s Light Strike Array.

Doom’s laning stage weakened

Doom rarely leaves the meta due to his appropriately-named ultime, Doom, that essentially eliminates one hero from the game for 16 seconds. It was usually countered by his weak laning stage.

7.23’s changes to his Devour and Scorched Earth shot the hero up the pick and win rate charts. The higher creep level on Devour on the first level meant that leaving it at level one still allowed him to eat siege creeps and slow down pushes, while Scorched Earth became overtuned. The skill basically acted like a moving Sandstorm, making Doom the unparalleled king of level one battles with the skill’s huge AoE, high damage, and movement speed increase.

Unsurprisingly, the spell’s damage and mana cost has been adjusted, slowing down Doom’s ridiculous harassment potential in the laning stage. He also reduced a minor strength reduction, which decreases his base health and damage.

Puck’s insane physical damage nerfed

Along with Waning Rift’s pseudo-blink, Puck also received a massive talent change that fundamentally changed the hero’s playstyle in 7.23.

Phase Shift Attacks was a level 10 talent that gave Puck’s Phase Shift to attack every single target in his attack range plus 200. This became a core Puck’s premier talent choice, adding a physical attack component to the previously one-dimensional spellcaster.

This meant that Puck players now had a six-second cooldown AoE attack spell that could deal ridiculous amounts of physical damage. As it wasn’t reliant on attack speed, the hero could go for max damage items like Desolator. Coupled with the level 15 +90 damage talent, the hero could hit upwards of 300 damage at level 15.

This turned Puck into a premier flex pick, capable of playing a physical damage core or work as a support hero. The Faerie Dragon’s low cooldowns and solid teamfight ultimate meant that it was a perfect pick during the brawling meta that developed after the Outlanders update. The hero has deservedly been nerfed with the reduction of the damage talent to just 30, which also swapped places with the Phase Shift Attacks talent to make physical carry Puck a weaker and much more experience hungry prospect.

Tiny’s bonkers flexibility

The introduction of permanent Tree Grab meant that Tiny could reliably become a hard carry, much like Tiny’s old Aghanim’s Scepter that provided the hero with a tree that cleaved and dealt additional damage to structures. With it becoming an innate skill, this essentially meant that carry Tiny came online much earlier than when it was forced to purchase Scepter, allowing the hero to retreat to the jungle as early as level five.

Even then, the hero remained a rock solid choice at support. The immense range of Toss meant that there was always potential to get kills on unsuspecting enemies, sending them into trouble’s way in the waiting arms of allies or towers.

Tiny received stat nerfs, including a reduction in attack speed and strength gain that means he will scale poorer as a hard carry. Tree Grab’s movement speed reduction was also bumped up slightly, and Toss’ utility receives even more hard nerfs in cast range at early levels after his cooldowns were nerfed in 7.22h.


Image via Valve

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