With 119 new Shard abilities entering the battlefield there is a lot to learn. Certain heroes previously deemed worthless might be worth revisiting, like Nyx. Here’s our guide to some of the most powerful Shard abilities from the latest update.
Nyx: Max Speed Vendetta upgrade
Offlane Nyx is currently making a comeback this winter thanks to his Shard upgrade. While it does not add a new ability, it instead grants a significant buff to his Ultimate – Vendetta. With the Shard upgrade, Nyx’s movement bonus during Vendetta goes from 16%/18%/20% to 56%/58%/60%. His movement speed limit is also removed entirely. With Vendetta additionally reducing magic resistance by 20% for four seconds with the Shard, the trademark Nyx Dagon is now even more powerful.
With a 50 second cooldown on Vendetta and a new level 25 talent that allows him to pass unobstructed through terrain as Broodmother does, Nyx can finally be the Assassin he once was all those years ago. Don’t report your ally next time he is picked.
Nature’s Prophet: Greater Treants join the party
Nature’s Prophet’s pushing potential got an immense boost that you will need to factor in next time you attempt to base race him. Prophet’s Aghanim’s Shard causes the first two trees destroyed from Sprout to both summon Greater Treants. You can only have two Greater Treants at any one time and have the same duration and movement as regular Treants. However, they have triple the HP and triple the damage.
With the level 25 2xTreant HP/Damage talent, the Greater Treants can have a staggering 3,300 hit points and deal in excess of 200 damage per hit. A nice added synergy is that if you also save up for Aghanim’s Sceptre you will spawn a Greater Treant if you kill an enemy hero with Wrath of Nature. Greater Treants mean serious business so don’t get caught out. Instead take what we’ve shown you and dominate your next game.
Lina: Laguna Blade multi-target massacre
The fact Lina’s Ultimate could not pierce through spell immunity without Aghanim’s Sceptre while still remaining single target was far from ideal come late game as enemy heroes tanked up. Thankfully Valve have sprinkled some Lion-inspired magic by making Laguna Blade able to hit multiple targets as her Shard upgrade. However, unlike Lion it does not hit enemy heroes within a small radius. With the Shard, Lina’s Laguna Blade will always travel its full cast length and hit any targets in its path. This means that if you can line up your enemies just right you’re in business. The upgrade also buffs the range of the Ultimate from 600 to 750 and gives you the option to ground-target, incredibly potent.
You won’t even need vision of your enemies to blow them to pieces, just your highly developed game sense. For just 1400 gold this Shard upgrade is easily one of the best and worth trying out if only just once.
Bounty Hunter: Legal maphack with Shard-boosted Track
Bounty Hunter’s Aghanim’s Shard upgrade is so good it is borderline criminal and the numbers don’t lie. Within 24 hours of the Mistwood update patch Bounty Hunter’s win rate jumped from 49% to 53% and his pick rate is still on the rise. The Shard upgrade for the roaming agility hero grants vision of the area around any enemy hero under the influence of his Ultimate Track, a buff that was removed five years ago in 6.85. Not only will you now be able to see who is near your tracked enemy, but also all allies around you within a 1200 radius (increased from 900) gain a 50% movement bonus as you hunt your prey.
While Valve did swiftly patch the Shard Track by dropping the vision radius from 800 down to 600 in 7.28a, it still remains phenomenally strong and will catch out any player blissfully unaware of its existence. Given Track has a cooldown of just four seconds, the Shard upgrade is the equivalent of a legal map hack.
Earthshaker: Stunlock monster with upgraded Fissure
This particular Aghanim’s Shard upgrade may seem underwhelming at first glance but reading the small print will reveal its true value. With the Shard upgrade Earthshaker will be able to path through his own Fissure putting an end to you accidentally owning yourself with an awkward placement. There is also a two second cooldown reduction on Fissure as part of the Shard buff but the dealbreaker is the fact Aftershock is applied along the entire Fissure whenever it is triggers.
Traditionally Aftershock would only proc for Enchant Totem and Echo Slam and its stun did not stack with Fissure. The rules have now changed thanks to Earthshaker’s Aghanim’s Shard. Combined with the level 20 talent granting +320 Fissure Range you will absolutely wreck a team fight even more than you did before. Much like Bounty Hunter, Earthshaker’s popularity is on the rise and at time of writing he has a 74% win rate with the Shard upgrade.
Bonus Ogre Magi: Anti-noob Fire Shield
Ogre Magi didn’t need Aghanim Shard to be popular – 23% pick rate in 2020 – but it has further boosted his profile as an all-round fun and reliable support. Ogre Magi’s Shard upgrade adds a fifth ability to his arsenal, Fire Shield. Think Abaddon’s Aphotic Shield but instead of exploding after absorbing damage it fires out a mini-fireball after each attack. It’s definitely far from as game changing as our previous five but it’s just a bit of fun.
Fire Shield reduces the damage of the defender’s next three incoming attacks by 70% and launches a fireball after each attack for 125 damage each. Against creeps Fireshield is fairly worthless but against heavy melee heroes such as Sven or PA it will buy you time to react and avoid losing a team-mate right off the bat.The ability can be cast on yourself or your allies and is affected by Ogre Magi’s Multicast making it a potentially clutch spell versus unsuspecting enemies who haven’t read the patch notes. In combination with Ogre Magi’s new 20% Bash level 25 talent you’ll be able to man-up slightly better late game and be even more of a nuisance.
Honorable mentions: Undying, Wraith King and Storm Spirit
Aside from the six heroes we’ve highlighted there are three Shard upgrades worth tipping our hat to. The first is Undying’s, which summons an Undying Zombie around each enemy affected by Decay. While the Zombies are fairly easy to kill, the more subtle benefit is they only attach themselves to real heroes not illusions. So if you’re up against an illusion based hero like Chaos Knight, Phantom Lancer or Naga Siren, you will be able to isolate which is the real hero every four seconds with level four Decay.
Meanwhile Wraith King’s Shard removes the mana cost of Reincarnation – which was previously a talent – and spawns three Wraith King skeletons around each enemy hero when Reincarnation is triggered. Skeletons deal 35-40 damage, 59-64 with the level 15 talent, so nothing to scoff at in the mid-game.
Finally the most obscure of the Shard upgrades we want to highlight is Storm Spirit’s new ability Electric Rave, which surprisingly has only featured in 80 games thus far. Electric Rave gives allied heroes within range three charges of Overload, Storm Spirit’s passive which slows enemy attack speed by 80 and movement by 80%. In a team fight Electric Rave is devastating and the 76% win average with the upgrade makes it a hidden gem of the Mistwood update.
We hope this article has enlightened you to the overpowered and entertaining shards coming as part of the 7.27 patch, best of luck playing with and against them!