Dota 2 Patch 7.30 First Impressions and Metagame Report
Lead developer IceFrog has seen fit to tweak things away from the most recent metagame. Overall, the changes themselves are much tamer relative to some of IceFrog’s preceding endeavors in this regard. They are, however, significant enough to cause a shift in how the game is played moving forward.
With the first day of the new patch now having passed, we think it’s a good time to give our first impressions. Of course, the metagame will have about six weeks to develop from here, so these impressions may not necessarily last. But without further ado, here are the metagame concepts that we think you should take note of.
Healing is Out…
Although not immediately obvious in the change log, the healing metagame of Patch 7.29 is now mostly out thanks to 7.30. Healing supports like Winter Wyvern and Phoenix received direct nerfs to their healing spells, with the former being hit the hardest in this regard. Wyvern herself also functioned as a flexible pick between the core and support roles, which made her a menace in the drafting phase.
Interestingly, the patch leaves Holy Locket completely unchanged. Holy Locket was the driving force of the healing metagame, especially when combined with talents that further improved healing spells. Whether or not this will cause healers to stick around remains to be seen, though.
Aeon Disk Scaling Cooldown
Aeon Disk is now also not nearly as strong as it once was. While its passive ability doesn’t heal heroes in the literal sense, it does give them a get-out-of-jail-free card after taking a set amount of damage. At a cost of just 3,000 gold, it was absolutely one of the most ubiquitous items in Patch 7.29, as even supports could easily afford it.
Though its price remains the same in Patch 7.30, it is now worth less for its cost, thanks to the “reverse Black King Bar” effect that IceFrog has placed upon it. Every time Aeon Disk triggers, its cooldown now increases by 20 seconds, up to a maximum of four times throughout the game. This effect starts at 105 seconds and caps out at 165 seconds. No doubt a welcome change to an item that was way too strong before.
Removal of Health and Armor Talents
Patch 7.30 also removes several health and armor talents across the board. This makes the hero pool less durable overall, with the knock-on effect of making healing less valuable in general. Expect tanky offlaners like Centaur Warrunner and Axe to slowly fall out of favor as a result. Anti-healing mechanics like Ancient Apparition’s Ice Blast (R) and Eye of Skadi’s Cold Attack will likewise be less important from here.
…Summons Are (Back) In
Formerly seen as a worthless item, Helm of the Overlord received quite a substantial set of changes this patch. Patch 7.30 changes its recipe, removing Ultimate Orb and replacing it with Vladimir’s Offering. The update also changes its recipe cost to 1,000 gold down from 1,600, making it only 50 gold more expensive than its old incarnation.
Coupled with buffs to summoner heroes like Lycan and Beastmaster, Helm of the Overlord has already defined a part of the metagame from day one. The two aforementioned heroes are now enjoying an average increase of nine percent to their respective win rates as a result. With the removal of Necronomicon in Patch 7.29, the new Helm of the Overlord is an obvious godsend to these heroes.
Beware: both Lycan and Beastmaster can rush this item without the need to stop for other items in between. If you and your team don’t prepare accordingly, you can expect any of these two to be shredding your towers at around the 17 to 18 minute mark.
Cooldown-Dependent Heroes May Be Dead
Perhaps the most impactful general gameplay change in Patch 7.30 is the removal of cooldown reduction stacking. While this only affects percentage-based cooldown reduction (and therefore, leaving flat reductions untouched), it’s still a big deal for heroes that have game-deciding abilities with long cooldowns. This also means that it’s now more or less a waste to have both Arcane Blink and Octarine Core in your inventory at the same time. The change also affects things like Aeon Disk and Black King Bar, which for someone like Drow Ranger (who formerly had a 30 percent cooldown reduction talent) is a big deal.
Add to this the fact that cooldown reduction talents are being pruned en masse, and you’ve got a serious problem for said heroes. Enigma’s Black Hole (R) comes to mind, especially since he went completely unpicked at the WePlay AniMajor. This change might just keep him out of the metagame for longer.
But who knows? Given the massive impact of Enigma’s ultimate at the highest level of play, pro teams might just pick him anyway.
New Faces in the Metagame
Naturally, with a new major patch comes strong new heroes in the metagame. Several previously unpopular picks have risen through the ranks as a result of direct and indirect buffs. If you play any of the following heroes, you are likely to find quite a bit of success in Patch 7.30.
After a long period away from the spotlight, Sven is firmly back in the metagame, thanks in no small part to the rework to Silver Edge. Silver Edge now incorporates Crystalys instead of an Oblivion Staff in its recipe, while also costing 300 gold less than before. Attacking out of Silver Edge’s invisibility likewise grants a guaranteed 160 percent critical strike on hit.
This buff gives Sven an alternative to Daedalus, especially when facing up against strong passive abilities. The bonus attack speed is also very much welcome. Sven is now enjoying a bump of over five percent to his win rate thanks to all this. If you want to learn how to play (and abuse) him in your pub games, make sure to check out our Sven guide.
Of course, whenever Shadow Blade and/or Silver Edge get buffed, Slark is there to pounce on the opportunity. With a 54.41 percent win rate as of August 20th, Slark is the undisputed king of hard carries in Patch 7.30. Not only does he benefit directly from the Silver Edge rework, but he also received a set of very nice buffs this patch.
The first one that jumps out is the reduction of Dark Pact (Q)’s self damage. Going from 50 percent to 30 percent is a big deal, as it allows Slark to simply spam the ability at will to clear waves and jungle camps. His farming speed summarily increases as a result, which is always good for a tempo-based carry like Slark. Some other minor buffs only add to this, making him a more potent hero overall. We’re sorry in advance when Slark terrorizes your pubs as he is wont to do.
Bounty Hunter has one of the longest sections in the entire change log, and almost all of them were buffs to his effectiveness as an offlaner. While the trend in his win rate isn’t quite in his favor yet, we think that he’s the sleeper offlaner of the patch thanks to all the gifts he received.
The immense reduction to the mana cost of Shuriken Toss (Q) is perhaps the most important buff to note here. While it did go down in damage to compensate, Shuriken Toss is now so much more spammable in lane that it’s actually kind of ridiculous. One of Bounty Hunter’s old weaknesses included the lack of a ranged creep securing ability. Now that Shuriken Toss is so cheap to use, this is no longer a problem. This bodes very well for Bounty Hunter’s laning phase, which was pretty weak before especially as an offlaner.
I can’t believe we’re saying this, but Pudge, particularly soft support Pudge, is actually useful now. With Meat Hook (Q) now acting like Mirana’s Sacred Arrow (W) in that it instantly kills non-ancient creeps, Pudge can pair up with an independent offlaner and just go around the enemy jungle farming neutral creeps. He can also use this to contest pulls from the enemy hard support from a safe distance.
We don’t even need to say much more. Meat Hook can still win and turn entire games around at the drop of a hat, especially in public matchmaking where players are often in places they shouldn’t be. But now, Pudge can actually farm. The most popular hero in the game is about to get even more popular…
Heroes to Avoid
On the flipside, some heroes are now dead in the water, though frankly, they’d already gotten more than their fair share in the spotlight last patch. Here are the heroes we think you should avoid picking altogether for now:
It was only a matter of time. Puck was a staple pick in Patch 7.29, able to flex between the second, third, and fourth positions freely without sacrificing the entire draft for it. All the buffs she received in Patch 7.28 just made her a complete menace, especially when paired with Aeon Disk. But with Aeon Disk nerfed heavily and the cooldown of Phase Shift (E) increased, Puck is now a much riskier pick. The additional half second to Phase Shift’s cooldown may not sound like much, but it can absolutely mean the difference between life or death for such a fragile hero.
If you asked us, she kinda deserved the hit. Puck is now in the lowest tier of the metagame, with a sub-45 percent win rate to her name.
Another hero that was way too oppressive in the last patch. Dragon Knight could effectively play either solo mid or offlane with ease, and his kit’s jacked up numbers were just too good to pass up. Not to mention that his Aghanim’s Scepter upgrade rendered him nigh unstoppable in the late game, thanks to free pathing and an additional 40 percent magic resistance.
Evil Geniuses fans will fondly remember Azel “Abed” Yusop and Artour “Arteezy” Babaev standing their ground two on five against TNC at the AniMajor, as one of the best examples of Dragon Knight’s former power. Well he’s dead and gone now; truly in the dumpster with a 46.9 percent win rate.
Templar Assassin (Carry)
Carry Templar Assassin was very much in vogue in the waning weeks of the last patch, after players discovered that her level 10 Psi Blades attack range talent was simply bonkers. Combined with a Dragon Lance, the “blinkless” TA build from the safe lane rose rapidly in popularity, used notably to great effect by Syed “SumaiL” Hassan while playing for OG at the TI10 regional qualifiers.
The sheer physical damage output of the hero was too much for the metagame to handle, and her ability to play from the safe lane meant that teams did not have to sacrifice a scaling mid laner in the process. Unfortunately for her, Lanaya’s days as a carry without Blink Dagger have come to an end. The patch moved the Psi Blades range talent up to level 15, while also making it so that Psi Blades’ spill damage tapers off with each enemy affected.
Sayonara, Black Arachnia. Undoubtedly one of the most annoying heroes to play against in the previous patch, Broodmother had a knack for making narrow escapes from gank attempts thanks to her movement speed while on her webs. Her power spike at level 6 was also extremely difficult to deal with for teams that didn’t have any good counters.
IceFrog has thrown her back into the trash can with this patch. She and her spider babies now lose bonus movement speed in webs the lower their health goes, which will make escaping over cliffs and treelines much more difficult. The result? She now has an abysmal 39 percent win rate. Ouch.