6.81b - a brief analysis

We have said in the previous patch analysis Blog Post that there are likely to be some minor tweaks to the patch some time before the International 4. While lacking the scale of a full patch, these small amendments will certainly help dealing with some of the stronger/popular heroes that seem to be virtually in every game as a Pick or Ban, as well as introducing a variety of relatively small buffs to still underused heroes.

As previously, to make things a bit simpler for you to read, I will use colour coding with Green to indicate a minor change, Yellowfor a moderate amendment and Red for a big one. The impact on gameplay will be based on my personal opinion, so feel free to post a comment if you disagree with something.

Shall we begin?

Ancient Apparition Ancient Apparition

  • Ice Vortex slow decreased from 18/22/26/30% to 15/20/25/30%

Another small amendment to the viability of a great support that has somewhat decreased in popularity over the past few weeks. He is still a really viable pick and the nerf received in the vanilla 6.81 was not that significant. These two changes combined, however, will probably make a big enough impact to transition Ancient Apparition Ancient Apparition from a top tier all-around great hero to a more specific role as a hard counter against tanky heroes with high regeneration values and/or lifesteal.

Batrider Batrider

  • Sticky Napalm bonus damage is now halved against non-hero units

This hero is exceptionally great for a variety of reasons--one of them being his flash-farming capabilities that allowed for a very early Blink Dagger Blink Dagger. It is not uncommon to start posing a great threat to the enemy team as early as 9-10 minutes into the game. With this nerf, however, the speed with which Batrider Batrider can jungle should substantially decrease. Apart from obvious decrease in damage there is also an indirect increase in mana requirements that will occasionally force the Bat to go back to base or bottlecrow. Considering he was the top priority pick/ban in each of the International 4 Qualifiers the nerf is well deserved. However, it might not be enough.

Bounty Hunter Bounty Hunter

  • Shadow Walk duration increased from 15/20/25/30 to 20/25/30/35

There was no clear reason to the downfall of this previously popular offlane hero. In fact, ever since the addition of the neutral XP sharing among all heroes in the area, including enemies, his viability has only increased. In a sense, the hero just got out of trend.

This small buff will not necessarily manifest a comeback of this hero, but it will allow for constant, uninterrupted invisibility at level 1, which might just cut the cake in certain lineups. And there is also an associated long-term mana cost decrease for the laning stage.

Doom Doom

  • Devour manacost rescaled from 60/50/40/30 to 60

The increase in manacost for this skill will occasionally force some players to make a choice between being able to cast Devour Devour and an extra skill, or not. However, these situations should not be frequent enough to actually have a major effect on the effectiveness of this hero.

Drow Ranger Drow Ranger

  • Gust knockback duration increased from 0.5 to 0.6/0.7/0.8/0.9

This buff is a lot stronger that can be initially assumed. The fact that casting a lvl 4 Gust now ensures one free hit on the enemy can make a huge difference between being able to slow and start kiting, or dying to an initiation.

The hero went under the radar of most competitive players for quite a while now, but her successful appearance in the most crucial match of the American qualifiers may signify that there are players out there who understand her strength and are willing to experiment.

Earthshaker Earthshaker

  • Turn rate improved from 0.6 to 0.9
  • Echo Slam's Initial Damage, Echo Search, Echo Damage AOE increased from 525, 550, 500 to 575, 575, 575

A direct decrease in cast point for Earthshaker Earthshaker might have been too powerful and a turn rate increase is a beautiful solution to the persistent problem of the unreliability of Fissure Fissure. Landing one should be an easier task now.

The increase in the AoE of the Echo Slam Echo Slam also should not be underestimated. A 75 unit increase in the radius of the effect corresponds to a ~32% increase in the actual area covered.

Elder Titan Elder Titan

  • Echo Stomp damage increased from 80/85/90/95 to 80/90/100/110

This skill is rarely a priority with a more frequent focus on Natural Order Natural Order and Astral Spirit Astral Spirit. I don't see a minor increase in damage changing the status quo.

Enigma Enigma

  • Midnight Pulse duration increased from 8 to 11

In an ideal situation that skill at level 4 can deal 77% of total health to an enemy target. Of course it will rarely be the case, but the possibility of it is undoubtedly scary.

Invoker Invoker

  • Forged Spirits 33% magic resistance removed
  • Cold Snap damage reworked from the initial and secondary proc damage of 60/30 to 7xQuasLevel per proc
  • Deafening Blast's Disarm is now dispelled when Magic Immunity is applied

All of these things can be considered a nerf, except for the Cold Snap one, which makes it more potent in the later stages of the game and provides some excuse to getting more than 4 levels in Quas.

The Deafening Blast disarm being dispellable is a bigger nerf that can be originally assumed. 4 seconds is a long time in a teamfight and it can make all the difference on the outcome.

Juggernaut Juggernaut

  • Omnislash damage per slash rescaled from 175-250 to 200-225
  • Base Attack Time improved from 1.5 to 1.4

Consistency is somewhat of an ongoing trend in the last several patches. It is unlikely to have a big impact on the hero's viability or popularity, however it is a good step towards a more predictable and calculate-able game.

The further decrease in BAT makes Juggernaut Juggernaut on par with Anti-Mage Anti-Mage, drastically increasing his late game potential. More importantly, the IAS requirement for an extra hit during each instance of Omnislash Omnislash has further decreased to a more achievable 350.

Leshrac Leshrac

  • Pulse Nova damage increased from 66/100/144 to 80/120/160 (Scepter from 100/150/200 to 100/160/220)

It is a nice buff to a rather underused hero, but it is too insignificant and situational to have a major impact on either popularity or Win Rate.

Lina Lina

  • Light Strike Array stun duration increased from 1.6 to 1.6/1.7/1.8/1.9

It wouldn't be a true patch without a mandatory buff to Lina Lina. This time, however, it is really small. There is now reason to get more than 1 level in Light Strike Array Light Strike Array but this reason is still rather unconvincing, especially compared to the benefits that Fiery Soul Fiery Soul provides.

Lycan Lycan

  • Howl duration decreased from 12 to 10
  • Howl bonus damage reduced from 20/30/40/50 to 14/26/38/50

It might appear that the nerfs are rather subtle, however the expected DPS from this hero has drastically fallen. This nerf tampers with almost every aspect that makes Lycan a beastly pick - global presence, pushing capabilities and killing potential. It is in no way game-breaking, but it will likely change the priority of a Lycan pick/ban.

Mirana Mirana

  • Sacred Arrow minimum stun duration decreased from 0.5 to 0.01 (maximum duration is still 5 seconds growing linearly)
  • Sacred Arrow minimum damage reduced by 40 (maximum damage is still 190/280/370/460 growing linearly)

In the world of Dota 2 the difference between 0.5s and 0.01s can mean the difference between life and death. These cases are not frequent, however there is no longer a guaranteed 0.5s stun on one of the most versatile heroes and it is for good. Especially considering the huge popularity of her in the last several tournaments.

Ogre Magi Ogre Magi

  • Multicast's passive manacost penalty on Fireblast reduced from 30/70/110 to 20/40/60
  • Bloodlust can now be cast on Magic Immune allies

Ogre Magi Ogre Magi is a VERY greedy support. He absolutely needs his Arcane Boots Arcane Boots as well as a decent share of XP. The first change slightly tackles the persistent problem of a low manapool on this hero, while the second one makes his life a little bit more comfortable.

Omniknight Omniknight

  • Degen Aura slow increased from 7/14/21/28% to 10/18/26/34%

This slow buff is rather significant, but the hero overall and the skill in particular are way too specific to be able to derive utility from them on a constant basis.

Phantom Assassin Phantom Assassin

  • Phantom Strike bonus attack speed increased from 100 to 130

A decent buff to a still very underused hero. I have previously stated that I regard this hero rather weak by design, however the last several patches have been adding a decent amount of buffs and with the increased burst potential from a 30 IAS increase we might see some competitive play featuring Phantom Assassin Phantom Assassin

Queen of Pain Queen of Pain

  • Shadow Strike cast range increased from 435 to 450/475/500/525

The increase in the cast range is what could possibly help this forgotten hero to get back into the competitive meta - her ability to harass in the mid lane is really strong and this skill with a single point in it is what made it possible before people have learned to play against her. However, since it is rarely the case that players invest more than one point into Shadow Strike Shadow Strike before maxing out everything else, this increase in range is quite underwhelming.

Riki Riki

  • Smoke Screen cooldown reduced from 13 to 11

Personally, I feel that this skill is what defines Riki Riki. Not his invisibility or agility-buffed damage output, but a very annoying and extremely strong AoE slow/silence. Luckily the horrible 0/4/4/1 builds are a thing of the past even in the trenchiest of tiers.

Skywrath Mage Skywrath Mage

  • Ancient Seal damage amplification increased from 18/24/30/36% to 30/35/40/45%

Even at level 1 this ability is ridiculously strong in certain situations and really good in other. A quick calculation show that using Ancient Seal Ancient Seal with Mystic Flare Mystic Flare yields >9000 damage.

Slardar Slardar

  • Bash bonus damage increased from 40/60/80/100 to 60/80/100/120

A 20 damage increase is rather significant, however the expected value of this buff at level 4 of this ability corresponds to a 5 Damage increase, which is really insignificant.

Treant Protector Treant Protector

  • Leech Seed damage per pulse decreased from 24/36/48/60 to 15/30/45/60

Just like with a previous nerf to Living Armor Living Armor, the effect at level 4 of the ability is untouched. However, it is certainly not as scary at level 1 as it previously was. Considering the rise in popularity of this hero and the great utility he is still capable of providing, the nerf is well-placed.

Tusk Tusk

  • Snowball cooldown reduced from 21 to 21/20/19/18
  • Walrus Punch cooldown reduced from 30/24/18 to 25/20/15

A small overall buff to the hero we expected to see a lot more in the competitive scene with his exceptionally strong ability to save allies from any immediate danger.

Undying Undying

  • Intelligence growth increased from 2.0 to 2.5

For some reason every time there is a change to a stat growth people start forming wrong assumptions of its effect on the gameplay on the hero. While the effect does add up with levels, the 0.5 increase in Int growth corresponds to extra 65 mana at level 10, which is not that much.

Windranger Windranger

  • Focus Fire manacost decreased from 150 to 75/100/125

Despite all the recent buffs to her ultimate, Windranger Windranger still suffers from the lack of a dedicated role - she is only a decent offlaner and playing her in the first position is very risky. We don't see this manacost decrease having much of an impact, especially since most players will still probably opt towards more game-impacting skills.

Zeus Zeus

  • Lightning Bolt vision and truesight duration increased from 3 to 4.5
  • Lightning Bolt search area of effect increased from 250 to 325

Hide yo wards, coz they're dewarding everybody out here...

Mjollnir Mjollnir

  • Recipe cost increased from 600 to 900
  • Static Charge duration decreased from 20 to 15

Ever since the rework to procs the item has been getting considerably more attention from pros. This could not go unnoticed and a decently sized nerf to this item is well-deserved.

Closing Comments

Overall I have to admit that this "Minor Tweaks" patch was a lot bigger that I initially expected. In a sense it tries to do a lot more than just deal with the most popular heroes and instead of over-nerfing the big guys it tries to make the underdogs a bit more appealing.

It is going to be a very fun International...

More from The Dotabuff Blog
crwdns1033:030crwdne1033:0
Stallion

    Nice work guys. I laughed so much zeus comment :D

    siveZ

      I dislike latest gameplay updates. IceFrog does not calibrate balance, he is trying to adjust heroes' popularity in pro scene instead. Necrophos was a pub-stomper even pre 6.81, but never seen in competitive play. Significant buff in 6.81 makes him even more OP, but no one is going to pick him in CM since his playstyle doesn't fit current meta. Zeus is experiencing the same issue, and IceFrog attempts to make him popular by making him imbalanced. Zeus will not see any pro usage soon, but pubs are gonna be stomped and completetily ruined by his silly decisions.

      crwdns1299:0crwdne1299:0
      ZeUs!

        I like most of the changes, but the zeus buff is a little bit too much!
        P.S. YAY Cancer of the moon nerfed! JUST FUCK THAT BITCH! >.< We need more nerfs for that bitch! -_-

        mllcg

          batrider is imba even in pub games... what icefrog is doing is balancing both pro and pub games.

          zeus may look good on paper. but once the enemy teams get bkb, what good is he? same for necrophos. true he can disable buyback. but once it hits late game, his heals wont do much for the team.

          musimYEETnaWC

            i like the inside joke on Skywrath - it's ova nine thouseeeeeend!!!

            Bazoozoo

              They messin' with my Mirana! Almost have to change the way I play her now :(

              Zeromeia

                Hey!!! Where's the qualifiers reviews that you promissed?

                Vicaria

                  Mirana still needed to be nerfed. Decreasing her agility growth would do.
                  Also I'm agree with everything user siveZ said.

                  叶修

                    Agree with sivez & Vicarious. Current meta for Dota 2 is so 1 dimensional with like 1/2 the dota games now playing only the top 20 heroes.

                    ! Excite.!

                      @Madao don't agree there, even though the picks can be obvious it is very viable to play other strats too. The qualifiers aren't a good way of determining the meta anyway. It shows us the picks that teams will go for if they really want to win / don't want to take any risks. It doesn't show us the diversity that is currently possible with the current patch.

                      I also think that QoP is still underpowered, I wonder why the ult is never rescaled with aghanims. Lion is a better AOE nuker with aghanims now. Problem with that is that it would also increase her snowballyness... ( if that was a word ) which is a bad thing I guess. It is just sad to see a cool item be so useless on a hero that would otherwise benefit so much from it ( I'm talking from a 5v5 perspective, rather than the obvious pubstomping pubblaster + agha build )

                      I also really like the mirana change, it was too strong that she could still do so much with arrow from close range, without nerfing well shot arrows.

                      crwdns1299:0crwdne1299:0
                      Juicy Frog

                        The only thing I really disagree on, due to lack of knowledge is that 65 extra mana doesnt matter on undying. That's almost an extra decay assuming you go the 1/4/4 build, which could very well result in surviving or getting that extra kill, not to mention the slightly higher mana regen really does attribute to his lack of mana regen early game

                        Vicaria

                          2Excite, Lion? Srsly? He has only 200 aoe and it's available only with scepter. Without Dark Seer or Magnus you cant exercise him as an aoe nuker.

                          Mac_Lilypad [NL]

                            "The further decrease in BAT makes Juggernaut on par with Anti-Mage"
                            Since when has Anti-mage a BAT of 1.4? i tought it was 1.5, making juggers base attack time the fastest in game (if you dont count alchemist)

                            CivLover97

                              Anti-Mage is 1.45. This entire discussion has already been had on other forums.

                              Xatulu

                                AM has a BAT of 1.45, Jugger has the lowest, together with Oracle for 1.4 now.

                                phr33

                                  A quick note of hero BAT on top of my head.

                                  0.9 - Ember in Sleight of Fist, though always with max IAS, making the actual attack time always 0.18
                                  1.0 - Alch in lv3 Chemical Rage
                                  1.2 - Alch in lv2 Chemical Rage
                                  1.4 - Alch in lv1 Chemical Rage, Lycan in Shapeshift, Jugg, Oracle
                                  1.45 - AM
                                  1.5 - Windrunner, Terrorblyad
                                  1.55 - Troll in Berserker's Rage
                                  1.6 - Long Druid in True Form, Terrorblyad in Metamorphosis, Huskar, Morphling
                                  1.7 - ( All other unmentioned heroes )
                                  1.8 - Weaver
                                  1.9 - Spiritbreaker, Treant

                                  crwdns1299:0crwdne1299:0
                                  Dr KVXDP

                                    "the expected value of this buff at level 4 of this ability corresponds to a 5 Damage increase" - how do you figure??

                                    Mumen Rider (Hero)

                                      @keepomancer nice, thx a lot.

                                      No wonder WR is so good at last hit, and jugg is my fav carry

                                      Moss

                                        @KVXDP 20 DMG increase with 25 % bash = 5 dmg

                                        ANTI-FUN

                                          Good to see a nerf on Mirana. That dumb hero really deserved it

                                          aaty

                                            I think the Skywarth change along with the mirana and tree should have a major effect on current meta. Skywrath less so but still 45% is silly high.

                                            Fangheart25

                                              I'm not sure what kind of "quick calculations" you're doing, but 1400 damage from skywrath ult times 1.45 damage buff equals just over 2000 damage, and that's without even considering base magic resistance. and if you're making a reference to dragon ball z, just stop.

                                              Bazoozoo

                                                @AATYKON I don't expect the Mirana change to affect her meta very much. The change in stun duration will most of the time only apply if you get stuck in a 1v1 situation. In a team fight however, if you're firing point blank arrows, you most likely are not playing her right. Typically she should be in the side of the fight picking off supports and firing her arrows at the stationary carry's (situation dependent) while your own carrys take them out. I don't know exactly how the algorithm for the distance vs stun time, but even if she hits an enemy at her normal firing range, the stun duration should only decrease by maybe .2 seconds with the new nerf.

                                                Night_Wish

                                                  Good!.....................
                                                  Nicework

                                                  Aye Mate

                                                    mirana .... sad :( rip mirana arrow :(

                                                    Shiro

                                                      @[Legio XIII] Fangheart25

                                                      my words after calculating it myself :D

                                                      That One Scrub

                                                        The fact that you're considering fiery soul worth leveling past one point while stun is unmaxed on Lina makes me weep a little bit.

                                                        Kopi Cat

                                                          Why still no buff to Vanguard?

                                                          兄弟门.Astoria

                                                            okok can!!!

                                                            DaChongster

                                                              Mirana full stun duration left untouched. This is just an invitation to be more bad ass and land more of those 10000 year stuns