7.07 seems to have empowered carries more than ever, with classic hard carries, such as Anti-Mage, Morphling, and Medusa resurfacing. The creep equilibrium, as well as xp changes to creeps, makes it much easier to outlane the enemy offlaner and to deny xp. With Shrines pushed back further into the jungle, teams can’t play as aggressively into the enemy jungle as before.
In the last part of our Top Tier series, we take a look at the carry position and heroes that continue to excel in 7.07, both in pub and pro play.
Whenever a big balance patch comes around, pub players do a pretty good job of exploiting the strengths of a hero or two. These heroes tend to stick out like a sore thumb and will generally be nerfed in subsequent patches. For 7.07, one of those heroes was Anti-Mage.
Within a week, Anti-Mage went from a 49% win rate across all brackets to 55%, while his pick rate increased by 9% to 29% overall. Pub players realized that AM was incredibly strong, potentially too strong. With safelaners being more difficult to contest, a slightly cheaper Battle Fury and a new talent, Anti-Mage felt incredibly strong.
Since then, the new talent has been pushed to level 20. On top of that, Blink’s cooldown has been decreased by a second at level 4, and the new level 15 talents force Anti-Mage to choose between either a Blink cooldown reduction or 15 additional Agility.
The hero has been appropriately nerfed and is back to a 49% win rate, but he’s still a top tier pick, in the right situation. And as heroes like Medusa and Storm Spirit gain in popularity, Anti-Mage becomes more and more situational.
For a while now, Spectre has had a very high win rate (~55%) in pubs. She is difficult to kill and doesn’t need to play much with the team. Her split-push is annoying to deal with and she can join any teamfight at a moment’s notice. Her new talents also allow her to scale better than before, and by level 25 you might end up killing yourself before killing her.
Much like any other split pusher, Spectre thrives in chaos, but she can be more engaged with her team if need be, something that other split pushers can’t do. Spectre can come in for an easy kill and the popular Urn of Shadows build has become even better now that the item can be built into a Spirit Vessel, which has components that further help Spectre.
She is not nearly as popular in pro games as she is in pubs, as she generally doesn’t want to group up or siege towers at all. Even in pubs she isn’t exactly among the popular crowd (only 7% pick rate overall), but when she is a good pick, she really brings it home.
After his re-work, Tiny became one of the weakest heroes in the game and was in dire need of buffs. Icefrog obliged and addressed several issues, so much so that Tiny became too strong and had to be adjusted again. Since 7.07c, Tiny has been in a good place. While his pub win rate may not reflect that (46%), pro players have taken a liking to the hero. The new ability allows Tiny to farm ancients much quicker and earlier than before. In general, the hero seems to come online much quicker without relying on a Blink Dagger and has a lot of kill potential in lane. He also doesn't have to invest much into defensive items with the increased Status Resistance.
Tiny lanes well against most melee heroes and can even hold his own against ranged carries. More on Tiny in our Tiny blogpost.
Chaos Knight became a top pick in the European and CIS meta shortly after TI. The hero proved to be an incredibly valuable pick up with early fighting and pushing potential. Only few carries have as much killing potential in lane as CK, and what he lacks in flash farming abilities he can make up with a Midas.
CK’s physical burst with Phantasm is near unparalleled, and he’s incredibly difficult to kill as time goes on with only few defensive items.
Medusa and Razor are two rather popular and effective heroes at the moment, both in competitive play and pubs alike. One reason why these heroes are so strong is because of their laning flexibility. They can be played in virtually any lane, most notably mid and safelane. This allows pros and pubs to be more versatile during the draft, something that other carries don’t offer. More on these two heroes can be read up on in our Top Tier midlaners post.
Terrorblade will often be a top carry. His natural skillset makes it difficult for players to kill him without a certain amount of coordination or hard lockdown, and his pushing power will always make him a situational pick. He also doesn’t take as long to come online, a quality that sets him apart from other illusion based heroes who generally rely on the likes of Radiance and/or Octarine to shine.
For a while now, carries have taken a backseat in a lot of ways. With a large overlap in heroes with midlaners, carries/safelane heroes have become more sacrificial in the pro meta, which is why there's rarely a dedicated safelane hero among the most picked heroes at any event.