The Problematic Concept of the Current Patch – DOTABUFF

We got a chance to watch the Riyadh Masters Group Stage and while the general meta is in a healthier place overall, there are still some problematic things in it, which aren’t necessarily hero related, but rather concept related. Today we want to talk about some of the potential changes that could make the meta more open.

The Dispel mechanic is very strong and it is one of the reasons why some heroes completely drop out of the meta, or look very weak at 25 minutes. Heroes like Magnus Magnus and Ursa Ursa is not popular in the professional arena because it is difficult to fight with ~5,000 gold items. Even Blood seeker Bloodseeker was much weaker than it was a few months ago simply because since then most players had realized how powerful the Nullifier was.

The issue we had with it wasn’t about how well it worked, but rather that it worked through Debuff Immunity. There’s no opponent for that: you can’t hide behind Black King Bar Black King Bar, even temporarily. Perhaps this could be something that changes in the next patch, with the Nullifier effect suppressed during Debuff Immunity.

That would allow for more counterattacks on both sides, would require more strategic use of the BKB and Nullifiers and would leave some heroes on the defensive once again. Additionally, it could theoretically make Nullifiers less popular, increasing the durability of supports, who otherwise couldn’t take full advantage of their item backlog.

7.33 introduces one big indirect nerf Linkenball Linkenball. It is now possible to crack it through the Black King Bar, making the item much weaker. It’s still pretty good and still necessary for some of the bigger ultimates, but we felt it could use a little tweaking, especially in games with Rubik Rubik. It’s currently nearly impossible to protect yourself while using any channeling spell.

Therefore, for example, Puzzles Enigma is to be exaggerated in some of its other aspects. Malefice now has 165 damage for 100 mana, making it the best level one “stun” in the game in terms of damage and damage conversion to mana. But this reverse ability is necessary to keep the hero afloat in a game where he can no longer protect himself with the BKB+Linkens combo.

Indirectly it also reduces the effectiveness and viability of similar heroes Magician Warlock, which is not needed. You can always turn off Black Hole Enigma (or any other powerful channeling spell) with a Rubick or, basically, any cheap targeted ability or item. So having an AoE stun that penetrates the BKB is completely unnecessary, even though it is very powerful in theory.

There’s no elegant solution to this problem that we can think of, and we’re not even sure how big of a problem it is, but perhaps Linkens could be a bit less efficient when it comes to damage to Universal heroes, while getting better when used for their intended purpose.

Finally, there is an elephant in the room. Universal heroes are still a bit too powerful as a right-click core. Nerf Empty Spirit Empty Spirit and Abaddon Abaddon, we understand Windrangers Windrangers. Nerf [windranger]? Well, there is parent mother parent mother. After parent mother Mother mother nerf, now Lycans Lycans and Snap Snap time. Six of the ten most contested heroes from the Riyadh Masters are Universal heroes.

On top of that, these Universal heroes that get nerfed usually get massive stat drops, resulting in some of the weakest heroes in the game being more or less playable at any skill level above average. The end result was several Universal heroes becoming trendsetters of the patch, dominating most of the contest’s rosters. While some, like Captivating Dazzle, is not selectable, unless you are intentionally trying to ruin the game for your team.

We feel the initial 0.6 damage per level is more balanced and it’s possible we’ll see some of the changes rolled back at some point. As it stands, many of today’s Universal heroes are popular not because of their unique traits, but simply because of their stats, usurping their own identity. When we see Curse Bane carry, we will know the game is too far.

It’s really hard to complain about the current meta. There are only three heroes with 80%+ contest rate and only seven with 70%+ popularity. It’s definitely not as heavy as the Majors and generally a lot more diverse.

That said, there are still some worrying trends and in preparation for International, we hope to see some minor hero adjustments. Or at least some buffs for the eight heroes that were completely overlooked.

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