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Musings on the Dota 2 6.81 patch - Destructoid

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Musings on the Dota 2 6.81 patch


12:00 PM on 05.05.2014
Dota patch analysisMusings on the Dota 2 6.81 patch photo



A new update just hit Dota 2, and it brought with it another slew of balance changes in the form of the 6.81 patch. Buffs and nerfs abound, and the future of the game has changed once again. Many have claimed that the 6.80 version of the game was really damn good, and I would certainly agree. Changes had to be made to certain Heroes though, and Icefrog is not one to keep us waiting for long.

I'm not including every single change here, but I have included the ones I feel are worth talking about. I'm also not talking about the bug fixes specifically, but let it be known that the Dota 2 team at Valve really went all out for fixing so many bugs in this patch, including ones that they just introduced (like the Vengeful Spirit bug)!

And please! Let's discuss this patch in the comments. We're already seeing some interesting tournament picks (Sniper?!) which is exciting!


Treant Protector is my favorite Hero, and remains untouched in 6.81! He's still first pick/ban material for many teams. I'm so proud of him.


 Abaddon 

  • Aghanim's Scepter Borrowed Time now redirects 35% of all damage dealt to nearby allied heroes to Abaddon when active

Pretty big buff for Abaddon. This will make him a much more clutch Hero than he already is. Nearby teammate potentially going down? BOOM, Aghs ult can save them. With a 900 range on this bad boy, I expect some premium teammate saves to be seen.

 Ancient Apparition
  • Chilling Touch attack speed reduction increased from -15 to -20

Some people have always defending Chilling Touch, especially when concerning the early game, but this certainly doesn't help. Those five extra points could be the difference between securing First Blood and giving up First Blood. I'd have to see the change in action first though.

 Axe
  • Counter Helix now uses Pseudo Random chance

I always wondered why this wasn't already the case. No more helicopter Axe, but also no more regular non-spinny Axe. This is a great change and I'm not sure it's a nerf or a buff. 

 Bestmaster
  • Base damage increased by 4

Again, if going mid this could be pretty significant, but won't matter much otherwise. Personally, I love Beastmaster and would like to see him picked up more, even if he tends to just be a walking ult + Hawk.

 Bloodseeker
  • Bloodrage cast point improved from 0.6 to 0.4
  • Bloodrage can no longer be dispelled 

Bloodseeker gets even better! This Hero has really come into his own recently, although the pro scene doesn't seem to recognize this. A NINE second silence at level 4 that can't be dispelled? You could put this one TWO people with a three second overlap. That's ridiculous! Huge buff to Bloodseeker.

 Brewmaster
  • If you have not attacked for 10 seconds, your next attack will always activate a Drunken Brawler critical hit
  • If you have not been attacked for 10 seconds, Drunken Brawler will cause you to evade the next attack

This also carries over to the Fire Spirit when Primal Split is active, and really sounds like an interesting buff. Brewmaster is one of the carries I feel decently competent playing, and I'm happy to see anything to help him out. I know Eastern teams favor him more at the moment, and I hope this helps people remember to bring him back into certain lineups! 

 Broodmother
  • Spiderling's Poison Sting damage per second increased from 4 to 8
  • Spin Web's free pathing no longer deactivates when enemy has vision on Broodmother
  • Spin Web's free pathing is now disabled for 3 seconds when Broodmother takes damage
  • Insatiable Hunger lifesteal increased from 40/60/80% to 60/80/100%

Hooray! Broodmother isn't complete garbage anymore! I don't think Brood is a terrible Hero, but I do think that something needs to be done to allow her to be able to help teammates in an instant. Someone smarter than me suggested giving her webs charges, which sounds like a real good solution, and would allow her to TP to a tower to help her team when needed.

 Chaos Knight
  • Phantasm now has a 50% chance to create one extra illusion when cast

Good buff to Chaos Knight, as that extra illusion can really help his early game. Hell, it can always help. It never hurts to have more illusions on an illusion Hero. Just like Brewmaster, I hope this change brings Chaos Knight back into the conversation for certain lineups.

 Dazzle
  • Poison Touch no longer causes a ministun

This is actually a pretty big dent into Dazzle's game. Poison Touch is already a great skill so removing the ministun probably won't remove Dazzle from the competitive scene, but it's a good way to balance an already popular Hero without crushing him.

 DOOM!
  • Doom damage no longer ignores magic shields 

Awww, I liked the fact that literally nothing affected Doom's efficiency. Stupid Pipe of Insight...

 Drow Ranger
  • Gust knockback duration increased from 0.2 to 0.5

I actually just played a game where this could have made a difference. Our Nyx was chasing a very low Drow Ranger, and as a last ditch effort she threw out a Gust, only to immediately die. That extra 0.3 seconds is actually enough to allow Drow to turn around and create space between her and a melee Hero.

 Earthshaker
  • Creeps no longer try to path around Fissure; they will wait for it to disappear
  • Echo Slam no longer ignores units that are invisible or in Fog of War

Yay! No more cheesy creep strats that are lame. Also, the second fix is another one that just makes sense and should have always been that way.

 Elder Titan
  • Echo Stomp mana cost reduced from 100/115/130/145 to 100
  • Echo Stomp physical and magical damage increased from 80 to 80/85/90/95 each

Woah, pretty huge buff to Echo Stomp here. Now if only I had any idea how to use this Hero effectively.

 Ember Spirit
  • Searing Chains duration reduced from 2/2/3/3 to 1/2/2/3 
  • Sleight of Fist bonus damage reduced from 30/60/90/120 to 20/40/60/80

Ember Spirit is everywhere these days. This is a pretty big hit to not only his early game thanks to the Searing Chains nerf, but his overall effectiveness with his Sleight of Fist damage nerf. That damage nerf is HUGE! His risk vs. reward ratio is slightly lessened, but I'm not sure this will make him disappear from the competitive scene.

 Enigma
  • Midnight Pulse area of effect increased from 400 to 600

THIS IS HUGE. Clearing trees is now Enigma's job. Sorry, Timbersaw.

 Faceless Void
  • Base agility increased from 21 to 23
  • Turn rate improved from 0.5 to 1

Didn't really expect Faceless to be buffed here. He's a really solid Hero that just got that much better. He fills the hard carry role better than most and I'm sure we'll see him more and more in lineups.

 Gyrocopter
  • Homing Missile now hits invisible units
  • Homing Missile hits required to destroy increased from 3 to 3/3/4/5

BIG buff to Homing Missile here. I believe that these buffs can rocket Gyrocopter back into the pro scene. Homing Missile is such an interesting move, and I'm glad to see it buffed up.

 Huskar
  • Burning Spears is no longer a Unique Attack Modifier

As great a buff as this is, I don't think it will help Huskar competitively. As for pubs, WATCH OUT for Huskar because I hate that guy ugh.

 Invoker
  • Ghost Walk slow no longer affects magic immune enemies
  • EMP delay increased from 2.6 to 2.9

The EMP change is one that needed to happen. I'm glad it did, because it brings Invoker into the realm of not being so ridiculous. I don't think this will do much to hurt his presence, just a fix that normalizes him.


Comparison of Jakiro's ultimate from 6.80 to the new 6.81. Image courtesy of reddit user dodek1000.

 Jakiro
  • Dual Breath range increased by 50
  • Liquid Fire level 4 cooldown reduced from 5 to 4
  • Aghanim's Scepter Macropyre duration increased from 7 to 14
  • Aghanim's Scepter Macropyre range increased from 1350 to 1800 

THESE ARE AMAZING. Have you seen the new distance on Macropyre? IT'S HUGE! Throw it up towards the tier 3 tower because why not? It lasts 14 seconds! Jakiro is back baby, and here's not going anywhere until they change him again.

 Keeper of the Light
  • Added Aghanim's Scepter upgrade: Provides permanent Spirit Form. Additionally, the following effects are active during the day: Keeper of the Light gains unobstructed vision and Illuminate heals allies for 75% of the damage values

Day Keeper. This is a good change. I don't see it as groundbreaking or first pick/ban material, but as something that changes the way the Hero plays for the better. 

 Kunkka
  • Torrent area of effect increased from 215 to 225
  • X Marks The Spot can now last twice as long on allied heroes
  • Ghost Ship allied buff duration increased from 8 to 10
  • Add Ghost Ship AOE indicator for allies

The X Marks The Spot change is the most interesting here, since it allows teammates to base travel and heal up real quick if they need to! I expect to attempt this and be a second too late on casting X, making my teammate simply travel home. I'm sorry, future teammates.

 Lich
  • Frost Armor can now be cast on buildings
  • Aghanim's Scepter Chain Frost no longer has a bounce limit

LICH BUFFS! More building spells always make me happy, and the Chain Frost buff is ridiculous. These could theoretically turn Lich into an anti-push hero, who can transition pretty well into something else. I really hope to see more Lich, though I don't think the "Ancients Trap" is anything really noteworthy here.

 Lina
  • Attack range increased from 650 to 670
  • Aghanim's Scepter Laguna Blade damage goes through magic immunity 

I'm glad Lina's ult finally got a buff that separates it from Lion's. She really needed that, since her ult really was lackluster in comparison.

 Magnus
  • Removed Skewer maximum target limit
  • Skewer range increased from 600/800/1000/1200 to 750/900/1050/1200

We could see return of the magnanimous Magnus! These are both good buffs and really help out Magnus' early game. Perhaps more Magnus + Enigma combos are in our future? I'm always up for more "wombo combos" so count me in!

 Medusa
  • Split Shot reworked from 50/60/70/80% damage with 5 maximum targets, to 80% damage with 2/3/4/5 maximum targets
  • Mystic Snake no longer requires Fog of War vision to bounce
  • Mana Shield damage absorption per mana increased from 1/1.5/2/2.5 to 1.6/1.9/2.2/2.5

These are incredible buffs to Medusa. So incredible, in fact, that I could see competitive teams building team compositions with her in mind. I'm not generally a fan of super-farm Heroes, but I love Medusa's ultimate ability and I feel bad that I've literally never seen her in any major tournament since she was added to the game. All of these fixes dramatically change this Hero, and I'm keeping my fingers crossed to see Medusa in some games.

 Necrophos
  • Heartstopper Aura area of effect increased from 1000 to 1200
  • Reaper's Scythe now adds +30% duration to the respawn timer

Necrophos just keeps getting better! As if Heartstopper wasn't already super annoying (especially in mid), the range is even further! His ultimate buff, combined with the recent disabling of buyback, is going to be incredibly frustrating. Unless he's on my team. In which case, BOOYA!

 Ogre Magi
  • Base armor increased by 1
  • Cast animation improved from 0.56 to 0.45

Literally no damage.

 Omniknight
  • Purification area of effect increased from 225 to 240
  • Repel no longer removes positive buffs from allies
  • Guardian Angel duration increased from 5/6/7 to 6/7/8
  • Aghanim's Scepter Guardian Angel duration increased from 5/6/7 to 8/9/10

The biggest change here is the Repel fix. This change rockets Repel's effectiveness, and thus Omniknight's effectiveness, through the roof! He'll fit certain lineups very well now, especially in 4-protect-1 scenarios.

 Phantom Assassin
  • Stifling Dagger cooldown reduced from 8 to 6
  • Blur evasion chance increased from 20/25/30/40 to 20/30/40/50

Holy shit, 50% evasion chance at level 4? That. Is. Ridiculous. I definitely expect for Phantom Assassin carries to be picked from here on out. FIFTY PERCENT!

Riki 
  • Backstab now works when attacking allied units

Et tu, Riki?

 Shadow Demon
  • Added Aghanim's Scepter upgrade: Demonic Purge cooldown replaced with two charges that have a 40 second replenish time

This is an awesome change! Imagine Purging two characters at once? That could change a teamfight real quick. Shadow Demon is already a very popular Hero, and he just got so much better!


Here is a video of some of the highlights of this patch in action. Courtesy of YouTube user diesmiling666.

 Terrorblade
  • Strength gain reduced from 1.9 to 1.4
  • Reflection slow no longer persists through magic immunity
  • Reflection duration rebalanced from 5 to 2.5/3.5/4.5/5.5

Terrorblade needed a nerf, and I think this is a pretty decent one. That Reflection slow at level 1 was absolutely ridiculous, and I am very thankful that it changed. Now if only I could convince my teams to actually gank him early on so he doesn't become unstoppable later...

 Tidehunter
  • Anchor Smash damage reduction increased from 40 to 60%
  • Anchor Smash now works on Ancient creeps

Sixty percent! Anchor Smash working on Ancients! Is Tidehunter coming back? I hope so, he's always been one of my favorite Heroes to play and watch, thanks to his ability to make BIG PLAYS. Serious though, huge buff here to Tidehunter and I really hope it brings him back into the scene. [insert joke about making a "big splash" here]

 Tusk
  • Reworked Snowball into a two-part ability: one which creates the snowball, and a sub-ability to launch the snowball. You have up to 4 seconds to use the sub-ability. The area that automatically pulls allies in has been reduced. 
  • You can now load an ally into your snowball within 400 range by right clicking on them
  • Snowball moves 75 MS faster for each allied hero inside it
  • Snowball deals 20/30/40/50 extra damage for each additional hero in it

This Snowball rework is really interesting. I've liked Tusk conceptually since the beginning, but have always had a hard time finding a place to put him on teams. This change can make him a solid initiator, or even a roaming ganker? I'm still a bit unsure, really. Where does Tusk fit in for everyone else?

 Undying
  • Soul Rip area of effect increased from 975 to 1300
  • Tombstone Zombie Deathlust's Max % health threshold increased from 5/10/15/20% to 20/25/30/35%
  • Tombstone Zombies no longer give any experience or gold
  • Tombstone Bounty increased from 70/90/110/130 to 75/100/125/150
  • Flesh Golem's Plague Aura now affects magic immune units

Undying has always been a great Hero, but he doesn't fit the most popular lineups currently. These buffs make it seem worth it to change up lineups around Undying. Tombstone is one of the best skills in the game thanks to its great utility, and it just got better! Combined with the Soul Rip and Flesh Golem buffs, I can't wait to continue picking Undying every chance I get.

 Ursa
  • Fury Swipes is no longer a Unique Attack Modifier

AAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH. This is ridiculous. Ursa with a Satanic? Or Desolater? :(

 Vengeful Spirit
  • When Vengeful Spirit is slain, her killer is inflicted with a negative Vengeance Aura, which decreases the damage of her killer and their nearby allies, until she revives 

Hooray! Finally a Hero that encourages me to do what I'm already best at: dying! This jives so well with her ultimate that I think it's a great change to an already wonderful Hero. 

 Visage
  • Grave Chill cooldown increased from 10 to 16/14/12/10

A pretty big hit to Visage's early game, but I don't know that it will affect his popularity that much. He's still very strong in particular tri-lane lineups.

 Windranger
  • Activating Windrun now disjoints incoming attack projectiles
  • Aghanim's Scepter Focus Fire damage reduction decreased from -50/-40/-30 to -30/-15/0, and no longer has special rules for procs

This Windrun change is another change that just makes sense. I always thought it disjointed projectiles until I actually tried to do so myself. Also Kudos to Icefrog for making Focus Fire more appealing thanks to Aghanim's, but it seems as if getting a Scepter on Windranger feels like money wasted, except for maybe some niche builds and situations.

 Zeus
  • Arc Lightning cast point improved from 0.4 to 0.2
  • Lightning Bolt true sight range reduced from 900 to 750
  • Lightning Bolt flying vision range reduced from 1000 to 750
  • Lightning Bolt can now be cast on the ground, affecting the closest enemy hero in a 250 range

Zeus! A Hero I always completely forget about always. These changes to Lightning Bolt make the Hero much more appealing. I am very curious to see how this affects Zeus' popularity. I don't want to make any crazy assumptions like "ZEUS MID NEW META," but it's certainly possible with these changes. All it takes is one team to find his true potential and it will snowball from there...





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