Buy Aghanim's Scepter OR ELSE
Every so often, a patch hits the original DOTA that changes a million things all at once. Then, about a week later, that patch hits Dota 2. These patches are infrequent enough to get used to them, yet frequent enough to expect them multiple times a year. The entire metagame is shaken and stirred, and people get really excited.
You can read all the juicy patch notes for Dota 2 here, or continue reading for my thoughts on most of the changes!
Hey, an Axe buff! Not sure that this will do anything in the grand scheme of things, but Axe is a really cool hero (his name is Axe!) and anything to make him more tempting to play is good in my eyes.
The first of many Aghanim's buffs in this patch. If you thought that his ultimate was good before, OH JEEZ. Luckily AA isn't exactly the best hero to farm Aghanim's, so only the first two buffs will likely play a part in most games.
A pretty significant reduction in Firefly vision and increase to early Flamebreaks, but I don't see Batrider going away in the competitive scene. He's still a really strong hero with the right positioning.
Now that his mobile ward is better, he truly is the "Bestmaster."
It's always disappointed me how one-note Bloodseeker is, but at least now that one note is a lot better. He can still get kited like crazy without his ultimate though.
Like Track needed a buff! Hmph.
Brewmaster might be my favorite carry to play, and he just got better. Aghanim's was pretty core on him already, so this buff should affect most of his games. He's also a bit one-note with his ultimate, but I sure do love micromanaging his spirits.
Easier to do bonus damage? That makes this little porcupine-thing happy! Bristleback is a badass hero, so I'm happy to see him buffed.
A buff to one of the best split-pushers in the game? Woohoo! I really hope she gets picked more in the competitive scene, but unless a team is going for hardcore pushing, I sort of doubt it. That miss chance sure is amazing though...
I'm terrible at Clinkz, and the Strafe cooldown isn't what was holding me back.
A slight nerf, though with the additional nerf to Black King Bar, this almost doesn't matter as much.
Crystal Maiden is one of my favorite supports, since she was the character I actually did well with early on in my career. She'll rarely be able to farm Aghanim's, and I personally don't level Freezing Field until late, but the mana regen buff is pretty sweet!
Take that! Dark Seer isn't going anywhere because of this. He'll still be an incredible offlane hero and super annoying to play against.
DAZZLE! Both of these buffs are amazing, especially the Shallow Grave buff. Better synergy with Omniknight and Black King Bar is always nice.
I hope Death Prophet makes something of a comeback, and with these changes it is definitely possible. Her Silence is now way more encompassing from the start and her passive way better.
Thunder Strike was already a situational spell, and I'm not sure how much these changes help that. Most people prefer to go for Glimpse in the early game, and Thunder Strike stinks in the late game, so it's usually overlooked. Maybe taking a point or two early on is worth it now, but I'm not 100% sure.
Prepare for Vroom Doom! The buff to Doom and to Aghanim's is amazing. Doom is one of my top 3 favorite heroes, and this is pretty exciting. Dooming a lone wanderer and then just hanging out near them will kill them, eventually! Blink, Force Staff, Phase Boots, and Drum, here I come!
FINALLY! No longer will players opt to skip leveling his Elder Form to level 2 for the loss of Corrosive Breath. This is a pretty big buff for Dragon Knight's mid-game.
An okay buff to her aura, but she'll still remain a niche pickup.
Woooo! Finally, someone to eat Phantom Lancer's stupid little face. If there's even a remote chance of the real Phantom Lancer being in a group of his illusions, just Blink in and SLAM!
I actually haven't played Elder Titan yet, but that armor reduction from Natural Order seems really awesome at 100%. I did play with one once, and he was really good at stealing my kills...
Aghanim's isn't unheard of on Enchantress, in fact it's pretty common if she's having a good game. Now, that game will start to go even better. This is a pretty powerful buff to her damage and ganking potential.
A pretty decent change, but I will still suck at Enigma and landing Black Holes.
Pretty serious nerf to Gyro, and I'm interested to see what kind of effect it has on those who play him. I think Gyro is a pretty boring hero, but he looks like Doctor Robotnik so I give him a pass.
"Removed from Captain's Mode because he's going to destroy EVERYONE" is what that last change should say. Huskar's new changes are absolutely ridiculous, turning one of the worst heroes into a powerhouse. I'm scared.
Math! I miss when Invoker was super popular, because watching talented players play him is a treat. These buffs are nice, but I'm not sure they are enough to pull people away from leveling Exort after his Strength nerf last time. Hopefully, they are.
Damn Wisp, you still good! Wisp will still be a super popular hero, but the sight nerf is a needed change. Expect to see Wisp for a while to come, as either a ban or pick.
Well, that's good!
Keeper of the Light
This, like Io, is also a nice change, but Keeper of the Light's strength isn't what made him such a popular pick. Still one of, if not the best counter-push in the game.
I love Kunkka! He joins Doom as one of my top three favorite heroes. A Ghost Ship buff is absolutely amazing, along with the X mana decrease. I'm really excited to jump into the new Kunkka.
What a buff! I love Lich's ultimate, and it just got a whole lot better. It has one of the best sound effects in the game -- so satisfying! PS - never group up when fighting a Lich. NEVER!
This hurts Lifestealer's early game a lot. Which in turn hurts his mid-game. He'll still be really popular and do well with the right supports backing him up, but this is a good nerf to keep him in check. Open Wounds was just too good.
If Lion manages to farm an Aghanim's and have enough mana to use his ultimate every 20 seconds, gg. Chances are, maybe one of those will happen in a game. Though perhaps we'll see Lion play a more active ganking/semi-carry role instead of support in order to achieve this. That, I'd like to see.
Ouch, Bear nerfs. Armlet had become almost mandatory on Lone Druid's Spirit Bear since it gained all the benefits with zero negatives. Now, however, I think that Lone Druid will fall more out of favor. That bounty change is also a much needed fix.
Armor! Yeah! Is it enough to bring him back into light? Nah, don't think so.
Pretty decent damage nerf, but the damage was a side effect of the main draw: the positioning. Magnus will still retain all of his effectiveness, he'll just lose a bit of burst damage.
Wow! Her new ultimate is really great, and actually turns people to stone, like it (conceptually) always should have! I watched syndereN play her in a public game and absolutely shut down team fights. Still a super boring farm-intensive hero, but that new ultimate might bring her into relevancy.
This is actually pretty significant, since it carries over to all Meepoes. The more survivable each one is, the better. Still an incredibly difficult hero to play as.
More buffs for Mirana! Yay! I really like playing as Mirana due to her skillshot and her ultimate, and now they're both better! I hope she sees more play competitively, and these buffs might just bring her there.
If you watched last year's International, you know that Morphling was picked or banned roughly 99% of the time. Since he got a nerf afterwards, I've seen him maybe once. I don't think this 0.1 change will do much, but to be honest, I think that's a good thing.
Naga Siren was also picked a lot during The International 2012, but I didn't mind it so much. Her song is kind of soothing, you know? As for this buff, it really helps her early game, but she'll likely remain unpicked in most matches.
People are FREAKING OUT about this change, and rightfully so. These buffs work in tandem, ensuring that any unit that dies while under Reaper's Scythe cannot buy back. Hopefully Necro gets picked more and this helps end the late-game stalemates that buy backs create.
Hey, this isn't in alphabetical order! What the heck, Valve. I TRUSTED YOU! I don't see these changes affecting Nyx too much, really. Does less damage but costs less mana early, is pretty much the same later on.
An early game buff for the early game monster. Night time has never been scarier.
Yay, Ogre Magi (or Ogre Magoo, as I affectionately call him), got a slight buff! Ignite is still kind of a crappy skill, though.
Gah! What a crazy change. Again, I'm not sure how often an Omniknight can farm an Aghanim's Scepter, but if he manages to then this would be nuts. Pretty much an extra fortification and saving grace from across the map.
Ganking is now just that much easier!
This is now the highest evasion in the game! 40% is a pretty significant rate, so hopefully she'll see some more use overall. She's a pretty great hero that's more effective in the mid game with the right items, so I think she'll no longer be overlooked by the majority of teams.
A pretty decent nerf, but I doubt PL is going anywhere. The "cancer" is still strong, though with the buff to Earthshaker and nerf to Black King Bar, perhaps we'll see less and less of PL in the future. A man can hope!
A deceivingly significant buff to Pudge, and I really hope he starts getting picked up more often. Love seeing this hero in action.
Pugna's pushing power increased, which could lead to him being picked up more in certain lineups. He's still a good counter to heroes like Skywrath Mage, so he'll remain a niche pickup for sure.
I really like Razor, and I think he'll be picked up more often now. His Static Link is just so good, and now Eye of the Storm and Unstable Current have received some serious buffs, making Razor a very viable pick in most situations.
Oh jeez, a Riki buff. The pubs will be filled with him even more now! Those half seconds are pretty significant and can save a life, so this buff is not to be underrated.
Sand King will continue to be semi- popular in the Eastern scene, but this won't change his popularity elsewhere.
Shadow Demon is incredibly popular right now, and I don't see these changes really changing that. Disruption is his main draw, and that remains unchanged. The Poison nerf is pretty big, since vision is so important in games.
Overall, I'd say this is a buff to Shadow Fiend. The slow has a lategame nerf, but the damage reduction gets a huge buff. HUGE! That really helps his survivability. I don't think it will make him super popular, but his niche pickups will just be that much better now.
Another Aghanim's buff! Hooray!
This Aghanim's Scepter buff is really cool. Adding a Curse of the Silent to all of the units in addition to increasing the duration is really good. Many teams use Silencer as a support, but for those that want him in a more semi-carry position, he'll be way better and more popular.
AHHHHH Skeleton King has more than one useable spell now! WHAT DO WE DO! Well, not much. Seeing this skill in action isn't too impressive, since the life you steal goes back to the target after 7 seconds. The annoying thing is that if SK is at full HP and steals life, he'll lose life equal to that amount afterwards, resulting in a net loss of HP.
I always thought Sprint has way too long of a cooldown, so I'm glad to see it reduced. Slardar is going to be mobile as hell now! Also happy to see his Bash damage go through Black King Bar now. You go, Slardar!
Shrapnel is better! Neat.
HOORAY. I played as Spirit Breaker the other day and forgot how lame this was. Charging someone who can blink or escape was a pain in the butt since they weren't Bashed. But now they are! A much needed fix, if you ask me.
Making Storm Spirit even better in the late game! SHIT.
Remember this guy? A year ago there wasn't a match without him! A buff to his ultimate is really nice, but until the metagame favors these type of heroes again, I don't think we'll see Tide hanging around.
HUGE Timbersaw buffs. Timbersaw is a blast to play and is tanky as all get-out, and I really hope to see him picked up more in the pro scene. PICK HIM UP, PEOPLE!
Toss buffs are nice, but Tiny will remain unpicked for a while to come, methinks. He was popular for a bit with Wisp (Io), but Chaos Knight has since filled that role better and more often.
Another Treant buff! He is the third of my top three favorite heroes (for those keeping score that is: Treant, Doom, and Kunkka) so I'm always happy to see him get better. That second buff in particular is very nice!
I don't know anything about this guy, really. It's nice to see him buffed, but I don't think he'll be relevant any time soon. Woops! These are nerfs. Must have switched "decreased" and "increased" when looking at them. Take that, I guess!
Slight buff to the Walrus! Nice.
Pretty big range increase here, which should really help Undying in certain situations. He'll stay as a rare niche pickup because of Tombstone though, not Soul Rip.
Wow, quite the significant duration increase here. Ursa can still be kited, but stomping pubs should be even easier now!
An early game buff to her ultimate is nice, but Vengeful just doesn't offer up too much to be picked up often. Plus it's hard to know when exactly to Swap.
Poor Venomancer. Keeper of the Light has stolen his counter-push thunder :(
I honestly forgot that Viper existed before I read this. I don't plan to remember for very long.
I like playing Witch Doctor, and the further away I can be to cast spells the better!
[Note: I'm not going to list all of them here. Just the ones I think are really important]
Black King Bar
This sixth level of decrease is four seconds. Four seconds! That is hardly enough time to do anything, which makes this way less of a factor in the late-late game. A pretty huge nerf, and I'm happy for it.
For those wondering, upon death with a Bloodstone, it heals nearby teammates for a good chunk of health. Being able to do that on command is pretty sweet, and forcing players to target the ground prevents any accidental activations. Hopefully...
HOLY CRAP a nerf to "Bottle Crowing," or sending the courier back and forth to refill the Bottle at the Fountain for the hero in the middle lane. 30% is a sizable slow, so hopefully we'll see less bottle crowing and camping the mid lane.
Gem of True Sight
An interesting change to a popular item, since usually destroying the Gem was preferred to take it off the map completely. I guess someone could still drop it off in the Fountain, but this changes the teamfight dynamics a bit more when a Gem is involved.
This should change the very beginning of the game pretty dramatically, since vision is so damn important.
Woohoo! Melee heroes with Quelling Blade can take down wards! This is a pretty cool change, and could even maybe possible help with last hitting.
This will hurt the ward's ability to block multiple creep spawns at once and should have a pretty great effect for junglers/supports.
These are CRAZY changes! I'm really interested to see how it affects the competitive scene, and which heroes will benefit from it.
Again, hopefully this helps with the late game stalemates that buybacks cause. It's really annoying to see games get longer and longer due to buybacks.
Sony does more for Vita than it gets credit for, but it's okay to be frustrated
4:00 PM on 08.13.2014
What's Up: Guardians of the Galaxy, gettin' zen with Sentris, and our dumb PAX panel
7:30 PM on 08.12.2014