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!
- Counter Helix cooldown decreased from 0.65/0.6/0.55/0.5 to 0.55/0.5/0.45/0.4
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.
- Ice Vortex cooldown decreased from 6 to 5
- Ice Blast base AoE increased from 225 to 275
- Added Aghanim’s Scepter (Ice Blast duration increased from 8/9/10 to 17)
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.
- Vision decreased from 1800/800 to 1400/800
- Flamebreak manacost increased from 80/100/120/140 to 140
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.
- Greater Hawk invisibility fade time decreased from 5 to 4
Now that his mobile ward is better, he truly is the “Bestmaster.”
- Strygwyr’s Thirst now gives you bonus 3/4/5/6 armor when active
- Bloodrage dispels the target before applying its buff
- Rupture damage is now HP loss
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.
- Track manacost from 70/60/50 to 50
Like Track needed a buff! Hmph.
- Aghanim’s Primal Split units now gain your current level of Drunken Brawler
- Fire Spirit no longer upgrades damage with Aghanim’s Scepter
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.
- Quill Spray hit memory increased from 10 to 14 seconds
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.
- Incapacitating Bite miss chance from 10/20/30/40% to 30/40/50/60%
- Spawn Spiderlings unit count increased from 1/2/3/3 to 1/2/3/4
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…
- Strafe cooldown decreased from 60/50/40/30 to 45/40/35/30
I’m terrible at Clinkz, and the Strafe cooldown isn’t what was holding me back.
- Power Cogs no longer knock back magic immune units
A slight nerf, though with the additional nerf to Black King Bar, this almost doesn’t matter as much.
- Brilliance Aura mana regen increased from 0.5/1/1.5/2 to 1/1.5/2/2.5
- Freezing Field explosion AoE increased from 215 to 230
- Aghanim’s Freezing Field’s attack speed reduction aura increased from -20 to -50
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!
- Vacuum cooldown increased from 22 to 24
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.
- Shadow Wave target count increased from 3/3/4/5 to 3/4/5/6
- Shallow Grave can now be cast on magic immune allies
DAZZLE! Both of these buffs are amazing, especially the Shallow Grave buff. Better synergy with Omniknight and Black King Bar is always nice.
- Movement speed decreased from 285 to 280
- Silence AoE increased from 200/275/350/350 to 350
- Witchcraft move speed bonus increased from 4/8/12/16% to 5/10/15/20%
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 from 3 strikes over 4 seconds to 4 strikes over 6 seconds
- Thunder Strike damage per strike decreased from 50/75/100/125 to 40/60/80/100
- Thunder Strike AoE increased from 200 to 240
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.
- Doom now disables Feast, Backtrack, Dispersion, Juxtapose, Bristleback and Blood Bath
- Aghanim’s Scepter upgrade duration reworked (duration doesn’t count down while near Doom)
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!
- Corrosive Breath passive from Level 1 Elder Form now carries over to Level 2 (the DPS)
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.
- Trueshot Aura increased from 14/18/22/26% to 16/20/24/28%
An okay buff to her aura, but she’ll still remain a niche pickup.
- Turn rate improved from 0.4 to 0.6
- Fissure range increased from 1200 to 1300
- Echo Slam now considers illusions as heroes
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!
- Ancestral Spirit vision type from Flying to Ground
- Natural Order aura increased from 20/40/60/80% to 25/50/75/100%
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 Scepter bonus attack range increased from 165 to 190
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.
- Malefice scaling reworked (now 3 ticks with 0.25/0.5/0.75/1 sec stun and 75/120/165/210 damage)
A pretty decent change, but I will still suck at Enigma and landing Black Holes.
- Flak Cannon cooldown increased from 20 to 30
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.
- Base Strength increased by 3
- Burning Spears DPS increased from 4/8/12/16 to 5/10/15/20
- Life Break HP cost increased from 35/30/25% to 40/35/30%
- Berserker’s Blood Reworked (now has 4/5/6/7% magic resistance and 8/12/16/20 attack speed per stack)
- Removed from Captain’s Mode
“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.
- Alacrity manacost decreased from 100 to 75
- Ghost Walk slow increased from 20/23/26/30/33/36/40 to 20/25/30/35/40/45/50
- Ghost Walk cooldown decreased from 60 to 35
- Tornado damage rescaled from 70+(Wex+Quas)*20 to 70+(2*Wex+Quas)*15
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.
- Spirits no longer provide vision, except temporarily when they collide with an enemy hero
- Overcharge hp/mp cost increased from 3.5% to 4.5%
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.
- Omnislash no longer jumps on Tombestone Zombies
Well, that’s good!
Keeper of the Light
- Base Strength decreased by 2
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.
- Ghost Ship damage increased from 300/400/500 to 350/450/550
- X Marks The Spot manacost decreased from 80/90/100/110 to 80
- X Marks The Spot vision from 1000 flying to 400 ground vision
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.
- Chainfrost bounce count increased from 7 to 10
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!
- Open Wounds cast range decreased from 600 to 200/300/400/500
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.
- Attack range increased from 625 to 635
- Mana Drain break and cast range improved by 100 (750/1100 -> 850/1200)
- Aghanim’s Finger of Death CD decreased from 160/100/40 to 100/60/20
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.
- Spirit Bear now has its HP drained by Armlet when active
- Spirit Bear bounty increased from 100 to 300
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 increased by 1 (Shapeshift total armor is still the same as before)
Armor! Yeah! Is it enough to bring him back into light? Nah, don’t think so.
- Reverse Polarity damaged decreased from 150/225/300 to 50/125/200
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.
- Stone Gaze Reworked
- Any unit facing Medusa will have its attack, movement and turn rate reduced by 50% until the end of the spell. If you accumulate 2 seconds time (in total) facing Medusa, you will turn to stone.
Stoned units are disabled, have 100% magic resistance and take extra damage from physical attacks.
View Angle Spread: 85
Gaze Duration: 6 seconds.
Stone Duration: 3 seconds
Bonus Physical Damage: 30/40/50%
Note: Kills illusions instead of petrifying them
- Removed from Captain’s Mode
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.
- Innate magic resistance increased from 25% to 35%
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.
- Elune’s Arrow now deals up to 100 extra damage based on distance the arrow traveled
- Moonlight Shadow cooldown decreased from 160/140/120 to 140/120/100
- Starfall will choose a new target for the second star if the first died before impact
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.
- Base attack time improved from 1.7 to 1.6
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.
- Rip Tide cooldown rescaled from 19/16/13/10 to 10
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.
- If a unit dies under Reaper’s Scythe, it will be credited to Necrolyte
- Aghanim’s Reaper’s Scythe causes buyback to be disabled on heroes it kills for that death
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.
- Mana Burn drain and damage decreased from 5x Int to 3.5/4/4.5/5x
- Mana Burn manacost rescaled from 130/120/110/100 to 100
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.
- Hunter in the Night attack speed rescaled from 30/45/60/75 to 45/55/65/75 (MS remains 20/25/30/35)
An early game buff for the early game monster. Night time has never been scarier.
- Ignite DPS increased from 26/32/38/44 to 26/34/42/50
Yay, Ogre Magi (or Ogre Magoo, as I affectionately call him), got a slight buff! Ignite is still kind of a crappy skill, though.
- Added Aghanim’s Scepter (Global and affects buildings)
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.
- Movement speed increased from 310 to 315
Ganking is now just that much easier!
- Blur level 4 evasion increased from 35% to 40%
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.
- Spirit Lance, Dopplewalk, Juxtapose and Phantom Edge illusions damage dealt decreased from 25% to 20%
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!
- Flesh Heap strength bonus increased from 0.9/1.2/1.5/1.8 to 1/1.5/2/2.5
A deceivingly significant buff to Pudge, and I really hope he starts getting picked up more often. Love seeing this hero in action.
- Nether Blast structure damage increased from 33% to 50%
- Decrepify can now target Tombstone
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.
- Eye of the Storm duration increased from 20/25/30 to 30
- Eye of the Storm strike interval decreased from 0.75/0.65/0.55 to 0.7/0.6/0.5 (Aghanim’s to 0.55/0.45/0.35)
- Unstable Current movement speed bonus increased from 3/6/9/12% to 4/8/12/16%
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.
- Permanent Invisibility fade time decreased from 3/2.25/1.5 to 3/2/1
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.
- Invisibility fade delay when exiting Sand Storm improved from 0.3/0.6/0.9/1.5 to 1.5
- Sand Storm now has a smoother damage interval (1->0.5, total damage is the same)
Sand King will continue to be semi- popular in the Eastern scene, but this won’t change his popularity elsewhere.
- Base Intelligence decreased by 3
- Shadow Poison no longer gives vision over the targets with the debuff
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.
- Requiem of Souls slow rescaled from 15/20/25% to 20%
- Requiem of Souls damage reduction increased from 15/20/25% to 50%
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.
- Aghanim’s Mass Serpent Wards damage increased from 53-59/74-79/94-100 to 85-90/105-110/125-130
Another Aghanim’s buff! Hooray!
- Global Silence now affects sleeping units
- Added Aghanim’s Scepter for Silencer (Adds CotS to all units and increases duration by one)
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.
- Reincarnation slow now affects attack speed as well
- Reincarnation slow happens immediately upon death rather than after reincarnating
- Critical Strike Reworked (Allows you to temporarily trade Critical Strike for a 7 second 20% max life drain)
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.
- Bash damage type from magical to physical
- Sprint cooldown decreased from 40 to 28
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 AoE increased from 360 to 400
Shrapnel is better! Neat.
- Charge of Darkness will now also Greater Bash its target
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.
- Electric Vortex cooldown decreased from 20 to 21/20/19/18
Making Storm Spirit even better in the late game! SHIT.
- Ravage AoE rescaled from 825/925/1025 to 1025
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.
- Base Strength increased by 3
- Int growth increased from 1.8 to 2.4
- Chakram initial manacost rescaled from 125/150/175 to 75/125/175
- Chakram move speed increased from 800 to 900
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 cooldown decreased from 10 to 9
- You can now Toss units to Runes
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.
- Leech Seed slow increased from 24% to 28%
- Leech Seed’s healing effect no longer ends when the target dies
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!
- Battle Trance cooldown increased from 20 to 30
- Battle Trance duration decreased from 10 to 7
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!
- Snowball cooldown decreased from 24 to 21
Slight buff to the Walrus! Nice.
- Soul Rip cast range increased from 650 to 750
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.
- Fury Swipes duration increased from 6 to 15
Wow, quite the significant duration increase here. Ursa can still be kited, but stomping pubs should be even easier now!
- Strength increased from 16 + 2.3 to 18 + 2.6
- Nether Swap cast range rescaled from 600/900/1200 to 650/925/1200
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.
- Poison Sting duration increased from 6/7/8/9 to 6/8/10/12
Poor Venomancer. Keeper of the Light has stolen his counter-push thunder 🙁
- Corrosive Skin affects any damage source not just regular attacks
- Viper Strike is no longer removed by Dark Pact or Kraken Shell
I honestly forgot that Viper existed before I read this. I don’t plan to remember for very long.
- Death Ward cast range rescaled from 300/350/400 to 400
- Maledict cast range increased from 400 to 525
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
- Magic Immunity now has a 6th level of decrease
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.
- Initial charges increased from 6 to 8
- Can be activated to instantly kill yourself (requires a ground target)
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…
- While empty, causes couriers to move 30% slower
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
- Gem can no longer be destroyed
- Gold cost increased from 700 to 850
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.
- Initial Stock now starts at 1 instead of 2
This should change the very beginning of the game pretty dramatically, since vision is so damn important.
- Can now target Observer or Sentry wards dealing 100 damage (wards have 200 hp)
- Cast range increased from 100 to 350
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.
- AoE decreased from 950 to 800:
This will hurt the ward’s ability to block multiple creep spawns at once and should have a pretty great effect for junglers/supports.
- Captain’s Mode bans changed from 2/3 to 2/2/1
- Captain’s Mode picks changed from 3/2 to 2/2/1
These are CRAZY changes! I’m really interested to see how it affects the competitive scene, and which heroes will benefit from it.
- Buy back cooldown increased from 5 to 6 minutes
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.