The wait is finally over and Dota 2 has received a massive update which will most definitely have a huge impact on the game. Love it or hate it, there is no turning back and the game we all know is going to be different in many regards. Unlike most patches, this one does not simply change the balance of power on the battlefield, but changes the battlefield itself. Many familiar heroes will see changes which will alter their playstyle completely, while others might find new paths to victory with the new items. It is still Dota, but it will take some time adjusting to it and we are here to help you with that.
Unlike previous patch note analyses, we shall not go over all the small number tweaks, but rather focus on the most important changes. There is very little to discuss when minor nerfs/buffs are concerned and most players will be able to drive conclusions of their own. So, without further ado — 6.86 Patch Analysis.
Causes all spell cooldowns to be reduced by 30% and mana costs to be reduced by 50%. Lasts for 50 seconds.
This rune is quite strong at practically any stage of the game. My initial thought was that it is incredibly overpowered and too gamebreaking, but it is probably not the case, since it will rarely result in a huge DPS increase.
Early game, a caster mid, such as Zeus, Lina or even Shadow Fiend can get a decent advantage over the enemy with cheaper spam. In the later stages, it can make active heroes a lot more potent - imagine Bristleback or Ember Spirit with this cooldown reduction.
Yet all of this falls into the situational category and the situations where this rune is going to be absolutely overpowered are going to be as rare as with pretty much every other rune. What Illusion was to Naga Siren and Chaos Knight, what Haste was to Templar Assassin and what Double Damage was to practically any carry is what Arcane is going to be to casters, which seem to be the focus of this patch.
The other reason this rune addition is somewhat necessary, is the slight Bottle nerfs. 30 mana less per full bottle (3 charges used) is indeed a big deal in the early stages of the game.
With a focus on casters and Arcane rune the 30 HP buff to all heroes seems logical. It also makes a lot of squishy heroes better off and increases the value of early-game armor/damage block. It also slightly buffs the offlane.
Quite a lot of changes to the Dire offlane. This change promotes parity between Radiant and Dire in terms of creep pulls for the offlane, which might be what the game needed. Frankfurt Major was not significantly Dire favored (~60%) and many top teams (EG and VP in The Summit 4 for example) now actually go for Radiant when they get the chance, hence this change is justified, despite Roshan Advantage.
This change aims to counterweight potential neutral creeps abuse with the Arcane rune, as well as force certain heroes to be more active rather than catch up using stacked camps. Storm Spirit, Lina, Shadow Fiend and many others will take a huge hit to their flash-farming and this indirect nerf seems logical, given the state the game was in the previous couple of patches where the jungling catch-up mechanism was way too strong on certain heroes. It is also an indirect buff to splash/cleave heroes, since they are comparatively better off, as well as an interesting way for Chen and Enchantress to protect their herd. In fact, this change might make heavy pushing strategies viable again.
Fireball and Frenzy are incredibly strong active abilities — a 300 AoE 85 DPS void zone is good on its own, but with a set up can become completely crazy (both in terms of fighting and farming), while a 75 AS increase which can be kept on a single target indefinitely is a boost which cannot be underrated. Of course, so far the only heroes who can actually utilize these spells are Chen and Lifestealer, so it is a decent buff to them.
Other changes are not as exciting, but the extra 2 regeneration from Satyr Tormentor can make a lot of difference for the offlane Doom, while making camps harder to farm. The shockwave buff/nerf is also slightly better for pushing the lane.
Finally, the underrated Hill Troll Priest's Mana Aura might become a thing to help mana intensive heroes — it is actually already quite decent on Doom and can be even used by Chen to boost his midlane by a huge margin — with 30 HP/sec heal and 3 extra mana regeneration, the potential is comparable to Harpy bullying.
Roshan is now capable of fighting back better, making him slightly riskier in the earlier stages as well as nerfing AS slowing heroes. Overall, it is not a big change.
No mana cost reduction on Crypt Swarm and Silence is a rather high price to pay for an ability which seems strong on paper, but will probably be quite underwhelming in practice. A 300 units break distance is rather small and it will unlikely allow the hero to use it effectively until later into the game with proper itemization. Fortunately, the cast time on it seems smaller than on her other spells — for a spell which breaks at 300 it can make a lot of difference. Another important thing to note is that it is pure damage and it pierces spell immunity. Even if it breaks right after the initial cast, it is still going to deal some damage and slow for 18%. A reliable slow is something the hero direly needed.
Overall, the hero seems a lot stronger early in the game with a possible mid dominance — Arcane rune is certainly going to be helpful, given how limited the mana pool on the hero is. Later in the game she can actually become a much better fighter with a good sustain without losing much in the pushing department. Given how meta has a high chance of shifting towards more active pushing, she will be an excellent fit.
With the lowest BAT in the game, it is pretty safe to say that Doom's days of being the auto-attacking core are numbered. His utility build was already stronger than right click one and the changes introduced in this patch only solidify this.
The nerfs to Scorched Earth are well-justified, as the spell was too strong even after the 6.85b, but the overall impact of this change is not going to be huge.
What is going to be rather huge is the new DoT which replaced LVL? Death — for a decreased manacost and cooldown, the ability got lower damage and "melee cast range", while disabling blinks. It is also no longer conditional — the whole level multiplier mechanics was weird to say the least and it might be a change for better. The mini-stun component also pierces spell immunity now, which was one of the LVL? Death downsides — you sometimes had to commit Doom on a sub-optimal target just to break a strong channeling. It is also a 160+X magic damage DoT at level 1. Sigh...
A multitude of decent stats nerfs and the loss of regeneration from Cloak and Dagger hardly outweighs a better skill progression and a new exciting ultimate, which is essentially a "channeling" Sleight of Fist in a slightly smaller AoE. Given a proper set up it can be one of the most devastating spells in the game.
On the negative side, we have a rather huge cooldown on the new ultimate - it does feel slightly out of place for a rather active hero. The "Big Ultimate" is not exactly what was expected of the hero previously, however, his new Cloak and Daggers, which combined the important aspects of two previous spells will probably allow for the legacy playstyle, albeit with a lower effectiveness and higher risk.
Getting rid of Synergy was probably among the better options for the hero — these "skill to improve other skills" barely added anything interesting to the heroes in the game. Savage Roar, however, is not exactly the replacement we were expecting. It is not a bad spell by any means, and it does fit the "rat" theme of the hero very well, yet as an independent ability is seems underwhelming.
It is not exactly a disable in the common sense, but rather an escape mechanism. A very unique one, since it forces your opponent to move, rather than move yourself. In fights it has the potential of becoming either an amazing setup or a reliability — there are simply too many scenarios of how it can work.
Is the hero viable now? He does seem a fair share stronger, given how he practically haven't lost anything, but only gained a new ability. At the same time, it is all going to depend on the meta. With a heavy pushing strategies potentially coming into play, Lone Druid might not find a place for himself - he can't outpush well and he can't push as fast as Death Prophet, for example.
The hero now definitely allows for more "clutch" plays and flashy highlights, but is he stronger? No longer being a one-trick pony might suit Faceless Void well, given how his ability to stay alive is no longer reliant on random. The Time Dilation seems like a very strong spell, since if used correctly and against the right targets, it can ensure a very good teamfight even without the chronosphere. The possibility of 10-20% slow for 9 seconds is also quite scary.
I would not be surprised, if we see Faceless Void get Blink Dagger in the current patch. He frequently was an initiator for the team and with the Time Walk rework his initiation will no longer be as efficient. Additionally, Blink Dagger does not telegraph your movement prior to the initiation, giving less time for the enemy to react.
It will probably take time before the hero is fully figured out, hence we shall not speculate more, however his abilities do seem promising and a lot more unique.
6.86 feature a multitude of new Aghanim's Scepter additions and they all look quite promising. Some of them can be actually considered core on their respective heroes.
Apart from the obvious AoE slow aspect, there is also the "quality of life" improvement with the new upgrade. By no longer requiring to target the enemy the spell is going to be a lot easier to use and will help against juking enemies. Given how the hero benefits rather well from stats/mana, it might be a worthwhile pick-up.
Marksmanship now causes her attacks to splinter on the target and split into two arrows affecting two random units in a 375 radius. The splintered arrows deal 50% damage each. Primary target still takes full damage.
The split arrows act as normal attacks, carrying all attack modifiers.
Good stats and better farming on a hero with an already decent farming potential — this upgrade seem exceptionally strong. It gives the hero much needed HP and allows for better scaling into the late game. Given how she already has naturally high damage/attack speed, it might be the case she no longer needs to go full glass cannon to be effective. The fact that all UAMs work from split arrows makes it even better. Her slow is among the strongest in the game and I will not be surprised if we see more of her in the future.
Ghost Ship now drags enemies within a 200 AoE of it towards the crash site. It now starts from where you are, rather than behind you, lands in the same position it normally would have.
Enemies are still able to perform actions while being pulled by the Ghost Ship.
It gets to the destination faster and actually pulls heroes with it to the stun location - this is easily among the most essential items on support Kunkka and can be good on core one as well.
Additionally, the changes to Tidebringer which now allow you to use it when you want to do so (same mechanics as Liquid Fire) makes the hero a lot stronger in practically every position. Overall, the hero seems to be substantially buffed and has the potential of getting into the pro scene. Probably in the Chinese region at first — they are the only region which never completely gave up on the hero so I strongly recommend watching some Chinese tournaments if you are interested in playing/learning the hero.
Changes Empower to be an allied hero aura. Affects ranged heroes for half values and causes them to deal splash damage around the target in a 200 AoE.
Can still be cast on units, but does not stack.
+25% base damage and +25% splash damage on ranged targets seems not worth it, to be honest. Might be good paired with naturally high damage ranged heroes, but otherwise this upgrade is completely skippable — it just doesn't offer much, since you can just cast Empower on the allies which need it.
The previous upgrade is now part of the Dismember, so it is already a decently sized buff to the hero even without the upgrade. The upgrade itself is... amazing, really. Even without the extra damage, being able to hook every 4 seconds and having mana for multiple hooks might as well bring hero into the professional scene and high level public matchmaking. A combination of Hook-Dismember-Hook deals tons of damage, while unreliability of Hook as an initiation tool is outweighed by the increased amount of tries you get in a time period. It is going to be interesting to see how it plays out, but I have extremely high hopes for these changes.
Doubles Burrowstrike cast range and applies Caustic Finale poison to heroes
Note: No longer grants previous Scepter bonuses.
The previous upgrade was honestly not worth it — a Veil of Discord actually gave comparable amount of extra damage at half the price. This, however, is potentially a game changer. With double the range on Burrowstrike, there might no longer be need for a Blink Dagger. The difference between 1100 and 1200 range is minuscule and the animation is almost instant, since you will not lose a lot of damage damage from the Epicenter
This theory will certainly need testing, but in the right hands Blink-less Sand King might work.
Requiem of Souls waves now return back to Shadow Fiend dealing 40% damage on the way back.
All of the damage the Requiem does to heroes on its way back heals you.
A 40% damage increase on ultimate and potentially a great heal - not exactly what the hero needed, unless you go for a very situational Eul's Scepter of Divinity build. Becoming a right-clicking machines is the ultimate goal for the hero and the upgrade seems quite out of place.
AoE: 240 Projectile speed: 1500 Cooldown: 7
Ok, 1800 range is huge and it is pretty much the only thing going on for this upgrade. Being able to hit multiple targets for an AoE slow and armor reduction is pretty good, but is it worth 4200 gold? In my opinion - it can, but there are better options such as Mekansm, Force Staff or even a Solar Crest, all of which cost less.
However, it can be good against certain initiators — hitting them with a fast projectile over a huge range can be fight-turning.
This is actually a really good upgrade — being able to live through practically any burst even from a blink-initiation is something only Abaddon can boast, and he is not exactly the best core material. If your team lacks saving mechanism, Aghs pick up can be the best thing you can get. And the cooldown reduction almost ensures multiple uses in a single fight.
If I understand correctly, the item auras will still work, yet even if they didn't, it would still be one of the best upgrades not only in this patch, but in the game as a whole. Not only will your team benefit from your death with damage reduction from Vengeance Aura, but they also get to retain the +damage one, making a [missing skill: dazzle-weave-5236]-level swing in DPS output of both teams, only without the need to wait for it to get stronger.
Costs: 75 gold
Provides: + 2 Damage
Use: Consume the Faerie Fire to restore 75 HP. Cooldown: 5 seconds.
It is quite unclear what this new item is useful for - for 75 gold it gives very little in terms of damage for it to make an impact, so the idea behind it has to be the burst heal, akin to Enchanted Mango with its burst mana. It can be good as a starting item for a mid hero who might get ganked, since in the borderline cases it will probably allow him to secure an extra last hit he otherwise would not, effectively giving back half the price of the item. Otherwise - probably a very mediocre consumable with a very narrow use for it to have a huge impact on the game. Though, you can start with 6 of those for +12 damage and 450 HP.
Requires: Ogre Club (1000) Quarterstaff (875)
10 Attack Speed
130 Attack Range (ranged heroes only, does not stack)
Can be disassembled.
A very interesting item which would be terribly good if it had better stats/was more expensive. In its current form it might be a slot for most of the game for the core, but will probably be disassembled later on to get better items.
Interestingly, most of the community have though that this item will be good on heroes with an already high attack range — Lina, Sniper etc. is what came to mind the most. Personally, I feel it is going to be a lot better on heroes who have crippled range instead — Luna and Vengeful Spirit are probably the heroes who need some extra tankiness early on with the added benefits of increased damage and AS. For the most part it will ensure their safety in the fights both due to higher range and HP pool, but in case of Luna it will also make clearing ancient stack a lot easier. Templar Assassin might also benefit from this item, since the Refraction nerf (it is now visible to enemies) will make her a lot more susceptible to damage — both extra information and the psychological effect come into play in this case.
Requires: Energy Booster (900) Ring of Health (850) Cloak (550) Total: 2300
8 HP Regeneration
15 Magic Resistance
200 Cast Range
8% Spell Damage
Cast range improvement affects targeted spells and distance related spells, such as Venomous Gale. Does not affect AoE abilities like Poison Nova.
Another very interesting item. There are so many uses for it — nuke range increase, disables from the jungle, 1400 range Shallow Graves etc. The 8% damage on it is rather unimpressive and will probably be meaningful with either very high damage nukes or spammable spells, but given its low cost, it is understandable.
Probably the most utility can be derived from Impale-like abilities, since it will actually extend the damage range. Can also be good for strong channeling spells like Fiend's Grip and Shackles — it is going to be harder to interrupt them.
There are many uses for this item and it is a nice addition to the game.
Requires: Quelling Blade (200) Ring of Protection (175) Recipe (125)
Bonuses of Quelling Blade
Active: Lets you target non-player enemy units to remove 40% of their current HP. Cooldown: 14 seconds.
Note: Cannot target ancients. Has normal 4 second cooldown when used on Trees.
A rather peculiar early-game jungling item, which seems to niche to be picked up often. For 125 gold you get an active which will substantially speed up taking the large/medium neutral camps, but it doesn't really progress into anything. Probably a very good item if you are pressured in lane and/or you can/want to move to jungle early on to let your supports get their XP and items, but unless you really need that 2 extra armor and you are being pressured in lane heavily, it is going to be rarely worth it — lane creeps still give more XP and jungles should be generally stacked anyways, for you to take them after with a quick sweep. Given the changes to the neutrals, it might be necessary for some heroes, but I can't really name one which should consider this a core item. The closest to this are probably Bloodseeker and Legion Commander.