Smaller, more frequent patches are not exactly in line with the Dota 2 ideology — major patches were usually followed by extremely small tweaks afterwards, but this time around the changes are a lot more numerous and a lot more significant. The current patch seems to be shaping up very well for both competitive and pub play and while these tweaks do address some of the bigger issues, they do not seem to stray too much from the idea of carefully making the meta more diverse and increasing the pool of competitively viable heroes.
At the same time, some of the changes do feel like they cater for the community too much. It makes for a rather dangerous precedent. And while some community control over the game is needed and expected, too much of it might have a negative effect in the long run on both competitive and pub levels. But enough of that, without further ado — 6.86c analysis.
There were a lot of posts on forums about this hero being overpowered and while the changes are not exactly a "nerf-hammer", they are very detrimental to the laning stage of the hero and take away a lot of his appeal as a mid-dominating character. Even though the ability now scales slightly better, effectively losing 20 damage at level 2 is a big deal. Moreover, it is not like this change was completely justified — it is clearly visible from the last week trends that people have learned to play against the hero and the graphs were already slowly going down, before the nerfs have sped up the process.
While it is agreeable that Invoker should not become a comfortable mid as heroes like Viper, which naturally falls off slightly harder, the degree to which the nerfs have been implemented seems too high and they also potentially discourage people from Quas/Wex Invoker — getting a second level of Exort might be necessary against certain heroes and it will have a very long-lasting impact regardless of the player's choice.
The reworked Void seemed to be among the worst heroes the world of Dota 2 has ever seen. To a large extent it was the fact that the community was trying to play him the old way, which seems to not work out well at all. His new ability — Time Dilation seemed to be way too situational to be exceptionally effective, while "merger" of Backtrack and Time Walk has left both skills heavily crippled.
Without the strongest survivability passive skill, Void has plummeted in terms of win rate — the new 2 second "rewind" simply doesn't work against burst damage and disables and the hero can longer be as hard of a carry as he used to be. In fact, it seems can no longer be played as a main carry at all, except for very specific situations.
The new changes do address the issue but in a too mild way. The 0.2/lvl strength gain increase translates into extra 60 HP at level 16, which is a much bigger deal on a hero with a 6 second cooldown "rewind", yet falls short in practice to have a meaningful effect. The range increase is a much stronger buff, yet it also seems to have very little impact on the actual win rate of the hero. Finally, Time Dilation can't be even considered a buff. It does last longer, but due to cooldown increase its effective uptime is the same and for an already rather gimmicky ability it doesn't seem to do a lot. Overall, his win rate did increase by 2.5%, yet it is not until people will figure him out that we shall see him come back from the sub 45% club.
I feel like the community and professional players will need a stronger incentive to finally give up on a hero, which has been a top pick for three patches in a row. The hero is just extremely solid and reliable in the early and mid game and he also has a Divine Rapier option, if he starts falling off against better scaling heroes. If anything, it is more of a public message to the players, rather than an actual nerf.
Almost doubling the cooldown on an ability will make any hero weaker, but Tusk is probably not that worse off. In fact, his win rate did not even bother to change with this nerf — it is currently at 46% average and 50%++ in 3k+. The reason is that the ability went from twice in a fight in one out of three fights to once in a fight in almost any case. 20 seconds after initiation the hero would generally be running away, chasing the last remaining fleeing opponent or dead — in neither case is the second Walrus Punch so direly required, except for TP counter-measures.
Again, this change had almost no effect on a win rate of a hero, because it was usually once in a gank/teamfight type of ability in the first place. And again, we shall call it a public message, rather than a substantial nerf.
Even before 6.86b nerfs, the new Riki ultimate has been an ability that seemed exceptionally powerful on paper, but very weak in practice. The current changes do not necessarily address this problem, though the +25 AoE is quite a buff, but rather make this ability have an appropriate cooldown for the effect it offers. Overall, it is quite a substantial buff on its own, while the Blink Strike improvements are a decently sized cherry on top. In fact, these changes combined have resulted in a very impressive 3% Win Rate increase, putting the hero at a very comfortable ~50%. It is probably not long before we are going to see him picked in a competitive match and flood our pubs, so be prepared.
With these changes, the hero has finally crossed the 50% line, but it is high level pub matchmaking and competitive scene we should be worried about the most. The hero is notoriously known for being one of the most obnoxious mid laners and his return will make a lot of people, myself included, extremely salty. And by the looks of it, the hero is very close to crossing this fine line between balanced and OP heroes. In fact, he might already be OP, it is just we haven't noticed it yet.
A very minor nerf, yet another public message. The 0.05s increase in cast time is almost negligible and will only have an effect on players who are too used to the hero having a lower cast time, while the mana cost is not going to be an issue early in the game, due to rather high cooldown on Shadow Wave, and later in the game extra ~50 mana required in a teamfight is not going to have much of an impact.
An extremely situational hero in the current form, she does slowly get back into a more playable state, with a very different concept in mind. The buff itself is nothing to scoff at and it is going to increase damage dealt substantially — the sooner we forget what the hero was, the sooner we will be able to embrace her new form and this change is certainly helpful.
More of a public message, but with a twist. While the cooldown increase will have no effect on any given teamfight, it will prevent the Tombstone from pushing the lanes as much. With a 40s downtime, compared to previous 30s, it is no longer as efficient in terms of putting it on one lane to secure an objective on the other lane in the later stages of the game.
The change is going to be extremely impactful early game, especially on experienced Dark Seer players, who are used to the old mana cost. The hero is also a lot worse against anything with mana burn/drain abilities. Overall, however, it is unlikely to influence his pick rate, but may influence his pick priority in the professional scene. The effect on win rate is negligible/unpredictable.
A multitude of small buffs which make for a better scaling hero. It also reverts the "all spirits out" ultimate decreased uptime at level 3 which was introduced with the increase in spirit spawn rate time. The ultimate is actually a bit stronger at levels 6 and 11 then it previously was as well, which might put the hero back into the game, at least in some pushing lineups. Her win rate has actually increased by 2.7% since the patch and it is going to be interesting to see whether the hero will find herself in competitive play as well.
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