Dota’s newest version has so fundamentally changed the game in both form and function that it feels less like a patch than a sequel. One week later, we take a look at Monkey King's balance, and the winners and losers of the changes in patch 7.00.
The overreaction to Monkey King is familiar to anyone who has played Dota long enough to see their own share of new hero releases. It should be stated that Monkey King’s win rate is currently 49.80%, which means he is losing more games than he’s winning. But what’s been most inflaming to opponents is the way he’s winning, and when Monkey King’s pick rate for patch 7.00 is 64.14%, everyone has something to point to for why they lost.
He’s one of those heroes that requires a counter and a competitive lane opponent, and the answers to what those specifics are haven’t made it to public knowledge. New heroes benefit from ignorance, and it’s that moment of surprise when he sneaks past your tower disguised as a tree and ganks you underneath it that we overreact. It’s something that has never happened before, and we have to question if it should even be allowed.
Like all previous patches, it’ll take some time before Monkey King’s balance in the meta can be judged. Valve recently doled out some minor nerfs in 7.01. It most likely won’t be enough to change public opinion, if he’s still dominating the laning stage against unaware opponents.
The increase in win rate for both Lycan and Visage are more than double the next highest hero (Chaos Knight at 4.13%). Visage is finally a winning hero (52%) in pubs, escaping the longstanding pub curse of Dota heroes with summons. It was usually the case that the more units you had to control, the more likely someone wouldn’t know what to do with them. That’s long been the story with heroes like Broodmother, Enchantress, Chen, and Lone Druid, whose pub win rates belie their success in pro Dota.
This all speaks to the impact of Visage’s buffs in patch 7.00. If a pub player can control 3-4 units and get above a 50% win rate, then there’s something wrong. Both Gravekeeper's Cloak and Summon Familiars received significant buffs. The rework to familiars made them more reliable and consistent damage dealers without having to reset to Stone Form, while their HP change and synergy with Cloak made them that more durable in fights. Visage also benefits from being one of the better counters to Monkey King, who is in nearly every game.
At his peak in 7.00, Lycan’s win rate increased by a shocking 9 points, from 46 to 55%. That’s what happens when Howl gets buffed, Necronomicon gets buffed, Feral Impulse now increases Lycan’s damage by near 50%, and Summon Wolves gets a new Cripple ability. If it was already hard to run away from a max speed Lycan before, now it’s even worse. Like Visage, he’s a hero with summons that became a >50% win rate hero. It also helps when Howl now also buffs your teammates HP. You don’t need to control summons effectively to provide a benefit to the team.
Sven dropped 7% in pick rate, moving from 14th most popular to 24th, and received the greatest hit in win rate, dropping 4 points to 49%. Though the new Mask of Madness seems like a viable build for Sven, he has suffered most from the changes to Helm of the Dominator and the jungle. There are simply less things to farm on the map, and players can no longer self stack the ancient camp (if he’s even able to clear it), now that HotD is basically a support item.
It says a lot about Omniknight’s balance in pubs when he has the 2nd largest dip in win percentage and still the 4th highest win rate. Repel’s downtime doubled with the change to its cooldown in patch 7.00, and it’s also no longer dispellable, which doesn’t matter much since pub players don’t buy Diffusal Blade anyway. Purification also took a hit, but it was cushioned with some buffs to to mana cost.
Omniknight benefit the most from the map changes and a talent tree. He’s always been a poor laner and farmer, and now Omniknight has access to more gold and XP by roaming the map and its bounty runes. At level 10, he has the luxury of either increased gold (60/min) or XP (+15%) depending on the flow of the game.
There will be more time before the dust settles, but it seems for now Valve is keeping a close eye on the meta, with daily UI updates and patch 7.01 just a week later.