Talents that define heroes

The new talent system has reinvigorated the game. While for the majority of heroes it simply allowed to keep up with the game’s progression and smooth out the power level kinks, for some, it has completely changed the way the heroes could be potentially played.

Level 25 talents come into play more often, than initially assumed. The changes to the XP and levelling mechanics, coupled with the meta changes, ensured that at least the core heroes get to them in the majority of games.

While for many the level 25 talents still remain uninspired, yet effective, some heroes got unique bonuses that can’t be bought with gold. The most effective of them are not necessarily the most interesting, but they certainly change the hero enough to make a massive difference, especially when compared to the alternative.

Templar Assassin Templar Assassin

While we would generally refrain from comparing the Respawn Time Reduction (RTR) to the alternative in the future cases, this one is special: most RTR alternatives win by 4-6%, yet in case of Templar Assassin the difference rises up to 9.5%, signifying that not only is the RTR a generally poor choice for the vast majority of heroes in most situations, but the +3 Refraction Instances is a very good talent on its own.

Starting in the 4k bracket, the hero already wins more games, than she loses. Her situation further improves in the 5k+ one, where she reaches her peak of almost 56% winrate. Moreover, she is one of the heroes who is consistently above the curve when it comes to winrate-level relationship:

In general, when you pick this hero matters a great deal—she excels in games where no enemy can quickly burst through her shields, allowing her to remain safe, fully utilize her Blink Dagger Blink Dagger and remain on the offensive once her team takes control of the tempo.

As such, it is understandable why her winrate drastically increases in the higher brackets—there is no denying that she requires a certain amount of skill to be played well, but on top of it, better players tend to understand when to pick the hero in the first place. And in games where dealing with Refraction is already complicated, having three extra layers can make the hero almost unkillable.

Skywrath Mage Skywrath Mage

+14 mana regen or -4s Ancient Seal Cooldown? The answer to this question surprisingly favors the extra regeneration. By a significant margin of 6.4% winrate.

Mana regeneration talents tend to be heavily undervalued, while in most cases being a better choice for your average game of Dota. Even smaller increases tend to translate into massive winrate differences. And in many cases the “why” becomes obvious after some thought—using spells is good and using them more frequently is even better.

+14 mana regen means that Skywrath Mage essentially gets a free Arcane Bolt every 5 seconds. Over the course of the fight, it will generally result in 300+ extra mana and will ensure a full mana bar for the next engagement. Moreover, it will also allow the hero to spam his abilities to simply farm and push—at this stage of the game one Arcane Bolt can frequently be enough to take down a creep, since the ability scales really well into the lategame.

Skywrath Mage Skywrath Mage is also one of the few supports, who actually has higher chances of winning, as the game progresses:

Granted, the sample size for the level 25 supports is generally rather small, but the trends are there. 60+ minutes into the game most support heroes have a much smaller impact on the outcome of the game, but not Skywrath Mage, super-charged with “infinite” mana.

Lich Lich

A free Eye of Skadi Eye of Skadi is a massive argument in all engagements. The -30% MS and -30 AS slow from attacks fully ignores spell immunity, fully stacks with other unique attack modifiers and can completely ruin the day of the enemy melee cores.

It does have a number of restrictions, obviously. Lich has a smaller attack range of 550, forcing him to be in the center of the action if he wants to contribute his auto-attacks, while low agility gain and high attack animation duration also prevent the hero from becoming a complete kiting nuisance.

On the bright side—out of most supports, Lich has the highest chances of reaching level 25. He has a decent ability kit, which ensures his utility at all stages and can stall the game. On top of it, he can Sacrifice his own creeps, boosting his XP gain.

He is also very item-independent, allowing him to concentrate on wards and other support items in the early game. In the later stages, however, given his talents, he can transition into a decent damage dealer with a sudden half-a-Rapier talent at level 20 and a sudden Eye of Skadi talent at level 25.

Morphling Morphling

+400 Waverform Range seems like a rather mediocre talent, especially when compared to a decent alternative of +50% Replicate damage, yet the former wins by an almost 6% margin.

With talents like this, what people tend to not realise, is that it has far more consequences, than simply added mobility. With a travel speed of 1250, extra 400 range corresponds to extra ~0.3s of invulnerability, which can potentially translate into an extra “free” auto-attack or an extra cast. While seemingly minor, these small “gimmicks” is what makes Dota this incredibly complex and beautiful game.

Given the damage the hero can output, having a small edge in terms of both DPS and Survivability can lead to massive consequences. It doesn’t mean that the mobility aspect should be disregarded—on the contrary, it is the small pieces all coming together that trample a potential enemy core illusion with 130% base damage output.

Puck Puck

+75% Illusory Orb Speed/Distance talent is annoying to deal with. It super-charges the mobility aspect of the spell, resulting in a massive 3400 range escape/initiation tool. On top of it, it makes landing the nuke aspect of the ability a triviality, even from a very high range.

Catching Puck in the later stages of the game can become simply impossible—there are very few heroes who can catch up to this trickster. That said, the hero really needed that upgrade. His utility and damage in the late-game is not impressive by any means, and he fully depends on his items to stay relevant. As such, dying is not an option for this hero—he needs to keep on farming, getting items and being a split-pushing/wave-clearing nuisance to have a full impact on the game.

Closing Thoughts

Given the amount of changes the talents got two months after their initial release, it is probably still being tweaked and developed internally by Valve. There is a massive amount of variables to consider and making the system truly work will definitely take time. For now, in some cases, talents are actually inferior or comparable to the attribute boost option of the past, which is neither effective, nor interesting.

Yet, given the talents discussed today, the system has potential. Having upgrades, which do not necessarily rely on the previous game mechanics, but instead provide some unique bonuses is possible. Let’s hope the development of the game does not stop here and more heroes will get equally appealing alternatives that will define them.

More from The Dotabuff Blog




      The Dark Destroyer



          Mom i am 4 th . finaly i make our family proud :)

          This comment was edited

            5th 2ez


              Right clicks on Lich are a waste.


                7th woahhhhhhhhhh


                  nd i am 8th so now i can die

                  This comment was edited


                    DarKNovA [screws meta]

                      Replicate talent loses because it will be useless on the larger scale as long as it can be get rid of as a simple illusion.
                      So many skills that instantly kills it.

                      !▼! IMPORTANT NOTICE

                        11th ! my lucky day

                        !▼! IMPORTANT NOTICE

                          11th ! my lucky day


                            i like undying -2 sec decay cd and dazle 1 sec cd poison touch

                            This comment was edited

                              Its surprising that no one talks about terror blade 10 sec sunder....yet the 15 stats alternative have higher winrate .
                              Strange because sunder is op


                                I still think that Elder Titan is under powered. How about they reduced the channeled stun?


                                  many talents are there for using the hero another way - i think if i play morphling support with aghanim high chance i choose the extra 50% dmg , it depend of my mates . if i have problem with farming with monkey king i will get the tanky talents instead of aggresives - with TA if enemy has pudge or bat or something who can burn the shield that 3 plus is not so usefull
                                  thats why you are choosing between these


                                    Большинство альтернатив УВВ выигрывают на 4-6%, но в у TA +3 Refraction Instances выигрывает на 9.5%. Это говорит о том, что помимо относительно бесполезности УВВ талантов, альтернатива действительно очень хороша.

                                    Я даже к конструкции "но в у" цепляться не буду, секрет о бесполезности "УВВ" талантов тебе игры на 5к и ниже открывают, я так понимаю, где человек берет его чтобы чаще умирать :)

                                    Можно изгнать человека из паба, но не паб из человека.


                                      u got item build and skill build before, now u got talent build for the extra layer, and people complain dota is getting more casual....


                                        I'm sorry, but I don't think that the logic is very sound in this one. Talents are picked according to situation - for example if a Lich player is winning, he will never choose the bonus armor for buildings because he doesn't need it and vice versa - he will always take the building armor over skadi slow if he is losing. This is the reason why one talent has much higher winrate than the other one, not because one talent would be a clearly better choice.

                                        The same can be said about Puck, Morphling (also should take into account that support and offlane Morphlings will always take the replicate talent and they have lower winrate overal) and Lanaya.

                                        El Trehz

                                          20th posi is mine.

                                          El Trehz

                                            21st also mine. Moafuckaz

                                            !▼! IMPORTANT NOTICE

                                              22nd ! owh yeah

                                              !▼! IMPORTANT NOTICE

                                                23th free !


                                                  idiot people with the numbers

                                                  !▼! IMPORTANT NOTICE

                                                    25 now !!



                                                      ʍ ō Ŗ $

                                                        27 eeee

                                                        ¡ Eℓ Kαίȵ  ♂

                                                          Count of asshole end now


                                                            I'm not sure about the talents yet -- they kind of initially felt like a massive balancing patch (they were!), but now it also feels imbalanced. Some of that is the shrine/jungle changes, but some of it is the talents.

                                                            NEED NEW META.


                                                              30! Love my +25% xp gain on vissage. You need levels so your birds don't get 1 hit! Fuck +90gpm. Kills get you all the gold you need.

                                                              Keep on counting! Do it for Dota. Who will be 31st?

                                                              This comment was edited
                                                              J. Maxwell

                                                                31! :P


                                                                  33 :-(




                                                                      34th xd nerf tinker plox

                                                                      This comment was edited

                                                                        My love GOGOGO!!!


                                                                          36th ¯\_(ツ)_/¯


                                                                            Recently won a game with Oracle because of the extra 2 seconds on false promise at lvl 25. Grabbed a divine and just barely won after we got all our raxes taken and most of my team was dead.

                                                                            M C T

                                                                              38th hue hue

                                                                              M C T

                                                                                this article should be named "all that die to pudge"

                                                                                -25 -The Caring Teammate

                                                                                  lets go


                                                                                    Please, use less, commas, it really makes it, hard to read.

                                                                                    Cat Chan Guy


                                                                                      Brock Hall

                                                                                        A note on Lich:

                                                                                        Part of the reason that having the skadi effect on Lich is important and useful is because any amount of slowing will increase the number of times his ult will successfully bounce between heroes. Lich doesn't really have a good attack animation, or attack speed, but the amount of damage from an extra bounce makes up for those problems.

                                                                                        master of none

                                                                                          Waveform range vs replicate gap of 6% might be more selection bias than difference in strength. When morph is doing well it wants to buff itself (waveform). When morph is doing poorly it wants to replicate someone else.


                                                                                            Weaver level 25 talent is a massive game changer. you cannot kill him even with gem



                                                                                              !▼! IMPORTANT NOTICE

                                                                                                I wonder how MMR can when I open it


                                                                                                  i do sorry guys this page 1 now closed.....
                                                                                                  noob and gay comments on page 2