Since Battle Fury’s rework, it’s been an efficient damage item even outside of the bonus cleave effect. Pros have started building it on Phantom Lancer, diverging from his tried and true builds. Then once RTZ picked it up on Terrorblade at Galaxy Battles, it was about time to talk about whether the item has become too strong in the meta.
Battle Fury’s efficiency as an item today is reminscient of back in Dota 1, when it wasn’t unusual to see it as a core item for Windrunner. It competed with Orchid as part of her build, and the fact that Battlefury’s Cleave gave no advantage on a ranged hero didn’t matter.
Battle Fury has been buffed since the beginning of Dota time. From its inception to 6.84, it had its damage increased (55 to 65), its components costs reduced (a net reduction from 5100 to 4575 gold), cleave radius increased (overall from 160 to 280!) and its innate regeneration buffed. Then 6.84 came, slightly reduced its damage while incorporating Quelling Blade as part of its item build, further cementing the item’s purpose as a farming tool for carries.
But during this period of time it was only a core item for two heroes hero: Anti-Mage and Ember Spirit. The item eventually found its way into Juggernaut builds, and briefly had a home in Faceless Void when the hero was strictly a hard carry. In spite of a history of buffs, it was still in need for more.
Patches 7.00 further tweaked Cleave’s damage and radius, increasing its damage and radius to adjust for Cleave’s new trapezoidal hit area. Then, in 7.02, 7.03, and 7.07, Battle Fury saw two more buffs that tipped its usage from niche to core. Cleave’s damage increased from 35% to 40%, its end radius from 280 to 330, and distance from 520 to 575. Even though its damage was reduced by 5, the item’s overall cost was also reduced from 4500 to 4100. It was well worth it.
Neither illusions nor ranged heroes benefit from cleave. It sounds terrible on paper on a hero like Spectre, who has a seemingly better alternative in Radiance or Diffusal Blade that has synergy with her ultimate. And it sounds even worse on Terrorblade, who prefers items that grant stats for his powerful illusions. And yet, the item is built today, by pros, on heroes like Spectre, Terrorblade, and Phantom Lancer. The item is so good that it’s useful even if its intended effect is partially useless.
Arteezy’s Battle Fury build on his PL against team OG in Galaxy Battles
Dota has so many mechanics, rules, and foundational builds that its difficult to keep an open mind when something new threatens to disrupt the meta. Could we have ever imagined Mjolnir on Anti-Mage seriously if it didn’t have the backing of respected pros? Even Linken’s Sphere as a first item on a position 1 Faceless Void was seen as unconventional when wings’s carry, Shadow, pioneered it during TI6.
Right now, +45 damage and +6 regen for 4100 gold makes Battlefury the most cost efficient damage item in the game outside Divine Rapier. And yes, it significantly boosts your farm speed to a point it can compete with alternate items that actually has synergy with your abilities. It’s akin to how Meepo players build Dragon Lance for just the stats, even if they don’t benefit from the increased attack range.
Battle Fury, historically niche, may just be finding itself in the right place, after a few buffs, and the right time in a farming meta. Aggressive trilanes have bought more time for carries to farm, and Demon Edge as a replacement component makes Battle Fury a convenient pickup in the side shop. It could just be a fleeting trend, with players recognizing the item’s potential and play testing it across many heroes, as they did with Mask of Madness and Skaadi.
Where does the line eventually get drawn? There’s been sightings of Battle Fury on Legion Commander, Chaos Knight, Slark, and even Lifestealer. Fnatic.EternalEnvy recently built it on Monkey King in the ongoing ESL One Genting tournament. With the way the item has been trending in recent patches, it would be a surprise if we don't see another minor nerf soon. For the meantime, it looks like it's here to stay.