Patch 7.10 came slightly over a week ago and it is time to look at the current pub meta developments, before the inevitable balance update next Thursday. Despite having a massive amount of changes, the effect of the patch was quite limited. For the most part, the impact of it is most apparent when it comes to hero nerfs.
Given how the most significant balance changes were related to “problematic” heroes, this outcome was expected. In fact, even the most buffed heroes only got slightly over a 1% win rate increase, while the most nerfed ones lost up to 2%+. It definitely smoothed the popularity distribution between all heroes, which is clear from the currently ongoing PGL Bucharest.
We will discuss the professional meta in more detail once the Major is over and will concentrate on the pub matches statistics for now.
The only guaranteed buff Doom received was a 2 starting intelligence increase, but apparently it was enough for the hero to gain close to 1% win rate in 7.10. 24 extra starting mana is an almost 10% increase to the hero’s starting mana pool and allows a potential extra use of any of his abilities. That makes him slightly more sustainable in lane, while allowing him to be a bit more aggressive, if playing in a dual lane setup.
Both Infernal Blade and Scorched Earth are amazing abilities when it comes to harassing the enemy core in their safelane. At its best it can result in a kill as early as Doom’s level 3. At its worst it still forces at least one enemy support to babysit their core, especially if it is a melee carry.
The hero is currently in a decent spot as a position 3 offlaner. He is decently tanky, remains a high utility hero even in the later stages of the game and can provide some very necessary auras for his teammates. He isn’t as obviously high impact as Sand King with his potential instant initiations, but in a pub environment with ping limitations of online play this aspect becomes a little less important, since it is a little harder to perfectly react to an initiating Doom.
Quas-Wex Invoker dream might not have become a reality in the new patch, since the hero still remains limited without having an ability to both globally assist his teammates on the map, while farming up, but the changes to Tornado lift time were certainly impactful enough to result in a ~1% increase in win rate for the hero.
Currently, with a 0.5 Tornado Lift Time increase talent, the lift duration of Tornado with a single point in Quas times perfectly with the Meteor effect delay and that is a big thing: not only does it increase the ease of execution, but it also ensures the maximum potential efficiency of both spells.
Later in the game, the buff to Cataclysm talent are also a very welcome change. The spell was mostly used in conjunction with some AoE setup, and the tighter spread of the individual Sun Strikes makes hits more likely, while also increasing the probability of multiple Sun Strike hits on a single target, especially if the enemy team is positioned poorly.
Overall, the hero’s skill floor has been slightly lowered, while his potential at all stages of the game past level 10 has been increased. These buffs make for a very potent combination when it comes to pub environment and there is a high chance the hero will get more popular in the pro scene as well.
The most surprising winner of the patch. A 15 damage increase for the level 4 Tidebringer doesn’t seem like a big deal in theory, however it did result in a 1%+ increase in win rate for the hero and the trend is hard to deny.
The trend is slightly easier to explain with all levels of pubs in mind: lower level pubs still cherish their position two Kunkka and are most likely to benefit from the damage increase. Considering it is also damage that is not mitigated by the armor value and the potential of critical hits, it translates to roughly 35 extra raw damage on the targets in the AoE. Come level 25 this value is further amplified by the +50% Tidebringer damage talent, adding up to a rather serious increase in one-shot potential.
It is still hard to advise trying a position one or position two Kunkka in higher level pubs, since it remains an extremely inconsistent pick, but as a position four support who can later transition into an extra damage source he remains quite viable.
Laser manacost nerfs coupled with Soul Ring nerfs made Tinker a lot less of a threat in the earlier stages of the game and it certainly shows. Unlike most other “problematic” heroes nerfed in 7.10, Tinker not only became weaker in lane, but also became weaker overall.
When it comes to pub play, there is even an argument that these nerfs weren’t necessary, since they pushed the hero from a “perfectly balanced” 50% win rate to ~48%, but keep in mind that in 5k+ bracket the hero still wins more than 51% of his games and remains a viable pick in the professional scene.
Overall the changes to the hero definitely made him less of a nuisance to lane against and it is a good thing. Tinker is still one of the hardest carries in the game with a potential for prolonged disables and incredible damage output. Now players simply need to play smarter and work harder to achieve the same result.
Pub Dragon Knight was hit very hard in the patch, with the loss of a crucial talent that allowed him to become and remain a DPS threat throughout the game. Loss of +30 Attack Speed slows down the hero’s farm and push, while decreasing his early teamfight potential and for a hero that is supposed to be tanky initiator with high utility from Blue Dragon it is a good thing. The hero finally feels like his role is more defined and niche, rather than being an all around great pick.
The replacement talent (-20% Breath Fire Damage Reduction) is by no means weak and is a good damage mitigation source against stats-based heroes. It shaves off almost half of the damage from attributes and against certain heroes it can be a game-changer and a very strong form of soft disable.
Unfortunately, death of an enemy hero is an even stronger disable and DK can no longer consistently provide it for his team. He remains a very popular pick in the pro scene and in pub games, but he can’t be relied upon to carry the game as hard as he used to.
Omniknight was nerfed quite heavily in the patch with a small 3-second increase in a level 4 Purification cooldown. It is not a laning nerf, but a power level nerf and the hero definitely became a lot weaker overall with this change. 3 seconds in a teamfight that on average last less than half-a-minute results in one or two less Purification, or, in HP terms, 600 HP for your team and a lot of potential pure damage on the enemy.
The hero remains a priority pick in the professional scene as can be seen from PGL Bucharest, however, once again, the utility of the hero currently takes priority over his damage output. Repel and Degen Aura are still extremely powerful spells and Guardian Angel is still a game-changer, but these strong abilities from the hero are no longer complemented with consistent and reliable damage output.
After 7.10 Pub Meta is in a much healthier place, courtesy of some very precise nerfs and some very imprecise buffs. Some of the stronger heroes have been dealt with in a very tame fashion, while most other heroes have received all around buffs that didn’t make them stronger in a particular way, instead increasing all of their strengths by a very small margin.
The results of PGL Bucharest will certainly have an impact on the patch next Thursday, since all of the changes will be put to test in a professional environment. We will also do a full meta recap of the tournament once its finished, but the initial impression is both positive and worrisome: the professional meta is more diverse, with a larger amount of different picks, but it is still very top-heavy with Gyrocopter currently sitting at 100% P+B rate. Stay tuned for more information regarding everything Dota.