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Despite the recent nerfs, Dark Seer remains steadfast in his success in both professional and pub scenes. This highly versatile offlane hero has been absent from the professional meta for a prolonged period but is now making a comeback. Today, we are going to look into how and why exactly this hero is so good right now.
Back when patch 7.27 was released, we highlighted how important scaling is in the meta and it remains such. For supports to be able to have an impact, they need levels and at least some farm, so naturally, more independent cores and carries who can start jungling much earlier became a priority. Dark Seer is potentially one of the most independent offlaners in the game.
There was a reason the hero was so popular in the days of tri-lane meta: he was among few heroes who could stand 1v3, while still getting decent farm and XP. Nowadays tri-lanes are rare, but the laning phase became much more important, as a result of deny XP changes over the years. At one point it even completely forced out any semblance of roamers out of the game. The resurgence of Dark Seer does not just indicate that the hero is popular, it also allows other heroes to get back into the meta.
Roaming position fours, such as Spirit Breaker, Earth Spirit, Clockwerk, and Earthshaker are greatly enabled by Dark Seer for two main reasons. One is that they generally can leave the lane as soon as Dark Seer gets level three.The second point in Ion Shell ensures Dark Seer’s own economy. Reason two is that Dark Seer can facilitate ganks across the map, since Ion Shell lasts for 25 seconds: more than enough for a roaming hero to teleport to another lane and cause some destruction.
In a well-coordinated professional match, this is absolutely beautiful to watch, but the idea is simple in both theory and execution. There is no reason not to try it out in pubs, even when playing alone.
Vacuum is a bit of a meme, for anyone who has played Dota for more than several years — the ability cooldown was changed in seemingly every patch. The reason for it is simple: it is hard to balance things that are strong by design and repositioning tools, especially as impactful as Vacuum, can be game-breaking, when executed well.
Vacuum into any AoE stun can potentially give your team a Ravage effect from any AoE disable: something that can be quite frustrating to play against. To counteract it, longer and longer cooldowns were given to the ability, to a point where people stopped playing him. Dark Seer needed levels to max out Ion Shell, get at least a couple of points in Surge and then get Vacuum maxed out. It made Dark Seer inert for the first 20 minutes of the game: not something an offlaner could afford.
The big change came in patch 7.12, where the ability once again got its cooldown increased, now to 60 seconds, but also got a much bigger radius at level one. The hero was still far from playable at the time, but it was a step in the right direction: in some games, Dark Seer could actually do something, before getting level 10+.
The hero didn’t get fully noticed until 7.27b, where Dark Seer received a talent change: at level 15 he could now provide extra 400 HP (350 in the current patch) to a teammate, by applying Ion Shell. In a meta filled with heroes with tons of armor, but low Str gain, it is unsurprising he got noticed.
With a cooldown of nine seconds and a duration of 25, Dark Seer could theoretically provide his team with 1200 (1050 now) extra HP. In most cases, it is better than healing, since it can be applied before the fight.
The funniest part of it is that Dark Seer turned out so good with his Vacuum, Surge, and Wall of Replica, which scales really well against popular Agility carries, that he would Frequently end his games before even reaching this talent. In the end, this talent wasn’t even that crucial to the hero’s success — it just ensured the hero got noticed.
It might still be too early to tell whether the hero is going to be as popular as he was before the nerfs in 7.27d: Surge was a very important part of his kit and allowed the hero to do some pretty nasty things with teammates like Spirit Breaker. That said, conceptually nothing changed about the hero: he is just slightly worse off on average.
What are your thoughts on Dark Seer? Do you think he is going to remain a staple in the professional scene and are you actively playing him in your pubs?