The AniMajor is approaching its final stage, but there are still almost 30 unpicked heroes in the tournament, heroes who could really use a buff to be more competitive or unique in their skillset. Some of them we might be happy about — they were either a part of the previous meta or are annoying to play against. Some, like the ones we want to discuss today, are the heroes we haven’t seen professionally for a while and who are not particularly great in pubs either.
There are definitely support heroes in the game that live and die by their Shard. Warlock comes to mind, or the almost overpowered at one point Shadow Shaman. Aghanim’s Shard is a relatively new addition to the game that truly made support play a lot more interesting. The problem arises when the hero doesn’t work without one, as is the case with KotL.
In fact, the actual, useful kit of KotL is hidden behind a massive paywall. Will-o-Wisp, once his default ultimate, is now an Aghanim’s Scepter upgrade. Without it, Keeper of the Light does very little in a teamfight. Recall, once a default ability in Spirit Form, now requires Shard to appear. The end result is a support hero who doesn’t have the late-game potential to be a position four and is way too greedy to be a five.
There are some fun interactions with Chakra Magic and there are still some abusable combinations with the hero, but none of them are worth essentially sacrificing a whole hero for the first 25+ minutes of the game. Dota can’t be won 4v5.
Sniper is definitely suffering from an identity crisis, but it’s not the biggest problem. The meta is just too tanky for Sniper to deal with, it seems.
He doesn’t have a scaling steroid, and the one he has is a physical damage one, so it gets less effective as the game progresses. MKB, the usual Sniper pairing, was nerfed several times in a row and is no longer as good of a DPS item as it was. The hero can’t boast some crazy Agility growth either and in the end, you get a hero who is factually better off being a position four and who is absolutely terrible at it, when compared to the competition.
We are all for diversity in roles. We love the fact that heroes in Dota work as unique entities and are not shoehorned into rigid roles everyone must follow and obey. Sniper can be this flex pick and there is nothing wrong with it and it is fully understandable that flexible heroes should be slightly worse off at what they are doing, compared to more one-dimensional, specific ones. But can at least something about this hero get straight up buffed, because as it is, he simply doesn’t work at all.
Spirit Breaker doesn’t work too well in higher-level games for one simple reason: he telegraphs his intentions too heavily and leaves too much room for counterplay. If the professional players can consistently hex the initiating, blinking enemies, they will have no trouble reacting to a charging space cow.
That typically means Spirit Breaker needs either BKB or Shadow Blade to be effective and at this point it is already ~1500 gold too much: picking a hero with a reliable stun and buying Blink Dagger on them will get you a much more reliable source of initiation.
Spirit Breaker is outclassed by competition and even the usual shenanigans with Dark Seer and other MS-giving heroes aren’t as effective as they once were. We don’t know whether straight-up number buffs are going to make the hero much better, but they might be a good place to start. Though we firmly believe that giving Aghanim’s Shard spell immunity to Bulldoze, rather than Nether Strike, can be pretty interesting as well.
The last big change to the hero was the addition of a pretty meme-y Aghanim’s Shard. Since then, the hero received a couple of small nerfs and got a small armor buff, before getting completely forgotten. As a burst-heavy, magic damage hero with percentage-based damage, Zeus should have found himself at home in the current meta, but there are several big problems.
One of them is mobility. We are far from the previous meta of Spirits and Puck in the middle lane, but Zeus still doesn’t feel safe. Sooner or later the enemy will get their Blink Daggers and Zeus doesn’t have enough lane dominance or flash-farming potential to significantly outpace this event with defensive options of his own. Changes to cast range talents, items and neutrals are not helping either.
The second problem is that even at its best, Zeus’s burst is oftentimes not enough. Given how tanky even position one Agility carries now try to build, they will typically “get a turn” once the disables wear off. That means they get to press BKB, Satanic, Time Walk, Sunder or one of the many, many abilities that can quickly turn around the situation. Zeus doesn’t work if he can’t blow up a priority target and right now he usually can’t: perhaps removing 2% Max HP as damage from Static Field was premature.
Is there a playstyle you feel is missing in the current meta and what do you think of the current patch? Leave your thoughts on what heroes you want to see buffed in 7.30 in the comment section below.