The new patch was not a surprise. There were some small problems with the previous version of the game and given how big patches usually take a while after TI to come out, a small, “letter” mini-patch was expected. Today we are going to have a look at how it affected the meta and what heroes are suddenly over- and underperforming.
We love the concept of a “notice me” buff. When something gets a seemingly small buff, so that players start paying attention to a mechanic or a tool that was always at their disposal. The Razor Shard received exactly that: a “notice me” buff.
The truth is, this shard’s always been good. It dissuaded or punished enemies who attacked Razor, adding to Razor’s already high manfighting and kiting capabilities. The 25 damage increase is not trivial, but it alone wouldn’t be enough to result in an almost 6% increase in win rate. People just started building Razor better.
Not a lot has changed pre- or post-Shard, though. Razor is still a Falcon Blade into BKB rush type of hero. Only now, after getting BKB, most players get the Shard, before going for his usual item progression, such as Shiva’s, Refresher or sometimes even an S&Y.
We still don’t fully understand how this hero wasn’t picked a single time at TI, but with a pretty powerful early game buff to Leech Seed, he might be making a comeback.
The buff is two-fold: it allows the hero to be even more aggressive early on and it also gives him better options in later fights. Leech Seed is the first ability you should max out in pretty much every pub Treant game currently, unless you are in a stack that can really abuse how powerful global Living Armor is.
The extra buff to Overgrowth is also quite nice, though it doesn’t really change much in the grand scheme of things. Once you have 18%+ magic damage amplification it will kill a full lane of creeps, making shoving in waves through Eyes in the Forest really easy, but this is mostly theoretical application for fringe scenarios, rather than useful information.
With the last round of buffs, Wraith King is now slightly more potent and is now a 50%+ win rate hero. The changes to Wraith King Skellies might seem trivial, but they can make quite a bit of a difference during the laning stage and even in the later portions of the game.
What should be realised is that the Skellies are a 1.2 BAT units, meaning extra attack speed effects have a greater impact on their actual attack speed. Moreover, they now have a much easier time getting to their targets, courtesy of the extra movement speed.
We feel like right now going for the left talent at level fifteen is a better option. It almost doubles the attack damage of Skeletons, allowing Wraith King with a Shard to deal a ton of hard to mitigate damage. They will zone out fleeing supports and even punish cores who overstay their welcome, especially if Wraith King has an AC.
Top it off with a pretty crazy pushing power you can get with the full crew, and it becomes a no-brainer in most games, where you are not facing highly elusive heroes. When dealing with the likes of Puck, Ember or Storm Spirit etc. going for the stun duration talent is probably a better option.
From a seemingly minor nerf, Sniper became a lot less relevant. Listing 50 radius is quite a big deal, but given how most Snipers were prioritizing his passives, there are probably some other reasons for his sudden fall from grace.
Multiple defensive options are now better against Sniper or just better overall. Crimson Guard is a very viable purchase, as are Boots of Bearing and Guardian Greaves. Moreover, the nerfed Wraith Pact, possibly the biggest nerf of the patch, is still as potent against Sniper as it used to be.
On top of it, several other carries are now in a better position, resulting in an almost 3.5% win rate drop for Sniper and a sub-50% win rate after the patch.
Marci received some harsh, but some very necessary nerfs. Her current level one Rebound basically allows her to stun targets that are within melee range of Marci’s ally, which is still a very strong ability, but definitely not as scary as it used to be.
Maxing out Rebound is non-negotiable, meaning Marci can no longer go for the maxed out Sidekick build and still be an initiator. In some games it can be a good idea, but both the hero’s potency and her flexibility were nerfed.
Right now we would strongly advise against playing Marci as a support. She might have her games as a core: her DPS didn’t really suffer all that much and she can still be a strong “in your face” position three. When it comes to supports, though, there are definitely better options to explore.
Leshrac received some noticeable all-around nerfs and it resulted in him dropping 2.5% win rate. We feel like this value would be a lot bigger, if one of the better counter-Leshrac options wasn’t nerfed as well. As it stands, Leshrac is now a sub-50% win rate hero who still does relatively well in higher-level brackets, but isn’t an auto-win with a timely Bloodstone anymore.
We don’t think it is time to fully give up on the disco pony quite yet, though. Leshrac is extremely meta-dependent: he does well when he gets to be in the middle of a fight unpunished and the currently developing meta with heroes like Razor becoming popular once again is quite restrictive to this playstyle. There are still games where Lesh can feel dominant and we hope that the hero won’t receive further nerfs.