The new patch is yet to be tested in a competitive environment, but the pub stats are already telling a story. Despite a plethora of changes, the overall impact of 7.16 on the game wasn’t particularly noticeable, with a few notable exceptions. Given how most of the changes were small number tweaks, this outcome was expected and hopefully these changes will be enough to make the meta of the Supermajor significantly more diverse, compared to ESL One Birmingham.
When it comes to pubs, there are three big winners of the patch and a handful of small losers. Night Stalker, Death Prophet, Doom, Kunkka and Leshrac — some of the most popular heroes of ESL One — all lost over 1% of their win rate.
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Night Stalker’s utility has been diminished, with no way of cancelling channeling spells or teleports during the day. It makes him even more of a liability during day time and will likely result in smaller popularity in the Supermajor. The hero should remain as effective during night time, though Darkness also received a rework that makes it slightly more effective against heroes with regular night vision of 800, but makes it significantly worse against heroes with extra night vision.
If playing against Night Stalker without any hero with extra night vision, it might be a good idea to either get an earlier moon shard or ask you team’s HotD carrier to dominate one of the harpies from the neutral camp: this way you won’t be limited to 600 vision for half of the game.
Some very minor changes to movement speed, level 10 talent and Soul Siphon manacost resulted in a 1.29% win rate loss for Death Prophet. The hero is very reliant on having a decent early game to have opportunity to apply pressure to the enemy towers and these small tweaks turn some escapes into deaths and make some kill attempts fail.
Overall, however, the hero is more or less as strong as she was. Come level 25 the speed will no longer be an issue and neither will 60 extra mana for all four charges of Soul Siphon. Getting there, however, should be a little bit more problematic.
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Doom lost 0/20/40/60 flat damage from his Infernal Blade making him significantly less of a threat during the laning stage. His chase potential has been equally diminished with a small loss of movement speed from early levels of Scorched Earth. The end result is the hero now deals slightly less damage less reliably, resulting in a net loss of 1.53% win rate.
Doom will probably remain one of the better offlaners in the meta, however. While his laning pressure is not as high as it used to be, he should still be strong enough to force support response in lane or make last hitting a nightmare for the enemy carry. Later in the game he still has access to a massive gold talent and it will still ensure a fast progression through utility items needed for the team come mid-late game.
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Leshrac lost two intelligence and cast range on early levels of Lightning Storm. Once again, it is strictly a laning stage nerf, meaning that the hero will need to get more exposed in order to harass. It also makes his mana pool slightly smaller.
The problem with Leshrac, regardless whether it was a core or a support, was that he could potentially just spam his Lightning Storm completely unpunished. He was too far away to initiate on him and slow from the lightning made it even harder. Now, however, there are certain matchups that will at least guarantee some retaliation at the early levels or will even be able to zone out Leshrac out of Lightning Storm cast range to prevent his last hits.
Visage was the biggest winner of 7.16, gaining 3.12% win rate, despite receiving no changes at all. Some of it can be attributed to the fact that he was the bonus hero for three out of 17 days of the previous patch, severely impacting his win rate when played by inexperienced player, but it can also mean that people are finally adjusting to the quality of life improvements the hero has received in 7.10.
Being able to cast Stone Form on Familiars without losing control of your hero is a big deal, making Visage a lot easier to use decently without spending a lot of time learning to micro. Perhaps with several bonus days many people got to try this change firsthand, realizing the hero’s effectiveness and getting over the psychological barrier associated with many micro-heavy heroes.
Interestingly, the second biggest winner of the patch is also a micro-heavy hero, probably even more so than Visage. The hero did receive some buffs in 7.16, increasing Earthbind projectile speed and allowing it to affect invisible units. It means that Meepo right now is a pretty good counter to many invisible heroes since the side effect of Root is that it also reveals the affected target.
This change should be especially noticeable against Riki, since Root prevents the hero from blinking out or using Tricks of the Trade. Given how Riki and Bounty Hunter are present in almost 19% and 10% of games respectively, this change does contribute heavily towards his prowess in pubs and the 3.08% increase in win rate can be explained.
Finally, yet another micro heavy hero that got much stronger this patch, gaining almost 3% win rate as well. Are people actually getting better at Dota? Probably, but in the case of Arc Warden it is direct buffs to the hero that made him stronger in pub environment and can potentially even lead to a competitive scene breakthrough.
Magnetic Field received buffs in 7.14 and 7.16, shortening its cooldown to 20 seconds on all levels and decreasing its manacost. At level 4 of the ability it has almost 66% uptime and given the speed with which a decent Arc Warden gets his levels it theoretically should come before the enemy has his MKB. Couple it with Midas having a 5 seconds lower cooldown and the sudden increase in Arc Warden’s win rate should become less of a surprise.
7.16 introduced some small changes to the overused heroes of ESL One Birmingham with almost all top10 most popular heroes of the tournament now winning roughly 1% less of their games in pubs.
The degree to which these changes will affect the professional scene is to be seen, however Supermajor will have a much better format with a lot more games played, potentially highlighting that these nerfs, no matter how small they were, might have been an overreaction to a very small sample size tournament.