With 6.88b having proven to be one of the most versatile and balanced patches ever, Valve didn’t really need to do much. As a result, the customary post-TI patch, 6.88c came with little changes. But, as any seasoned and pro player would tell you, even the slightest changes can have a huge impact on the overall metagame.
Below are some of the most important changes made with the recent patch, as well as guesses as to how they may affect pro games.
Change: Starstorm Aghanim upgrade no longer releases a second meteor Mirana was a rarely utilized hero until a buff with her Aghanim’s Scepter upgrade gave her Starstorm the ability to release a second meteor. In the competitive games that Mirana was part of, the resulting additional 225 damage (at maximum level) from the said buff often was the difference between getting a kill and a failed gank.
With the 2nd meteor now removed, Mirana’s farming speed and kill potential is much lower than it used to be in this year’s international. Although the nerf has not made her a mediocre by any means, expect to see less of this hero in competitive games.
Change: Disruption illusion damage taken increased from 150% to 200%
Shadow Demon is a top-tier support pick and will likely stay that way regardless of the Meta. His Disruption skill, for one, is just too good and too useful to ignore. So too is his potential to stop and complement illusion-based carry heroes such as Morphling, Naga, Terrorblade, and even Alchemist. The recent nerf isn’t likely to change that at all. However, the additional damage taken should keep opposing teams honest, especially those who’re often reliant on illusion army push strategies. Who knows, the nerf may even bring back other carries back into the metagame.
Change: Reactive Armor duration decreased from 14/16/18/20 to 10/13/16/19
Timbersaw garnered much success as a midlaner the last patch, mainly thanks to his Reactive Armor ability. The passive effect gave the hero both health point regeneration and armor, which are necessary for a hero to excel through the laning stage. But, the reduction from 14/16/18/20 to 10/13/16/19 should make it a teeny bit harder for Timbersaw to stay in the line.
He’s still quite tanky, though, mind you. So, don’t expect his pick/ban rate to change much. What’s likely to change, though, is how players will play him early on. Because of the nerf, players may focus on leveling Reactive armor to Level 3 at level 5 instead of focusing on increasing spell damage potential, which reduce the hero’s kill potential early on in the game.
Changes: Echo Stomped units no longer get targeted by towers or creeps (like nightmare)
Echo Stomp damage decreased from 85/110/135/160 to 70/100/130/160
The change made to Echo Stomp should prove significant in the long term. For starters, it means that he’s no longer able to punish tower diving heroes. Not only that, but he’s also not that big of a factor early game anymore. If it’s any consolation, it’s nice to see that Natural Order, which is arguably Elder Titan’s major strength as a hero, remains unchanged. After this patch, there’s a huge chance teams no longer see Elder Titan as a top-tier pick and ban.
Change: Chronosphere cooldown increased from 130/115/100 to 140/125/110
As if Chronosphere’s cooldown wasn’t long enough, it’s now just been increased by 10 seconds on all levels of the ability. This is huge. This could potentially make the hero less appealing as a carry hero, even more so as a primary or lone playmaker. While this isn’t enough to deter teams from picking the hero, the hero’s appeal is definitely a bit lower than it used to be after this nerf.
Change: Rupture damage increased from 26/42/60% to 30/45/60%
Bloodseeker has always been a pretty useful early to mid-game hero. However, what prevented him from a common pick, even in pubs, is his ultimate’s uselessness at early levels. This change should improve that. So, expect to see more Bloodseeker in pubs from now on. We can’t exactly say the same for the pros, though. We’ll just have to wait and see what they do with the hero first.
Written by Ray Ian Ampoloquio