Five ways 7.02 has reshaped Dota 2

Vignesh Raghuram

16th, Feb, 2017
Last week, an unexpected 7.02 patch was released for Dota 2. Icefrog’s latest patch mainly focuses on Hero Talent trees. However, he has also tweaked the map slightly to counteract the absurd disparity in winrate between Radiant and Dire (Currently every single hero has a higher winrate in Radiant than Dire… EVEN URSA !!). 

Lets take a look at some of the most intriguing changes in the new patch.

A cold wind blows

Windranger is back in a new avatar. The new talents and buffs have nudged us towards the TI3 times where Windranger was played primarily as a Support / Offlaner rather than a midlaner. The reinvigorated hero has already been utilized by Jerax from Team Liquid in their near flawless DAC qualifier run. The 420 Magic Damage Nuke + 15% Amp on a 3s CD at Level 25 seems to have brought her back to relevancy. Expect more support Windrangers in the upcoming tournaments.
Patch Notes:

* Powershot damage from 120/220/320/420 to 180/260/340/420
* Power shotcooldown from 9 to 12/11/10/9
* Windrun slow AoE from 300 to 325
* Windrun manacost from 100 to 75
* Level 10 Talent from +15 Damage to +25% Windrun Slow
* Level 15 Talent from +16 Intelligence to +20 Intelligence
* Level 15 Talent from +200 Health to +40 Movement Speed
* Level 20 Talent from +12% Magic Resistance to +20%
* Level 20 Talent from +12% Spell Amplification to +15%
* Level 25 Talent from -5s Powershot Cooldown to -6s 

 I am the midnight of your soul

Another MIA hero for quite a few patches is Doom. The Lucifier is also starting to find his foot amongst the heroes in the latest patch. Devour's incredible 180 extra gold at a 40 second cooldown has seen him get a few respect bans and picks in the recently conclude DAC qualifiers. In particular, the Chinese scene - known traditionally for their heavy farm focus have embraced the new Doom and have successfully started playing him as a 4th position support or as an offlaner.

While the loss of the armor talent definitely hurts him, The Scorched earth bonus damage / heal increase of 37.5% is by no means insignificant and can provide a lot of sustain to compensate.
Patch Notes:

* Level 10 Talent from +8 Intelligence to +80 Devour Bonus Gold
* Level 10 Talent from +150 Health to +250
* Level 15 Talent from +6 Armor to +15 Scorched Earth Damage/Heal
* Level 15 Talent from +15 Movement Speed to +20
* Level 20 Talent from +65 Damage to +35 Doom DPS

Shrines are now vulnerable after a T3 tower dies.

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This is a direct nerf to hyper-aggressive/death-balling strategies as this change makes it much easier for the team who lost their Tier 1 and Tier 2 towers way too early to be able to navigate through the map. Perhaps more importantly, it provides an easy access point to the Roshan Pit even when your outer towers are dead. 

It also allows you to make flanking plays much easier especially when the enemy is assaulting your high ground. Teams can now smoke and backstab the enemy while they are pushing highground by smoking and tping to the shrine. Hence teams gearing up for a push need to place defensive wards so that they don't get caught off guard.
However, this comes at a price.  Before, even if one had taken down barracks in a lane, map movement couldn’t be restricted till all the outer towers get destroyed. With Lycan back in the pool, look for hyper aggressive building damage focused lineups that might be able to use this to their advantage.
Patch Note: 

* Shrines are now vulnerable after a T3 tower dies (same as the Shrines inside the base), rather than after all T2 towers die

Go back to where you came from

Pitlord or Abyssal Underlord currently holds the second highest winrate amongst All heroes in the 5k MMR bracket. And for good reason, he has only been slightly nerfed since his introduction to Dota2. 

His early game potential was way too good and hence Icefrog has decided to reduce the Atrophy Aura damage reduction. The tried and tested skill build may change and hence his influence will be reduced in the early game.

However the Hero isn’t dumpstered like the sorry Arc Warden. Pit of Malice and Firestorm are still strong early game spells that wreck havoc onto the enemy side.
Patch Notes :
* Movement speed reduced from 305 to 290
* Atrophy Aura Damage Reduction from 10/20/30/40% to 4/16/28/40%
* Level 15 Talent from +200 Health to +35 Movement Speed
* Level 20 Talent from +100 Cast Range to +125
* Level 20 Talent from +50 Attack Speed to +60

The stalwart flame flickers

Ember Spirit, the hero who has triggered so many people including ClouDx, has received a much needed nerf. Icefrog has also added consistency to the root mechanic which disables almost all the other mobility based abilities. This allows certain heroes to be more effective and definitely increases the value of Rod of Atos.

The second nerf may feel underwhelming in theory but it is a fair way to nerf Ember without destroying the hero. The new magic damage build has lead to his winrate increasing by a significant amount (54% in VHS Pubs). He’s also one of the most highly contested heroes in Pro Games, with players like W33 and Miracle dominating and taking over games single-handedly.

These nerfs which target both the early and late game stages of Xin are well warranted. However, I feel like Ember spirit with his mobility and versatile playstyle will still be around in the meta till the Kiev Major.
Patch Notes:

* Root now disables Activate Fire Remnant
* Level 10 Talent from 15% Spell Amplification to 12%


Honorable Mentions:


Queen of Pain: Right when QoP was in the meta again, Icefrog has nerfed her by patching out the blademail interaction with lifesteal.

Lone Druid: Icefrog has shown good restrain and has only minorly nerfed Sniper-druids talent tree. The hero has not been completely nerfed. But there will be a slight decline in Lone Druid's power peak at level 20.

Anti Mage: This hero has recieved a few welcome buffs as he is currently being almost completely ignored by the pro scene whilst struggling in pubs. He can now reduce Bink cooldown in level 15 as well as dish out Mana Voids on a ridiculous 20 second cooldown at level 25.

Patch 7.02 will, in all likelihood, be the last balance patch before DAC and the Major. We can see that Icefrog is still adapting and constantly tweaking the patch to scale back some of the more overpowered heroes, whilst trying to show some love to the slightly weaker heroes of the meta. What this might lead to is potentially even more open-ended gameplay. 

None of the nerfs seemed too harsh, and none of the heroes were made too overpowered. In theory, it will lead to a bigger pool of viable heroes, which is a good thing for the road to the Kiev Major.

Do you agree with my opinions? Did I miss out anyone? Please feel free to comment below or contact me on my social media pages.


About the author: Gfreak is a Professional Dota analyst  an upcoming Esports journalist who loves Dota 2, Harry Potter and Chelsea FC too much for his own good. You can flame him at Facebook or Novaplay, it'll be great for his self-esteem.


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