Patch 7.29b that was released on April 17, 2021, has brought with itself a wave of nerfs to certain heroes whose abilities and Aghanim’s Shards were deemed broken. While there were no item or any economy changes, heroes like Phantom Lancer, who was getting instantly picked in the pubs courtesy of his insane Aghanim’s Shard, have now been nerfed. As a result of these changes, the win rate of these heroes has taken a tumble. We take a look at the four biggest hero nerfs that patch 7.29b has introduced following the onset of the Regional Leagues. (all data taken from Dotabuff)
Phantom Lancer had quickly evolved as one of the strongest carries in the meta following the release of patch 7.29. His Aghanim’s Shard increased the damage dealt by his Spirit Lance illusion by 50% and improved the cast range of the spell by 200. It also used to cause the projectile to bounce to another unit within a 900 radius, prioritizing heroes. Phantom Lancer players had devised new ways to play the hero as they used to instantly buy the Shard at the 20-minute mark and then go Octarine Core. This would allow them to constantly spam their first skill from far without taking any substantial risk allowing them to turtle infinitely and single-handedly carry their teams to victory.
In the current update of 7.29b, his base damage and armor have received minor nerfs. But the biggest change is the nerfs to his Shard.
Beastmaster was considered to be down in the dumps after the removal of Necronomicon in patch 7.29. However, the buffs to his Wild Axes on the purchase of Aghanim’s Scepter made him viable not only as an offlaner but as a mid laner. In many DPC matches, Beastmaster was being first picked just because of how powerful his Scepter was. He could also enable his team to take down Roshan around the 13-15 minute mark.
Though the hero’s Scepter bonus damage for Wild Axes was mildly nerfed from +40 to +30, it has seemingly affected his win rate, at least in pubs. He has dropped from a close to 50% win rate to around 47.5 in just one day after the release of patch 7.28b. It remains to be seen if pros are not deterred by this nerf and continue to pick Beastmaster in the first phase.
Huskar was considered to be one of the most buffed heroes in 7.29 as it had received improvements to a number of its abilities and statistics. He was having one of the highest win rates but Valve has now realized the insane power of the hero. His Agility gain, regen on Berserker’s Blood, the cooldown on Life Break, and a couple of talents have been hit hard to make him a lot more balanced.
Grimstroke was being the go-to support hero into the early days of this new patch by many professional teams. This was primarily because the hero used to have an impressive power spike at the 20-minute mark when he could buy the Aghanim’s Shard. The Shard was basically a better version of Slark’s Dark Pact applying a Strong Dispel on an ally hero upon expiration, which in-turn allowed him to play extremely aggressively. It also dealt 50% more damage and healed the target to heal for 50% of the total damage dealt. It became a very potent combo with any melee hero that could play aggressively and gave them a license to dive.
Though Grismtroke’s Shard has been nerfed only to some extent with both damage and heal getting reduced from 50% to 40%, his win rate has dropped from 51% to 49% in only some hours after the release of 7.29b on April 17, 2021. With the emergence of other strong five position heroes like Bane and Snapfire, Grimstroke might be seen a lot less in the DPC.