The dust is slowly settling after the addition of the 6.84 patch to the game slightly over two weeks ago. In our patch analysis we have stated the changes introduced in the patch are among the most notable in the recent history and now it is time to see whether the impact it had on the game is as massive as we have expected.
As always, we are grouping the heroes into 6 Tiers based on their Win Rate in the current patch and analyse the most notable changes. We will cover the Top Three Tiers in today's blog.
Without further ado - Pub Tier List 6.84 - Biggest Winners
I think it is the first time in history of our Tier Lists when the Pub Stompers section consisted of 7 heroes total. While Omniknight, Abaddon, Necrophos and Zeus have already been among the most dominant pub heroes, the addition of Ursa is something probably no one expected.
The hero has received a very interesting rework, no longer tying Ursa to a slightly inefficient Max HP build making him a more conventional agility carry. Because of that, the scaling of the hero into the late game has been improved, since you no longer needed to stack up non-DPS items for higher burst. Additionally, the 80% damage reduction, even if it is only for 4 seconds on a 50/45/40 cooldown is something that the enemy has to keep in mind, especially given a 0/0 cast time/backswing. Finally, the hero is amazing at gaining tempo (~advantage) over the enemy and being a physical damage dealer does not lose it as hard as other tempo-control heroes.
Undying is plaguing our pubs at practically every level of play. Already being strong, he has received a buff which prevents physical AoE from destroying Tombstone Zombies (something I did not understand while working on the Patch analysis). The result is scary - a ~5.5% Win Rate increase is second only to the one of Ursa. But while most people have an idea of what to do against the mighty furbolg, dealing with Undying remains a puzzle to be solved. Or is it?
While the AP mode does not prevent people from spamming the hero, the CM one definitely provides some form of a safety net against the hero, something that is certainly taken advantage of by professional players. In the most recent tournaments the Pick+Ban % for Undying is around ~50% for Western Teams and around ~75% for the Eastern ones. Interestingly, the Win Rate for the Western Teams who either pick or ban Undying is close to 75%, while the same statistic for the East is at ~30%.
Watching some Chinese professional Dota can yield interesting insights into how to fight under the effect of Tombstone. General rule of thumb is that you do not - you avoid these kind of fights unless you can get rid of the Tombstone fast enough without sacrificing too much on the field. Chinese teams currently eclipse the Western ones in terms of the ability to disengage/avoid fights and it certainly shows.
Common sense coupled with the matchup tab for the hero shows a variety of potential counters to Undying, which either have a way to deal with the zombies/tombstone quickly ( Medusa, Gyrocopter, Ember Spirit) or have a high enough mobility for the tombstone to be a non-factor.
Lastly, there is Crystal Maiden - a very aggressive support with a strong early-game global presence. She has received a multitude of direct buffs in the last couple of patches as well as benefiting greatly from the changes to the kills/assists gold distribution. And then there is Glimmer Cape. With all that in mind, it is unsurprising to see her in the First Tier of heroes.
There is not really a lot to talk about when it comes to Crystal Maiden - she has been around for a very long while. Be sure to have a way to disable through Black King Bar and/or some detection and she should not pose that much of threat.
Wraith King, Spectre, Warlock, Bloodseeker, Spirit Breaker, Slardar, Silencer, Lich, Leshrac, Vengeful Spirit, Earthshaker, Dazzle, Jakiro, Centaur Warrunner, Luna, Chaos Knight, Sven, Venomancer, Ogre Magi, Enigma
There were a lot of interesting changes throughout all Tiers and the most interesting ones for the Pub Winners are Bloodseeker, Leshrac and Jakiro, with the increase in Win Rate of 4.5%, 3.5% and 2.5% respectively.
Bloodseeker has received a very strong buff, which made his passive ability - Thirst a lot more effective when it matters. It has resulted in a pretty significant buff to movement speed and attack damage during the fights, as well as making the laning stage a nightmare for the opposing team - being harassed in lane automatically makes the second one a lot harder. The potential for abuse for the well-coordinated teams is actually pretty huge.
Leshrac was among the most buffed heroes in the patch. Not only did he receive a multitude of direct buffs, but the amount of options present to the Leshrac players has also substantially increased. Top it with the increased focus on pushing towers and you can see where the 3.5% increase came from.
Personally, I am still on the fence about the core Leshrac - even with the ability to farm relatively fast and an impressive late-game damage/survivability with the Octarine Core, he will still have hard time going against similarly farmed auto-attacking carry. Good thing is - if played correctly, the enemy team should have less net worth purely due to how fast you can push towers and/or how much burst damage you have in the early game. A very risky strategy with one of the highest potential payoffs.
Finally, there is Jakiro. There were some direct buffs to the hero, making his ultimate substantially stronger, but I believe the bigger contributor to the increased Win Rate is, once again, a change of focus towards pushing. Losing a fight with a huge Net Worth lead is no longer as punishing as it used to be and the hero is probably on par with Leshrac when it comes to getting this lead through taking objectives. His damage is not as impressive, but he has ability to chip down Tier 1's very efficiently and does not need to clear creep waves and/or commit to the tower as much as Leshrac does.
Otherwise, the hero has remained more or less the same. We have seen a lot of Jakiro gameplay slightly over half a year ago and most of the build/strategy remains the same.
Disruptor, Medusa, Gyrocopter, Shadow Shaman, Viper, Mirana, Phantom Lancer, Techies, Night Stalker, Tidehunter, Slark, Drow Ranger, Dark Seer, Shadow Fiend, Treant Protector, Pudge, Clockwerk, Dragon Knight, Lycan, Keeper of the Light, Phoenix, Beastmaster, Elder Titan, Brewmaster, Troll Warlord, Phantom Assassin, Tusk, Juggernaut, Razor.
Tusk has received a very strong rebalance, which made him slightly closer to his original design - the speed of Snowball is no longer dependant on the amount of heroes inside it, making solo ganking Tusk a thing providing a lot more consistency in the gameplay. Travelling at a fixed speed of 675 ms, the Snowball outpaces most heroes in a very convincing manner, especially in the early game.
The decrease in mana cost and cooldown for Ice Shards has further improved the hero, allowing him to be a lot more active and making him a rather viable support. A role which, as we all know, has received a very substantial buff.
Finally, there is an Aghnim's Upgrade, which a lot of people claim to be useless. It is certainly not the case, but it is still very situational. The very "kite-able" heroes are once again in the meta and bkb-penetrating slow with a knockback can be amazing under right circumstances. Sven, Ursa, Lifestealer will all suffer from the inability to deal damage, since in most cases it is their only job. It is not by any means a core item, but it is situationally unparalleled in the amount of utility it can provide.
Gyrocopter's rise in the ranks is not at all surprising - a very significant buff as well as a more AoE/teamfight-heavy meta have led to a very substantial Win Rate increase. While many new players tend to disregard the impact of the cast point, the more seasoned players are abusing the hell out of an ability to deal massive damage to a single target without braking movement/allowing for escape.
The hero is currently played in two ways - a full early game Homing Missle + Rocket Barrage tempo control/harasser and a more conventional Rocket Barrage + Flak Cannon farm and gun build. Both of them are pretty viable, despite the nerf to the starting intelligence introduced in 6.84b, but the latter, while providing more benefits to flash-farming still requires at least some form of coordination from the team.
Then there is Dark Seer. Turns out, the only thing that was required for the hero to get back into the game is a patch, where the cooldown on vacuum is not increased.
To be fair, the hero has received a very strong buff to the duration of the first two levels of the Wall of Replica, as well as the decrease in mana cost. Coupled with a teamfight meta game and the popularity of heroes with AoE damage/disables, it is unsurprising to see the hero in both professional and pub picks and he has every right to be there - me personally, as well as a huge chunk of the community have missed the crazy combos which could be pulled out with this hero in the draft.
This concludes the first part of the 6.84 Tier List. The community has voiced their opinion, preferring longer, more detailed posts to more expansive ones and we will try to keep in line with the feedback you have provided.
Unfortunately, the third part for "Analysing Top Tier Offlaners" is currently shelved, due to the amount of discrepancy the patch has caused - some of the heroes I intended to cover are no longer relevant or simply outclassed, hence the Blog Post would turn outdated/uninteresting.
Finally, the second part of the Pub Tier List should be published by next Tuesday and I will be looking into the biggest losers of the patch and the reasons behind their demise.