Two weeks have passed since 6.85 has been released and the dust has settled enough for us to do a 6.85 Pub Tier List.
As always, our Tier List is based on the pub Win Rate of the heroes and tries to analyse what changes to the game introduced in the latest patch have had the biggest impact. The Blog Post will be divided into six Tiers and will discuss the most interesting changes in each of them.
Spectre received what we initially assumed will be a nerf to the hero. The rework on Dispersion makes her quite weaker against high-armor targets in the mid-late game, but it is a lot more potent against low-armor targets.
Additionally it allows Spectre to be a lot more flexible when it comes to items. Previously going for survivability meant Heart of Tarrasque or Eye of Skadi, as flat increases in resistances made her passive a lot less potent. Currently items such as Assault Cuirass can provide a lot more benefits, as well as any aura armor/magic resistance items your teammates might have.
The Desolate changes allow her for an extra last hit under the tower and make her jungling a little bit faster, but it is otherwise not a big deal, unless you go for an early jungling build (which I've seen work well, but do not recommend personally).
Couple it with a cheaper Radiance and a 2% increase in Win Rate becomes understandable.
Ursa received a very strong rework a couple of patches ago which allowed him to go for DPS items instead of survivability - something that made his late-game weaker in previous patches. In 6.85, Ursa received a small nerf to his Str gain, but a couple of strong cooldown reductions on Earthshock (Q) and Enrage (R), with multiplier nerfs to the latter.
The net effect is negligeble - his Win Rate has been fluctuating around the same ~58.5%. And for anyone playing Ursa in pubs it should be good news, since the hero is quite strong throughout the game.
Riki is in a rather weird spot right now when it comes to identifying his role. Receiving a strong regeneration buff to his permanent invisibility in 6.85, he can now be a really strong roaming offlaner/support akin to Bounty Hunter with better scaling but without the benefits of extra gold from Track. What makes it weird is that changes in 6.85 did not subtract anything from his carry potential.
The net results is an impressive 2% Win Rate increase, qualifying him for the first Tier of heroes.
If previously my advice would be something along the lines of "just get detection", with the changes it is now close to impossible to get rid of him in the lane, unless you kill him fast. More importantly, it is impossible to have all lanes covered with detection - with an innate health regeneration the hero can allow himself to roam wherever he wants to and can put a great toll on the supports.
And setting up kills as Riki on mobile targets is easier - unlike Bounty Hunter, he has a built-in silence, making him a bigger threat to Queen of Pain, Storm Spirit, Morphling and other heroes which rely on spells to survive the mid lane.
Crystal Maiden, Lich, Warlock, Vengeful Spirit, Slardar, Venomancer, Dazzle, Centaur Warrunner, Chaos Knight, Silencer, Medusa, Luna, Elder Titan, Spirit Breaker, Witch Doctor, Jakiro, Sven, Disruptor, Shadow Shaman, Earthshaker, Ogre Magi, Mirana, Treant Protector, Night Stalker
Chaos Knight is arguably one of the strongest carries in the game. When it comes to raw damage output he absolutely eclipses any other hero when attacking a single target with a potential 500% DPS increase from his ultimate alone.
That comes with a downside of not being able to farm fast while being extremely dependent on items to be effective. In the 6.82-6.83 era, it would've been a huge problem, but ever since the gold earned from Creeps/Neutrals has been nerfed and the gold from Kills/Assists has been buffed, the hero has been gaining momentum which blew up with the armor decreasing properties the hero has received in 6.85.
From what I've seen using the guides page, a lot of higher level players now get an early value point in the ability. I am not a big fan of RNG or even PRNG in the games, but in this case no risk aversion of a rational agent should stop you from getting this value point - the potential payout is massive, especially early in the game.
Elder Titan is a very underused hero in my opinion. His gameplay revolves around allowing his teammates to deal tons of damage but the effect is rarely noticed. Not because it is negligible, but because it does not produce visual cues on enemies. If his aura ever gets a graphic representation, his Pick Rate in pubs is going to skyrocket.
The latest patch has not buffed him in what I assume to be his biggest strength, but rather made him a little less mana starved as well as making his level 1 Ancestral Spirit buff him a lot more. This change, I think, does not necessarily make him a better offlaner - the role he has been played in previously, but rather a better hero for early skirmishes - with decent starting HP and Armor (606/3) he can be really strong in a trilane vs trilane situations, despite being melee.
It will certainly take some time and professional players coverage for the hero to get noticed once again, but he is definitely on the right track and has the potential of becoming the next Tusk.
Lich is a rather boring hero, but it does not mean he is not useful. His versatility as well as potential for decent XP swings make him invaluable in teams which are revolved around late-game.
Additionally, providing every teammate with extra armor and AS slow on enemies ensures his potential later in the game, while the BKB piercing mini-stun from Chain Frost can make him invaluable in Enigma and Bane matchups.
With the latest patch, the hero has gained 2.5% Win Rate and was played in several professional matches - he is certainly a hero to look out for in the upcoming tournaments.
Phoenix, Dark Seer, Enigma, Doom, Shadow Fiend, Viper, Tidehunter, Juggernaut, Lycan, Drow Ranger, Pudge, Death Prophet, Troll Warlord, Legion Commander, Slark, Dragon Knight, Clockwerk, Terrorblade, Winter Wyvern, Weaver, Phantom Assassin, Tiny, Windranger, Beastmaster, Ancient Apparition, Bristleback, Keeper of the Light
Lycan has been in and out of the meta the most or at least it seems so. After receiving a strong jungle nerf in 2012, he was pretty much unheard of until the "deathball" meta kicked in. After that, each patch has either buffed or nerfed him, resulting in huge Win Rate and Pick Rate fluctuations.
His recent changes have not been as drastic as some of the previous ones, but buffs to str gain coupled with critical chance buffs have made him a much stronger direct confrontation hero - something he lacked, instead of generally opting for strong split-push.
With the current Win Rate of 51.08%, I think he is one of the more solid heroes, which has the ability to take out Roshan early, farm jungle quite effectively and be slightly above average when it comes to teamfight and pushing allowing for high versatility.
Phantom Assassin has received countless indirect nerfs. The introduction of Silver Edge not only made it more difficult to focus down some heroes, but has also taken away quite a huge chunk of the hero's strength.
Receiving an interesting buff to the Stifling Dagger, however, did not seem to make her a lot more viable with a miniscule Win Rate increase. What it did, however, is open up a lot of different builds revolving around the added benefits of the dagger.
While it might seem gimmicky and unreliable at first, the fact is - you do not sacrifice a lot of resources for the chance at doing something really strong, such as critting or bashing with a dagger. Additionally, for the first time, the hero has received a long-range interrupt, if going for a Monkey King Bar. Personally, I am not a big fan of RNG, but in certain matchups a 40% chance of interrupting a big channeling spell is better than 0%.
Overall, the hero seems like a good pick for the meta, despite a somewhat poor Win Rate. With a sudden switch to more right-click oriented plays, Blur has once again become a potent passive.
Legion Commander received a great deal of different buffs in 6.85 and is approaching a very playable state. In fact, her Win Rate has increased by 1.5% and she is currently closest to an "ideal" 50% Win Rate balanced hero.
When people are picking Legion Commander, I feel like they are overvaluing the buffs she gets from Duel. Best case scenario - extra 200+ damage are still rarely enough to make her a super-scary late-game carry - even with the damage, she is still easily kite-able without her ultimate.
In my opinion, she is best suited to play as the second/third core - she does not need items to be effective in this regard except for Blink Dagger.
Brewmaster, Gyrocopter, Razor, Tusk, Sand King, Lion, Templar Assassin, Sniper, Invoker, Lifestealer, Kunkka, Phantom Lancer, Huskar, Pugna, Leshrac, Techies, Nyx Assassin, Earth Spirit, Anti-Mage, Bloodseeker, Faceless Void, Axe, Bounty Hunter, Alchemist
Gyrocopter has received a lot of really direct nerfs. The changes to ancients have hindered his farm the most out of all flash-farming heroes and his innate early game strengths have been nerfed as well.
What it led to is a rather underwhelming hero, which needs a lot of time to be able to clear ancients and hence, even more time to get online in full force. His previous strength was more or less fully reliant on winning the lane and going for stacks - he is a lot less effective in both regards.
What it does open up, however, is a chance for support Gyrocopter to step in. His spells are quite potent and he can be safely played in position 4 to becomes a damage dealer later in the game. He lacks reliable stun, but he can certainly turn the lives of solo heroes into a nightmare with homing missile.
Anti-Mage is currently suffering from the lack of high mana pool cores. With Storm Spirit, Leshrac and to a certain degree Lina falling out of meta, Anti-Mage simply doesn't have as much of an impact in every game, as he used to.
One additional problem is that he became extremely popular in the 6.84 era and people tend to be quite clingy to their favorite/flavor of the patch heroes.
He is slowly becoming less relevant in the professional scene and the pub scene will surely follow - with him becoming a situational pick once again his Win Rate is bound to rise.
Razor is a hero I have stopped understanding completely. With a huge amount of nerfs and only an incremental buff in 6.85, I feel he does not deserve an appearance in the professional matches - he is outclassed by a lot of heroes in terms of early game/late game and flash farming capabilities.
Being a great anti-carry hero, I feel he has been picked too early in most professional games, allowing for the opposing team to draft into heroes which do not suffer from reduced attack damage. His innate tankiness, as well as his item build, does very little against currently popular heroes and his pushing potential is far from what it was, since the glyph recharge change.
In his current form the hero is lackluster and is too situational to be picked early. If your team needs a carry, consider something else.
Timbersaw, Queen of Pain, Lina, Bane, Ember Spirit, Clinkz, Skywrath Mage, Outworld Devourer, Magnus, Meepo, Visage, Batrider, Rubick, Naga Siren, Chen, Morphling, Storm Spirit, Nature's Prophet, Enchantress, Broodmother, Tinker, Puck, Lone Druid, Shadow Demon
Timbersaw has received some buffs in the previous patch but he also received a really strong nerf - Bloodstone is a really weak item right now. The biggest problem with it is the lack of AoE XP gain as well as the gold loss nerf. The hero goes in early in the fight and can die really fast.
What the Bloodstone nerf did, essentially, is take away from his strength while not necessarily nerfing the hero Leshrac as much - Leshrac rarely goes all in. A peculiar game design decision to say the least.
I think the hero will see very little play in the professional scene - he is outclassed by a lot of offlane heroes and does not get as much done later on - with his spells not going through spell immunity, he can become really useless really fast.
Lina is one of the biggest losers of this patch, yet I feel like she is still a very decent hero. Losing ~2.85% Win Rate is not surprising for the hero, with a lot of direct nerfs in terms of damage, but her strength as a quick-burst damage dealer and a sustainable right-clicker is not completely gone.
What the hero does suffer from, is that she can't exactly be called a counter-pick to anything. She is an all-around strong hero with high versatility, but it takes away from her potential of being extremely strong in certain situations. And for heroes like this, direct nerfs are the most important ones.
We will probably still see a lot of the hero being played in the pro games though.
Shadow Demon is not a bad hero, as people might assume from his Win Rate. His main weakness comes from inability of Pub Players to play him effectively - it requires a lot of team coordination as well as game understanding. As opposed to other similar heroes, however, Shadow Demon can actually tamper with what your team does - if played incorrectly he is an actual sixth enemy for your team of four.
Solving this problem will probably take a lot of time - the hero is not popular in pubs and/or professional matches to be picked often enough and provide VODs for people to learn from. Additionally, there are very few people who dedicate themselves to learning the hero - he is not exactly the most exciting hero to play.
There are two types of players who play Oracle - dedicated Support players such as myself who have studied the hero and understood his strength and weaknesses, and general pub players who see Damage, Cooldown and 1.4 BAT and go crazy about it.
Until 6.85, the second type of players were... well... wrong - they could be quite effective in taking out single targets and save themselves/teammates from imminent death, but their contribution was very limited. The big problem is that this patch has catered to this crowd exactly - we have lower cooldowns, we have a lot less utility from Fate's Edict (W) and we have a hero which changed from a high-risk high-reward exciting support, to a semi-nuker with a disarm and buffed Shallow Grave on a longer cooldown.
Personally, I haven't touched the hero ever since he got "buffed" - I do not find him as exciting and interesting as he was and while I may sound as a hipster, I do care about the diversity of the game and feel like in this particular instance, the net effect is that the hero got "dumbed down" for non-dedicated players.
I feel like a lot of players similar to myself also feel betrayed with this change and have probably stopped playing the hero as well - hence a decrease in Win Rate for a hero which until the recent patch was on the same level of Overpowered as pre-6.84 Winter Wyvern.