The translated patchnotes are finally here and we finally get to analyze the biggest changes introduced in 7.34. Instead of going through all the heroes, for our First Impressions post we are going to reference our ideas and grievances about the previous patch and see whether they were addressed or not.
One out of three problems was addressed in 7.34. Nullifier can no longer go through spell immunity, allowing heroes like Ursa and Bloodseeker to have a late game. This is a very welcome change that should shake up the carry meta a little bit, allowing for the return of self-buff type heroes.
Linken's Sphere was nerfed further, though, which is a bit surprising. We saw an interesting trend in the last couple of big tournaments, where teams would create multiple layers of Linken’s on a single hero, so that they couldn’t be initiated on. The change solves this, but we honestly don’t feel like Linken’s was problematic as an item — it is just too good on Universal heroes.
Universal heroes who were largely untouched in the patch. Sure, there are some smaller changes to individual heroes, but the concept as a whole is still going to dominate the meta, at least in our opinion.
Broodmother was actually nerfed a couple of times in letter patches prior to 7.34. She was still very viable and quite strong, being a Universal hero, so we are happy to see that the hero was weakened further. Her laning stage can now be quite weak, as long as you play around Insatiable Hunger. It is no longer that strong of a sustain in lane, as it used to be, if you don’t actively trade with Broodmother.
Medusa was also a target of multiple smaller nerfs over the last month, so she was mostly in a good place already. With many other carry heroes getting buffed in 7.34, we feel like Medusa shouldn’t be as much of a problem, as she was just a couple of months ago.
There were several other heroes who didn't make the blog post, but are now in a much worse spot. Most notably, Meepo and Arc Warden are now in a much weaker state. This is good news to everyone, but the Meepo and Arc Warden spammers, and honestly, we don't really feel a whole lot of sympathy towards them.
Illusion heroes also got universally nerfed with some item changes, so might require some furher adjustments down the line.
Dazzle is in a better spot right now and is probably a playable character. He is still very far from being good or meta-defining, but picking him should no longer be considered griefing. Probably.
Perhaps there are some ways to make him work as a core, since he is a Universal hero after all. For now, though, support players should explore other, better options.
Spectre buffs are interesting. This change allows the hero to be a lot more proactive in a teamfight-oriented meta and we feel like after some itemization adjustments, Spectre could become one of the biggest threats in the game. Yasha into Diffusal Blade into Manta Style could be making a return on the hero. She will sacrifice her farming speed, but she will be able to quickly and reliably get support kills.
Finally, there is Wraith King, who got a pretty powerful laning stage buff. We don’t think it is a reason to prioritize his Skeleton Army in talent choices, since Skellies are still largely inconsequential in teamfights against any team with AoE damage, but for the laning stage it can be a massive difference maker.
Since Skellies are maxed out first in most cases anyways, as they are the hero’s farming tool, the small changes to the hero in 7.34 are unconditional buffs and will come into play in every single game. Hence the hero should be in a much better spot and should have better time snowballing.
The patch addressed several of our concerns, while also buffing a lot of long-forgotten heroes. Because there are many, many variables in play right now, it is too early to tell whether the decision to leave Universal heroes untouched is the correct one. Perhaps other DPS heroes will find their place in the meta, as indeed, many non-Universal carry heroes have been substantially buffed.
What we are slightly afraid of is that Supports will have a bad time in the new patch. Between Spectre and her global presence, Phantom Assassin and her now 20% crit and even Wraith King who can stack Desolator up to +30 damage, being a support will be undeniably harder.
Hopefully this core and DPS power creep will be met with a similar power creep to support items in the next patch. At the very least, getting Glimmer Cape and Force staff to 600+ cast range could be a thing to consider.