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With the Chongqing Major qualifiers done and dusted, a new balance patch was bound to come our way. It’s here in the form of Dota 2 patch 7.20d and it deals with items and heroes. The item changes are mostly in regards to movement speeds. Most of the heroes have been nerfed, although there are some that have been buffed. Let’s take a look at the prominent changes in the patch that are likely to make a difference.

Item Changes

* Tranquil Boots: Movement speed reduced from +28% to +24%
With a lot of other items getting added movement speed instead of percentage movement speed, there was a need to bring down Tranquil Boots by a notch.

* Power Treads: Attribute bonus increased from 12 to 14
Power Treads may have lost some of their charm as they no longer offer an increase in attack speed, but the attribute bonus is huge. As compared to 7.19, Power Treads offer 4 more of each attribute which translates to 80 extra HP and 48 extra mana (provided you make sure you Treads switch!). Also, while using them on agility, the hero stands to gain about half the attack speed as given by gloves of haste, so there’s that missing piece. Power Treads popularity should increase a bit now, thanks to the high attribute bonus.

* Phase Boots: Now has the active again instead of the passive
I guess there are some things that just need to be kept as they are. There were a lot of complaints about the removal of the Phase Boots active which made IceFrog bring it back. Admiral Bulldog may also have had something to do with it.


* Mask of Madness: Movement speed changed from +12% to +25 constant
Like Tranquil Boots, this is to balance out the change in the Yasha movement speed. A hero like Luna, who has a base movement speed of 330, nearly gains 40 movement speed from Mask of Madness. Add to that the movement speed from a Yasha, and that’s going to go up even more. This change is to make sure every other agility carry does not turn into a Spirit Breaker.


Kaya, Sange and Yasha Movement Speeds
* Yasha: Movement speed changed from +8% to +25 constant
* Manta Style: Movement speed changed from +8% to +25 constant
* Sange and Yasha: Movement speed changed from +12% to +35 constant
* Yasha and Kaya: Movement speed changed from +12% to +35 constant

This is surely a welcome change for all those heroes with low base movement speed. With the percentage based movement speed gains, heroes had no way on increasing base MS (except MS talents). This should ease the situation a bit.


Starting Items
* Wraith Band: Recipe cost increased from 220 to 240
* Bracer: Recipe cost increased from 220 to 240
* Null Talisman: Recipe cost increased from 220 to 240

IceFrog can keep increasing recipe costs but that won’t stop players from buying these items. They offer a lot and a 20 gold increase in gold will not deter anyone from buying the items. If a nerf is necessary, it should be to what they offer.


Hero Changes

* Melee heroes below 300 base movement speed increased by 5
This added movement speed will affect all movement speed items that give percentage based movement, so it is a big win for the slow heroes of Dota 2.

Buffed Heroes

1) Clinkz
* Clinkz: Burning Army damage type changed from Pierce to Hero type (50% vs heroes to 100%)
* Clinkz: Burning Army base attack time increased from 1.5/1.35/1.2 to 1.75/1.6/1.45

Of all the changes that the new patch brought with it, Clinkz’s ultimate got the most slack. It seemed like a not-so-powerful ability and that’s quite what it has proved to be till now. Change in the damage type though, from Pierce to Hero type is basically like giving the Burning Army a Double Damage rune.  The Burning Army should do a lot of damage to supports, especially if one or tow supports are the only heroes in the area. I have a feeling this skill has the potential to become really broken if IceFrog keeps buffing it (especially if the Archers start hitting towers).

2) Juggernaut

* Juggernaut: Omnislash now removes debuffs on cast
* Juggernaut: Level 15 Talent reduced from +25 Attack Speed to +20

Juggernaut has been buffed but we still aren’t seeing a whole lot of him. This is a nice little buff that gives him a dispel while casting

3) Nature’s Prophet

* Nature’s Prophet: Agility gain increased from 2.8 to 3.3
* Nature’s Prophet: Wrath of Nature’s max targets increased from 16 to 18

Since 7.18, NP’s agi gain has gone up from 1.9 to 3.3. That’s a total additional agility of 35! Pain Gaming’s hFn recently impressed on a position 1 Nature’s Prophet and we have seen Team Liqui’d Miracle do it last season as well. Might just pop up in the tournaments to come.


Nerfed Heroes

1) Axe
* Axe: Counter Helix damage reduced from 75/110/145/180 to 60/100/140/180
* Axe: Level 15 Talent reduced from +4 Mana Regen to +3

There’s not a lot that can be done when Axe take’s two Stout Shields and backdoors the creep wave and takes it into the neutrals. The early nerf to Counter Helix will make it a bit tougher for him to kill the creeps while at the same time easier for heroes to fight into him. The hero is currently strong in Dota as well as Artifact. What a time to be Axe!


2) Brewmaster
* Brewmaster: Primal Split cooldown increased from 140/120/100 to 140/130/120
* Brewmaster: Level 10 talent reduced from +30 Damage to +20

Suddenly, Brewmaster has become a hero that can be played in ANY role! The reduction in the damage talent decelerates the right click build, which has been gaining quite a bit of popularity as of late. The big nerf though is the increase in Primal Split cooldown. This is one of the big ultimates teams play around and an additional 20 seconds makes the team with Brewmaster significantly weaker.


3) Faceless Void
* Faceless Void: Time Lock chance reduced from 10/15/20/25% to 10/14/18/22%
* Faceless Void: Level 10 Talent reduced from +20 Damage to +15

Void is literally getting bashed, or Time Locked, in all patches following 7.20. In the last patch, Time Lock damage was reduced from 30/40/50/60 to 25/30/35/40.  Before that, it was the Time Lock damage bonus talent that got nerfed. In patch 7.20d, the Time Lock chance has been reduced along with his damage talent. The changes by themsleves might seem small, but all put together will add up to make Void considerably weaker. The hero has a sub 50% win rate in professional games played on 7.20, give him a break (or give him some Time?!).


4) Grimstroke
* Grimstroke: Ink Swell max damage reduced from 160/240/320/400 to 100/200/300/400
* Grimstroke: Ink Swell max stun duration reduced from 2/2.6/3.2/3.8 to 1.7/2.4/3.1/3.8
* Grimstroke: Soul Bind cooldown increased from 80/65/50 to 90/70/50

Teams have been cozying up to Grimstroke ever since he was introduced in Captain’s Mode in 7.20. Grimstroke was surely a bit broken still and this should make him a bit more balanced. He has a win rate of 56.06% in professional games. Ink Swell is a very powerful skill in the laning stage and with the two changes to the skill in patch 7.20d, I believe Grimstroke is now in a good place, balance wise.


5) Magnus
* Magnus: Empower cleave damage reduced from 30/45/60/75% to 20/38/56/74%
* Magnus: Level 15 Talent reduced from +15 Strength to +12
* Magnus: Level 20 Talent reduced from +12 Armor to +10

Magnus has started popping up anywhere from position 2 to position 4. The position 4 Magnus just stacks, sits behind the safelane carry, Empowers him/her and hits RPs. Empower has crazy potential to ramp up the carry’s farm and with heroes like PA and AM popular this patch, he is the perfect pic. The change will ensure the rate of increase in farm is not as high, or it will force Magnus to max out Empower, which reduces damage potential from the Shockwave.


6) Rubick
* Rubick: Telekinesis cooldown increased from 28/26/24/22 to 34/30/26/22
* Rubick: Telekinesis lift duration reduced from 1.1/1.5/1.9/2.3 to 1/1.4/1.8/2.2

Rubick, with the change to Arcane Supremacy, is now a very viable mid. Dishing out tons of magical damage is what this hero now seems to be about. The change was so good that Rubick was the most picked hero in the Chongqing Major qualifiers. In nerfing Rubick though, IceFrog has gone with Telekinesis. Telekinesis is usually kept at level 1 while Fade Bolt and Arcane Supremacy are maxed out to get high burst damage early on in the game. Nerfing level 1 of Telekinesis makes sure Rubick cannot hold his foes in place as easily as before. The additional 6 seconds cooldown will definitely hurt. However, this is also a sign of how IceFrog wants the hero to progress, i.e., in a more offensive way rather than a saving support.


7) Sand King
* Sand King: Sand Storm cooldown from 40/32/24/16 to 40/34/28/22
* Sand King: Burrow Strike stun duration from 1.9/2/2.1/2.2 to 1.6/1.8/2/2.2
* Sand King: Level 15 Talent reduced from +50 Sand Storm DPS to +40

Sand King now is like a poor man’s Monkey King. He makes a ring with the Sand Storm and anyone entering it has to face the consequences. Sand Storm at level 4 has a damage of 100 per second, with the talent it now goes to 140. That’s more than two Radiances put together! The nerf was expected. The new norm is to max out Sand Storm and keep the other two skills at level 1. With Burrow Strike taking a big hit at level 1, players might consider taking another value point in it, indirectly reducing the early game Sand Storm DPS. It also means if someone inside Sand Storm is stunned with it inside the ring, they are held in place for a shorter time.


Phantom Assassin and Slark did get slight nerfs, but that should not affect their popularity, PA I must say is the hero of the patch and it’s good to see her be in the spotlight. Never before has she been such a popular pick. Sven continues to languish in the bad heroes of Dota 2 and nothing is being done. Anti-Mage is also strong, yes, but PA absolutely destroys him. On the other hand, Terrorblade continues to be picked and is not at all nerfed. Some decisions just baffle me here. I just wish in the next patch, Sven and TB swap positions.

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