In Dota 2, it’s pretty common for a patch to go down after a major event or tournament, and the qualifiers for The International 7 were no exception. After what was quite literally the biggest Dota 2 tournament ever, developers, including lead patcher Icefrog, had little hesitation in a minor, yet necessary gameplay patch with 7.06e.
So what were they eyeing? We’re looking at the top five most-used heroes from the TI7 qualifiers that got hit in the patch stick—and every single one had the nerf stick—plus one that never saw the playing field. (Rubick was the fourth most-used, but he didn’t see any hits this patch.)
Sand King’s nerfs seem incredibly small: the low-level cooldowns have been decreased on the stack-like timer of his passive, Caustic Finale. This means that Sand King needs to be a lot more precise and frequent in his hits in order to amp up the damage done when the damage occurs. Players laning with the hero will find a harder time laning, making his early game a lot trickier—which may do the trick in making him less effective.
Queen of Pain
The mid hero got some pretty strong hits, with a base damage reduction and a reduction in her Level 25 Talent, as her Spell Lifesteal goes down in this talent from 70% to 60%. Of course, though, the four damage reduction isn’t too much, but it’s enough to make her laning phase a bit more difficul. That’s an issue in a patch that emphasizes last-hitting.
Much like Sand King, it’s surprising that Puck got a hit at all, given they have a low winrate overall (and in pub matches at all). However, in Southeast Asia, they have a solid pick rate with a win rate well over 50%, and so Icefrog likely wanted to at least discourage the frequent pick in the upcoming meta. An extra point down in Base Armor should make him feel substantially squishier for Puck spammers to suffer through.
Already a popular hero in pub matches, this offlaner probably got some of the most obnoxious non-talent hits in the patch. His base attack was reduced by three, which is more irritating in the laning phase than anything, but more notably, his manacost for Battery Assault went up by 25, from 75 to 100. With far less than 300 mana to boot, this means that if Clockwerk doesn’t have a way to recover mana or build Intelligence, his early-game potential in lane has been struck hard.
The fiery sister has been buffed and nerfed up and down mountain for the last several years, and this time, hers are minor—but enough to make a difference. Her talent at Level 25 nerfs the movespeed and extra damage of Fiery Soul, her passive, which kicks down her brutal late-stage right-clicking in the late game. On the other end of the game, Dragon Slave, her wave-clearing passive, got hit hard, kicking down 25 damage at level one and 10 when maxed. Whether it’ll be effective in finally dragging her in the meta is yet to be seen, but it’ll certainly make using her a difficult task.
Bonus: Shadow Demon
For the first time in a while, only one hero didn’t see use the entire tournament, and that’s the TI6 favorite Shadow Demon. So what’s an arctic amphibian to do? Make him less squishy and more obnoxious to enemies, of course. He saw a two-point buff to base Strength, and his ultimate, Demonic Purge, sees a ten-second cooldown reduction. Of course, even a bit better survivability means he’ll make it to this ability quickly. It also makes him a mid-game menace, as once that ultimate kicks in, the buff purge will make him a must-kill, especially in longer teamfights. Maybe he won’t return to TI6 viability, but it’s a start.