25 Sep 2020 5:21 PM +00:00

Patch 7.14: Explosive surprise before a Major

(Image Credit: Melissa Doroquez)

Recently, hero balance is changed in every other patch. This patch could have become an exception. The previous heroes balance patch was in the middle of a major and teams could not figure out the meta in time. Since then, only a Minor took place. Even if 7.14 did not change hero balance, surprises are bound to happen in the next Major, EPICENTER XL.

Apparently, Valve is diligent. 7.14 is a gigantic balance patch.

It's a great game.

Big changes

  • Enabled Techies in Captains Mode

Finally, all heroes are enabled in Captain's Mode. Unfortunately, this is not a hero we should expect to see often, if not at all, in events. This hero is generally known as a troll hero that lengthens the duration of games without making it fun. Many people, including professional players, dislike this hero.

  • First creep wave no longer draws aggro on the side lanes until they meet the other wave

No more pulling enemy safelane first creep wave. A change most likely made with both the competitive scene and pubs in mind. Offlaners are supposed to suffer or migrate to the jungle.

  • Blink Dagger: Cooldown increased from 14 to 15
  • Force Staff: Now requires a Ring of Regeneration instead of a Ring of Health (total price is still the same)
  • Force Staff: Mana cost increased from 25 to 100
  • Force Staff: Health regeneration reduced from 5 to 2

Nerfs to mobility items. Pubs sometimes rely on mobility too much and these changes should help pub players to learn to play optimally without mobility items.

  • Helm of the Dominator: Health regeneration decreased from 8 to 7
  • Helm of the Dominator: No longer grants +5 attack speed to the item holder
  • Helm of the Dominator: Bounty increased from 125 to 200

Expected nerfs for an item with a dominant popularity. Seeing Helm of the Dominator too much makes Chen and Enchantress games boring. This item is supposed to be a very situational pick and hopefully it will be after these changes.

  • Magic Wand: Now requires a 150 gold recipe instead of a Mango
  • Magic Wand: Now provides +3 All Stats instead of +2 All Stats and 1.5 HP Regen
  • Magic Wand: Max Charges increased from 17 to 20
  • Enchanted Mango: On sale now from 100 to 70
  • Enchanted Mango: Health regeneration decreased from 1 to 0.7
  • Enchanted Mango: Consumed Mana restore reduced from 175 to 125
  • Enchanted Mango: Daily Bonus Hero now gives 2 Mangoes

The Magic Wand health regeneration nerf is headache-inducing for both support players and non-support players with support teammates. Magic wand was and is likely to still be a core item for supports, but there are not many substitutes for the cheap health regeneration.

Tranquil Boots is now the only cheap item with health regeneration that can be used without really wasting an item slot due to the need of boots for all heroes. This is a major problem in pubs where people are often more selfish. Pub supports are less likely to get Arcane Boots now because their health is more important than your mana.

Mango sale is a hoax because you get 30% fewer vitamins for the 30% discount. However, cheap items fit poor heroes so as long as they still have vacant inventory slots, they can still enjoy cheap health regeneration that is not Tranquil Boots.

  • Broodmother: Spiderite bounty reduced from 16-21 gold and 20 exp to 3 gold and 3 xp
  • Broodmother: Spiderling bounty reduced from 11-13 gold and 31 exp to 9 gold and 9 xp
  • Broodmother: Spiderite armor reduced from 8 to 0
  • Broodmother: Spiderling armor reduced from 8 to 0
  • Broodmother: Spiderling damage reduced from 18-19 to 14-16 (~19% less)
  • Broodmother: Spawn Spiderling mana cost reduced from 120 to 100
  • Broodmother: Spawn Spiderling cooldown reduced from 10 to 11/10/9/8

A nerf for the laning phase of a hero who is dangerous throughout the game, but the bounty reduction makes it less rewarding for the opposing team to focus on countering this hero.

Previously, opposing teams are likely to focus on preventing Broodmother from having an advantageous lane match-up. With these changes, teams can focus more on the overall line-up of Broodmother's team instead of only Broodmother, making games against Broodmother less annoying.

  • Dark Seer: Wall of Replica illusions incoming damage reduced from 300% to 200%
  • Dark Seer: Wall of Replica illusions outgoing damage increased from 60/75/90% to 70/85/100%
  • Dark Seer: Wall of Replica now auto attacks the hero it made the illusion of (can still be controlled)

Significant buffs to a hero that is slowly building popularity. Not only the ultimate skill is stronger now, pub players who are less skilled in microing multiple units will also find it easier to play this hero.

  • Dark Willow: Bedlam damage reduced from 60/140/220 to 60/120/180
  • Dark Willow: Bedlam rotation duration increased from 1.5 to 1.8 seconds
  • Dark Willow: Cursed Crown no longer grants vision after it stuns
  • Dark Willow: Level 25 Talent increased from +1 Terrorize Duration to +1.5

Bedlam nerfs are expected due to it being able to kill squishy carries. Dark Willow had been one of the reasons why professional teams refrain from picking squishy carries.

  • Ember Spirit: Flame Guard magical damage absorbed rescaled from 50/200/350/500 to  80/220/360/500
  • Ember Spirit: Searing Chains duration rescaled from 1/2/2/3 to 1.5/2/2.5/3
  • Ember Spirit: Searing Chains now does damage in 0.5 second intervals
  • Ember Spirit: Searing Chains total damage rescaled from 80/120/240/300 to 90/160/230/300

Ember Spirit needs items to perform in mid-game, but the hero was weak in the laning phase. These buffs are not enough to make the hero strong, but these still are improvements. After all, only 50 damage absorb is ridiculous for a hero skill.

  • Io: Tether can now target Spell Immune allies
  • Io: Tether cast point changed from 0.001 to 0
  • Io: Tether no longer applies slow on impact
  • Io: Spirits now apply a 20/40/60/80% movement speed slow on impact for 0.3 seconds
  • Io: Spirits now have two fixed positions they go to, 700 and 100 (No longer granular with toggles, but just a single press action)
  • Io: Spirits In/Out is just one ability now, alternates the direction (has a 1.5 second cooldown, same hotkey as spirits ability. Base cooldown/duration is still the same)
  • Io: Spirits creep damage increased from 8/14/20/26 to 10/18/26/34
  • Io: Spirits mana cost from 150 to 120/130/140/150
  • Io: Spirits collision AoE increased from 70 to 110
  • Io: Spirits explosion damage AoE increased from 300 to 360
  • Io: Level 10 Talent changed from +400    Spirits Max Range to +25% XP
  • Io: Level 25 Talent changed from Tether Stuns to -60s Relocate Cooldown

Significant nerf to Io's nuking capabilities due to how hard it is to land Spirits now. The collision AoE is not sufficient to cover the loss of the direction toggle.

Io is becoming even more viable as an early-game roamer, including with another support as the partner. The viability of roaming Io is vital for the viability of Io without any of the hero's usual partners. Last-picking Io without Tiny, Bristleback, Sven or other common Io partners might be a thing now.

  • Pangolier: Rolling Thunder no longer gets canceled when rooted or disabled (rolls in place instead)
  • Pangolier: Rolling Thunder cooldown increased from 70/65/60 to 70
  • Pangolier: Swashbuckle mana cost increased from 70/80/90/100 to 80/90/100/110
  • Pangolier: Shield Crash cooldown increased from 13 to 19/17/15/13
  • Pangolier: Fixed Shield Crash counting Spell Immune heroes
  • Pangolier: Level 10 Talent reduced from +2 Mana regeneration to +1.5

The first change is a buff that Pangolier players have been waiting for. Being forced to cancel Rolling Thunder when surrounded by enemies is nonsense. Even though the hero received five nerfs, Pangolier players have more reason to be happy.

It can be argued that overall the hero is still nerfed because sometimes the opposing team does not have anything to cancel Rolling Thunder and Pangolier is supposed to be a situational pick. It is true that in some occasions, the buff can be irrelevant, but Pangolier is a good hero to attract players that have experience in playing the most popular MOBA in the world right now, so Valve might want Pangolier to be a more frequent pick.

Based on players of that MOBA game, aiming skills to directions is much more fun than aiming skills to heroes. Pangolier offers two skills that are aimed towards directions. Swashbuckle requires players to aim directions twice in each skill usage, one direction for the dash and another for the slash. Rolling Thunder need to be controlled by clicking on directions.

  • Tiny: Tree Grab area damage reduced from 100% to 30/40/50/60%

This hero was still too popular despite the constant nerfs. This nerf is big and will massively influence the hero's popularity.

  • Undying: Tombstone spawn interval improved from 4.5/4/3.5/3 to 4/3.5/3/2.5
  • Undying: Level 15 Talent increased from +30 Decay Duration to +50
  • Undying: Level 20 Talent increased from +4 Tombstone Attacks to +6

The Tombstone buff is great. This hero might stand under the spotlight soon.

What do you think about this patch? Let us know in the comments below!