7.21c is a balance patch and it is rather small in Dota patch terms. Since it is not as big as all the other ones, I analyzed every change from 7.21c in this article. Let’s get started.
- XP earned when being denied increased from 30% to 35%
XP earned when being denied got increased again this patch. In 7.20 the value was 25%. Although this affects all the 3 lanes, it is a major game changer for the Offlane. Currently, going for 2-1-2 lanes is the meta. This started when XP earned from denied creeps was reduced from 70% to 25% back in 7.07, and it gained permanency when the middle lane tier 1 towers got closer to the river in 7.09. Before this, Roaming was the more preferred alternative for Pos 4 Supports.
Currently, Roaming is not viable most of the time, because it is very hard for certain Offlane heroes to get any amount of XP or farm without the help of a support. And since T1 towers are close to the river now, it is also very hard to gank the enemy mid laner, since he can easily get TP backup and the armor bonus aura from the tower. This is what killed the concept of Roaming.
From what I can tell, IceFrog is trying to slowly change the game in a way that Roaming, 2-1-2 and Trilanes can all be viable at the same time. This will be good for Dota, as players will not have to stick to one single play-style in every match.
Even now, professional players employ Trilanes very often, specially when they have an Offlane hero that does not need a support to help them, like Dark Seer and Timbersaw. We also saw a slight comeback in Roaming recently, when players started playing Earth Spirit and Bounty Hunter. Currently, Roaming is not bad, but there are only a few heroes that are good at Roaming and that too in very specific scenarios.
Drum of Endurance
- Recipe cost increased from 500 to 600
Drums have been getting nerfed recently. In 7.21, Swiftness Aura which provided 6% MS to all allied units was removed. Currently, it provides 20 MS, only to the carrier.
This nerf is not very surprising considering that Drums are still quite popular on many heroes and teamfight lineups.
Hand of Midas
- Gold bonus reduced from 180 to 160
Another nerf to the most popular carry item in pubs right now. Many players were already wondering whether Midas was good, after the bonus was reduced from 200 to 180. Now I think it is almost confirmed that Midas is not worth buying anymore, except on a very few heroes perhaps. This will definitely still not be enough for pub players to stop buying Midas though.
- Mist Coil damage/heal increased from 100/150/200/250 to 120/165/210/255
I was surprised that Abaddon did not become a popular pick in 7.21, considering how popular Midas became. He is a great Midas hero due to the XP gain talent and the CD reduction talent.
This change is very small and it’s almost like a note from IceFrog to the players, telling them that this hero is really good right now.
Although Midas got nerfed now, I can easily see Abaddon being played in teamfight lineups, with items like Crimson Guard and Pipe. He is definitely a decent hero in lane, specially with a support. We will have to wait and see if players will start playing him again.
- Acid Spray radius increased from 400/475/550/625 to 475/525/575/625
Acid Spray got over nerfed due to two changes over time. Before 7.05, Acid Spray had a radius of 625 on all levels. From 7.20, Acid Spray stopped affecting Magic Immune units. These changes were necessary back then, due to Alchemist’s popularity, but currently the hero is very dead and needs a few more buffs like the one he got here.
- Intelligence gain increased from 3 to 3.4
- Ice Blast duration increased from 9/10/11 to 10/11/12
These are some much needed buffs for AA. This hero was completely ignored in MDL Macau 2019 which was played in 7.21b. He isn’t very popular in pubs either.
- Agility gain reduced from 3.1 to 2.6
Many players started playing Bounty Hunter as a pos 3 recently. He does a lot of damage with Jinada in lane, whilst stealing gold from the enemy safelaner every few seconds. After getting level 6, ganking is very easy with Bounty, and he can later transition into a teamfight hero with items like Spirit Vessel, Solar Crest, Pipe and Crimson Guard.
This nerf is well balanced because it only targets core BH. Support BH is barely affected by it.
- Agility gain increased from 2.5 to 2.8
- Level 15 Talent increased from +15 Agility to +20
Broodmother is completely nonexistent right now, both in pubs and in professional matches. Funnily enough, this hero got unintentionally nerfed, when the ancients from the primary jungle were removed. Brood heavily depends on Ancient camps for farming.
Personally, I am very happy that she is resting in peace and I hope that Icefrog doesn’t buff her enough for her to be back again. For now, I am fairly certain that these buffs are not good enough for her to be back.
- Divine Favor bonus damage reduced from 12/24/36/48 to 8/16/24/32
- Divine Favor non-hero damage multiplier increased from 2x to 3x
Divine Favor is a great spell to spam on your carry in lane. It’s a very cheap spell, costing only 70/80/90/100 and healing for a total of 98/182/266/350 HP while giving an attack damage bonus of 8/16/24/32. It also amplifies all heals by 25% which works with Tangoes and Salves. No wonder this spell is getting nerfed.
I feel that this spell is still quite good. It got nerfed in the early levels but the 3x bonus for non-hero units is going to be very noticeable when Chen pushes with his team in the early-mid game. Even in the late-game, Chen with a few catapults can become a siege machine with Divine Favor, specially if there is a hero like Invoker in his team, who can buff the catapults further more with Alacrity.
- Astral Spirit bonus damage from creeps reduced from 6/9/12/15 to 3/7/11/15
Much needed nerf. This spell made Elder Titan way too overpowered in the early game. It gives him damage, movespeed and armor which is impossible to deal with for certain heroes in lane. There’re also many different kinds of shenanigans that ET players can pull off with this spell, which should not be possible at all.
Although the damage bonus on higher levels is the same, I am happy that he got nerfed in the laning phase atleast.
- Impetus damage increased from 16/20/24% to 16/22/28%
I think this hero has a lot of potential as a pos 4, specially because of the buff she got in 7.21. Previously she could not re-enchant a creep at level 1 because the cooldown was higher than the duration, but they changed it in 7.21
A few more buffs like this and Enchantress can become a stable pos 4 hero again.
- Healing Ward movement speed reduced from 400 to 350
This is a big nerf to Juggernaut. Before this nerf, the Healing Ward was so fast that most heroes could not catch up to it, specially in the early game. Currently, there’s many heroes, specially ranged ones, that can easily chase the ward and destroy it after buying boots. This will heavily affect the survivability of the Healing Ward and Juggernaut’s team in teamfights and sieges.
- Tidebringer no longer provides a bonus on denies
This mechanic was absolutely broken and I am extremely happy that it has been removed. It almost feels like a bug fix because there are many other attack modifiers in the game, but none of them work like how Tidebringer used to. This was a major plus point for Kunkka Mid players as it allowed them to deny many of the lane creeps easily and get level 6 much earlier than the enemy mid-laner. After getting level 6, killing the enemy mid-laner is a leisurely breeze for Kunkka.
Kunkka will still be an annoying hero because of the harass from Tidebringer and because of the extreme utility and burst damage that his ultimate provides. But atleast he won’t be able to deny creeps like a maniac anymore.
- Strength gain reduced from 3.2 to 2.9
This nerf is almost inconsequential. The real nerf to Lifestealer is the Midas nerf. He is the best hero in the game that can utilize that item and it got a pretty big nerf.
Lifestealer is innately still a very good hero. The bonus armor and movespeed buff that he received in 7.21 solidified his strength in this patch. He will have to get a pretty major nerf for players to stop playing him.
- Level 20 Talent increased from +25/2% Fiery Soul Per Stack to +30/2%
- Level 20 Talent increased from +12% Spell Amplification to +14%
Lina is not a bad hero currently. Her problem is that she doesn’t fit in the current meta. Although she can be very useful in certain drafts, she feels quite worthless most of the time.
Buffs like this will not be enough to get her back into the picture right now. But if she keeps getting a few more buffs like this, she will become a major powerhouse by the time 7.22 drops.
- Eclipse max beams increased from 5/8/11 to 6/9/12
Luna is currently in a very weird spot. She is one of the easiest heroes to harass in lane, but if she makes it to the mid-game without getting completely annihilated, she can become a nuisance to deal with. She farms really fast and her ult is devastating for single targets. This buff to her ult will make her even more annoying to deal with in the mid-game. Currently she has a 51% win-rate in the Divine/Immortal bracket and I am expecting that it will rise up to atleast 53% in a week.
- Strength gain reduced from 3.8 to 3.4
One of the meta abuse heroes that I talked about in my 7.21b meta-analysis article. This change is not going to make any difference to Lycan because he doesn’t care about scaling too much. He wants to end the game as early as possible.
However, since Midas got nerfed, if players stop building it in pubs, Lycan will not be as good anymore. This is because heroes will have some early-mid game items to deal with Lycan’s push, instead of a Midas.
To get a better understanding of what I am trying to explain, take a look at the ‘Meta abusers’ section in this article.
- Intelligence gain increased from 2.1 to 2.6
Ever since Medusa’s +700 Mana talent got moved to level 25 in 7.21, she has been absent in the meta. Moreover, she has to choose between +1000 mana and ‘Split Shot uses attack modifiers’ at level 25. She can’t have them both anymore like before. These two changes nerfed her into the ground and she will have to receive some very major changes to make her viable again.
Getting an Intelligence gain buff is good, specially for a hero like Medusa, but we will have to wait for a few more patches before she’s back again.
- Agility increased from 23 + 1.6 to 24 + 1.8
- Strength gain increased from 1.6 to 1.8
Meepo has always been a good pub stomp hero, but it is very easy to deal with him in a team environment.
Stat gain buffs are very good for Meepo as all his clones will also be affected by it. This hero is really good at man-fighting right now because of Ransack, and having extra stats will make him even tankier during teamfights.
- Intelligence increased from 17 + 1.7 to 19 + 1.9
Mirana was a top-tier pick during 7.16, after which she received quite a few harsh nerfs. Currently she is completely ignored in the professional scene and has a win-rate of 46% in the Divine/Immortal bracket.
An Intelligence gain buff is definitely not what she needs right now. She is very weak in lane because her base HP and Mana regen were reduced to 0 in 7.20
- Mischief now makes you immune to damage briefly, rather than invulnerable
Mischief was one of the most unfair spells in the game. I was baffled when it was first introduced and I can’t believe it took so long for this to get nerfed.
Now, Monkey cannot dodge projectiles anymore. He can only block the damage from them. This is actually a really great way to balance the spell without making it completely useless by over-nerfing it.
- Lucky Shot no longer triggers off of Pangolier illusions
- Lucky Shot slow reduced from 40% to 35%
Many passive abilities in Dota are transferred on to hero illusions. Most of them are balanced, but some of them are just unfair. Lucky Shot is definitely one of the unfair ones.
It is not uncommon for Pangoliers to pick up a bottle. Getting an illusion rune was great on him before, since he could easily get extra procs of Lucky Shot from his illusions. Some players also made Manta Style on Pangolier to abuse this mechanic. I’m glad they got rid of it.
- Agility gain reduced from 3.7 to 3.4
With this change, PA will have 3 less agility at level 10, and 6 less agility at level 20. This change is impotent and will make no difference whatsoever. I guess IceFrog is happy with where PA is right now, but he just wanted to tweak her late-game a little bit.
- Phantom Rush bonus agility increased from 9/18/27/36 to 11/22/33/44
Phantom Lancer is still amongst the least win-rate heroes in the Divine/Immortal bracket. Buffing Phantom Rush is not what this hero really needs for him to come back into play.
Queen of Pain
- Base intelligence increased by 3 (base damage unchanged)
- Sonic Wave damage increased from 320/410/500 to 340/430/520
The base intelligence buff is inconsequential, but +20 damage on all levels of Sonic Wave is going to be impactful, specially at level 6, since it is pure damage.
Great buff for QoP.
- Base movement speed increased by 5
Riki has been getting an insane amount of early game buffs and I am surprised that he is still not even a niche pick yet. I guess he needs a few more buffs like this to gain players’ attention.
- Base intelligence increased by 3
Great buff for SK. 3 Intelligence gives him 36 mana, which is great for him to spam more spells in the early game.
- Base strength increased by 2
This is the second base strength buff that SF has received in a row. Moreover, In 7.20 he got +1 base armor. Currently he is a 580 HP hero with 3.2 armor and 2.15 HP Regen at level 1. He doesn’t seem as squishy of a hero as he was before, which is great for him in lane.
- Shackles cooldown increased from 10 to 16/14/12/10
This is a big nerf to Shadow Shaman. Shackles is the skill that everyone maxes last. Having a 16 second CD at level 1 means that you will not be able to use Shackles two times when you’re going to gank someone. This will hurt his early-game quite a bit.
- Headshot damage increased from 20/50/80/110 to 30/60/90/120
- Shrapnel charge replenish rate improved from 55 to 50
These are some great quality of life buffs for Sniper. Currently he is sometimes picked as a counter against heroes like OD and previously for Medusa. Perhaps people will start playing him more now, and not just as a counter-pick.
- Base health regen increased by 0.75
With this buff, Spirit Breaker has a base HP regen of 3.65 which is very high. Although base regen is not the most important stat for a hero like Spirit Breaker, who makes a lot of trips to the base, it will atleast make him more survivable when he is diving towers for kills.
- Electric Vortex no longer slows your hero
This mechanic was in the game so that Storm Spirit would not be able to escape when he is on low mana. Due to this buff, if you are running away from an enemy and you don’t have enough mana to Ball Lightning away, you can atleast use your Vortex on the enemy and try running. This was not possible before because of the slow. Although it seems like this is a negligible buff, it will definitely save Storm in a lot of games.
- Strength gain reduced from 3.5 to 3.2
Sven is so good right now that players keep playing him regardless of all the nerfs that IceFrog is dumping onto him. This Strength Gain nerf will make no difference to Sven spammers right now.
- Remote Mines cooldown reduced from 10 to 8
Most of the time, Techies didn’t even have enough mana or mana regen to make use of the 10 second CD that Remote Mines had before. Considering that, it seems as if this is not the buff that Techies needs. But maybe players will be able to abuse this by going for a new item build that can support it.
- Agility gain increased from 2.6 to 2.8
- Refraction bonus damage increased from 20/40/60/80 to 25/50/75/100
Templar Assassin was already very under picked before the ancient camp in the primary jungle was removed. After that, TA became non-existent in the meta. IceFrog has been in damage-control mode, giving buffs to TA ever since. She has been receiving buffs for 3 patches now. That said, this Refraction buff is very strong, specially at level 4. 6 Refraction instances with +100 damage seems very strong.
- Strength gain reduced from 3.8 to 3.5
There have been a lot of inconsequential stat gain changes in this patch. This is one of them. Tidehunter is in a good place right now, with a little over 50% win-rate in the Divine/Immortal bracket. He also has a solid pick-rate of 6.60%.
- Level 20 talent reduced from +50 damage to +40
The other level 20 talent is 25% evasion. Currently the pick-rate and win-rate on the damage talent is much higher than the evasion talent. Anyway, +40 damage is still very good for Troll because of his massive attack speed in mid-late game. I predict that this will still be the more popular talent.
- Movement speed reduced by 5
Currently, the 0-4-4 build Ursa is very popular because of the incredible base movespeed that he has. Maybe players will start taking a value point in Earthshock due to this nerf.
- Agility gain reduced from 3.3 to 2.8
- Nethertoxin aoe damage no longer stacks with itself
- Nethertoxin manacost increased from 75 to 70/80/90/100
- Poison Attack slow reduced from 25/30/35/40% to 10/20/30/40%
Viper was one of the deadliest heroes in the previous patch. He had the highest win-rate in the Divine/Immortal bracket alongside Lycan and Visage.
These changes are perfectly balanced and will not completely kill Viper’s popularity. The Poison Attack change was very much required because players maxed it last. Having 25% slow at level 1 was just way too good.
The Nethertoxin changes were also very much required. Nethertoxin was way too efficient before. Viper will atleast have to use a lot more clarities now, in order to flash farm with it.
- Shackleshot cooldown reduced from 18/16/14/12 to 16/14/12/10
- Focus Fire attack speed increased from 400 to 425
The Shackleshot cooldown is great for Windranger, specially in the later levels. Having a 10 second CD at level 10 means that she will be able to use atleast 2-3 or even more Shackleshots in every teamfight.
The Focus Fire buff is also nothing to scoff at. +25 Attack Speed will boost her DPS by a lot.
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