Just one day before the start of EPICENTER XL, Valve dropped their latest biweekly patch – v7.14 which is relatively very big compared to the other recent patches.
There were a lot of item changes, hero changes and a few general balance changes which are undoubtedly going to change the meta substantially in 7.14, so let’s get right into it. Again, I will only be writing about the most important changes. You can visit the official blog for more details on patch 7.14.
- Enabled Techies in Captains Mode.
The much awaited return of Techies into Captain’s Mode is finally here. The hero has changed immensely since he was removed from captain’s mode back in 7.00. It will be really interesting to see how the pros are going to use him in this constantly shifting meta.
- First creep wave no longer draws aggro on the side lanes until they meet the other wave.
This is a very big change considering how common it is for the offlaners in the current meta to pull the first few creep waves, as the supports are generally very busy at the beginning trying to secure the bounty runes. In the previous patch analysis, I talked about how Icefrog has been trying to implement dual lanes. In my opinion, this is another similar attempt, as the offlaner will need help from a support to sustain in the lane now. If the meta doesn’t shift to dual laning in this patch, I predict there will be more nerfs to trilanes and roamers in the upcoming patches.
Skull Basher and Abyssal Blade:
In the previous patches, Skull Basher and Abyssal Blade were very unpopular as they were very weak items in terms of damage output. There were other better options such as Nullifier and Bloodthorn which provide massive damage as well as a reliable disable. Now, Skull Basher and Abyssal Blade both give +25 damage which might change people’s minds to start using the bash items again.
Battle Fury was one of the most popular items on melee carries in the previous few patches. The ability to push waves really fast and farm neutral stacks made it a really good item to have in the early-mid game. In 7.14, the Battle Fury timing of carries will be delayed by quite a while now because it requires a 300 gold recipe – this is a justified nerf.
One of the biggest reasons for many intelligence cores to not go for Dagon was its huge mana cost. Now, the Manacost has been rescaled from 180 to 120/140/160/180/200. Since the manacost in the earlier levels has been reduced substantially, we might be seeing more players getting this item.
Force Staff and Hurricane Pike:
It is very popular for ranged cores to go for Dragon Lance into Hurricane Pike as it provides a lot of HP regen, utility and attack range. The manacost has been increased by 300% (25 to 100), which will definitely make it a very costly item for many Agility based ranged heroes like Viper, Luna and Drow. Considering that the HP regen has also been reduced from 5 to 2 for both Force Staff and Hurricane Pike, we might start seeing players go for other builds.
The Gold/XP Bounty for observer wards has been rescaled from a constant 100 Gold and 100 XP to growing over time with 100 + 2/min Gold and 50 + 4/min XP. This is a considerable buff for supports in the mid and late game. Previously, the gold and XP through Dewarding was almost negligible except for in the early game.
The Spiderite and Spiderling bounties have been massively reduced and their armor has been reduced to 0. This means that Broodmothers will not have to worry too much about feeding away their spiders. Also, AOE physical damage spells like Anchor Smash and Slithereen Crush are really effective against spiders now. It will be interesting to see how the Broodmother players will change their playstyle after these changes.
Wall of Replica illusions incoming damage has been reduced by 33.3% and the outgoing damage has been increased by 10% every level. Dark Seer has been away from the meta for a long time and in my opinion, these buffs are strong enough to bring him back.
Io got the most changes this patch. Tether can now target spell immune allies. This is a huge buff because previously you wouldn’t be able to heal your allies or provide attack speed for them through overcharge, if he/she used BKB. Also, the slow from tether was removed and was added to spirits. Spirits now apply a 20/40/60/80% movement speed slow on impact for 0.3 seconds. Apart from this, Spirits got many other changes. Previously spirits had granular targeting, but now it has two fixed positons viz. 100 and 700 units and the skill has a single hotkey now. Io also got an XP% increase talent at level 10 now. This is very important for IO as it was always very hard for this little blue ball of life to get levels in the mid-late game.
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