Soon after VP became The Chongqing Major Champions and the DreamLeague Major open qualifiers concluded, Valve rolled out a major update with patch 7.21. This patch also brings the new ranked season which makes the update seem even bigger. I will be writing a separate article about calibrating solo MMR in the new ranked season.
Since the patch is too big for one article, I will only be discussing my opinions on the biggest changes of the patch. Let’s get started right away.
- Heroes no longer gain 25% more benefit from their primary attributes (affects attributes from both items and the hero)
- All heroes’ primary attribute growth values increased by 15%
- Health per strength increased from 18 to 20
A good change of pace for the meta. Everyone was taking advantage of the 25% extra benefit by spamming Wraith Bands, Bracers and Null Talismans in the early game. Although having a few stat items at the beginning might still be strong, this change might dissuade players into finding something more suitable for their early game.
- The following melee heroes now have +5 movement speed: Naga Siren, Underlord, Monkey King, Nyx Assassin, Bloodseeker, Riki
- The following melee heroes now have +10 movement speed: Alchemist, Dragon Knight, Meepo
- The following melee heroes now have +15 movement speed: Legion Commander, Lifestealer, Lycan, Sven, Ursa, Wraith King
- Ranged heroes with 295 movement speed and above now have 5 less movement speed
This is a huge buff to melee heroes for the entirety of the game. Heroes like Ursa, Wraith King and Sven having high movement speeds sounds very scary. On top of that, quick ranged heroes like Enchantress and Pugna will be a little slower now.
- XP required to reach level 7->12 changed from 640/660/680/800/820/840 to 720/750/780/810/840/870 (the difference is +80/90/100/10/20/30 XP)
- Tier 2 tower armor increased from 14 to 15
- Tier 3 tower armor increased from 14 to 16
- Melee Barracks armor increased from 13 to 15
- Tower Protection armor bonus for Tier 2/3/4 increased from 3 to 4
Since the previous patch was full of death-ball strats, Icefrog has decided to slow the game down by increasing the XP requirement for levels in the mid-game and he has also made towers a little bit tankier. All these changes combined together will turn the mid-game into a bloodbath with many skirmishes taking place all over the map.
- Percentage damage bonus against non-hero units changed to be a fixed amount matching Quelling Blade.
Battle Fury is purchased on mainly 3 heroes – AM, PA and MK. Among them, this nerf will hurt PA the most, as it will slow down her farming speed and it will also be weaker with the Triple Stifling Dagger talent. She really needs a Magnus to be a strong pick now.
- Bloodpact changed from 60% of current mana to 30% of max mana.
Although this spell has a 250 second CD, most of the time it is good enough to turn a teamfight around. In 7.21, it useful even when you are low on mana. Good buff to Bloodstone as not many heroes go for it currently.
- Buckler: Activated armor bonus duration on heroes reduced from 25 to 15 (carries through to Mek)
- Crimson Guard: Recipe cost increased from 600 to 750
- Drum of Endurance: Passive changed from a 6% movement speed aura to +20 movement speed to yourself only
- Mekansm: Stack limit is now tied to cooldown on cast (like Greaves and Crimson stack mechanics)
- Vladmir’s Offering: No longer uses Headdress nor provides its hp regen/stats
- Vladmir’s Offering: Now requires a 525 gold recipe
Building aura items and going for teamfights/objectives was the biggest attraction of the previous patch. Everyone saw these nerfs coming, so let’s just move on and see what 7.21 does to the meta. Also, RIP Vlad’s. I doubt anyone will ever buy that item for a long time.
- Spark Wraith damage increased from 100/160/220/280 to 100/170/240/310
- Tempest Double duration increased from 14/16/18 to 16/18/20
- Level 10 Talent increased from +25 Attack Speed to +30
Some much needed love for a forgotten hero. Arc Warden was picked a total of 7 times in the entirety of The Chongqing Major and had a measly 28% win-rate.
30 more Spark Wraith damage will really help the hero as most players max the skill really early. Extra duration on the Double is also helpful for the hero for farming, pushing and team-fighting.
- Firefly now grants a 4/7/10/13% movement speed bonus
- Firefly duration reduced from 18 to 15
- Firefly cooldown reduced from 40 to 34
Lower cooldown on Firefly means that players will be able to use it more freely to farm since it will be off cooldown quicker. Although the duration was reduced, this is mostly a buff for the hero.
The bonus movement speed is also going to be really handy since many heroes got movespeed buffs in 7.21.
- Inner Beast attack speed reduced from 15/25/35/45 to 10/20/30/40
- Hawk health reduced from 300/450/600/750 to 150/200/250/300
- Level 15 Talent changed from +40 Boar Damage to +65 Wild Axes Damage
- Level 20 Talent changed from +80 Wild Axes Damage to +50 Boar Damage
- Level 25 Talent increased from -15s Hawks Cooldown to -20s
- Level 25 Talent reduced from +30 Inner Beast Attack Speed to +25
It’s almost like a tradition for me to smile while reading the patch notes and watching Icefrog drop a nerf hammer on the most popular hero in the meta. Unless I play the hero of course.
Although the nerfs don’t seem that severe, the nerfs to all the aura items will definitely kill the hero.
- Divine Favor bonus damage reduced from 10/20/40/80 to 12/24/36/48
- Divine Favor now provides double bonus damage on non-hero units
- Divine Favor duration increased from 12 to 14
- Divine Favor manacost reduced from 110 to 70/80/90/100
- Hand of God heal increased from 250/400/550 to 300/450/600
- Level 15 Talent reduced from -10s Divine Favor Cooldown to -7s
- Level 25 Talent reduced from +400 Hand of God Heal to +350
- Level 25 Talent increased from +4 Holy Persuasion Max Units to +5
Finally, Chen is getting some changes that will make him more of a micro intensive hero again.
Divine Favor was a very broken spell in the laning phase and now it seems like a very strong tool to buff non-hero units like catapults and forge spirits while sieging. The manacost has also been reduced in the early levels which makes the spell more spammable.
Hand of God also received a big buff. This spell used to do very little heal compared to what it does today. 600 HP global heal on level 18 seems very strong. I am expecting this hero to be one of the meta picks for this patch.
- Rolling Boulder damage reduced from 100 to 70/80/90/100
- Boulder Smash slow reduced from 80% to 60%
- Level 15 Talent reduced from +200 Rolling Boulder Damage to +150
Some much needed nerfs to the second most broken position 4 hero of the meta after Tusk.
Since it became common to max Rolling Boulder before Geomagnetic Grip, the spell became much more of a threat as the scaling on CD is very good. It definitely needed the damage nerf that it received in 7.21.
80% slow on Boulder Smash was just ridiculous and it also definitely needed a nerf.
- Sleight of Fist cooldown reduced from 30/22/14/6 to 18/14/10/6
- Base damage increased by 3
Huge buff to Sleight of Fist CD on lower levels. We might see more players taking that skill in the laning phase now.
The base damage buff is also really good for him since he is a mainly a mid-hero.
- Phantom’s Embrace rend damage reduced from 120/200/280/360 to 75/150/225/300
- Ink Swell manacost increased from 90/100/110/120 to 120/130/140/150
- Ink Swell movement speed reduced from 18% to 12/14/16/18%
Grimstroke has been getting nerfs for a lot of patches now and he will keep on getting nerfs in the future.
As I mentioned before, the concept of this hero and his ult is just too strong and provides many possibilities for synergies.
All the nerfs in this patch will definitely hurt his laning phase, but once he gets his ult, all he needs is an ally like Lich or Doom and he’ll do fine in the game.
- Temporarily removed from Captains Mode
- Tether now transfers health and mana even when Io is at max hp/mp
- Overcharge now has an 18 second cooldown and an 8 second duration. No longer has a 2 second toggle.
- Overcharge now costs 40/60/80/100 mana to cast. No longer cost 6% of health and mana per second.
- Overcharge attack speed bonus increased from 40/50/60/70 to 50/80/110/140
- Overcharge damage reduction increased from 5/10/15/20% to 15/20/25/30%
- Relocate delay increased from 2.7/2.35/2 to 3.5/3.25/3
- Relocate cooldown reduced from 130/110/90 to 90/75/60
- Relocate is now cast delay again instead of channeling (being interrupted, silenced, rooted, etc will cancel the ability)
- Level 25 Talent changed from -60s Relocate Cooldown to -30s
At one point, this hero was one of the most complicated heroes to play in Dota. Now, he seems likes an easy to play, OP hero which does everything a support needs to do.
Tether now heals even when IO is at max hp/mp, and Overcharge also received massive buffs. On top of all that, Relocate has cast delay instead of channel duration again.
I am a confused since I don’t think IO deserved any buffs whatsoever. He was the most banned hero at The Chongqing Major and he is also a menace in pubs.
It is good that he is out of Captains Mode, but be prepared to see a lot IOs in your pubs now.
- Base armor reduced by 1
- Omnislash no longer allows you to teleport while using it
- Healing Ward movement speed reduced from 420 to 400
- Omnislash cooldown increased from 130/120/110 to 130
- Level 15 Talent changed from +1s Blade Fury to +50 Blade Fury Movement Speed
Again, some much needed nerfs to one of the most contested carry heroes of the previous patch.
Being able to TP while using Omnislash should have never existed in the first place. And it also got a cooldown nerf, which is quite a harsh.
His base armor also got reduced which will definitely hurt his laning phase a bit.
- Frost Shield slow reduced from 35% to 20/25/30/35%
- Chain Frost damage reduced from 300/400/500 to 250/375/500
- Level 25 Talent increased from +40% slow to +50%
Another candidate worthy of the nerf hammer. Lich was one of the most picked and banned heroes at the Chongqing Major.
The nerfs to his armor and ult are both extremely harsh.
Although the Frost Armor is still good as a defensive spell, its offensive aspect got hurt quite a bit in the early-game.
Its still not as bad as the Chain Frost nerf though. The ult does a maximum of 2500 at level 1 with 10 bounces, while it did 3000 before.
- Fixed Mystic Snake bouncing to Spell Immune enemies
- Medusa: Level 10 Talent reduced from +20 Damage to +15
- Medusa: Level 15 Talent reduced from +35% Mystic Snake Mana Steal to +30%
- Medusa: Level 20 Talent changed from +700 Mana to -4s Mystic Snake Cooldown
- Medusa: Level 25 Talent changed from +7 Split Shot Targets to +1000 Mana
This hero became a meta pick, mainly because of her level 15 talent. You could deplete a hero’s mana pool completely by using Mystic Snake on them twice.
The nerf to the level 15 talent is not so bad, and you can take the cooldown reduction at level 20 too.
But now you will have to choose between 1000 mana and Split-shot uses modifiers at level 25. This is a really difficult choice to make as ideally you want both these talents on the hero.
Having the 700 mana talent was also a huge power spike for the hero, and now she will have to wait for level 25.
- Rearranged Level 15 Talents – +25% Cleave vs +15% Lifesteal
- Rearranged Level 20 Talents – +20% Blur Evasion vs -4 Armor Corruption
- Rearranged Level 25 Talents – +5% Coup de Grace vs Triple Strike Stifling Dagger
This hero had straight-forward talent choices before, but now it is very hard to choose a talent among the options.
Like Medusa, PA also lost her power spike at level 20 with Triple Stifling Dagger.
Either way, we knew she was getting nerfed due to her popularity in the previous patch.
- Base movement speed increased by 15
- Warcry shield health changed from 110/220/330/440 to 80/110/140/170 + 1/1.5/2/2.5x your strength
- Storm Hammer cooldown increased from 13 to 16/15/14/13
- Storm Hammer damage reduced from 100/175/250/325 to 80/160/240/320
These changes will surely make support Sven a lot less popular. But Core Sven seems really strong now.
Warcry scales with your strength now, and also with your ult. Carry Sven is also not affected by the Storm Hammer changes either, since he maxes Great Cleave and Warcry first. We might see a resurgence of carry Sven in this meta.
- Reactive Armor bonus armor reduced from 1.3/1.4/1.5/1.6 to 1/1.1/1.2/1.3
- Reactive Armor bonus health regen reduced from 1/1.2/1.4/1.6 to 1/1.1/1.2/1.3
- Reactive Armor max stacks increased from 5/10/15/20 to 6/12/18/24
- Whirling Death tree bonus damage increased from 10/15/20/25 to 12/18/24/30
- Level 20 Talent increased from +10% Cooldown Reduction to +15%
This hero was one of the most dangerous last pick heroes in the previous patch. Even against counters, he does really well in the early-mid game, which made the hero very popular.
Although Timber got nerfed in 7.21, I am still expecting players to pick him a fair amount since he is still a very fearsome last pick hero.
- Tusk: Tag Team slow duration reduced from 0.5 to 0.4
- Tusk: Tag Team manacost increased from 40/50/60/70 to 70
- Tusk: Tag Team cooldown increased from 15 to 24/21/18/15
This hero was broken and I think he’s still broken in 7.21. These nerfs don’t seem good enough to break his laning phase or his roaming potential. I think he will still be very strong in the new meta.
- Base movement speed increased by 15
- Fury Swipes damage reduced from 10/16/22/28 to 7/14/21/28
Although Fury Swipes got nerfed, this hero seems very scary because of the movement speed buff. A speedy Ursa is one of the most frightening prospects in Dota 2.
Would you like to subscribe to this post?