As corrective patches targeted Phantom Assassin and Magnus, Beastmaster snuck to the top of pub win rate charts, boasting a 56% overall win rate and near 60% in 2-5k MMR brackets. From quality of life changes to shifts toward a faster meta, Beastmaster has benefitted in multiple ways from patch 7.20.
Remember where Beastmaster was before 7.20? He was the third least picked hero overall—right above Chen and Lone Druid—neither picked nor banned during TI8’s main event, and had a 45.6% overall win rate, which put him 86th overall. Today his win rate has increased by 11 points, putting him at the top of the charts across all pubs. This month he’s a hair under Visage in the Divine/Immortal bracket, while running away with a near 60% win rate in the skill brackets below.
Ring of Aquila may be gone, but the Ring of Basilius has a new track towards Vladmir’s Offering. In the ongoing Bucharest Minor, it’s rare to see a match where a team skips the item. OG has built it on Ceb’s offlane Dragon Knight and ILTW’s Phantom Lancer. Keen Gaming picked one up on kaka’s support Rubick.
In patch 7.20, Vladmir’s Offering is cheaper (1925 from 2250) in 7.20, provides more value due to the Armor formula changes, and has synergy with a push lineup. It has become essentially mandatory in this meta, and offlaners tend to be its natural carriers. With Beastmaster’s rework, sometimes it’s all a team needs to rumble down a lane and take two quick, early towers.
The impact of 7.20 on Beastmaster went largely under the radar, as he snuck past post-patch correctives up until 7.20e, which only nerfed his level 25 talent. His win rate in the past month has inched from 53% to its current 56%, without any changes to the hero.
It’s a sign of the times when a Shadow Fiend-Guardian Greaves build is in vogue. It’s a progression of the old school SF-Mekansm build, which leveraged Shadow Fiend’s early-mid game dominance into a deathball that sealed the game. Already, at the Bucharest Minor, we’re seeing Visage and even Medusa lineups snowball their way into sub-30 minute wins. Beastmaster is the 2nd most banned hero at the tournament.
Wild Axes may have lost its ability to pierce spell immunity, but the rest of Beastmaster skills received significant buffs in 7.20. Call of the Wild is back to being two separate skills, bringing back the Boar to a 30s cooldown (from 60 seconds). The patch buffed both the Boar’s attack damage (from 16/24/30/40 to 16/32/48/64) and its damage type, from piercing to hero. At level 4, the Boar now hits heroes, before reductions, from 20 per hit to 64—a dps increase of 220%. Fold this in with the buffs to Primal Roar’s effects on secondary target, Beastmaster isn’t just better in teamfights, he’s also a greater threat to solo kill the opposing safelaner.
Faith’s build in EHOME’s 26 minute victory over Keen Gaming at the Bucharest Minor
His hawk is arguably worse, being uncontrollable after its spawn, but now its possible to have more than one on the map at a time. Patch 7.07 combined these skills as part of a quality of life change, but it had little impact on the overall popularity on the hero. Heroes whose impact depended on their summons were always unpopular, regardless of how good they were. Visage is still at the bottom of the pick rate charts, despite being one of the best heroes this patch.
Beastmaster’s pick rate this patch has increased by more than double since 7.19. Perhaps this is the quality of life change he needed, by lowering the skill ceiling of using both the hawk and the boar, or by making the hero too good to ignore.