Patch 7.29 didn’t touch hero balance all that much: most of the changes have to do with either economy or item balance. This, however, had a massive impact on the viability of a lot of heroes, with some of them becoming virtually unplayable at a high level. Today we would like to have a look at heroes who, in our opinion, either need some pretty significant buffs or should be ignored by victory-oriented players for the time being.
This is pretty obvious and straightforward: Necronomicon getting yeeted made Necronomicon-dependent heroes much weaker. And while Beastmaster is now trying to find himself a new niche as a damage-dealing caster, Lycan is for all intents and purposes dead.
People are experimenting with Lycan as an aura carrier, with early Vladmir’s Offering and later progression into Assault Cuirass, but it is not bearing any fruit yet. The Necronomicon powerspike was too important for this tempo carry who has no other win conditions, but to completely take over the map as early as possible.
Heroes like Broodmother are also suffering, but that mostly has to do with how the hero got changed and nerfed. She now farms much slower and is incapable of completely taking over the game in the early stages. Her kit is also considerably more spiderling-oriented and is much weaker as such: it is comparatively trivial to deal with a large number of small units, compared to an overfed and overfarmed Agility hero with free pathing and +140 Damage, +140% lifesteal steroid.
The patch didn’t have a significant impact on either Enchantress or Chen, but they were never Necronomicon-reliant, so it is unsurprising there were little to no changes. Visage, the last hero who was frequently played through summons and occasionally with a Necronomicon is also among the biggest winners of the patch and we will discuss him in the future.
There is no denying that the nerfs to Monkey King are substantial, but we don’t think they alone could have resulted in a 6% win rate decrease. The hero went from one of the most coveted professional and high level pub picks to a below average carry overnight.
We believe the overall mobility nerf coupled with multiple buffs to various ranged heroes are not allowing Monkey King to shine as brightly as before. Monkey King deals well with melee physical damage dealers: the heroes who must respect Wukong’s Command and either have to flee or interact with it. Monkey King does little to heroes who can kite him or heroes who will eventually outscale him.
All in all, we strongly advise against playing MK for now, even after the 7.29b buffs. The hero is average or even slightly below average in vacuum and doesn’t fit the meta well either.
Independent, damage-dealing Io seems to have been dealt with. In one of our previous blog posts, we expressed our frustration with how one of the most unique heroes in the game, that seemingly should rely on teammates the most, became an easy to execute DPS hero with abnormal farming speed. Well, it seems support Io is going to be back on the menu.
In our opinion, it is a good thing: the hero didn’t get much weaker as a support. Harder to execute? Definitely. Requires more team coordination? Absolutely. Still going to be a priority pick come TI? You bet.
Io’s pub win rate is not indicative of his potential as a support in professional matches. It is indicative of how well even the best of pub players can execute Io. Not well enough, when communication becomes a part of the equation, it seems.
To say that the Death Prophet was overtuned is to say nothing: the hero had 335 starting movement speed in the last patch. Turns out, dialing it down to a much more sensible 320 made all the difference. Catching up to targets and keeping the Spirit Siphons running became considerably harder and it clearly shows: the hero lost almost 5% win rate.
Losing six starting damage is also a very big deal, especially when it comes to mid laners. The attack animation might have become shorter and Crypt Swarm is now slightly easier to spam, but it is clearly not enough to support position two playstyle.
Perhaps we will see Death Prophet in the support role more frequently, though: her Silence is still very, very stupid, both cast range and duration-wise. She is still a force to be reckoned with against tanky melee offlaners. She can still provide extra pushing power and a lot of damage, without considerable gold investment. We are not necessarily endorsing this idea, just suggesting it is something to keep an eye on.
There were pretty huge win rate swings as a result of 7.29 and now, ten days later, we can draw several conclusions. As expected, the zoo meta is gone for now, meaning the average match length is now higher and greedier heroes are slightly better off, while tempo-reliant cores are struggling.
We are also seeing an increase in popularity and success of ranged carries, but given how it was the big theme of the patch, this is unsurprising. Next time we are going to have a look at the biggest winners of the patch, but for now share your thoughts on what heroes you feel were overnerfed? And are you missing the Necronomicon at all?