We don’t know the release date of the next update, so it might be a good idea to have another look at the current meta and maybe find some hidden gems. Even with the patch being quite old, we believe there are still some heroes who are underexplored and undervalued, while not being too complex to utilize effectively. These are the heroes we want to concentrate on today.
There is a reason this seemingly overpowered pub hero does not get picked in the pro-scene: the counterplay to him is generally quite straightforward, especially if you have one or two picks to adapt during the drafting stage. Pubs, however, are a different beast altogether and an almost 55% win rate in Divine+ games is very telling.
Omniknght’s biggest weakness is that most of his kit is dispellable. Both his ultimate and Heavenly Grace can be easily removed on a target your enemy is focusing on, but in a chaotic pub game your enemy might not have the presence of mind to save certain abilities or items. Or they might be out of position to use them properly. In many games enemy cores will simply fail to adapt their itemization and delay or skip items like Nullifier.
All of that contributes greatly to what is essentially the best save support in the game. His lane sustain is ridiculous: Heavenly Grace, when used properly to dispel a status effect, already grants 200+ extra HP and heals for 120+ HP through regeneration at level one of the ability. When compared to Warlock, the other lane sustaining support, it loses out on uptime, but wins out in mana cost and aggressive potential, especially when paired with a Strength core.
Omniknight wins lane by using Heavenly Grace to dispel a stun or some other strong disable and immediately going for a counterattack with Hammer of Purity. A 0-2-1-0 lane build into 1-4-1-1 by level seven and maxed out Purification afterwards is probably a default, but it is worth considering getting an additional point in Hammer of Purity during the laning stage, if you need the extra slow to secure kills.
Omniknight rarely gets to have a lot of gold, so his itemization choices are quite limited. Going for an aura item or an extra save is generally a safe bet, though Force Staff and Glimmer Cape might not be ideal: a good opponent will be getting Nullifier at some point and both Force and Glimmer are dispellable.
Going for Wraith Pact or Guardian Greaves is a safe bet. Lotus Orb can be very handy in specific matchups, while Aether Lens might be a necessity if the enemy team has a lot of gap closers and your cores lack disables to get you out of a bad situation.
While Omniknight is lowkey broken in pubs, Nyx Assassin is simply good. The hero is not particularly exceptional, but he can be a very good alternative to Lion, who has a 46% win rate this week. Though we don’t believe the latter to be weak, he is simply overused by players who are farming Role Queue Games and are forced to play support.
Good news: Nyx can be your go to hero if you are more comfortable playing core. He is not as squishy, can go for great solo-plays, has a ridiculous nuke against many currently popular heroes and scales very well with both levels and items. Most importantly, his bad positioning isn’t as punishable as it is in the case of Lion and from our experience this is what most core players playing support struggle with.
Being melee is definitely a huge downside for the laning stage, but Nyx has decent armor and regeneration, as well as Spiked Carapace come level four. He is still not the most comfortable of lane partners, especially in a double melee setup, so some coordination with teammates during the drafting stage is required. He can be a good hero to protect a ranged safe lane core, though. Or a strong lane buddy to an extremely aggressive Offlaner.
Build-wise, good Nyx players almost always max out Impale first, Spiked Carapace second, with a value point in Mana Burn. Most of the time skipping the level ten talent in favour of extra ability points is worth it: both level ten talents on Nyx are kind of terrible.
When it comes to items, Dagon is just bad. It does nothing for what the hero is about: tons and tons of annoying crowd control. You can theoretically go for it in some games against tricky squishies like Pugna and Necrophos, but most of the time you will be better off buying save items, mobility or even saving up for Aghanim’s.
Most high level support Nyx players have Aether Lens, Eul’s and Blink as their three core items, with Eul’s being an easy Impale setup and a way to win time for your team to come and help you when you are scouting for kills. The fact that it doubles as self-save makes Nyx an extremely tricky target to deal with.
It is weird to talk about Warlock right after highlighting how Omniknight is more or less a better version of him, but the hero definitely has his uses. Warlock is at his best when sustaining the squishiest, most capricious carries in the game with close to no aggressive potential.
Heroes like Spectre and Anti-Mage, who have limited counterattack potential, but still require a great deal of sustain to start accelerating, are prime candidates for Warlock pairing. Moreover, while Omniknight is a lot more aggressive during the laning stage, Warlock offers a lot more damage and control in the midgame.
Fatal Bonds are amazing. It is one of the most powerful damage amplification sources in the game, but it is dispellable with practically everything and using it well will take practice. It is also extra hard to use in the current “BKB as a first item” meta. Because of it, more and more players are opting for a maxed out Shadow Word by level seven.
Coupled with an early Shard, it can make for a powerful midgame healer. 450 extra heal is no joke as it scales very well with both Armor and Magic Resistance. That is perhaps the reason why most Warlock players go for Wraith Pact or Glimmer cape, as opposed to Holy Locket: it is generally more effective to make every HP on your ally to matter more, rather than simply giving them more HP.
The last patch was definitely a bit of a disappointment and the patch fatigue is absolutely setting in. Heroes we discussed today are a way for players to freshen up the game without sacrificing their win rate with unconventional picks. Two of them are great Salve nerf beneficiaries and Omniknight is also more or less free MMR.
What off-meta heroes do you like to play in the current patch? Share your success stories in the comment section below.