How will Dota change before the Manila Major?

Shanghai is done and dusted, so what changes can we expect before the next big tournament?
The Manila Major has been announced for early June
The Manila Major has been announced for early June © Valve
By Ollie Ring

It seems like only yesterday that we were predicting what 6.86 would bring to Dota 2 after the conclusion of the Frankfurt Major. Time has flown by: last week marked the conclusion of the Shanghai Major and Valve have been quick to announce that the Manila Major will take place between June 7-12. The post Major cycle is in full swing, with teams beginning to shuffle and the community starting to speculate about the changes they want to see in the next big game play patch.

With 6.86, IceFrog gave us one of the best patches ever, with the recent tournament showcasing several different play styles that can all be effective in their own right. We saw Korean team MVP Phoenix surprise the world with huge early aggression. We saw Alliance play their traditional rat style. We saw Secret and EG bring back four core line-ups. We saw the return of Tidehunter and Enigma and big team fight ultimates. We even saw glimpses of the famous TI4 deathball strategy. Most teams have still yet to settle on a definitive strategy and that’s what makes 6.86 so exciting.

Nevertheless, by the time Manila rolls around there will be a new set of rosters and most likely a new gameplay patch to boot. Here we take a look at some of the things Dota’s 6.87 update might contain.

A nerf to Enchantress

Enchantress has been painful to play against
Enchantress is tough for both pub and pro players © Valve

This hero is not only extremely popular in the professional meta but is now being picked up in pubs everywhere. IceFrog seems to have gone a bit too far on the Enchantress buffs, with the hero being one of the strongest offlaners in the game as well as having capability to jungle and be played as a support. With just one point in her “Untouchable” and a single point in “Enchant” not only does she become impossible to kill but she has the ability to bring big jungle creeps into the lane and wreak havoc with the carry, and often their supports too.

The difficulty that comes with zoning out the hero often leads to Enchantress picking up a quick level six at which point it becomes impossible to lane against her. You can’t kill her and her “Impetus” attacks are hitting for a quarter of your health per hit. It’s often the case you will just see a pub safe lane abandoned with an enemy Enchantress sitting there free-farming. There’s clearly just one answer, Black King Bar. Forget that, Impetus deals magic immunity piercing pure damage.
The ultimate being reverted back to non-BKB piercing should at least make the hero slightly less ridiculous. We’re sure IceFrog has something up his sleeve.

The arrival of Abyssal Underlord

Valve continue to drop little hints here, there and everywhere that we will soon see the emergence of Abyssal Underlord. With Arc Warden released not too long ago, Abyssal Underlord is now the only original Dota hero still to make the transition to Dota 2. Upon completion of the three Winter Battle Pass quest paths, the line “Our advantage wanes. Awaken the Master” appears on the screen. IceFrog has historically dropped many a teaser so whilst it could mean nothing, we’re confident that Abyssal Underlord is coming soon.

The hero’s insane ultimate allows him to relocate his whole team to an allied unit or building. If he does get released, pub players better brace themselves as he becomes the most popular pick and people proceed to misuse all of his abilities.

Mid lane shuffle

Invoker was the most picked hero at the Shanghai Major
Invoker: Shanghai Major's most picked hero © Valve

IceFrog seems to love adjusting the mid lane meta after every Major. 6.85 saw the Queen of Pain versus Shadow Fiend matchup nearly every game. At Shanghai, SF was not picked once and QoP a measly six times as these heroes continued their dramatic fall from grace.

The powers that be decided that Outworld Devourer and Invoker would be the heroes of choice this patch with both of them being extremely strong in a pure one versus one matchup. Death Prophet with his new Spirit Siphon ability was also popular for teams that favoured an early push strategy. Then there’s Zeus, whose ultimate synergises perfectly with Spectre’s and makes for a truly scary global combination.

We’d like to see the middle lane meta adjusted ever so slightly to bring back heroes like Storm Spirit, who joined Shadow Fiend on the list of heroes that simply weren’t picked at Shanghai. It’s hard to tell who will have the next reign of dominance over the mid lane, but with nerfs expected to hit both Outworld Devourer and Invoker a new set of heroes is sure to rise to the top.

Changes to the offlane

The most recent major patch, 6.86, saw the introduction of the new map, with both Radiant and Dire offlaners benefitting massively. The new large creep camps by each offer most offlane heroes a guaranteed way to gain both XP and farm. Offlane is traditionally heralded as the most dangerous role, with a trilane looking to slay the offlaner at any opportunity. With an early Iron Talon now, anyone can go and jungle for three or four levels before returning to the lane ready to contest the enemy carry for farm. IceFrog needs to do something to make the offlane role more difficult again.

Additionally, it has proved a massive buff to junglers such as Chen, Enigma and Enchantress. The current state of the game means that Chen can pick up a large camp creep from the Tier 2 tower and have it pressure the enemy’s carry from the earliest stages of the game.

UI and HUD changes

Dota 2 fans have been crying out for changes to the in-game scoreboard for as long as we can remember. The most ridiculous thing about it is that the post-game scoreboard fans are asking for was actually used in the original Dota played on Warcraft 3.

Valve has already released some seriously impressive interface improvements. The Winter Battle Pass was extremely polished and smooth, and the Winter Terrain effect released as an alternative to the Desert Terrain went down a treat. We also have the statistics screen built in to our in-game profiles so surely it’s a mere matter of time before Valve give us a comprehensive post-game scoreboard to admire in all its glory?

Then again, we can never be sure of anything with Valve. They can produce the utterly incredible features, whilst overlooking the most simple of things. Therein lies the beauty of Dota.

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