Another year and another massive post TI wait for the new Dota 2 patch to hit. It seems that we may be a little better off than last year, with patch 7.07 expected within the next few weeks, but until then we’re, cursed with Necro and Veno dominating every pro and pub game ever.
But with so long to wait for the patch, and so many Dota games to watch during the downtime, we’ve been thinking a little deeper about the changes we want to see. Sure, we have a few ideas about which heroes need to nerfed or buffed, but how? It’s time to reexamine these specific skills.
While we’re fairly sure that our dream of allowing Visage Familiars to carry sub 500 gold items wouldn’t work all that well in practice, we’ve come up with some skills that we think really do need a total rework. We aren't talking about changing a couple of values, or adding a little extra effect, we’re talking total reworks that would transform the skill entirely, much like when Doom got Infernal Blade and Death Prophet got Spirit Siphon. Here we go.
Naga Siren’s Ensnare
Look, this is not going to be a popular opinion, but we feel pretty strongly about this. Right now Naga is in this weird place where she’s mostly played as a four position, but she certainly isn’t the best four in the world. She sometimes shows up as a one, but repeated nerfs have made this pretty unwise these days. So clearly the solution is to change one skill to make her more support or more core, and not some confused hybrid. Clearly, core Naga is way more fun than support so therefore Ensnare is getting the chop.
With Naga being the one position she’ll be doing a lot of split pushing, and will have two other supports and an offlaner to back that up. Now, it would be a terrible draft if those three heros did not have any kind of lockdown so Naga really doesn’t need Ensnare. Replace it with something that makes split pushing more effective, or gives her a better team fight and core Naga will be back to the hotness that she once was. We were going to say give her a built in Radiance but that would probably be a bit OP.
Ogre Magi’s Bloodlust
Ogre has seen a few periods of popularity where one skill was the MVP, but recently Ogre has pretty much just been a Bloodlust machine. Back in the old Jugg Magnus days, Ogre would be added to the line up pretty much just to cast Bloodlust on the Empowered Jugg.
That’s not a fun way to spend an hour or so, however. While other supports have some fun aspects, Ogre rapidly becomes tedious, constantly casting Bloodlust and watching your cores going and doing everything. So if you get rid of Bloodlust, the issue is solved. Maybe the old frog could bring in Ogre’s Aghs stun as a main ability and make some kind of Bloodlust type technique as an Aghs upgrade? Hey, this is a safe space; there are no bad ideas.
Spirit Breaker’s Empowering Haste
Empowering Haste is dull, and could quite easily be merged into some kind of passive ability for Charge, so therefore, it’s gone. Sure it’s useful, but let’s have it activate the bonuses in an AOE when the charge connects with an opponent to make it useful, not an entire skill on its own. Our idea for its replacement might be our best idea yet: it becomes a skill similar to Mask of Madness, where attack speed is increased and there is a small bit of lifesteal. However, when this is activated, Greater Bash is muted, meaning you have to decide between outputting more damage, or trying to lock down the opponents with that almost permanent bash. The beauty of Dota lies in being forced to make those decisions.
Gyrocopter’s Flak Cannon
Most hero abilities synergise in some way with another on the same hero, although apparently Gyrocopter didn’t get the memo about that one. Flak Cannon just doesn't. If Call Down acted like Underlord’s Root, or if the talent for three Homing Missiles was just the default ability then it might, but as it is, it seems a little out of place. In the bin with it. Maybe IceFrog could replace it with something that makes use of Gyrocopter’s, you know, gyrocopter, and gives a movement bonus, such as rushing down a lane quickly or even giving free pathing for a limited time.
Clinkz’ Death Pact
Spells are supposed to feel powerful. Outside of a couple of heroes the main way to win fights is to use spells, so if there is a spell that you always forget to use in the crucial moments, then maybe it isn’t working as well as it should. Death Pact is one of those spells that you always forget is there, and then when the fight kicks off it’s too late to think about it. Sure, it’s a nice idea, but it feels like something that, for us mere mortals on the lower tiers, is always getting in the way or underwhelming. Buff up Clinkz’ base stats to make up for the removal of Death Pact, we say, and make his ult so that he enjoys permanent invisibility when inside a neutral creep camp. That could be fun.
Be honest, when has Upheaval ever won you a match? Surely you have some stories about a clutch Black Hole that snatched a game, or an amazing Omnislash that took down the entire team when you were defending high ground, but you have probably never won a match off the back of Upheaval. We know we haven’t. Warlock is probably better off just right clicking the enemies instead of casting this and being next to useless. Get it gone and add in some kind of weak damage nuke that synergises with Fatal Bonds – you could even have it slow anyone who takes damage from it to still have some of the Upheaval effects. Problem solved.