7.03 Patch Notes Analysis - The Bladeform Legacy Update

7.03 Patch Notes Analysis – The Bladeform Legacy

Following the recent Kiev Major Regional Qualifiers, Valve has released the 7.03 patch. The Blade Form Legacy patch includes the much awaited Juggernaut Arcana, which we will get to later. Similar to 7.01 and 7.02, 7.03 is a minor balancing patch, so don’t expect anything dramatic in the patch notes. The majority of heroes have received minor tweaks, with only a small amount of heroes missing out. Let’s take a look at some of the larger changes and how they may affect the current meta.

7.03 Patch Notes – Major Changes

Rat Dota, Best Dota

Rat Dota Patch Notes

Image courtesy of twitter.com

If 7.00 was the resurgence of five-man Dota, 7.03 may well be the death of it. The new changes to tower armor seem geared towards solo pushing towers.

  • All towers base armor reduced by 4
  • Towers now gain 2 armor per nearby enemy player within a 1200 AoE

Whilst towers have lost four base armor, this will immediately be regained if you have at least two heroes pushing together. With this in mind, a five man push strat would grant each tower 10 additional armor.

The changes to tower armor are a direct buff to strong split-push heroes such as Lycan, Nature’s Prophet, and Broodmother. Will we see a resurgence in rat Dota? Will this be the return of Admiral Bulldog? Is Alliance ever going to be good again? These are all questions that will be answered in the coming weeks.

Please Use Scan.

Since introducing the scan feature into the game, it has remained widely underused. Icefrog has made it clear in this patch that he would really like people to use the feature.

  • Scan cooldown reduced from 270 seconds to 210

Taking a full minute off the scan cooldown will probably have little effect on its usage, considering many players are still unsure of how it works. This change will likely affect the pro-scene as teams can be more liberal in their scan usage.

The King Has Arrived

It has happened, Monkey King has been added to Captains mode. Don’t panic, however, as his addition to Captains Mode comes with a few nerfs.

  • Jingu Mastery buff now has a max duration of 35 seconds
  • Tree Dance night vision reduced from 800 to 400
  • Wukong’s Command duration rescaled from 13/14/15 to 13

The change to Jingu mastery is a welcomed one. Whilst it is still a very strong passive, you no longer have to worry about being one hit killed by a Monkey King hidden in fog. In addition, the change to Tree Dance makes chasing and scouting using the spell a bit worse.

The change to Wukong’s Command is minimal, although the reduced duration may be the difference between a kill and an enemy escaping on 1% HP. Expect to see lots of Monkey picks/bans in the upcoming DAC and Major tournaments.

Video courtesy of youtube.com/noobfromua

So I heard you Liked Support?

CM 7.03 Patch Notes

Courtesy of twitter.com

Playing Support is an art that only the most patient among us can master. Icefrog has decided that he wants to make Supports poorer than ever before.

  • XP required to go from level 1 to level 6 increased by 15, 300 total.
  • AoE hero kill Gold and XP bounties reduced by 10% (including comeback gold and XP)
  • Tier 1 Team Bounty reduced from 160 to 120
  • Passive gold income reduced by 10%

In the last few patches, Icefrog has added functionality to make the games easier for new / lower-skilled players. The changes to passive gold income and AoE hero kill gold and XP will have a severe impact on lower-skilled players. These changes will require Supports to maximize their time more efficiently and focus on stacking and pulling slightly more than rotating.

The changes to comeback gold and XP are welcomed, as in recent patches it seemed as if it was better to be behind in the early game. Whilst 10% is not a huge amount, expect to see a reduction in the number of large comeback victories.

Drums or Helm?

Helm of the Dominator 7.03 Patch Notes

Image courtesy of reddit.com

Drums of endurance 7.03 Patch Notes Analysis

Image courtesy of reddit.com

In 7.00, Helm received a rework, and it suddenly became the best item in the game. Helm became the go-to item for both Cores and Supports, due to its low cost, excellent stats, and making any hero into a better version of Chen. Valve has been redressing this imbalance since the rework.

  • Reduced All Stats modifier from +4 to +2
  • Recipe cost increased from 725 to 800

Whilst the item is still good, at a cost of roughly 2000 gold, it may see considerably fewer purchases than before.

On the other side of the coin is Drums of Endurance, which has received a much-needed buff. The item was nerfed in 7.00, and as a result was very rarely picked up. However, a reduced recipe cost may have made the item viable once again.

  • Recipe cost reduced from 700 to 575

At roughly 1700 gold, Drums is now a much more affordable item for supports or heroes looking to fight early. Players may now be wise to choose Drums over Helm in some cases.

7.03 Patch Notes – Quality of Life

Valve Pleases Everyone?

Patch Notes include new Jugg Arcana

Image courtesy of reddit.com/rdota2

When it was announced that Valve had realized a new patch, many people were surprised that the Juggernaut Arcana was finally released. However, once the dust had settled, many fans took to Reddit to highlight their displeasure with the new Arcana.

Whilst the Arcana has literally no effect on Jugg as a hero, many see it as a status symbol. The set looks like they combined Jugg and Io together in an attempt to please the community. Is it the nicest Arcana? No. Will it make Valve a lot of money? Yes. It’s as simple as that.

The only positive to the Arcana being realized is that they didn’t buff Juggernaut to make sure he is picked more. Reading through the patch notes, the only serious change received for Juggernaut is that his Healing Totem now grants 75 Gold and XP if it is destroyed.

Another New Model

In the 7.00 patch, Valve updated some of the older hero models. One hero that missed out was Jakiro. As fans read through the patch notes, they will be greeted by the changes to Jakiro’s base model that are well overdue.

For a full breakdown check out PurgeGamers full patch notes analysis here

What was the biggest change, and how have your favorite heroes been affected? Let us know in the comments below.

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Desk Host

How Important Is It to Have a Good Desk Host?

With ESL One Genting 2017 in the books, fans had a chance to see Paul “ReDeYe” Chaloner return as Desk Host, following his absence from the Boston Major. Seeing ReDeYe back on the panel made many fans happy, including myself. ReDeYe seems to bring the quick wit, humor, and flame that he is well known for, whilst also displaying good game knowledge and being able to add to the discussions when required.

Image courtesy of r/dota2

The Desk Host Equation

Watching the panel at ESL One really reminded me of how important it is to have a good desk host, and how difficult it must be to balance the different members of the panel. However, I have never been a host, so I could not possibly hope to answer these questions. Instead, I decided the best person to ask would be the master himself, ReDeYe. Here are his responses:

How important is it to have good game knowledge when hosting a panel?

It’s important to understand the game and its mechanics, enough to be able to answer suitable questions which promote discussion, but it’s actually more important to understand the players, teams and history alongside. You don’t need the depth of an analyst or a commentator and in some cases it actually hurts a desk host because they want to put their opinions into the mix too (something a good host shouldn’t really be doing, but instead promoting the stars on the panel to shine).

How difficult is it controlling the panel?

Depending on the personalities involved. Some want to speak more than others and some have stronger opinions to air. The idea host balances this and ensures reasonable distribution of time for everyone to shine, but always balances what’s going on in their ear from the producer who generally drives the show format and will often be talking to the host on a regular basis asking them to move on from a subject for example. It takes skill, tact and understanding when it’s right to cut across someone in order to move the show forward, it’s not always a perfect science.

How much time do you spend preparing for each event that you are attending?

It varies drastically on a number of variables. For a game I don’t know very well, it could take weeks of playing, viewing vods or demos and learning the community. But for a game I am comfortable with, it generally takes about 20 to 50 hours of prep, watching vods and understanding meta changes, team movements, recent picks and bans or strategy changes. But then when we have a run of events in a row, it actually takes very little prep as you are so deeply embedded in the game you already know most of this. For an event like TI, you are basically preparing all year through your events attended, watched, and keeping up to date with the memes 😉

Image courtesy of ESL Dota 2

What has been your favorite Dota event that you have hosted?

TI6 for sure. We managed to pull off something special in the biggest event of all time, puppets, fun, serious, great mix of talent, amazing games, movement of the desk around the venue and outside, historic broadcasting from the top of the needle, draft desk, Purge’s weather segments, great commentary, and we were super well looked after by Shannon and her team at the event and the hotel throughout the time we were there. It was as close as I’ve come to enjoying a perfect event.

Puppet Paul as Host of the Puppet panel

The amazing puppet panel at TI6 – Image courtesy of twitter

What advice would you give to someone who is aspiring to become a host?

Study sports hosts, learn how they introduce questions, transition to other segments or breaks and develop your own style. Try doing it on Twitch by hosting other channels and putting your voice over the top. Study esports hosts and read the book!

The book Paul is referring to is his free e-book “Talking Esports” which can be found here – http://redeyehd.co.uk/talking-esports-a-free-book-on-esports-broadcasting/

Apart from yourself, who is your favorite host for any event?

I really like Machine and I think he’s got a huge career ahead of him. He’s still young and raw and yet already better than I was with the same level of experience. For stage, I really love the Korean guys, they just put so much energy into it!

Host of the Boston Major - Machine

Machine hosted his first Dota event at the Boston Major – Courtesy of gosugamers.net

What do you normally do during games / when you are not on screen?

I watch the matches! We have to watch them all in order to be able to deliver great post game segments and understand how the tournament is panning out, but we’ll also chat with other talent alongside, have something to eat and get the dreaded make-up topped up.

Host

Image courtesy of twitter.com

 

Changing of the Guard?

At the Boston Major Dota events, fans were shown a glimpse of the future when Alex “Machine” Richardson was chosen by Valve to be the host. Seeing as the last time Valve chose to invite someone other than ReDeYe, things didn’t end so well, fans may have been anxious.

However, the history of the Shanghai Major did not come back to haunt Valve, and Machine slid into the panel and never seemed out of place. He was able to control the panel, participate in discussion, and also bring that British wit that fans are used to.

Fast forward to ESL One Genting and ReDeYe was back again on the panel. The interesting thing was that the similarities between ReDeYe and Machine were easy to see, maybe due to them both being British or both spending time working as a host for CS:GO events.

Overall, Valve and the Dota community are split for choice with both ReDeYe and Machine proving that they are among the best in the business. Let’s hope that the great hosting and top quality memes continue into 2017.

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Check out Paul “ReDeYe” Chaloner on twitter

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Pokésports Pokemon esports logo

Pokésports IV: Pokémon Can Put The Everyone In eSports

The eSport For Everyone

Pokémon 20th anniversary logo

With the wide reach of its 20 year old brand, Pokémon not only attracts young and old alike, it gives them all places to play competitively. Currently, officially sanctioned Tournaments are divided into three groupings based on age. Due to this, all ages can compete against like minded fans for glory. Being able to entertain the entire family unit is very important. Just like kids have their favorite Quarterback or Goalie, kids being able to cling to a Pokémon or Trainer is crucial for future widespread success as an eSport.

Other eSports have also tried to reach out to a wider audience. League of Legends, most notably, is being played competitively in High School and College circuits. This type of forward thinking is fantastic! eSports are much more cost effective to pick up for a school then traditional sports. Building a venue and buying equipment can be very costly endeavors. However, eSports provide the same type of team building and competition, but in a much more feasible package. This can especially become appealing for schools such as charter schools and other private schools.

 

Accessible But Not Accessible

Pokémon finds itself in a unique position to exploit these facets of the new and emerging eSports market. One fatal flaw really stands in its way, accessibility. While the Pokémon franchise is totally accessible from a gameplay standpoint, it has a long way to go from a hardware standpoint.

Diagram showing steps to install a capture card into a 3DS

Image courtesy of 3DSHACKS

Fact is, the main series of Pokémon games can only be played on a 3DS, or one of the DS spinoff consoles. This alone means that anyone who is interested in playing Pokémon competitively must invest in a 3DS, even if they have no interest in any other game on the console. Furthermore, the 3DS prevents Trainers from being able to stream or compile otherwise interesting content related to the games without hacking or modding their console. Such restrictions really put a stranglehold on the competitive community.

Contrast that with the ease and openness of most of the popular eSports out there currently. DOTA and LOL both provide play with a free to play PC client, with modest minimum requirements. Pair that with the ease of streaming gameplay and hosting content such as Let’s Plays. Letting passionate fans share their experiences helps to spread the energy of the competitive community. This usually results in new people chasing a dream of playing in the top tier.

 

It All Comes Back To Money

Pokémon tournament trophies.

Image courtesy of Nintendo Life

Promoting a successful sport comes down to one thing, money. Providing enticing rewards provokes competition. This draws competitors, which can bring in viewership, which can then be marketed. Pokémon fails utterly and completely on this point, compared to DOTA’s million dollar prize pools. Such as the DOTA International 2016 where the winning team took home a prize of over nine million dollars. While Miguel Marti de la Torre, who took place at Pokémon’s European International, won a measly five thousand dollars.

That disparity in winnings just cannot stand if Pokémon is to be taken seriously as an eSport. There is no doubt that Pokémon is a lucrative brand, TPCI should open it up and share it with the fans. Maybe turn the World Champion into a figurehead of the Pokémon brand for a year. Let Trainers share their passion with their friends, and just make loving competitive Pokémon easier all around.

In the age of viral marketing, Pokémon’s place on such a restricted console really hurts it. Couple that with a lack of substantial rewards for the work it takes to compete and it is not hard to see why so many shun competitive Pokémon.

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Pokémon Squirtle giving a thumbs up

Image courtesy of Game Freak

Link’s Return to LCS

Welcome “Back” To Summoner’s Rift

In an unexpected move, Team Liquid has signed CLG’s former Mid laner, Austin “Link” Shin, as a substitute. They announced that they intend to play both Link and starter, Goldenglue, throughout the split.

The last time we saw Link it was with CLG Spring Split 2015, coming off a 3-0 defeat at the hands of Team Liquid in the first round of the playoffs.

Shortly after Link announced his retirement with the “donezo manifesto”, in which he brought out CLG’s team environment to light. Most infamously, he called out star AD Carry Doublelift, for being a selfish and poor teammate and mainly blaming him for the failure of CLG.

Link, himself, received a lot of hate from the community when Machinima’s video series, “Chasing the Cup” seemed to show his inability to mesh as a teammate. In the series you witness everyone’s tempers flare, as the team seemed to be regressing from its hot start.

Link refused to duo que with his own Jungler, Dexter. This seemed to translate to a lack of team chemistry on the LCS stage. His own work ethic was questioned even by the community. It seemed like Link was playing more Hearthstone than League of Legends outside of scrims.

During his time in the NALCS, most people would have rated Link as a subpar LCS Mid Laner. He was never known as a flashy playmaker or a main carry, but he was a consistent performer. He played what his team needed and was the main shot caller for CLG.

When C9’s Hai went down with a collapsed lung, they called upon Link to sub for them in the All Stars tournament. He held his own against legendary Mid laners like Faker and xPeke. For the most part, he played the role of shot caller well. Thanks in part to him, C9 was able to take games off of OMG, Fnatic, and TPA. This allowed them to get to the semifinals of the tournament. He praised C9’s team environment in his donezo manifesto, in compasrison to CLG’s.

Second Chances

Link gets a second chance with a fresh roster and under a new organization. Team Liquid has been around for awhile but just hasn’t found the right formula for success just yet. Obviously, he’s still been playing the game at a high enough level to be picked up by a new team.

Others on social media have noted that he had been playing Dota 2 at high level as well. It does raise the question of if being away from the professional scene for such a long time will be more beneficial or hinder his play starting out.

Photo courtesy of Gamurs.com

It seems Team Liquid is emphasizing a better team environment this split, parting ways with Dardoche. They also let go of head coach Locodoco and every player on the team seems hungry to improve off of last split.

They look to be modeling CLG in having five players that are all friends outside of game. Will they truly utilize the six man roster or will it be more like C9’s support situation last season?

If Link is able to play better with the other four members than Goldenglue, I don’t see why they wouldn’t eventually make him the starter. It will be up to Link to prove he belongs in LCS once again.  

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ESL One Genting

ESL One Genting 2017 Dota 2 Preview

In just a couple of days. the 2017 Dota 2 season kicks off with ESL One Genting. The tournament will take place from January 6-8th and is hosted at the prestigious Arena of Stars. For the eight teams competing in the tournament, they will be hoping that they can take home the first tournament of the year.

ESL One Genting Format

The tournament will be played in two stages. The first will be a group stage consisting of two groups, each with four teams. They will play each other in a double elimination format until two teams are left from each group who will proceed to bracket play. As with all ESL Dota 2 tournaments, bracket play will be single elimination. Meaning anything can and will happen. As a fan of the unpredictability that single elimination bracket play brings to competitive Dota, I am excited to see what the teams have in store for us over the weekend.

ESL One Genting Prize Pool

ESL One Genting boasts a $250,000 prize pool, which is a large amount considering it is possible to win the tournament only playing four series. The prize pool is broken down as follows:

  • 1st Place – $100,000
  • 2nd Place – $50,000
  • 3rd Place – $25,000
  • 4th Place – $25,000
  • 5th – 8th Place – $12,500

ESL One Genting Teams

Eight of the top teams will arrive in Malaysia, all with aspirations of winning ESL One Genting. The winners of the last ESL One event, OG, are not attending the event so a new champion will be crowned over the weekend. Lets take a look at who is fighting it out to be ESL One Genting 2017 champions.

Group A

Virtus Pro (VP)

 

Image courtesy of http://wiki.teamliquid.net/dota2

Roster:

Position 1 (Carry) – Ramzes666

Position 2 (Mid) – No[o]ne

Position 3 (Offlane) – 9Pashaebashu

Position 4 (Support) – Solo

Position 5 (Support) – Lil

Heading into the Boston Major, VP was touted by many, including myself, as firm favorites to win the event. Unfortunately for VP this was not the case, Evil Geniuses (EG) defeated them, resulting in a 5-8th finish.

With ESL One Genting just round the corner, VP will be desperate to avenge their failure at the Major with a dominant display over the weekend.

Prediction:- 1st in Group A

VP are famed for playing a chaotic style, combine this with their niche picks (Phantom Assassin / Weaver supports) and a single elimination tournament, I foresee VP performing very well and taking home first place in their group.

Fnatic

Image courtesy of http://wiki.teamliquid.net/dota2

Roster:

Position 1 (Carry) – InYourDream

Position 2 (Mid) – Mushi

Position 3 (Offlane) – Ohaiyo

Position 4 (Support) – Febby

Position 5 (Support) – Yamateh

Following disappointment at the Boston Major, Fnatic made the decision to drop three players from their roster. Leaving Mushi and Ohaiyo to look for three players in time for ESL One Genting, but they managed to pull it off. Fnatic announced their new roster on January 4th, a mere 36 hours before their first group stage game against heavy favorites VP.

Fnatic will be hoping that they do not regret leaving it to last minute to finalize their roster for the event. Instead they will be hoping to benefit from taking the time to select the correct players for each role.

Prediction:- 4th in Group A

Unfortunately, I think that Fnatic have decided on a roster too late. The team will not have had a chance to play together very much, and at this level of Dota, skill is not enough to win a series, let alone a whole tournament. ESL One Genting has come too soon for this Fnatic roster, and I expect that they will be hoping to use this tournament as a chance to bond as a team.

Newbee

Image courtesy of http://wiki.teamliquid.net/dota2

Roster:

Position 1 (Carry) – Uuu9

Position 2 (Mid) – Sccc

Position 3 (Offlane) – Kpii

Position 4 (Support) – Faith

Position 5 (Support) – Kaka

Newbee is currently one of the two best teams in China, the other being Wings Gaming, and will be hoping to assert their dominance on the international stage at ESL One Genting. Following a very disappointing 9 – 16th finish at the Boston Major, they bounced back in the recent Dota 2 Professional League Season 2 to finish first in the all Chinese league. They will be hoping that they can start 2017 with a bang.

Prediction:- 2nd in Group A

Combine the brilliance of Mid lane player Song “Sccc” Chung with the reliability of the rest of the team, Newbee are one of the favorites to take the tournament. Although I have predicted them to finish second in the group, it would not be a surprise if they nabbed the top spot from VP.

Team NP

 

Image courtesy of http://wiki.teamliquid.net/dota2

Roster:

Position 1 (Carry) – Aui_2000

Position 2 (Mid) – Eternal Envy

Position 3 (Offlane) – MSS

Position 4 (Support) – SVG

Position 5 (Support) – Rose aka 1437

Fan favorites NP boast an International winner, in Kurtis “Aui_2000” Ling. Aui, along with Shangai Major winner Jacky “Eternal Envy” Mao, will be hoping to lead NP to the ESL One Genting crown. Having formed in September 2016, NP will be hoping to build on recent performances and get the teams maiden first place finish at ESL One Genting.

Known for his insane plays and almost reckless abandon, EE will be hoping that the solidity of the four other players on the team will propel them to glory. Team NP are on the cusp of the elite Dota 2 teams, and they will be hoping that 2017 is the year they join the elite teams.

Predictions:- 3rd in Group A

Unfortunately for Team NP they are in the harder of the two groups and up against the likes of Newbee and VP. I believe that they will finish third in their group. If NP can start hot and catch other teams in their group by surprise, I think that they may have a chance at making it to bracket play. As heavy fan favorites, the Dota 2 community will be willing NP to greatness. Whether they can achieve it or not, is a different question.

Group A Predictions Recap

  1. Virtus Pro
  2. Newbee
  3. NP
  4. Fnatic

Group B

Digital Chaos (DC)

Image courtesy of http://wiki.teamliquid.net/dota2

Roster:

Position 1 (Carry) – Resolution

Position 2 (Mid) – w33

Position 3 (Offlane) – MoonMeander

Position 4 (Support) – MiSeRy

Position 5 (Support) – Saksa

DC recently finished second place at The International 6 (TI6), a few days later and to the surprise of many they made a roster change. They dropped fan favorite David “Moo” Hull and replaced him with David “MoonMeander” Tan. After a good showing at the Boston Major, finishing 3rd/4th, DC will be hoping that they can start the year with a victory at ESL One Genting.

In many people’s eyes DC have a roster with the ability to take the Dota 2 scene by storm, although they have yet to realize this potential. Will ESL One Genting be the start of a great 2017, or another bump in the road to greatness?

Prediction:- 1st in Group B

Being placed in the same group as the TI6 champions could be both a blessing and a curse. DC will be looking to avenge the defeat they suffered in the finals of TI6, and I fully believe that they will be able to at ESL One Genting. I expect them to finish top of their group, although they will be fighting it out with TI6 champions Wings Gaming.

Execration (XctN)

Image courtesy of http://wiki.teamliquid.net/dota2

Roster:

Position 1 (Carry) – Nando

Position 2 (Mid) – Gabbi

Position 3 (Offlane) – Dj

Position 4 (Support) – Owa

Position 5 (Support) – Kimo

2016 was a massive year for XctN. They have shown themselves to be one of the best teams in the South East Asian (SEA) region. However, 2017 started with uncertainty, XctN lost two players and were left searching for replacements. With the addition of Fernando “Nando” Mendoza and Joshua “Owa” Dela Serna, they will be hoping that they can continue to improve in 2017.

XctN will be hoping that their Mid player Khim “Gabbi” Villafuerte can make the same stylish plays in 2017 that he made in 2016 (Click here to see Gabbi’s amazing Puck play at MPGL in September).

Prediction:- 3rd in Group B

The difficulty with an eight team tournament is that you are inevitably going to face extremely tough opposition in the group stages. Unfortunately for XctN, this is the predicament that they find themselves in. Being grouped with the first and second place teams from TI6, Wings and DC respectively, means that their chances of making it out of group B are slim. I do, however, hope that they can prove me wrong as they are an exciting team to watch.

Wings Gaming

Image courtesy of http://wiki.teamliquid.net/dota2

Roster:

Position 1 (Carry) – Shadow

Position 2 (Mid) – Blink

Position 3 (Offlane) – Faith_bian

Position 4 (Support) – y’

Position 5 (Support) – iceice

2016 was a rollercoster year for Wings, which saw them achieve six first place finishes. This includes taking home the Aegis of Champions at TI6, and also winning ESL One Manilla in April. Many expected them to challenge for the crown at the Boston Major, however this was not the case. They achieved a disappointing 9 – 16th placing, followed by another disappointing finish at China Top 2016.

With the groundbreaking 7.00 patch still relatively new, Wings will be hoping that they can use their highly unpredictable play style to achieve a good placing at ESL One Genting.

Prediction – 2nd in Group B

Expect Wings to make it through their group relatively easily. In my opinion, it is a straight fight between Wings and DC for top spot in Group B. Wings have the skill and team play to win the entire tournament, however their most recent performances have been lackluster to say the least. I expect Wings to finish 2nd in the Group, but they may prove me and many others wrong.

WarriorsGaming.Unity (WG)

Image courtesy of http://wiki.teamliquid.net/dota2

Roster:

Position 1 (Carry) – Ahjit

Position 2 (Mid) – NaNa

Position 3 (Offlane) – KaNG

Position 4 (Support) – Ahfu

Position 5 (Support) – Wenn

WG are one of the best teams in SEA, and at the Boston Major they shocked many people by battling to a respectable 5 – 8th placing. WG are somewhat an unknown entity in the international Dota 2 scene. Apart from their performance at the Boston Major, they have mainly played in SEA based tournaments where they have seen great success.

Prediction – 4th in Group B

WG are going to suffer the same issues as I mentioned in relation to XctN. Their group has two of the best teams in the world, who have the potential to win the entire tournament. I expect WG to be fighting it out with XctN for the bottom two places in the group. There is always the chance that WG could potentially catch DC or Wings off guard, but I find this highly unlikely.

Group B Predictions Recap

  1. Digital Chaos
  2. Wings Gaming
  3. Execration
  4. WarriorsGaming.Unity

ESL One Genting Final Thoughts

7.00 has reinvigorated Dota, and I am excited to see some of the best teams in the world play on the new patch. With the ability of teams like Virtus Pro and Wings Gaming to make almost all the heroes work in some way, I expect to see a weekend of world class Dota

In terms of my overall event predictions, I think that Virtus Pro will take the whole event, with Digital Chaos finishing second.

1st Place – Virtus Pro

2nd Place – Digital Chaos

3rd / 4th Place – Newbee / Wings Gaming

5th / 6th Place – Team NP / Execration

7th / 8th Place – Fnatic / WarriorsGaming.Unity

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7.01 Patch Notes Analysis

The Changing Faces of Dota 2

Maybe it’s the way of Dota, but every time I think I have a handle on the meta, Icefrog changes his mind and releases a new patch.

After playing Dota for two years I thought I had the hang of it. Then Icefrog released 7.00. December 12th 2016 will go down in the history books. The new patch was released and the Dota 2 community descended into a panic.

 

cm-panic

Image Courtesy of www.reddit.com/r/Dota2

 

Nine days later and we are presented with another patch, 7.01. Let’s get into looking at what the mighty Frog has served up for us this time:

Patch Overview

This is a minor balancing patch that is mainly focused on tidying up the User Interface (I am sure Reddit will love that), and balancing some of the more overpowered heroes and Talents. At first glance it looks like most of the heroes are in a pretty good place in terms of balance, apart from Gyro (he is still awful).

The Winners

Photo Courtesy of dotabuff.com

Image Courtesy of dotabuff.com

Broodmother – The sultry Brood Mama gets some love from the frog once again. Her passive Incapacitating Bite has been reworked, the percentage slow has been increased to 14/24/34/44%. This is a pretty good buff to late game Brood, although it wont change much for the early game.

 

 

Photo Courtesy of dotabuff.com

Image Courtesy of dotabuff.com

Meepo – With the addition of the four Bounty Runes, why not make it so that one hero could potentially pick them all up at the same time? Well, with the new Meepo change he can now do this. Meepo clones can now pick up Runes, which will make dominating the mid lane rune battle even easier.

 

 

Image Courtesy of dotabuff.com

Image Courtesy of dotabuff.com

Natures Prophet – After the 7.00 patch release, Prophet players may have been left disappointed with the new level 25 Talent “Spawn six extra Treants”. For most, this was just not good enough. The community was disappointed and valve responded.

Prophet’s new level 25 Talent is now “2x Treants HP/Damage”. Now reaching level 25 on Prophet will give you a real boost in pushing power. Combining this Talent and Aghanims upgrade and we may begin to see Prophet making a return to the meta

The Losers

Image Courtesy of dotabuff.com

Image Courtesy of dotabuff.com

Visage – As part of the 7.00 update, Visage’s familiars received a massive buff. They were given a Hit Point (HP) value, rather than requiring a certain amount of hits to kill. This change saw the win rate for Visage spike and move from a very low 44% up to 51%.

I think that Visage was maybe a bit too overpowered following the 7.00 patch, and so did Valve. Following the 7.01 Patch update, Visage’s familiars now have 300/500/700 HP rather than 500/750/1000.

Personally, I think Visage has been hit really hard in the patch update. His win rate has dropped from 51% to 47%, and this will probably continue to drop down to about 45% in the coming days.

Image Courtesy of dotabuff.com

Image Courtesy of dotabuff.com

Monkey King – The newest hero on the block, and the first hero in Dota 2 that was not in the original Dota. The 7.00 release saw the first appearance of Monkey King, and within hours the community wanted him nerfed.

Every game that was played since the release of 7.00, Monkey King was either picked or banned. He has shot to the top of the popularity rankings on Dotabuff.

Valve took note, and they have tried to make it easier to deal with the Monkey in the early game. As such, Boundless Strike’s critical strike has been rescaled from 200% crit to 140/160/180/200%. This change, coupled with Jingu Mastery counter duration being reduced to 10 seconds, will mean that Monkey King will be easier to deal with in the early game.

Image Courtesy of dotabuff.com

The Shop – With the 7.01 update, Valve also changed the User Interface (UI) for the shop. The change didn’t quite hit the mark, leaving the community confused.

Reddit did not take kindly to the change and we all know that the louder reddit shouts about something the quicker Valve responds. I expect that the Shop UI will receive some attention from Valve in the near future.

 

 

 

Final Thoughts on the 7.01 Gameplay patch

This was a minor balancing patch which has allowed Valve to scale back some of the more overpowered heroes, whilst trying to show some love to the slightly weaker heroes of the meta.

In the coming weeks, the meta should start to take shape and the pro teams will start to identify the better heroes of the patch. Dota is in a very interesting place and it will be nice to see where the new patch takes the game.

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Broodmother Tips

The huge, disgusting Black Arachnia the Broodmother is one of the most unique Heroes in the game. Her playstyle is such that it can lead to her winning the game very early while also possibly becoming a big liability.

Broodmother is known for her combination of strong lane control and pushing skills. Left unchecked, she can take objectives fast and easily. Countering her isn’t too difficult; using her full potential though is something not many players actually pull off.

First, let’s look at a few common mistakes to avoid when playing Brood:

-Plainly obvious, but don’t pick her too early. Certain picks can counter her completely. The ideal scenario is to last pick her. Other than that, wait until a counterpick won’t fit easily in the enemy lineup. We’ll go through details about this later.

-Don’t fully commit to a push too much. You don’t always have enough space to do that. If there’s 4 Heroes missing, you can expect you’re going to be the target; as Brood, you’re a very high priority kill.

-You don’t have to solo push/farm for the whole duration of the game. A mistake I personally make all the time, so I can assure you, it’s worth it to join some fights here and there if you can’t take towers fast.

Now, let’s see some tips to take your gameplay up a notch.

-Bring Sentry Wards with you from the start so you can deward the enemy’s wards. No need to ask your support, you can buy them yourself; they’ll be more important than most starting items. Generally, you’ll want to start with Sentries, Tangoes and Soul Ring Recipe. Be mindful of where there can be Sentries and eat them with your Tangoes, or destroy them with your spiderlings.

-Always keep one half of your webs in impassable terrain,especially during the laning stage. That way you won’t ever be zoned out completely even if you have 2 enemy supports getting true sight constantly. You also use your Spawn Spiderlings from safety to keep up your farm.

-Get a few levels before you start bullying people out of the lane. You’re not very strong early on. The ideal case would be a level 4-5 with a Soul Ring.

-Be versatile when you’re at a disadvantage. This is perhaps the most important tip I can give. There will be times where you won’t have enough space or a very good matchup. If your spiders keep getting killed, use them to farm woods or scout, don’t just feed them. If you’re facing something like an Axe or Dark Seer, try putting some webs behind and away from their tower and farm there. If the supports are getting dusts 24/7, stay in fog, stack some spiderlings without letting them die and bully the supports away. And of course, consider starting at a different lane to gain yourself some time.

To wrap this up, a few things to keep in mind when picking Brood. As we said before, the best would be to pull off a last pick when you can see the whole enemy lineup. That won’t always be possible, so to evade your greatest enemies (Axe, Dark Seer, Timbersaw, Bristleback, etc) you generally need to look at the enemy cores and whether such a pick would fit in or not. If, for instance, they’ve already picked a woods Hero and their carry, getting an Axe to counter a Brood is possible, but it also means their carry and support would have to pull off a dual offlane. This is a painful choice you can give them; maybe you’ll get a counterpick anyway, but screwing their whole lineup over just to deal with a single Hero can be totally worth it.

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Valve vs Gambling Sites

The moment Valve introduced purchasable cosmetics, gambling websites made their appearance. Mostly dealing with Dota 2 and CS:GO skins, they allowed people to not only gamble their beautiful pixels, but also to turn those pixels into real money. The latter is something Valve simply doesn’t do; there’s no way for someone to turn an in-game item into actual cash. Quoting Valve’s statement:

“We’d like to clarify that we have no business relationships with any of these sites. We have never received any revenue from them. And Steam does not have a system for turning in-game items into real world currency.”

Now, Valve has issued a cease and desist letter, which means stop (cease) and don’t start again (desist) doing something, to 23 CS:GO gambling sites. Interestingly enough and at the same time, Twitch also seems to be taking similar action. PhantomL0rd, a famous CS streamer, had his Twitch account shut down, apparently due to him streaming these websites.

Valve’s letter is as follows:

“We are aware that you are operating one of the gambling sites listed below. You are using Steam accounts to conduct this business. Your use of Steam is subject to the terms of the Steam Subscriber Agreement (“SSA”). Under the SSA Steam and Steam services are licensed for persona, non-commercial use only. Your commercial use of Steam accounts is unlicensed and in violation of the SSA. You should immediately cease and desist further use of your Steam accounts for any commercial purposes. If you fail to do this within ten (10) days Valve will pursue all available remedies including without limitation terminating your accounts.”

While all this is currently limited to CS, there no reason to assume that Dota 2 sites won’t be next. The obvious question to all this, is why. These organizations have been around for years, so what urged both Valve and Twitch to act now?

Right now, we can only make assumptions. There’s always the possibility that a lot of people were scammed, and took it up with Valve instead of the sites themselves; that’s something people actually tend to do.

However, there’s something else that comes to mind. A more recent and fresh issue, the one of fixed matches. We’ve seen it happen occasionally in the Dota 2 scene. Obviously, match fixing and gambling go in hand. Betting skins is one thing, but betting skins that can be turned into real money is a whole other story.

Perhaps Valve is trying to take away a good reason for match fixing; then again, that’s just speculation. It could be part of the reason, or it could be completely irrelevant.

One thing’s for sure, this case isn’t over yet.

 

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Terrorblade Counters

courtesy of steamcommunity.com

 

As far as carries go, Terrorblade is perhaps the one that has received the most tweaks and remakes. We’ve seen him rise and fall quite a few times, and now he seems to be at his best. Both in pubs and competitive matches, he’s a pick that won’t be ignored.

Terrorblade is the only ranged-illusion carry in the game, giving him a unique way to dish out tons of damage. Even without having Metamorphosis, his illusions allow him to farm and push really fast, so giving him even a bit of space is not a good idea. Bursting him down in fights can be tricky, since a second of misplaced disables can allow him to Sunder and get back to full HP.

Let’s see a few options to deal with the demon lord:

: Earthshaker combines a lot of AoE disable time and huge burst damage, pretty much what you need to deal with illusions with the old-fashioned, direct approach. Most of the time, Terrorblades will be forced to at least get a BKB against Earthshakers.

: Another one who we’ve seen a lot in the last patches, Sven the Rogue Knight has a built-in cleave skill, an AOE stun and extraordinary right-click damage, enough to kill him before he Sunders. Note that cleave damage is pure, meaning that Terrorblade’s huge base armor will be less relevant. To make things better, Sven’s Warcry will add 20 armor to him and his allies, making Terrorblade hurt a lot less.

: Timbersaw may be lacking disables to deal with Sunder, but he more than makes up for it with tons of AOE pure damage. Illusions will die very quickly. Also, Timber will be a great pain for Terrorblade during the laning stage. Shutting a carry down early on is generally the safest way to go.

: Ember Spirit shines best when there are a lot of units for him to cleave and crit with Sleight of Fist. Not only that, but actually hitting him with Sunder can be extremely difficult. A great choice for stopping Terrorblade pushes.

: Outworld Devourer’s Arcane Orb deals tons of damage to illusions, 1 or 2-shotting them at most. Sanity’s Eclipse is also a good way of bursting the enemy down at about half hp before he can Sunder.

: While obviously not the type to manfight any carry, Lich has an Ice Armor that also works on towers, greatly reducing right-click damage and a Chain Frost that can bounce a lot between illusions. He can also be very annoying during the laning stage, taking away a lot of EXP and gold from the enemy.

: Multiple March of the Machines, bouncing Lasers, permahexes, huge burst. A good Tinker player can make Terrorblade’s life really hard.

As an extra note, keep in mind that illusion carries hold the typical disadvantage that they aren’t the best BKB users. Even if the main Hero is safe from nukes, their damage output is still dependant on those copies of themselves. Any sort of AoE disable or nuke, even when BKB is active, will reduce Terrorblade’s effectiveness a lot.

 

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Dota 6.88b

courtesy of steamcommunity.com

Three weeks before the International 6 kicks off, we get another small, balance patch. The most notable changes consist off:

* Timbersaw strength gain reduced from 2.1 to 1.8

Our favourite tree-hater has seen a lot of play since 6.88 was released; not only that, but a late game Timbersaw with a few items is not exactly easy to bring down. 0.3 less STR gain means 150 less HP at level 25, which isn’t a lot at that point. I don’t believe this nerf will affect his potential too much.

* Metamorphosis mana cost increased from 50 to 100
* Metamorphosis no longer lingers after reincarnation/death

This, on the other hand, will hurt Terrorblade a bit more. Carries are generally quite dependent on how well they can use a second life, through buyback or Aegis. Not having his real ult (as people sometimes refer to Metamorphosis) after respawning gives the opponent more options to deal with the Hero.

The extra mana cost may not seem huge, but a couple less spells during the laning stage can mean a lot more than expected.

* Beastmaster Boar XP bounty increased from 59 to 60/70/80/90

The nerfs to Beastmaster continue. He’ll now have to be more careful with his summoned pigs; don’t forget he can have two at a time, so killing them both will result to up to 180 XP. Despite, he’s still a pretty reliable Hero to ignore.

* Lane Creeps now give 20% of XP when denied by neutrals rather than 0% (normal player denies give 50% XP)

An interesting buff to offlaners. Enemy supports denying their creep waves to neutrals will still give some XP. Perhaps now we’ll see attempts to completely zone the offlaner out rather than pulling the waves.

* Astral Imprisonment damage increased from 75/150/225/300 to 100/175/250/325
* Arcane Orb intelligence duration increased from 60 to 80

Outworld Devourer went from being zero to Hero then back to zero during the previous two major patches. I believe he still has good potential, but people tend to overreact to certain changes. The extra 20 seconds on the Arcane Orb duration will boost both his lane control and his overall fighting capabilities.

Going back and forth in nerfing and buffing a certain Hero is mostly due to the community’s reactions to the Hero. I don’t think he was that broken back in 6.86, and I don’t think he was that useless before these buffs either; hopefully, this will bring him to a point where he’s be considered valid. I don’t believe he’ll be considered overpowered again, due to his inability to damage spell immune units.

Full patch note can be found here:

http://www.dota2.com/news/updates/22824/

 

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