Dueling Fates, Heroes, Sylph, DotA 2

Heroes of the Dueling Fates

During the International, Valve excited the audience by teasing not one, but two new heroes in a single video. Valve did not name these heroes in the trailer, nor did they provide the release date. For the time being, we have to assume that both heroes will come out together, along with the Dueling Fates gameplay patch. Despite the lack of official information from valve, the trailer might be giving away more than it first seems. By analyzing the information in the trailer, we might get a peek at these new heroes’ capabilities.

Swashbuckling Armadillo Man

DotA 2, Dueling Fates

Image captured from youtube.com

This hero took center stage in the Dueling Fates trailer, showing off a a variety of skills. We see our rapier wielding friend start by performing a variety of acrobatics at the opening of the video. What he does next however is far more interesting. Though it’s to a creep and not a hero, he disarms his attacker before kicking him away. Currently there are very few ways to disarm an opponent, effectively preventing them from auto attacking for a few seconds. The main source of this is Heaven’s Halberd, a 3400 gold item that doesn’t see much competitive play due to its highly situational usefulness.

Hero abilities that disarm are also rare in DotA, and most of the time they have significant drawbacks. Crystal Maiden’s “Frostbite” ability disarms an opponent, but requires her to put herself close to the fight. Invoker’s “Deafening Blast” ability is probably the best source of disarm in an ability, but it has a 40 second cooldown. If this ability is a reliable disarm with a reasonable cooldown, it would be a first for DotA 2.

The next exciting thing our hard-shelled friend does is slice off Bristleback’s quills. One of the hardest things about dealing with a Bristleback is getting through his damage reduction. With the introduction of the Silver Edge item and the Break mechanic in 6.84, this became considerably easier. Break is a mechanic that turns off a hero’s passive abilities like Axe’s “Counter Helix”, and currently Silver Edge is the only item in the game that does this. With so few ways to apply this very powerful debuff, it would make sense for Valve to introduce one in this hero.

Finally, Swashbuck McArmadillo rolls into a ball, barrels through creeps, and crushes Magnus under his weight. Based on the video, it could operate similar to Tusk’s snowball or Earth Spirit’s “Rolling Boulder” ability. As a melee hero, some kind of movement ability that would help him engage or disengage more easily makes sense.  Unfortunately, there is not enough information here to guess how this new hero’s ability will be unique.

Sylph

DotA 2, Dueling Fates

Image Captured from youtube.com

Despite only appearing at the tail end of the video, we know a surprising amount about the second of the Dueling Fates heroes. Thanks to some proactive data miners, not only do we know Sylph’s name, but also her ability names. Of course these names could change before the patch is released, but they’re still useful for speculation.  Let’s dig in!

Sylph’s first ability is “Grapple”. This could be a number of things from a movement ability, to a disable, or a combination of the two.  Based on the text, it is reasonably safe to assume it’s a disable of some kind. When grappling, one is generally holding on to their opponent trying to gain the upper hand, so a disable seems likely.

This feisty fairy’s second ability is tentatively called “Shadow Realm”. To be honest, I’m not sure where to even begin with this ability. At first I thought it was a mobility skill or perhaps some kind of escape mechanism. Upon looking at the data closer, I noticed that this ability also had audio triggers marked for “impact”. This leads me to believe this ability involves a projectile of some kind. My best guess is that it is a projectile that applies some kind of buff or debuff to the first hero it hits. This could be anything from granting allies invisibility, to removing the hero from the game briefly, similar to Puck’s “Phase Shift”.

Compared to the last ability, “Flash Powder” is a much easier ability to imagine. This ability might be a targeted spell that will either blind enemies or grant evasion to allies. While these two things sound the same, they can be very different. If the ability blinds enemies in an area, then enemies that enter the fight later will be unaffected. However, if “Flash Powder” grants evasion to allies, then all enemies will be negatively affected no matter when they get to the fight. Either way though, this could be a great engagement tool for team-fights if my guess is correct.

Sylph’s final ability is also the only one we catch a glimpse of at the end of the video. “Will O Wisp” will cause Sylph to send out a little companion to attack her enemies in some way. Will-o’-the-wisps are commonly known as phantom lights that lead travelers astray at night. Slyph’s ability could very well be meant to do something similar. Perhaps it will force enemies close to the wisp to walk toward it slowly, allowing Sylph to re-position her enemies. If so, this could be an incredibly powerful team-fight ultimate.

The waiting continues…

The Dueling Fates teaser video came out almost two months ago, and Valve has not released any further information. In typical Valve fashion, these characters and the accompanying patch will just be done when they’re done. There is very little that gets the DotA community as excited as the prospect of trying new heroes. Here’s hoping that these two are worth the wait.


Featured image captured from YouTube

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7.02 Patch Update

The Winners and Losers – 7.02 Patch Notes Analysis

As expected, Icefrog has released the 7.02 patch for Dota 2. The patch is a small balancing update that focuses mainly on buffing and nerfing hero talent trees. There have also been some changes to the map to keep the balance between Radiant and Dire. Let’s get into it and see who the winners and losers of the 7.02 patch are.

The Winners of the patch

Balancing both sides of the coin

Dire Patch

Image courtesy of joindota.com

Prior to the release of the new patch, there were several reasons that Radiant had an advantage over Dire. Icefrog has taken steps to return the balance by making a few quality of life changes.

* The following abilities cause neutrals to temporarily not draw aggro: Meat Hook, Telekinesis and Toss
* Added more trees for TP cover around the dire towers
* Swapped the dire secondary jungle ancients and medium camp spots (and improved spawn boxes/stackability)
* The Dire ward spot to the left of the Ancients no longer gives vision over the rune area infront of Roshan
* Slightly adjusted the dire secondary jungle bounty rune further back
* Reduced spawnbox size for both Dire hard camps
* Shifted down the spawnbox for the ancient camp (formerly medium camp) in the Dire secondary jungle (so a high ground ward does not block the camp)
* Fixed a rare case where Dire ancients could be stuck between trees when spawning

“Courtesy of http://www.dota2.com/news/updates/27381/”

A lot of these changes are minimal and focused on balancing the scales between the two sides.

Same hero new play style

WR Patch 7.02

Image courtesy of dota2walls.com

Windranger has been missing from the meta for a long time. Icefrog decided to bring her back from the dead with the next patch.

* Powershot damage from 120/220/320/420 to 180/260/340/420
* Powershot cooldown from 9 to 12/11/10/9
* Windrun slow AoE from 300 to 325
* Windrun manacost from 100 to 75
* Level 10 Talent from +15 Damage to +25% Windrun Slow
* Level 15 Talent from +16 Intelligence to +20 Intelligence
* Level 15 Talent from +200 Health to +40 Movement Speed
* Level 20 Talent from +12% Magic Resistance to +20%
* Level 20 Talent from +12% Spell Amplification to +15%
* Level 25 Talent from -5s Powershot Cooldown to -6s

“Courtesy of http://www.dota2.com/news/updates/27381/”

These changes seem to point to a more support focused Windranger which may reinvigorate the hero. The change to Powershot will mean that an early point in the skill will allow good harass potential in lane. The changes to her talents seem to point her towards a more support focused play style. Expect to see support Windranger coming to a pro game near you.

Who needs a Midas

Doom patch 7.02

Image courtesy of dota2walls.com

Doom is another hero that had been missing from the meta for a long time. This may start to change, as with his new changes he may become more viable, and is already seeing some more play in competitive.

* Level 10 Talent from +8 Intelligence to +80 Devour Bonus Gold
* Level 10 Talent from +150 Health to +250
* Level 15 Talent from +6 Armor to +15 Scorched Earth Damage/Heal
* Level 15 Talent from +15 Movement Speed to +20
* Level 20 Talent from +65 Damage to +35 Doom DPS

“Courtesy of http://www.dota2.com/news/updates/27381/”

Doom’s talent tree received a massive rework as part of the patch, something that he really needed. The main addition is the new level 10 talent +80 Devour Bonus Gold, which effectively gives Doom a built in Midas once he hits level 10. This will really allow Doom to transition well into the mid / late game. It seems as if Icefrog is trying to refocus Doom around his skills with the changes to his talent tree. As a result, Doom has lost some of his right click potential and will have to be careful during fights.

Returning from the shadows?

Bounty Hunter

Image courtesy of dotafire.com

Bounty was a hero that had been severely affected by the 7.00 patch, so it is nice to see Icefrog giving him some attention. Still, nobody is going to buy Aghanim’s Scepter on him no matter how much they buff the upgrade.

* Scepter now also increases Shuriken Toss ministun duration from 0.1 to 0.75
* Level 10 Talent from +15% XP Gain to +20%
* Level 20 Talent from +100 Damage to +120 Damage
* Level 20 Talent from 8% Spell Amplification to +75 Shuriken Toss Damage
* Level 25 Talent from +20% Evasion to +25%

“Courtesy of http://www.dota2.com/news/updates/27381/”

The change to the Aghanim’s upgrade makes sense, however it will more than likely not increase the amount the item is picked up. The 20% XP gain at level 10 will help Bounty get his levels faster, something he desperately needs. The addition of +75 Shuriken Damage offers a welcome choice against the +120 Damage. Whilst most people will pick up the additional damage, in higher level games the extra Shuriken Toss damage will see a lot of attention. Bounty may see some more play, however he still is in need of a more considerable buff to make a return to the meta.

The Losers of the Patch

Balance in all things

Image courtesy of youtube.com

The nerfs to Ember will not be a surprise to anyone who has played the game recently. With a high pick and win rate, the hero was teetering between great and broken.

* Root now disables Activate Fire Remnant
* Level 10 Talent from 15% Spell Amplification to 12%

“Courtesy of http://www.dota2.com/news/updates/27381/”

Now whilst two changes is not dramatic it is the nature of these changes that is important. Firstly, having Root disable Activate Fire Remnant makes sense, but will now allow another way to lock Ember down and stop him from jumping out. Secondly, the change to the level 10 talent is a welcome one, that reduces the heroes power without completely destroying the hero. Ember will likely still see a high pick and win rate in higher tier games and will likely receive heavier nerfs in an upcoming patch.

 

Is No Bear LD still within range ?

Image courtesy of youtube.com

Lone Druid definitely deserved a nerf and Icefrog agreed. The Druid had become a mainstay in higher MMR games, with a strong win rate.

* Level 10 Talent from +200 Attack Range to +175
* Level 15 Talent from +65 Damage to +55
* Level 20 Talent from +7 Spirit Bear Armor to +12
* Level 20 Talent from -50s Respawn Time to -40s

“Courtesy of http://www.dota2.com/news/updates/27381/”

The changes to LD are minimal currently, but may see him become a more situational pick rather than consistently picked. Reducing the additional attack range provided by the level 10 talent was a needed change, and will mean that it is possible to close the gap on LD in fights. In addition, reducing the damage provided to LD from his level 15 talent will be a welcomed change. Similar to Ember, the changes are needed, but are still arguably not enough.

 

Who needs Ion Shell

Dark Seer patch

Image courtesy of dotafire.com

Dark Seer has been a mainstay of the competitive meta for the last six months. Icefrog may have just ruined that for everyone. With a long list of changes, will Dark Seer ever be the same again?

* Movement speed reduced from 300 to 295
* Ion Shell manacost from 70/90/110/130 to 100/110/120/130
* Level 15 Talent from +90 Damage to +120
* Level 20 Talent from +25 Intelligence to +75 Vacuum AoE
* Level 20 Talent from +12 Strength to +10% Cooldown Reduction
* Level 25 Talent from +12% Cooldown Reduction to +25 Strength
* Level 25 Talent from +70 Ion Shell Damage to +80

“Courtesy of http://www.dota2.com/news/updates/27381/”

The biggest of all these changes is the change to Ion Shell. Dark Seer is a hero that benefits from pushing towers in the early game through the use of Ion Shell. This has changed with the mana cost of Ion Shell being increased, meaning that early game Dark Seer cannot simply spam itl in lane whenever it is off cooldown. Dark Seer will now need to be conscious of last hitting rather than leaving that to the Ion Shell. The talent tree also received a rework, which overall is a nerf to Dark Seer. If you like to play Dark Seer, it may be time to find a new hero, as Icefrog has decided to punish him and may do this again in the future.

Icefrog has sent him back to the Underworld

Image courtesy of pcgamesn.com

Having been recently released into Captains Mode, it is not a surprise to see Underlord receiving the balance hammer from Icefrog.

* Movement speed reduced from 305 to 290
* Atrophy Aura Damage Reduction from 10/20/30/40% to 4/16/28/40%
* Level 15 Talent from +200 Health to +35 Movement Speed
* Level 20 Talent from +100 Cast Range to +125
* Level 20 Talent from +50 Attack Speed to +60

“Courtesy of http://www.dota2.com/news/updates/27381/”

Icefrog decided that the early game of Underlord was too good and has decided to reduce the Atrophy Aura Damage Reduction. The change now means that for the damage reduction to be beneficial, it will now require two skill points, which will possibly change the skill build moving forward. Whilst he will not join Arc Warden in the new hero dumpster, expect Underlord to receive some nerfs in upcoming patches.

Other changes of note in the patch

* Shrines are now vulnerable after a T3 tower dies (same as the Shrines inside the base), rather than after all T2 towers die

* Sentry Wards now come in packs of 1 for 100 gold (instead of 2 for 200)

* Added Lycan to CM

* Observer Wards now have a Fog of War simulator to show you the area the ward will reveal (taking into account trees and terrain height)

“Courtesy of http://www.dota2.com/news/updates/27381/”

For a full breakdown check out Purge’s Livestreamed reactions to the new patch here – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LZEpSU0DOoU

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