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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dota 2, pangolin, zorro, armadillo, ti7,

What’s to come for Dota after TI7

The International 7 was one to remember…

The International 7 has come and gone. Congrats to Team Liquid on the first ever sweep in TI Grand Finals history! There were some amazing moments, as always, during the entire tournament. Along with the highest stakes of any Esports event.

Kuroky finally secured the Aegis in his seventh TI. The whole team received a shoutout from an investor who knows about hardware:

magic johnson

(Twitter)

Bringing an end to this Dota 2 season does come with some perks. The downtime after TI usually brings a different kind of excitement to the community. One of hope and speculation. Players begin to experiment more with heroes. Trying to find the next pub stomper to raise their MMR.

What’s next for Dota fans?

Everyone has heard the saying: “there ain’t no rest for the wicked”. This could be altered to “there ain’t no rest for the Aegis” when it comes to Dota 2 teams. Not even a few weeks after the tournament and teams were already making big changes.

 

OG’s Ana takes a year off

The community was already buzzing with rumors that Newbee’s Sccc was thinking of leaving the TI7 runners-up for a new squad. Pictures of him at the The International 7 after party with OG’s n0.tail and Fly raised an eyebrow. This followed Ana’s announcement via the team’s Facebook page that he would be both leaving the team and taking a year off from competitive Dota 2. Setting a very interesting stage for Newbee and OG fans alike. Will Sccc stay with the team that gave him his start?

Newbee has been very successful during Sccc’s tenure with the team. A departure to OG would leave a big hole in the Newbee roster. Sccc would also be leaving two players (Moogy and Faith) whom he played with on Newbee Young prior to being called up to Newbee.

OG’s mid lane is one of the top spots available during this roster shuffle. Filling it with a superstar is going to be key for OG after another disappointing TI result.

 

Misery to Evil Geniuses?

One of the best parts of the Dota scene is how active some of the players are in the community. Many will have conversations via twitter, interact with fans or randomly post about the game. The overall level of engagement between players through social media can provide for some interesting theories. Such as this one which was hatched when Misery tweeted out about his casting experience post-TI:

dota 2, ti 7, misery, sumail, eg

(Twitter)

Admittedly, this is a little more convincing than the previous theory on Sccc and OG. Though it is also very possible that Sumail and Misery are just having a laugh at the expense of the fans. Initially this sounded like Sumail moving to Team Secret with Misery. Which was debunked once Khezu and MP left Team Secret while they retained their mid player (MidOne) and both supports (Puppey and Yapzor).

Taking this into account that leaves a return to EG as a possibility for Misery. So far, Evil Geniuses hasn’t announced any roster moves. This roster has been pretty stable since Fear and ppd left it. Adding Arteezy, Zai and Cr1t was the last big move this NA juggernaut made. Maybe this year EG will be the ones shaking the roster shuffle period.

Roster shuffles always provide a lot of hype for the community. Rumors circulate of team activity and fans craft their dream teams. Overall it is wildly unpredictable and always interesting to see where players land. Although, this offseason there is even more going on in-game!

 

The Dueling Fates update

Towards the end of TI7 Valve announced some huge news. They will be adding two heroes to Dota 2 via the “Dueling Fates” update. Most TIs have been followed-up with a gameplay patch that also adds a new hero (most recently Underlord and Monkey King). Valve has been consistently adding heroes to the game, but the “Dueling Fates” update is unique. It will add two shiny new heroes to the game that were not present in the original Dota or Dota All-Stars.

The video shows the first hero, we’ll call him “Pangolin”, moving over terrain with ease. At one point, even curling into a ball and rolling through a creep-wave. Showcasing some interesting mobility and even disarming a creep. The hero then fights BristleBack and cuts off the bristles. Could this be foreshadowing a new “Break” ability? As of today, there are only two sources of “Break” in the game with Doom and Silver Edge. Breaking an enemy hero’s passive has become an extremely useful mechanic in the current meta. Heroes like Earthshaker, Bloodseeker, Anti-Mage, Drow Ranger and Spirit Breaker were all popular at TI7. All of these heroes benefit from very powerful Passive abilities that can currently only be countered in two ways. Creating a new hero with a Break ability makes a lot of sense.

After Pangolin finishes off his intro with a flourish, fans everywhere were jbaited into thinking that was all Valve had in store for us this year. Until the video cuts back to an interaction between Pangolin and a new fairy hero, referred to as “Sylph”. This new hero ends the release video by propelling a ball of light from their lantern towards Pangolin. Not much more about this hero was revealed in the trailer as it was mainly focused on Pangolin’s first scene.

Regardless, this offseason of Dota 2 has a lot in store. The competitive games might be over, but the community is going to have a lot to think about and experiment with. A big roster shuffle always has fans mesmerized post-TI out-of-game. Adding two brand new heroes on one patch will keep us busy in-game.

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