It’s been a little over a week since the Dota 2 7.31d patch came out, and the meta is beginning to shift. While a lot of the changes were small, they have been just enough to shake up the state of the game. The biggest shift of heroes picked so far has been in the mid lane. Pros are trying out two new heroes in pubs and in the pro circuit. While these two heroes were unpicked supports before, they are now being picked in every region as mid laners and carries. Now, these heroes are the new mid laners of Dota 2 7.31d.
Wait, Pudge is actually good?
It’s hard to remember a time that Pudge was actually a good pick in high-level play. Pudge has always been the most picked hero in Dota 2, but it could never really work at the pro level. Fans saw glimpses of what the hero could be as PSG.LGD’s Ame played it at TI10, but it never took hold in the meta.
When 7.31d came around, though, Pudge was suddenly a strong mid laner. The hero gained a buff to his third ability, Flesh Heap, which made him much more difficult to bring down. Enemies deal no damage when Pudge activates Flesh Heap, even with a huge level advantage.
Pudge is now difficult to take down, but the same ability to catch enemy heroes with Meat Hook as in previous patches. He also has good damage with Rot and his ultimate, just as he always has. With all of these abilities together, Pudge is now a frontline tank that can wear down entire teams in seconds.
As the first two weeks of the DPC are underway, teams around the world have tried him as a core. He has been commonly tried as a mid laner by North American squads, but Europe’s Team Liquid tried him as a hard carry.
While they did lose the game, Liquid was against a Medusa lineup, and even when the late-game Medusa came online around minute 30, Pudge still lasted another 44 minutes before falling.
• A treat to watch
• It wasn't beaten easily (74 minutes)
• 100% will be in one of your ranked games soon!
— TeaGuvnor #StandWithUkraine (@TeaGuvnor) June 11, 2022
As the meta continues, Pudge will probably be tried as a mid laner before the carry role. The hero’s natural ability to make plays with low net worth makes it a strong option in most games. He can play for solo pickoffs against enemies with Meat Hook, or dumpster team fights with Rot and Flesh Heap.
Clockwerk can work
Clockwerk is another prior roaming hero that needed just a small change from Icefrog to be a powerful mid laner. The only buff he received was that his battery assault deals double damage to creeps, but that was enough. Clockwerk now can farm level 6 incredibly fast, and run around the map with his Hookshot, killing side lane heroes without saves.
For later levels, he also has a talent that leashes enemies inside of his power cogs. So, even if a mobile hero like Void Spirit builds HP items, he still dies from full hp to Clockwerk. The combination of Orchid Malevolence, Aghanim’s Scepter, and his talents allows Clockwerk to jump from across the map and kill anyone on the enemy team.
A common theme between Pudge and Clockwerk mid is that the heroes can be dangerous on the map without items. Tundra’s Nine is always discovering new mid lane heroes, and he beat OG with Clockwerk in a recent series.
OG, fresh off of a major win, tried to farm on their Enigma and Monkey King, but Clockwerk picked them apart around the map, without needing any real items. After the game, Nine talked about why he thinks Clockwerk mid is viable.
While Pudge has been the more common pick so far in the meta, Clockwerk has shown his viability as well in picking off split-pushing heroes. Pudge is the stronger option in team fights, but almost no hero in the game can escape a Clockwerk with Aghanim’s scepter.
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