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The Christmas gifts of 6.86

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Perhaps we’d been extremely good kids, since after the overwhelmingly redundant 8 new items of 2 patches back, we were allowed to have 4 more, plus a new rune to boot.

Or, perhaps we can’t see the big picture, and all this was nothing but equivalent to coal given to naughty, immature children who did nothing but flame their team, their opponents, the MMR system, the developers, or the world itself.

Leaving the needlessly over-dramatized introduction aside though, we’re going to continue the analysis from my last article regarding all the brand new items and how they fit in the game.

(Courtesy of
(Courtesy of

Faerie Fire: A basic item allowing a few early game shenanigans and jukes, while helping slightly with lane control/last-hitting/denying. Again, we can say something like this was hardly necessary, but not unwelcome, since it doesn’t affect the “balance of power” too much. There’s not really too much to say about the Fire of the Faeries, besides that it has caused immediate regret of decisions by players who dove the tower seeking first blood, only to realize their efforts were 75 HP short. All in all, I can accept this is now part of our harsh world.

Dragon Lance: Do not worry, dear Aiushtha, and wipe the tears off your face. Your dragon knight in shining dragon armour has come to your rescue. Who’s Aiushtha, you ask? But, our dear Enchantress, of course!

Other than turning an innocent Bambi-like creature into a ruthless, killing machine that would make the Terminator cry in the corner while in the fetal position, I could say this is an interesting item. Cheap and easy to make, and while it doesn’t offer too much to most heroes, the ability to disassemble its components and make, say, a BKB and a butterfly makes it a decent early pickup. Others choose to keep it intact till the very end, for a bit of better positioning in the fights. Which now begs the question, does this affect the game negatively as I’ve mentioned in the past? Is positioning becoming less and less important, and being replaced by the purchase of shiny toys? Maybe, but Dragon Lance is mostly a carry item, and carries generally can’t afford using up a whole item slot for a cheap item like this; the benefits are nice but they won’t cut it for too long in the game. Hence, the drawback is there and it can be too big to ignore.

Iron Tallon: A clear way to make jungling not an autolose strategy once more; after nerfs and nerfs of the gold and exp neutrals provide, here’s a way to clear them faster. Other than that, it obviously boosts a melee carry’s farm even further. Considering traditional, melee carries have fallen off quite a bit against the lane-controlling Gyrocopters and Razors and the such, I can totally see the point of Iron Tallon, and this is the mentality I’d like to see more in this game. Additions for the sake of improvement and balancing, not for the sake of simply adding new content. I’ve heard people suggesting that the Ring of Protection component is slightly irrelevant, but I don’t really mind it. The Tallon made of Iron can be a better choice for some heroes rather than getting a Ring of Aquilla (a lot of Strength carries come to mind), and besides, the cost is rather small for what it provides anyway. I still believe jungling is not a good idea, unless it’s a hero that can gank. Lane control is far too important right now, as with the new kill bounty system, your advantage may easily go down the drain with a single death and teams can’t afford to go 4v5 early on.

In conclusion, I like this one a lot. It doesn’t alter the game too much, but provides a boost to a weakened cast of heroes.

Aether Lens: Yes, I am going to talk about this one too.

Starting with the components, they still strike me as kind of random. The Energy Booster, I can understand, the Ring of Health and Cloak, not so much, unless it was an item purely intended to be used by our friend, Pudge the Butcher.

But, let’s look at the more important benefits this provides. The extra spell damage was probably a good idea. Nukers have plenty of disadvantages compared to physical DPSers. Spell damage can be applied almost always only on heroes and creeps, and it generally progresses throughout the game only through the use of items. Physical damage on the other hand, can hurt heroes, creeps, ancients, Roshans and structures equally well, and it only grows stronger as time passes by, through both items and abilities, and simply by the fact that a hero gains extra stats with levels, hence more physical damage. The idea of Aether Lens, Arcane Rune and Octarine Core before these, was to give spell damage dealers a fighting chance, and they sure did.

On the other hand, I’m still hesitant about the extra casting range. This one goes beyond nuke damage; it also affect disables (that in my opinion, doesn’t need a buff and most likely never will), initiation ways, items, etc. Perhaps I’m missing something crucial here, but I don’t see why initiators and disablers really needed a buff such as this; don’t forget, a Blink Dagger hero may very well get +400 range, 200 for the Blink and another 200 for their spells. These heroes have always, always been a crucial part of most strategies, due to their very concept; not having decent crowd control means your opponents are free to roam the map as they wish and dish out all of their damage freely.

Yes, I too like Pudge being valid for once, but paired with his Aghanim’s, he’s a bit over the top I feel, and he’s not the only one.

In conclusion, and you can see it in other changes too, range is the element that got affected the most. Of course the benefit of Dragon Lance can’t come anywhere near to the one of Aether Lens. In general, the items themselves weren’t bad additions. Maybe it would be better to give Lens slightly less range, about 50 less, as it affects both items and spells, thus making for a very dangerous while cheap tool.

Till next time.

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