The balance wheel keeps on turning at Valve, with the Dota 2 publisher releasing Patch 7.12 earlier today.
This is the fifth consecutive bi-weekly balance update, ever since Valve and lead developer IceFrog committed to a regular patch schedule, rather than shaking things up massively every few months. This week, IceFrog focused on tweaking hero and item numbers across the board, with a large number of them receiving buffs and nerfs alike.
Before getting into the hero changes, however, Valve made sure to let everyone know that Pangolier is now available for selection in Captains Mode. He was preceded in this regard by his good friend Dark Willow two patches ago, and since then she has already proven herself as a threat in the current metagame. Perhaps some teams can find a place for Pangolier as well.
As for the rest, the heroes that got the most notable changes include Crystal Maiden, Dark Seer, Dark Willow, Gyrocopter, Io, Slardar, and Tiny.
Crystal Maiden is slowly reaching the point of becoming a playable choice again, thanks to being buffed in two of the last three patches. This one bumps up her attack damage by three, and Arcane Aura’s self regeneration up to an average of 2.65 mana per second, per level of the aura.
Dark Seer was hit extremely hard in his second ability Vacuum, which is actually his signature ability. Instead of a flat 32 second cooldown at all levels, Vacuum now has a scaling cooldown that begins at a whopping 60 seconds. He did get buffs to Vacuum’s other aspects, though, as well as his ultimate Wall of Replica.
Io’s first ability Tether now gives him the same movement speed as the tethered ally, which can be good or bad depending on whether or not the targeted hero is slower than Io to begin with. For certain heroes like Slardar and Bloodseeker, though, roaming with Io has never been easier.
Slardar’s Sprint will no longer amplify incoming damage from here on out, which is a pretty big deal for his early game. He can now afford to be more daring in the lane, darting in and out with increased movement speed in order to score last hits and/or bully his opponent out. It matters a bit less in the later stages of the game, but the change is still a buff no matter how you slice it.
Dark Willow, Gyrocopter, and Tiny all got watered down, which comes as no surprise given their presence in the metagame as of late. Gyrocopter in particular got the short end of the stick, with Flak Cannon now sporting a 40 second cooldown as opposed to 30 seconds before the update.
As for items, Clarity Potions, Nullifier, Silver Edge, and Spirit Vessel all got turned down a few notches. Clarities have been really effective in this metagame, providing lots of cheap mana regen to all heroes that spam spells in the early game. Spirit Vessel has also seen a great deal of usage lately, thanks to its amazing properties and natural progression from Urn of Shadows.
The patch itself will affect the Dota 2 Asia Championships (DAC), which kicked off yesterday in Shanghai, China. This is a perfect example of one of the biggest concerns regarding the patch schedule—though this one in particular may have much greater implications than those before it due to the fact that DAC is a Pro Circuit Major and not just a Minor.
Of course, whether or not this is true has yet to be seen. Fans will definitely have to keep an eye on any metagame shifts throughout the tournament.