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Another minor Dota 2 gameplay update has been pushed out to address some overpowered heroes right before the start of the Dota Pro Circuit qualifiers.
While there hasn’t been much professional Dota 2 happening right now aside from the meme-filled Midas Mode 2.0 and the qualifiers for ESL One Hamburg, these heroes have been dominating in high-level public games and were hit by the nerf hammer.
Hunter in the Night
- Hunter in the Night attack speed reduced from 30/50/70/90 to 20/40/60/80.
- Crippling Fear duration reduced from 5/6/7/8 to 4/5/6/7.
- Level 20 Talent reduced from +50 Damage to +40.
- Level 25 Talent reduced from +140 Hunter in the Night to +110.
Night Stalker has been a terror to play against in any public game. No matter how bad the laning stage went for the hero, his ultimate, Dark Ascension, makes him the strongest hero in the game for 30 seconds. Flying vision, free pathing, and additional damage makes for one of the strongest ultimates in the game.
If Balanar wasn’t strong enough, the purchase of an Aghanim’s Scepter turns him into an AoE monster, transforming Void into a 900-radius ability that allows him to farm, clear waves, and send enemy heroes into oblivion.
It’s unsurprising that Night Stalker received a few nerfs, but none have touched his two strongest spells or the upgrade. Rather than mess with his early-game ability, IceFrog has nerfed his late-game carry potential by reducing the attack speed gained from both his passive and talents.
The main problem with the hero was that he was simply too versatile, seeing play in all three lanes due to his lack of weaknesses. He barely loses lane in the day due to his beefy stats despite reduced vision and weaker abilities, and then he terrorizes enemies at night. Coupled with his ridiculous carry potential with Aghanim’s and his level 25 talent, Night Stalker shot up to first on the win rate charts across all brackets. The nerf has brought this hero back down slightly, but he likely remains first-pick material and an obnoxious threat with barely any counters.
Medallion of Courage
- Armor reduced from six to five.
- Armor reduced from five to four.
Ring of Protection
- No longer available in side shop.
- Armor reduced from 10 to eight.
Night Stalker is practically responsible for Phase Boots and Solar Crest to be nerfed again in 7.22h. Solar Crest, and by extension its build-up Medallion of Courage, was the item of the tournament at The International 2019, purchased in every game as a core utility item. Previous nerfs in 7.22g barely slowed it down and Night Stalker’s insane synergy with the item brought it to the forefront again.
Ring of Protection will be removed from the side shop due to the prevalence of position four supports purchasing a Sage’s Mask and upgrading it in lane for Ring of Basilius. Eight damage paired with an armor and mana regeneration aura was just too efficient. Now, players will have to choose between extra regeneration or moving out of base with a completed Basilius.
- Avalanche damage decreased from 90/160/230/300 to 75/150/225/300.
- Toss cooldown increased from 11 to 17/15/13/11.
Despite the hero’s dismal pub win rate, which is the fifth-lowest in the game, IceFrog decided to bash in the rolling stone. Tiny’s roaming strength has been reduced, with Toss having a much higher cooldown in the earlier levels. This generally hurts a support Tiny more than a core. Since supports are more starved for levels and Avalanche is generally maxed out first, this means that players will be stuck with a weakened Tiny for much of the laning stage.
Three other heroes—Kunkka, Mirana, and Winranger—were also nerfed again. Kunkka received cooldown nerfs, Mirana had her Sacred Arrow travel speed and Leap attack speed reduced, and Windranger took a minor hit to her level 10 mana regeneration talent. No heroes were buffed in this patch.
Traditionally, the big post-TI update will be released after the first Major, so Dota fans are unlikely to see any major reworks until then. If Night Stalker remains a top pick, Dark Ascension or the Aghanim’s Upgrade will likely be reworked again. For now, get ready to see some Balanar being played at the DPC qualifiers beginning Oct. 5.