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In life, there are always winners and losers. And that’s no different in Dota 2’s Outlanders update.
A Reddit user compiled two weeks’ worth of data into a chart showcasing the changes in heroes’ win and pick rates compared to the last Dota 2 patch. Two heroes, Lone Druid and Tiny, are racing ahead of the pack, showing their dominance as two of the most improved heroes in Dota 2.
Conversely, two heroes who received reworks to their skills have seen abysmal drops in their win rate. Lycan and Chaos Knight are two strength carries who have been hit hard by the new meta.
Tiny has always been one of the most flexible heroes in the meta, no matter the patch or year. The Stone Giant perennially had a useful tool at its disposal, ranging from Echo Sabre burst to Tree Volley’s insane AoE damage. He remained a stable pick ranging from mid lane to support thanks to his immense nuking ability and tankiness that meant he always provided value to the team.
Patch 7.23 docked a little bit of his damage but gave him a new tool to play with. Now that Tree Grab is permanent and provides an array of damage buffs and cleave, Tiny is more than capable of becoming a right-click carry. Instead of the intended laning nerf due to his decreased base damage, Tiny has become a farming monster, capable of clearing out creeps and heroes in equal measure. His low cooldowns mean that he’s always up for a fight, and his permanent Tree Grab means that his team easily converts objectives after a victorious skirmish.
Now, the hero is the ultimate flex pick, capable of playing any role. With hard supports getting more gold and experience, it’s not a stretch to think that Tiny can also fill that slot now. Tiny is no longer just stable—he excels at every role. It’s little wonder that he’s shot up in both win and pick rates. The rolling stone is showing no signs of stopping just yet, but IceFrog is probably polishing his nerf hammer as we speak.
Sylla, the Lone Druid got buffed tremendously when the Outlanders update dropped. Even without those buffs, the hero would likely have seen an increased win rate due to the nature of neutral items.
The introduction of neutral items meant that suddenly, every hero was getting six-slotted early into the game. While early stat items are any core player’s dream, they lose their value later in the game. Now, instead of selling them, cores can pass neutral items onto supports to boost their overall team strength. For a hero with 12 inventory slots thanks to his Spirit Bear, Sylla now becomes a repository for all these items, meaning that a hero that usually has to sacrifice one of his unit’s upkeep can now have his cake and eat it too.
Plus, the hero got buffed. True Form now provides the hero with tons of health and armor, meaning that he’s practically unkillable just by pressing one button. In addition, now that his Savage Roar affects both heroes with one cast, it’s making it impossible to lock down either unit. Even if Lone Druid is disabled, his bear can cast Savage Roar to fear enemies around both units.
The buffs pushed Lone Druid up. The new meta boosted him even further. Sylla is now one of the strongest carry heroes in the game and has already been receiving slight nerfs with each version. But the hero always seems to swing heavily between being overpowered and underpowered, so Lone Druid lovers will probably only have a short while to revel in his might.
Rooftrellen, the Treant Protector was actually in the dumpster when the Outlanders patch dropped. The removal of his invisibility, tree-walking Nature’s Guise, his global Living Armor being changed to a typical ranged heal, and the introduction of brawling skill Nature’s Grasp meant that the hero’s core identity as a sneaky fighter and splitpusher was heavily compromised. His win rate suffered accordingly.
The over-nerfs brought a ray of sunshine, however. Instead of reworking his Nature’s Grasp again, his Nature’s Guise without invisibility has been brought back as a passive ability in 7.23b, with the invisibility aspect locked behind a talent. Plus, his Living Armor was changed once again to a global and is arguably better at repelling pushes than ever before. Obviously, a hero practically gaining two new skills and then getting buffed in several aspects will make him stronger than the rest of the roster.
Lycan received a massive rework to his Howl. The skill used to provide his units and himself with an array of buffs like attack speed, armor, and regen. Now, it’s become a teamfight skill, reducing his enemy’s attack damage and armor in a massive AoE.
It sounds like a sidegrade, but it’s a big hit to Lycan’s power spikes. The hero excels at pushing quickly, which meant that Howl becoming a teamfight skill lowered his pushing speed.
Plus, Lycan is extremely reliant on his Shapeshift ability to fight. In a meta where every hero is a brawler and has short cooldowns, Shapeshift is too quick and has too long of a cooldown. The hero doesn’t provide much as a physical damage carry otherwise.
Chaos Knight received a rework to his Reality Rift and Phantasm. Reality Rift used to slow attack and movement speed, but reduces armor now. Phantasm’s illusions were modified to have magic resistance, making them slightly stronger to magic damage but a lot weaker against physical attacks. Plus, Chaos Strike, his best laning and trading skill, was nerfed.
Once one of the most sustainable carries in the game, the nerf to his ability to trade hits meant that the hero now had a worse lane. He farms relatively slowly but made up for it in burst damage, which has become less important as skirmishes become more common than full-blown teamfights.
Phantasm’s long cooldown means that he’s joining the fight at lesser strength more often than not, and both he and his illusions have become much more susceptible to physical damage. The hero might pair better with armor reduction heroes as compared to before, but he’s definitely not the tank that he used to be.