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Valve might have put the Dota Pro Circuit on hold, but the developer dropped a surprise patch today that likely would’ve only appeared after the now-postponed ESL One Los Angeles Major.
While Patch 7.25 will certainly have ramifications on the pro scene with changes to power runes and comeback mechanics, perhaps the biggest alteration was one to the matchmaking mode All Pick.
All Pick and Captain’s Mode reworked
All Pick is the most popular matchmaking game mode in Dota 2, where players are free to select from the entire pool of heroes. It’s been reworked entirely to stop the extreme power that the last picker held since they could survey the entire field.
Now, players will engage in five rounds of blind picks, where Radiant and Dire will only get to see the selections until the next round. This provides less information for each team, allowing players to make more educated guesses in accordance with the previous picks. This also prevents players from directly countering lane matchups, which dominated the pub meta due to the previous nature of the drafting stage.
If both players make the same pick, the player who picked second will be given extra time to select a new hero.
Hero bans have also been changed. At least 10 heroes will be banned from every match, with each player selecting a ban that has a flat 50 percent chance of succeeding. Should there be less than 10 banned characters, the game will automatically decide the remaining according to the ban rate at the bracket.
Captain’s Mode’s bans have also changed from 3/2/1 to 4/1/1. This allows pro teams to ban more heroes in the opening stage, perhaps diminishing the first pick advantage slightly. This is a change that seems small on its surface, but it’ll likely be a big deal in pro’s strategies as players get more used to the change.
Comeback mechanics nerfed
While the comeback mechanics in Dota 2 have introduced their fair share of exciting games, IceFrog and Valve just can’t seem to find the right balance. Too often, it disproportionately punished winning teams and rewarded losing teams for picking off insignificant heroes. It’s been changed to a much simpler formula solely revolving around the net worth of the dying player.
- ( 50 + VictimNetWorth*0.03 ) / #Heroes
- Hero kill sprees gold bounty increased from 60->480 to 200->690
- Hero kill sprees xp bounty increased from 400->1800 to 500->2040
To combat the removal of the comeback mechanic, the values for taking a player’s kill sprees have also been tuned higher. Kill bounties should regress back to a more predictable level, especially in the early game.
While most neutral items on the list were buffed, Faded Broach was the sole item to get a nerf. The tier-one neutral item provided ridiculous value, similar to the value of a Wind Lace and Energy Booster combined into one item that could be had at seven minutes. There are really no heroes in the game that can’t benefit from more movement speed and mana. Its rampant versatility across roles and game state have seen it taken a small hit to its mana value, though.
Several of the more situational items that came with drawbacks, such as Philosopher’s Stone, Nether Shawl, and Flicker, were given buffs. Enchanted Quiver and Havoc Hammer, two items that have generally been ignored even by pros, have been getting buffs so many patches in a row that they’d likely reach critical mass at some point.
Teleport scrolls and boots nerfed
The days of traveling back to base with a Town Portal Scroll to get quick regeneration and teleporting right back into the fray with Boots of Travel are over.
Boots of Travel no longer has an active ability. Instead, it upgrades your TP scroll. It functions exactly the same as before, but now, you can’t pull off a double teleport trick. It’s gone back to being an exclusive mechanic on heroes like Nature’s Prophet, Ember Spirit, and Tinker.
To make up for it, the Boots got a movement speed increase, but TP scrolls now cost 90 gold instead of 50. Observed wards are still free, so support players can stop quaking in their boots.
Headdress, Ring of Basilius, and Buckler no longer provide stats
These three items instantly became the most powerful starting items for side laners when they were reworked in 7.23. Open up a match and you’ll likely see a combination of these items in the players’ beginning inventory. Each of them provided a powerful aura and the three all stats they gave were insane value for money. It got to the point that safe lane carries would build their own Headdress instead of just ferrying out more regen.
They’ve all been rightly nerfed now, so players will have to think a bit more about their starting item builds again.
Crystalys damage reduced and gold cost increased
No one would be more heartbroken to hear this news than Topson. OG’s mid laner was one of the first ones to point out how cost-effective the item was in terms of damage. Crystalys led the resurgence of heroes like Void Spirit and Ember Spirit being played as physical carries.
It’s being deservedly nerfed and it also doesn’t build into Bloodthorn anymore, which makes the item less attractive for intelligence heroes like Void Spirit.
Nullifer no longer mutes enemies
Mute was a powerful mechanic that prevented enemies from using items, such as Black King Bar. Nullifier was also the only source of dispel in the game. It was too powerful and nearly unplayable in most situations. While it wasn’t picked up due to its narrow focus and poor build-up, it was extremely effective when called for.
It received a litany of stat buffs to compensate for its lost ability. Now, mute will go back to being a mechanic to select spells, such as Doom, Duel, and Hex.
Hero buffs and nerfs
Dozens of heroes got buffs and reworks except for five—Batrider, Crystal Maiden, Ogre Magi, Rubick, and Snapfire all received some tiny nerfs. Crystal Maiden and Ogre Magi haven’t been popular in the pro scene, so it’s a head-scratcher as to why they received minor nerfs. But the other three have had a near-constant presence due to their versatility and lane winning abilities.
Snapfire and Void Spirit finally got their Aghanim’s Upgrade. Snapfire can Gobble Up an allied creep or hero before spitting them out unceremoniously. The maximum range is the same as her Mortimer Kisses’, but there’s no minimum range on this ability. A creep will end up dead, while a hero will land onto the targeted space, stunning and dealing damage to caught enemies.
Void Spirit’s Resonant Pulse upgrade gives it two charges and the additional ability to silence for two seconds.
A few other heroes also received reworks to their Scepter upgrades, such as Dazzle, who now lands a physical attack on eight other units every time he casts a spell. Juggernaut now has a mini-Omnislash that lasts for 0.8 seconds, while Bounty Hunter can actually crit Jinada on his Shuriken Toss.