In addition to new heroes and balance changes, patch 7.07 also brought five new items into the game. Arguably, it is an even bigger change than the introduction of new heroes, because items can be purchased on virtually any hero, opening up a lot of possibilities.
Three weeks after the update, we will look in what these new items bring to the table and how they have changed the way the heroes are played.
Meteor Hammer is considered a bit of a joke in the community and even more so in the professional scene. It sounds good on paper, with a 690 magic damage nuke to heroes and 375 to buildings, but the channeling cast time coupled with all over the place stats makes it a very niche pick.
So far, the only professional player who has been getting it somewhat consistently is coL.Zfreek on his position four Nature’s Prophet. It allows Nature’s Prophet to use Meteor Hammer from the trees, outside of the enemy vision, for some extra split-pushing power. It is worth noting, however, that Complexity is currently in an excellent shape and can outright outplay most of the NA competition, including Evil Geniuses, so it is up for debate, whether this item has a significant impact on the outcome of their games.
With a total price of 2625 gold, it is relatively close to items such as Eul’s Scepter, Veil of Discord, Solar Crest, Pipe of Insight, Force Staff and many more. Hence the actual value of the item is unclear — the Dota staples are so common for a reason, with a lot of utility in many in-game situations. Meteor Hammer looks a lot more gimmicky in comparison.
The item isn’t bad by any means, but it is certainly very situational. It is a decent follow-up stun and damage for big combo plays, it can enhance the push for a team that lacks building damage and can be even used in team compositions which lack hard lockdown, but have a lot of slows, sleeps, roots and banishes.
On natural Aether Lens carriers with cast range talents, it can also be used for decent chip damage on high ground structures with relative safety. High ground breaches are a lot easier this patch, with no base shrines, but it can get tricky and can even give the enemy an opportunity to come back into the game. In these situations ensuring maximum safety, while still making progress towards closing the game, is definitely worth 2625 gold, especially on some support heroes.
Aeon Disk has seen some professional play, often against hard lockdown initiators, such as Batrider. The item essentially counters heavy burst initiations and can be a decent pick-up on virtually any hero, given the right circumstances.
However, the item is at its best on heroes who bring a lot of utility, but don’t necessarily care about the damage. This type of heroes also typically become the primary targets for the enemy team — initiating on an enemy Silencer, Dazzle or Oracle is generally a good move, but Aeon Disk will not only allow them to survive, but will also provide enough breathing room to use their spells, turning around the engagement.
That said, it is not necessarily an item that fully belongs to the support domain. In fact one of the more interesting uses of the item was by Ame on his Slark in the Summit qualifier match against Newbee. Not only did it ensure his safety against Batrider, but the typical downside of not being able to deal damage is somewhat mitigated by the fact that you can still steal stats.
LGD.Ame item progression in a match against Newbee
Following similar logic, the item can be a decent situational pick up on Ursa, making an already hard to deal with target almost unkillable, while still allowing him to stack Fury Swipes.
The Urn’s older brother adds another source of heal and regeneration mitigation to the game — something discussed not long before the patch. And this item simply works, and it works really well.
Urn of Shadows is an early pickup for many roaming heroes, which allows their team to better transition from ganks to pushes, providing the necessary sustain. It also allows for some extra damage on the target, which is often the difference between death and life for the opponent or at the very least saves your team some time.
Both of these effects scale with the Spirit Vessel upgrade, with both damage and heal now having a percentage-based aspect. On top of it, the item is now a decent counter to many regenerating and healing heroes.
There are two downsides to it, however. First, you need to charge it, which becomes more difficult as the game progresses. It is also dispellable with virtually anything — Manta Style, Black King Bar and Lotus Orb will all cancel the effect of the Spirit Vessel.
It makes the item a little trickier to use to its full effect, but the payout can be very high. In a meta where Spell Lifesteal and scaling nukes slowly become a thing, heal mitigation is no longer only useful against Alchemist, but can also become a necessity against Viper, Queen of Pain, Bristleback and even Tinker.
One of the most interesting introductions to the game turned out to be somewhat lackluster. Nullifier is great on paper — it prevents enemy cores from using BKB, Eul’s and Manta, slows sufficiently so melee cores don’t need to worry about being kited, dispels Ghost Form from Necrophos, Pugna and Ghost Scepter and unlike Diffusal Blade, and finally it is stats-neutral, meaning that it is as good on a Strength core as it is on an Intelligence or Agility one.
In reality, there simply are not enough incentives in the meta for it to be actually popular. Necrophos and Pugna are far from running rampant through pubs, as was the case in 7.06. Hard disables are still superior to all other disables, and hex was significantly buffed for it to once again become the go-to disable in the late game, while the projectile nature of Nullifier makes it much easier to avoid or disjoint.
It makes for a rather inconsistent item to use — it is trying to provide the same utility against items as Bloodthorn does against spells, but doesn’t do it instantly and doesn’t amplify the damage received by the target. As such, it is currently in the “deep niche” category of items, where you generally consider them out of necessity, rather than because it is good.
And the only situations where this item is truly a necessity is when the enemy has buffs that need to be dispelled, otherwise the typical Abyssal Blade or Scythe of Vyse will be better purchases, even if more costly. The only recent item pick up was by VG.Paparazi in a match against Complexity in PW Masters tournament and it was against Pugna with Ghost Scepter.
Kaya probably turned out to be the biggest item of the patch — it is universally good on all heroes with spell damage, it provides great utility through manacost reduction, and it is incredibly cheap on top of it all. The item is pretty much the reason both Tinker and Storm Spirit became top meta picks once again.
It definitely shouldn’t become a priority for support heroes, since there are better utility items that are priced similarly, but for many Intelligence cores it turned into a better Aether Lens.
There isn’t really much else to discuss about the item — it is cost efficient and it enables Intelligence cores by a huge margin, allowing them to snowball better and stay relevant for a lot longer. In fact, the item could lose the mana loss mitigation and still be amazing, however, definitely don’t count on it for saving your intelligence core against Anti-Mage or Nyx Assassin.