When a problematically powerful hero arises in the meta, it is usually painfully obvious. The same cannot be said about problematically weak heroes and here is our list of support heroes who could use some buffs in the upcoming patch.
The hero is almost completely ignored by the pros and doesn’t do well in pubs either. Despite being one of the most powerful Juggernaut laning partners, very few high level players find use for the character. In lower level pubs, he simply feels too weak.
The hero even looked decent when Ink Swell buff duration got reduced back to three seconds, but after a series of nerfs he completely fell out of the meta. The hero is still conceptually strong, his pick is just really hard to justify outside of some strong pairing, but even then he is most likely to be inferior to a regular lane sustaining or a lane dominating support.
Personally, we feel like the hero struggles with his cast range first and foremost. He doesn’t want to be on the frontlines, but both Ink Swell and Soulbind have rather restrictive cast ranges. Increasing both even by a small amount would allow the hero to keep his good positioning and maybe realize his full potential with Aghanim’s Shard as a disruptive, semi-save support.
Alternatively, the return of Agility hard carry might bring Grimstroke back by default: his Dark Portrait is still one of the most powerful late-game support abilities.
A bit of a theme emerges here. Witch Doctor is another potentially strong support with decent crowd control, the strongest damage amplification ability in the game and even some lane sustain. The problem is all of the hero’s abilities are way too slow and telegraphed for the professional scene.
In high level pubs, where the hero wins ~45% of his games, the Zoo might be a bit of a problem. Paralyzing Cask isn’t a reliable stun: it doesn’t do anything when ganking a solo target and is way too unreliable in teamfights. Maledict also doesn’t work on creeps and summons and having no waveclear is a big deal in the current meta.
The hero did get an interesting buff aimed at solving this exact problem and maxed out Paralyzing Cask can potentially kill an early wave of creeps, but the hero seemingly needs a lot more to function. Perhaps a faster Cask projectile or increased Stun duration could help the hero out in staying relevant.
Alternatively, making him slightly tankier early on could make him a lot more enticing in the current and next patch: having 560 starting HP with 2 Armor isn’t too bad, but it can be a little bit scary to go for trades.
Lack of waveclear is the biggest problem for the hero. He is an exceptional crowd-control hero, but it is hard to connect with a gank, when you can’t outpush your waves: any rotation and smoke is painfully obvious when enemy creeps are hitting towers unanswered.
That said, we feel like there is a place for Lion in hyper-aggressive drafts and as a response to some emerging threats, such as Storm Spirit. With Blink Dagger this hero turns into an absolute menace that can set up, follow up and even deal a considerable amount of damage to a single target.
There is a reason a similarly threatening Shadow Shaman now has priority over Lion, though: he poses the same kind of threat, while having much higher pushing and waveclear potential. Lion desperately needs a bit of an identity change, since no one is picking a support with a single target nuke on a 160 second cooldown in a meta where games typically end at around 37 minutes and BKB is a common first pick item.