New year — slightly new meta. Over the last week, several things have changed and it is now time to have a quick look at heroes who are now significantly better or worse off than they used to be in the previous patch.
Sadly, the hero is mostly dead and picking him is ill advised. With the changes to Bloodstone, he can no longer sustain his mana during fights or when farming, resulting in a hero who cannot accelerate enough to take over the game.
The hero was nerfed both strategically and in terms of his teamfight contribution and is now back to being weak. There is an argument to be made about a position four Leshrac, but this is mostly for highly specialised players and even they are probably better off playing Pugna
Oracle isn’t a hero that makes highlights, but he is low-key the strongest support of the patch, courtesy of Fate's Edict. Five seconds of magic damage immunity in a spell-heavy meta is nothing to scoff at.
We don’t believe the hero’s overpowered. His laning stage is now decent, but his teamfight is still mostly about saves. What changed is that players finally stopped trying to make Oracle a nuker and are now leaving a single point in Fortune's End, prioritising other abilities. The extra cast range and duration allow for a highly versatile and reliable save hero and in the current meta it is more than enough.
Mage Slayer finally has a home. With the added aggressive DoT component, the item got a lot more popular and players realised how powerful it can be. 40% ability damage reduction in an ability-heavy meta turns Ember Spirit into one of the best skirmishing and teamfight heroes with little to no execution complexity. Essentially, you just press Sleight of Fist and you get Wraith Pact levels of utility.
The new Shiva's Guard is also a good fit for the hero and coupled with all the direct buffs the hero’s received, we feel like he is now the most reliable midlaner who can meaningfully contribute to the game even after losing his lane.
Another Mage Slayer builder who is now among the top meta heroes. With the magic damage amplification from Winter's Curse, Wyvern is now the best hero to deal with tanky frontline characters, courtesy of her percentage-based Arctic Burn damage.
On top of it, her late game progression can be incredibly powerful with Revenant's Brooch. There are no heroes who can survive a late-game Winter’s Curse without the help of teammates and while we strongly advise against building the Brooch early, it can be a good sixth slot against high armour targets.
The biggest change for the hero was the Maelstrom buff. For 250 gold extra the item received +25 Attack Speed, making it a significantly better farming and fighting tool. Early game rotations as Faceless Void are now slightly more potent and come level six or seven he can use Twin Gates to set up a kill on an enemy carry and maybe even take their tower — a highly aggressive play that is available to very few carries in the current meta.
This kind of proactive play potential on top of insane scaling make Faceless Void the de facto strongest carry in the current meta. He can lane against most meta heroes, since most of them are burst damage-based. He can go toe-to-toe with any carry and in the later portions of the game he can ensure that at least one enemy won’t have an opportunity to react.
Centaur started winning more after the default build adjustments. Just a month or so ago, maxing out Double Edge and Hoof Stomp was considered meta, but right now getting points in Retaliate is considered a more reliable play. This allows the hero to farm very, very fast and end up with an earlier Blink Dagger + Shiva's Guard combination.
Shiva’s more than makes up for the damage lost from not maxing out both of his nukes: a 1-4-4-1 by level 10 can kill most squishy supports in the game with ease, while also allowing Centaur to progress item- and level-wise in the downtime between fights. Balancing teamfight capabilities and your own progression is very important in the current patch, where the game length is highly varied.
We are excited about what the New Year might bring in terms of new heroes, new mechanics and maybe even new points of interest on the map. That said, we feel like Dota right now still feels incredibly fresh: there is a meme Khanda build that can be very potent in the lower lever brackets, but we haven’t seen anyone talk about it quite yet, for example.
What are your thoughts on the current meta and what heroes do you feel like are worth exploring more? Share your ideas in the comment section below!