Dota 2 7.20 update: General gameplay changes explained

Dota 2 7.20 update: General gameplay changes explained

All the general gameplay changes brought in by 7.20 have been explained, including deny mechanics, armor formula, cleave, regeneration, and bounty system.

All the analyses, articles, and statistics on the 7.20 update:

In the following days and weeks, I will publish several articles on the 7.20 update. Stay tuned as I will cover most aspects of the game, general and specific game changes, new and old items, most popular heroes in pub and pro games, and more.

Map Changes

  • Map has been reworked

We will have a look at the new map in a separate article.

Deny Mechanics

  • Denies no longer give the denier 25% XP

  • Creep denies now give the denier 20% of the gold bounty

    • Melee Creeps: 7-8 gold

    • Ranged Creeps: 9-11 gold

This change alone might shift the whole meta and have huge consequences both in pub and pro games. In the previous patch, maintaining the control of the lane became crucial (which contributed to the current dual lane meta) because by last-hitting and denying properly you could gain a consistent level advantage over the opponents.

Now, denies doesn’t give experience anymore, but only a small portion of the bounty. You might think that gold is equally important, but that’s not the case. Being one or two levels ahead during the laning phase gives you more tools to farm faster and obtain kills, while a few extra gold doesn’t have as much impact as the previous system.

This bounty may be useful for a dedicated support (and it increases the total gold available in the lane), but I am afraid that in pub matches we will start having toxic core players asking the support to not steal their denies :).


  • Added a new dedicated inventory slot to hold Town Portal Scrolls

A quality of life change as it basically frees a slot for wards, dust, and consumable items. Supports will love it, and now the cores have no excuses to not have a TP scroll with them at all times (and maybe help with dust).

If you want my honest opinion, considering all the changes that affected the game in the past years, I believe that sooner or later teleporting won’t require a scroll anymore, but it will turn into a basic skill on a cooldown.

  • Boots of Travel: No longer shares cooldown with Town Portal Scrolls. Upon teleporting, +10 seconds are now added to your Town Portal Scroll cooldown

It improves the pushing and counter-pushing capabilities of all the heroes with the Boots of Travel. It seems a huge buff for the item, but it will mostly affect only the very late game. It will be very interesting to find out if and how the pro players will exploit this new feature.

Prismatic Grace loading screen for Naga Siren - Valve

Prismatic Grace loading screen for Naga Siren - Valve


  • Stacked Neutral creeps now give the stacker 35% of the bounty instead of 25%

  • Non-Ancient Neutrals now provide 5% more gold bounty

There is more gold in the jungle both for potential junglers (:O) and for supports stacking the neutral camps.

There are several heroes who can maximize the gold earned in this way. A typical example is Naga Siren who can stack up to 4 jungle camps at the same time via the illusions created by Mirror Image

Hero Selection

  • Removed Daily Bonus Hero concept.

  • Random once again picks from the entire hero pool, but now ignores your 25 least played heroes.

  • Random can now only be used for the first two hero picks on your team.

This change will be well-welcomed by many players, but hated by others. If you can’t adapt to multiple heroes and roles, randoming might ruin the gaming experience of the team in a ranked match.

I am one of those players that loves randoming; I stopped doing it because the previous system limited the possible picks to the daily heroes. I possess a general knowledge on almost all the heroes so there have never been issues (or almost :P), but I am genuinely afraid when someone clicks the random button in my team because you can’t really predict how they will perform.

  • Limiting the random option to the first two picks in the team is a great idea: we won’t have anymore a 4th and 5th random carry.

  • Ignoring the 25 least played heroes is controversial. It will help most players, but maybe some might have preferred more freedom. Valve could give us a slider and let us decide our own limitation - a range from 5 to 30 would be perfect.


  • Changed the Armor formula to: ( 0.052 * Armor ) / ( 0.9+ 0.048 * Armor)

  • Updated various armor values to closely align with the new formula:

    • Tier 1 Towers: 17 to 12

    • Tier 2 Towers: 19 to 14

    • Tier 3 Towers: 19 to 14

    • Tier 4 Towers: 29 to 21

    • Melee Barracks: 18 to 13

    • Ranged Barracks: 12 to 9

    • Ancient: 18 to 13

    • Fillers: 14 to 10

    • Shrines: 24 to 17

The following graph, shared on Twitter by PimpmuckL, shows the old and the new formula. Now, having a lot more or a lot less armor has a bigger impact on the damage mitigated and received.

Armor Scaling 7.19d vs 7.20 - Image: @JJLiebig

Hero Kill Bounty XP

  • Killing Sprees now give an XP bonus ranging from 200 to 1250

  • Reworked and simplified XP hero kill bounty system. No longer includes a team XP component

    • New. All: ( 40+ 0.14 * DyingHeroXP ) / # of killers

The previous system was rather complicated and I won’t copy-paste here the old formula - it is gone!

The new system is very simple: you earn experience based on the formula above, which is not affected by any element but the experience of the hero killed and the number of killers.

Mana and HP Regen

  • Reworked Mana and HP regen from attributes. They are no longer multipliers of your regeneration values

  • Mana Regen: Intelligence now provides 0.05 mana regeneration

  • Mana Regen: Removed the 0.9 base mana regen value (now covered by base Intelligence)

  • Mana Regen: Rebalanced mana regen values based on the formula change

  • Health Regen: Strength now provides 0.1 Health Regeneration

  • Health Regen: Base regen values reduced by 1.5 (now covered by base Strength)

  • Health Regen: Rebalanced health regen values based on the formula change

Explained in a simple way, heroes with a high intelligence with have more natural mana regeneration, and those with a high strength will enjoy more natural health regeneration.

The health and mana regeneration values of all the items and most abilities and talents have been rebalanced based on the new formula - I suggest to check them individually.

Root Mechanics

  • Town Portal Scroll: Can now be canceled and prevented by Root

A buff to the heroes with Root spells; it increases their potential particularly during ganking attempts.

  • Fixed inconsistencies between different Root sources:

    • Stasis Trap now provides True Sight

    • The following roots no longer interrupt channeling spells or the current action: Dark Troll Ensnare, Searing Chains, Naga Siren Ensnare, Crystal Maiden Frostbite, Entangling Claws, Nature’s Guise, and Overgrowth

The skills above have been nerfed as they won’t be able to interrupt animations or channeled abilities such as Enigma’s Black Hole anymore.

Cleave and Splash changes

  • Cleave damage is now normal physical damage type, causing it to get reduced by the armor of each unit impacted

  • Cleave abilities damage values have been rescaled

  • Increased standard Cleave area. Distance increased from 625 to 650, final width increased from 330 to 360

    • Affects: Great Cleave, Empower, Battle Fury, and Talents

Prior this patch, Cleave ignored the amount of armor possessed by a hero. This is a big nerf, particularly in the late game when the heroes tend to have more armor.

At the same time, now abilities and items able to decrease the armor of the opponents have a bigger value as they boost also the Cleave damage.

On the sunny side, Cleave affects a bigger area, and IceFrog rescaled the damage values of several Cleave abilities to make up for the damage loss.

  • Templar Assassin: Psi Blades can now spill off of illusions

  • Changed how illusions’ incoming damage is processed; it now happens at the final step (thus it won’t splash over extra damage with things like Psi Blades).

  • Fixed Splash damage being affected by Spell Lifesteal and Spell Amplification

  • Fixed Splash damage not considering armor type

  • Black Dragon Splash Attack damage type changed from Magical Damage to Physical Damage

  • Black Dragon Splash Attack now does its full damage in the 250 AoE

  • Similar adjustments to Dragon Knight’s splash damage described below

Note: The only sources of Splash damage in the game are Dragon Knight’s Elder Dragon Form, Tiny’s Tree Grab, and Ancient Black Dragon’s Splash Attack.

Spell Immunity and Dispels

  • The following abilities no longer pierce Spell Immunity: Curse of Avernus, Acid Spray, Bloodrage, Thirst, Elder Dragon Form, Lycan Wolf Cripple, Epicenter, Entangling Claws, Spiderling’s Poison Sting, Anchor Smash, Nature’s Guise, Wave of Terror, Venomancer’s Poison Sting, The Swarm, Maledict debuff, Ghost Frost Attack, Wrath of Nature, Netherward Mana Degen, Life Drain targeting, Primal Roar Secondary Knockback, Requiem of Souls, March of the Machines collision, Atrophy Aura, Tombstone, Flesh Golem, Wall of Replica slow, Naga Siren Ensnare, Dark Troll Summoner Ensnare, Wild Axes, Natural Order, Death Pulse projectile, Assassinate, Shiva’s Guard Aura, Assault Cuirass Aura, Tempest Tornado Aura, and Orb of Venom

A nerf to all the abilities listed above as now you will be immune to them while under the effect of the Black King Bar. Therefore, it is a buff to the item, which cost has been increased by 75 gold.

  • Black King Bar: Recipe cost increased from 1375 to 1450

  • Poison Sting can now be dispelled

  • Hex state can now be removed by strong dispels

A substantial buff to all the abilities with a strong dispel.

  • The only item in the game with this effect is the Aeon Disk.

  • There aren’t many hero abilities that cast a strong dispel, among them it is important to remember the following ones: Abaddon’s Aphotic Shield, Legion Commander’s Press the Attack, Oracle’s False Promise, Slark’s Dark Pact, Ursa’s Enrage, Tidehunter’s Kraken Shell, and Weaver’s Time Lapse.

Great Calamity loading screen for Lycan - Valve

Great Calamity loading screen for Lycan - Valve

Towers and Structures

  • Towers no longer gain extra armor per nearby enemy hero. Tower health increased to account for some of this:

    • Tier 1 Towers health increased from 1600 to 1800

    • Tier 2 Towers health increased from 1600 to 1900

    • Tier 3 Towers health increased from 1600 to 2000

    • Tier 4 Towers health increased from 1600 to 2100

  • Melee Barracks health increased from 2000 to 2200

  • Ranged Barracks health increased from 1200 to 1300

  • Ancient health increased from 4250 to 4500

This change is a nerf to split-pushing in the early and mid game. It doesn’t matter if the enemy team will teleport or not to defend the tower, they always have the extra health points.

Misc Changes

  • Day/Night cycle increased from 4 minutes to 5 minutes

It might affect the game play of a few heroes, such as Night Stalker. Also, note that the Bounty Runes spawn every 5 minutes, so while collecting them your vision on the area will suddenly change, potentially favoring or discouraging ganking attempts.

  • Scan no longer ignores units in the Roshan pit

You won’t have to spam in chat anymore that the scan doesn’t work if positioned on the Roshan pit.

  • Max attack speed increased from 600 to 700

Agility-based cores will have the chance to stack even more attack speed than in the past without hitting the hard-cap. Note that there aren’t abilities in the game that grant maximum attack speed.

  • Default aura range increased from 900 to 1200 (Gem of True Sight, Heartstopper Aura, Tower Aura, and Natural Order remain unchanged)

I am surprised to find this change hidden in the Misc section as it is a great buff to all the items and heroes with auras.

  • Removed movement speed modifiers from spawned creeps (previously, different lanes would have faster/slower creeps during the first 7.5 minutes of the game)

  • Added a new sound that gets played when all of a team’s barracks are destroyed

  • Opening secondary shops now highlights the items in the full shop UI, rather than switching to a filtered view

  • AoE of other wards are now shown during ward placement

The latest two changes above are well-welcomed as they are quality of life improvements no one will complain about.

  • Added a new game state, Leashed. Leashed units follow the same rules as rooted units with regards to teleport and mobility based abilities, but can still use normal movement. The following abilities now apply the Leashed state: Pounce, Dream Coil and Soulbind

  • Self damage no longer disables things like Clarity, Bottle, Blink, etc

  • Lifesteal amount is no longer limited by the current HP of the target and uses the full damage you are dealing instead

Lifesteal is more effective depending on your attack damage.

  • Backpack can no longer be manipulated while taunted

  • Reduced the following movement speed talents: Abaddon (25->20), Axe (40->30), Bane (65->50), Batrider (50->40), Bounty Hunter (25->20), Dazzle (50->40), Enchantress (25->20), Legion Commander (50->40), Lich (25->20), Naga Siren (25->20), Nature’s Prophet (35->25), Night Stalker (45->40), Nyx Assassin (35->30), Ogre Magi (90->75), Oracle (65->50), Outworld Devourer (35->30), Pangolier (25->20), Pugna (25->20), Sand King (25->20), Shadow Demon (35->30), Skywrath Mage (25->20), Techies (60->50), Tidehunter (25->20), Tinker (40->30), Underlord (30->25)

While reading the changes above, you must also consider that now the items (all Boots, Drum of Endurance, Eul’s Scepter of Divinity, Spirit Vessel, and Wind lace) do not provide a flat movement speed anymore, but a percentage based bonus.

  • Intelligence heroes strength gain increased by 0.2

  • Killing an Observer or Sentry ward now prints out a notification in chat to your allies

  • Respawn time for level 1/2/3/4 increased from 5/7/9/13 to 6/8/10/14

  • Reverted a global turn rate change done in 7.00 (previously, the max run rate speed increased by 15%)

  • Attribute growth values that had 2 decimal points have now been rounded up

  • Shrines’ Sanctuary ability now additionally restores 2% HP/Mana pool per second

Header image and patch notes: Valve

Vincenzo is an esports writer with five years of experience. Former head editor for Natus Vincere, he has produced content for DreamHack, FACEIT, DOTAFire, 2P, and more. Follow him on Twitter and Facebook.