Overall, 7.07 buffed Tidehunter’s talents. In this guide, I will suggest you the best options depending on your role, item build, and the opponents faced.
The pick and win rate statistics after each talent refer to pub games in all skill rating brackets. Tidehunter received no more changes in 7.07b and 7.07c.
+25 Movement Speed - 33.4% pick rate; 52% win rate
+80 Gush Damage - 66.6% pick rate; 52.6% win rate
Both the options are worth a point. The extra movement speed is always a welcomed addition and is particularly useful in the early ganks prior building a Blink Dagger.
I prefer the Gust damage as it works better in most games and in pubs - where less advanced team play is involved.
340 damage on Gush is a respectable nuke
The level 25 talent decreases its cooldown
Situationally, the Aghanim’s Scepter has a space in the late game. With it and the talent, the cooldown drops to 5.25 seconds.
The Aghanim is the 13th most bought item on Tidehunter according to Dotabuff, with a win rate of 66.4% in pubs. The win rate statistic is biased as we are talking about an expensive and not core item, so often you will buy it when already winning.
+40% XP Gain - 26.3% pick rate; 54.3% win rate
+25% Anchor Smash Damage Reduction - 73.5% pick rate, 55.4% win rate
Anchor Smash is very strong against damage dealers, in specific agility and illusion based heroes. With the talent you will reduce their damage by 85%. This is your choice in almost all games.
Note that it only reduces base damage, and the one given by the primary attribute of the hero. Raw bonus damage isn’t affected.
Get more XP when snowballing
When leading the game, I suggest to pick the +40% XP gain, and exploit it to level up as fast as possible. At level 25 select the +250 damage talent - we will talk about it later. If got early enough, you will become the real carry of the match.
+24 Kraken Shell - 77.5% pick rate; 60.3% win rate
-4 Gush Armor - 22.5 pick rate; 60.6% win rate
Boost Gush if your team can benefit a lot from the extra armor reduction, if you don’t need more survivability, and if you intend to buy an Aghanim.
In the majority of games, Kraken Shell is the safest choice. It is already one of the best defensive skills of the game, not just for the damage block, but because it removes negative status effects once reached the damage threshold. It is a strong dispel that can save your life every 6 seconds.
With the talent, Kraken Shell blocks 72 damage per hit. It works also on illusions, so combined with Anchor Smash you can easily deal with them.
+25% Cooldown Reduction - 65.2% pick rate; 64.3% win rate
+250 Damage - 34.8% pick rate; 66.1% win rate
The cooldown reduction is as much as the Octarine Core passive. Also, talents and items stack, so you could buy it for a 50% reduction.
The damage talent has a huge value - as a comparison, the Divine Rapier costs 6k gold for 330 damage, but you can lose it and throw the game ;).
Pick the right talent for your item build
There isn’t a bad choice, but it depends on your item build. The cooldown reduction affects all your skills and items: imagine having access to all your tools earlier. For example Ravage has a cooldown of 150 seconds, it drops to 112.5 with the talent, and to 84.3 with the Octarine Core.
If you have activable items such as a Blink Dagger, Pipe of Insight, Shiva’s Guard, Refresher Orb, and Guardian Greaves, it is inconceivable to pick the damage talent over the cooldown reduction one.
Instead, if you got a semi-carry build, the extra damage is an amazing addition to your arsenal. Just remember that having only a Moon Shard for the extra attack speed isn’t enough to be a carry.
If you can’t survive, just kite
Ultimately, your damage doesn’t matter if you can’t survive, thus the opponents faced are the primary cause behind your decision.
If you have no survivability problems, then nothing will stop you from auto-attacking in teamfight; but if you need to kite, the cooldown reduction is your best friend.