The top 10 most popular Dota 2 heroes in the mid lane during 7.19b. We will learn the best picks in the meta, the patch changes, and how to play or counter them.
More from this series:
The heroes are arranged by pick rate, and the data considers all games played in any region in the 5k+ (Divine) bracket. Note that we can’t filter data for 7.19b only, so the past 30 days are examined. Statistics from Dotabuff.
Alchemist has 10-20 minutes of free farm
In the past, Alchemist could secure only a single Bounty Rune, and the enemies had the resources necessary to contest his farm in the lane.
Things are different now due to the dual lane meta: the supports are relegated in their own lanes and have hardly any free time to help elsewhere. Roamers are also very rare, so the mid lane turned into a 1vs1 battle.
Winning the mid lane thanks to the Bounty Runes
The Bounty Runes grant gold to every player of the team that picks them up, and Alchemist passive ability Greevil’s Greed is applied on every rune, whether he collects them himself.
At the start of the match, if his team can obtain at least two runes, he will finish his basic items earlier than any other hero. Afterwards, If he can capitalize on this advantage and farm without problems, the quantity of gold generated with Greevil’s Greed is massive.
Greevil’s Greed Bounty Rune multiplier rescaled from 3.5x to 2/2.5/3/3.5x.
7.19b implemented a fair adjustment. Now, Alchemist will require some levels before getting an exaggerated amount of gold from the runes. Still, this nerf won’t be enough in a game in which he can acquire three or more Bounties at a time.
The mid lane tower isn’t the first goal
We understood how Alchemist can have the upper hand in this 1vs1 situation, but he has also a lot of free time before being in danger.
Usually, teams tend to focus and destroy one of the side lane towers, particularly the off lane one. This gives Alchemist a few extra minutes without nuisances, so he can farm safely both the mid lane creeps and the neutrals in the adjacent jungle.
The Bounty Runes attract both teams every 5 minutes as they want to secure/deny them for Alchemist, which delays any other action on the map.
Even in the worst scenario, he should be quite safe for at least 10 minutes, but he might have even more time if his team is able to hold 4vs5. If a tower or two are destroyed, he can keep farming as long as his team can avoid difficult fights via split-pushing and smart ganks.
More possible nerfs
Greevil’s Greed. I believe the best way to deal with Alchemist is completely disabling the effect of his passive when he doesn’t pick the Bounty Rune on his own. Honestly, I am not sure why Valve has not adopted this change yet, but probably they want to maintain the focus on the team play required by the current system.
Unstable Concoction. Icefrog loves nerfing/buffing different aspects of a hero, so he might work on this skill or the related talents.
Unstable Concoction is 4-seconds long stun that deals 400 physical damage. Of course, these numbers are reached once the ability is maxed out and the concoction brews for 5 seconds.
There are two talents that empower this skill:
Level 10 talent: -8s Unstable Concoction Cooldown.
Level 20 talent: +400 Unstable Concoction Damage.
To be honest, the added damage at level 20 is fair - even if troublesome for squishy supports with low armor values - but the cooldown reduction that early in the game is the real deal-breaker. The skill has a 16s cooldown time, so the talent brings it to 8s, and Alchemist can buy the Octarine Core to reduce it to 6s.
The uptime of the skills is absurd as he can use it at least two times in every gank starting from the mid game. Reducing the talent to -5 seconds cooldown would be a decent nerf.
Countering Alchemist with the Spirit Vessel
The Spirit Vessel is considered a very useful item to deal with Alchemist because it disables almost completely the regenerative effect of Chemical Rage. In fact, beside the other bonuses, the ultimate grants 70 health regeneration which can be abused to win most fights in the mid game.
The Spirit Vessel’s active ability Soul Release reduces the HP regeneration and healing of the target by 70% - a big deal for heroes such as Alchemist, Necrophos, and Morphling.
You might ask why players do not buy it in every game against Alchemist. The answer is that it is a very unreliable item which success depends on several factors:
Everyone can buy the Urn of Shadows (875 gold), but only the position 4 (among the supports) has enough money to upgrade it into the Spirit Vessel at a reasonable time (2,100 extra gold needed).
The upgrade alone is almost as expensive as the Blink Dagger (2,250 gold); a more versatile item that most supports and casters desire.
Even if you can build it, the item requires charges to work, otherwise it will be pointless. I found many supports with almost no charges on the Urn of Shadow trying to rush the Vessel only because it was a recommended item :(.
Participating in ganks and team fights isn’t sufficient, it is necessary to survive in order to acquire charges - a problem for most squishy supports in a difficult game. I believe that when this item is crucial, the position 3 should carry it.
If you don’t have many charges, you must always save them for the specific hero, and use them at the right time. Do not waste a charge on another opponent just to deal extra damage, and use it on Alchemist only after the activates Chemical Rage (the ultimate applies a basic dispel that cancels Soul Release).
Later in the game, Alchemist will have items such as the Black King Bar and the Manta Style. Both items apply a basic dispel upon cast, and Soul Release doesn’t work while the target is magic immune.
On the paper, the Spirit Vessel is an amazing item to counter Alchemist, but in reality there are many factors in play that do not make it a perfect choice in every game: charges, timings, and ways to cancel its effect.
7.19b has not brought many changes to the top 10. Only Ember dropped out of it, and he has been replaced by Alchemist. Now, we will have a quick look at the remaining heroes affected by nerfs and buffs during this patch.
Clinkz has been very popular in pubs for several months already, and during TI8 he was a top tier 2 hero together with Broodmother.
He is a solid pick thanks to his amazing laning phase and the ability to dish out a huge amount of damage even without items. He possesses the tools to win the 1vs1 mid lane, and is ready to fight relatively early if compared to most physical carries.
Damage. Searing Arrows provides extra physical damage to each attack, which is more than enough to last hit and out-harass most opponents. His attack animation might feel weird at first, but you will get used to it. During the lane phase, he can just orb walk, damaging the enemy mid laner without drawing creep aggro.
Survivability. Strafe adds a lot of survivability because Clinkz will dodge automatically all incoming projectiles for 3.5 seconds. Skeleton Walk is a viable form of escape as well as it gives both invisibility and movement speed bonus. It will force the adversaries to spend extra gold in consumables to gank him.
His skills plus the Medallion of Courage are a perfect combo for an early Roshan, and if Clinkz can gain enough lead in the early game, snowballing to victory is absolutely possible has he is built to kill heroes and push towers.
Base strength reduced by 2.
Clinkz’s biggest weakness is his health pool. This strength reduction will make him even squishier as he starts with just 452 HP at level 1. Despite all his pros as a laner, he must be very careful as that amount of health points is very easy to burst down with a decent gank.
I have featured Broodmother in the 7.19 mid lane analysis, explaining how to counter her, and how she can deal with counters. If you are a Broodmother player, I suggest to read it because you must not forfeit the match only because the adversaries picked Axe.
Base agility reduced by 3.
A moderate nerf. Agility affects the damage, armor, attack and movement speed of an agility-based hero, so she will be a bit weaker especially in the laning phase.
Header image: Chemical Rage loading screen for Alchemist - Valve