The top 10 most popular Dota 2 heroes in the off lane during 7.19c. We will learn the best picks in the meta, how to play or counter them, and the patch changes.
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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 7.19c only, so the past 30 days are examined. Statistics from Dotabuff.
7.19c continues the work started with 7.19b, nerfing again the top heroes of the meta. There are few variations in the top 10 as only Mirana dropped out of it and has been replaced by Tiny.
We will have a look at the patch changes that affected all the heroes in the current top 10.
When not played as a core, WK could force most opponents out of the lane thanks to his auto-attack damage and toughness (685 HP) combined with Wraithfire Blast’s nuke and stun.
Wraithfire Blast stun duration rescaled from 2 to 1.1/1.4/1.7/2.0.
Wraithfire Blast base damage rescaled from 50/100/150/200 to 100.
Wraithfire Blast DPS rescaled from 20/35/50/65 to 10/30/50/70.
7.19b increased the cooldown of Wraithfire Blast, and 7.19c completed the work nerfing damage and stun duration.
The latter can make a huge difference during early skirmishes, but this is the first ability to max out so you still have the old 2-seconds duration after the laning phase. The damage is a bit higher at level 1, but a lot less afterwards.
Overall, this is a massive nerf to the hero because it kills his versatility.
Wraith King was a too flexible pick
WK is almost as strong as before after the lane phase ends, but that’s a positive point only if played as a core. He lost completely his viability when employed on any other role.
Reducing more the damage at all levels - but maintaining the 2-seconds stun duration - would have had a lower impact as it preserved most of his versatility. Unfortunately, Wraith King was over-abused by pro players, and picked in almost a half of the games at the Divine rank, so IceFrog decided to hit him hard with the ban hammer.
If we look at the current stats in pubs, he is still popular and successful, but his pick rate already dropped by about 5% (considering all ranks).
During TI8, he was a tier 1 hero in competitive gaming, while now he has almost reached tier 4. Since the release of 7.19c, he has been drafted in 22% of the pro games and scored a terrible 40.7% win rate.
On the other hand, his army of skeletons summoned with Mortal Strike have not been nerfed, and remain one of the main reasons behind his effectiveness in pub games
I do not understand why Valve prefers over-nerfing an aspect of a hero rather than balancing a skill that is clearly too powerful. For example, the same is happening to Crystal Maiden: they increased too much the damage of Crystal Nova at earlier levels, and instead of fixing it decided to nerf something else in all the successive patches.
Vampiric Aura is now a melee only ability.
We are back to the first Dota as originally his aura affected only melee heroes. This is an indirect nerf to any ranged core played together with WK.
We can consider it a necessary change as ranged heroes already have many advantages during a team fight, but in my opinion disabling completely the passive ability is excessive: halving its effect on ranged heroes might have been a better solution to retain some versatility.
Root now disables his Scepter ability.
You can still cast Enchant Totem on yourself when rooted to proc Aftershock, but can’t jump away anymore. Nothing wrong with this change.
Brambles total damage reduced from 140/180/220/260 to 125/150/175/200.
The nerf will be more noticeable in the mid game as now the damage scales really poorly at later levels.
Shadow Realm cooldown increased from 30/24/18/12 to 32/26/20/14.
Cursed Crown stun duration reduced from 2/2.5/3/3.5 to 1.75/2.25/2.75/3.25.
Bedlam damage reduced from 60/120/180 to 60/110/160.
Many small adjustments that make her slightly weaker. Probably, IceFrog believes that the abilities are fine and decided to tune them down a bit. For example, she loses some survivability in the late game due to the increased cooldown of Shadow Realm.
If we consider the pro games played in 7.19c so far, Dark Willow has a 29% draft rate and 39% win rate. With such results the hero doesn’t really require further nerfs.
Level 15 Talent reduced from +50 Fire Spirits DPS to +40.
This is the third nerf to Fire Spirits since 7.16. Considering both the skill and the talent, IceFrog reduced the damage per second by 30. The talent change in 7.19c will weaken her a bit in the mid game.
Strength rescaled from 19 + 1.3 to 16 + 1.5.
Base intelligence reduced by 2.
Base movement speed reduced from 325 to 320.
A few nerfs to her laning stage.
Enchantress starts with less health points, but due to the increased strength gain she will have more past level 15.
Reducing the intelligence lowers her damage and mana pool, but she has still 47-57 damage and 330 mana at level 1 (Nature’s Attendants has a 170 mana cost), which are sufficient for her job in the lane.
I am more interested in the impact of the movement speed reduction as prior 7.19b she was the fastest Dota 2 hero with a 340 MS, so this is the secord nerf in a row to this stat. Now, it is easier to catch her out of position and slow her down with spells, so your early ganks will have a higher percentage of success.
I won’t talk about Grimstroke as the hero keeps being re-balanced in every patch, so any analysis on him has only a short-term value.
Weaver has already been featured in the article about the safe lane as he is a top 10 hero also in that position.
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Header image: Relics of the Sundered King loading screen for Wraith King - Valve