The top 10 most popular Dota 2 heroes in the safe lane during 7.19b. We will learn the best picks in the meta, the patch changes, and how to play or counter them.
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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 7.19b only, so the past 30 days are examined. Statistics from Dotabuff.
This month there are huge changes in the top 10. Warlock, Pudge, Faceless Void, Lion, Juggernaut, and Shadow Shaman dropped out of it, and have been replaced by Silencer, Weaver, Vengeful Spirit, Wraith King, Drow Ranger, and Dark Willow.
The main reason behind all these new faces in pubs is the influence of The International 8. All the heroes in the top 10 were also tier 1 and 2 heroes during the tournament, and almost all of them have been hurt by nerfs in 7.19b.
This is mostly a patch with the purpose to tone down the current best heroes and deliver a more balanced experience during the qualifiers for the Kuala Lumpur Major. I expect a bigger update to hit the Dota 2 client once the qualifiers end.
I warmly recommend reading the TI8 Tier List.
In the previous tier list, I pointed out why picks such as Wraith King, Weaver, Spectre, Phantom Lancer, etc. became so popular. In total honesty, it is a good summary to understand the meta played by pros in the greatest tournament of the year, and the interactions among these picks.
The same explanations also works for high level pubs, so in this article we will dedicate our time to all the changes in 7.19b which affected the heroes in the new and old top 10.
Dispersion max reflection range reduced from 1000 to 700.
The nerf to Dispersion is massive. If Spectre fights against long-range heroes, there are more chances they will be outside its radius during a team fight, and thus receive no damage. Even if the opponents are in the 700 radius, they will suffer a lot less damage than in the past because it is based on the distance from Spectre.
For example, at 600 distance now Dispersion reflects 5.5% damage once the ability is maxed out, while before it reflected 12.4%. It still deals maximum damage versus melee heroes, but it becomes less and less dangerous as the distance increases.
Desolate single hero range check increased from 325 to 375.
The change to Desolate shouldn’t be underestimated as well because the ability adds up to 65 pure damage to your attacks, and works with the illusions. Now, it will be easier to have a second enemy hero in range, disabling the extra damage.
A correct positioning (for both Spectre and the enemies engaged) will be even more crucial than before.
Arcane Curse mana cost increased from 75/95/115/135 to 105/115/125/135.
A small nerf to his laning stage. Arcane Curse is a good nuke, and Silencer has 450 mana at level 1, so he could spam it way too much. The difference isn’t great, but he will have to be a bit more conservative.
Crystal Nova mana cost increased from 130/140/150/160 to 130/145/160/175.
The cooldown and damage of Crystal Nova have been buffed in previous patches, and it became CM’s best skill during the laning phase. 7.19 drastically increased the mana cost at early levels to balance its use, but the ability is generally too strong so now also the mana cost at later levels has been increased.
It is a fair change. Honestly, +15 mana won’t really limit its usage from the mid game.
Overpower mana cost increased from 45/55/65/75 to 75.
Ursa dominated several matchups during TI8, so Icefrog decided to nerf his laning pressure. The hero has only 267 mana at level 1, and the Earthshock (necessary for the slow) plus Overpower combo now costs 150 mana instead of 120. If you plan to play aggressively, an Enchanted Mango might be needed to balance this change.
Level 25 Talent reduced from -7s Doppelganger CD to -6s.
Doppelganger is an amazing skill because it resets the fight. You can reposition yourself, escape from nasty situation, engage a hero, and dodge spells.
At very high skill ranks, every second matters, and the previous 3-second-long cooldown made PL basically immortal if the opponents didn’t have adequate AoE abilities. 4s is still very efficient, but will give the enemy team more time to bring him down before each Doppelganger use.
The Swarm mana cost increased from 70/80/90/100 to 110.
What I said about Ursa’s laning stage also goes for Weaver, but in this case the mana increase is even more impractical as it can’t be solved with just an extra Mango. Weaver will have to be more conservative and pick only the right fights.
Wave of Terror cooldown increased from 10 to 16/14/12/10.
We saw many Vengeful Spirits at TI8 because she is an excellent pick with any physical-based carry.
Wave of Terror is a perfect ability at level 1: for a mere 25 mana cost you have a spammable skill that deals damage, reduces the enemy armor, and even grants flying vision on the area. This nerf is mandatory to reduce its value, and of course you can’t spend more skill points into it as Magic Missile is the priority in the early game.
Wraithfire Blast cooldown increased from 11/10/9/8 to 14/12/10/8.
The ability is usually levelled up early, so this won’t be a noticeable change. In a fight, you want to use Wraithfire Blast two times while your skellies are hitting the opponent, and the cooldown is unchanged once the skill is maxed out.
Base agility reduced from 26 to 19 (base damage unchanged).
Agility gain increased from 1.9 to 2.2.
Base attack animation time improved from 0.7 to 0.65.
I often point out the dramatic changes that stats-based nerfs and buffs can cause, but this is only a mild adjustment.
Agility affects the damage, armor, attack and movement speed of an agility-based hero, and Drow lost 7 at level 1. Fortunately, Icefrog balanced the nerf increasing the base attack damage from 18-29 to 26-39 (it counters the damage lost via agility) and improving the base attack animation (your feel while attacking will be the same, but you still have less attack speed).
Drow’s laning phase is weaker, she has less movement speed, her last hits capabilities are slightly worse, and Precision Aura will provide a bit less damage to her allies.
Simultaneously, the agility gain per level increased, and she will gain 7.5 extra agility in the late game. Considering the new base damage, she effectively has more damage that before at this point of the match, but 7 extra won’t make any difference at level 25.
Overall, the patch is a small nerf for her, but it is hard to predict how much it will influence the meta. The win rate in pubs (considering all ranks) remained the same.
Shadow Realm damage reduced from 120/200/280/360 to 90/180/270/360.
If compared to most supports, her Nuke was a bit too strong during the early game. Now it is more balanced, and the mid-late game remains untouched.
Cursed Crown cast point increased from 0.1 to 0.2
You require slightly more time to pull out any combo. It isn’t a big deal for the great majority of the player base, but pro and very high ranked players will notice it when time is essential, for example when your team is suddenly ganked.
Header image: Aspect of the Year Beast loading screen for Wraith King - Valve.