The top 20 most popular Dota 2 heroes in the mid lane during 7.20. We will learn the best picks in the meta, how to play or counter them, and the patch changes.
Article released during 7.20e.
More from this series:
This series differs slightly from the ones published during the previous patches. 7.20 brought several changes (unbalanced heroes included), so I decided to wait a few weeks before writing my usual hero analyses.
Valve continued releasing balance updates and fixes during this whole period, and after about one month from the release of 7.20 we are already playing under version E.
Starting from this series, I will include data on the top 20, and focus my attention on a selected number of heroes. The changes that took place in each version of 7.19 did not require lots of explanations, but now we are talking about a new Dota 2 meta.
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 just a particular patch, so the past 30 days are examined. Statistics from Dotabuff.
|Outworld Devourer||10.2%||49.2%||Shadow Fiend||6.8%||45.0%|
Huskar: different popularity in pub and pro games
A hero can be extremely successful in a pub environment even if ignored by pro players. This is the case with Huskar who has been picked less than ten times in tournaments during the first half of December, but simultaneously he is dominating the matchmaking with a win rate going from 58.5% to 62.5% depending on the rank considered.
Huskar has several qualities suitable to win games in the solo queue:
He can overwhelm most opponents 1vs1 during the laning phase, and eventually snowball into a fearsome killing machine in the mid game.
He is both tanky and a damage dealer, so he can even be employed as a backup initiator.
The lack of initiators in pubs
Imagine how many games you lost because the team didn’t have a hero able to start the team fight. I am not even talking about a proper initiator such as Magnus or Enigma; often, in solo queue we end having a lineup with 3-4 ranged heroes and a squishy melee DPS like Slark or Riki.
Winning is still possible if your adversaries are bad, if you dominate the laning phase, and have the upper hand for most of the match. If this is not the case, you might lose the game without a chance to fight back because there is nobody in the team able to initiate the fight.
Huskar is a hero who can just “jump in” if needed, and somehow give the team the opportunity to start a battle thanks to his innate tankiness. He could do it also prior 7.20, but he was a very niche hero who worked only against specific lineups.
Huksar’s abilities reworked
The old Berserker’s Blood granted magic resistance while the new one gives health regeneration for up to 20%/40%/60%/80% of your strength; they are both based on the percentage of missing health.
The health regeneration bonus grows exponentially, so it ramps up faster the lower the health of the hero.
The maximum bonus is reached when below 10% health.
The previous skill was undoubtedly stronger against magic users, especially when the maximum magic resistance bonus reached about 90% (prior 7.00).
The new Beserker’s Blood makes Huskar easier to play and gives him move versatility. Before, you were mostly forced to pick him only against a lineup with several casters, while now his passive works with any hero.
Countering Berserker’s Blood
The Spirit Vessel is a hard counter for Huskar because its active ability “Soul Release” reduces HP regeneration and healing by 70%. The effect lasts for 8 seconds, which is enough to deal with him during a team fight or a gank.
Similarly, Ancient Apparition’s Ice Blast completely nullifies Berserker’s Blood because it prevents any form of healing and regeneration on the enemies affected. It is strong also against heroes using the Armlet of Mordiggian as they might end killing themselves due to its active ability “Unholy Strength”, which drains 54 health per second.
Inner Fire replaces Inner Vitality
Inner Vitality used to be an active health regeneration skill that could be utilized on self or allies. Now, you don’t need it anymore because Beserker’s Blood covers this role, so IceFrog reworked Inner Vitality into a strong disarm spell.
Inner Fire is an AoE spell centered on Huskar that knocks all nearby enemies away at a 550 distance.
It causes a disarm effect (the heroes cannot auto-attack) for 1.75/2.5/3.25/4 seconds. Note that the disarm is applied at the same time as the knockback, not after it.
The spell also deals 100/155/210/265 AoE damage.
Inner Fire is an amazing buff because the disarm component helps to face auto-attackers (particularly melee ones as they are pushed away from their attack range); which are still Huskar‘s best counters. Do not forget that he has only 0.4 armor at level one.
The magic damage is a plus, but it helps to disable Blink Daggers and can accelerate your creep-wave farm.
The Holy Locket on Huskar
7.20 added many new items into the game, and among them we find the Holy Locket. Its passive “Holy Blessing” amplifies any heal and regeneration sourced from the owner of the item by 25%.
It works with Berserker’s Blood massive health regeneration and with any form of lifesteal: Huskar uses to buy the Morbid Mask to increase his sustainability.
Several Huskar players tried adding the Holy Locket into their item build, but I believe it is a viable option only in certain games.
In the late game, you might reach a 200 health regeneration per second; the Holy Locket boosts it by 25% so you will have a total of 250hp/s. It isn’t a huge increase at this point of the game, and there are many more useful items that could occupy that inventory slot.
According to Dotabuff, the Holy Locket has been bought about 100k times by Huskar players during this month, with an average 62% win rate. As a comparison, the Armlet of Mordiggian reached about 2 million purchases, the Heaven’s Halberd 800k, and the Satanic 500k.
I believe the Holy Locket can have its space in the mid game if you are facing many casters (the item grants 15% magic resistance) and if there are no heroes with physical burst-damage. For example, utilizing it against Phantom Assassin or Juggernaut is a poor idea because of their innate critical damage.
I suggest being very careful when selecting your items and to not just jump on a new build because it seems cool.
|Templar Assassin||4.9%||49.2%||Drow Ranger||3.5%||52.8%|
Huskar’s item build
Finally, I will spotlight Huskar’s defensive item build.
Note that there are several ways to build a hero, but I believe a defensive item build works the best with Huskar at most ranks. Alternatively, for a more aggressive playstyle you can consider buying items such as Sange and Yasha, Nullifier, Solar Crest, and Aghanim’s Scepter.
The new Bracer is an amazing item for Huskar both for the stats provided and the 6% magic resistance. Now that Berserker’s Blood doesn’t offer magic resistance anymore, stacking a few Bracers will greatly improve your survivability against casters.
The item has been nerfed in 7.20e with a strength reduction from 8 to 6. The adjustment has an impact, but cost-wise it is still the best early game item, and I suggest buying 2 or 3 Bracers in all games.
For about 500 gold you have an item that increases your damage, magic resistance, maximum health, and your health regeneration. It brings these benefits to all strength-based heroes, but it works particularly well with Huskar due to Berserker’s Blood.
Armlet of Mordiggian
The Armlet of Mordiggian remains a core item for Huskar also in this patch because it gives you a huge survivability and damage boost. You can keep your Armlet active at any time and never drop below 50% health thanks to your passive health regeneration.
The hero is easier to play because the Armlet requires less micro-management, and this is probably influencing also his win rate (60% up to Ancient).
When your passive granted magic resistance, only physical damage dealers could kill you consistently, so the Heaven’s Halberd was a must-have to counter them. Its active ability “Disarm” prevents the target from attacking; it lasts for 3 seconds on melee targets and 5 seconds on ranged ones.
Now, Huskar has his own disarm effect thanks to Inner Fire, but in many games you will still need the Heaven’s Halberd to preserve your life, especially when dealing against ranged cores.
Morbid Mask and Satanic
The Morbid Mask is not as essential as in the past, but it is still a great source of self-sustainability for an auto-attacker such as Huskar, especially in combination with the Armlet.
Later on, you can upgrade it into the Satanic. This item really makes Huskar immortal granting him a second life in team fight. 7.20 also buffed the item as now it gives 30% status resistance, which is very handy when facing several disablers.
Black King Bar and magic resistance
Status resistance is cool, but chain disables will completely annihilate your hero. In many matches, you want the Black King Bar or you won’t be able to attack at all during the battle.
Even when the enemies have almost no crowd control, the Black King Bar is still very helpful against magic damage as now Huskar doesn’t possess anymore a passive mitigation.
I have also noticed some Huskar players building the Pipe of Insight. I believe it is a very niche item, but it could work well if you are facing several magic users (especially AoE ones) because you will often buy it earlier than a support, which will increase the survivability chances of the whole team during the skirmishes in the mid game.
The Dragon Lance provides lots of useful stats for Huskar (+12 strength and agility), and the extra attack range plus the active ability of the Hurricane Pike are of great help when dealing with melee heroes.
You can disarm and push them away with Inner Fire, disarm them again with the Heaven’s Harberd, then push them at a very far distance with the Hurricane Pike (while attacking them), and at this point Inner Fire will be off-cooldown again (18/16/14/12 seconds cooldown).
There are many other potential items, but the last useful one I want to spotlight is the Blade Mail.
I do not warmly suggest it because I believe the current Huskar has enough methods to deal with physical attackers, so the Blade Mail could be an option if you are very behind in gold or if you are playing at a low rank (most people will ignore the effect and just attack you).
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