Another Dota 2 mini-patch has just arrived, bringing with it a few balancing changes and tweaks to a handful of meta and non-meta heroes, as well as the popular item pick-up, Hands of Midas.
The timing of the new Dota 2 mini-patch likely comes as a disappointment. After all, Valve did promise earlier this year that they will release the new Dota 2 hero, Mars, either at the end of February or the start of March. Given that we’ve got both the StarLadder ImbaTV Dota 2 Minor and the Stockholm Major to look forward to in the next couple of weeks, it’s highly likely that we won’t see Mars until late March, the earliest.
Either way, the new gameplay update is not unwelcome. The previous patch, 7.21b, saw itself being dissected over and over again with multiple LAN tournaments, including MDL Macau 2019 and ESL One Katowice 2019, being played under it. As such, the venerable Icefrog had plenty of games to analyze and use as basis to know what kind of changes Dota 2 needed before the arrival of the expected big patch.
With that said, we rounded up some of the biggest changes that came along with the Dota 2 mini-patch, 7.21c.
1. The Deny Mechanic
- XP earned when being denied increased from 30% to 35%
Patch 7.21b turned the meta on its head when denies no longer granted bonus gold bounty nor XP to the denying team or player. Not to mention, denied creeps now gave more XP than before. 7.21c doubles down on it, increasing the denied XP granted to the player being died by 5%, going from 30% to 35%.
That’s a huge change.
3-1-1 lane setups are already starting to make a comeback, and the recent changes will only help ensure that the trend will continue.
2. No More Monkeying Around for Monkey King
- Mischief now makes you immune to damage briefly, rather than invulnerable
For a free skill, Monkey King’s unique ability, Mischief, was OP, to say the least. That it took years after the hero was first released for Icefrog to notice is even more shocking.
In previous patches, Mischief was worked rather similarly to other abilities that allowed certain heroes to disjoint and avoid the effects of abilities casted on them. This meant that, at level 1, Monkey King could avoid status debuffs without really much of an effort, so long as the player knew how to time the skill right. However, with the latest change, Mischief just became a lot less OP.
Even if Monkey King will remain immune to damage when using Mischief, he will now be affected by status debuffs.
For example, if Pudge were to hook Monkey King while he was transformed to a tree under Mischief, the damage will not be applied to Monkey King, but unlike before, Monkey King will be pulled over to Pudge now. The same goes whenever Kunkka uses X Marks the Spot on Monkey King, and so on.
This is a huge nerf for a hero that has become a flex pick in both pub and professional games.
3. Nothing Can Stop Our March!
- Phantom Rush bonus agility increased from 9/18/27/36 to 11/22/33/44
Consecutive nerfs from 7.16 up until 7.20 made Phantom Lancer, who was one of the most prominent carry heroes in Dota 2 at The International 2018 and during the months leading up to it, a shell of his former self. Although he remained a viable pick because of how the current meta favoured late-game scaling carries that could manfight if necessary, Phantom Lancer became a lot more situational. However, with the latest consecutive buffs, we could see a resurgence of Phantom Lancer.
At level 4, Phantom Rush applies an agility buff to Phantom Lancer for 2 seconds at its highest level after the hero reaches its intended target at a 4-second cooldown.
That translates to roughly a 44 damage, 44 attack speed, 7-8 armor, and 1-2% movespeed bonus every 2 seconds in the middle of the fight.
If that’s not enough of a reason to start picking Phantom Lancer, then I don’t know what is.
4. RIP Kunkka and Viper
— Nethertoxin AOE damage no longer stacks with itself (Viper)
— Nethertoxin manacost increased from 75 to 70/80/90/100 (Viper)
— Poison Attack slow reduced from 25/30/35/40% to 10/20/30/40% (Viper)
— Agility gain reduced from 3.3 to 2.8 (Viper)
— Tidebringer no longer provides a bonus on denies (Kunkka)
Tired of seeing Kunkka and Viper nearly every game? Well, apparently, Icefrog was too.
After seeing Team Liquid’s Lasse Aukusti ‘MATUMBAMAN‘ Urpalainen make yet another “cancer” hero in Viper look OP again in a professional game, both pubs and pro players alike quickly picked up on just how powerful Viper is. Hopefully, the multiple nerfs, which addresses Viper’s unnatural ability to farm neutral creeps faster and dominate lanes, brings down the hero’s pick rate and make the hero less viable.
The same goes for Tidebringer.
As denying became a more prominent mechanic in recent patches (despite the nerfs), Kunkka also rose in popularity. The added damage provided by Tidebringer made it so easy for Kunkka to deny creeps in the lane, which worked towards his favour regardless of whether players played him in mid as a core or as a support. However, now that Tidebringer no longer provides a bonus damage when denying, Kunkka is no longer no-brainer at mid. Although, you can’t help but wonder, now that Kunkka isn’t a lane dominator and has a weaker late game, what kind of places does he have in the current Dota 2 meta?
There were plenty of changes that came with the latest Dota 2 mini-patch, and the ones we singled out are some of them.
The change to Hand of Midas is big too, but we opted to exclude it as a highlight, mostly because the item still favours the current meta and unless the meta changes heavily or its gold bonus is nerfed even further, the item should remain popular.
So, what do you think of the new Dota 2 mini-patch, 7.21c? What are the biggest changes for you? Be sure to let us know your thoughts in the comments down below.