Dota 2 Balance Patch 7.21b: The Winners and Losers

Much to everyone’s surprise, the latest Dota 2 balance patch, 7.21b, arrived on a Sunday, and with it, a wide assortment of changes that’s sure to turn the meta on its head once again.

It hasn’t been a month yet since the huge 7.21 update came in late January, following the end of the Chongqing Major. But, then again, as surprising as the patch is, we should’ve at least expected it. After all, with the qualifiers for the Stockholm Major and the StarLadder ImbaTV Dota 2 Minor now over, along with other noteworthy tournaments, there was enough data from the previous patch to crunch down and find out which heroes or items need tweaking. Not to mention, with four big LAN tournaments lined up for the next couple of weeks, now was arguably the best time to introduce a new Dota 2 balance patch.

In total, 32 heroes and a single item were tweaked by Dota 2 balance patch. Most are pretty minor, however, with a few exceptions.

Below, we rounded up the Dota 2 heroes that benefited the most (and the least) from the most recent Dota 2 balance patch.

The Winners of Dota 2 Balance Patch 7.21b

Crystal Maiden

Dota 2 Balance Patch

With 20 bonus armor on top while casting Freezing Field, good luck trying to take down Crystal Maiden using physical damage. (letrongdao / DeviantArt)

  • Freezing Field armor increased from 10 to 20

After a series of nerfs from 7.19 until 7.19c, 7.21 was a bit of a hit-or-miss for Crystal Maiden. Although she now had more mana to work with and her ultimate, Freezing Field, now granted her 10 bonus armor while channeling, her passive, Arcane Aura, was still nowhere near as useful anymore.

With 7.21b, Crystal Maiden now receives 20 bonus armor during the duration of Freezing Field, which can last up to 10 seconds if not interrupted. This makes her that much more viable of a pick because her ultimate, which requires her to be in the thick of things for maximum damage and effect, can now be used as a way to catter and zone out enemies during teamfights without her being as prone to harassment via physical damage.

Weaver

Dota 2 Balance Update

The buff to Germinate Attack makes it a lot easier for Weaver to dominate the laning phase and snowball. (BigGreenPepper / DeviantArt)

  • Germinate Attack now deals 10/20/30/40 bonus physical damage on the second hit

Consecutive nerfs to The Swarm, along with other tweaks, brought Weaver down on the pick hierarchy and made the hero less popular among pros and fans alike. However, two small buffs in 7.21 and 7.21b should mean you’re bound to see more Weaver in games from here on out.

It’s obvious that the developers wanted to address just how powerful all throughout the game The Swarm was for Weaver, but in doing so, they also made the hero nearly irrelevant during various phases of the game, in particular, the laning phase. Now that Germinate Attack has a small (but noticeable) bonus physical damage on the second hit, Weaver’s laning has been significantly buffed, and for a hero that can be played across multiple positions, that’s huge.

Treant Protector

Dota 2 Balance Update

With nearly double the sustain at Level 1, Living Armor makes Treant Protector a lot more viable as a support. (funnyberserker / DeviantArt)

  • Living Armor damage block increased from 25/50/75/100 to 40/60/80/100

The amount of sustain Treant Protector for his team is absolutely ridiculous. It may have been just one game, but we saw how effective the skill really is in the right hands when we saw OG utilize the hero to its fullest extent against PSG.LGD at The International 2018. However, the damage block, which then was at 20/40/60/80, was good but not great, especially at early levels. Unless your team had a clear plan going forward, Treant Protector just would not be able to get enough levels fast enough to make Living Armor relevant throughout all phases of the game.

Nearly half a year since, Living Armor now grants damage block that’s twice the value of Stout Shield at level 1.

With the changes, just 1 point on Living Armor is enough to get your entire team by for the entirety of the early game, and as long as you get your levels, the damage block bonus will stay relevant throughout the entire game.

If that’s not a win, then I don’t know what is.

The Losers of Dota 2 Balance Patch 7.21b

Keeper of the Light

Dota 2 Balance Patch

The amount of crowd control Keeper of the Light had by casting two instances of Will-O-Wisp meant that a nerf was coming sooner rather than later. (BigGreenPepper /DeviantArt)

  • Will-O-Wisp being cast a second time will follow the same tick interval as the first

Rushing Refresher Orb on Keeper of the Light is now dead.

Yes, you can quote me on that.

Ever since Keeper of the Light was reworked in 7.20, pros and casual players alike have picked the hero only to rush Aghanim’s Scepter on him to take full advantage of the hero’s ultimate. That stops now.

With the tick interval of a second Will-O-Wisp cast on the same area following the same tick interval as the first, Will-O-Wisp is no longer a get-out-of-jail free card that allows the hero to literally turn fights around on his own. Although a cleverly-placed Will-O-Wisp should still remain as effective going forward, the change is a huge nerf that should make a huge dent on the hero’s pick rate across all levels of play.

Sven

Dota 2 Balance Patch

Support Sven might be a thing of the past now that Warcry is no longer as effective at early levels. (BigGreenPepper / DeviantArt)

  • Reduced Great Cleave damage from 45%/60%/75%/90% to 30%/50%/70%/90%
  • Reduced Warcry bonus movement speed (from 8%/12%/16%/20% to 5%/10%/15%/20%) and shield base capacity (80/110/140/170 to 60/90/120/150)

Sven is a hero that has always had potential as a flex-pick. However, in recent months, particularly after the 7.20 rework of Warcry, teams have began to run the hero exclusively as either a hard support or a roaming support, with the occasional offlane Sven popping up every now and then.

The shield health buff from Warcry was just simply too good to ignore. Because Sven was a hero that had decent starting strength and strength gain, any attempt to rebalance the skill, including the most recent one in 7.21, never really put a dent on the hero’s viability as a support.

Until now

Significantly lowering the hero’s Great Cleave damage in early levels, as well as the bonus movement speed and shield base capacity of Warcry, makes it absolutely necessary for the hero to gain levels to be effective. Usually played as a support that does relatively little outside of throwing the occasional stun and buffing allied heroes, it’s hard to justify pooling as many resources just to give Sven enough levels to stay relevant.

While the changes should also affect Sven’s viability as a core, it’s safe to say that we won’t be seeing teams playing Sven as a support anytime soon.

Ursa

Dota 2 Balance Patch

While Ursa should remain a relatively strong pick, the nerf to Overpower should at least make players think twice before picking up the hero first. (JaideLockai / DeviantArt)

  • Base armor reduced by 2
  • Overpower cooldown increased from 10 to 16/14/12/10

7.21 may have buffed Ursa a little bit too much as the hero received a significant agility gain buff (from 2.1 to 2.4) and an increase in movement speed (from 315 to 330), so the nerf in the latest Dota 2 balance patch feels less like an actual nerf and more of a correction.

Previously, you could buy a Wind Lace on the hero while stocking up on regeneration items and you could run at enemy supports right from the get go. You could still do that with Ursa now, but with Overpower receiving a a significant cooldown increase for the first few levels, you won’t be netting as many kills as early on, which severely hampers the hero’s ability to snowball.

Click here for the complete 7.21b patch notes.

What do you think of the latest Dota 2 balance patch? Will we be seeing more changes in the next few weeks? Or will this be the last until the release of Mars sometime next month? Be sure to let us know your thoughts in the comments down below.

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