A mix of heroes, gameplay mechanics, and items got nerfed with the coming of the Dota 2 version 7.19b, one of the first mini-patches the game has had in quite a while.
After updating the game on Thursdays like clockwerk (get it?) for nearly most of the past year, Valve has deviated from the norm. But, the schedule isn’t the only thing that’s new. The latest Dota 2 version, 7.19b, is the first mini-patch that the game has gotten since patch 7.07d in December of 2017 — we’re not counting 7.13b since it was patched just a day after patch 7.13 — which, well, is a pretty long time.
The mini-patch is admittedly small and the gist of it is that the standout items, heroes, and gameplay mechanics at The International 2018 will no longer be as viable going forward. In particular, teams won’t just buyback just so casually now — we’re looking at you OG.
To help get you up to speed, below is a recap of the latest Dota 2 version, 7.19b.
What’s new in Dota 2 Version 7.19b?
Bye-Bye TI8 Standouts
Unpopular opinion incoming: There weren’t any OP heroes in TI8.
Enchantress makes for a very strong case, and so does Spectre, but that was probably because of how the meta works and not generally because of how OP the individual heroes are. Enchantress is one of the best laners in the game, especially with the consistent buffs she’s received in prior patches. Meanwhile, Spectre, well, while one of the weakest laners in the game, can survive in a meta where there’s significantly less ganking during the laning stage.
You see, if these heroes were truly OP, it would’ve made sense for Valve to nerf the others too. In particular, Earthshaker, Phoenix, and most importantly, Undying. But, we didn’t. Then again, we can’t exactly pretend we know any better than IceFrog either.
Put simply, it’s quite surprising to see a balance patch at this point. You’d think that Valve would focus more on the gameplay changes. Specifically, the buyback, which they did, but changing the heroes was probably too much, especially the nerf on the aforementioned heroes and the resurgent Ursa, who teams saw as a flex pick at TI8.
To see what I mean, click here to read the rest of the changes for Dota 2 version 7.19b. It’s pretty much a laundry list of all the things that stood out at The International 2018.
Undying Remains Untouched
Undying is the perfect example of a hero that just simply fits the meta. He’s the quintessential support hero in the laning meta. His skill set is just perfect for laning. He has sustain, harass, teamfight, and isn’t the softest hero either, so you can put him in the front lines and be generally okay with it. He doesn’t need farm either, which is definitely why players like Johan ‘pieliedie‘ Astrom and Peter ‘ppd‘ Dager found a lot of success on the hero at The International 2018.
Speaking of success, Undying saw a 58.62% winrate in 29 games he saw play at TI8. Although that doesn’t scream OP, it’s unusually high for a support hero. The only primarily support heroes with a higher win rate with at least 10 games played at TI8 was Earthshaker (48 games, 60.42% winrate) and Phoenix (27 games, 59.26% winrate). The former also has Xu ‘fy‘ Linsen, who went 8-1 on the hero during the tournament, to thank for such a high winrate.
Undying probably doesn’t deserve a nerf. The hero’s good enough as it is. His kit just fits the meta, and as soon as the meta deviates from it and encourages early ganks a bit more, he’ll fall off the radar a bit.
Sheepstick Gets Nerfed
This was a long time coming. Probably the go-to late-game item for nearly every hero in Dota 2, the Scythe of Vyse was just too viable for its own good. After all, before the nerf, you could disable enemy heroes for 3.5 seconds on a 22-second cooldown for 100 mana using the item. But now, the mana cost is much higher at 250 mana.
Of course, that won’t dissuade heroes that will probably get the item no matter what — Clinkz and Tinker come into mind. However, it should make the item less of a must-have as well, which should help give heroes, such as Slark a bit of breathing room.
This isn’t to say that Slark will definitely come back. The hero’s kit is just too weak compared to what other carries can offer throughout the game. But, who knows? Maybe pros just haven’t found a way to utilize the hero best, and lest we forget, it was only until a few months ago that Slark was a prominent pick in the competitive scene.
Overall, the latest Dota 2 version seems like an acknowledgement that the meta still has yet to settle. OG proved that all too well with their win at TI8. Where other Dota 2 teams focused on winning their lanes and snowballing, they played around sustain and de-push so they had enough breathing room to play for the mid-game, if necessary, the late-game.
With Valve already staying true to their promise for patches to come less frequently post-TI8, it’s highly likely we’ll get to see the meta fully play out first before Valve decides to turn it on its head again.
We only have a few weeks left before the Major Qualifiers from September 17 to 21, so we obviously don’t need to wait long to see what kind of nifty stuff teams have come up with already coming out of the offseason.
What do you think of the latest Dota 2 version? Do you think it was enough to bring down the heroes that we saw frequently picked at TI8? Be sure to let us know your thoughts in the comments down below.