Five Biggest Takeaways from Dota 2 Patch Update 7.18

Just like clockwork, the latest Dota 2 patch update 7.18 arrived just as the regional qualifiers came to a close.

For the second patch in a rowIcefrog has decided not to tinker with gameplay mechanics. Instead, 7.18 only comes with a few minor tweaks to heroes and items. This shouldn’t come off as a surprise though. The International 2018 is just a mere 7 weeks away and without any big tournament in between, there wouldn’t be enough time for the meta to settle and for changes to be made accordingly to respond.

Either way, as is always the case with Dota 2, even the smallest Dota 2 patch update can have huge bearings on the meta game.

The End of Night Stalker

Dota 2 Patch Update

The top-tier pick days of Night Stalker are now all but over. (Biggreenpepper)

— Void now deals half damage during the day
— Base movement speed reduced from 290 to 285

At this point, Night Stalker might just very well be a creep during the day.

Kidding aside, it’s clear that Icefrog wants to bring down this hero from being too relevant, nerfing the hero for the nth time in a row. Will this finally spell the end for Nighstalker? I don’t think so. The hero is just too good off an offlaner and roaming support for that to happen. He’s got an escape mechanism and ganking mechanism rolled into one in Hunter in the Night, a silence and harassing tool in Crippling Fear and the additional vision he provides will always be coveted. Even if Void now just deals half the damage during the day, pros will always find a way to make the hero work.

Of course, that could just be what Icefrog wants to happen — make Nightstalker more situational than an every game necessity.

Io Gets the Nerf Hammer Hard

Dota 2 Patch Update

We likely won’t see the magnitude of the latest Io nerf until we see it in action in a pro setting. (Murr3)

— Relocate now has channel time instead of a cast delay

This is easily the biggest thing about the latest Dota 2 patch update.

A staple of pro games, whether he’s first-phase banned or first-phase picked, Io has just been too good of a hero for teams not to try and learn how to play lineups based on the hero. But, now that Relocate has a channel time instead of a cast delay, expect the hero to still be ban-worthy, but less of a necessity.

Make no mistake, this nerf is severe. Just think about the number of items and skills that can disrupt a channelling spell. Io players will need far better positioning or perhaps even an additional item like Blink Dagger or Glimmer Cape to effectively use Relocate to help their cores get out of team fights, and that’s just a start.

Pubs Are About to Get Ruined

Dota 2 Patch Update

You’ll need every bit of luck you can possibly get in pubs with the recent buffs to Pudge, Clinkz, Sniper, and Riki. (DCneil)

— Clinkz: Strafe cooldown reduced from 45/35/25/15 to 30/25/20/15
Clinkz: Strafe manacost reduced from 90 to 75/808/85/90
— Riki: Base Damage increased by 3 + Blink Strike damage rescaled from 55/70/85/100 to 100
— Riki: Smoke Screen AoE increased from 250/275/300/325 to 325
— Pudge: Meat Hook cast range increased from 1000/1100/1200/1300 to 1300
— Pudge: Flesh Heap magic resistance increased from 6/8/10/12% to 8/10/12/14%
— Sniper: Headshot physical damage no longer ignores Spell Immune units
— Sniper: Headshot damage increased from 15/40/65/90 to 20/50/80/110

Clinkz probably didn’t deserve a buff. It’s been what, like three patches in a row now? The latest Dota 2 patch update could have gone without buffing the scorched fletcher. It felt like pros just needed a bit of time to better figure out how the hero fit. The same goes for Riki, who, Ye ‘BoBoKa‘ Zhibiao of Invictus Gaming played to absolute perfection at the TI qualifiers.

As for Pudge, well, it’s not as if the hero was already being played in 42% of all the matches with a 53% win rate, right? But, I get it. The hero was a pretty niche pick in professional games. This buff could change all of that. It might even make the hero worth trying in mid once again.

Finally, for Sniper, the latest in a set of buffs — a cooldown reduction talent, a night vision buff, and assassinate range buff were all added recently — isn’t really enough to bring back the hero to 6.84/6.85 levels of OP. However, it should make the hero worth picking again. Although, to be fair, it was actually quite the surprise that pro teams hadn’t at least tried running the hero prior to this buff.

Show-Stopping Black Holes Incoming

Dota 2 Patch Update

A staple of TIs and big tournaments, the latest set of Enigma buffs couldn’t have come at a better time. (JZane12)

— Midnight Pulse damage increased from 3/3.75/4.5/5.25% to 3.75/4.25/4.75/5.25% and duration rescaled from 11 to 9/10/11/12
— Midnight Pulse cooldown rescaled from 35 to 50/45/40/35 and manacost rescaled from 95/110/125/140 to 75/95/115/135
— Level 15 Talent increased from 120 Gold/Min to 150 Gold/Min
— Level 20 Talent increased from +400 Health to +500 Health
— Level 25 Talent increased from +4 Malefice instance to +5 Malefice instance

Enigma is one of the few heroes in Dota 2 — a short list that includes Naga Siren, Tidehunter, Warlock, Rubick — who almost always helps put on a good show because of his game-changing ultimate. However, with the hero not really being a particularly good laner, which is extremely important in the current meta, and the jungle being nerfed to irrelevancy early in the game, Enigma was relegated to being more of a niche and experimental pick that teams had to really try hard to find a way to play around.

Now, with the recent Dota 2 patch update, Enigma might just return to the fold. Just in time for TI season.

Of course, these aren’t exactly big or game-changing buffs. It’s literally just Icefrog buffing talents that players aren’t picking. Even so, the likelihood of seeing a Black Hole potentially deciding the winner of a series has increased because of this and we’re all the better for it.

A Well-Deserved Aeon Disk Nerf

Dota 2 Patch Update

Arguably the first big nerf to one of Dota 2’s newest items has been a long time coming. (Valve)

— Cooldown increased from 90 to 115

It’s not uncommon for pros to show an unwillingness to try out new items and heroes. Case in point, Aeon Disk’s irrelevance for a few months. However, as soon as it caught on, it became pretty much a necessary item against teams that depended on burst damage to bring down a specific hero, which is pretty much every lineup. The fact that it warranted either a Shadow Demon draft or Nullifier pick up only made the item even more attractive.

So often, we have seen Aeon Disk help turn the tides of an otherwise unwinnable game. Affording teams a few seconds of invulnerability became a nice luxury to have. Although a 25-second cooldown increase isn’t enough to dissuade teams from picking it up, it should set it back just enough until probably a big nerf after TI8.

Final Thoughts

With DPC events and the TI qualifiers over, it’ll be impossible to see how the latest Dota 2 patch update and any succeeding gameplay tweaks will affect the game until TI. Of course, we’ve got Summit 9 to look forward to, but teams generally have used the “chill”tournament as a way to hang out and blow off some steam before the biggest event of the year.

Having said, expect the latest Dota 2 patch update to have a direct impact on The International 2018.

What do you think of the latest Dota 2 patch update? Do you think we’ll see its effect seven weeks from now at The International 2018? Be sure to let us know your thoughts in the comments down below. 

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