Steven R. September 6, 2019
The dust has finally settled from The International 2019, but Valve has made things a bit messy once again.
Dota 2’s latest update has arrived in 7.22g. The update tackles many of the most powerful and popular heroes of TI9, as well as a handful of items. The list of changes isn’t as long as some past updates but should heavily impact the meta once the competitive scene heats back up.
Unsurprisingly, Io was one of the heroes hardest hit by the update. OG won The International 2019 in part thanks to their creative approach to the hero, with Anathan “ana” Pham utilizing it as a carry. He did this by investing all of his efforts into maximizing the Spirits ability, which could deal absurd damage at level 15 with the proper investment.
Valve is still leaving that ability on the table, but is making it much harder to bring the hero online as a damage dealer. The Spirits' apply slow talent and damage upgrades have been bumped up higher on the talent tree, now being unlockable at levels 15 and 20, respectively. That makes Io a hero that peaks later in the game, which may or may not kill its viability as a core option.
Valve tries to nerf Alchemist out of the meta
Alchemist also received a firm hit. Despite being a fairly rare pick for much of 2019, Alchemist was picked or banned in almost 90% of games at TI9, more than any other hero.
Valve delivered a hard hit to the hero on multiple fronts.
Greevil’s Greed only provides three gold per stack now instead of four, and Chemical Rage no longer provides mana regeneration, which greatly reduces Alchemist's lane sustainability. Finally, his level 15 attack damage and level 25 base attack time talents were both nerfed.
Enchantress’ early game potency was also reduced, with Nature’s Attendants being made weaker before leveling and given reduced base damage. The Impetus damage was also given a 2% reduction across the board.
The last hero that received heavy nerfs is Elder Titan. Astral Spirit was given a twofold nerf in the form of increased cooldown without levels and, more importantly, the potential for its buff to be dispelled by enemies. This greatly impacts his ability to serve as a damage-dealing support and reduces his viability as anything beyond a stun and aura provider.
A number of other heroes that made strong impacts at TI9 were nerfed, including Shadow Demon, MIrana, Ogre Magi, and Chen. The smaller changes likely won’t sting as hard for these heroes.
Item Changes in the latest Dota 2 update
A number of item changes were also made with the 7.22g update.
Hand of Midas was given a 100 gold cost increase to its recipe. The item saw a serious uptick in usage among carries at TI9, with Lifestealer and Sven in particular leaning on the item to improve mid-game farming. The item still provides value, but this will likely make it less standard than it has been.
Solar Crest was hit on two fronts. Its recipe cost was increased by 100 gold, but the item also now offers just 10 armor instead of 12.
Sentry Wards will now restock considerably slower, with the item replenishing every 85 seconds instead of every 70. This will make Observer Wards a bit more reliable and also might help invisibility-focused heroes become popular once again.
Interestingly, jungling has been nerfed with neutral gold bounties being reduced by 5%. While jungling never completely fell out of favor with pro players, TI9 saw teams dedicate supports to stacking camps in order to bolster flash-farming carries. This could carry some serious ramifications in terms of which carries remain at the forefront of the meta.
The full patch notes can be found on the official Dota 2 blog.