Nerfs to Winter Wyvern, Disruptor in Aghanim's Labyrinth anger fans

Steven R. July 19, 2020

In an unsurprising turn of events, Dota 2 fans are mad about something in The International 10 Battle Pass.

This time, the controversy surrounds the limited-time game mode Aghanim’s Labyrinth. While the game is intensely difficult to clear even in low-level play, Valve saw fit to make things even harder by nerfing several of the heroes in the game.

The update changes a number of facets to each of the heroes that are included in Aghanim’s Labyrinth including their modified abilities as well as the randomized perks that are presented to players between rounds. 

Tanky heroes Omniknight and Mars both received hard nerfs, with Guardian Angel's effects being shortened and hit with an increased mana cost, while Arena of Blood’s offensive potency was severely lessened. Disruptor fared no better, with Kinetic Field being weakened on multiple fronts. Winter Wyvern’s offensive potency was also seriously rolled back, shoving her back in the direction of being a support character instead of a major DPS threat.

Much worse was the sheer number of go-to items that were either nerfed or had their prices raised. Heart of Tarrasque was nerfed and had its price upped by 750 gold. It can also only be purchased four times, preventing players from stacking the item to become sufficiently tanky. Bloodthorne was hit even harder, with its active ability cooldown being doubled and its recipe cost being increased by 1,000 gold.

Further reading:

Fans liked Aghanim’s Labyrinth, but that may change

The fan response to Aghanim’s Labyrinth was positive when the game mode first dropped. While the TI9 Battle Pass underwhelmed fans with its special game mode, this year’s roguelike dungeon crawler had fans excited and ready to play.

But fans have been consistently frustrated with the TI10 Battle Pass since it launched. Complaints that Valve was forcing players to spend more money than in previous years in order to unlock the numerous high-quality skins arose quickly. Valve has made moves to address those gripes, but this has done little to quell the frustration.

The changes to Aghanim’s Labyrinth tap into that sentiment once again. Fans feel like Valve is attempting to wring more money out of players by making it even more difficult to earn levels through the game mode. Either that, or Valve is attempting to combat some of what it sees as exploitable elements in the game mode ahead of the launch of the mode's ranked version.

The net effect is still that casual fans are being pushed into either spending more money or missing out on items like the Anti-Mage hero persona and Skeleton King arcana.