It seems as though Valve really hated Dota 2’s meta at the Epicenter Major.
The third patch between the last major of the 2018-2019 Dota Pro Circuit season and The International 2019 has arrived. Version 7.22f continues the sweeping nerfs of the pro scene’s most popular heroes.
Though none of the nerfs are overwhelming on their own, many of the affected heroes took hits in 7.22d and 7.22e as well. This leaves the meta heading into The International 2019 something of a mystery.
As was the case in 7.22d and 7.22e, most of the nerfs focus on the early game potency of popular heroes’ spells. Omniknight’s Purification cooldown was rescaled from 14 to 11, to 17 to 11. Chen’s Divine Favor active was given the same treatment, going from 90 to 60 to 120 to 60. Outworld Devourer’s Astral Imprisonment cooldown was raised by two seconds across the board.
It wasn’t just cooldowns that got changed, either. Centaur Warrunner’s Retaliate active took a hard hit. Grimstroke’s base damage was reduced by four. Enigma’s base intelligence was reduced by two, and the list goes on.
With the prize pool for TI9 shattering the previous record and viewership likely to do the same, Valve is taking an extra careful approach to the gameplay of this year’s tournament. Early installments of The International were panned for the “four protect one” meta and intense focus on a handful of heroes including Naga Siren and Lycan. Things were skewing that way during part of this year, but seem to be swinging hard in the other direction now.
Judging from recent trends in both high-level matchmaking and tournaments including Dota Summit 10, this year’s version of The International is shaping up to be similar to 2014’s.
A number of formerly popular heroes boasting high impact and long cooldown ultimates, such as Warlock, Earthshaker, and Sand King, were lightly used or completely untouched at the event. The same goes for many traditional carry heroes, including Anti-Mage, Medusa, and Spectre.
While there was certainly some room for big ultimates and heroes that peak late, the enduring popularity of strong pushers like Chen and Enigma alongside cores that offer early game potency suggests that games at TI9 could be fast-paced.
The full 7.22f patch notes can be found on the official Dota 2 blog.