Dota 2 fans aren’t especially big on Hoodwink, and apparently neither is Valve.
Less than a day after her release, the newly released hero received a significant nerf. The news was generally welcomed by fans, as it preempts what has become a tradition in Dota 2 of having new heroes be wildly overpowered.
Hoodwink’s base agility was reduced by four, which chops down both her attack speed and damage at the start of the game. Acorn Shot and Bushwhack were also nerfed, with Acorn Shot’s bounces and bonus damage being reduced, and Bushwhack’s range and AOE being shrunken down. Finally, Hoodwink’s level 20 armor reduction talent was reduced from five to three.
These are significant nerfs on their own, but they combine to weaken the hero even further than the patch notes would suggest. Though Hoodwink’s spells are individually useful, her strength lies in combining Bushwhack and Acorn Shot, using Acorn Shot to plant a tree before quickly using Bushwhack after to tie multiple enemy heroes to the tree, then letting Acorn Shot bounce between them. Because Acorn Shot is physical damage, armor reduction amplifies this further.
While Hoodwink should still enjoy some use with her kit, these changes should force her to invest in items such as Aether Lens or even Medallion of Courage. This will likely see Hoodwink go from being a strong option in all roles to being an initiating soft support hero.
With this change, Hoodwink goes from being the probable strongest hero in Dota 2 to being one of the pack. Though it’s unclear who the biggest winners of this latest patch will be, a handful of heroes have proven to be meta-proof options:
In all five cases, these heroes have tools that are useful in every meta and have retained a degree of usefulness in almost every patch. For Kunkka and Mirana, both heroes have strong disables and the flexibility to be played as either a support or carry. Batrider, Io, and Ember Spirit all have unique tools that set them apart from the pack.
Batrider is capable of stunning a hero and moving them around at will, making him a great initiating option. Io’s Relocate ultimate is an incredibly strong tool for team fights and ganks that lets the hero move itself and an ally anywhere on the map almost instantly. Finally, Ember Spirit’s mix of elusiveness and massive damage output has made him a go-to option for mid laners for years, and an occasional option for safe lane carries.
Because of how balanced Dota 2 is, Hoodwink is likely to enjoy some level of play from here until the game’s end. She doesn’t have the same sorts of unique tools to give her the staying power of these five, though.