Dota 2 update 7.28c is here and a lot of folks aren’t happy about it.
A lot of the hate doesn’t stem from the actual patch, though. The update tackles a number of the heroes that have dominated the Dota Pro Circuit winter leagues and gives them much-needed nerfs. The trouble is that the update came as numerous teams face do-or-die matches with the ONE Esports Singapore Major lurking just around the corner.
Anyone that has tuned in for a Dota Pro Circuit league over the last five weeks can probably guess who got hit with nerfs. Most regions have seen Batrider, Nyx Assassin, Puck, and Outworld Destroyer dominate the proceedings. All of them got nerfed to varying degrees.
Nyx Assassin was likely the hardest hit. Nyx’s Vendetta no longer applies Break on-hit, a brutal blow to the hero. The Break attack modifier is exceedingly rare in Dota 2, with Nyx Assassin and Viper being the only two heroes that could apply the effect without purchasing an item. Now, Viper stands alone as the only guaranteed counter to troublesome passives like Phantom Assassin’s Coup De Grace and Bristleback’s Bristleback.
Batrider also had a rough go of it as well. Sticky Napalm’s effectiveness against both lane and jungle creeps was reduced by 50%. This will make the hero significantly harder to farm with, and will likely see his popularity plummet as a result. Batrider has historically been a difficult hero to balance, having a near-100% pick or ban rate in pro play or being near zero. He’s been in the former category for the last five weeks but may shift to the latter moving forward.
Puck got a long list of nerfs but the early outlook is that it won’t be enough to drag down the hero. Puck’s base damage and Waning Rift were given modest nerfs and the Aghanim’s Scepter stun duration increase to Dream Coil was reduced. Still, Puck should remain a go-to in pro play.
And it wasn’t only those three heroes. Beastmaster, Lycan, Outworld Devourer, and more received small nerfs. No hero was buffed in Dota 2 update 7.28c. The full patch notes can be found on the official Dota 2 blog.
After 2 months of qualifiers where dropping more than 1 bo3 equals not going to LAN, then dropping a patch right before regionals end. pic.twitter.com/qRiZOPlBRa
— David Tan (@MoonMeanderated) February 20, 2021
Dota 2 update 7.28c likely would have been warmly received in a vacuum, but Valve opted to deliver the patch at the absolute worst time. Instead of waiting nine days and dropping the patch once the DPC winter leagues were finished, or even just waiting until Sunday night for a day off from pro play, Valve dropped it in the middle of the day during one of the final weeks of action before the ONE Esports Singapore Major.
The patch came smack in the middle of week five of six in the DPC winter leagues, forcing teams to adjust to the patch in a heartbeat. TNC Predator was set to face 496 Gaming, with TNC facing possible mathematical elimination from a major berth and 496 facing potential relegation to the PGL DPC League’s lower division. Both teams had less than five hours to adjust to the new patch.
Given the ONE Esports Singapore Major’s huge importance in qualifying to The International 10, it’s hard to wrap one’s head around Valve’s handling of Dota 2.