Over the past couple weeks, Valve has released two gameplay updates for Dota 2–the dust from Patch 7.03 barely had time to settle before Patch 7.04 went live. Clearly IceFrog wanted to freshen up the the metagame before the Dota 2 Asian Championships started this week and the Kiev Major kicks off at the end of April. Things were getting a bit stale, with Lifestealers, Lone Druids, and Dragon Lances remaining the flavors of the month despite recent nerfs. How much has changed? Let’s take a look.
Roaming Monkey King in 7.03/7.04
After Zai’s blistering performances on Monkey King as a roaming support in 7.03, when he was added to Captains Mode, the newest Dota hero was picked up plenty of times at the Manila Masters. The amount of vision that Monkey King provides his team when he’s perched in the tree is unparalleled, and with a slow, a stun, and plenty of damage thanks to Jingu Mastery, he’s perfect for setting up kills on opposing mids or offlaners.
IceFrog responded to Monkey King’s surge in popularity with some nerfs in Patch 7.04:
* Monkey King: Primal Spring slow rescaled from 40/50/60/70% to 30/45/60/75%
* Monkey King: Primal Spring winding-up sound effect can be heard by nearby enemies
It remains to be seen whether Monkey King will remain a popular pick over the next couple of months, but you can guarantee Zai will be itching to play him again.
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Patch 7.04: Mid Lane Meta Shuffle
IceFrog also included nerfs to Ember Spirit (Level 10 Talent reduced from +12% Spell Amplification to 10%) and Invoker (Alacrity mana cost increased from 45 to 60). Hopefully these changes should be enough to open up the mid lane a bit more:
- With a +6 increase to his base damage and some significant buffs to his Talents, Puck is more of a threat during the laning stage and scales far better throughout the game. Puck has always been a popular hero among pros, so expect him to have more success competitively, as well as in pubs.
- Lina has received a host of buffs to her Talents in 7.03, including her Level 25 Talent changed from +1 Fiery Soul Max Stacks to +40/4% Fiery Soul Per Stack. It’s been a while since she was popular, but we’re already seeing a decent boost to her win rate in pubs. Time will tell, but Lina is definitely becoming a more viable pick.
- Queen of Pain, Razor and Death Prophet also received a bunch of buffs to their Talents in 7.03, and Death Prophet also got a small buff to her Exorcism damage in 7.04. These buffs have translated into small win rate improvements in pubs, and while that’s never a guarantee that pros will start prioritizing these heroes, it’s always possible.
New Carry Options in 7.04
Lifestealer, Weaver and the other popular carries of the past few months are by no means now unplayable, but there are now plenty of others worth experimenting with. Lifestealer has lost 5 Base Damage and Weaver lost Base Damage and Movement Speed. While Gyrocopter hasn’t quite returned to his former glory, Troll Warlord is back in style, especially when paired with Magnus. Spectre has also seen his win rate rise over the past couple of patches, with buffs across his Talents and although he’s a greedy core, the hero might find favor again in competitive play when paired with the right supports.