Balance of Power Update – 6.86

Dec 21, 2015

The long awaited patch has arrived!

This update brings a new hero, the Arc Warden, to the game along with a number of map, item, and hero changes.

The list of changes for 6.86 can be found on the Dota2 website. Notable changes are discussed below.

General Client, Map, and Item Changes

Client Changes: The Armory has been updated and private chat channels are now available. Additionally, there is now a hero stats page so players can check out their detailed history and winrate on any hero.

Map changes: The map has had a number of changes on both sides. Two new neutral camps are now available, near the secret shop on both sides of the map. A few terrain changes affect how camps can be stacked or pulled. The best way to check out the map changes is to view a comparison gif.

New – Arcane rune: The new rune reduces spell cooldowns by 30% and mana costs by 50%. The cooldown reduction may buff heroes like Enigma who currently does not see too much play at the pro level due to his long cooldown ultimate.

New Items: Faerie Fire, a consumable that grants +2 Damage and 75HP, and Dragon Lance [Ogre Club + Quarterstaff] which boosts stats and adds 130 Attack Range on ranged heroes. Expect to see it on heroes with short ranged attacks, like Luna. Also added are the Aether Lens and Iron Talon. The Aether Lens [Energy Booster, Ring of Health, Cloak] adds 250 mana, increases HP regen and magic resistance, and most notably adds 200 to cast range and increases spell damage by 8%. The boost to cast range may benefit heroes like Witch Doctor, allowing him to channel his ult from a safer spot. The Iron Talon [Quelling Blade, Ring of Protection, Recipe] adds +2 Armor and adds an ability that targets non-player enemy units, removing 40% of their HP.

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Notable Item Changes: Boots (Phase, Power Treads, Arcane, Brown, Tranquil) have had their movement speed reduced by 5. All boots except Tranquil Boots cost a little less. The Bottle has been reworked as well – it costs a little less, but regenerates 20 fewer health points and 10 fewer mana points over a shorter length of time. It’s now available in the Side Shop with only one charge. Courier purchases now have a 2 minute cooldown – perhaps this will solve the issue of the disgruntled player feeding couriers to the enemy in pubs. They also cost 20 gold less – now 100 gold.

Lastly, perhaps the best change is to the Iron Branch. It now can be used to spawn a “happy little tree” that will last 20 seconds as well as double regeneration time if consumed with a tango. The new use of the “GG Branch” opens up all kinds of juking and trapping possibilities. Overall, a number of the item changes have been small buffs to supports – boots, smoke of deceit, and courier now cost a little less. Observer wards also yield a 100 gold bounty instead of 50.

Hero Additions or Subtractions

Removed from Captains’s Mode: Temporarily say goodbye to Doom, Faceless Void, Death Prophet, Lone Druid, Riki, and Winter Wyvern! Most of these heroes have had a significantly reworked ability and were removed while their new abilities are tested by the community. Many of them are expected to return to Captains’ Mode in 6.86b or 6.86c.

Added to Captains’ Mode: Terrorblade returns to CM with his newly reworked abilities. Oracle and the much feared Earth Spirit have been added as well. These heroes have already been picked up in the World Cyber Arena tournament currently taking place in Yinchuan, China.

Over 80 heroes have been changed in one way or another. The full list of changes, including nine heroes with new or reworked Aghanim’s Upgrades, is available at

It’s difficult to predict exactly how patch changes affect the professional level metagame. As pro teams start feeling out the hero changes and practicing new strategies, fans should expect to see a number of innovative drafts in the next few weeks.

Edit: 6.86b was released after WCA concluded. Doom, Faceless Void, Death Prophet, Lone Druid, and Winter Wyvern have been returned to Captains’ Mode. The Arcane Rune has been changed to provide a 40% reduction in mana cost (originally 50%) and several hero abilities have been slightly altered from 6.86.

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Kara Jacobacci
Kara has been following professional DotA2 since the TI4 qualifiers. When not watching matches on Twitch, she can be found working (or attempting to find work) as a geologist and enjoying nature.
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