The regional qualifiers for the Kuala Lumpur Major are less than a week away. That will, in a way, mark the official start to the 2018-2019 Dota 2 season. With all the open qualifiers taking place this week, I guess IceFrog and Valve probably observed that the nerfs from patch 7.19b had hardly any effect as the same heroes were being picked and decided to take a more severe step to solve the matter. Thus, the Dota 2 patch 7.19c was bestowed upon us. The patch is a nerf minefield and takes a shot all heroes that have been dominating the professional and pub scene. Let’s take a look at the major nerfs 7.19c has brought us.
* Blade Mail: Cooldown increased from 20 to 25
* Blade Mail: Bonus armor reduced from 6 to 5
This is a direct nerf to Wraith King. Wraith King would blink in and initiate with Blade Mail. Even if he died, Reincarnation would bring him back and in most situations, Blade Mail would be ready to use again. 5 seconds is a long time for the nerf, not to mention the fact that the EHP has gone down by 6% due to the 1 armor reduction.
* Clinkz: Base strength reduced by 2
* Clinkz: Searing Arrows manacost increased from 10 to 12
* Clinkz: Level 20 Talent reduced from +20 Health Regen to +16
* Clinkz: Level 25 Talent reduced from +4s Strafe Duration to +3s
Personally, I believe the biggest hit to Clinkz will be the 2 added mana for Searing Arrows. Gone are the days when players built Orchid Malevolence on Clinkz. Players usually go with a damage item like Desolator, Diffusal or Maelstrom followed by Sythe of Vyse. Until the Sythe is ready, Clinkz has to keep shipping in those Clarity potions. Those are just going to go up. The decrease in base strength makes him more vulnerable in lanes. The nerfs to the talents though, shouldn’t be the biggest cause of worry.
2) Dark Willow
* Dark Willow: Brambles total damage reduced from 140/180/220/260 to 125/150/175/200
* Dark Willow: Shadow Realm cooldown increased from 30/24/18/12 to 32/26/20/14
* Dark Willow: Cursed Crown stun duration reduced from 2/2.5/3/3.5 to 1.75/2.25/2.75/3.25
* Dark Willow: Bedlam damage reduced from 60/120/180 to 60/110/160
Four out of Dark Willow’s five abilities have been nerfed in patch 7.19c. The Bramble Maze and Bedlam damage reduction is substantial. IceFrog keeps flirting with the Bedlam damage. At times it’s so high that the hero seems overpowered and when nerfed, nobody wants to draft her. Hopefully, 7.19c has found the right balance for Dark Willow.
* Earthshaker: Root now disables his Scepter ability
The change for Earthshaker might just be one small line, but it is probably one of the biggest nerfs of patch 7.19c. Buying the invent that costs 4200 gold gave Earthshaker not only a way to initiate even when taking damage, but the ability to get out of a root and if needed, stun an enemy hero. It was just like a basic dispel against the root mechanic, but even better! A skill like that (with a cooldown of 5 seconds originally, 3 seconds with the talent) needed to be nerfed and that’s exactly what’s been done. It still give Earthshaker the ability to initiate while taking damage, so there shouldn’t be a reason for not making Aghanim’s Scepter on him.
* Grimstroke: Ink Swell no longer makes the target immune to attacks
* Grimstroke: Ink Swell no longer silences and disarms the target
* Grimstroke: Soulbind duration increased from 4/6/8 to 6/8/10
The increase in Soulbind duration increase is a nice little buff. But Ink Swell no longer being immune to attacks makes approaching the skill very different. In a few ways it is good, as the target can use skills. Put it on Vengeful Spirit and she swaps into the enemy team. But the target not being immune also makes it possible to damage and potentially kill the hero.
* Silencer: Last Word damage rescaled from 150/200/250/300 to 120/180/240/300
* Silencer: Arcane Curse manacost increased from 105/115/125/135 to 125/130/135/140
* Silencer: Global Silence manacost increased from 250/375/500 to 300/450/600
There will soon come a time when Arcane Curse will consume 80-90% of Silencer’s mana. Unless he has a really good early game and steals a lot of intelligence, the mana cost increase will be a problem for Silencer. With nerfs to the Arcane Curse mana cost in both, patch 7.19b and 7.19c, the cost has skyrocketed from 75/95/115/135 to 125/130/135/140. It does mostly target the laning stage, but that is where the magic happens baby! If the hero cannot help you win the lane, the hero is not deemed good in the current meta.
* Spectre: Desolate radius increased from 375 to 500
* Spectre: Dispersion rescaled from 10/14/18/22% to 7/12/17/22%
* Spectre: Haunt manacost increased from 150 to 150/200/250
* Spectre: Level 10 Talent changed from +15 Desolate Damage to +4 All Stats
* Spectre: Level 15 Talent changed from +8 All Stats to +15 Desolate Damage
* Spectre: Level 25 Talent reduced from +8% Dispersion to +6%
This could be the end of Spectre for a while now. It’s not just the number of nerfs, it’s what the nerfs are. The Desolate radius was 325 before 7.19b. With patch 7.19c, it has gone up to 500. Might as well forget the ability triggering in a gank with all enemy heroes alive, unless someone is separated. The hurt on Desolate doesn’t end there. The +15 Desolate damage has been moved to level 15 and replaced with +4 All Stats. According to Dotabuff, that talent was picked just 45% of the times, but had a win rate of 57%. It helped a lot in the early game for farming, when Spectre had to retreat to the jungle at the end of the laning stage. This will take a toll on the farming. But I think level 15 is a bit too late for the talent. The Haunt mana cost increase is bound to haunt her (pun intended) as Spectre isn’t a hero with a large mana pool. And even though the nerf to Dispersion does not seem like the biggest one, combined with the other nerfs, it just piles on to make it worse. 7.19c might be the patch that we get rid of Spectre from pubs!
* Ursa: Fury Swipes damage per attack reduced from 15/20/25/30 to 12/18/24/30
* Ursa: Earthshock damage reduced from 90/140/190/240 to 50/100/150/200
* Ursa: Enrage damage multiplier rescaled from 1.5/1.75/2.0 to 1.4/1.7/2.0
Ursa’s entire game is based on the Fury Swipes damage, and that includes the laning stage. Granted, the nerfs aren’t as severe as Spectre or Wraith King, the damage reduction to early levels of Fury Swipes does hamper Fuzzy Wuzzy’s ability to get kills in the lane. That includes the 40 damage reduction coming from Earthshock, which won’t matter late in the game, but could be the difference between a kill and nearly a kill in the laning stage.
8) Vengeful Spirit
* Vengeful Spirit: Movement speed reduced by 5
* Vengeful Spirit: Magic Missile projectile speed reduced from 1250 to 900
The reduction in Magic Missile projectile speed is going to make the Missile crawl to the target. This gives the target a lot of options to disjoint the stun, like going invisible, using abilities like Shadow Realm or Shadow Dance, blink out or Manta dodge it. The Manta or Euls dodge on Magic Missile will be a lot easier now with the speed reduction. In some cases, it could also mean the stun not reaching a teleporting enemy in time. Oh, the horror!
* Weaver: Base intelligence reduced by 2
* Weaver: The Swarm cooldown increased from 35/30/25/20 to 44/36/28/20
* Weaver: Time Lapse cooldown increased from 60/50/40 to 70/55/40
* Weaver: Level 10 Talent changed from +20 Mana Break to +7 Strength
* Weaver: Level 15 Talent changed from +12 Strength to +20 Mana Break
Luckily for Weaver, Shukuchi was untouched in patch 7.19c. The biggest loss is going to be the loss of the +20 Mana Break ability at level 10, which according to Dotabuff, was chosen 67% of the times. Combined with Diffusal, that talent did a lot of work with Geminate, especially early on in the game against supports. The ray of sunshine here for Weaver is that players can pick the +35% XP Gain now and hit level 15 earlier to get the +20 Mana Break talent. All is not lost for Weaver after all. Nut maybe players will want to prioritize leveling Swarm to level 3 a bit earlier than before, looking at the cooldown.
10) Wraith King
* Wraith King: Wraithfire Blast stun duration rescaled from 2 to 1.1/1.4/1.7/2.0
* Wraith King: Wraithfire Blast base damage rescaled from 50/100/150/200 to 100
* Wraith King: Wraithfire Blast DPS rescaled from 20/35/50/65 to 10/30/50/70
* Wraith King: Vampiric Aura is now a melee only ability
Patch 7.19c, it appears, will totally cripple Wraith King in the Laning stages. Wraith King got popular in the meta because of his lane winning abilities, in which Wraithfire Blast played a huge part. But he has just been torn apart with three nerfs to that one ability. Only at level 1 of the ability, the damage has increased from 90 to 120. But with the stun duration being reduced to nearly half of what it was, the damage increase seems irrelevant. At level 4, the damage has been reduced from 330 to 240. Tough times ahead for the undead king.
With the regional qualifiers just a few days away, I doubt teams will change a lot of their strats. But through the qualifiers, they will realize the nerfs taking effect and the picks will slowly start changing a bit. But the only way the meta will change completely is when IceFrog confers upon the community the patch everyone is really waiting for: 7.20!