A minor patch released a couple of weeks ago is definitely not enough for a full Tier List of its own, but there is still a variety of new and interesting changes in the public metagame we would like to go over.
The hero remained untouched in the 6.81-6.81b transition, however his popularity is in a steady decline. Interestingly, it is only after the 6.81b that this decline has started to manifest itself. To a large extent it could be attributed to the steady decrease in the popularity of the hero in the competitive scene. Additionally, introduction of the new Immortal items to a variety of other heroes probably had an impact on the popularity of other. Though in my opinion the most crucial factor in this case was the fact that people have slowly started to get bored with the hero and since his wow-factor was somewhat nerfed in 6.80, his presence can no longer be justified by his power alone. (Though he still remains a very reliable pick at 54% Win Rate)
He received a decent amount of buffs with his ultimate now covering a lot more ground and his turn rate improved. The result is a ~1.2% increase in Win Rate and a small boost to popularity. While the figures alone do not impress the AoE improvement of the ultimate, there is a definite increase in its utility and potential damage output. Personally, I was once surprised by the amount of damage when landing an Echo Slam near what later appeared to be a heavily stacked stacked neutral camp, that would otherwise be out of range (probably).
The hero has seen its ups and downs, however she does make a comeback before every International. This time is more that justified with a variety of buffs introduced to the Midnight Pulse. The result is unsurprising: The public scene is probably taking a huge advantage with an often underrated spell. It is also a great counter to an increasingly poplar 땜장이, who really likes hiding in the trees with his 점멸 단검.
There was a variety of small nerfs to the hero but one really stood out - Cold Snap. His presence in lane and potential in 1v1 situations has significantly decreased, resulting in a much lower Win Rate in public matchmaking, where, in all honesty, the game often takes a form of a huge amount of 1v1's, rather that a team vs. team.
In my previous patch analysis of 가면무사 I made two mistakes. I have wrongly assumed that 항마사 has a BAT of 1.4, when it is in fact 1.45. And I have horribly underestimated the impact of a further BAT decrease for 가면무사 to 1.4 making him THE most fast-hitting hero in the game, except for 연금술사 with Chemical Rage An almost 2% increase in Win Rate is very significant. To a certain extent it results from the fact that people in Public Matchmaking tend to prolong the games a lot further that they should and it resulted in 가면무사 rapidly becoming less and less threatening. An improvement to one of the characteristics that scales so well has somewhat lifted the burden from this previously very early-game dependent carry. It still does not justify building a [missing item: battlefury], but a 6-slotted 가면무사 is a force to be reckoned with.
I remember the first time I have played Mirana back in the WC3 Dota 1 days. She was just released and quickly got extremely popular with a "hook-like" skillshot that had an immense impact on the game. Since then the game has developed to a point where Sacred Arrow has become a lot less of a skillshot and was used either at point blank or with a set up from heroes like 악몽의 그림자 and 그림자 주술사. This nerf, which was both necessary and relevant, has actually returned some requirement for the Arrow to actually have an impact and therefore has arguably increased the pleasure from landing a long stun on an enemy. All that with a relatively small impact on the actual Win Rate of the hero:
I refuse to believe that a small buff to the Degen Aura has resulted in a 2% increase in Win Rate for the hero: Being the second most Winning hero in the Public matchmaking, he is still overlooked by most professional teams due to his low-ish lane presence (his melee range does reduce his utility by a lot) and general "greediness" (high level requirements to be effective), and the buff was not unwelcome. But in my opinion it was the influence of SirActionSlacks and his guide to Escaping MMR hell that has increased the Win Rate for this hero. All I can say is Thank You for popularizing the role of support among the pub players.
Phantom Assassin is a rather unreliable hero and while it does not necessarily make her weak, it does tamper with her viability as a 1st position carry, since she can be heavily outclassed (or completely destroy) by the opposition depending not primarily on the skill of a player and his macro choices, but on the luck of the player. It is really hard to change something about this unreliability without making this hero lose her uniqueness, hence a decrease in cooldown for Stifling Dagger as well as higher Blur chance can be considered really good changes which provide a much smoother early game, a stronger mid-game and a viability as a middle lane hero. We do not suggest you play 유령 자객 unless you absolutely know what you are doing, however this new-found meta has proved itself well. Overall, there was a significant increase in Win Rate of ~2%. A steady ongoing rise in popularity of the hero only makes this fact more important, since higher popularity typically results in lower Win Rates and not the other way around.
Losing 54 damage from level 1 Leech Seed is having a huge impact on the Win Rate of this hero. Considering the high mana cost it is rare that this ability is used more that 3-4 times before level 4, when this ability is usually skill for the second time, according to our statistics.
The amount of aggressiveness in the early stages of the game is what makes this nerf a lot more punishing in the public matchmaking. While he still remains a strong Pub Winner, we suggest players try to utilize him a bit differently, with lower amounts of pro-activeness in the early stage and a more reactive gameplay. This way this nerf would have a much lower impact:
Smaller patches are bound to have smaller impacts not because the individual buffs and nerfs are on a lower scale compared to the big patches (in fact, some of the changes introduced in 6.81b are quite sizable), but because there is lower effect from the millions of possible interactions between each set of heroes. Therefore, for this article we considered changes of 1-2% to be a lot more significant than they would be if there was a major gameplay change.
Overall, the impact on the public matchmaking is undeniably positive - with the exception of 전능기사, the Win Rate of heroes was slightly pulled towards the "norm" of 50%.
The International 4 promises to be quite interesting and the Pub-stars are probably going to make an appearance, since it is hard to deny the fact that some heroes are currently extremely powerful and could be used as an unexpected pocket strat.