Image by Motenai
The first LAN tournament in what feels like ages is over and we are promised a patch some time next week. While overall it feels like the current meta and hero pool was pretty diverse for both professional and pub play, there are still some heroes who were completely ignored throughout the major and who aren’t too hot in pubs either. Heroes who could really use a buff.
Dazzle is by no means a weak hero, but the recent changes in the positions the hero is played in makes him underexplored and perhaps slightly underrated. So when we say that we think Dazzle needs a buff, we mostly mean he needs a “notice me” type of buff: something that won’t necessarily make the hero much stronger, but will put him on the radar.
Right now the hero is suffering from transitioning from a support role to a core one and the process is somewhat painful. In the offlane the hero simply doesn’t apply as much pressure as it is often required and later on doesn’t contribute as much control-related utility to his team, as expected from a position three hero. He also isn’t quite tanky enough to frontline: Dazzle has decent Strength growth, but his Agility growth is pretty low and that ensures he will always remain susceptible to physical damage.
He can be played mid, but low attack damage and a waveclear that is very unreliable when it comes to contesting the ranged creeps are not the best selling points. Dazzle also doesn’t have any mobility or initiation power to dictate the tempo of the game: something common among currently popular mid heroes.
We haven’t seen many attempts to play the hero as a position one carry and for a good reason: while the hero can boast pretty great DPS talents and while built-in cooldown reduction is, indeed, very strong, we are still pretty cautious when it comes to actual damage output. The hero simply doesn’t have percentage-based scaling steroids, doesn’t have a good Attack Speed growth and the idea to build him through Aghanim’s might sound decent on paper, but is pretty unreliable and wonky to play in practice.
What we end up with is a character that needs to find his identity in the current or next meta and that will almost definitely require a direct buff to some aspects of the hero. He can be made a weaker offlaner, but a better support; or could be upgraded in terms of DPS, but with lower utility; or just simply receive the OD approach, where his stats get overtuned for half a patch so that people at least try to play the hero. In his current state Dazzle never feels like a bad choice, but never feels like the best one.
Where Dazzle goes, Axe usually follows. Once again, this ignored hero is not necessarily bad. Mostly it feels like Axe got rotated out of the meta through sheer increase in player skill levels and the current item meta.
Almost every single team has Eul’s. Quite frequently, a team might have multiples of this time. The reason is obvious: it is the cheapest item to dispel silences and roots and the currently popular squishy, elusive heroes really need a tool like this to feel comfortable. It also doubles as a set up item, so it is never useless. And it now has a progression, which might not be the best value for money, but can do wonders in the later stages of the game.
Axe and his 0.4 seconds of cast point on Berserker’s Call is already struggling when it comes to connecting with these elusive heroes. Now add potential multiple Eul’s to the equation and the fact that heroes like Monkey King, Ursa, Troll Warlord and many more have absolutely no issues laning against Axe and you get a hero who doesn’t lane well against most popular carries and doesn’t match up well against most popular mids.
The hero needs a buff, at least a “notice me” buff. He could also really benefit from his Berserker’s Call cast point getting reduced back to 0.3 seconds. Or he could get some laning upgrades: even +1 Armor doesn’t sound too bad.
Axe is an iconic hero, but most importantly, especially for the potential new players, is that he is an actual “Tank”. He can force enemies to attack him and he can’t be ignored. That is the closest we get in Dota to conventional RPG Tanks so we feel like Axe really needs some time in the spotlight.
It is hard to gauge the strength of incredibly complex heroes and Brewmaster is definitely a complex hero. He requires good knowledge of the game, since he doesn’t have any innate mobility. He requires a good understanding of other heroes and their power spikes, since the hero relies on getting the maximum out of his ultimates. And he requires very good micro, since he is basically three or four units with several distinct active abilities. Perhaps the hero is just too hard to play. Or perhaps the hero could really use a buff.
Patch 7.28 seemingly improved the hero and for a short while we saw an increase in the popularity of Brewmaster. This didn’t last long, however. Brewmaster’s Aghanim’s upgrade is strong. It is definitely one of the better ones, but it also has a pretty steep opportunity cost: Brewmaster frequently needs either mobility or a tanking/dispel item and Aghanim’s Scepter is neither.
Teams know when they can burst Brewmaster down. They know when to engage and when to run away. With equal economic progression from both sides, by the time Brewmaster has Aghanim’s, the enemy will have tools to deal with the problems the Aghanim’s create. It can be through some form of silence to prevent Brewmaster from splitting in the first place or it can be through mobility and disengagement tools.
At the same time, if you go for Blink Dagger on Brewmaster, there was no reason to pick Brewmaster. Thunder Clap isn’t particularly great. Cinder Brew is also quite mediocre. Drunken Brawler is annoying, but not much else. You pick Brewmaster to squeeze out the maximum out of Primal Split, but to do that you need Agh’s and that means you skip on things that let you use Agh’s well. It is easy to understand why the hero is ignored in the professional scene and isn’t too hot in pubs either.
There is a pretty interesting build that concentrates on Brewmaster’s talents and his right-click damage and we genuinely feel it works better than trying to play Brewmaster as intended, so we hope next patch the unique aspects of the hero are going to get buffed, while the right-clicking build gets either nerfed or left untouched.
What heroes would you like to see buffed? Leave your thoughts in the comment section below.