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    Dota 2 – 6.81 on the way. Shall we have a look?

    This is probably the final “stable” patch before the TI4 with possible minor tweaks here and there in the nearest future. Apart from solving a multitude of bugs still present in the game it also features a long list of changes to the gameplay itself and we will do our best to analyse the impact these changes are going to have on the competitive scene and public matchmaking.

    As previously, to make things a bit simpler for you to read, I will use colour coding with Green indicating a minor change, Yellow indicating a moderate amendment and Red indicating a big one. The impact of a change on the gameplay will be based on my personal opinion, so feel free to post a comment if you disagree with something.

    Shall we begin?


  • Roshan base armor increased by 1
  • It is a minor change to Roshan overall, but do not underestimate it. With a huge starting HP pool, an increase of one armor gets him 450 extra effective HP against physical damage and extra 30 every four minutes (disregarding the built-in armor growth). With an average attack of roughly 55 damage at level 1 for most heroes, dealing with Roshan at early levels will get a little bit harder. However, it should not have that much of an impact later into the game, except for heroes that are capable of killing Roshan by themselves ( Lycan, Ursa)

  • Attack Speed now always continually adjusts based on the latest modifications applied to the unit /span>
  • In my opinion it is more of a bugfix, rather than a gameplay change. It does make Fire Spirits and Untouchable a little bit weaker, however it mostly deals with really long animations of auto-attack backswing, rather than the actual effective DPS.

  • Melee illusions created by a Rune of Illusion take 200% instead of 300% damage
  • Don’t get me wrong – the change in itself is rather big. However, having illusion runes at the exact moment when they are needed (unless you have a Bottle) is rather unlikely. And having bottle on some of the heroes that could benefit from the illusion runes the most is very unlikely.

  • Random Draft and Captain’s Draft changes
  • A slight increase in the amount of heroes available for picking in this modes makes them a little bit more interesting and allows for more versatile strategies. However, these modes are not that popular in the first place to have a huge impact on the gameplay for the majority of Dota 2 players.

  • Meepo is no longer available in Ability Draft
  • (ノಠ益ಠ)ノ彡 Remuff Meepo!



  • Aghanim’s Scepter Borrowed Time now redirects 35% of all damage dealt to nearby allied heroes to Abaddon when active
  • A very decent buff to Aghanim’s Scepter for Abaddon. While not necessarily making it a core item on this support hero, it does give some versatility for him in the later stages of the game when he already has his Arcane Boots and/or Soul Ring and possibly Mekansm. If previously getting a Vladmir’s Offering or a [missing item: necronomicon-3] was a way to go, now there is a very good alternative that effectively grants allies a level 5 Dispersion without the damage aspect for 7 seconds at level 16. A very interesting buff indeed.

    Ancient Apparition

  • Chilling Touch attack speed reduction increased from -15 to -20
  • The skills remains extremely strong at almost every stage of the game and a -5 AS should not make it weaker. It might create some situations where the enemy hero that would have previously died will get away, not receiving this extra auto-attack due to the lack of AS, but these situations will be somewhat rare.

    At the same time, at later stages, when enemy cores have their Black King Bar‘s, a decrease in AS could do more harm than good. So be wary of when and why you use it.


  • Mana Void’s area of effect increased from 450 to 500
  • Sitting at a shameful 40.69% Win Rate this hero is somewhat unfit for the current meta in both pubs and competitive play (even DK.Burning was reluctant to play his signature hero in Starladder 9 Lan Finals). And we don’t think a 24% increase in the area covered with his ultimate will solve the problem.

    At the same time we saw Naga Siren make a comeback in the first position. And being second only to Naga in terms of flash-farming, Anti-Mage might become a very punishing and surprising pick against certain lineups.


  • Counter Helix now uses Pseudo Random chance
  • For some reason I’ve always assumed that Counter Helix already used Pseudo Random. Now I can understand where my unlucky streaks came from and this change is certainly not unwelcome.

    Chance to proc abilities in Dota 2 do give a bit of a “surprise” factor to the gameplay, especially on heroes like Phantom Assassin. However, in my personal opinion, making these abilities a bit more statistically stable will make the gameplay be a lot more about skill, rather than luck. And considering we rarely see aforementioned Phantom Assassin and Ogre Magi in the competitive scene, most of the pro players seem to agree with this statement.


  • Flaming Lasso mana cost increased from 150 to 225
  • They tried to make Batrider less popular by decreasing his sight range. They failed. They tried to decrease the cast range on Flaming Lasso to decrease the popularity of the hero. It did make Batrider less popular for a couple of months, but he reclaimed his position in the First Tier.

    Now they are increasing the manacost for one of the best single-target disables. And we don’t think it will change the popularity of the hero by that much. Especially considering the 0 manacost Blink Dagger

    There is perceived strength and actual strength factors that come into play that determine the popularity of the hero. The decrease of the cast range probably made a lot of players think that Batrider was no longer that good, when, in fact, his main strength of disabling and putting the enemy hero our of position remained. Hence he was re-discovered relatively fast.

    And while there might be some cases when teams will decide to opt for something else, we still think that Batrider will remain a really strong pick.


  • Base damage increased by 4
  • With his attack animation he is now more likely to out-farm the enemy hero in a 1v1 situation on a lane. However, Beastmaster is rarely in the 1v1 situation and is usually offlaning against a trilane, hence this change is very situational. Personally, I would prefer the +1 Armor buff more.


  • Bloodrage cast point improved from 0.6 to 0.4
  • Bloodrage can no longer be dispelled
  • I have previously talked about the importance of the cast animation/cast backswing. And the 0.2 decrease in cast point for Bloodrage is a really strong buff. At the same time, it is still 0.1s more than most of the cast points on heroes in Dota 2 and can not be used as a reactive spell.

    When it is used proactively, though, it has become one of the strongest silences in the game. It has been buffed continuously over the last several patches, now removing all buffs from a target. And making it a poor-mans Doom will definitely make him a viable pick, especially against carries that heavily rely on casting spells to deal damage or change positioning ( Weaver, Ember Spirit, Storm Spirit etc.).

    Bounty Hunter

  • Track cast range increased from 900/1050/1200 to 1200
  • For some reason the hero has stopped being as popular as he was previously.

    He is still a decent threat to enemy support at all stages of the game, while contributing a decent amount of gold to the team with his Track. And the range buff to this skill should not go unnoticed. However, we are not sure that will make him a popular pick once again.


  • If you have not attacked for 10 seconds, your next attack will always activate a Drunken Brawler critical hit
  • If you have not been attacked for 10 seconds, Drunken Brawler will cause you to evade the next attack
  • A guaranteed 2x Crit every 10 seconds is really nice. And since only the proc chance scales with the levels of the ability, and not the actual multiplier, a value point in it is now a must. Initiating with a Blink Dagger into Thunder Clap and an auto-attack at early levels can deal considerable damage to most heroes.

    Moreover, the Fire Aspect of the Brewmaster’s ultimate will also have the same property, making for a guaranteed first hit for ~300 damage at level 3 of Primal Split.

    It is a nice buff to the ability. But it will unlikely solve the popularity problems of this hero in both Pubs and Competitive matches.


  • Warpath no longer has unique values for the first movement speed stack
  • Warpath movement speed stack bonus increased from 1/2/3% to 3/4/5%
  • This change corresponds to a lower first-instance Warpath effect and a stronger for each consecutive. However the change is not strong enough to have a lot of impact on the actual Bristleback gameplay.


  • Spiderling’s Poison Sting damage per second increased from 4 to 8
  • Spin Web’s free pathing no longer deactivates when enemy has vision on Broodmother
  • Spin Web’s free pathing is now disabled for 3 seconds when Broodmother takes damage
  • Insatiable Hunger lifesteal increased from 40/60/80% to 60/80/100%
  • The Broodmother has probably faced the most amount of reworks in the last year. While the extra damage from poison sting is nice, it should not have that much of an impact to the gameplay. However the reworks to the Spin Web are rather interesting.

    It is really hard to say whether it is a buff or nerf, since there are drawbacks associated with the Blink Dagger-style of the webs. Being caught out with Radiance (or an form of sustainable AoE) when just entering the trees can be very punishing, since you will not be able to move anywhere. But the laning phase should be an easier task, since [missing item: sentry-wards] should not counter the presence of the hero as much.

    Extra lifesteal from her ultimate is a definite buff, but lacking any form of steroid and generally being weak in teamfights as soon as enemy heroes get their BkBs makes this buff a bit underwhelming.

    It is really hard to say whether these changes make Broodmother a viable hero in the competitive scene, without seeing some professional players play her. And since it is still unclear whether she will be added to CM any time soon, we will leave the speculations for later.

    Centaur Warrunner

  • Hoof Stomp mana cost increased from 85/100/115/130 to 130
  • Being one of the most popular offlane heroes in the last month, Centaur did deserve some form of a nerf. And increasing the manacost for Hoof Stomp at early levels compensates a bit for the extra viability the hero got from the removal of manacost from Blink Dagger.

    Earlier we saw professionals skipping extra points in this ability in favor of [missing skill: centaur-warrunner-return-5516], but I don’t think it is going to be the case any longer.

    Chaos Knight

  • Phantasm now has a 50% chance to create one extra illusion when cast
  • There is a small discussion on the Random aspects of Dota 2 a couple of paragraphs earlier. And honestly, I am not a big fan of the idea that a press of a single button can determine the outcome of a skirmish or even a teamfight based on not when or how it is used, but rather pure luck.

    To be fair, this change does make level 6 Phantasm a lot more viable, which was the intention, I think. But still, this what not the buff we would expect or particularly welcome.


  • Penitence cooldown reduced from 14 to 14/13/12/11
  • A small buff to the most underused skill on Chen. Nothing particularly interesting about it.


  • Death Pact cooldown reduced from 45 to 45/40/35
  • Being able to always have some form of HP/Damage increase on this hero at level 16 can not be underestimated. Being a relatively good off-laner and semi-carry/carry, Clinkz deserved a bit of attention and this buff should certainly put it on radar for most professional teams.


  • Poison Touch no longer causes a ministun
  • That nerf is really big. Being unable to interrupt any forms of channeling (including teleport scrolls) does not break the hero, but makes him situationally a lot weaker.

    The hero remained excellent at what he used to do the most – healing allies, providing the core hero with 5 seconds of YOLO and creating a drastic impact on the physical damage output ratio between teammates and enemies. But he now has a lot less utility in certain situations. In certain situations that are rather frequent.


  • Kinetic Field cooldown reduced from 14 to 14/13/12/11
  • Not that interesting. A small buff to a decent skill.


  • Doom damage no longer ignores magic shields
  • Doom damage type used to be “Universal”, meaning that it could go through magic immunity, but was reduced by magic resistance. The fact that it went through magic shields was in line with its damage type.

    Now, having a Pipe of Insight barrier or Flame Guard will make the target a glorified creep with a bit more chances to survive.

    Drow Ranger

  • Gust knockback duration increased from 0.2 to 0.5
  • Providing time for an extra auto-attack while Gust is still active is a nice buff. But considering all the weaknesses the hero has and only specific situations in which she is a good pick, it will unlikely that it will change her popularity by a lot.

    Earth Spirit

  • Stone Remnant recharge time reduced from 35 to 30
  • I haven’t played a lot of Earth Spirit. Neither before the nerf, nor after. Hence I can’t objectively evaluate how much of a buff that is.

    If I had to rely only on the theoretical knowledge I have about this hero, I would go with – not enough. The hero needs some extra damage or effect duration on his stun.


  • Creeps no longer try to path around Fissure; they will wait for it to disappear
  • Echo Slam no longer ignores units that are invisible or in Fog of War
  • The first change makes ancient pulling as Earthshaker impossible. It is not necessarily the biggest change, but it will make some teams reconsider picking him in favor of other heroes.

    The second one is extremely situational. It does make the hero a better matchup against Mirana for example, but in most cases it should not be that huge.

    Elder Titan

  • Echo Stomp mana cost reduced from 100/115/130/145 to 100
  • Echo Stomp physical and magical damage increased from 80 to 80/85/90/95 each
  • Some minor buffs to the most underused ability of a somewhat forgotten hero. 30 extra damage at level 4 of Echo Stomp is not that significant.

    Ember Spirit

  • Searing Chains duration reduced from 2/2/3/3 to 1/2/2/3
  • Sleight of Fist bonus damage reduced from 30/60/90/120 to 20/40/60/80
  • We recently talked about the rising win rate of Ember Spirit, and his popularity in the competitive scene. And it seems like he’s getting some attention here. There are two popular builds for Ember Spirit – maxing Flame Guard, or getting three levels into Searing Chains and maxing Sleight of Fist. Both of the were viable and really effective.

    With the nerf to the second build (and a decent nerf overall) it is likely we will see less of a hero, but he still remains strong as an extremely mobile carry that is capable of dealing decent amount of damage without putting himself in danger of an actual fight.


  • Untouchable slow duration increased from 3 to 4
  • A small buff to the ability to compensate for the rework of the AS slow mechanics.


  • Midnight Pulse area of effect increased from 400 to 600
  • This change is huge. It effectively provides 125% extra coverage for Midnight Pulse. And the skill itself is extremely strong. Defending highground just got a lot easier.

    Faceless Void

  • Base agility increased from 21 to 23
  • Turn rate improved from 0.5 to 1
  • An increase of 2 agility is not a huge deal. However the turn rate increase could be, if it was for a different hero.

    While placing a good Chronosphere or evading a certain death with Time Walk just got a little bit easier and requires less time to actuate, the hero itself does not benefit from it as much as, for example, Bristleback where the direction you are facing has a lot more of an impact.


  • Homing Missile now hits invisible units
  • Homing Missile hits required to destroy increased from 3 to 3/3/4/5
  • Still a relatively useless skill that in most cases should be either completely disregarded or skilled once to create some kind of a pressure.


  • Burning Spears is no longer a Unique Attack Modifier
  • Is it a strong buff? Yes it is. Is it going to make Huskar viable? Highly unlikely.

    While the skill itself was very strong and could deal a ton of damage early in the game, it is still somewhat underwhelming in the later stages. Same can be said about the hero overall.


  • Ghost Walk slow no longer affects magic immune enemies
  • EMP delay increased from 2.6 to 2.9
  • Seeing how Quas/Exort Invoker was still a lot more popular in the competitive scene in the past month, it is surprising that the nerfs were aimed at the Quas/Wex one.

    0.3s is not a lot, by any means. But in certain situations it will allow enemies to escape the EMP and an extra point in Quas is necessary to ensure the same amount of utility and damage.


  • Dual Breath range increased by 50
  • Liquid Fire level 4 cooldown reduced from 5 to 4
  • Aghanim’s Scepter Macropyre duration increased from 7 to 14
  • Aghanim’s Scepter Macropyre range increased from 1350 to 1800
  • With the increase of range by 50, Dual Breath can now hit enemies 1000 units away, which should completely compensate for his abysmal cast point.

    The Liquid Fire cooldown reduction makes it possible to have 2 instances of debuff at the same time. It is not clear whether they stack or not, however the AS slow of the skill has been continuously underrated and a minor buff to it is not unwelcome.

    The most interesting change of the hero though, comes from an upgraded ultimate that now lasts 14 seconds and has a range of 1800. If the total time required to create the Macropyre stays the same, it will correspond to a 100% increase to the ability creation speed – one of the drawbacks of this ultimate.

    And 14 seconds of a 1800×225 rectangle of death should in no way be underestimated.


  • Base attack time improved from 1.6 to 1.5
  • The change does look a little underwhelming, however, a lot of people tend to forget about the fact that Juggernaut can auto-attack during his Omnislash. With each instance of his ultimate taking 0.4 seconds it was the case that Juggernaut required 300 IAS to auto-attack once during each jump. With a BAT decrease, he only needs 275 IAS to be as effective.

    This means that the hero did not only become a better rightclicker, but can also utilize his ultimate to its full potential with one AS item less.

    Keeper of the Light

  • Added Aghanim’s Scepter upgrade: Provides permanent Spirit Form. Additionally, the following effects are active during the day: Keeper of the Light gains unobstructed vision and Illuminate heals allies for 75% of the damage values
  • This change is really huge. The concept of unobstructed vision is undoubtedly strong. Checking Roshan pit, looking out for ganks and other information advantages this hero gets are coupled with the healing aspect of Illuminate and unrestricted access to Recall and Blinding Light.

    And since Keeper of the Light can farm faster than most supports, getting an Aghanim’s Scepter is not that hard and should become a priority. At least in my opinion.


  • Torrent area of effect increased from 215 to 225
  • X Marks The Spot can now last twice as long on allied heroes
  • Ghost Ship allied buff duration increased from 8 to 10
  • Add Ghost Ship AOE indicator for allies
  • Some minor buffs to the effects of the spells are really nice on this one-hit wonder carry, however it is X Marks the Spot that takes the cake. At level 4 of the ability, an ally (or yourself) has 8 seconds to go in, do some damage and safely return to the starting point. The utility of this spell will drastically increase with this buff and there are a lot of ways it can be utilized.

    Legion Commander

  • Overwhelming Odds bonus damage per hero is increased from 14/16/18/20 to 20/35/50/65
  • Overwhelming Odds area of effect increased from 315 to 330
  • Overwhelming Odds base damage rescaled from 50/100/150/200 to 60/100/140/180
  • Moment of Courage now uses Pseudo Random chance
  • Making Overwhelming Odds a mini Echo Slam will increase the overall usefulness of it and should make leveling it a priority (total possible damage with 5 heroes and no creeps is 505).

    It also received a 10% Area of Effect increase, making it a very strong counter-push spell as well as a very decent nuke.


  • Lightning Storm now slows its targets by 75% for 0.5 seconds
  • In my opinion, this is a really strong buff to a very underestimated hero. While 0.5 slow does not seem too strong, it is the synergy with Split Earth that makes it really scary. Since the target you want to stun should not necessarily be the first to get the debuff from Lightning Storm, it is now possible to time these two abilities in a way that will leave the enemy with very little options.

    And since good Leshrac players will no longer need a set-up to be effective, we will probably see a decent rise in the popularity of the hero, as well as higher versatility of this pick.


  • Frost Armor can now be cast on buildings
  • Aghanim’s Scepter Chain Frost no longer has a bounce limit
  • Being able to protect the buildings against the enemy threat, increasing its armor and reducing the AS of attacking opponents by 20 is a really nice addition to an already great hero for strategies that involve getting an XP/Gold advantage over the enemy by decreasing the possible supply of sources for this income.

    And the infinite amount of bounces an Chain Frost is a cherry on top. it does seem a lot stronger on paper, rather than it will be in actual teamfights, however the utility of this ultimate in fights that involve enemy creeps has drastically increased.


  • Attack range increased from 650 to 670
  • Aghanim’s Scepter Laguna Blade damage goes through magic immunity
  • The hero remained relatively unpopular due to her awkward attack and spell animations. However, with the second best attack range and a crazy ultimate I can see how she could fit in certain lineups as either a support or even a core hero.

    Quick calculations show that her upgraded ultimate at level 16 can deal 937 damage. In most cases it will deal at least a third of the total HP pool for most heroes. And since she can get a ridiculous attack speed with her Fiery Soul, she will not lose that much of her presence later in the game. All that while staying relatively safe, 670 units away from the enemy.


  • Hex cooldown reduced from 30/25/20/15 to 30/24/18/12
  • I strongly believe that Lion is extremely underestimated. All of his abilities can be seen as disables of a kind, where Mana Drain can leave some heroes without any active abilities and Finger of Death is capable of simply destroying an enemy support in the early teamfights.

    His Hex is a great ability for several reasons. It has a 0 cast point, making it one of the best reactive spell in the game. At level 1 it has a longer duration than the one of Shadow Shaman. And with a cooldown buff I see no reasons why this hero can’t be picked as a very decent substitute to Nyx Assassin.

    Lone Druid

  • Spirit Bear health regeneration increased from 2 to 2/3/4/5
  • Increased lane sustainability is not that impressive when compared to the buffs some other less popular hero got. But overall it is a nice addition and it certainly makes claiming that 300 XP/Gold bounty a bit harder.


  • Base agility reduced from 22 to 18
  • Nooova? Nooova…


  • Shapeshift no longer provides 100/200/300 bonus health
  • It a strong nerf. It is a well-deserved nerf. It is a meaningless nerf.

    I really appreciate how each time the patch comes out the differences between heroes become more and more apparent. And the overall power level of heroes rises.

    And I really enjoy the fact that Lycan got quite a bit stronger in the last several patches – he is not necessarily broken right now, but he is very distinct in his playstyle.

    There is a more meaningful nerf to this hero discussed later.


  • Removed Skewer maximum target limit
  • Skewer range increased from 600/800/1000/1200 to 750/900/1050/1200
  • A decent overall buff to the offlaning Magnus. Making it a lot easier for him to escape can bring this hero back into the meta, without claming the rather undeserved middle lane.


  • Split Shot reworked from 50/60/70/80% damage with 5 maximum targets, to 80% damage with 2/3/4/5 maximum targets
  • Mystic Snake no longer requires Fog of War vision to bounce
  • Mana Shield damage absorption per mana increased from 1/1.5/2/2.5 to 1.6/1.9/2.2/2.5
  • I particularly enjoy the changes to Split Shot, since 2 points into the ability will allow Medusa efficiently farm jungle and ancients much earlier.

    The effectiveness of the Mana Shield also greatly contributes to the early-game survivability of the hero, while a buff to Mystic Snake will make her a bit more capable of aggression.


  • Base movement speed increased from 305 to 315
  • A minor buff to Meepo makes him able to outrun most of the heroes at level 1. It is a relatively strong buff, however it will unlikely make him popular.


  • Sacred Arrow vision reduced from 800 to 650
  • Less utility in terms of scouting. It is not necessarily the strongest nerf, but certainly a well-deserved one.

    Naga Siren

  • Mirror Image illusion damage dealt reduced from 30/35/40/45% to 20/25/30/35%
  • Rip Tide area of effect reduced from 350 to 320
  • Rip Tide negative armor no longer goes through magic immunity
  • Finally, some nerfs to the re-discovered 1st position Naga. A 10% decrease damage output for illusions, decrease in the AoE of her nuke and its inability to penetrate magic immunity will not break the hero, while making her a little bit less of a threat at the later stages of the game.


  • Heartstopper Aura area of effect increased from 1000 to 1200
  • Reaper’s Scythe now adds +30% duration to the respawn timer
  • While an increase to the radius is a really nice addition, it is the ultimate – Reaper’s Scythe buff that really stands out.

    Considering the upgraded version of it also prevents heroes from buying back, Necrophos is probably one of the strongest supports in games that last more than 30 minutes. And he can also be played as a core hero (his poor attack animation makes for a somewhat sub-optimal mid, though).

    I would really like to see that hero in the competitive scene and considering all the buffs, chances are my wish will be granted.

    Night Stalker

  • Darkness now also affects the vision of buildings
  • It is a decent buff to an ultimate that already made the whole enemy team feel extremely claustrophobic. The information disadvantage the enemy will get from this ultimate can be proved really strong in certain setups.

    Nyx Assassin

  • Impale cooldown increased from 11 to 13
  • Impale can no longer be blocked by Linken’s Sphere
  • It is a both a nerf and a buff to a spell. Ever since the rework to Impale it has always bothered me that it was blocked by Linken’s Sphere. Since it is no longer the case, certain initiations are now possible and in my personal opinion it outweighs the 2 second cooldown increase.

    Ogre Magi

  • Base armor increased by 1
  • Cast animation improved from 0.56 to 0.45
  • While the armor increase is certainly a nice addition to a melee support hero, it is the cast animation improvement that will probably make some professional teams consider this extremely volatile and unpredictable support hero. The increase in itself is not that huge, however it will allow the hero to cast in-between microstuns, such as Cold Snap and Battery Assault.

    Undoubtedly, the hero can be extremely strong if fortune smiles your way, but he is also on the most greedy supports that requires both gold and experience to be effective. And the fact that current meta usually results in sub 30 minute matches, there still might be not enough space for this hero.


  • Purification area of effect increased from 225 to 240
  • Repel no longer removes positive buffs from allies
  • Guardian Angel duration increased from 5/6/7 to 6/7/8
  • Aghanim’s Scepter Guardian Angel duration increased from 5/6/7 to 8/9/10
  • A multitude of rather strong buffs is what this another greedy support hero needed. An extra second to the ultimate is extremely strong, yet again, it is highly unlikely that this hero will be able to get his levels and items in time to fully utilize his skillset.

    Phantom Assassin

  • Stifling Dagger cooldown reduced from 8 to 6
  • Blur evasion chance increased from 20/25/30/40 to 20/30/40/50
  • I do not necessarily think that the buffs received are weak. In fact, they are rather decent, with 50% evasion and a spammable slow that can deal an impressive amount of damage.

    However the hero is extremely weak by design. And it will require more than number tweaking on her skills to make her a viable choice in the competitive setup.


  • Icarus Dive cast point extended from 0.01 to 0.2
  • Fire Spirits damage reduced from 15/35/55/75 to 10/30/50/70
  • Fire Spirits health cost increased from 15% to 20%
  • An all-around nerf to one of the most annoying pub heroes. Chances are – after some testing this hero will make it to Captain’s Mode, since most of his abilities are rather well-balanced.

    Addition of a cast time to his only escape ability will probably make his offlane a bit harder. but should not tamper with it too much.


  • Decrepify mana cost reduced from 100 to 60
  • Nether Ward duration increased from 25 to 30
  • The decrease in mana cost for Decrepify is a nice buff, but it is rare to see Pugna have mana issues in the later stages of the game, when this spell usually gets into play (Maxing Nuke/Ward is usually a better choice).

    Cooldown decrease on Nether Ward, on the other hand, leaves the enemy team with only 5 seconds during which they can use their spells without paying a huge price in terms of their HP. And this skill is so good that I honestly believe it deserves its own Refresher Orb.

    Queen of Pain

  • Shadow Strike cooldown reduced from 20/16/12/8 to 16/12/8/4
  • Shadow Strike cast range increased from 400 to 435
  • The reason this hero has fallen out of the meta is the fact that she becomes rather useless pretty quickly. She can deal with the supports really fast and can do a considerable amount of damage to the enemy carry, but there is a multitude of heroes that can do the same, while having some additional effects that will provide a lot more utility (e.g. Puck).

    And with her horrible cast points it is unlikely she will be making a comeback any time soon. At least not with the changes introduced in 6.81.


  • Strength gain increased from 1.7 to 2.3
  • Unstable Current slow duration increased from 0.4/0.8/1.2/1.6 to 0.5/1/1.5/2
  • One of the best “anti-carries” just got a little bit better. Considering Razor saw very little competitive play, it is a really nice buff that increases his survivability and makes him a good pick against certain lineups.


  • Backstab now works when attacking allied units
  • Titan.kYxY will be really happy about this change.

    Shadow Demon

  • Added Aghanim’s Scepter upgrade: Demonic Purge cooldown replaced with two charges that have a 40 second replenish time
  • In a meta where most teams have multi-core lineups being able to slow down and kite two carries in possession of a BkB can be fight-turning. It is a really nice addition to the late game Shadow Demon. However, in my opinion, getting some form of mobility should still remain a priority.

    Shadow Fiend

  • Requiem of Souls’ secondary debuff now affects magic immune units
  • If I understand it correctly, the secondary debuff is a slow/damage reduction. And having a mechanic similar to Wraith King‘s Reincarnation should prove to be relatively useful.


  • Agility growth increased from 2.1 to 3.0
  • Curse of the Silent cooldown reduced from 20/18/16/14 to 20/16/12/8
  • With one of the highest Agility gains in game and a spammable ability that forces the enemy heroes to inefficiently use their mana Silencer can now fit both the roles of a support and a decent core hero. In my opinion, it would be unwise to dedicate a core slot to him, but unlike most supports, his presence in the game will only increase over time.

    Skywrath Mage

  • Base movement speed increased from 315 to 325
  • Concussive Shot damage increased from 50/100/150/200 to 60/120/180/240
  • An increase in movement speed for an extremely fragile hero is a huge buff in terms of survivability. In addition to that, his presence as a mid hero should also increase, since his extra mobility will allow for some really successful ganks.

    The buff to the slow is nice, however it is usually better to get extra levels in other abilities, with a single value point in Concussive Shot


  • Fixed Sniper’s acquisition range not matching his maximum attack range
  • A bug fix, which will make Sniper auto-attack new targets at a maximum range on sight, if the attack command was issued or the auto-attack option is on. Previously, he would move closer to the target to start hitting.

    Spirit Breaker

  • Nether Strike cast range increased from 400/550/700 to 700
  • Nether Strike cooldown rebalanced from 75 to 80/70/60
  • A small buff/re-balancing to a hero that is yet to find his role in the competitive scene after the previous nerfs.


  • Base damage increased by 6
  • A substantial increase to the farming phase of the hero, as well as a small buff his late-game potential. Not a lot to talk about.

    Templar Assassin

  • Psionic Trap sub-ability now has the same cast point as the ability on the trap itself
  • Most of the better players already used it that way, so overall it is not necessarily a buff, but rather a simplification of the hero for pub players.


  • Strength gain reduced from 1.9 to 1.4
  • Reflection slow no longer persists through magic immunity
  • Reflection duration rebalanced from 5 to 2.5/3.5/4.5/5.5
  • Honestly, I don’t even want to analyze this bit, since I am way too busy celebrating the appropriate nerfs to an extremely strong/annoying hero.


  • Anchor Smash damage reduction increased from 40 to 60%
  • Anchor Smash now works on Ancient creeps
  • This change alone might as well bring Tidehunter into the competitive scene, as he is now capable of not only leeching Experience from an offlane, but stack and efficiently farm ancients.

    Overall – a really nice addition a hero long forgotten.


  • Heat Seeking Missile is no longer blocked by Ethereal
  • A small bug fix.


  • Craggy Exterior stun duration rescaled from 1.2/1.3/1.4/1.5 to 1/1.25/1.5/1.75
  • A very decent buff to a hero that has been slowly regaining his popularity in the last month. Being one of the best pushers and decent carries, this change might be what the hero needed to make a definitive comeback.

    Troll Warlord

  • Melee Whirling Axes cast point improved from 0.2 to 0
  • A small buff that will make Troll Warlord gameplay a bit smoother.


  • Reworked Snowball into a two-part ability: one which creates the snowball, and a sub-ability to launch the snowball. You have up to 4 seconds to use the sub-ability. The area that automatically pulls allies in has been reduced.
  • You can now load an ally into your snowball within 400 range by right clicking on them
  • Snowball moves 75 MS faster for each allied hero inside it
  • Snowball deals 20/30/40/50 extra damage for each additional hero in it
  • The whole rework to the Snowball made it a lot more versatile and useful. Providing 4 seconds of invulnerability to yourself and teammates can save the whole team from a lot of really punishing AoE, such as Epicenter and Eclipse.

    Its initiation power has also risen, since you no longer need to wait for the allies who don’t want to catch the ride to walk away from you. On top of that, the amount of damage dealt and the speed of the snowball can be potentially higher and the hero can be certainly used in and against particular lineups. ( Meepo + Tusk seems like a really strong roaming duo)


  • Soul Rip area of effect increased from 975 to 1300
  • Tombstone Zombie Deathlust’s Max % health threshold increased from 5/10/15/20% to 20/25/30/35%
  • Tombstone Zombies no longer give any experience or gold
  • Tombstone Bounty increased from 70/90/110/130 to 75/100/125/150
  • Flesh Golem’s Plague Aura now affects magic immune units
  • An array of small buffs to most of the hero’s abilities sum up to a very decent hero with higher presence at the later stages of the game. The increase of the Soul Rip radius is especially welcome, since this ability used to be rather weak in most situations.

    Plague Aura going through BkB means that Undying will not be useless after the initial laning phase and will be capable of contributing a lot to his team.

    And as a cherry on top – removal of bounty on the Zombies will eliminate the only drawback this spell had. They were not necessarily pricey, however this extra gold used to be a blessing for supports, in case the fight didn’t go that well for Undying.


  • Fury Swipes is no longer a Unique Attack Modifier
  • The first time I’ve read this change I honestly didn’t believe it – it seemed overpowered on so many levels. Thinking about it a bit more I’ve realized that while it is undoubtedly strong, it is not as game-breaking as it seems.

    There are not a lot of UAM’s in the game, and not all of them would be good on Ursa. Eye of Skadi could prove very useful later in the game, since it gives HP, Agility and Mana, however it is in way a priority. Diffusal Blade on the other hand seems rather good, since it provides a decent slow and will further increase the burst damage from Overpower. It does sound a bit gimmicky, but I really think it could work.

    And lifesteal could be solved the old way – Vladmir’s Offering is just too good on the hero with armor and mana issues. Though sometimes getting a Mask of Madness or a Satanic could be very useful.

    Vengeful Spirit

  • When Vengeful Spirit is slain, her killer is inflicted with a negative Vengeance Aura, which decreases the damage of her killer and their nearby allies, until she revives
  • Even more reasons to get only 1 level in stun and max Wave of Terror and Vengeance Aura first. Since the chances of Vengeful Spirit dying right after her initiation are rather high, this addition will make sure she can help her team even from the other world. A very interesting change indeed.


  • Grave Chill cooldown increased from 10 to 16/14/12/10
  • A relatively minor nerf, considering it is usually wiser to save mana for an extra Soul Assumption rather than an extra Grave Chill.


  • Shadow Word duration increased from 9 to 11
  • Upheaval cooldown reduced from 50 to 50/46/42/38
  • A 2 seconds increase to the duration of Shadow Word corresponds to 90 extra damage/heal at level 4 of the ability. Total damage/heal is 495.

    I honestly don’t understand why we don’t see this hero in the competitive scene that much. Yes, he is a rather greedy support and a rather sub-optimal offlaner and mid, however he offers so much in terms of damage and crowd control that it is possible to overlook these drawbacks.

    With the extra buffs he received I bet some of the professional teams will try to find a place for this hero to fit.


  • Activating Windrun now disjoints incoming attack projectiles
  • Aghanim’s Scepter Focus Fire damage reduction decreased from -50/-40/-30 to -30/-15/0, and no longer has special rules for procs
  • Another former support/offlane hero that was rather unpopular in the recent couple of months. With these buffs, however, she can transition really well into the lategame, since she does not require any for of attack speed increase to deal a lot of damage, provided she has an aghanim’s scepter. Not every hero can boast maximum attack speed at level 6, and while skipping it that early is probably a better choice, I see no reasons to skip it later in the game or completely disregarding it.

    Witch Doctor

  • Maledict cooldown reduced from 35 to 20
  • Death Ward base attack time improved from 0.25 to 0.22
  • Maledict is an extremely powerful spell that can completely decimate enemy heroes. However it is rather hard to land effectively, with a long cast point, low range and small radius.

    Increasing any of the aforementioned attributes would make it borderline broken, hence a cooldown decrease is a really nice buff to a spell that has more impact than some ultimates on other heroes.

    The Death Ward BAT increase is peculiar. I honestly have no idea where this amendment came from.

    Wraith King

  • Mortal Strike damage ratio increased from 1.25/1.75/2.25/2.75 to 1.5/2/2.5/3
  • Base armor reduced by 1
  • A 0.25 Multiplier increase on critical strike is rather underwhelming and -1 armor is somewhat insignificant in the later stages of the game. Overall, it makes Wraith King a little bit more aggressive.

    Also, interestingly, it is probably the only case where -1 armour can be considered a situational buff, since sometimes you just don’t die fast enough for the slow and teammate follow-up to kick in. On top of that, since there are less auto-attack require to kill you, certain “mana-drain” abilities ( Anti-Mage, [missing item: necronomicon-3]) will have lower chance of completely draining your mana before you proc the Reincarnation


  • Arc Lightning cast point improved from 0.4 to 0.2
  • Lightning Bolt true sight range reduced from 900 to 750
  • Lightning Bolt flying vision range reduced from 1000 to 750
  • Lightning Bolt can now be cast on the ground, affecting the closest enemy hero in a 250 range
  • A decrease in cast point for Arc Lightning makes it a lot easier to last hit in mid, a role this hero is probably best suited for. It does not necessarily make him a viable competitive pick, however he can be situationally good.

    The nerfs to the vision and true sight on Lightning Bolt are definitely outweighed by the ability to have a flying vision/true sight on demand at any point on the map. Dewarding and revealing invisible heroes just got a lot easier.


    Animal Courier

  • Ground Courier respawn time reduced from 180 seconds to 140 seconds
  • Against those annoying, courier-sniping Nature’s Prophet‘s. If you lose a courier early in the game, it will be a lot less punishing.


  • Bloodpact heal increased from 400 HP + 30 HP/charge to 500 HP + 30 HP/charge
  • A 100 HP extra heal on this item does not make it a lot stronger, but it certainly provides a decent buff to the typical Bloodstone carriers, such as Timbersaw


  • Mana regeneration from 100 over 30 seconds to 135 over 40 seconds
  • A really strong change to the lane harassment and sustainability. It still restores 100 mana over 30 seconds but also provides an extra 35 on top of it.

    Eul’s Scepter of Divinity

  • Cyclone now deals 50 damage to enemy units when they land
  • You can now cast Cyclone on yourself while you are magic immune
  • Eul now disables Blink Dagger. That is huge, considering it used to give enough time for enemy blinkers to get their blinks recharged.

    Manta Style

  • Mirror Image now resets the current attack and spell targeting priority
  • It is both a very strong buff and a bugfix, since it was intended to work this way from the very beginning. Now, when you use your illusions, it will be a lot harder for the enemy to determine which one is real, since the target spells and auto-attacks will not miraculously reveal the real one right after the shuffling.


  • Chain Lightning damage reduced from 160 to 150
  • Static Shock area of effect is now centered around the unit with the Static Charge, rather than around the attacker
  • Fixed Chain Lightning not functioning properly when it procs while a previous proc is still bouncing
  • Some minor tweaks/fixes to the Mjolnir Static Charge/Chain Lightning behavior.


  • Necronomicon Warrior’s movement speed rescaled from 330/360/390 to 350
  • Necronomicon units XP bounty increased from 59 to 100/150/200
  • A really great indirect nerf to both QE Invoker and Lycan, as well as multitude of other pushing heroes. The increase in XP bounty will make suicidal Necronomicons a thing of the past, while the MS decrease will help the focus target survive a lot longer and possibly escape.

    Observer Ward

  • Sharing wards with allies now requires a Control key override
  • A fix, not a balance update.

    Pipe of Insight

  • Pipe health regeneration reduced from 11 to 8
  • Pipe now provides Insight Aura, which grants 4 health regeneration to nearby allies
  • Pipe’s active buff is no longer dispellable
  • The 4 HP/sec regen will make prolonged pushes a lot more sustainable and breachin early high grounds a lot easier. While the inability of the enemy to dispel the barrier buff will come in handy against certain lineups.

    Rod of Atos

  • Cripple ability cooldown reduced from 12 to 10
  • I honestly wish the Spoof changelof from the 1st of April was true at least with this item. It promised a 25 Pure Damage from Rod of Atos making it capable of disabling Blink Dagger. The way it is now, it is still a rather sub-optimal item that is very situational.

    Scythe of Vyse

  • Hexed units’ base movement speed increased from 100 to 140
  • I have no idea where this change came from, but it is a very small nerf to a very good item.

    Shadow Amulet

  • Fade no longer requires the target to remain stationary
  • A very strange buff to the item that is rarely used by anyone, with the exception of heroes that get Shadow Blade later on.

    Shadow Blade

  • Shadow Walk duration increased from 12 to 14
  • A small buff to an item that was previously nerfed a bit too much.

    Town Portal Scroll

  • Added an option to require a halt command to in order to cancel a Town Portal Scroll
  • I am extremely happy that this is an option, since sometimes baiting spells or scaring away the enemy with a TP scroll and cancellation of it is the best play. And looking for a halt command when you are used to just right-click to stop the TP would be really annoying.

    Just use the Shift key if you are afraid of accidentally stopping your TP. It works better this way.

    Closing Comments

    The 6.81 dealt with a multitude of problems present in 6.80. The very popular heroes, such as Ember Spirit and Lycan were nerfed enough to be less popular, but not enough to become unviable, while a multitude of other heroes have received very interesting buffs.

    Additionally, the 6.81 patch has provided a lot of supports with ways of being useful in the very late game, adding several Aghanim’s Scepter upgrades, some of which are extremely interesting.

    Chances are, there are still going to be minor tweaks before the TI4, however I am really happy about the changes introduced since they will likely to provide even more versatility and possibilities during the picking phase.

    As always:

    Thank you for Reading!

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