Patch 6.87 has hit and with it has brought many changes. Underneath all the Earthshaker Slam Dunks and the Axe spin-to-wins, there have been subtle, but notable and important terrain changes that will change the way we play and approach the game.
Ward Placement and Vision changes
There may not be as many drastic ward spot changes here as there were in 6.86, but they are significant enough to pay attention to. The following has been a somewhat “secret” ward sport before and has now become more official. With this ward, you can spot movements in the Dire jungle. While it works well as an aggressive ward, it also excels as a defense ward spot for the Dire to see rotations and ganks into their own jungle. It is especially important to have vision in this area when contesting the Tier 2 in the Dire safelane.
In contrast to before, this ward spot now offers unobstructed vision, since it’s on its own cliff. That makes it very desirable, but of course it also becomes a more regular ward spot to check and deward as well.
The next change is not a single ward spot that was added, but it changes how some ward spots provide vision. The terrain at the Dire ancient camp has been massively changed. Not only were stairs to the Tier 1 tower added, the stairs to the Secret Shop were pushed back as well. Two trees need to be cut down to make a ward here effective, but if you do, not only do you get vision over both Secret Shop staircases and the Ancient camp itself, you also get vision of the path from the Tier 2 towards the Secret Shop. This vision could be highly beneficial for both factions, although in order to have defensive vision, the Dire could arguably place a few other, better wards.
This ward on the cliff to the left of Roshan now also provides vision to the ancient camp, and it catches just the edge of the staircase to the Secret Shop.
The cliff on the right to Roshan now obviously provides even more useful vision due to the added staircase.
The following changes only indirectly affect warding, but these two creep camps have caused issues with warding before.
Both these camps used to be bigger (comparison here and here) and thus required wards to be placed outside of them to prevent blocking their camps. Blocking the Dire Secret Shop camp was an easy sign for whether or not there was a ward.
The last significant, ward-related change was done to the Top Rune cliff on the Dire side. A tree was removed so a bit additional vision was added.
More juking, more defensive towers
If you think some of the changes above were subtle, then you’ll find the juking spots almost impossible to detect, but they are there. Juking is one of the more entertaining aspects of Dota, as it allows you to outplay opponents, and it feels very rewarding to escape death by superior awareness.
A significant juke spot was added to the Tier 2 bottom tower on the Radiant side. Technically, it was already possible to hide in the treeline before, and that has now been made easier. This is especially important for the Radiant when trying to defend the tower, so beware for hidden Sandkings or Earthshakers. That said, standing at the very edge of the juke spot reveals you to the lane, even if you can’t exit there, so listen to hyhy and stay in the trees!
Another notable spot is located near the Tier 1 Radiant offlane tower. It adds more safety for the offlaner when those greedy enemy safelaners decide to juke you. Pro Tip: Use this ward to scout out any pesky Tinker players.
Reddit user Ghost_Jor has compiled a list of some of the other, more subtle changes, so go check these out if you haven’t been able to see them in-game yet, or if you want to confirm that you indeed have not gone paranoid and that ramp at the Radiant bottom Tier 2 tower is in fact wider.
Patches like this one show how big the world of Dota is, and how rich this game is in its intricacies. Subtle map changes don’t dictate the flow of the meta, but they do influence how we play and perceive the game. Do you like the new terrain changes?