Every time a major patch comes out, it seems to reinvigorate our game that’s existed on the same mechanics for over ten years. That’s credit to its developer and to the level of depth in Dota. In 6.84, as usual we saw reworks to heroes and xp and gold mechanics, but we also saw nine new items that threatened to change the game once again.
I don’t think I’ve seen a highlight yet where an Enchanted Mango makes a significant difference. This item’s most noteworthy contribution of late has been as a punchline for Nigma’s Warlock Build, where he starts with four mangoes, one ward, and intimidates the rune spawn with Upheaval.
It’s certainly a hero dependent item, where in most cases it would replace a clarity for mana dependent heroes. For example, low mana pool lvl 1 heroes such as Earthshaker, Sven, and Vengeful Spirit could use a Mango to guarantee a 2nd stun in an early skirmish.
We’ve seen the item mostly used in offlaners, where it is more valued for its 1 hp/second regeneration than its 150 mana restore. The Mango then becomes a “break in case of emergency” item, and its use becomes too narrowly situational to warrant its purchase.
Glimmer Cape deserved its nerf, steering its use for more defensive than offensive purposes (recently, Cloud9’s NoTail picked up a glimmer cape on his Bounty Hunter). In the hands of Crystal Maiden and Witch Doctor it can give you a full duration ultimate, but its main utility has been to save yourself and your teammates, like a magical version of Ethereal Blade.
Glimmer Cape is a solid support item, and its use is becoming more impactful in a meta where heroes like Leshrac and Queen of Pain are growing in popularity.
Guardian Greaves empowered one of the highest win rate heroes of 6.84: Undying. Before his nerf, his win rate reached all time highs of 65+%. It’s no surprise that the win rate chart is dominated by healing heroes such as Abaddon, Omniknight, Undying, and Necrophos. Healing offsets your expectation of a team fight, extending a heroes lifespan to one more spell or one more hit. When you bring this concept into your average pub, it creates a bevy of mistakes.
Guardian Greaves is not a “win more” item. It’s an item that wins you the game. It helps you sustain a fight when pushing towers. It fits in the natural item progression for support heroes such as Undying and Omniknight. It has a 69% win rate. With the recent patch, it was indirectly buffed when it’s cooldown was left unchanged, whereas Mekanasm increased from 45 to 65 seconds.
Lotus Orb is blademail’s cousin. Though the item creates awkwardly amusing interactions with spells like Batrider’s Lasso or Spirit Breaker’s Charge, the most underrated aspect is its ability to remove debuffs from a hero.
Lotus Orb fits as a late game luxury support item. Think of the chain of events during a gank. Your carry gets initiated on with a blink disable. The rest of the enemy team follows up with their chain of spells. If you can insert your lotus orb cast immediately after the initial stun, it gives your carry enough time to activate his BKB and turn the fight around. To me, this is more important than the reflect effect. Lotus Orb is highly situational, but when it works, it really works.
Moon Shard is not just a situational item, it’s a highly situational item. It’s an item that’s an afterthought when you have six slots full and 4.3k gold lying around. It gives no stats other than attack speed and a buff to night vision. Though vision is important, it doesn’t fit in the first six items of nearly any hero. Even when Moon Shard is great on heroes such as Tiny and Slark, it can’t take priority over their core and situational items.
So Moon Shard’s appeal comes from its ability to be consumed, where it is 50% less effective.
With the nerf to hex, Silver Edge, Doom, and an Aghanim upgraded Demonic Purge are the only items and spells that can “break.” It’s a great item on Slark and Dragon Knight, and it can turn Spirit Breaker into a late game utility hero.
Shadow Blade was already in the realm of overpowered-pub-items. Silver Edge makes it better, giving cores a way to handle resilient carries such as Phantom Assassin, Faceless Void, and Bristleback. Before this patch we would have to rely on Scythe or Lion/Shadow Shaman’s Hex. Since we no longer can’t, Silver Edge is one of our last resorts.
Medallion of Courage turned Roshan from a boss into an annoyance. Solar Crest is better. Out of all the items this patch, Solar Crest is the one that made the easiest transition into competitive play. It’s perfect on Visage, Dazzle, and Vengeful Spirit.
Because of the timing of Solar Crest, its use isn’t to take down Roshan faster but rather to fortify your hero that’s pushing, whether its your Bristleback hammering the tower or a Gyrocopter charging on a high ground push. If you’re a support player, you have to be happy with patch 6.84. It’s a patch for the supports.
Octarine Core has the largest gap in expectation and reality. Some Dota fans bemoaned Valve for bringing in the spell lifesteal mechanic from League of Legends, and some felt that this item would be too strong on heroes such as Zeus and Leshrac. The truth is that Octarine Core is strong, but it is also 6k gold.
Octarine Core’s benefit comes more from its cooldown reduction. For example, on a hero like Queen of Pain, Octarine Core essentially increases your damage by reducing your spell cooldowns, while increasing the usage of core utility items such as Orchid, Scythe, BKB, and Necronomicon.
One recent interesting trend is Octarine Core on Naga. With no cd on illusions, a 45 second sleep, and a 34 second cd on Boots of Travel, OC seems to be the perfect item for Naga’s split pushing strength.
If there’s one glaring flaw with the item is that it has made Aghanim Scepter obsolete on Invoker. A 2 second vs 3.75 cooldown on Invoke is negligible compared to the reduced cooldown for all of his spells. Here’s hoping we see some adjustments to his Aghanims upgrade in the future.
The Item Meta
Glimmer Cape and Solar Crest are the star items of this patch. Most of the new items fall into situational use, where it can be exceptional on one hero but sub par on another. The rating to me is how impactful the item has been to the meta. For example, Glimmer Cape has far more utility across the board than games when a Leshrac or Naga dominates with Octarine Core.
Much like how hero picks can change from patch to patch and tournament to tournament, so can items. With TI5 looming on the horizon and pre-TI5 experimentation occurring until then, the meta is still wide open.