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The Tinker rework in 7.30 was initially met with skepticism and disbelief. After all, the hero lost his main farming tool. What he got in return, though, is the reason he needed an early game farming tool in the first place. So isn’t Tinker better off now after being in a good enough spot already? Let’s take a look.
Initially, it truly looked as if Tinker got nerfed incredibly hard, dropping down to 45% win rate across all brackets, as players adjusted. This same period also marked increased interest in the hero: his popularity went from ~8.5% pre-patch to 15.25% at its peak. What is interesting, however, are the following trends.
After the initial drop, over the next two weeks Tinker’s win rate got back to pre-patch values, comfortably hovering around 50%: not necessarily strong, but still a decent hero. Naturally, one would expect that this increase was the result of the hero’s popularity dying out and similarly returning to pre-patch values or even lower, thus leaving only dedicated, successful players who play the hero. This isn’t the case with Tinker, however.
The hero’s popularity actually rose. It went from 8.5% to almost 10.5% and typically, when the hero’s popularity increases, their win rate drops, not get back to initial values. What is even scarier, though, is that apart from being a decent hero overall, Tinker also has an almost 55% win rate in Divine+ games this week.
In short, after the initial shock, more players now play Tinker, on average they win the same amount of games as previously, and at the highest level of play, the hero even got more successful. Are we looking at a potentially patch-defining hero without realizing it?
What did it cost? Nothing, actually.
Tinker needed farm to get Boots of Travel as soon as possible, transition into getting Blink Dagger and then there were several different builds, concentrating on either damage or utility. The first two items, along with Soul Ring, were mostly non-negotiable. They were too important for the hero to work. Later on, the hero frequently transitioned into Boots of Travel 2 as well.
Nowadays, the hero doesn’t need Boots of Travel anymore. Hence, he isn’t as farm reliant as previously, at least in the first 15 minutes of the game. Hence he doesn’t need to skill up his farming tool he no longer has access to anyways. Hence he can get both of his nukes maxed out by level nine. Wait, what?
The simple fact that the hero no longer needs any kind of boots and is free to purchase Blink Dagger right after getting Soul Ring means that Tinker turned from a greedy farming core into a high spell damage tempo core, who is still among the most obnoxious late-game heroes in the game
Looking at the guides page it is easy to see that most competent Tinker players can get a pre-10 minute mark Blink Dagger. They also have 80%+ team kill participation. For reference, here is the Zeus guides page, which features roughly the same kill participation stats.
Tinker is a global menace with incredibly high tempo, massive teamfight presence, tons of damage and incredibly scaling. Oh, and the hero also has one slot extra, compared to other cores, since he doesn’t need boots. The hero might not have gotten stronger tactically, per se: he is just as effective as previously, but significantly earlier. But what about his macro presence?
One of the Tinker’s weaknesses was that while he was very effective at choking the enemy team, he simultaneously did the same to his own team as well. Farming as a greedy position one with a Tinker on your team was close to impossible. Nowadays, Tinker is a space creator, rather than space taker and that means come late-game, you are not battling Tinker and his underfarmed position one buddy. You are fighting against two well-fed cores.
This is a bit of an exaggeration, surely, but there is quite a bit of truth to it. Tinker can no longer shove waves as effectively and can’t hold high ground as well as previously, at least not until minute 20 and even then it isn’t as potent. At the same time, this doesn’t mean that his team gets less money. It just means that wealth is distributed more evenly between the members of his team and this is definitely a massive win for pub Tinkers and something pro Tinkers can play around.
Overall, it made the hero considerably less frustrating to play with and against. While he can feel just as oppressive in the later stages of the game as previously, perhaps even more so, courtesy of an extra potential slow, he shouldn’t be this much of a nuisance to deal with, if your team plays fast or has a sizable enough lead. Translating a Net Worth advantage into objectives is much easier against the new Tinker. Getting there is slightly harder, though.
New Tinker is still in the early stages of experimentation, but looking at the stats from the last two weeks, it seems like the hero might have gotten stronger at higher levels of play, while being simultaneously less frustrating to play against for newer players. The last part is especially welcome, given how Tinker was only rivaled by a select few in how annoying he was to deal with.
That said, we still feel the hero might need a nerf or two before the International, at least if the trend of increasing win rate and popularity continues. Do you agree with us, or do you think the new Tinker is weaker than the old one? Share your thought in the comment section below.