6.86 brought a variety of changes that not only affected heroes and items, but also the map as we know it. While the Dire jungle remained largely the same, the Radiant has experienced changes that redefine how a team should ward and control the map. We’ll take a look at these changes and break them down for you.
Note: Click on any image to enlarge it
Before we address any of the old ward spots, there is one brand new spot. Right on top of the new camp next to the Radiant Secret shop, a new cliff has emerged that wants you to ward it. From up there, you have full vision over the Secret Shop area, as well as the Ancients and the stairs leading up to them. Unlike its counter part, the Ward above the Roshan pit, it may not be as useful for both sides.
Valve has changed some of the very iconic and significant ward spots of the Radiant part of the map. Take this one Ward spot for example. A usually very Dire favored Ward spot at the Radiant Ancient camp used to give vision to both the camp, as well as to the midlane highground of the Radiant. Now however, it only provides you with reliable vision over the Ancient camp. It becomes a tradeoff, whether you want to control the ancients (something you’ll need during the midgame) or if you want the highground vision (a key factor for the laning stage).
However, there is a small trick to play around that. By cutting/eating one of the trees, you still get a little bit of highground vision. Obviously, cutting/eating more trees would provide you with even more vision, but it would also be more obvious.
Another very popular ward spot is the one above the Radiant hard camp. It used to be the go-to ward for the Dire when infiltrating the jungle and trying to find pickoffs, or the ultimate defensive ward for the Radiant. It may still very much serve these purposes, but placing the Ward, or dewarding it, has become a bit more difficult.
Looking at the image, the hill/cliff used to be where Anti-Mage is standing. Now, you’d have to walk even further to plant the ward. In fact, before you could even do it from the treeline on the left from the lowground, putting you in even less danger. As Dire, this means it’s easier to plant and deward it, because not only is it further away from the Radiant base, but there’s also an additional path right next to it. Because of that additional path leading to the hard camp, this Ward spot becomes even more important. On top of that, it now provides clear vision over the camp above it, something it didn’t do to a degree it does now.
There is another significant Ward spot on the Radiant side, one that used to be popular among Dire offlaners. One that allowed you to see both the Rune, as well as the movement by the supports if they ganked you. Now, the new hard camp and the new ramp occupy that Ward spot. Technically, it’s still possible to have a Ward see both the Rune and some of the support movement, but placing it puts you in a bit more danger and it may not provide you with all the possible movements.
When talking about Wards, one has to talk about the Rune spots. The bottom Rune spot has moved up a bit, which has only little meaning in the grand scheme of things. The top Rune spot may have not moved, but due to the ramps being changed, it appears to be a bit further down. In general, looking at the water is always a good way to see where exactly the Rune will spawn.
Again, it is mostly the Radiant jungle that has experiences changes. As mentioned above, the Radiant hard camp has now gotten a pathway to the right of it. In addition, a path in the treeline has been added to make it even more accessible. That opened up treline actually allows for an additional Ward spot to be even better.
The Dire offlane now has a hard camp to pull to. To make it resemble the Radiant Offlane/Dire Safelane, this camp is also the designated double pull camp. Much like before, you’ll have to eat through a tree and can then double pull.
The cliffs at the top rune have both now gotten walkable paths, meaning that if you somehow end up on top of one, you can easily walk down. The same applies to one of the cliffs at the bottom rune (Radiant Side).
Thew two new camps at both Secret Shops fit well into the terrain and can both be scouted by adjacent Ward spots.
Another change on the Radiant side now allows the Dire to infiltrate the enemy jungle easier. The Tier1 tower is now further away from the river, meaning that there is a line at which you would not have vision. This can be especially useful during the nighttime.
What do these changes mean?
The Radiant jungle has more openings now and it is rather difficult to keep full control over it for both sides. Sometimes it even seems as if two Wards are necessary to keep your carry in the jungle safe, as numerous amounts of entrances and pathways make it easier for gank attemps. This lack of safety becomes apparent when there are early roamers present, such as Spirit Breaker or Bounty Hunter, who have an easier time chasing junglers now.
Contesting Runes has also become a bit more difficult for the Radiant now, something that used to be much in their favor, for both Runes.
Overall, these changes are supposed to bring balance to both factions, as the Dire jungle was considered to be easier to invade. These changes certainly go into the right direction, but it may also have given the Dire a slight edge. Some time will be needed to properly judge and adjust to these changes, but they certainly have made the game more challenging – for both sides.
Update: Spawn Boxes
Upon popular request, we’ve taken a look at the spawn boxes as well – and we’re glad we did that! Spawn boxes are important in order to block any camps in the early game, be it to annoy the jungler or to prevent the opponent from pulling. Let’s take a look at the new camps first.
The new camps have quite large spawn boxes. Depending on what the meta may look like, this could become important when attempting to block one of these camps. While you can cleverly hide your Ward on the Radiant side, the Dire has less options to do so. For the Dire camp though, an aggressive Ward from the Radiant in front of the Secret Shop was not unusual and a blocked camp could give that one away.
Before we talk about the Radiant camps, here are all of their spawn boxes.
The hard camp to the left and the small camp have changed notably. They have become smaller, most likely due to the terrain changes. You used to be able to block off the small camp from the right side with a Ward placed in the treeline, forcing the enemy to cut their way through to deward. You can still block the camp from the right side, but it’s not as hidden anymore.
As for the hard camp on the right side, which acts as both the double pull camp for the Radiant, as well as offlane pull camp for the Dire: This camp could potentially see some Warding shennanigans between both sides. The Radiant could potentially block it to prevent any offlane pulls, while still gaining vision over the enemy offlaner (see below), and vice versa, where the offlaner prevents the double pull while still getting good vision out of the jungle.
For both sides, these changes to the spawn boxes don’t seem broken or game changing just yet, but through playing around with it and some tinkering, one may find that one Ward spot that will be.
If you want to play around with these spawn boxes yourself, you should check out the custom map “Neutral Camp Spawn Boxes by devilesk”, which has been updated for 6.86 already and was used to take these screenshots.
Have you found a Ward spot yet that could be the Ward spot of 6.86?