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    Dota 2 – Now And Forever: Heroes That Stand The Test Of Time

    The tension mounts for the release of patch 6.87, as we’re all waiting to see which heroes get buffed or nerfed. Sometimes the changes are severe, punishing dominant heroes and empowering weaker ones. Leshrac and Storm Spirit remain neutered post TI5, and [missing hero: outworld-devourer] is now a veritable first phase pick/ban. For the most part, however, the nature of changes to heroes are small and incremental, creeping heroes in and out of the meta (patch 6.86 was subtitled “Balance of Power”). Heroes like Invoker received a series of underrated buffs until they reached their peak levels of dominance. It may take a few more nerfs, notwithstanding recent efforts, to see him return to balanced levels of power.

    In the midst of this revolving door of heroes in and out of the meta, there are certain heroes that have stood the test of time. They’re the ones most resilient to change—in their stats, skills, and in the meta—because they provide a unique asset to the game that’s worth every sacrifice. Enigma will always be valuable as long as there is a jungle, despite how long the cooldown on Black Hole is. Dark Seer is still a stable pick, even if his Vacuum cooldown is increased by another second. These heroes are the comfort heroes of Dota and a signpost for how the meta has evolved around them. As Dota changes, once again in 6.87, we can look back to them and see how far we’ve gone.

    Welcome To The Jungle

    Heroes like Enigma and Dark Seer will always have a place in Dota’s meta, until their jungling capabilities are severely nerfed. In the case of Enigma, jungling can be greedy, but the risk is well worth it. The impact of Enigma goes beyond his ultimate. He threatens the early game with economic and level advantage, leveraging on his ability to capitalize on a perfect jungle rotation more than any other hero. This puts pressure on the opposing team to respond with an answer, or else fall behind for the rest of the game. Enigma was a first phase ban against Team Secret, usually played by Puppey, who, not by coincidence, was also responsible for TI2’s “The Play”.

    In the case of Dark Seer, he is a solid offlaner that has the flexibility to jungle when the lane doesn’t go too well. He has been the subject of Valve’s patch laboratory for so long that in patch 6.82 his Vacuum cooldown was jokingly changed from “28.0 seconds to 28 seconds.” Over the past two patches, he has received small nerfs to his base intelligence, but as history has shown, he can take the hit and still maintain relevancy in the meta (since patch 6.75, the cooldown of Vacuum has increased from 16 to 28 seconds). Dark Seer not only disrupts safe lane farming but is a stable pick. He’s relatively safe, as Surge is one of the best escape spells for an offlaner, and in a dangerous offlane he can always retreat to the jungle.

    These two heroes are emblematic of the dynamics of Dota that persist across every patch. There will always be a jungle, a demand for a stable offlaner, and an opening for a teamfight ultimate. Many heroes, like Chen and Tidehunter, can approximate what Dark Seer and Enigma do, but they won’t see close to the same consistency across patch and meta.

    Instant Transmission

    Global teleport is a broken mechanic, but one of the many that makes Dota as exciting as it is. Nature’s Prophet and Io both have the ability to teleport anywhere on the map. One of them can do it at level 1. Despite whatever nerfs fall on these heroes, the possibilities that a global TP offers is too much to ignore. Whether you like it or not, there is no such thing as “rat dota” without these two heroes.

    Nature’s Prophet has the benefit of versatility in item builds. He can split push, using his teleport to occupy the negative spaces of the map, and he can build core or support items and tip the scales of every skirmish. No other hero has the level of fervent item discussions that dominate in community forums. Shadowblade vs Blink Dagger. Maelstrom and Daedalus. Dagon. Aghanims and Octarine Core. He can be built in every way, be anywhere on the map, and he’ll find another place for himself in the next patch.

    It’s difficult to mention Wisp without his compatriot, Tiny, but in the end, who is really carrying the load? Against capable teams, Wisp is the priority ban. Even if it isn’t a meta hero, there will always be a few select teams who have the synergy to maximize its potential.

    Too Fun To Not Play

    Pudge and Invoker are two of the most played heroes in Dota (over 500 million matches placed between them since we’ve been recording stats), and they’ve both endured bouts of obscurity. They’ve been relevant because they’re fun to play. They’re two of the most unique heroes across all MOBAs, and the influence of their spell design and concepts can be seen in other games. Both heroes are commonly played mid, both bemoaned by teammates when picked, but their ubiquity in Dota history excuses them. As patch 6.87 approaches, balancing heroes from good and bad, at least there will be some heroes that will still be picked for the sheer enjoyment of playing Dota, whether you win or lose.

    As seen on Dotabuff

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