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    Dota 2 – The Primal Beast Update First Impressions

    Many are discouraged by the new patch and feel like after waiting for so long, the changes should have been more drastic. After all, we have been on a single major patch for roughly half a year and this time around we didn’t get a new toy in Aghanim’s Shard, or new mechanic in Neutral Items. What we got was more reminiscent of the pre-7.00 era: a slew of balance changes, some new ways to play the game, a couple of new items and a new hero. From my experience of more than fifteen years in Dota, that is a lot more than meets the eye.

    The Primal Beast

    Valve really like their Strength offlaners, it seems, since we are getting the third one in a row, though it is less of a complaint and more of an observation. There is very little to complain about right now, to be honest, as the hero was released seemingly underpowered.

    Once the numbers are tweaked, the Primal Beast should be a nice addition to a rather niche, but growing pool of position three heroes who, in theory, do not fully rely on Blink Dagger for initiation. Though, truth be told, despite a rather nice mobility and initiation skill in Onslaught, it is going to be hard to beat Blink + Pulverize in terms of efficiency and ease of execution.

    The hero is definitely in need of some extra care, so a more thorough discussion will follow once changes are made.

    New and Reworked Neutral Creeps

    Hearing all the complaints about how Dota was slowly turning into a lesser, more casual game, Valve decided to go back to the game’s RTS roots and give all Chen, Lycan, Beastmaster, Visage and Enchantress players a massive influx of new and exciting options.

    This isn’t the biggest part of the Dota player base and four out of five aforementioned heroes have been the least played heroes in pubs in the last month. Three out of five have been the least played heroes in Dota in the last year. This is probably the biggest reason a sizable portion of the community feels underwhelmed by the patch.

    It is a massive patch. It will have a very distinct impact on the meta, especially the professional one. It might take some time for players to adjust to it, though and the changes won’t be noticeable in every single game.

    However, Dota players adapt to win and more adaptable players, who will be willing to learn the intricacies of Microing units, will be rewarded. Pretty much every single mechanic can be covered by a right neutral creep and that means creep-dominating heroes are no longer synonymous with a mindless mob rush playstyle — they can be a swiss knife of Dota. It is no longer a Zoo, it is an Exhibition.

    New and Reworked Items

    Almost every single complaint we had in our recent Blog Post was addressed: Vlad’s can be a support item once again, Mage Slayer now has a progression and Drum of Endurance is back, at least theoretically.

    We also got a stat-agnostic Orchid and seemingly more reliable and useful Bloodstone that doesn’t get weaker than Kaya and Sange after one death. The Ethereal Blade is finally a caster item that now deals damage based on the enemy’s primary attribute, making it great against most Agility carries, but, ironically, especially devastating against Morphling.

    There is also Revenant’s Brooch which looks like a fun item for right-clicking Intelligence cores. Coming from HoN and having first-hand experience playing against Puppet Master with Harkon’s Blade, I am almost sure that it is a big deal, especially considering it allows the user to ignore ethereal effects on top of all the other benefits. Which pairs nicely with the new Ethereal Blade.

    However, personally, I feel like the biggest changes are not the ones highlighted in bold. They are small one-two line alterations to two existing items: Radiance and Diffusal Blade.

    The latter now costs roughly 20% less and the moment I saw it, I fully expected a full on Riki rework later on in the patch notes. Spoiler alert: it isn’t there and Riki now wins 55%+ of his games. This might be a go-to item for any aggressive Agility core.

    Radiance, on the other hand, might now rival Maelstrom and Battlefury as a farming tool. Since it can now be disassembled into Butterfly/Halberd and Nullifier/Rapier, there are so many ways to make use of the burn aura while it is relevant and then pivot towards right-click items later on.

    Hero Changes

    Possibly the most disappointing part of the patch notes, as Techies aside, there are very few noteworthy changes. Even Techies isn’t that different, in our opinion: he can still be quite annoying and do a lot to prevent push and now one doesn’t even need to pay attention to the map. The hero is objectively weaker and is one of the biggest losers of the patch, but he will probably get tweaked to become competitive.

    There are many noteworthy first trends, like Tiny, Pugna, Axe and Huskar, but very few heroes were changed on a fundamental level. Tiny is still a magic nuker who grows into a right-clicking nuker, Axe is still an initiating hero, but now he scales ridiculously well, Huskar is still Huskar, but tankier.

    We feel like Brewmaster and Omniknight are the two main changes when it comes to heroes. The former is in a weird spot, where he technically got stronger, but to fully tap into his potential you need a very experienced player. He is basically Tread Switching: the Hero, and when played well can be devastating. No hero has a 70%+ chance 1.9x crit, 60% magic resistance, 60% status resistance and 90% evasion on demand. Utilizing it perfectly is close to impossible, but some professional players will definitely want to tap into his potential.

    Omniknight can and seemingly should be played more aggressively now. Losing status resistance on Heavenly Grace is a big deal, but it is still a very strong counter-initiating save ability. Coupled with Hammer of Purity, we get a rather formidable lane support or an offlane core with high kill potential. It will take time before his role in the game is decided, but the problem with the hero was never his effectiveness — he was just, frankly, boring to play. The last change should change this fact, while also retaining some of the hero’s identity.

    Closing Thoughts

    There are tons of things to discuss in this patch and it will have a huge impact on how the game is played. It is also very clear that there will be adjustments to newly reworked heroes, as well as the Primal Beast, as there are certain balance issues around them.

    We usually get these changes in the first week of the patch, so stay tuned for our coverage of the first meta trends and new builds and playstyles for existing heroes.

    As seen on Dotabuff

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