Image by jojojo
We are slowly moving towards more utility-based roles in our meta overview posts and today we are concentrating on the Offlane. Position three is probably the most demanding role when it comes to flexibility, both within a patch, and between patches. Players in this role need to adapt their whole playstyle, depending on what is needed from their position and 7.32e has a very wide variety of very different viable heroes.
Dark Seer is a teamfight-oriented offlaner who is highly independent. He can and should generally get his farm in lane without too much help from supports. His aggressive potential is mostly dependent on the laning partner, but we feel like it is slightly lower, compared to most other Offlaners.
The big change to the hero was the Soul Ring nerfs a couple of patches ago. The item itself is no longer viable outside a couple of mana-hungry Strength offlaners and players had to adapt. Dars Seer players most often adapt by having an inventory full of Enchanted Mangos, until they get their Arcane Boots. Sometimes one Null Talisman is purchased as well.
Their later progression involves general Offlane itemization into team defensive auras. Guardian Greaves and Pipe of Insight suit the hero exceptionally well. In certain games going Crimson Guard can also prove necessary.
The end result is a somewhat weird hero. We can’t say that Dark Seer truly brings anything powerful to the table. Don’t get us wrong: Vacuum is amazing and there are good reasons the ability was nerfed so many times throughout the years. It is not an independently powerful ability, though and in highly chaotic pubs it is sometimes hard to utilize its full potential.
Despite that Dark Seer is very effective and we feel like it mostly comes down to him having the most straightforward, most clear and relatively easy path towards having multiple defensive items.
The hero doesn’t really need much else: Blink Dagger is nice to have but you can play without it for a period, courtesy of Surge. Aghanim’s Scepter is quite powerful, but it isn’t as good having multiple ways to keep your teammates alive. So what we have in the end is a hero who can most reliably go for all the biggest meta items while remaining very effective through his abilities alone.
The hero simply refuses to leave meta. After all the nerfs and all the changes, Death Prophet remains one of the most reliable Offlane heroes in the patch. Mostly because she combines good lane pressure against heroes with good lane pressure against actual objectives.
Very few Offlane heroes can boast having good pushing capabilities. Most of them just shove in the waves and let creeps do the work with occasional safe auto-attack. Death Prophet still melts towers and that allows her to dictate the pace of the game, while creating a tremendous amount of space.
Instead of running around searching for a kill across the map, something the hero is actually quite bad at, she can force the enemy to come to her, or lose map control. This approach is much easier to abuse in a pub environment especially. The coordination from the enemy might not be there and sometimes instead of mounting a well-planned defense they just trickle in for some easy kills for Death Prophet.
The hero doesn’t scale nearly as well as she used to back in the day when Spirit Siphon had a percentage-based component, so finishing the game in the later portions of the match is outside of her capabilities and responsibilities. Still, she can build necessary auras for her team, can meaningfully contribute with a timely Scythe of Vyse purchase and can create an insane amount of space for the other two cores to benefit from.
Zoo heroes are always going to be a part of the game, it seems. Not that we are complaining about their presence, mostly about their ubiquity — from the looks of it, no matter the patch, Lycan is going to be in the top 10 heroes.
Very little changed for the hero recently. After the nerfs of Wraith Pact a lot of Helm of the Overlord offlane heroes returned to the meta, since Vladmir’s Offering is just too good of an aura to ignore. He did get a pretty hefty Howl buff that made it global during the night time, though, and it might be the biggest contributing factor to his recent success.
Global abilities are broken by default, at least during the laning stage. Having an option of getting a small edge across all three lanes is massive in the professional scene, where every bit counts. But it can also be utilized quite well in pubs.
A global four Armor reduction for eight seconds every single creepwave is what you get for a Howl value point and it is too much. Even if you just press in on cooldown every single time it is available, you will end up finding better trades, especially given how it also reduces attack damage. This is, more or less, a “win three lanes” button. And in pubs the laning stage tends to last a little bit longer than in higher level games.
On top of it, Lycan is still a very powerful pushing hero who can easily zone out and destroy enemy supports during a fight. His damage output in the late game is heavily dependent on his farm and he usually doesn’t get a lot of it, being an Offlaner and all. Still, his ability to create chaos in a teamfight is usually enough of a contribution, when paired with all the other macro benefits he brings to the table.
Offlane is still by far the widest, most flexible and arguably the most interesting and intense role in Dota. Despite the patch being very old, there are fresh ideas still being introduced to this position: be it new heroes, like Muerta or new builds.
What are your thoughts on the role in the current patch? Do you have any other candidates you would like to nominate as Top Tier for 7.32e?