posted by EskayDota,
Let me light up your world
A handful of changes to IO saw the little ball of light removed from Captain’s Mode, temporarily removing everybody’s favourite draft combination of Gyro / IO way, way outside of the meta. Quickly looking over the changes, there are three key buffs that made IO the gold support of the patch.
Now transferring health and mana via Tether when IO is on max health and mana is a large buff. Urns can be endlessly doubled, double fountain regen for any allies nearby a recently TP’d IO, and consumables out the wazoo for any laning partner, IO’s healing capabilities had a big bottleneck removed.
On top of this, the damage reduction provided by Overcharge was increased by a large 10% at every level, whilst the attack speed bonus was increased to be double what it previously was at max level (70 to 140). If you’re playing IO right, you’re saving cores, winning games and climbing your MMR ladder.
Image credit: Tethered Spirits loading screen
“Lion wasn’t strong enough” - Icefrog, smiling, presumably.
Lion was already strong from the 7.20 changes, as he received a buff to his mana drain slow at all levels, and also gained his iconic snowball-damage building ultimate. Was that enough to put the hero where the devs wanted him to be? No.
An increase to his gold per minute talent and an increase to his cast range talent means the arsenal of the support gets stronger. For a hero that was already at a perfectly balanced winrate of 50%, it seems an interesting choice to buff the hero.
Image credit: Infernal Wings loading screen
The unkillable Troll Warlord
Since having his ultimate reworked, Troll has been an in demand pick. Many would consider his 7.20 changes a big buff to the hero, and similarly to Lion, those buffs just keep coming.
With his attack speed buff ultimate being replaced with a trance that grants attack speed, movement speed and absurd lifesteal – not to mention a brief invulnerability to… death, Troll is an in-demand carry of the moment. With the changes of 7.21, Troll just keeps getting stronger.
With two useful buffs to his talents, the damage whirling axes does was increased marginally, alongside a buff to Troll’s evasion talent, as he now has the option to dodge 1 in every 4 attacks instead of 1 in every 5. Troll is certainly one to help turn those recent games into a spring field of green results.
Image credit: Loading Screen of the Imperious Command
Out late at Night, Stalking a new aghs upgrade
One of the valuable buffs given to this relatively out-of-meta hero was worth 4200 gold exactly. Night Stalker’s aghanim’s upgrade previously gave the hero unobstructed vision during night time. Excellent for both cores and supports, Night Stalker’s aghs upgrade was one of the best tools in his kit.
Now removed, the upgrade has been built in to his ultimate. Making the hero more viable early on to command map control and vision from the early game, Night Stalker was instantly made more of a viable pick for a plethora of reasons. Combined with the +15% lifesteal talent, the hero holds the fourth highest winrate of the patch (accurate to the 08th Feb).
In addition to this, a minor buff to the Hunter in the Night movement speed is marginal but not insubstantial. No new aghs upgrade was provided, so it’s a possibility that next patch the hero will receive yet another buff.
Image credit: Legends of Darkheart Pursuit loading screen
Shadow Demon. No pun here.
Want to run Shadow Demon mid and frustrate your stack? Now you can, with the new Topson mid-Shadow Demon build! Featuring in OG’s recent game versus Alliance, the mid Shadow Demon was a crucial part of their victory. But, importantly, why is this viable?
Shadow Demon has always dabbled on the fringes of the meta – outside of the Shadow Demon / Mirana combinations, or the SD / Kunkka support + an Invoker combo, Shadow Demon hasn’t really had a place. With reworks in both 7.20 and 7.21, SD is now one you can definitely pick to style on your enemies.
This patch, receiving a nice buff to the mana cost of both Shadow Poison and Soul Catcher, the early game Shadow Demon is now more viable. Carries losing 25% of their health on a 26 second cooldown level 1, along with a few ticks of Shadow Poison is enough to scare almost any core away from a lane, let alone a support.
Header image courtesy of Wykrhm Reddy