posted by Liightsdota,
A lot has changed with the most recent series of patches, and now that we’ve all had some time to sit with the changes, clear victors are emerging for the strongest heroes of the patch. Today we’re examining the best way to approach the safe lane in Patch 7.27c, taking into account all the recent balance changes. When you’re done, you’ll be fully prepared to hop into pubs with a buddy and carry all your games with ease.
The Safelane Metagame
Where we’ve been
Before the 7.27 series of patches, we were in a “Zoo Metagame” which revolved around aggressive heroes summoning huge armies of units with their abilities and Helm of the Dominator. Additionally, they built Necronomicon level one, which was widely regarded as overpowered in that patch and was being picked up on almost every hero across multiple positions. This resulted in a metagame where matches were finished incredibly quickly, with tier one towers getting rapidly demolished, your Outposts being controlled, and an army of 20 units barreling down on your highground at 20 minutes into the game.
Where we’re going
Thankfully, Icefrog recognized that this style of gameplay was too powerful, and has made numerous changes in the 7.27 patches which countered the Zoo Metagame, bringing a drastically different style of play to the forefront of competitive Dota. One of the largest changes pushing the game in a slower direction was the restriction on capturing your opponent’s Outpost before killing a tier two tower. This change prevents opponents from fully controlling your jungle after the safe lane tier one falls, allowing carries playing from behind a few crucial additional minutes of relatively safe farm. Along with the nerfs to summon heroes and the items which terrorized the 7.26 era, these Outpost changes paved the way for significantly longer Dota games and the return of Hyper Carries.
The optimal approach is to itemize for longer games
Several items have recently seen significant changes which have shaped itemization choices for both Carries and Supports throughout the game, further adding to this shift towards longer games. Hand of Midas was the recipient of one of the largest buffs with a cost reduction last patch. Additionally, experience received from transmuted creeps was increased from 185% to 215%. This significant experience boost combined with longer lasting games has positioned Midas to excel in the current environment, being picked up early across many different heroes. When it comes to dealing damage in patch 7.27c, no item does better than Monkey King Bar. Receiving a change to its components in the 7.27 patch, MKB now provides significantly more Attack Speed than before, allowing players to get more activations of its 100 bonus magic damage. By purchasing MKB frequently as an efficient damage item, you’re also preemptively countering any evasion on the opponent’s team which may be running around.
Supports also received a few excellent early game goodies to pick up with what little gold they can scrape together. The changes to Glimmer Cape’s build-up now require smaller components which are all useful on a Support, while working towards completing the larger item. This positions it as a fantastic first pickup on position five in most games. Two other great early game options for Supports are the new Drums of Endurance and Veil of Discord. Both items now have a reduced total cost and better build-ups than they had previously, which are crucial elements to consider when picking up your first big Support item. Magic Stick is still as critical to the early game as always. However, on Hard Support consider waiting to upgrade to a Magic Wand until after picking up other essentials like Sentries and a Wind Lace.
The Big Three Supports are tanky and trade well
With the adoption of much less aggressive farming Carries, the best Supports to back them up have also changed. The new optimal style of playing position five involves tanking damage for your Carry so they can freely farm the lane. Undying, Bane, and Jakiro are top three Hard Supports of the patch because they’re the best and most efficient at doing this thanks to their unparalleled trading abilities. These heroes win your Carry the lane by drawing all the aggression at your Carry’s most vulnerable moments of the game, ensuring that they can pick up those crucial early stat items to help them take off and begin clearing camps efficiently. If you pick any of these three Supports, you should have a fantastic lane and be able to ensure farm for your partner, no matter their hero choice.
Your job as the position five is to be a huge attention seeker. You should have the mindset of trying to work down all your opponents’ regen while absorbing as many of their harassment skills as possible. It’s even forgivable if you die sometimes because every nuke they throw onto you is another nuke that isn’t being slapped in your Hard Carry’s face. On Undying particularly, if you run out of Mana in the early game, don’t be afraid to buyout your items and go die to your opponent’s tier two tower. This denies the opponents the experience for your death and splits a meagre sum of gold among their team. You’re then able to teleport back out to lane with full resources again to help keep up the pressure and ensure that your Carry doesn’t die during an awkward moment when you’re low on health or Mana. Make sure to ask your Carry if they have any items they want you to bring back when you teleport, as this can be much faster than sending a courier the whole way along the safelane.
The best carries of 7.27c scale tremendously
The Carry role has shifted away from heroes which can join fights early like the Lycans and Ursas which were running rampant during the Zoo Meta. Instead, Hyper Carries are king again, with longer games giving them additional time to build up farm before being forced to begin assisting their team.
Meteor Hammer Spectre is perfect to secure your Radiance
The previously undisputed queen of lategame, Spectre has exploded back into popularity and has been boasting an incredible winrate in 7.27c thanks to extensively drawn-out games being the new norm. The latest innovation on this hero involves one of the most underutilized items in the game synergizing incredibly with what this hero wants to do. Meteor Hammer provides Spectre with everything she’s missing during the early game, giving great stats and regen, as well as providing her with a fantastic farming tool to help get you to your Radiance timing. This build gives Spectre the ability to quickly and safely push out waves, further delaying pushes and frustrating opponents trying to finish the game before you come online.
Warlock is Spectre’s best lane partner
One Support who wasn’t seen anywhere during the Zoo Meta and who has made a significant resurgence primarily as a Spectre partner is Warlock. While this hero doesn’t himself tank the damage for his Carry in lane, his incredible sustain from Shadow Word is perfect at keeping hyper carries topped up. These carries wouldn’t usually be going for kills anyway, and don’t mind having such a defensive Support in their lane. Warlock peaks in long drawn out games, and if you’re off to a good start, can be one of the best beneficiaries of Hand of Midas in the whole game, with all of his spells offering huge utility as he acquires levels. Furthermore, because games are now going later, there are significantly more opportunities to take large 5on5 engagements, where Warlock excels. In previous patches, there were many more pickoffs and small skirmishes where this hero doesn’t really like committing his long cooldown ultimate to help.
Terrorblade is a Lategame terror again
Another hero who hasn’t had much time in the sun until recently, Terrorblade, has been appearing all over high-level games and completely dominating. This hero is a lategame monster, and with the latest patch removing his movement speed debuff on Metamorphosis, he’s even more terrifying to fight into. The Demon Marauder has benefited greatly from several small additions to the game. The addition of attack range neutral items like Grove Bow and Telescope make Terrorblade’s illusion army, who already picked up Dragon Lance, have absurd range that is almost impossible for opponents to approach. This additionally makes Terrorblade an incredible highground sieger, able to work down the opponents’ tier three towers from a safe range, always holding onto his Sunder in case he gets low.
Crucially, this hero is one of the hardest counters in the game to Anti-Mage, who has also been extremely popular this patch. Terrorblade’s Reflection skill creates illusions of AM which will burn his quite limited manapool and prevent him from blinking out to safely. You can even level this skill and go lane against the Anti-Mage to wild success. Your timing to push with some early Wraith Bands and a Dragon Lance also works extremely well against AM who will still be trying to farm his Battle Fury.
Ogre makes BIG plays with Terrorblade
Operating very similarly to the Big Three Supports of this patch, Ogre also does a fantastic job of providing a huge body to absorb all the incoming harass during the laning stage. The only reason that this hero wasn’t mentioned up there with them is that, unless he has the right partner to Bloodlust, he doesn’t have as much lategame impact as The Big Three. Thankfully Terrorblade is the perfect recipient for Bloodlust and really appreciates having Ogre to absorb all the nukes in his lane. This Support is perfect for getting your Terrorblade those crucial first five levels to allow him to retreat into the jungle to quickly clear creeps and gather uncontested farm. After that happens, Ogre does an excellent job of holding the tower on his own, with Bloodlust quickly stalling out pushes that would otherwise take the tower without resistance. Perhaps most crucially, the hero model size increase of Bloodlust stacks with that of Terrorblade’s Metamorphosis, making the hero a giant and winning your team the game with intimidation factor alone.
Sven has space to farm freely again
Receiving a rework to his ultimate which made it deal more damage lategame, as well as a game-breaking +10 movement speed at level one, Sven is a massive threat to opponents, especially when they have trouble kiting him. This hero makes incredible use of Hand of Midas, which Artour 'Arteezy' Babaev has been rushing on him since the beginning of the patch, as well as Echo Saber and Heaven’s Halberd. This is one of the few carries of the patch who can actually play quite aggressively in lane, thanks to the huge kill threat provided by Storm Hammer. In keeping with the farming focus of this patch, most Svens are maxing Great Cleave to head into the jungle and powerfarm for his later item timings. Because of his aggressive potential with his stun, Sven prefers a more aggressive support pairing than most of the other carries in this patch, as a double stun lane can easily get out of control in the early game.
Crystal Maiden excels but prefers a tanky partner like Sven
Though she doesn’t like soaking damage herself, Crystal Maiden brings huge nuking and lockdown power to any lane she shows up in. She combines perfectly with Sven, providing either setup or followup, and benefitting from Sven’s tankiness by letting him sit in front of her and absorb most of the damage. This hero has been a sleeper hit since the start of the patch but has recently been blowing up and appearing all over high MMR games with a variety of laning partners. Just be slightly more careful when picking CM because she can struggle against very aggressive lanes when she doesn’t have a partner that can stop them from initiating on her.
By utilizing these fantastic hero combinations and building the new best items for the patch, you and a buddy will be set up for safe lane success in all your pubs to come. I wish you all the best in your climb and hope this article prepared you to dominate 7.27c. Please let me know any other safe lane combinations that have been working for you lately!
Photo credit: Valve / GreyskyS