Dota 2 7.29 Patch Is A Mosaic Masterpiece

10 min read

It has lots of pieces but only put together they form art

Singapore Major ended a little less than a week ago with iG being triumphant, and Valve has finally released the promised patch. Beforehand, the community split into several camps: someone thought that Dota 3 was coming, someone expected only several minimal changes, some were skeptical and predicted the patch's postponement. But everything went on schedule: on April 9th ​​an update comes out and there it goes... a very, very interesting update. In short, looking ahead, it can be described as follows: no serious gamechangers, IceFrog rolls Dota back to the state of a couple of years ago, while small changes have affected almost everything and, coupled with new minor mechanics and map rearrangements, the gameplay is fairly refreshed. It's like you handed in your 2018 Ford to a dealer and got a 2021 Ford in return: everything seems familiar, but the new parts make the difference.

There will be a lot of text below because too much will have to be explained. Let's start with the new hero Dawnbreaker, but not in too much detail, just the basic mechanics. Then, to gameplay mechanics, guessing how they will affect. And the third part will be about heroes and items, nerf and buffs. Obviously, a summary and a little prediction in the end. Let's dive in!

Dawnbreaker, a new Dota 2 hero

Dawnbreaker, also known as Valora, is a melee damage-dealing and healing hero. She can do AoE damage based on her attack power, can throw her hammer and jump to it, can heal her teammates while attacking opponents and Dawnbreaker's Ultimate Ability allows you to teleport to your ally from any point of the map and damage/heal all nearby heroes. 

You can read more about Valora at Dota 2 official website (props to Valve: they made a great page with all skill descriptions and their animations).

What is this hero, you may think. Carry? Midlaner? Support? Offlaner? Roamer? We have a theory. 

It seems that Dawnbreaker was made for one specific purpose (or tactic, if you like): solo-laning and farming a-la Spectre but in the offlane or being an aggressive pain in the back for the enemy carry.

  • Since Valore doesn't have any save abilities, while her healing skill is only profitable during close-range combats, she is not really a pos5 support.
  • Yes, she can deal AoE damage with her attack, but it is not comparable to any other pos1 carries that can do that, and it's only just 1 skill, moreover, there are just better carry heroes.
  • Dawnbreaker is good for ganking and helping because of her blinking ability and high moving speed (315), so she is presumably a good pos4 character who needs to be a bit greedy to fulfill her potential.
  • There is no real need for a healing pos2 hero, isn't it?

So, while her distant teacher Keeper of the Light is supposed to be a classic support hero, Valora is a strong pos3 offlaner. First, she can heal herself, which is a great thing for solo-laning: stack and pull, play aggressively and annoy the enemies. Just like Tidehunter but with a heal instead of damage decrease/shell. Second, she can continue farming when the game shifts into second gear because her ulti allows jumping straight into the fight whenever she wants. Third, the combination of her skills will allow your team to fulfill your attacking and fighting strategy and out-survive your opponents.

Though, it is just a theory that might be ruined after a short period. Time will tell.

So far, even the community does not understand what to do with Valora, because her winrate percentage at the moment (less than a day since the release) is near 36%.

Valora, Dawnbreaker

7.29 Gameplay Changes

Okay, now to the most fun part. 

Over the past year, IceFrog has too often rolled back gameplay innovations to older versions of Dota. Shrines? Goodbye. Aghanims and skills? Return as it was before. Now the 'Plusses' from the old era have returned. What's next? Will the side shop re-open its doors at the edges of the map? All kidding, but let's take a look at the main and most significant changes.

  • The Map has undergone many changes. There is no better way to show them than here. Valve has made a decent job with the patchnote website. 

Some of them might seem unnoticeable or not that important, but overall, there is much more space now to hold fights. Also, with the next point on the list, the battles to get the Outposts will be more sterile as they have been moved to no-highground areas.

  • Outposts no longer grant experience every 10 minutes. Outposts now give their team (game minute)*2 experience every minute. As before, if a team captures both outposts, they gain experience for only one of them.

Now there are even more reasons and motives to get the Outposts.  

  • Water Rune added. It appears on both points of the buff runes, but only in the second and fourth minutes of the game. It instantly restores 100 health and 80 mana and refills the bottle. From the sixth minute, the runes appear one at a time, as before.

Water Rune grouped with the Bottle item update (now it costs more and regens less) changes midlane gameplay drastically. Now midlaners will have to harass each other even more, the random factor is mostly reduced, so the battle will become more fair and just, and only pure skill will decide the outcome. Or ganks, surely.

  • Added the ability to get +2 to all attributes when leveling up. In total, this can be done 7 times (according to the number of empty levels from 1 to 26) at any time by clicking on the circle of the talent tree. Attribute bonus is given automatically if there are no other options.

A good old Anti-Mage buff, eh? With this addition, carries can turn back into games earlier so the overall pace of the game will become higher. 

  • Couriers no longer provide vision in Roshpit.
  • Bounty Runes no longer appear on the river, now they give 10% less gold (the reduction does not affect the first Bounty Runes). Now, these runes appear only in the jungle, but every 3 minutes. Moreover, the new gold rune does not replace the old one that has not been picked--it appears nearby.
  • Many talents, items, and spells that gave bonus movement speed or casting range have been either replaced or weakened (more below).
  • Assist kill gold is now adjusted by the relative difference in value between the two teams. For example, if your team is 5000 gold behind, and the total value of the enemy team is 50000, an assisted kill reward will be 10% higher.
  • Each hero now receives one teleportation scroll on death. Scroll of Teleportation cost increased from 90 to 100 gold. Base teleport time to outpost reduced from 6 seconds to 5 seconds.
  • Heroes with 1.0 turn speed reduced to 0.9; Heroes with 0.5 turn speed increased to 0.6. The influence of the hero's turn rate on the turn time is increased by 20%.
  • Now Aghanim's Scepter, received from Roshan, needs to be activated (before activation it has no effect). Aghanim's Shard now drops on Roshan's second death. It does not drop on subsequent deaths.
  • Captains Mode: First stage selection order changed from 1/2/1/2 to 1/2/2/1; Hoodwink added.
  • Now any player can destroy an allied ward, even with full health, if it is installed in a neutral creep camp.
  • All neutral creeps, except Ancient Golems, have armor increased by 1.
  • Now neutral items fly towards the hero who found them and do not spawn under a dead creep.
  • The number of heroes banned in ranked All Pick has been increased to 6 (they are still banned randomly).
  • Bayback cost in gold reduced from (200 + value/12) to (200 + value/13). 
  • Backdoor Protection: Damage reduction increased from 40% to 50%.
  • Item transfer range increased from 150 to 300.
  • Trees respawn time reduced from 5 minutes to 3 minutes.
  • The following abilities and items no longer destroy trees: Earth Splitter, Mortimer Kisses, Macropyre, and Meteor Hammer.
  • Reduced the radius of destruction of trees for the following abilities and items: Wild Axes, Gust, Power Cogs, Vacuum, Activate Fire Remnant, Relocate, Tether, Blinding Light, Skewer, Doppelganger, Telekinesis, Firesnap Cookie, Spit Out, Blast Off!, Toss, Snowball, Powershot, Will-O-Wisp and Spider Legs.

Gameplay update summary.

As we can see, the developers are really balancing things, not just doing random stuff that might be fun. Outposts are now more vital, but the map has been changed so the teams won't have HG disadvantages. Movespeed reduced but turnrate adjusted. Supports' life eased by additional TP scrolls, but they now cost more. And other minor changes that might not seem that necessary but the whole picture needs them to be there. It really feels that IceFrog now is not just a guy who invented the game; it's now a bunch of geeks who know what to do and there is an obvious pattern in what they do. There is a plan. 

And while the return of additional stats being quite an obvious leap towards the classics, a slightly deeper ​​IceFrog's idea is that with a decrease in movement speed, increase in turnrate, reworked spell range, and updating the midlane gameplay, we get a very serious laning phase (as if developers themselves were from South America) with minimal opportunities (and needs) to gank.

Also, all this is backed up by a new hero, which is aimed at melee and AoE. Valora hints at what Dota will look like: close fights. First, lane-camps-rune, then towers/outposts, which were reworked to give more space for fights.

Oh yeah, well, and the Necronomicon and the fast push are now gone. Thank God!

7.29 Heroes and Items Changes

Almost every item and hero has seen changes in this patch. We will not touch all of them, so you can visit dota2.com and take a look yourself. Here, just the most important things and how they will work and affect the game. 

Items

Midlaners, we are sorry. 

  • Shared Tango will now expire after 40 seconds. 
  • Necronomicon has been removed from the game. 

With this, the fast-push meta with Zoo Beastmaster/Zoo Lycan has died. Moreover, Lycan's winrate has already dropped by 11% to an overall 38%.

Still, there is one little thing to not be missed: with Techies being buffed (yes, we're not joking), Necros gone, and there are still only 10 max Sentries available... Imagine.

  • Battle Fury has been nerfed just a little, with cleave dealing 10% less damage to creeps. Not that game-changing, so the meta will stay.
  • Abyssal Blade also has been reworked to how it worked before: not only applies in close range.
  • Black King Bar: Duration rescaled from 10/9/8/7/6/5 to 9/8/7/6.
  • Tranquils, Eul's, Wind Waker, Boots of Travel, Elven Tunic, Spider Legs, Quicksilver Amulet, Flicker now provide less MS.
  • Divine Rapier no longer gives True Strike and it is very sad. Now such heroes and Windranger, Phantom Assassin, and others with Evasion will be even harder to penetrate. 

Items, including neutrals, has been reworked in a way that now we will see more auras (they became valuable again), more armor and less MS. Once again underlining the meta idea of the patch: close combats. 

Dazzle Shard hexes
Source: Reddit

Heroes

Once again, all the buffs/debuffs are available on the official website. Let's discuss only major stuff. Also, Aghanim Shards were reworked on lots of characters. 

  • Abaddon got buffed pretty well, now he heals more and his shield+coil cooldowns are decreased. Aba Supp > Aba Carry. 
  • Bane's Shard and Aghs now allows him to be even more painful to enemies. There's a chance people will start picking him mid or offlaner to build a serious AoE magical threat.
  • Beastmaster lost his blue and red tiny friends but now it turns into a mean solo-target killer thanks to Divebomb Shard rework and -35s Roar Cooldown Talent.
  • Broodmother is one of the most changed heroes. Her spiderlings are now her Ulti, while Hunger has been hugely nerfed and made a regular skill. From now on, she won't be able to wi lanes that easily in the early stages of the game. 
  • Dazzle's Shard will be very fun from now on:
  • Death Prophet's Shard now add 1 charge of Syphon, so she won't be super-tanky anymore.
  • Doom. Welp, yeah. You've seen the meme above: the circle is complete. Prepare to see Doom everywhere now.
  • Hoodwink got her Aghs and Shard. Also, her Acron Shot has been debuffed so she won't make too much damage in the late game. 

Aghanim's Scepter. Grants new active ability - Hunter's Boomerang. Tosses a boomerang in an arc at the target enemy. Upon contact, it returns to Hoodwink. The boomerang will deal 350 damage as it passes through or hits enemies, and apply a Hunter's Mark that causes affected enemies to be slowed by 20% and take 25% more spell damage, and have 25% reduced status resistance for 7 seconds. Cooldown: 18. Manacost: 125

Aghanim's Shard. Grants new active ability - Decoy. Hoodwink sends a decoy illusion with Scurry to the target location. When the illusion is attacked or hit by a targeted ability, it is destroyed and plants a tree in its place that applies a lesser Bushwhack to enemy heroes around it. The Illusion lasts 12 seconds. Cooldown: 60. Manacost: 50

  • Io debuffed also. Spirit do twice less damage now at max level, Tether works differently also. Io is still very strong tho.
  • Monkey King's Aghs will no longer help you kill Roshan in haste, while his Soldiers will die when MK dies. 
  • Morphling: Attribute Shift now has 10 mana cost per second to shift attributes; Attribute Shift interval rescaled from 1/4/10/25 to 3/6/12/24. Rest in peace!
  • Ogre Magi's skill got a huge buff with castpoint and manacost decreases.
  • Pudge buffed.
  • Spectre got an increase in damage and armor. Might see her back in action.  
  • Sven's Shard and Ulti buffed, so he is definitely back.

A picture below may hurt you. Beware.

Techies buff 7.29
  • Terrorblade got weaker: less starting armor+Metamorphosis nerfed.
  • Troll Warlord's Shard will boost your allies' attack speed and status resistance. Well, haven't we seen that before? 

Fun Fact: Mirana is the only hero not to get any changes. 

 

Summary

IceFrog slows down movement speed and abilities range for sure, but at the same time increases the game's dynamism. Additionally, we have even more goals and objectives during the match, and the development of heroes is now almost fixed on the lanes. Roamers will now be either very valuable (depending on the hero) or completely useless. Middle lane has turned into 1v1 classic arena because supports will have more important stuff to do than ganking. It is noticeable that the meta is now leaning towards shortening the distance between characters, so AoE skills and Battlefury carries will become the most popular and strongest heroes of the patch.

Why A Mosiac Masterpiece? 

Because all the changes we've seen in 7.29 were made in connection with each other. As we've noticed before, the balance has been lept almost ideally, but if you take some updates out of this patch, you might lose the whole picture of it. 

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