Recent patches were considerably smaller, compared to the patches we got throughout the year, primarily focused on smoothing out the kinks in the fragile Dota balance. We can’t know for sure how it will impact the professional scene at the highest level, but the statistics from the pub games already tells a story of its own.
Two heroes stand out as the biggest winners of 7.17: Terrorblade and Broodmother. Terrorblade got a considerable buff to his agility gain per level: it was increased from 3.2 to 3.7. While the 0.5 increase might seem small on paper, it translates to one extra armor and 5 damage/AS at level 10 already. This makes quite a bit of difference in terms of farming speed and teamfight presence and shouldn’t be overlooked.
While the hero still wins less than 50% of his games in pubs, he is slowly returning to a playable state. Previous nerfs to regeneration, strength and some of his abilities have hit the hero a little bit harder than the balancing team expected, but it won’t be surprising to see more of Terrorblade at the International.
The Broodmother case is a lot more interesting: the hero received a 3.66% win rate bump after 7.17 and currently wins 50.66% of her pub games. It is interesting because the hero was untouched by 7.17—Broodmother did not receive any nerfs or buffs. Moreover, it is hard to say that any of her hard counters received any meaningful nerfs.
One of the most logical explanations for this trend is the three “bonus mango” days Broodmother got in 7.16, with an associated influx of players, who have little experience playing one of the more complicated heroes in the game. On each of these days her pick rate would double, with her win rate losing ~6% on average. Since the hero had no “bonus days” this patch yet, it is only natural that her win rate increased, relative to her performance in the previous patch.
Bristleback now has a base armor reduction from Viscous Nasal Goo, potentially making it a value point quite early: -3 armor during the laning stage is no joke, especially in dual lane meta. It makes the hero more aggressive and can enable some ganks, that would previously be too optimistic.
Keeper of the Light is better at sustaining his allies and himself, at least manawise. Once again, it makes him a better laner and while he doesn’t necessarily offer much consistency in terms of killing enemies, he can greatly enable his teammate to continuously dish out harassment, opening up possibilities for a kill.
Io was hit hard, at least in the pub environment. Losing 20% damage on his Spirits made the hero less of a threat and probably substantially reduced his gold and XP income. The hero lost more than 4% win rate and is currently only winning 41% of his pub games.
That said, these changes are very unlikely to translate into the pro scene, where the hero is not picked for his damage output. There are still many ways to abuse the hero, provided the players involved are capable enough. With Bristleback on the rise, we might even see a return of the once scary Chinese Io+Bristleback offlane duo.
Both heroes received some direct nerfs in the patch, but it is surprising to see that Lycan lost more than 2% win rate from a 3%/2%/1%/0% decrease in the extra damage Feral Impulse provides. These 3% at level 1 of the ability generally translate to one or two extra damage—noticeable, but definitely not game-changing.
There is also Night Stalker, who was prematurely buried when the patch notes were released. In reality, the hero only lost 0.54% win rate and will remain a menace both in pubs and in the professional scene.