Image by CiDDi
Valve continues to release small balance patches and now it is highly unlikely we will see major balance changes until after the upcoming announced Minor qualifiers are over. Or even longer.
7.19c can be considered an even harsher version of 7.19b, with the meta heroes receiving further nerfs. The only non-hero nerf in the patch was a Cotta di Lame nerf, increasing the item’s cooldown and reducing the bonus armor it provides. Given how the item was a staple on both Spectre and Wraith King—two of the most problematic pub heroes, the nerf was probably aimed at them specifically, rather than the item as a whole.
Clinkz received further nerfs to his starting strength. The hero currently starts the game with 416 HP, confirming him as the squishiest hero in the game. Early trends show that the hero now wins less than 50% of his games.
Top it with extra 20% manacost on Searing Arrows as well as an exact 25% reduction to the popular level 20 and 25 talents' effectiveness and it is unsurprising to see him fall below the "gold standard" for balance, given how he wasn't particularly dominant in the last month.
Dark Willow received some all-around nerfs, with Bramble Maze probably being the harshest. The ability now deals 60 less damage at level 4. Bedlam now also deals 20 less damage per second at maximum level, making it a lot harder for a support to solo kill a core hero in the late game.
Overall it should make hero a little more fair—she required a lot of skill to be truly effective, but in the right hands she was more or less overpowered.
Grimstroke got his Ink Swell reworked. It no longer provides any defensive bonuses, apart from the MS boost, but can be used on your initiating ally to make the initiation a lot more potent and automatically extend the duration of disables. It is hard to call it a nerf or a buff, but the hero’s been losing 1.5% more games ever since the rework.
Spectre got some heavy nerfs in the new patch. Desolate no longer works if there is a unit allied to your target, within 500 AoE. It basically means the ability will no longer work in most teamfights and it will be much harder to kill supports with your Haunt and Stile della Manta illusions. Talent changes will also play a big role in the hero’s late game progression, but we don’t believe they are the primary reason for a 5% win rate drop for the hero. The hero is still viable in pubs, even after the nerfs, but her professional career is most likely over.
Weaver, who now has less mana to work with, as well as longer cooldowns on early levels of The Swarm and Time Lapse, is now a hero who loses more than 50% of his games. His early game was also nerfed, with the +20 Mana Break talent moved to level 15. That said, he can now go for both +35% XP gain and +20 Mana Break talents, potentially allowing him to remain competitive.
Wraith King, similar to Spectre, also lost around 5% win rate, but still manages to win the majority of his games. Interestingly, Wraithfire Blast now deals 30 more damage at level 1, compared to the previous version. However lack of scaling and lower stun values make this ability definitely weaker overall. Coupled with Cotta di Lame nerfs and Vampiric Aura no longer affecting ranged allies, it is unsurprising to see the hero struggling after a long period of dominance. The hero is far from being non-viable, but his pub dominance days, as well as his professional scene prevalence days, are probably over.
Small patches are rarely exciting, but compared to 7.19b, 7.19c has a much better chance of actually changing the meta, at least in pubs. With two biggest meta heroes receiving massive nerfs, and most other heroes remaining intact, we expect to see higher variety of picks across all skill brackets.
It doesn’t feel like it is enough and a big 7.20 patch can’t come soon enough, but it feels like for now we will have to be patient. With Major and Minor qualifiers probably lasting until the end of September, the big patch is most likely to get released somewhere in early October.