New and reworked items are always exciting. They lead to significant meta shifts and interesting new builds. They also frequently lead to a lot of frustration from the traditionalists, at least until after the builds are finalised and become mainstream. Today we will try to figure out which new and reworked items are great and which deserve the hate.
Let’s get one thing out of the way: Khanda is not a bad item. It is a decent stat item that also gives an ok amount of damage and some passable crits. With a 600 gold recipe it is also pretty cost efficient. The problem is, very few heroes really want it in their inventory in the late game, as the stats it provides are mostly auto-attack-oriented, while the ability it provides is aimed at casters.
The only hero where it fits very well is Morphling, for a burst-heavy old school shotgun-style build. On Morph it can deal enough damage to get a support from full to zero even in the later portions of the game. In a sense, it makes Khanda a game-altering item, where it drastically changes how teams can and can’t approach teamfights.
The same can’t be really said about Luna, for example. Khanda is incredibly efficient on the hero and the ability to do consistent poke damage can come in handy, but Luna can’t burst somebody down with Khanda and she can’t really afford to be a backline caster hero either, so most high level players are now defaulting back to Daedalus for crits.
The end result is an item that is undeniably fun, but isn’t necessarily efficient. For 5000 gold, under most circumstances, there are simply better and more reliable options to get.
Parasma is another damage item introduced in 7.35. Unlike Khanda, though, it isn’t an alternative to conventional DPS items, but rather an upgrade to one of them. Witch Blade already was a great option on some intelligence heroes and having an upgrade path for it makes it even better.
It can easily turn into a 600+ DoT effect in the later portions of the game, while also amplifying the incoming magic damage on the affected targets. As such, it does wonders magic burst-heavy heroes who want to scale: Puck and Winter Wyvern are the best two Parasma carriers in the game, but it can also be utilised well on Queen of Pain and Void Spirit.
Additionally, unlike Khanda, it complements the existing playstyles of the heroes that it can be built on. It also creates extra opportunities for your teammates, making it a much better item in most scenarios.
Eternal Shroud is an anti-magic burst defensive item and nothing else. It is exceptional at what it does, it grants a lot of extra HP and it will help with mana pool issues on some Strength heroes, but that’s about it. Unless you are playing a mana-intensive Strength DPS hero like Bristleback or Timbersaw, consider Pipe of Insight instead.
It isn’t as good as Eternal Shroud for the hero who built it, but it is a lot more effective as a team item. Worth considering, but when dealing with heavy magic damage lineups Pipe is still king. On top of it, there is also another great alternative for mitigating spell and ability damage.
Item lost its late game progression, but we feel like it doesn’t need one anymore. It is an extremely effective offensive and defensive tool, especially on heroes who have abilities that can hit multiple enemies. Right now, in higher level pubs, we are seeing it a lot on Mars and Ember Spirit, but it can be excellent on a wide array of characters that need to deal with enemy burst, without sacrificing their own DPS potential.
It is worth noting that Mage Slayer debuffs ability damage, not magic damage, so it works even against heroes like Bristleback and Timbersaw. It does not mitigate ability damage from auto-attack modifiers, so it isn’t effective against heroes like Silencer or [enchantress], though.
All in all, we feel like Mage Slayer is a very strong item on heroes who have decent HP pool or Barriers to work with, but who need some extra Intelligence and Mana Regen to stay on the map, while also progressing DPS-wise. 20 damage per second isn’t a lot, but when applied to multiple targets continuously, it can make a lot of difference, while also disabling Blink Daggers.
Octarine Core that built from Aether Lens was a bit too much and for a very long period we had Aether Lens in a bit of a limbo: most support casting heroes wanted it, but between longer games that shifted priorities toward higher-impact items and amazing early game options in Pavise and Solar Crest in the previous patch, there was little room for it.
Ethereal Blade is an unexpected progression for the item, but a very welcome one. It is a very strong save against auto-attacks, can be used in a clutch as a burst damage amplification and is built from relatively cheap components.
Moreover, it is entirely possible and even advisable to skip the recipe until after you run into slot issues: there is nothing wrong with having both Ghost Scepter and lens in your inventory, while working on other necessary items.
Finally, a couple of items that are so strong and viable, it was obvious from the beginning. They remain such even after the latter received some heavy attribute nerfs and will continue to be very high value.
Solar Crest is on a bit of a backfoot right now, primarily because Physical damage is currently not that prevalent. Most lineups have multiple sources of damage and we are not seeing too many physical right-clicking carries like Terrorblade, Ursa and Sven right now. Meta is mostly about hybrid heroes and even Faceless Void mostly works around magic damage procs from Mjollnir and his passives.
Shiva’s is as viable as it was: ability damage amplification and great defensive stats make it a very powerful item on the offlaners. The only thing that's changed is that many offlaners now fit an extra item between Veil and Shiva’s: sometimes it can be Eternal Shroud, sometimes it is Blink Dagger, Lotus Orb or even an Aghanim’s Shard, depending on the matchup and the hero.