IceFrog himself recently tweeted about changelogs being smaller but a lot more frequent. The first part of this statement definitely holds up, as 7.08 is a rather minor gameplay patch with a variety of small changes to only a handful of heroes. However it definitely doesn’t mean the changes are insignificant.
We have recently discussed how a single line of the 7.07 patch notes was as impactful, if not more impactful than some of the bigger hero reworks. There is nothing in 7.08 that stands out to the same degree, but many of these changes will have an impact on both professional and pub metas. And today we will look into them trying to predict what direction the game might go in.
Aeon Disk is still in a weird spot — barely anyone builds this item as its usefulness is very limited. The change is definitely a buff, as the wielder is less likely to get the effect proc from a random AoE nuke, but it might not be enough. In general, the item is at its best on utility heroes who don’t deal damage. As such it mostly belong to the support domain and they simply can’t afford it — between having to buy wards and needing actual utility items, there is very little room for Aeon Disk and it doesn’t look like this patch is going to be the patch of Aeon Disk’s breakthrough.
For an item that is widely considered borderline overpowered this nerf is surpisingly tame. It doesn’t look like IceFrog is ready to say goodbye to a melee meta.
A massive change to Black King Bar that makes its timely usage a lot more important. Given a plethora of carry heroes who have cooldown reduction talents the change is understandable and quite welcome. Late into the game, heroes like Drow Ranger or Shadow Fiend could get their BKB cooldowns down to 27 and 33 seconds respectively, making them a little bit too flexible in its usage.
Heroes who already bought Blink Dagger aren’t going to stop building it because of this change, but overall most of them will be a little bit weaker. Blink Dagger still remains a very unique item that is almost a necessity for a variety of heroes.
Enchanted Mango is a powerful consumable, but it is rare for anyone but a couple of heroes, who buy multiples of them, to ever use its active component. As such, the extra 25 mana is unlikely to result in a Mango-meta of any sorts.
This annoying item got even more annoying. The HP value of Faerie Fire has been increased from 5 Magic Wand charges to ~5.5 and it is unlikely to significantly change anything. That said, some miscalculations will be made and there will be 10 HP turn-around kills from Faerie Fire. It feels like IceFrog has changed it just to mess with people who got used to it and incorporate FF heal into their time-to-kill calculations.
The slowdown effect of both Staff and Pike will be mostly negligible, but the cooldown increase on the latter is a rather big deal. Once again, given the amount of cooldown-reducing talents on some ranged core heroes, this change is understandable. No one liked the 10-second cd Hurricane Pikes on SF and Drow.
This change, that reduces the Meteor Hammer cooldown by 30% might actually bring the item into the meta. We’ve already seen some cute Naga Sleep+Meteor Hammer plays, but with a lower cooldown the risk of missing it a lot lower and it will probably no longer be a strictly pushing item.
Soul Ring was getting a little too ubiquitous and the 15 gold price increase is a change in the right direction that doesn’t really matter. At least it is an even number.
Spirit Vessel is a very powerful item. In fact, it is built in many professional games, regardless of whether there is a healing or quickly-regenerating hero on the enemy team — the sustain it offers is simply too good and makes Mekansm mostly redundant. The 25% cost increase is interesting and will definitely be a factor for money-starved supports and might even force some reconsiderations from utility cores.
With the talent changes a more proactive Alchemist might become a thing, since it is tough arguing against a 4-second stun on an 8-second cooldown. Paired with a level 20 talent and an Octarine Core, Alchemist can become a very powerful nuker, which might be a viable option for some very specific games.
Magic Damage Ember Spirit has taken a bit of a hiatus and most games we’ve seen the hero being played have been focused on dealing physical damage. This small boost might be what the hero needed to make a full comeback to the meta, especially given the level 25 talent.
A very minor nerf that is unlikely to completely force the hero out of the meta, but will definitely make her a lot less annoying in lane.
More of a QoL improvement than a buff, since most backswing animations are cancelled by players. Regardless, it is a welcome change and might make the hero feel a little bit less clunky to play.
A very minor nerf that will fully come into play only later in the game. We aren’t sure whether it was warranted and why was it necessary, but Juggernaut lost roughly 5.2% of his attack damage.
A very welcome and a very necessary buff to a rather forgotten hero. This 20 mana cost decrease might actually allow the players to play the hero in the support role once again, concentrating on utility over damage.
It is a substantial laning buff to a hero who was majorly outclassed by competition for the past several months. Slightly more mana, slightly more attack damage and more reliability will translate into a slightly easier time mid, and that might be enough for the hero to be viable once again.
We’ve recently discussed how Mana Drain can sometimes take priority over extra points into Hex or even Earth Spike early in the game and there are even more reasons to go this route now. Some extra utility might be what the hero needed to be a better alternative to Shadow Shaman.
Wolves need no armor. Lycan’t prowess in both pubs and professional scene made him a prime target for a small nerf and these changes might be enough to allow him to remain a part of the meta, while not keeping his borderline overpowered status. A welcome change indeed. And if you are still bothered by the hero, we’ve written a “dealing with..” post about him not long ago and all of it still holds true.
A mixed bag of buffs and nerfs that is unlikely to change how Medusa is played most of the time. The Attack Speed and Damage on level 10 and 15 respectively will probably still take priority in most normal games, while the 100 mana pool nerf to the talent will be largely unnoticed.
These changes will allow for some interesting plays against heroes with long-range spells, but otherwise core Morphling is still in a rather dark place, after the Morph ability changes. Offlane or a support one, however, might actually be worth exploring.
NP can now farm faster, outpush more frequently and generally be a much bigger nuisance. Given how the hero was mostly unplayed the last couple of months, a buff was needed and this one definitely solidifies his position as a split-pusher and map-controller.
Some minor all-around nerfs for a hero that’s been a little bit too prevalent in the pro-scene. Purification cast range continuous decreases actually raise a valid point about potential Aether Lens builds — far too frequently the hero is seen out of position or just a little too far to help his teammate.
Fortune’s End now costs less than Purifying Flames, potentially make it a primary ability for the hero, who now has access to two low-cost, low-cooldown nukes. It is interesting how the hero will be played in the professional setup, but he has a lot of potential.
The “getting ready for the CM” nerf that puts Pangolier close and closer to the professional scene. We’ve seen how capable the hero can be in the right hands and some nerfs are definitely required, before he is unleashed on unsuspecting pro-players. Hopefully he won’t follow the same trend as Earth Spirit, where <10 players in the entire world know how to actually make the hero work.
Early game ganks just got a lot harder for the community favorite hero. Don’t worry though, there are probably going to be some buffs before the Arcana release.
Scepter might become more of an option rather than core item with this change. And overall Pugna looks a little bit stronger from these changes, but not necessarily as strong as he was two patches ago.
This reverts the hero’s changes all the way to patch 6.82 and it is a welcome change indeed. Given how easy it is to get souls in a 2v1, Shadow Fiend felt too strong in lane at times, with his massive damage from both nukes and auto-attacks.
A massive nerf to Shadow Shaman’s early game. Losing so much damage, both from Shackles as well as potential Aether Shock should make the hero a less scary zoner in the early game, making the lives of offlaners all around the world a lot easier.
The hero has never been this susceptible to ganks. If you are playing against Tinker and are not pressuring him constantly, you are playing wrong. His late-game hasn’t changed a single bit, since the hero rarely walks at all, but before he has his Blink Dagger and BoTs, you should aim to tamper with his gameplan as much as possible.
Recent LGD vs Liquid game in Group A Starladder|i-League UB match should showcase exactly why this change was necessary. Tiny was a bit too strong in the early game during the laning stage and the Toss cooldown increase will make a big difference.
A consistency improvement. No escape or mobility spells should be usable while under the effects of root, adding flavor to the status effect. Still, a rather sizeable nerf to Tusk, since his team-saving potential now has a counterplay.
Windranger will almost definitely make a comeback to the professional meta, since her ability to lane by simply spamming Windrun has been increased even further, making her one of the most annoying heroes to lane against. She can essentially harass or zone her opponent for free, while having a waveclear/nuke and a stun on top of it. The hero will be very much worth exploring in the upcoming patch.