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Last time we discussed Juggernaut — one of the most popular carry heroes of the patch and one of the least successful. While we are in no way telling our readers what heroes to play, it is painfully obvious that some heroes work better than the others in the current patch. Today we are going to talk about the carry heroes who work and who deserve more attention, if you want to win.
This aquatic duo is bundled together for a reason. Despite having very different fighting styles, their general strategic approach is quite similar. As both Naga and Medusa you want to stay in your lane for as long as the enemy allows you and then start flash-farming jungle. The item timings these heroes can achieve are absolutely unparalleled.
We also feel like playing Medusa is significantly easier. Your job is to be big enough to not be blown up at the start of the fight, which is trivial with the new Mana Shield. You also want to be a big enough threat to actually be unignorable, which, again, is trivial simply because Medusa farms so fast. At an average level of play you don’t even need to make the smartest item choices — it is very likely you are going to be an item or two ahead anyways, and can afford some mistakes.
Manta Style is frequently the only mandatory first option after getting Power Treads. You can then go for Eye of Skadi in most games, or for Butterfly when playing against Anti-Mage or heroes who buy Diffusal Blade. Later progression involves either getting more damage through Daedalus, or even more utility and tankiness through Scythe of Vyse.
Naga is significantly harder to play and will involve some level of micro. Even getting farm is a bit harder, as you will need to separate your illusions and control pairs of them individually. That said, we feel like Naga is a stronger hero after the recent Medusa nerfs.
She is a lot more mobile. In fact her starting movement speed is higher than what Medusa has with Boots of Speed. She potentially has a higher single-hero DPS output, when focusing with her illusions on a priority target. She also has more options when it comes to the macro side of things, capable of playing split-push Dota and delaying the game if necessary.
There is a reason why Naga has a higher level 25+ win rate than Medusa, but tapping into her full potential will definitely take some practice. And while her itemization is relatively straightforward, there is some interesting nuance you can check through our guides page. For example, an early Radiance that you later disassemble into Butterfly and Nullifier is worth considering in some games.
Keeping up with the aquatic theme: Slark is another lane dominator who has a very good time in the current patch. He can be a lot stronger during the laning stage, depending on the matchup, but he also requires a lot more involvement from the player to be effective. Without flash-farming capabilities Slark has to play on an even footing against the enemy heroes and his playstyle is very unique.
He is an in-and-out type of hero, who can’t really hard commit to a fight, but also can’t wait for an opportune moment to jump in and have the most impact. He has to jump in, get a couple of hits in, get the enemy's attention, bait a couple of spells, and then get out to regen up. Repeat this for as long as necessary, making sure your team isn’t suffering too hard, and you will be successful as Slark.
Returning to the previous paragraph — Sven is a definition of a hero who has to wait for an opportune moment to jump in and have the most impact. Coincidentally, lore-wise he is also half-Meranth, so we are still discussing aquatic heroes. Not necessarily the most important point, but The International 2017 was blue and aquatically-themed, while TI 2016 was red, just like TI 2022. The TI color schemes are on a five year rotation, and TI 2023 is once again expected to be sea-colored, so maybe this meta pattern is deliberate, who knows?
When it comes to Sven, though, there isn’t a lot to discuss. He is a very straightforward flash-farming hero who rarely loses his lane and can easily create conditions where he is ahead of the enemy.
In the last big patch he also received a massive buff in Harpoon, which means he now has two ways to get to his target. Blink-in, get the double hit, kill a support, rotate to the next target within the fight with the help of Draw Forth (Harpoon Active) and kill them as well. The hero got much harder to kite and kiting was the biggest problem the hero faced previously.
This is a hero who is impossible to kite and a hero who, with the help of some Aghanims Zepter changes, can now be ridiculously tanky, while outputting impressive late-game DPS. Everyone knows that Bloodseeker’s Aghanims Splitter makes him a better Lifestealer in the late game, but the hero finally gets to flex it on other carries early enough.
The default Maelstrom for farming, into Black King Bar for fighting is still here. After these two items, though, more and more players opt for an Aghanim’s Scepter, which can quickly bump the potential HP of the hero from ~2.2k to ~3.3k. Moreover, the barrier Bloodseeker gets doesn’t provide the enemy with lifesteal opportunities, while Bloodseeker’s own pseudo-lifesteal from Shard not only deals pure damage, but also ignores enemy barriers, if they are present.
The end result is a hero that should no longer be classified as a “tempo carry”. Bloodseeker can go late and he can even go toe-to-toe with a lot of illusion hard carries like Terrorblade, Phantom Lancer and Naga Siren. His Blood Mist potentially makes him a better Leshrac or Pudge and that solves this illusion problem. While his single-target damage output is high simply because it is pure and percentage-based.
He is countered by good BKB timings and the hero can feel very squishy at the start of the fight, but if he is allowed to get an easy to kill target and snowball off of it, he is incredibly scary.
What are your thoughts on the current carry meta? Do you agree with our picks for the S-Tier of carries? Share your thoughts in the comment section below.