Calling the patch “new” is becoming a bit of a stretch, but there are still many things that we feel are underutilised. Some of them are strong, but don’t necessarily fit the usual pub game and get forgotten in games where they fit. Some are simply overlooked. Today we would like to talk about both categories, highlighting undervalued items, heroes and concepts.
Looking at the meta page, it is easy to see how the current pub environment prioritises ability damage on most cores. Even popular carries are hybrid heroes who have a good amount of both physical and magical damage. It is no wonder that Solar Crest and Pavise are suddenly not the best defensive options.
Add to it the fact that the item received a sizable nerf in the last patch and it becomes clear why players are staying away from it. That said, we believe they shouldn’t.
The mana cost on Solar Crest is very restrictive for the early game, but becomes trivial for most supports at around level twelve. Given the mana the item provides, it also “pays” for itself in most situations, while giving the bearer some necessary stats and even movement speed.
The single target bonus from Shine is ridiculously strong: it provides ~65% of Mask of Madness AS, while also making the target substantially tankier. Naturally, the +7 Armor isn’t going to be a big difference maker in a meta filled with magic burst, but most cores in most games will still take 400+ physical damage in any given fight, so very little value from Shine is wasted.
Use the item early to get the most out of the Physical Barrier it provides, while also amping your team’s damage output. Given how Solar Crest has a very respectable 1000 Cast Range it should be easy to both help your teammates and keep good positioning.
We are not going to go into too much detail here: the item is very much busted, as it can even be disassembled now. The problem is, much like Pavise/Solar it isn’t a good meta fit, since getting extra Armor isn’t that necessary in most games.
That said, there are still games where it can be an absolutely incredible early game or very late game purchase for the auras alone: a very early Vlad’s can make taking over the map much easier, if your team is snowballing. It can shave off precious seconds from taking every single objective, be it Towers, Tormentors or Roshan. That will require team coordination, but when playing in a stack it can be one of the best early game purchases on a support, unless you need a specific save item to deal with a specific problem.
Late into the game it is just value: the provided benefits can more or less free up a slot on your core teammate. Teamfight sustain is often underrated, but +4 Armor and 20% Lifesteal can drastically increase your team’s EHP, while allowing your cores to skip some of the general defensive item options in favour of more game-specific ones.
Bane is trending up, but we still feel like the hero is being underutilised, especially in the games below Ancient level. He is very effective, yet pretty straightforward and flexible, making him an excellent choice in the current patch.
There are two distinct early game ability builds for the hero. There is one prioritising Nightmare and the other once concentrating on Enfeeble. Most of the time you should take a level or two into Brain Sap for the laning stage, concentrating on a single other skill due to mana limitations: a 4-2-0-1 or a 0-2-4-1 by level six and 4-2-3-1 or 3-2-4-1 by level ten is what we are seeing the most from high level players.
Most high level players also skip the level ten talent and take it a bit later, unless there is a hero that can be really punished with the Enfeeble Cast Range reduction debuff. Heroes who rely on Blink-type effects can be really punished by it. Most notably, Queen of Pain and Morphling can be effectively and hilariously caught off guard by it.
Considering how the Enfeeble build is a viable and strong option, we recommend new Bane players try it out first, while getting comfortable with the hero in general. The Nightmare one has more tricks up its sleeve, with potential clutch saves and better setups, but it can also lead to some frustrating results from your teammates in lower level brackets and while dispelling Nightmare from teammates is just a button press away, it can still be overwhelming when you are just learning the hero.
Finally, we arrive at the most undervalued concept of this and, frankly, most patches. The ability to keep your cool regardless of circumstances is a skill that is hard to improve on, but it is absolutely worth it.
”First do no harm” is probably something that can help some players jump a couple of medals on its own. Incessant whining, raging and blaming is, for all intents and purposes, self-sabotage. It is actively reducing your chances of winning.
Granted, there are unwinnable games, but a lost laning stage is rarely indicative of a game loss. Even professional teams sometimes throw Mega Creeps advantage and in most pubs it is safe to assume that there is at least one enemy core who can get too arrogant and make multiple mistakes in a row. If you need to vent, do it without activating your mic.
The byproduct of that is once you start growing in terms of Behaviour Score, your teammates are also going to get nicer and while you will still get an occasional whiner here and there, the average quality of your games is going to improve substantially.
In-game toxicity is a chain reaction so minimising the chances of the initial outburst is key. Not being the problem is often sufficient at high Behaviour Score, and in all other cases there is a very important Mute and Report function that should be used liberally.