The Compendium has been released for the internationals, and that means its time for a big hard core DOTA 2 update. Just in time to spice up the tournament. With a new update comes a brand new meta, and a change to how we play the game. So how will the update effect you and your game?

Now if we listen to the theory-craft that’s been going on in forums, this meta should be magictastic.

Nearly every single hero got buffed in the update, whether it’s from rescaled damage, shorter cool downs, altered abilities. Only a few heroes that were seen as over powered anyway got debuffed such as Troll Warlord and Juggernaut.

Big Changes

DOTA-2-6point84-screen-1 Gold has been changed so farming is harder, last hits matter all the more, but you get a lot more gold for assists. So the gold gain has been made to favour the supports rather than the carry’s. The supports of the game have been buffed the most this patch, with big winners being Crystal Maiden, Keeper of the Light, Pugna and Oracle. With the grand champion prize in incredible and possibly broken over buff going to Techies. If Techies doesn’t make a big show in this years internationals it’ll be a surprise considering how ridiculous he has been made in the last two patches.

Unfortunately with winners we also have losers, Winter Wyvern the newest hero from last years big update, and latest hero to be promoted to captains mode has been given a major debuff to the point we probably wont see her played this year unless they change Winter’s Curse again. The 70% damage reduction on those attacking the target unfortunately removes the majority of her synergy with other heroes, not to mention synergy with her own abilities.

Aghanim’s Scepter for all!

DOTA-2-6point84-screen-2 Supports weren’t the only ones to receive shiny goodness though, a good chunk of the carries benefited as well. Morphling, Centaur Warrunner, Naga Siren, Tusk, Wraith King, Lone Druid, Lifestealer, Legion Commander, and Natures Prophet were all given beautifully shiny new Aghanim’s Scepter upgrades, with Morphlings being the best and most promoting of “support Morphling” a build which makes half the DOTA 2 community cry due to how ridiculous a four second stun is in the game. Weaver also received a Aghanim’s Scepter upgrade that has made the possibility of building a support Weaver a thing, though why anyone would ever in their right mind want to make one of those is beyond everyone in the entire community. Let us of course not forget the most amazing Aghs addition, Alchemist’s ability to consume his Aghs to give people their upgrade for free and as an aura, effectively making seven slotted heroes a thing. Eight if you count the new Moon Shard, but we’ll get to items in a minute.

Bounty Hunter is the carry that has benefited the most from buffs to his character. More damage, more intelligence gain, upgrade to track and increased bounce range on his shuriken is all quite nice, the little debuffs early game levels it out nicely. With honourable mentions going to Tinker with a altered Aghs upgrade which makes his lazor bounce, making him a horrible team wiping nightmare.

Shiny broken Items!

DOTA-2-6point84-screen-3 Then we have new items, it’s been a long while since DOTA 2 received new items, we had Crimson Guard from last year which was an okay item, this year we have a large selection of potentially broken shiny additions. With the biggest and the shiniest being the Octarine Core, a tribute item to Sir Terry Pratchett, and not one you ever want to see equipped on your enemy. 25% ability cool down, 25% life steal on spells, enough mana and health regeneration to throw a bloodstone out the window. Oh yes please sign me up.

Then we have Lotus Orb, it’s the new Blade Mail that only sends back targeted spells, and their effects. Throw your Black King Bar out the window, we have a brand new deterrent for spell targeting. If heroes like Lion, Vengeful Spirit, Shadow Shaman and Sven really tick you off with their targeted disables, then this is the item for you.

And of course, everyone’s new favourite consumable, the mango! 1HP regeneration, and the ability to eat it for extra instant mana. It’s pretty sweet, and useful throughout the game. People rubbed it off as a useless item before patch, but you’d be amazed how great that regeneration is early game, and it is instant mana mid game for that ult you need to get off to win the team fight.

The other new items are fairly amazing as well and most of the old items have been reworked. The most important rework being the change to wards, with observers being purchasable one at a time, with shorter cool-down in the shop, along with stacking with sentries. Which is something that will make every support cheer in joy as one of their inventory slots get freed up.

The Meta

DOTA-2-6point84-screen-4 Now, to answer the big question. How will this effect my game? Theory-craft is great and all, but it means nothing on the playing field. Now I only play pub games, rather than ranked, so I don’t know what skill bracket I’m in, but you’d think I was playing at 4000 MMR with the team compositions and play styles I have been seeing since this update emerged. Tank is the new vogue, forget magic.

Over twenty games, and not a single one that doesn’t contain at least two strength heroes, sometimes three. They’re calling this “deathball meta”, meaning heroes that can push early and hard are in, making strength heroes a better pick then your standard carry hero. After all, a carry needs the 30 minute mark to become good, while your tank can wipe their faces into mush and take the barracks  in the same time. Heroes like Undying have seen a sharp rise in play and win rate. You are seeing the re-emergence of Magnus, Centaur Warrunner, Earth Shaker and Lycan in pubs. Heroes that were ignored last meta are back and they are terrifying. Now having a well built team is more important than ever. Having a push hero, two strength and two support is the ideal build until the meta stabilises. Simply to stop the deathball rolling.

My personal favourite hero at the moment is Chaos Knight, being a strength hero who is also a carry. Who is good at bullying early game, and once farmed can destroy an entire team. With a good support at my side like Lion and Crystal Maiden, a lane pusher/ nuker such as Death Prophet and good hard carry such as Faceless Void or preferably something tankier like Sven. There you have a nice tanky pushing team, with a horrible amount of disables, a decent amount of damage, and the ability to split push if need be. Perfect for this Deathball meta.