Brace yourselves for a new meta and some predictions as 6.85 is imminent.
6.85 will arrive before the next Major. It will be a balance patch, meaning nothing new will be introduced (much unlike 6.84). This semi-confirms that new content (maybe new heroes and items) are in the pipeline for 6.86.
Being the experienced speculator that I am, I’m going to predict some changes. 6.85 will probably be focused on shifting the emphasis onto co-ordinating teamfights(vision and incentivizing teams to beat each other up more than last hitting creeps), which has made Dota 2 a much more watchable game compared to previous versions. I’m extrapolating this from the fact that 6.84 reduced creep and jungle bounties, and rebalanced hero bounties.
Meta Prediction 1: Reduction of the effectiveness of jungle stacking
Jungle stacking should be tweaked in an effort to prevent uninteractive networth swings. A Storm Spirit who has lost his lane will remain behind instead of being able to go into the jungle and farm up the difference. This will encourage team interaction in the laning stage: if you’re rewarded by being able to shut down the enemy midlane and are ensure he won’t be coming back without counter-ganking, more teams will be convinced to sacrificing support levels to win lanes. This change is in response to Storm Spirit and Shadow Fiend being able to reliably farm through jungle stacking in spite of losing the lane.
Stacked camps might give only 50% of their normal bounties, or creeps overall might have their bounties reduced.
Meta Prediction 2: Lowest networth hero bonus gold and gold loss
It sucks being a 5. Wards require gold which can be used to allow you to farm better, and most position 5’s are able to afford crucial items (ghost scepter, blink) only after an extended period of not dying. Surviving as a support is extremely important as the team who is able to get off a second round of support spells is more or less always able to win the teamfight, even at 10% health. Increasing position 5 gold rewards not only makes warding a more rewarding part of the game (as good vision translates into good ganks) but also facilitates support survival when you are able to get that force staff before the enemy carry gets a Daedalus.
Lowest networth hero on each team loses 20% less gold, and gains 10% more AoE gold.
Hero change predictions
Damage nerfs and cooldown increase to Lightning Storm.
Pulse Nova deals increasing damage the longer it is turned on. Lower damage at the start, scaling for 3 seconds
This will make Leshrac less of a spikebomb in the mid game (supports would more often than not lose 80% of their health in a single Storm/Split earth into Nova) while still allowing Leshrac to be that late-game powerhouse.
Jinada move speed slow now scales 20/25/30/35
Track cast range down to 1000
These changes reward bounty hunters for better positioning while making counterplay possible for enemy teams when BH tries to track the enemy
Turn rate 0.8 -> 0.75
Flying vision changed to Ground vision from Ball Lightning
Vision game has been too strong for SS, and it is too easy for SS to scout out people with two sources of flying vision. It doesn’t help that ball lightning basically allows SS to go anywhere, so removing the vision helps enemies somewhat.
Hoof Stomp cooldown down to 12
Damage type for Hoof Stomp and Double Edge changed to physical
Stampede stop duration 1.5/2/2.5
Brad’s damage should now be more consistent and beneficial to armor reduction drafts. Previously, he didn’t really fulfill any niche, only being a durable initiator that hoped he was clicked on a few times in any chaotic teamfight. The ultimate buff will give his team the ability to chase better as a whole, or allow supports to sacrifice themselves by running at the enemy during a retreat with Stampede.
Both stomps deal the same amount of damage, overlapping stomps stun instead of sleep. Stun duration is always 2.
Strength buffed to 27.
The strength buff helps the offlane Elder Titan survive while giving Astral Stomp enough teamfight presence to deter enemies. A blinking titan which zones out enemies in teamfights is also more useful than one which simply makes everyone sleep and gives no opportunity for counterplay.
Timber Chain now stuns all enemy units that timbersaw collides with for 1 second
Reactive Armor begins winding up when Timbersaw enters combat, 1 second per stack. Timbersaw begins to lose stacks after 10 seconds of being out of combat (not attacking or not receiving damage)
Timbersaw now has some ability to hard initiate, and is rewarded for good positioning. Similar to how windranger gets blink to setup shackles, Timber can now get blink to setup Timberchain.
Aghs Battle Cry now casts from both Bear and Lone Druid when activated, applies half bonuses on allied units in a 600 radius
Rabid has no manacost, but drains mana per attack. 3/3/2/2% mana per hit from Lone Druid and Bear.
Makes split push more intuitive, and actually rewards LD for putting early points into an otherwise difficult to use skill which effectively says “for 10 seconds, you get 1 more roll of the die to root your enemy”. Makes Aghanim’s more useful for Lone Druid as both units can splitpush lanes individually as a result.
Fatal bonds max bonded units always 5, prioritizing heroes first. Damage shared 15/20/25/30%
Shadow Word cooldown to 15 seconds. Mana cost 90/100/110/130
Early game warlock has no farming tools, so buffing the number of targets that fatal bonds can affect will increase his pushing power and give him the ability to farm stacks somewhat. Shadow Word is too premium to be useful, and giving warlock 1 more cast of Shadow Word in the early game will make his life much easier.
Other potential heroes to be balanced:
Broodmother, Kunkka, Rikimaru, Sven, Omniknight.
Other previously popular picks like Gyro, Undying and Queen of Pain should be crowded out by hero buffs. Icefrog tends to avoid nerfing popular heroes, choosing instead to bring other heroes to the same power level or shaking up the meta enough that drafters favor a different pool of heroes.
The Gaming Ground
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