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With 22 heroes nerfed, 21 heroes buffed, neutral creeps rebalanced, and multiple item changes, there's a lot to unpack ahead of the upcoming Stockholm Major.
But as with every Dota 2 patch, some heroes were treated better by Icefrog than others.
Let's look at which heroes received the biggest win rate increase after the update and who may make their comeback in the upcoming ESL One Stockholm Major.
-Movement Speed bonus increased from 8%/12%/16%/20% to 10%/14%/18%/22%
-Shard Passive Armor increased from 5 to 7
-Stun duration rescaled from 1.25/1.5/1.75/2.0s to 1.4/1.6/1.8/2.0s
-Manacost decreased from 110/120/130/140 to 110/115/120/125
Sven received buffs to two to his basic abilities that place him as the fifth biggest winner of Dota 2 patch 7.31c.
Storm Hammer's stun duration is higher at lower levels, a useful buff for the spell as it is usually maxed last for Sven.
Players prioritize the extra cleave damage and bonus movement speed from Sven's other abilities to accelerate their farm and leave Storm Hammer at level one until the other spells are maxed out. The extra 0.15 stun duration makes Sven a little bit more useful in early and mid-game skirmishes.
Warcry provides an additional 2% movement speed, which is another small but appreciated change.
It's an AoE buff for Sven and his allies, which means that an extra bit of movement speed could make the difference in helping an ally escape or chase down an enemy. Warcry has a +3 second duration talent at level 10, making the buff even more useful.
Despite the 2% bump in the hero's win rate, Sven only wins 47% of the games he plays, with that win rate dropping in higher-skill matches.
Sven is in a better place thanks to 7.31c, but it's probably best to avoid playing the hero until after the Major.
-Mana Cost reduced from 50 to 40
It's sometimes a little baffling to see which heroes rise to the top in Dota 2 and that's definitely the case for Broodmother.
The hero received a 10 mana reduction to Spin Web and that's enough for a 2.5% increase in win rate along with an incredible 55% win rate in the Immortal bracket.
Broodmother has often been built with mana regeneration items such as Orchid to help sustain the hero's spells. While the 10 mana reduction to Spin Web is helpful, it's more likely that the hero rose to prominence due to the shift in the metagame.
Heroes that can push fast and take down buildings also tend to do well when new patches are released, as players experiment with new heroes and items, Broodmother pickers will focus on taking down structures and grinding MMR.
While 7.31c only gave a small buff to Broodmother, the shifting meta and a new patch makes it a great time to play the hero and climb the MMR ladder.
-Distance increased from 450 to 500
-Damage increased from 80/110/140/170 to 90/120/150/180
-Cast Point reduced from 0.4s to 0.3s
Similar to Sven, Zeus received mostly small buffs to his basic abilities.
Fortunately for Zeus though, his buffs apply to all levels of his spells and are more impactful.
Heavenly Jump gets an extra 50 range, making it a better spell for chasing enemies down or escaping from bad situations.
Arc Lightning deals 10 extra damage at all levels, which helps Zeus farm, defend towers, and whittle enemy heroes down. Lightning Bolt now takes 0.3 seconds to cast, a 25% increase in cast speed.
Of the three buffs, it's Heavenly Jump that looks to be the most impactful. An extra 50 range might not seem like much but it can make all the difference in catching a fleeing enemy or making it up a cliff to escape. Dota 2 is a game where the smallest margins can make a big difference and Zeus just got a solid buff to both his survivability and chasing potential.
With a buff to all his basic abilities, Zeus gained a 2.75% increase in his win rate. The hero is still risky to pick in higher-level games, as he only wins 49% of his matches in the Immortal bracket.
It's not as bad as Sven, though, and in the hands of a skilled player, we believe Zeus is a viable (albeit not the best) hero to spam to grind MMR.
-Base Attack Speed increased from 100 to 110
-Increased attack damage from 17-20/23-26/29-32/35-38 to 20-23/26-29/32-34/38-40
-Shard Lane Wolf increased Attack Damage from 35-38 to 38-40
Lycan has always been a bit of an oddity in the Dota 2 pub world. The hero starts out with a pitiful 45% win rate in Herald and steadily becomes a more dangerous hero as players improve, culminating in a 53% win rate for Immortal players.
Since the hero has been a dominant force at the highest level of the pub scene for years, Lycan received nerfs for five patches in a row, starting in patch 7.30b.
The nerfs finally took their toll, and Icefrog decided he didn't like to see his favorite wolf tamed and tossed Lycan a couple of buffs in 7.31c.
Wolves used to deal 50 average damage at max level, with 48% extra from Feral Impulse and an additional 20 damage from the level 10 talent.
Now Wolves deal 39 damage when the skill is maxed out and Feral Impulse only provides 40% extra damage. The level 10 talent has also been nerfed twice, providing only 13 additional damage to wolves now.
An extra three damage at all levels of Summon Wolves won't be enough to make Lycan the terror he used to be, but it is a step in the right direction for the hero.
Wolves are now more dangerous in the laning stage, which allows the hero to zone out supports and control the creeps. Thanks to the buffs he received, Lycan gained an impressive 3.40% win rate.
Lycan is now the 17th most successful hero in the Immortal bracket and is likely to reach the top 10 before the end of the patch.
For core players who don't mind a little micro play, Lycan is one of the best heroes to play right now.
-Base HP regen increased from 1.5 to 2.0
-Base Agility increased from 23 to 25
-Radius thresholds increased from 300-700 to 400-800
The hero who benefitted the most from 7.31c is none other than Spectre. One of the best scaling carries in the game gained a whopping 5.22% increase in her win rate.
Spectre gained an extra half-point of regeneration along with two starting Agility. This makes the hero slightly tankier at all stages of the game but most noticeably during the laning stage, Spectre's long-time weakness.
While the hero still can't stand up to strong dual lanes such as Viper and Venomancer, her new starting 4.3 health regeneration and 5.2 armor are a massive help, as evidenced by the huge win rate increase.
Dispersion also received a buff, as the spell now deals its full damage to all units within 400 range of Spectre and affects all enemies within 800 range of the hero.
It's a sizable increase in the spell's AoE that makes Spectre a little more dangerous to kill.
Despite the buffs received, Spectre still suffers from one major problem. The hero is entirely countered by Breaks.
Multiple heroes have access to spells with Break and Silver Edge also provides a Break along with being a fantastic item in general.
Because Spectre is countered by smart itemization, the hero becomes less effective in higher-skill games.
Spectre needs a couple more buffs to be viable in the pro scene but thanks to the latest Dota 2 patch, the hero should be able to find her place in pub games.
Otomo is a long-time gaming enthusiast and caster. He has been playing games since he was 10 and is the biggest Dota 2 fan.