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Dota 2 developer Valve Software announced that the latest Dota 2 gameplay update, patch 7.31d, will be dropping on June 8.
There's a lot to look forward to with this new patch, as it will determine the metagame for the 2021-2022 Dota Pro Circuit (DPC) Summer Tour and potentially the Arlington Major as well.
With all the data from the recently-concluded ESL One Stockholm Major, here are five of the changes we'd like to see in the next gameplay update.
Nerfs for Chaos Knight and Pugna
Chaos Knight was the most contested hero in the Stockholm Major, getting picked or banned a total of 113 times while his nearest competition, Razor and Monkey King, were contested 59 and 57 times, respectively.
It's not hard to see why Chaos Knight has been so valued. The hero has a fantastic laning presence in the early on and scales well in the late game.
He also comes online early in the match, and can join his team to take objectives before other carry heroes.
Just like how Chaos Knight is the carry of Dota 2 patch 7.31c, Pugna has emerged as the best support in the game.
The hero currently has too much going for him. Pugna has the highest movement speed in the game, deals significant damage to enemies and buildings, can sustain allies' health and mana, and heavily punishes enemy spell casters.
Both heroes need to be taken down a peg. For Chaos Knight, we're hoping for nerfs to his starting armor and perhaps the lifesteal from Chaos Strike. Recovering 80% of every critical attack's damage is a little too much.
Pugna has a lot of strengths at the moment so it will be interesting to see how IceFrog decides to balance the hero. We believe that Pugna's strongest spell right now is Nether Ward. The Ward has near-permanent uptime, reduces spell damage by 25%, and deals 1.75 damage per mana point. All Pugna has to do in each fight is plant a good Nether Ward and he can die in peace knowing he already did his job.
Buffs to at least 30 heroes
Considering Dota 2 patch 7.31d is a lettered patch, it's unlikely IceFrog will make very drastic changes. But we are hopeful that many of the underutilized heroes get some love in the next gameplay update.
During the Stockholm Major, 39 heroes were picked less than three times, 17 others were unpicked, while 10 were outright ignored and didn't even receive a ban.
Back in The International 10 (TI10), only seven heroes were ignored, and 20 heroes were picked less than three times.
To be fair, the Stockholm Major was missing the Chinese teams who would have undoubtedly changed the meta of the event. But the data we do have doesn't lie, at least a third of the heroes are currently unpickable in Dota 2 patch 7.31c.
We're hopeful that the upcoming patch 7.31d focuses on buffing some of the currently ignored heroes, particularly the ones who were invisible at the Stockholm Major.
Put Marci and Primal Beast in Captain's Mode
Marci and Primal Beast haven't been introduced into Captain's Mode yet. Marci was added to the game in Dota 2 patch 7.30e, back in October 2021, while Primal Beast was introduced more recently in patch 7.31 in February this year.
It's unclear if either hero is currently ready for Captain's Mode, but the upcoming patch is the best time to find out. Valve can keep an eye on the heroes during the upcoming Summer Tour and balance them in time for TI11 in Singapore.
If Valve chooses to delay introducing the two heroes till after the Arlington Major, it might be too late to have them properly balanced in time for TI11.
So here's hoping we see at least one of the two heroes introduced in the upcoming patch.
Fix Storm Spirit's Interaction with Null Talisman
One of Dota 2's recent features is that certain items get upgraded 25 minutes in the game. More specifically, Null Talisman, Bracer, and Wraith Band all provide double their stat bonuses should the game reach 25 minutes. It's a nice way for players to have more itemization options in the game, especially for supports.
One unintended consequence of the item upgrading was Storm Spirit abusing Null Talisman and its mana cost reduction mechanic to allow the hero to continuously spam his spells.
It was common to see Storm Spirit in pubs and pro games buy multiple Null Talismans and nothing else, something that is completely broken and a little funny at the same time.
It will be interesting to see how Valve intends to fix this issue, as it is unique to Storm Spirit alone. Valve might reduce the mana cost reduction from Null Talismans or remove it completely from the item and add a different stat instead.
Either way, we expect a change to this interaction in Dota 2 patch 7.31d.
Slow down the game
Dota 2 matches have been getting shorter and shorter in recent patches, with the average match length being 35 minutes in patch 7.31c. Such an average game duration puts more emphasis on the laning stage and makes certain late game heroes less viable.
The main reason heroes such as Chaos Knight and Tiny have dominated the meta is because they hit a strong power spike at around 20 minutes and can end the game just 10 to 15 minutes later. Other carries such as Anti-Mage and Spectre require significantly more time to come online and are therefore unplayable in the patch.
This extends to support heroes as well, as strong laners like Grimstroke and Bane are highly contested while midgame supports such as Nyx Assassin and Spirit Breaker are currently ignored.
One way to extend the game would be to reduce the amount of gold on the map right now. The current meta in the pro scene is to have four heroes roaming around the map to make space while the carry farms. With less gold on the map, games will take longer to finish and more heroes will become viable in the meta. Or at least we hope so.
Well, that's our wishlist for the upcoming Dota 2 patch 7.31d. Tell us what you hope will change in the comments and happy pubbing!
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.