Dota 2's much-awaited 7.30 update will be released once the Nemestice Battle Pass ends next week on 17 August.
With it being the patch that The International 10 (TI10) — this year's iteration of Dota 2's annual world championship tournament — is expected to be played on, many are anticipating that 7.30 will be bringing major changes to the game.
As such, many of the popular heroes in the current patch and metagame are expected to receive substantial nerfs and subsequently fall out of favour. With less than a week until the 7.30 update's expected arrival, we've picked out five of the most popular heroes of the current patch (according to their pick and ban rates during the TI10 regional qualifiers) that you should take advantage of before they get nerfed:
Hoodwink has emerged as one of the most popular supports in both casual and competitive play in the past couple of patches. This crossbow-wielding raccoon-like hero was notably the second-most picked support in the TI10 regional qualifiers — appearing in a total of 118 games — and was overall the seventh most picked and banned hero during the event.
The surge in Hoodwink's popularity was mainly driven by the hero's incredible level of versatility, as she has a potent disable in her Acorn Shot-Bushwhack combo as well as an insane nuke (and Break applicator) in her Sharpshooter ultimate. In addition, she can also safely push out sidelanes by using Scurry to burst down creep waves from the safety of the various treelines that litter the map.
With Hoodwink's innately strong skillset, most pro teams have been running her as a position 4 support that can really swing fights in her team's favour if given enough levels. This sort of playstyle should be still be successful in pubs, though you will still a need a good level of coordination with your team in order to land your spells.
While we don't expect Icefrog to nerf Hoodwink by changing her abilities, a significant reduction in her damage output could see the hero fall out of favour in the next patch. As such, there doesn't seem to be a better time to play Hoodwink than right now, while she's still this strong.
Nyx Assassin was the most contested pick of the TI10 qualifiers, getting picked or banned in a whopping 232 games. While this elusive-yet-deadly bug was only picked in 86 games — which still made it the fourth-most picked hero of the qualifiers — most teams would rather not face Nyx Assassin, resulting in it being the most banned support hero of the qualifiers with 146 games.
There's a really good reason why many teams refused to let Nyx Assassin through the draft: the hero is just too damn annoying to deal with. Nyx Assassin forces the enemy team to invest in a lot of Sentry Wards, lest the bug's Vendetta ultimate foil their attempt at a smoke gank or set up a crucial core pickoff. Moreover, Impale and Mana Burn are very disruptive spells you wouldn't want to get hit by while a well-timed Spiked Carapace will make you second guess trying to initiate on Nyx Assassin.
If you want to use Nyx Assassin to give your MMR a boost, then you wouldn't go wrong with trying the Aghanim's Scepter rush build that many position 4 supports used during the TI10 qualifiers. While the added range on Impale and Mana Burn is great, it's the added survivability while being Burrowed that really makes Nyx Assassin shine with this build. Play your cards well and you should get some easy wins (all while frustrating the heck out of your opponents in the process).
Dragon Knight was the most popular core hero of the TI10 qualifiers, appearing in 90 games, as one would expect from the game's resident anime protagonist. Davion's high pick rate also made him the sixth-most picked and banned hero of the event, appearing in a total of 198 games.
While Dragon Knight has mostly been played as a mid hero in the past, his role has been shifted more towards being an offlaner in recent patches. In order to facilitate Davion's transition into a new role, pros have been prioritising Dragon's Blood in their skill builds so that the hero can survive the difficult laning phase all offlaners must go through. Despite getting fewer resources than before, offlane Dragon Knight can still be the same tanky, tower-destroying midgame monster that he was before once he reaches level six.
Dragon Knight can still thrive in a pub setting (despite how core-heavy pub line-ups can get) if you play him in the offlane, which can give you some guaranteed MMR before the 7.30 update is released. Max Dragon's Blood to help you survive the offlane then start pushing down towers once you reach level six, something you shouldn't get overly punished for with how uncoordinated pub games can be. Get Blink Dagger and Black King Bar when possible to help win team fights, after which you can start building carry items to ensure you'll eventually win the game.
Terrorblade has been THE carry hero of the current patch, being the second-most picked and banned hero of the TI10 qualifiers after appearing in a total of 228 games. The primary antagonist of the Dota 2 anime notably ranked third in pick and ban rates for core heroes, getting banned in 143 games and picked in 85.
It's not hard to see why Terrorblade has been so popular, as he can become virtually unstoppable if given enough space to farm. In order to maximise the hero's carry potential, pros try to get him to the jungle to free farm as soon as possible once he gets enough levels from his starting lane. Should the opposing side fail to contest Terrorblade's farm, then he will simply cut through them like a hot knife through butter in team fights then demolish their base in no time at all.
It's gonna be hard to get Terrorblade to the level of strength you will often see him during pro games given how uncoordinated pubs can be. So if you're gonna spam him to boost your MMR, then make sure to remind your teammates that you will not be joining any early fights and will instead focus on farming to carry them to victory. If you're confident enough in your own skills, learn Metamorphosis on level one to get a strong start in the lane then max Conjure Image and head to the jungle to free farm. If things go as planned, then you should start snowballing to victory by the midgame.
For much of Dota's history, Broodmother has been one of those 'auto-ban' heroes that most players would prefer not to face. That fact remains true even after an extensive rework of her abilities in the 7.29 update. Broodmother was the most banned hero of the TI10 qualifiers, getting banned in a total of 172 games.
There are a couple of good reasons why players would rather not play against Broodmother. For one, it's a huge spider that creates an army of spiders out of nowhere. Another is that all those spiders can easily kill you and your towers if you don't keep your guard up. Now just imagine how an arachnophobic Dota player feels like whenever they have to play against Broodmother.
Broodmother's recent rework has pushed her into more of a utility role, as pros now build items like Guardian Greaves and Pipe of Insight on her in order to keep both her allies and personal spider army alive. She won't be lacking in damage from the early-to-midgame, so survivability will ensure she reaches her full damage potential and give you a quick victory.
Of course, you will need to have an adequate level of micro skills to play Broodmother effectively. If you can't reach 500 APM, it's fine. Just remember to keep your spiderlings in the treeline whenever you're not attacking with them, split them into smaller groups to avoid losing them to area-of-effect damage, and focus on isolated targets like backline supports. If Broodmother isn't banned and you're confident in your micro skills, then she should give you a lot of free wins.