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Dota 2 patch 7.31d adds Marci to Captain's Mode; nerfs Chaos Knight, Mars

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Dota 2 patch 7.31d has arrived, bringing a myriad of changes along with it.

Marci has now been added to Captain's Mode while other heroes were given some needed tweaks, with the previous patch's meta heroes getting nerfed while the more unpopular ones got buffed.

This latest gameplay update will be the one used for the ongoing 2021-2022 Dota Pro Circuit (DPC) Summer Tour.

It will take some time for all the changes in the patch to be fully realized, but for now here is our list of the biggest changes in Dota 2 patch 7.31d:

Gameplay changes

Marci added to Captain's Mode

Screenshot of Marci from Dota 2 reveal trailer. (Photo: Valve Software)
Marci in Dota 2. (Photo: Valve Software)

Dota 2's resident silent brawler will soon be making her competitive debut, as she can now be picked in Captain's Mode and will likely make several appearances in the DPC.

Marci is a flexible hero who can be played in literally any role, though she is most commonly played as either the offlaner or position 4 support.

With her versatility, Marci will surely provide teams with a great amount of drafting options.

Time will tell which role the hero is best suited for but for now, but we are just glad she's in the game. Hopefully Primal Beast makes it into Captain's Mode in time for The International 11 in Singapore this October.

Roshan can now destroy wards

- Roshan will now attack Ward units if there are no other units within melee range

- Roshan attacks will immediately destroy any ward type unit

An interesting mechanic that popped up in patch 7.31 was the change to Shadow Shaman's ward damage type.

Serpent Wards dealt significantly more damage to Roshan back then, allowing Shadow Shaman to kill Roshan by himself early in the game.

The 7.31d patch has made it significantly harder for Shadow Shaman to achieve that feat, as Roshan will now aim for the Serpent Wards if no other target is nearby and can demolish them in one hit.

Teams will likely have to bring at least one other hero to help Shaman kill Roshan now.

Buffs

Composite image of Dota 2 heroes Centaur Warrunner, Clockwerk, and Elder Titan. (Photos: Valve Software)
Dota 2 patch 7.31d buffed some of the more unpopular heroes recently, including Centaur Warrunner, Clockwerk, and Elder Titan. (Photos: Valve Software)

Centaur Warrunner

Hoof Stomp

- Stun duration increased from 1.6/1.9/2.2/2.5s to 2/2.2/2.4/2.6s

The standard skill build for Centaur Warrunner is to max Retaliate first, then Double Edge, and finally Hoof Stomp.

Players will typically take one point in Hoof Stomp at level one and then ignore the skill until the other two basic abilities are maxed out.

This makes the buff Centaur received in Dota 2 patch 7.31d substantial, as the hero will be using level one Hoof Stomp for at least half of the game.

The extra 0.4 stun duration at level one makes the spell significantly more reliable to use and more rewarding when it lands.

Hoof Stomp also stuns for slightly longer at max level, though an additional 0.1-second stun duration isn't as exciting.

Clockwerk

Battery Assault

- Deals 2x damage to creeps

Spirit Breaker received an interesting buff in 7.30. Greater Bash was buffed to deal 50% extra damage to creeps, allowing the hero to clear out incoming creep waves by charging into them and giving the hero a much-needed farming tool.

Teams started to pick Spirit Breaker more due to that change, as it allowed the hero to scale better into the late game. And now Clockwerk has received the same treatment in Dota 2 patch 7.31d.

Clockwerk is now twice as efficient at farming creeps, allowing the hero to remain a threat in the late game.

In previous patches, Clockwerk's only goal in the late game was to use Hookshot to disable magic immune targets.

Now that the hero can actually farm, we predict Clockwork to be more of a presence in the late game as a support and can potentially even be picked as an offlaner.

Elder Titan

Astral Spirit

- Bonus Speed per creep increased from 1% to 1.5%

Earth Splitter

- Cooldown reduced from 120/110/100 to 100

Elder Titan now gains 50% more movement speed when Astral Spirit hits creeps, making it significantly easier for the hero to achieve max movement speed when chasing down enemies or escaping from sticky situations.

Earth Splitter also gained a nice buff to its cooldown at levels one and two.

Reducing the cooldown from 120 to 100 seconds allows the hero to be more active during the early game.

It's a similar buff to Centaur Warrunner, as the spell remains the same at max level but the hero is stronger from level six to level 17 now.

Slark

- Base damage increased from 53-61 to 55-61

Essence Shift

- Duration rescaled from 15/30/60/100 to 20/40/60/80

Dota 2 patch 7.31d will have significant changes to heroes during the laning stage, thanks to the nerf to Healing Salves.

We predicted that heroes who dominate the lane will prosper in this patch, and Slark looks like he will be one of those heroes.

Essence Shift lasts 33% longer at levels one and two. Essence Shift tends to be the last spell the hero maxes, which makes buffs to the early levels of the spell quite impactful.

Slark can hit an enemy a couple of times in the laning stage and it now takes them an additional five seconds to recover all their stats, putting them at a significant disadvantage.

Slark also deals slightly more base damage, which will help the hero in last hitting and harassing.

This is more of a "notice me" buff than anything, but it adds up with the extra Essence Shift duration to make Slark one of the most buffed heroes this patch (or so we assume!).

Ursa

Earthshock

- Move speed slow increased from 16/24/32/40% to 22/28/34/40%

Ursa desperately needed some love this patch. The hero was only picked six times during the ESL One Stockholm Major and lost four of his six games there.

Despite being a lane-dominating carry, Ursa couldn't compete with Chaos Knight, Monkey King, and Wraith King in the previous patch and ended up being ignored.

Earthshock now slows enemies by 22% at level one, up from 16% in previous patches.

The additional slow means Ursa and his allies should be able to land an additional couple of hits during the slow duration, which can make all the difference in an enemy dying or making it out on a sliver of health.

Nerfs

Composite image of Dota 2 heroes Chaos Knight, Mars, and Pugna. (Photos: Valve Software)
Dota 2 patch 7.31d also handed out some much-needed nerfs to the previous patch's meta heroes, including Chaos Knight, Mars, and Pugna. (Photos: Valve Software)

Chaos Knight

Chaos Bolt

- Damage reduced from 90-180/110-220/130-260/150-300 to 60-120/90-180/120-240/150-300

Chaos Strike

- Lifesteal reduced from 24/36/48/60% to 20/30/40/50%

As the most contested hero during the Stockholm Major, Chaos Knight was bound to get a couple of nerfs, as we mentioned in our list of changes we wanted to see.

Chaos Bolt deals less damage at lower levels while Chaos Strike provides less lifesteal now.

Chaos Bolt is the last basic ability players max on the hero, which means the spell will now deal 45 less damage on average at level one.

The 45 damage reduction equates to one auto-attack in the early game and makes it slightly harder for the hero to bring down enemies.

It's quite unfair how Chaos Knight used to hit two crits in a row and fully heal himself, and so it seems IceFrog agrees with that assessment.

Chaos Knight will have a harder time sustaining himself in teamfights and that makes him easier to bring down in 7.31d.

Mars

- Base damage reduced by 3

Spear of Mars

- Stun duration reduced from 1.6/2.0/2.4/2.8 to 1.4/1.8/2.2/2.6

Mars was the second most contested hero at the Stockholm Major, being picked and banned 105 times in the tournament.

The hero lanes well, provides the team with a strong ultimate and stun, and is naturally tanky — especially against ranged cores.

Mars deals 3 less damage at all levels when he right clicks in 7.31d. This makes it harder for the hero to last hit during the laning stage while also reducing the damage from God's Rebuke.

The bigger nerf to the hero is the 0.2 stun duration reduction to his Spear, particularly at early levels. It's a little less rewarding to land the Spear now, which might make teams reconsider picking Mars in every game.

It's unlikely that these changes will push Mars out of the competitive meta, as the hero still has many strengths going for him.

But with his nerfs, the introduction of Marci, and buffs to other offlaners like Centaur Warrunner, the God of War may no longer be the offlane king that he was in previous patches.

Grimstroke

Ink Swell

- Radius reduced from 400 to 375

- Cooldown increased from 30/25/20/15 to 30/26/22/18

Grimstroke was one of the standout supports in the Stockholm Major, being the third most picked hero and sixth most contested during the tournament.

The hero's immense popularity did not translate to success, as he only had a 40% win rate at the Major.

We believe the hero received nerfs due to his popularity and not his strength. Grimstroke was showing up in every game and IceFrog wants to give other heroes a chance to shine, which is why Ink Swell received two significant nerfs.

An additional three seconds to the cooldown of the spell makes it much harder to get multiple Ink swells off in a teamfight, even with the level 10 cooldown reduction talent.

Ink Swell will also be affecting fewer enemies due to the decrease in the spell's radius, further gutting the hero and placing him among our list of most nerfed heroes in this patch.

Pangolier

Shield Crash

- Cooldown increased from 16/14/12/10 to 18/16/14/12

Roll Up

- Duration reduced from 4s to 2.75s

Similar to Mars, Pangolier is another hero that is always a good pick. The hero is fairly durable with a good escape mechanism and a strong teamfight ultimate.

As a result, Pangolier had the second-highest win rate among the 10 most picked heroes at the Stockholm Major.

Shield Crash is the first spell Pangolier maxes out and it is in a significantly worse spot in 7.31d.

Previously, its damage reduction lasted 11 seconds and that meant the spell had permanent uptime in patch 7.31c, when the cooldown was 10 seconds.

With the increased cooldown, Pangolier no longer has permanent damage reduction during team fights.

It's not just a nerf to the hero's defensive abilities, as Shield Crash also deals 300 damage and slows enemies by 35%. All this means that Pangolier is now a smaller threat during team fights, while being easier to bring down.

Pangolier made it on our list of heroes with fantastic Aghanim's Shard upgrades. Roll Up is a fantastic ability that provides the hero with extra offensive and defensive options.

Unfortunately for the hero, Roll Up doesn't last as long now and it's another heavy nerf to the hero.

Pugna

Nether Ward

- Damage per Used Mana reduced from 1/1.25/1.5/1.75 to 0.75/1/1.25/1.5

- Damage reduction reduced from 10/15/20/25% to 8/12/16/20%

Pugna received a pretty hefty blow from the nerf stick, as Nether Ward's damage is now reduced at all levels.

Nether Ward heavily punished spell casters in the previous patch and while Nether Ward is still dangerous now, it's a little less threatening.

Besides dealing less damage, Nether Ward is weaker defensively as well. The spell reduces the enemy's spell damage by 20% now, down from 25%.

With his best spell significantly nerfed, Pugna might just be the biggest loser of Dota 2 patch 7.31d.

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.

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