In the Blink of an Eye
The meta takes quite a bit of time to adjust to the changes introduced in the latest patch. Even more so in the public matchmaking. However, after almost a month since the introduction of the 6.80 we can definitely say that the heroes with limited mana pools that rely on using Blink Dagger to initiate and fight are among the biggest winners of this patch.
Shall we go through the changes to the Win Rates in more detail?
This hero has been receiving occasional minor buffs here and there, as discussed in our blog post on the 6.80 changelog.
The buffs to the hero alone could not contribute enough to the current power of the hero - the only change that can be considered significant was the increase of the Berserker's Call level 1 duration by 0.5 seconds.
The increase to HP regeneration is certainly nice, but in a typical 10-15 seconds fight it would correspond to 10-15 extra HP, which is lower than HP gain from an extra Strength attribute. At the same time it allows Axe to lane better, since he can withstand more harass from the enemy. And that can be utilised by some lineups.
The indirect buff from the Blink Dagger had such a great impact, because Axe had the most restrictive mana pool with only 234 starting mana and 1.6 Intelligence gain per level. Previously, using Blink Dagger at level 6 would burn around 20% of his mana pool. Since it is no longer an issue, Axe can use his spells more frequently.
Even though we consider them to be a little bit more significant than in the Axe's case, the 0 mana cost on the Blink Dagger cannot be underestimated on this hero.
With 208 starting mana and 1.8 Intelligence gain, Earthshaker had 338 disposable mana at level 7. Going through the Blink Dagger+ Echo Slam+ Fissure+ Enchant Totem combo would cost 440 mana! Hence having Blink Dagger without Arcane Boots was very unwise.
That means that instead of a 1000 gold investment into the Arcane Boots, similar combo-possibilities can now be achieved with a 100 gold investment, making Earthshaker 900 gold closer to an early blink.
We are not suggesting you ignore your team to farm, or disregard Arcane Boots completely - there will be cases where rushing Blink Dagger would be unnecessary. We are just pointing out the new possibilities of the hero and his increased early-game presence that ultimately lead to an increase in his Win Rate.
Once again - minor overall buffs, coupled with the Blink Dagger buff lead to an increase in Win Rate for the hero.
It doesn't look that good on paper, but in a lot of cases it means being able to use that extra ability - be it saving yourself, decimating everything in the process, with your ultimate. Or just slowing a bunch of enemies, while dealing a considerable amount of damage.
All in all - there is not a lot to say. Nyx has some mana problems. He is also a great initiator - with Impale and Spiked Carapace he can both disable a couple of enemies AND stay alive. Something Lion, with a similar stun cannot boast. Combining one and two we get a 1.05% increase in Win Rate.
An additional contributing factor could be that people have learned to use Impale with the new targeting system better. It is not an explicit skill-shot like Mirana's Sacred Arrow or Pudge's Meat Hook, but it still requires proper aiming and timing.
One of the heroes that went under radar for pro-players for quite a while is now starting to get some love. With some excellent buffs to his ultimate - Stampede his already high Win Rate has risen by an extra 1%.
Can it be credited to the Blink Dagger? We really can't tell, but we certainly think so. The Win Rate for Centaurs with Blink Daggers has risen by ~1.5% with the new patch, to an all time high of 63.59% at the moment of writing.
There is not much else to say - Centaur Warrunner is a rather strong hero that is a direct counter to most heroes that rely on slow effects and relocation of enemies or allies, since Stampede gives that advantage when it comes to proper macro and micro positioning.
Again - skipping Arcane Boots on Magnus in favor of an early Blink Dagger is now a legitimate macro strategy. Literally every single Magnus should get a Blink Dagger at some point, and if you have an early-mid-game lineup having it a couple of minutes earlier can allow for a very strong snowball effect, that is needed in the current meta.
Getting a Blink Dagger on Vengeful Spirit was (and probably is) a bit gimmicky. However, now that it comes with zero manacost, it is a bit less so.
Just like with the case of Nyx Assassin, you get a way to initiate which will not deplete your mana pool and will let you stay safe.
One thing to note, though, that if you are facing something with an AoE DoT (e.g. Radiance), in certain cases you will not have enough time to turn around and blink to the target you have just Nether Swapped with, since the Blink Dagger will be disabled.
However, you can always blink forward in the same direction you are facing after the swap, since it is instantaneous, possibly saving your life and distracting the enemy team. Or feeding horribly. It is one or the other, really.
I will keep on stating that despite his lower universal Win Rate. And despite the fact that his Blink Dagger Win Rate has actually decreased in the 6.79-6.80 transition.
I will further try to substantiate my dodgy claim by stating that the probable reason for his lower Win Rate is an increase in his popularity. And an increase in popularity led to a whole lot of games where Slardar was piloted by a new and inexperienced player.
And to completely discredit my analytic skills, I will finish off this section stating that Slardar will be borderline Tier 1 in the competitive scene very soon.
The global Win Rate for this hero has decreased, however, Ursa's with Blink Daggers are actually better of by ~0.5%, compared to the 6.79 Era.
What it tells us is that while the general population is gradually learning how to play against this otherwise very situational carry, the Blink Dagger Ursa is now better than Shadow Blade Ursa. Interestingly, it was not the case in 6.79 and 6.79c.
Going through my earlier Blog Posts you will probably find a couple of unkind remarks regarding the inability of your typical pub support to get Sentry Wards and Dust of Appearance. And I am extremely happy to see you starting to prove me wrong.
Then again, it could be nerfs to Shadow Blade kicking in and it is too early to praise the general public of Dota 2.
There is a multitude of other heroes that could benefit from the zero mana cost for Blink Dagger to a large extent. However, not all of them had a significant change to their Win Rate with the introduction of the 6.80 patch (e.g. Sand King - the difference between 6.79 and 6.80 Win Rate is less than 0.05%).
I really hope that you have found this article interesting and useful and will incorporate some of the tips into your gameplay. We are here to help you improve - be it through providing valuable statistics, that will allow you to asses the mistakes you may have made, or analysis.
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