Ahead of ESL Katowice, Valve released patch 7.21b, which brings minor tweaks across a wide range of heroes. The only changes outside of ones to heroes is one to XP earned from denial increased to 30% (from 25%) and the gold bonus from Midas reduced to 180 (from 200).
Quite a few Agility heroes received minor buffs, as a corrective from 7.21's global change that removed 25% attribute bonuses. Agility, as a stat, gives survivability and damage, and Agility heroes were hit the hardest from the change, as they depended on items to scale through the late game.
Anti-Mage, Slark, Sniper, and Spectre all received minor survivability buffs in either base armor or Strength. While other Agi heroes received buffs to their skills, such as Weaver's Geminate attack now dealing a bonus 10/20/30/40 damage on its second hit. His win rate has increased by nearly 2% and continues to rise.
Lifestealer, Visage, and Night Stalker so far have suffered the worst in terms of win rate. They were by far some of the strongest heroes of 7.21, with Visage being a mainstay for mid-spamming smurfs and boosters. We'll learn more about the impact of 7.21b as the dust settles in a week, and as the Katowice Major unfolds.
Blessings on blessings 🌻— Johan Sundstein (@OG_BDN0tail) February 17, 2019
OG swept Alliance 3-0 to qualify for the sole European slot at the Kiev Minor. The TI8 champions have had a rough road during this year's Pro Circuit. After their post-TI break, they've been clawing at the fringes of both Major and Minor qualifiers. They missed out on the Chongqing and Stockholm Majors, and at the Bucharest Minor they finished 5-6th place.
In past TI's, before the advent of the Pro Circuit, the defending champions were often favored in gaining an invite for next year's event. Now, OG will need to catch up to be on pace if they wish to defend their title. They're currently in 26th place (24 DPC points).
Grabbing the Kiev spot seems to have invigorated the team. In a twitlonger post, OG captain, NoTail, wrote a paean reflecting on his love for Dota and his gratitude for his teammates and fans. "I always loved the beauty in how a team would become successful, a group of people coming together with the purpose of winning the war, but there's no getting around the human aspects. In other words, to succeed you need to become a better teammate and a better human, and trust that everyone else will. The will to win is powerful and I've seen people change themselves chasing the DotA dream."
🇵🇱⚙️ These are your Groups for #ESLOne Katowice 2019!— ESL Dota2 (@ESLDota2) February 13, 2019
Only the top 4 teams of each will progress to the playoffs. Who will make it and who will be going home?https://t.co/GqzYOC4zZ3 pic.twitter.com/2wGmqDN0sZ
With Katowice around the corner and patch 7.21b setting the stage, ESL released the groups and the first round matches. The event will open with a must-watch match between Secret and OG. Secret will be heading into the event as clear favorites, but OG has been gaining momentum since their sweep of Alliance during the Kiev Minors. Absent from the event are VP, Liquid, and EG, who will be participating at MDL Macau the next day.