7.21b slightly altered the metagame in the highest skill bracket, returning some heroes to the game, while nerfing the most successful carries. Overall the carry meta is in a decently healthy place right now, with a good variety of heroes.
Once again, 7.21 and 7.21b have kept the majority of the staples from the previous patch viable, while also allowing other heroes to shine. Typical Juggernaut, Lifestealer, Luna and Phantom Assassin barely need an introduction, so instead we will be focusing on up and coming heroes who are both successful and underplayed in pubs.
Bloodseeker is barely present in high level pubs—he is picked in less than 1% of the games. He wins more than 55% of those, however. Something clearly allows the hero to work well in pubs, at least as a very niche pick.
Bloodseeker falls into the category of tempo carries—his damage output in the late game isn’t particularly impressive, but his power level in the midgame and during the laning stage is undeniable. In that, he is very similar to Lifestealer, who can also struggle in prolonged games, but can take over the game by minute 20.
The typical Bloodseeker build is also rather similar, with Radiance shining brightly on the hero. Midas, especially after the nerf, is highly debatable, however—Bloodseeker doesn’t really need extra attack speed and the Midas is still a tempo hiccup.
The end result is a carry your team can start playing around quite early: if you are sufficiently faster at getting online than your enemy, you can take over the game with relative ease with a healthy mixture of both Physical and Magical damage. This can work wonders against both high-armor, low HP targets and tanky, low armor targets.
Razor’s popularity has been slowly increasing after the DreamLeague qualifiers: high level pub players tend to closely monitor the pro-scene and copy the things that work. Razor almost definitely works.
Razor is often thought of as an “anti-carry” type of carry and he is very effective at dealing with the meta’s most popular heroes. Heroes like Lifestealer, Juggernaut and Phantom Assassin generally rely on their attacks to deal damage and Static Link, especially with the level 15 talent, steals most of it.
Even if the hero in question does manage to disengage, it is still time he spent walking and not hitting your teammates. Moreover, you are going to steal at least some damage, which can come in handy against ctir-reliant damage dealers.
Finally, Razor now also has access to some utility: his Plasma Field now has a decent slow effect, while Unstable Current has been repurposed as a good enough farming tool.
Buffed Lycan is a force to be reckoned with: the hero is now stronger in lane and that allows him to hit his crucial timings with relative ease. He does feel slightly out of place in the current slower meta, but given a greedy enough lineup from the enemy and a decent laning stage, he can be the alpha wolf on the map until at least 30 minutes into the game.
Most of Lycan’s power comes from map control: he melts structures and can provide a ton of vision for his team. While his teamfight potential is generally limited, with the superior map control it is Lycan who gets to pick the fights. Moreover, for Lycan the damage is rarely an issue: he has tons of it. It is just spread out across multiple units and generally doesn’t provide enough burst to kill the enemy fast enough.
With some gank- and disable-heavy supports on his side, he can easily take down a target in the midgame and immediately transition into push. Playing fast and bold is more or less mandatory for the hero and if your team is coordinated enough, Lycan will pay off.
With two big tournaments this week, we are going to have a lot of new Data to analyze. So far we are really hopeful for this patch and the 7.21b changes: it looks like the diversity of hero picks should make a comeback.
Next time we are going to talk about the meta’s new mid heroes: who knows, maybe teams playing at MDL Macau and ESL Katowice will have some interesting surprises for us.