Dota 2 Fixes Balance Problems Exposed By The Asia Championships

We learned a lot from the Dota 2 Asia Championships. With the Chinese Teams seriously shaking up the meta, Valve was forced to do a soft revert of buffs they handed out less than a month ago. With the Kiev Major rapidly approaching (and the Group Stage coming up at an undetermined time in between), players will have to adjust to these changes in a hurry.

Patch 7.05 dropped recently, and the changes contained within it go a long way toward addressing the issues the issues exposed by teams at the Asia Championships.

Lina received perhaps the biggest change, after a dominant showing.

One of the most picked and banned supports of the tournament, Lina. After Dota 2 added Talents, taking a page from Heroes of the Storm, Lina soon received a level 10 bonus to respawn time, reducing it by 25 seconds. This was buffed to a -30s reduction just last month with Patch 7.03.

As was shown in Dota 2's Asia Championships, this made early-game Lina a constant presence, and every time you devoted resources to kill her was a poor exchange. Heroes who used their ultimates to kill Lina would need to wait around 60 seconds for their ults to come off cooldown, but Lina's buff meant she respawned almost instantly.

The Chinese teams compounded this by rushing Bloodstone on her, an item that Lina normally gets anyhow and also reduces her respawn time, in addition to several other benefits. Lina could also scale into late game as a high-damage carry with her other traits, which let her do massive damage and even out-range Towers.

Now, with Patch 7.05, Lina won't be able to buff her Respawn time until level 15, as they swapped it with her level 15 Talent that buffs her attack range. This means that Lina won't be as much as an early-game presence, but it also means that she won't be able to scale as well into late game. At level 15, many people would choose the Talent that gave her a bonus 50 damage. Now, they have to choose between a fast-respawnig Lina, and a high-damange Lina, whereas the Asia Championships saw her used as both.

The Asia Championships made it look like the year of the Monkey.

Monkey King was the second-most picked and banned hero during the playoffs of the Asia Championship, making him essentially a mainstay. With six different patch notes directly affecting him, Monkey King is tied for the most-changed hero of 7.05. This is not a coincidence.

Not all his changes were straight nerfs, but they're certainly alterations that will affect how people played him. Most importantly, Monkey King's Ultimate received the biggest hit: a cooldown increase of 30/25/20 seconds for each level respectively, which puts it firmly on the longer side of ultimate cooldowns in the game.

At the same time, though, he did get a small bonus to strength gain, which should see him survive a bit longer than he did during certain engagements at the Asia Championships.

Alchemist will probably still be just as viable and dominant after patch 7.05

On the other hand, Valve might not have done enough to curb the dominance of perennially picked heroes such as Alchemist, who was the most picked and banned hero during the Asia Championship playoffs. While Alchemist was nerfed, it either wasn't in an area that made him particularly powerful, or it wasn't enough.

Patch 7.05 reduced the area of Alchemist's Acid Spray, which may help in more grouped-up teamfights and it might limit the amount of jungle camps he can affect simultaneously, but it's overall not a huge area of concern for Alchemist who gets by on his high damage and attack speed.

On that note, the patch did give a 10 second cooldown increase to his ultimate, which gives him bonus attack speed and health regeneration, but that seems like an awfully small change given that he's still just as powerful, but only 10 seconds later.

As with all of these changes, though, we won't know for sure until the pros get their hands on these guys at the Kiev Major, which will kick off later this month on April 27th.