Get Good: How to play 7.00 Techies

Corey "CartDota" Hospes
Thumbnail image courtesy of Valve

When Techies was first released post-TI4, like everyone else I quickly got sick of playing against the hero. So I decided to try Techies myself, which turned out to be a mistake — the three goblins quickly won me over, and I eventually earned the terrible title of Techies Picker.

Last patch, Techies were probably the worst they’ve ever been, but thankfully they have been reworked as we move on to 7.00. While the way to play Techies has changed, their core concept has stayed the same. They are a hero designed to wreak havoc in a way that is uniquely frustrating for the enemy team. Played well, they can immobilize the enemy team simply by making them too scared to leave the safety of their defensive structures.

I’ve always played Techies as a solo offlane, and this guide will be geared toward playing in that position. Though the best time to play Techies offlane was certainly when they had instant-detonation Land Mines, I think this is the most playable they have been since.

Patch 7.00 Changes

Proximity Mines

Previously, the main utility of Techies was to build big stacks of mines at choke points and get hands-free kills on any hero unlucky enough to wander through without True Sight. In 7.00, this ability is gone. Proximity Mines (Q) can no longer be placed within the area-of-effect of other Proximity Mines, and they’ll also be visible to enemies who are within their blast radius — giving enemy heroes a chance to avoid or kill them before they go off.

Not being able to stack mines isn’t actually a nerf, since individual mines do a lot more damage. At max level, each mine does 750 base magical damage, which is nearly equivalent to three 6.88 mines stacked on top of each other. Mines also do full damage in their entire 400 AoE radius, rather than falling off to half damage the way they did previously. The change to magical damage is noteworthy since it makes them better for clearing lane creeps, who have no magic resistance — Level 3 Proximity Mines can now one-shot a creep wave.

Mine placement is also much more important, both because they’re no longer invisible and because enemies must be near them for 1.6 seconds in order for them to detonate. Planting mines right in enemy heroes’ faces is especially discouraged, since there is a 1.75 second setup timer on each mine before the 1.6 detonation delay starts ticking down. That’s a total of 3.35 seconds from placement to earliest possible detonation, so you’ll have to be a lot more careful about placing mines when people are around.

Everything Else

Not being able to insta-suicide means playing aggressive solo in the enemy jungle is no longer ideal. However, Suicide Squad’s replacement ability, Blast Off (E), is incredibly useful in teamfights, with a 1000 cast range to initiate and an AoE silence that hits enemies for 4/5/6/7 seconds. The new ability also doesn’t immediately kill you, but damages you for 50 percent of your max HP, which means you can use it aggressively to start a fight or finish off someone in lane.

Stasis Trap (W) no longer has a detonation delay when triggered, but rather than stunning enemies it roots them. Rooting is a bit more effective than it used to be, since it now disables escape moves like Burrow Strike or Time Walk, but it’s still not as good as a full stun. Another interesting change is that Stasis Trap’s effect radius (600 AoE) is now larger than its trigger radius (400 AoE), so an enemy that wanders too close could end up rooting enemies farther away.

Techies ultimate, Remote Mines (R), are close to unchanged, though they have been given a detonation delay of 0.25 seconds, so you’ll have to anticipate your opponent’s movement a bit more when triggering them. The tradeoff is you can now plant them faster, with a cast time of 1 second instead of 1.5. Unlike Prox Mines, they can still be stacked and they still require True Sight to spot, so you can be a bit more liberal about mining lanes and jungle paths with them.

Items

Techies has always been infamous for low base damage, making it difficult to farm with your auto-attack. In previous patches, an offlane Techies could last hit with bombs relatively easily, but with the new 3.35s vulnerability time of Proximity Mines, this is no longer an option.

A Mantle of Intelligence gives you an extra +3 Int to get your starting damage up, and a Quelling Blade gives you another +7 damage on creeps to a total of 40 damage towards last hits. The Quelling is also important for cutting down trees to reach good places to hide your mines.

You’ll want a Town Portal Scroll to start, so you can get out to your lane ASAP and place as many Proximity Mines as you can before your opponents show up. Techies is incredibly slow and incredibly squishy, so without a few mines to fall back to in the opening minutes of the laning phase, you’ll be food for the enemy carry and supports.

After my starting items, I build Null Talisman so that I can last hit more easily, followed by a Soul Ring and then Arcane Boots. Lots of people prefer Tranquils over Arcanes, but with the new Proximity and Stasis mines I recommend building for as much mana as possible.

In the past, rushing Aghanim’s Scepter for extra Remote Mine damage was common, so you could one-shot creep waves with Remotes and farm quicker. However, now that you can kill creep waves from full HP with Level 3 Proximity Mines, this is no longer a requirement. I recommend going for a Eul’s Scepter after you finish your Arcanes, since you will need all the mana you can get.

From there I generally also get Aether Lens and eventually the Aghanim's Scepter. Aether Lens damage amplification is naturally good on Techies, and the cast range is a great perk as well. After getting Aghs, Remote Mines have a cast range of 700; with Aether Lens and Techies’ +200 range talent at Level 15, you can boost this to a whopping 1,120.

Late game, Staff of Vyse is a great pickup, as it helps you teamfight better, and Octarine Core will give you essential mana and cooldown reduction. The less time your spells are on cooldown, the more you can be placing mines, and the more damage you can pump out around the map.

Skill Build

By level 7, you want to max Proximity Mines, with two points in Blast Off and one in your ult. This will give you the damage you need to farm with mines and a lot of teamfight utility and gank potential with Blast Off and Remote Mines.

There’s an argument to be made for skilling Stasis Trap at level 7 rather than maxing Proximity Mines. Level 3 Proximity Mines deal 575 magical damage, and because lane creeps have no magical resistance, this is enough to one-shot the wave. That means a fourth level isn’t necessarily needed, but I find that Stasis will rarely be useful if you’re solo laning, as you should be.

After level 7, finish maxing out Blast Off, and finish Stasis last.

Talents

Techies’ new talent tree gives them several farm-focused options like extra XP and gold gain, but if you’re using your mines to clear creep waves effectively you don’t really need these to scale. I much prefer the utility options like extra cast range and reduced respawn time, which make you more effective in engagements, particularly if you’re defending high-ground.

Level 10: While Techies is a very slow hero and does benefit from +20 movespeed, it’s useful only in certain situations like trying to escape a gank or chasing someone down with Blast Off. You will always be suffering from lack of mana, so I usually choose +2 mana regen.

Level 15: Both +25 percent XP gain and +200 cast range are very good, but by level 15 you’re nearly to level 3 Remote Mines anyway, and I think the XP gain comes too late to be useful. The +200 cast range is incredibly useful for teamfights, allowing you to place mines (especially Remotes) without being directly in danger. It also boosts your Blast Off to 1,200 range, which helps with chasing down stragglers.

Level 20: At this point in the game, one-shotting creep waves with mines shouldn’t be a challenge, which means another 120 gold per minute isn’t a huge deal. However, if you die at this point in the game without the high-ground being mined defensively — especially since you can’t halve your respawn time by suiciding anymore — your game is over. Take -60s respawn every time.

Level 25: Taking +400 Blast Off damage gives you 800 magic damage in total, but by this point you’re likely doing more damage than that with Remote Mines. The 25 percent cooldown reduction means you can be setting up more mines and traps, which is almost always more useful.

Strategy

The Laning Phase

Old school Techies players will be used to leaving their lane around Level 6 or 7 to start mining around the map. Now, your top priority is to keep control of your lane. New Techies plays a bit like Broodmother, in that you set up in a lane and stay there farming and making your opponent anxious until the enemy Tier 1 tower goes down. The exception is if the enemy team is pushing your towers too hard, in which case it’s better to abandon your lane and start mining up your structures defensively.

Mining your lane is all-important, since you’ll be using mines simultaneously to clear creeps and weaken enemy heroes so that you can finish them with a rotation gank or a Blast Off. However, mining effectively is also much more difficult than in 6.88, since you have to hide your Proximity Mines out of enemy sight.

The most important thing to remember when picking your mine placements is that all enemies can see them if they’re within the 400 AoE blast radius. If enemy creeps see a mine in the middle of their path when none of your creeps are around, they will quickly dispatch it, so you will mostly be placing mines in trees and attempting to pull creep waves into their range.

You may notice that there are no Prox Mines on the right side of the Radiant offlane. Due to the path that creeps take and the visibility range, there are no good places to place Proximity Mines on the right side of the lane (at least without going fairly far north toward the enemy tower). For this reason, I believe Techies is more difficult to offlane on Radiant than on Dire.

Playing Dire, on the other hand, has some great places to put mines. This also creates a greater danger zone for enemy heroes, as neither side of the lane is safe.

Place a high priority on replacing your mines as they detonate. Your opponent may figure out some of your spots eventually, so this will require some sneaking through the jungle or Side Shop to make sure they can’t interrupt you while you’re setting up.

Because mines can’t be stacked, you likely won’t be able to one-shot your laning opponent with one big blaze of glory. Your goal should instead be to get them low and then finish them off with Blast Off. If you succeed in this a few times, they will get nervous about coming near enough for you to Blast into them, which will give you command of the lane.

The Mid and Late Game

Techies may no longer be a solo-killing machine, but you still have a lot of ways to make your opponents’ lives miserable.

Max-level Proximity Mines do 562.5 damage to enemy heroes, assuming standard 25 percent magic resistance. While you’re likely not killing anyone with that, taking 560 HP off your opponent makes it harder for them to make an impact in the next big engagement. Therefore it’s a good idea to drop mines in trees everywhere you can in the enemy jungle, to catch anyone trying to farm camps or rotate through.

Since neutral creeps won’t attack Proximity Mines even if they can see them, you can use them to one-shot creep camps. Camps only respawn every odd minute now, so this will wreak economic havoc on an enemy carry who wants to secure jungle farm.

Since Stasis Traps no longer expire, I also recommend dropping some traps while you’re near any place on the map that has a high potential for a teamfight occurring. One stasis bomb in the right spot can completely swing a teamfight, even if you’re not there, and that is truly what Techies is all about.

Remote Mines have always been the bread and butter of any good techies player, but with the changes to Proximity Mines their placement is even more important. Where before you could use Proximity Mines to make chokes dangerous, you now have to rely solely on Remotes, so paying attention to the minimap is far more crucial than ever before.

There is no one “great” place to plant Remote Mines, but you should always keep a few things in mind. What do you think your opponents will be doing, and where will they have to walk to accomplish it? Setting up traps takes time, so you will need to predict enemy movements around 90 seconds before they decide to make them. What will their carry be doing? What lane will they push next, and when? These are the important questions to ask yourself.

As far as figuring out how many mines are needed to secure a kill, I always have a calculator app open. You may think I’m joking, but it’s actually the best way to figure out how many bombs exactly it takes to kill their farmed Anti-Mage who has well over 25 percent magic resistance. You never want to have one bomb less than you need to wipe out an opponent.

Good luck, fellow Techies Pickers. Let’s blow something up.

Corey "CartDota" Hospes is a freelance writer, Dota 2 addict, lover of numbers and Techies Picker.​ You can follow him on Twitter.

3 Dota heroes that have been redefined by talent trees

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Thumbnail image courtesy of Valve

7.00 was the singular most impactful change patch that's come to Dota 2 ever. IceFrog made changes to every aspect of the game and made a number of game-altering additions.

One of those additions is the talent trees system, each tree is unique and tailored for each hero, some of which improve drastically on the inherent kits of the heroes, as well as gave some meta-breaking options.

Here are three of the "best" talent trees from the pool of 113 heroes, breaking down their potentially meta-changing benefits, as well as their short-comings.

Tiny

Level 10 Level 15 Level 20 Level 25
Strength +6 or Intelligence +10 Damage +45 or Movement Speed +15 Attack Speed +25 or Mana Regen +14 Cooldown Reduction 20% or Avalanche Damage +200

Tiny's place in the competitive meta is much like the hero himself, solid as a rock. You'll be hard pressed to find a point in time where a Tiny pick, especially when paired with Io, was not a safe choice in the mid lane. This stability is mirrored in his talent tree, which does not look to break the meta, but merely builds upon his strengths.

However, while most late-game Tiny builds emphasize his right-click cleave and siege, his talent tree puts much more emphasis on his abilities as a nuker.

A stone's throw

Right off the bat, Tiny has the choice of +6 Strength, which adds to his HP and damage alike, but a possibly overlooked detail is the fact that the +10 Intelligence branch is the highest INT bonus at Level 10, though it's also worth noting that this branch is also shared with five other heroes.

At Level 15, Tiny's branches are nothing special. Extra damage is always a solid choice and has the option to boost it by +45, however +15 move speed is nothing to scoff at either. At Level 20, attack speed +25 synergizes with the right-click focused Tiny, but the +14 mana regen per second branch is the single highest bonus of that type and it's only matched by Skywrath Mage's branch, but his is available at Level 25, a tier higher than Tiny.

Mana is one of Tiny's biggest issues, but his Level 20 branch offers a solution on a silver platter. And just to emphasize, 14 mana regen per second is massive. For comparison a Clarity gives 3.75 mana regen per second for 50 seconds, while Crystal Maiden's Arcane Aura at max level only gives eight mana per second to herself, and four mana per second to allies globally.

Basically, you can have Avalanche-Toss combos for days and that's exactly what you'll want to do with your Level 25 branches. First up is just a straight 20 percent cooldown reduction, which brings Avalanche's 17 cooldown to 13.6 seconds and Toss' eight second cooldown to six. Plus, this reduction also extends to your items and stacks with Octarine Core.

However, the real sexy Level 25 branch is Tiny's bonus +200 damage to Avalanche. At face value it doesn't seem like much, especially since the late game favors right-click damage over spell damage, but this bonus damage is also factored into Tiny's signature Ava-Toss combo.

Here's the quick math, Toss does 300 damage which is bumped up to 495 damage with Grow level three and up to 540 with an Aghanim's Scepter. Avalanche with the Level 25 branch does 500 total spell damage over four instances, while the Ava-Toss combo double's each of Avalanche's damage instances with the target is still Tossed in the air, giving a potential 1,000 damage. All said and done this gives a grand total potential damage of 1,540 before reductions.

Rock Bottom

The good outweighs the bad when it comes to Tiny's talent tree. The worst thing you can say is that there's nothing particularly interesting about it, but it doesn't need to be. Maybe he could have had some more bonuses that emphasized his right-click, but he is far from lacking in that department even if he was specialized into a caster.

A rock solid tree for a keystone hero.

Bounty Hunter

Level 10 Level 15 Level 20 Level 25
HP +175 or XP Gain +15% Attack Speed +40 or Movement Speed +15 Spell Amplification 10%* or Damage +100 Evasion +20% or Jinada CD -5s

Before getting into the details of Bounty Hunter's talent tree, it appears that the Level 20 Spell Amplification bonus, which has been announced as a 10 percent bonus, shows an in-game bonus of 8 percent. Whether this is a typo, or whether this is a ninja nerf is currently unknown, but it could speak to the over-tuning of his talent tree.

However, while the Spell Amp bonus adds a bit more power to the roaming support-oriented BH, which is the favored path in the competitive meta, the bonuses from BH's talent tree opens up the option for a core, right-click based BH due to the steroids in the Level 20 and 25 branches.

Highway robbery

At Level 20, BH has the option to take an additional 100 damage, effectively doubling his right-click damage without any items. For reference, the highest damage base item is a Sacred Relic, but only gives 60 damage at a cost of 3,800 gold. This means that BH gets some insane value from his Level 20 branch, but in conjunction with his Level 25 branch the hero is transformed into a right-click beast.

With Jinada's cooldown being reduced by five seconds, the skill reduced to an absurd one-second cooldown, that's a 225 percent critical strike every second. This extends BH's burst window significantly, ensuring that a BH can secure a kill outside of his usual Shadow Walk-Jinada-Shuriken opening combo.

BH becomes a sort of analog to Clinkz, whose job is to delete a hero before or amidst a fight, but still retains the added utility of Track and the Shuriken mini-stun.

Expenses, expenses

Like most heroes' talent trees, they mostly look appealing in a vacuum, and such is the case for a core BH. While he has added options for survivability, such as his +175 HP branch at Level 10 and the 20 percent evasion branch at Level 25, the primary issue of a core BH's is his laning phase in the off lane.

Like most invisibility-based off laners, they are completely shut down by proper Sentry and Dust usage, for which BH's talent tree does not give him much reprieve. But should a core BH exit the off lane with a modicum of gold and XP, or god forbid someone plays him in the safe lane, he does have some monstrous potential in the late game.

Elder Titan

Level 10 Level 15 Level 20 Level 25
Respawn Time -20s or Strength +10 HP +275 or XP gain +25% Magic Resistance +12% or Attack Speed +50 Armor +15 or Astral Spirit Hero Attack +80

There's a lot of similarity to how Elder Titan was used in the competitive meta and Bounty Hunter. Both were initially used as core picks in the off lane, but both have transitioned into the support role. However with 7.00 and the introduction of the talent trees, IceFrog seems to be reminding the competitive community that, "Hey, ET can be a core too."

ET has some of the best overall bonuses out of all the talent trees, as well as a Level 25 branch that is, on paper, ridiculous.

Come, twin spirit

Starting from ET's Level 10 branches, he's one of only four heroes to have a Respawn reduction branch at that level. And a 20 second reduction at Level 10 means your respawn timer goes from 34 seconds down to 14, less than half.

ET also has the highest Strength gain bonus out of all of the heroes' Level 10 branches, gaining 10 Strength, which equates to 200 HP. This is also the same value as an Ogre Club, which costs 1,000 gold. Long story short, at Level 10 ET dies less or is dead for a much shorter amount of time.

Onto the Level 15 branch, ET also has the option to take a high 25 percent bonus to his XP gain, a solid choice all round, but the real value comes from the +275 HP branch. It's the second highest HP bonus out of all the Level 15 branches, and offers a bit more value than a Health Booster which costs 1,100 gold.

The value from ET's talent tree doesn't stop at Level 20 either as his +50 Attack Speed branch is the single highest bonus at that level, tied with Underlord and Broodmother. But a 12 percent magic resistance bonus is solid too.

With all this survivability, ET's potential as a frontliner has increased, but at Level 25 ET has the potential to become one of the scariest right-clickers in the game.

Nevermind that ET also has the highest Armor bonus of +15 at Level 25, tied with Lifestealer and Axe, the real money branch is the bonus to his Astral Spirit skill, which adds +80 more damage per hero hit with the skill. This brings the per hero damage bonus for the skill up from 48 to 128, which means that if you hit five heroes with an Astral Spirit, when it returns to you you've got a cool 640 bonus damage on your right-click.

That's a damage bonus higher than two Divine Rapiers.

The Shaper weeps

Done salivating? Good, cause here's the caveats. Astral Spirit's buff duration only lasts nine seconds, while the cooldown for the spell is 16 seconds, meaning your potential buff uptime is just a little over 50 percent. So while you're hitting like a truck for a good nine seconds, there's the other seven seconds where you're hitting like a smart car.

And while ET's survivability has increased as a result of his talent tree, his kit is not ideal in keeping targets within smacking-range. His only form of crowd control comes from his Echo Stomp, which is cancelled the second any form of damage is taken.

Perhaps there's a scenario where a Daedalus-wielding ET Astral-Stomps five, then proceeds to swag-walk over to each of them, critting them to death one-by-one. It's extremely unlikely scenario, though I would like to see it.

Dennis "Tarmanydyn" Gonzales is a news editor for theScore esports who enjoys whiskey, D&D and first-picking Abaddon Slardar Clinkz Medusa Oracle a P90 my Souvenir Negev Discipline Priest. You can follow him on Twitter.

Slacks: 'If the worst person in the world is with you in a Dota game, that's your opportunity'

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Thumbnail image courtesy of theScore esports

In an interview published Wednesday, Dota's favorite memer told Red Bull esports' Chris Higgins that if you really want to get into someone's head, you shouldn't play chess or poker — you should play Dota 2.

"Dota's probably one of the most psychological games I can think of," he explained. "You're trapped with these four people, nine if you count the other team, and no one can go anywhere. It's the perfect spot to have a tiny little psychology experiment in any way you want to do it."

Slacks told Red Bull he believes the key to his success in Dota 2 has been learning to work with difficult players. Though he recognizes that players of all skill levels can be toxic, he still feels that the higher the skill level of the players in the game, the more likely they are to be "the worst person in the world."

"I'm nice to people that want to be nice to me and I'm a horrible monster to the people that can't be convinced to be nice," Slacks said. "It's your only chance."

The interview's not all negativity and tilt — Slacks said that positive attitudes can be found up and down the ladder, from scrubs to 9k MMR superstars. In fact, he thinks that 2k MMR newbies who don't understand the game are the greatest players, because they're un-tiltable. The pros? They're the easiest marks.

"I don't know why they don't let people flame in pro games, everyone's so on tilt every game and if you can just time that one flame to the enemy at just the right time, you'd just destroy them," he said. "The higher in the MMR you go, the easier it is, that's the funniest part. If you're playing against some 6k and just ask 'Where are your supports?' That's all it takes! And they just start flipping out!"

At the end of the day, though, every Dota player wants the same thing: to win. Sometimes, the person behind the in-game name gets lost behind CS counts and KDA ratios. But Slacks believes you can use Dota as a teaching experience, and that changing toxic behavior is within reach.

"I always used to think that I loved Dota because four people are trapped with me for 50 minutes and they can't leave," he said. "If the worst person in the world is with you in a Dota game, that's your opportunity, they're stuck with you, they HAVE to learn something and you get to teach them, they can't escape! You can use that opportunity to teach a noob something new, and help them in life, or you can take that opportunity to annoy someone who already hates you for some reason and they can't escape, it's wonderful."

Kristine "Vaalia" Hutter is a news editor for theScore esports. You can find her on Twitter.

The Competitive Journey: Predicting the biggest changes patch 7.00 will bring to pro play

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Thumbnail image courtesy of Valve

Patch 7.00 may well be the most significant update to Dota 2 since the game was launched, with eight new talents and three inactive item slots added to every hero, an overhaul of the map and UI, four major hero reworks and two heroes added to competitive play.

At the pro level at least, the most far-reaching gameplay changes likely won’t come from the reworked levelling and talent trees. Though those (like all hero changes) will definitely have some impact on drafting and strategy, many of the changes in patch 7.00 — like adding 1,500 gold in outer-tier objectives for each team — seem focused on creating more pressure on teams to actively defend the map rather than turtling for the late game. It looks like it will be exceedingly risky to play for the very late-game, which means pros won’t regularly see those juicy level 25 talents.

On the other hand, the addition of new structures and changes across the map make map control a much more important condition for winning the game.

Control the map, control the game

Mid-game map control has never been more important than in 7.00. With new Shrines out on the map both providing a staging point for engagements and Rosh attempts, and jungles that provide greater wealth for the team that can control them, there are a lot more reasons for each team to defend their side of the map from enemy incursions.

Shrines are a big game changer. Not only do they provide an important map control point, but as objectives that need to be defended, they will force teams that are behind to seek defensive engagements out on the map, rather than turtling on their high-ground and waiting for opponents to initiate.

Each team gets two Shrines, one in each friendly jungle, which can be triggered once every 5 minutes to activate a 500 AoE healing and mana regeneration aura to your team. They won’t be easy to take down, since they are invulnerable to attack until all of a team’s Tier 2 towers are down, and even then they have health equivalent to a Melee Barracks and more armor. But when they do fall, each one will grant 150 gold to each member of the opposing team, giving a nice late-game surge to help push high-ground more confidently.

Shrines don’t grant vision, but they can be teleported to like any other friendly structure, which will give each team better access to contested areas — especially the new Rosh pit. Although Dire's Shrine is about 1600 units away (by blink), Radiant is only 1400 walking units away (from the rear). However, Dire has the advantage of having two walking paths to the Rosh pit — one from the front and one from behind — which will help when they try to contest a Radiant Rosh attempt.

As long as those Shrines stand, teams will be better able to convert a successful Rosh take into a major push, since they can quickly heal off their damage and choose a lane to engage. Before 7.00, Radiant had a major post-Roshan pushing advantage because the pit was closer to Dire's base, making it easier to reach their structures before the Dire team respawned. Rosh’s new location makes the playing field more even in that regard, but also strips much of the Dire-side access advantage away.

Dire should still have some access advantage because barring major changes to laning conventions, their safe lane tower is more likely to stay up, and therefore their safe lane jungle more likely to be controlled, longer into the game.

Speaking of Roshan, the tweaks to his stats will make negative-armor items and abilities much more important. With roughly 30 percent of his health pool traded off for physical damage resistance, armor debuffs from Medallion of Courage and Solar Crest will be at a premium, especially with the deliberate changes to these items to make them more effective against Rosh.

Jungle control will also be much more important, with more creep camps that respawn less often and four bounty runes to collect every two minutes. Drafts that rely heavily on late-game potential at the expense of mid-game control will most likely fall out of favor, since an opponent successfully invading to farm your jungle can take a big chunk out of your team’s income. Meanwhile, the ability to contest or steal jungle stacks, especially ancient stacks, has never been more important, as it will take twice as long to assemble.

Expect to see pros experimenting over the next few months with compositions and plays that leverage Shrines to protect their jungle from enemy roams, and some that are designed to make aggressive forays into the opponent’s jungle and secure Rosh.

The rise of the roaming support

With the increased importance of map control, roaming supports will likely continue to rise in prevalence, and some teams may even opt to take two roamers rather than commit one of them to the safelane.

The first step to map control is ward vision, making supports the starting point for any defensive or aggressive control strategy. At the same time, finding effective jungle ward locations (and clearing them) will be more difficult in 7.00, since carries farming the jungle will need to rotate from camp to camp more often.

Roamers will also need to do a lot more work to stack camps, especially the new ancients. Since neutral creeps spawn every two minutes instead of every minute, it will take longer to stack, and all the more important that a support do so efficiently to give their team an advantage in farm. It’s worth noting that with lifesteal removed from Helm of the Dominator, it’s a less likely choice for DPS cores, which puts even more pressure on supports to stack. On the other hand, cores may be able to eat an ancient camp earlier on the game with their now less than 100 percent spell immunity and a nearby Shrine, so failing to stack ancients early may mean less overall farm is lost.

In order to maximize gains in both the safe-mid and Secret Shop jungles, supports need to be both near the offlane and between the mid and safelane. The reduced creep spawn rate also makes safelane stacking and pulling less effective, and forces supports to travel farther. That may encourage teams to commit one support to handling each jungle, either with two roamers or with a roamer and duo offlane. Since Dire cannot pull as easily with the new camps, we may see dual offlane become standard with that faction, while the former safelane is less heavily prioritized.

The staggered timing of Powerup Runes and creep camps will help streamline roaming through the jungle, since supports will be able to stack ancients on odd minutes and contest Powerups on even minutes. If a roaming support does pick up a haste or double damage, they have the full duration of that rune to seek a kill before they have to get back and stack another camp.

Roaming supports have also been given some advantages in 7.00, likely encouraging the shift. With Bounty Runes spawning along their roaming paths and more defensive spawning points, they will have an easier time keeping up in farm and they won’t be punished as hard if they aren’t able to secure ganks. Gold penalty for dying is now based on net worth rather than level, so supports who die on risky missions have less to lose.

Although the backpack feature will help super-farmed heroes such as Naga Siren or Alchemist, far more often it will help supports, who can now carry dust, wards, smokes and recipes around without requiring an inventory slot. That means they’ll have more room to carry impact items in the mid game, and even smaller ones like consumables or casual bracers could make a big difference.

At the same time, many common supports’ talent trees have been designed to offer greater survivability and XPM or GPM boosts through level 15, then shift to an increase in damage output for levels 20 and 25. In Dota history, there's never been a mechanic which so significantly attempts to scale supports into the late game. Not only will supports have utility if the game pushes into fifty or sixty minutes, but teams will have cause to actually focus experience on them for a final power spike.

Bring on the violence

Faster max movement speed, more jungle resource hubs with fewer overall jungle resources, an equitable Roshan pit and greater support impact all imply one thing: more team-oriented combat. The patch seems to anticipate this by making kills worth slightly less gold and experience — suggesting there will be more of them.

Pros may take advantage of this in a handful of ways. They may attempt to rush a farming core to level 25 with massive camp stacks and Tomes of Knowledge (which now scale with each purchase on the team), while four other heroes play an aggressive defense — essentially a classic four-protect-one, but with greater emphasis on jungle control. This is the route Ben "Noxville" Steenhuisen seems to expect, and though I disagree with some of his calculations regarding experience gain, I agree with some of his conclusions regarding that strategy's possible viability.

Another route is an MVP Phoenix/Ad Finem style, where combat is king and outer-tier objectives are taken either to bait fights or as a reward for winning them. This would likely be paired with heavy push supports and a global pushing core, like a Lycan or Nature's Prophet.

We could see teams attempt to play more greedy overall, a la Secret 2015, with supports allowed to farm the jungle themselves and given a much larger percentage of overall net worth. However, teams that take this approach may struggle to maintain that all-important map control, especially while teams are still figuring out the patch and risky, aggressive plays are more likely to be rewarded.

Every team will investigate this patch in its own way, and it's far too soon to tell which heroes will be winners and which will be losers. The skill trees create an impossibly high level of complexity, as do the mechanical changes. In Captain’s Mode right now, there are over 134 million possible combinations of 5 heroes for just one team, and now those heroes can each reach the end-game with up to sixteen possible talent configurations, before even considering itemization.

In short, there's going to be experimentation. A lot of it. But regardless of the strategy teams employ, as a viewer you can expect to see more intricate support play and more player-on-player aggression, both things that will add to the depth of skill and excitement of high-level Dota.

Ryan "Gorgon the Wonder Cow" Jurado writes about esports and freelances for theScore esports. You can follow him on Twitter.

Patch 7.00 notes released; details Monkey King and major changes to game

Gabriel Zoltan-Johan
Thumbnail image courtesy of Valve

Valve has issued a massive update to Dota 2 with patch 7.00. The total package includes hero and map changes, a new champion and new features on the Dota 2 client.

The first major thing to note is the long-awaited release of Monkey King. A champion of trickery and mayhem, the Monkey King can transform into objects and hop onto trees, making him a difficult hero to catch and kill. His ultimate also summons many versions of himself to confuse the opponents in the battlefield even more.

The map has also seen a huge update, with the position of Roshan changing, more ancient camps, (and new ancients) and the addition of shrines, which can provide healing and a free teleport to your lane. Runes have also been moved, with bounty runes vacating the river and entering the jungle.

Many hero changes are included, though the rebalancing of numbers has yet to show who exactly stands out in the new patch. Included in changes to heroes are the additional backpack slots, which give heroes more items to swap between and tailor their build to the given situation. This creates a lot of opportunities for supports to store wards or carries to have an extra item to utilize.

A new HUD with more readability and visibility also accompanies a new pick phase and strategy mode for a more streamlined user experience which encourages co-operation and ease of use. Heroes like Morphling have also been individually tinkered with to have their unique abilities made more readable as well.

Click here for the full article via the Dota 2 website

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