Every patch comes with nerfs and buffs, but without detailed stats it can sometimes be heard to figure out which heroes are underperforming. Today we would like to have a look at such heroes and discuss why they might not be the best fit for the current meta.
That’s a big one and will probably stir up quite a bit of controversy, but “stats don’t lie” — Batrider is one of the weakest heroes of the patch. The perceived “buff” the hero got in 7.31 actually decreased his winrate by almost 2%, though it is mostly the result of increased popularity and a lot of experiments with the hero. The hero did not become stronger, he just became more frustrating to lose against.
Now, it has to be noted that this mostly relates to average pubs. At a higher level of play and in the professional scene the hero is still very much viable. He demands an answer during the laning stage and in the midgame and can create game-winning conditions by forcing the enemies out of position. In Captain’s Mode he can work wonders as a second phase closing pick or last pick. That is one of the reasons he’s been one of the more popular bans in Gamers Galaxy.
We believe the hero should definitely be avoided in lower level pubs for now and should definitely be disregarded by anyone who comes into the game with the Shard upgrade in mind. It might be the item to spend your money on once you are six-slotted and ate the Aghanim’s Blessing, but it is definitely not worth delaying Blink Dagger, BKB, Boots of Travel, Force Staff, Octarine Core and Refresher Orb for. This is just going to lead to bad habits and a lot of frustration in any lobby where people are aware of what BKB is.
This one is honestly surprising, but Sven is somehow in an even worse position than previously, despite receiving some interesting utility buffs. He is also one of the very few heroes who can still jungle as effectively as previously. Heroes like Tiny, Templar Assassin, Medusa, Gyrocopter and Luna all jumped up in effectiveness with the latter four receiving a mix of minor buffs and nerfs. This is a result of them being relatively better off, compared to most other carries.
Sven is theoretically in the same position. He can still clear ancient stacks early on and accelerate his item progression. But for some reason, despite being relatively better off and receiving a couple of interesting changes, the hero is still close to unplayable.
At this point we believe that without getting his free auto-attack from the Aghanim’s Sceptre upgrade back, the hero will remain overshadowed by Tiny, Chaos Knight and Wraith King when it comes to strength melee cores. There is simply no reason to pick Sven, though there are some attempts to make him work as a position four support. So far they don’t look particularly successful.
Removing passive abilities and making heroes slightly more interesting to play is, perhaps, a good long-term design goal, but with Pudge specifically it is definitely the case of trying to fix something that wasn’t broken. For a short period of time the hero was actually playable and viable in average pubs. Right now he is a game losing pick even in Herald.
With one less armor and no passive magic resistance the hero is even worse of a laner than he was previously, so it is almost impossible to make him work as a lane support. His roaming potential is still largely dependent on how asleep your enemies are and his late-game survivability scaling was destroyed. Previously, the hero received more Strength per kill or assist and didn’t rely on an active ability to mitigate incoming damage. Right now he can be quickly killed with a timely stun and is actually a good target for initiation.
Because the only way Pudge works is by being a save hero and if you are looking for save heroes, there is a very long list of characters who are better at it, while having stronger laning presence and better scaling. The trade off is a lack of an extremely unreliable and distinctly telegraphed initiation option and it is a trade you should be willing to go for in this patch.
There is no worse feeling than getting your signature hero nerfed into the ground, but it is sometimes inevitable. The truth is, though, the three heroes mentioned today haven’t been performing that great before the patch either and it is, perhaps, the only big misstep in the current patch: it did nothing for the viability of the heroes who were not particularly viable before. If anything, in the case of Pudge, it buried the hero even deeper.
We hope to see these heroes receive some buffs. It might not be as necessary with Batrider, who does one thing only, but does it exceptionally well. But Sven and Pudge will remain close to unplayable without some major buffs, regardless of the skill level.