After a long wait, we finally have access to DOTA 2’s latest patch — 7.31d. It came just in time, as Tour 3 of the 2021/2022 DPC also started two weeks ago. As expected, the new patch allowed the professional teams to pick heroes we hadn’t seen in a while.
Despite being in the third week of Tour 3, we already have some data from each region. We take a closer look at some of the new heroes we've had the chance to see over the last two weeks, after patch 7.31d. We'e unsure whether they will continue to play an important role in the current meta, but they are here to stay for now.
If you’ve watched any of the regions in the DPC in the last two weeks, you would have noticed some teams pick Marci regularly. This is one of the newest heroes in DOTA 2 and the latest addition to the Captains Mode.
Marci is a versatile melee hero that can fit in almost any role. Although she's usually the carry or the offlaner in pub games, the hero’s role in most professional games is support. This shouldn’t be surprising because her abilities allow her to be highly effective early on.
While it's true this hero isn't as famous as other supports, her win rate is impressive. In regions such as Eastern Europe, we can see that Marci has a 77.78% win rate.
Since the hero just became available in this mode, we'll probably see a lot more in the future. Some pro teams might start using her in the carry role because Marci can do insane amounts of damage.
Pudge rightly deserves the second place on our list. He is, undoubtedly, the hero that symbolizes the PUB DOTA 2 games. He is extremely fun to play with and has a high skill cap. He remains the most popular hero in the game, regardless of the patch and the meta.
Despite his incredible popularity, this hero never quite made it to the pro scene. Many professional players refuse to pick him because of his randomness and high skill cap. With Pudge, you can never be sure if you will land your hook, which is why some pros don’t want to rely on mere luck.
Of course, there were some exceptions such as Danil “Dendi” Ishutin, a player that used Pudge a lot back in the day. Sadly, none of the big pro teams in DOTA 2 relied on him until now.
Usually, Pudge is a hero who goes to the mid-lane or is played as a position 4 support. Nowadays, some teams put him in the mid lane, but others prefer to put him in the carry role. This might seem strange because the newest patch reduced the hero’s base armor and changed Flesh Heap. However, he's still tanky enough to make him a viable option for the safe lane.
While we're on the topic of core heroes, we should also talk about one of the all-time classic mids in DOTA 2 — Zeus. Even though there were some metas where Zeus was a popular pick for some professional teams, he is a “pub star”. Fortunately, it seems like he'll become one of the top-tier mid-laners in the current meta thanks to the new patch.
7.31d gave Zeus tons of changes. Although his Arc Lightning requires more mana on levels 2, 3, and 4, it also deals more damage making — it one of the best abilities for farming and harassing.
Static Field is now an ability that Zeus can only get if he gets the Aghanim’s Shard. Once that happens, Zeus will deal 9% of the enemy unit’s HP in damage.
Last but not least, Zeus has a new ability called Heavenly Jump. It lets the hero jump in the air and shocks the closest target within 1000 range on level 4. Once that happens, Zeus will reduce the target’s movement speed by 100%, remove 100 attack speed and increase the target’s cast time by 50% for 2.5 seconds. On top of that, Zeus will gain 900 unobstructed vision around him for 3 seconds.
Heavenly Jump is one of the reasons he became so popular in the current meta. In addition to everything mentioned so far, this ability only has a 10s cooldown.
Unlike Pudge and Zeus, Juggernaut is a hero that some teams pick every once in a while. However, he was not as popular as he is now, especially after the new patch became available.
Juggernaut is one of the best all-around carries in DOTA 2 because he is strong at any game stage. He has the abilities to heal himself, farm fast, and solo kill almost any hero in DOTA 2.
The new patch gave Juggernaut a few notable buffs to put him back on the map. His Healing Ward’s mana cost is now down from 140 on all levels to 140/130/120/110. Omnislash also received a small buff with the ultimate now having a 130-second cooldown instead of 140 seconds. There are also some interesting changes to his talents, such as removing the +30 AS from level 15.
Even though we are yet to see Juggernaut in every professional game, the hero is slowly becoming “the new Terrorblade.” With an 80% win rating in Eastern Europe, it is clear that Jugg will play a crucial role for many pro teams in the current meta.
The last hero we’d like to include here appeared several times in the last patch. In fact, Lifestealer has always been one of the “hidden gems” for many teams when they needed someone that farms fast and is pretty tanky. However, there were other heroes that were just better at his role, so Naix did not get much love.
Following 7.31d, the hero became a lot more popular in every region. Almost every pro team uses him in some of their drafts. Lifestealer is great for the mid-game and one of the best heroes to combine with an initiator like Storm Spirit, for example.
Despite the fact that Lifestealer’s Rage now has more cooldown early on, his Open Wounds became much stronger. Once he uses it on a target and that enemy receives 500 damage, the ability’s effect will also spread to a random enemy within a 700 range. This means Naix can quickly slow multiple units at once.
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