Spring is Here!: Patch 6.81 Release and Brief Thoughts

“Its a good day! Another set of patch notes has been released to the masses and its contents are quite interesting. Most universally accepted and adored are the multitude of bug fixes and quality of life improvements, many of which have been discussed over the past few months as areas for improvement. After that come the cavalcade of hero changes with many minor (and some major) buffs for underutilized heroes and a few slight nerfs for those who are a bit too powerful. Finally, we have a few well placed item tweaks and surprisingly, no nerf to Blink Dagger (Blink Dagga Dagga lovas rejoice!). It has certainly sparked a great deal of discussion with 1711 comments on wykrhm’s post as of the writing of this post.

Bug Fixes and Quality of Life Improvements

Let’s start with the bug fixes and quality of life improvements. Most notable amongst these are the correction of abilities being heard through fog of war (there are only a select few that should be heard through the fog), the ability to switch your minimap to the right side of the screen (and avoid clicking somewhere random as you flee back to Radiant base), a slew of improvements for item purchasing, updating of default item builds for heroes (no more Battlefury Bounty Hunter!), Power Cogs does not hit you as many times as it pleases as you attempt to flee, no more Divided to Stand in Ability Draft (too broken), and attack speed continually adjusting (instead of needing to be reset because of a heavy attack speed slow carrying over into the next attack).

Hero Changes

Notable/Interesting Changes

  • Abaddon: Ult with Agh’s now absorbs 35% of damage to allies (if within 900 radius).
  • Bloodseeker: Improved cast point on Bloodrage makes cast near instantaneous (0.6 to 0.4).
  • Brewmaster: Now has a Jinada-like quality to Drunken Brawler with guaranteed crit/evade if no attack/attacked for 10 seconds.
  • Broodmother: Brood’s bullshit free pathing is back with it now being disabled by damage (same rules as blink dagger).
  • Dazzle: A slight nerf to Dazzle with no ministun at the beginning of Poison Touch (no instant channel interrupt).
  • Ember Spirit: Made a little less silly by reducing the strength of his early game (Searing Chains duration reduced to 1/2/2/3 from 2/2/3/3 and SoF from 30/60/90/120 to 20/40/60/80). Good change in my opinion, he had a bit too much power early on. Can still benefit from getting items to boost power of SoF.
  • Gyrocopter: Rocket now hits invisible units (no more Shadow Walking and running back into the rocket, :'( ).
  • Huskar: Spears are no longer a UAM. Incoming Skadi/Satanic/Burning Spears Huskar. Ouch!
  • Invoker: Nerf to EMP with delay increased to 2.9 (gives just enough time to escape after a tornado for example).
  • Jakiro: Got a few buffs. The most interesting being his increased Macropyre duration and range with scepter (7 to 14 and 1350 to 1800).
  • KotL: Becomes perma ghost man with Agh’s upgrade AND during the day heals allies for 75% of Illuminate wave damage AND gains unobstructed vision. Seems a bit too powerful to me. But I suppose we’ll see.
  • Kunkka: X marks the spot now lasts twice as long allies (X + TP and X back to spot tricks now possible).
  • Legion Commander: Overwhleming Odds buffed significantly and Psuedo Random Chance brought in for Moment of Courage (another suggestion on Reddit).
  • Lich: Can now buff buildings with Frost Armor and Agh’s upgrade gives ultimate unlimited bounces.
  • Lina: Lina’s ult now goes through Magic Immunity with Agh’s upgrade (giving you a reason to pick her over Lion and ever get Agh’s in the first place.
  • Luna: Base agility down to 18 from 22. A pretty rough nerf to Luna’s laning phase. This one makes me sad but it’s a fair nerf.
  • Medusa: Mystic Snake continues to bounce despite fog, arrows now do 80% damage with # of targets scaling (2/3/4/5) and magic shield absorption increased a ton early on (1/1.5/2/2.5 to 1.6/1.9/2.2/2.5) making her much less squishy and more dangerous during the laning phase.
  • Mirana: Arrow vision reduced by 150 to 650. Slight nerf for the ever popular Mirana. Not enough to discourage people from picking her though.
  • Necrophos: Ult now adds 30% duration to respawn timer. This makes Necro a scary force in the late game, especially if the enemy hero had bought back (135 seconds * 1.3 = 175.5. An extra 40 seconds, oof!).
  • Ogre Magi: The most skilled of heroes has received yet more armor and tankiness (Base armor +1) and improved cast time (0.56 to 0.45). I love playing this guy. Maybe I’ll have more occasion to do so now!
  • Omniknight: Repel no longer removes buffs from allies. Dish out that magic immunity without fear! Guardian Angel duration also increased. These are sweet changes but I still don’t think we’ll be seeing Omni in pro games very often.
  • Phantom Assassin: 25% percent reduction in cooldown for Stifling Dagger so enjoy even more crit daggers to the phase as a poor support laning against her (probably won’t see her in pro games though).
  • Razor: Strength gain increased from 1.7 to 2.3 and Unstable Current slow duration increased significantly (.4/.8/1.2/1.6 to .5/1/1.5/12). Now Razor will be even more tanky and annoying to take down. Nice changes to make him more than a counterpick mid though!
  • Shadow Demon: Agh’s upgrade gives him two charges of ult that recharge on a 40 second timer. Unlikely he will be able to afford an Agh’s in most games but would give him quite a powerful influence in team fights were he able to reach that point.
  • Silencer: Agi growth from 2.1 to 3 and Curse of the Silent cooldown reduced from 20/18/16/14 to 20/16/12/8 making him more relevant in late game fights as he will be able to throw down those curses like it’s nobody’s business.
  • Spirit Breaker: Nether Strike Cast range now a constant 700 and 850 with Agh’s.
  • Terrorblade: Strength gain reduced to a paltry 1.4 (from 1.9 that’s a 26% reduction, ouch!) and reflection dropped from a flat 5 to scaling 2.5/3.5/4.5/5.5 making him significantly less powerful.
  • Tusk: Snowball can now be prepped and then launched within the next four seconds (Prepare the snowball cannon!). The area that pulls allies in has been reduced and you can selectively load in allies within 400 range as well. The snowball moves 75 MS faster for each hero in it and also does 20/30/40/50 for each hero in it. This is a pretty huge change and will make Tusk a lot less of a liability and give Snowball the potential to be a powerful initiation tool.
  • Undying: Can no longer feed off of zombies for exp/gold. Zombies trigger Deathlust at 20/25/30/35 instead of 5/10/15/20 and the bounty has been increased to meet the improved efficacy of the tombstone. Nice buff for Undying.
  • Ursa: Fury swipes are no longer a Unique Attack Modifier opening up a whole can of potential builds for this angry bear. Him and Huskar will be significantly more frightening now that they have been released from their UAM chains.
  • Vengeful Spirit: If Venge dies her killer carries a negative version of her Vengeance Aura until she revives. Really cool change. Makes for an interesting lore dynamic as well, :).
  • Visage: Early game effectiveness reduced with Grave Chill cooldown increased to 16/14/12/10 from a flat 10.
  • Windranger: No more pesky, pre-Windrun airborne projectiles killing you and Aghanim’s now reduces Focus Fire damage from -50/-40/-30  to -30/-15/0. No more special rules for procs either. Let the Windranger run free!
  • Zeus: This is one of my favourite changes. Lightning Bolt had True Sight and Flying Vision reduced to 750 but can now be cast on the ground and hits the closest nearby hero within 250 range. But! It also means that you can run around casting Lightning Bolt and dewarding at a whim (if I understand correctly). This change makes my beloved Zeus even more useful!

Item Changes

Notable Changes

  • Clarity: 100 regen over 30 seconds to 135 regen over 40 seconds so 3.375/second as compared to 3.333 but 35% more overall
  • Mjlollnir: Damage was reduced from 160 to 150 but the proc’s interaction with itself was fixed. Static charge now procs from the person it is cast on and not the attacker (depends on situation as to whether this is good or bad, but a slight nerf overall as teammates are more likely to be near to each other than to the one person being attacked).
  • Observer and Sentry wards: Ctrl+Click now required to share and can no longer be dropped in fountain. Thank god.
  • Scythe of Vyse: Hexed units now have move speed of 140 up from 100 (so 40% increase) quite significant! Makes Hex a little less of a ultra powerful disable (but not by much).
  • Necronomicon: Units now move at flat 350 instead of 330/360/390 range (level three less powerful) and the XP bounty has increased dramatically (base 59 to 100/150/200).
  • Manta Style: Now resets targeting (as it does in DotA 1 and was a suggested parity change on Reddit a little while back). Slight buff as it increases the value of Manta Style as a tool for deflecting attention.
  • Eul’s Scepter: Huge buff for using Eul’s against enemy heroes with Blink. Now they can no longer use your cyclone as a opportunity to count those 3 seconds down. You can also cast on yourself if you are BKBed (another buff, albeit a slight one).

All in all, another excellent set of changes. Unlike patch 6.80 there are a few potentially worryingly powerful buffs that were made (I’m looking at you KotL) but I’m sure things will settle without too much chaos. Some great targeting of heroes that have grown too popular and strong in the current meta (Dazzle, Invoker, Mirana, Visage, etc.) without completely destroying them as potential choices as well as buffs for those heroes that are not as widely appreciated (Tusk, Huskar, etc.). The item changes were also reasonable and well thought out. I really appreciate this style of balancing the game. Hopefully it leads to me seeing me less of that icy bastard AA and more of my beloved Zeus, :).

That’s all for now. Have a pezant day!

Check out post patch release shenanigans for some interesting theory-crafting regarding our good friend Lich and his added Agh’s effect.

Yes, you can stack as many chain frosts on the Ancients as you like and yes it will insta-gib whoever on the enemy team comes by. And yes, it will probably be fixed before the patch is released. Warning: The video is really loud so turn down your volume first and save your hearing.

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Huskar’s scaling magic resistance proved to not be limitless.

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Cooperation across teams yields yet more giggle-inducing possibilities.

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