After a long wait in a meta-gone stale, the final Dota 2 patch to shake things up before TI is here.
As per the norm in Dota 2 - or any other competitive MOBA for that matter - nerfs are dished out to 'overused' elements of the game. The obvious reason for that is to keep things interesting.
In the pro scene, the tournament meta forms around the strongest strategies and exploits. With the overpowered spearheads of these strategies gone, the elite teams of Dota 2 now must brainstorm new ideas for the upcoming TI.
Dota 2 heroes that will likely decrease in relevance in 7.30
In 7.29, a rework along with some minor buffs to Broodmother saw the hero's win-rate skyrocket in pro match-ups.
In the TI qualifiers, the cumulation of the Dota 2 meta in the patch, Broodmother had turned into a last-moment cheese offlane pick which demolished any draft that did not directly counter it.
Naturally, the impending nerf hit Broodmother's reign in the Dota 2 offlane hard. Broodmother can no longer be as elusive due to her webs no longer letting her juke as easily when low on health. The spiderlings have also not been exempt from the nerf hitlist either.
4) Carry Axe
Carry Axe was an exclusive invention of the last Dota 2 patch, i.e. 7.29.
The synergy between his upgrade from the Aghanim's Shard, the latest mechanical game-changer of Dota 2, and Manta Style illusions let Axe become a huge damage dealer on solo targets.
With the shard upgrade completely gone, playing Axe mid or carry is no longer viable. The new shard is arguably a side-grade to Axe in the offlane, but nevertheless a step back from 7.29, the apex of Axe's relevance in the Dota 2 pro meta.
3) Ancient Apparition
A 50% higher cooldown on the first level of Ice Blast means that Apparition will be weaker up till the late game.
Without Ice Blast, the rest of Apparition's kit as a support is lackluster to say the least. Going forward, his relevance in Dota 2 will be purely as a counter to a sustain-heavy lineup.
2) Dragon Knight
Dragon Knight saw a lot of pro-level play in the last patch - including the Dota 2 TI qualifiers and the WePlay AniMajor.
His pickrate in pubs was also high thanks to popularity from the Dota 2 anime adaptation and the Battle Pass persona. He was a flexible early pick to keep the draft open-ended.
A series of across-the-board nerfs has hurt that prospect quite hard.
Both Timbersaw's early-game means of dealing damage, Whirling Death and Timber Chain received a huge overall nerf - especially on the first levels.
A lack of damage in the early game can cripple a momentum-based core like Timbersaw, so his pick-rate in the pro meta will plummet significantly.
Disclaimer: The article reflects the writer's views.