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Pro Patch Review: Fly on 2.5.12

By Danelaan - 29th February 2012 - 01:28 AM

Hello everyone and welcome to the new Pro Patch Review. Today we will ask Fly, from FnaticRaidcall, about the latest changes made in the patch 2.5.12.

Items


Change:
Savage Mace
- No longer works with Split Attacks
Brutalizer
- No longer works with Split Attacks



Danelaan : Letís start with the change made to Split Attacks, through Savage Mace and Brutalizer: in the past weeks, Forsaken Archer, following the change to her ultimate and to her passive, has been picked-up a lot by the competitive players. Do you think that the Split Attacks made these items too powerful for her? Is the nerf only directed to her or does it affect another hero?

Fly: I canít say I really agree with the nerf, as it also affect's heroes such as Valkyrie and in general range carries which are not that popular at the moment. As for Forsaken Archer being picked up a lot, it's basically because she is a powerful laner (with another ranged such as Glacius or Monarch it's really scary to send a melee versus that) and can farm well, carry well, and push. Her ultimate is also powerful early on. The nerf is not that big to really make a change in terms of drafting heroes though, as usually people would go Shieldbreaker over Savage Mace anyway.

Change:
Plated Greaves
- On use, now also grants +2 Armor to nearby heroes



Danelaan : A while ago, Plated Greaves was an activable item that would give bonus armor to allied units in range. It was changed to give instead a damage buff to the nearby allied creeps. The change isn't exactly reverted since it still gives the buff, but now it also gives an armor buff to nearby heroes. How do you like that change? Is it a reaction to the new heroes such as Drunken Master or Monkey King, able to throw out Pebbles-like burst damage, except physical?

Fly: I like the change, it means we would see at least one person on each team with Plated Greaves. it definitely helps versus the amount of physical damage being put out every game, with items like Sol's Bulwark and Shieldbreaker - and of course some of the most popular heroes currently such as Armadon. I wouldn't say that itís a reaction buff due to heroes being more popular - rather to make this item be a viable choice as well compared to the other boots, and now it's just better, as I would have still gotten this item pre-buff on heroes such as Ophelia.

Change:
Stormspirit
- Cast range reduced from 600 to 450
- Increased cost from 600 to 1000 gold
- Now cannot be healed while Stormspirited



Danelaan : Stormspirit is one of these powerful controversial items. Some tournaments limit the usage of such items, some others don't. I believe your team had to deal with such a situation, against the new Lions. The Stormspirit has already been nerfed in the last patch, adding a "Perplexed" effect at the end of the Stormspirit, however it was still obviously a very powerful item. Not only is the cast range now nerfed, but it can't be used with the Astrolabe anymore to heal the invulnerable unit, and the cost has been increased. Do you think these changes are enough to make the item more balanced or is it still too powerful, compared for example with the DotA's version of the item which, if I'm not mistaken, can't be used on allied units?

Fly: There has been a lot of discussion going on about this item on the competitorsí forum, and most of the competitors agree that it should just not be useable on allies. There are many reasons for that: Stormpspirit, while being cheap, allows you to save a teammate being initiated on, or save a teammate who is initiating on them. Having two Stormspirits on the same team would make your team really hard to kill. I still think making this item not useable on allies would be a better and easier way to go - but the nerf is still something. It's harder for people to get this item now with the cost increase, and the range decrease makes it a bit weaker; I still think this item will get picked up a lot and I just think the changes to this item are over-complicated instead of the easy way. Overall, Stormspirit is still very powerful, just harder to get (especially for the supports).

Heroes


Change:
Behemoth
- Fissure increased duration from 5/6/7/8 to 6.5/7/7.5/8 seconds
- Shockwave tooltip update no longer affecting corpses.



Danelaan : Behemoth's Fissure was changed and nerfed a bit a while ago, back when the metagame was slowly shifting from trilanes to the push/jungle metagame. Behemoth is now barely picked and doesn't seem to bring much, compared to a Magmus for example. Do you agree with this change, and do you think it might be enough to bring back Behemoth among the viable picks?

Fly: I personally suggested to revert the changes regarding Behemoth - while it wasnít completely reverted, it's still a step in the right direction. You are correct about Magmus being almost always the superior choice compared to Behemoth. One of the things Behemoth was able to offer over Magmus is the powerful level 1 stun: Behemoth could just stay level 1 and be really helpful just like that, setting up ganks and/or saving teammates, while Magmus needs levels for the range on his stun, since level 1 is such low range. We might see some more Behemoth, but for now Magmus will still be seen more.

Change:
Geomancer
- Added Staff of the Master effect:
* Adds a bonus 100/120/140 Magic Damage and 4 Second 50% Movement Speed Slow in a 600 radius to the explosion
* For reference, the normal explosion is 300 radius
- Fixed the Alt Avatar's model from playing Earth's Grasp animation/sound indefinitely if the target creep moves out of range & Geomancer is not aggro'ed/no other orders are carried out after casting Earth's Grasp
- Quicksand won't draw on the minimap anymore
- Quicksand is now a status debuff, meaning it can be dispelled and stolen/transferred



Danelaan: Though he wasn't changed that much this patch - mostly getting a Staff of the Master effect - this leads us to Geomancer. With his ultimate, and his stun - and even his art design! - he seems to be thought of as a Magmus-like hero. Do you think he might replace him somehow, with his long range stun level 1 or does he need further adjustment to be brought at the right place?

Fly: Personally, I have little to no experience with this hero. The change might be nice, but when we talked within our team, H4nn1, who plays this hero, said that the change was not that great and that Staff might not be the most optimal way to go. However, H4nn1 does believe Geomancer can be used as a solo, so we might give him a try in a scrim, but I still am not too sure about how good this hero really is.

Change:
Cthulhuphant
- Hook 'em can now target Allied creeps only at level 2 and above



Danelaan: Cthulhuphant has been introduced to the competitive scene quite recently. Though he had been picked in 2011 a few times, Team It's Gosu were the first ones to really crush teams with him and since then, he's banned or picked nearly every game. Despite that, he's getting what looks like a little buff. Could you explain the reasoning behind this change and also why the Cthulhuphant is so powerful in this metagame?

Fly: I donít get the buff, as that is the last thing this hero needs at the moment. As I like to say, Cthuluphant is the smartest elephant in the lands - he has extremely strong starting stats and gain (2.0 starting intelligence and 1.8 gain for a strength hero), very high base damage, armor and besides that this hero's skills are also very powerful. The stun is such long range which is great for teamfights, the aura is incredibly powerful versus other melees, also his second spell, Hook `em, can be really good against Ophelia and Parasite. Also, being able to get level 2 instantly at the start of the game and go to lane. Overall this hero has too much going on for him and I would like to see him nerfed.

Danelaan: It brings me to one point: do you think the problem with the new hero designs that S2 have is that, maybe, they don't want to give bad stats gain to their heroes? What I mean is that the likes of Valkyrie could be totally overpowered with decent base attack damage and more intelligence gain, for example.

Fly: It is an interesting way to look at it; I'm not too sure if all the new heroes have great stat gains, but stats definitely make a bigger change than people would think.

Change:
Demented Shaman
- Unbreakable health restored reduced from 150/250/350/450 to 125/200/275/350



Danelaan: Demented Shaman is not only a very good support, he can also be an efficient solo - as you showed by running N0tail mid playing him. He is one of those heroes that is being picked or banned in most games this month since he is extremely powerful with the likes of Cthulhuphant. Do you think this nerf will really affect him?

Fly: I donít think this will be enough to dethrone him as one of the top picks, he can be used very well both as a solo and a supporter, and with this very tanky-style metagame currently in place he is an extremely powerful hero.

Change:
Drunken Master
- Stagger's bonus Movement Speed and Attack Damage reduced from 20/40/60/80 to 15/30/45/60
- Drink's charges gained from 2/4/6/8 to 2/3/4/5 a second
- Drink's charged gained from enemy death from 2/4/6/8 to 2/3/4/5



Danelaan: Drunken Master was picked a few times last month but more recently, not that much. What are his advantages and do you think he really needed that nerf?

Fly: I donít think the change was really needed; as you said, he wasnít really being picked up in competitive games. Drunken Master is a fairly good carry and can deal a lot of damage really fast. I also consider him as a powerful laner/solo due to the drink making it very hard to harass him out of the lane. I think the change was mostly to address him in public games where he is able to instantly kill anyone with just a Sol's Bulwark and Shieldbreaker.

Change:
Hellbringer
- Starting Strength increased from 16 to 17
- Death Boil reduced manacost from 100/130/160/190 to 100/120/140/160



Danelaan: Hellbringer is a tough hero to balance. Since the beginning of the competitive scene, Hellbringer has been there and S2 has tried to balance him but ended up over-nerfing him and having to re-buff him. The last change was in last September, if I remember correctly and was a nerf to the damage done by the Death Boil. Suddenly, from equal to Torturer only, Hellbringer fell into the depths and was forgotten by the competitive players. Do you think it was only because of the nerf or is he just not interesting in the current metagame? And do you think this change might bring him back to life as a powerful solo laner?

Fly: Hellbringer is still a powerful solo hero and I think he is a bit underrated since the ultimate is so strong early on. This buff was definitely needed, as he did get too many nerfs recently. I think we might see him being picked up as soon as a team decides to use him in a competitive match and win with it. He might not be as powerful in this metagame but having a safe initiation/counter-initiation tool throughout the game is always something important.

Change:
Midas
- Fixed Santa Midas' icons so they aren't blank
- Reduced starting agility from 16 to 12
- Reduced agility gain per level from 1.5 to 1.1
- Reduced starting armor from 3.24 to 1.18 (after agility nerf)
- Fixed Lion's Pride from playing through fog
- Lion's Pride reduced ranged from 900 to 800
- Cleaned up Transmute scripting a bit



Danelaan: The award of the most important nerf this patch probably goes to Midas. He was nerfed recently yet despite that, he is still a very powerful hero and he was still picked often in the few games that happened after the patch. Why is Midas that effective in your opinion and will this nerf, which reduces his ability to solo lane, be enough to "normalize" him?

Fly: This is definitely a good nerf - Midas is a powerful hero, and one of the stronger things about him was his laning potential, while being low ranged, he is still a strength hero with good damage, three damaging spells and good animation and armor. This change makes it different - now it's very dangerous sending him to a long lane in case of a one versus one, but he will still be picked up due to the strong spells, a stun, escape and the ability to get rid of creepwaves instantly. I think he will be picked up many times, but not banned as often at least for now.

Change:
Parasite
- Infest can no longer target allied creeps until level 2



Danelaan: Parasite is a jungle ganking-style hero, one of the few heroes on which we often see a Codex being built. Recently, he has become a very regular pick - among other things, he is very annoying to an Ophelia. How do you think this nerf will affect him and why was it needed?

Fly: This nerf is quite big, the ability to deny creeps level 1 can make a huge difference for a lane, especially when you send a solo to a long lane: if you deny a creep and block their pull spot, it means the lane will be near your tower after a minute or two, meaning you will always be able to get experience and gold, so that is a huge factor and one of the reasons heroes such as Tempest and Plague Rider, who can deny at level 1, are so powerful as well. Iím not sure if it was really needed: I still consider him weaker compared to the other popular junglers, but since I personally dislike him, Iím fine with it.

Change:
Slither
- Toxin Ward vision increased from 300 to 600



Danelaan: Slither was a very powerful solo hero but after a few nerfs, and the passive not slowing anymore, he has faded. We've seen Tkothethrill playing him after the patch: do you think this buff to the Toxin Wards might make him a great solo laner and a decent pick again?

Fly: Slither is a very powerful solo hero, and this change might make him be used a lot more. I know many teams have already been experimenting with him after this buff. One of the biggest questions to me would be if this hero is better used as a supporter or as a solo, and while both are good, Iím not sure what is best just yet. One of the best things about slither as well is that due to his Toxin Wards, if he gets a Bound Eye, he can easily take over the map vision. I think we will see more of Slither soon.

Change:
Tempest
- Elemental reduced magic armor from 17 to 15



Danelaan: Tempest has been a constant pick-up since the beginning of this metagame but this month, he was seen in almost every game in which he wasn't banned. Do you have an explanation for this sudden love for the hero and do you think making the minions more vulnerable to magic damage (and thus, to AoE counter-push) is a good way to balance him?

Fly: Tempest has always been a great hero - one of the fastest jungle farmers who can gank and push and has an amazing ultimate. Itís not a surprise that he is banned/picked in nearly every game, however people might just be afraid of "dealing" with him, since he can put your team in such a high experience/gold lead early on. This nerf is minor but it is decent: it reduces his push potential a bit and while it may not be enough to stop him from being banned/picked in every game, it helps dealing with him when he is in game.

Change:
Torturer
- Reduced starting agility from 23 to 16
- Chain reaction damage reduced from 70/140/210/280 to 65/130/195/260
- Agonizing Bonds cast range reduced from 700 to 650
- Agonizing Bonds damage rescaled from 80/140/200/260 to 65/130/195/260



Danelaan: For months now, maybe even more than a year, Torturer has been on top of the competition - since the buff to his stun's animation. He has seen a few elegant, minor nerfs, to his manacosts and to the number of targets hit by Agonizing Bonds, but it didn't seem to affect him. At last comes another nerf: do you think this one will be enough to make him a decent hero without being the absolute go-to ban / pick?

Fly: Torturer is still one of the best picks possible, the hero is incredibly strong one versus one, does an insane amount of damage, can carry games, has great push potential, and builds items such as Sheepstick which are great in general. The nerf is good, but itís not enough to stop Torturer. This hero will continue being first picked and banned most likely.

Change:
Tremble
- Shudder renamed to Boris~!
- Terrorform increased gold gain on mounds from 25 to 25/30/35/40
- Boris no longer gains Impalers and instead gains a passive movespeed slow of 10/15/20%
- Increased gold gain from killing Boris from 75 to 75/100/125
- Boris's negative armor on Attack from -2/-4/-6 to -1/-2/-3
- Increased Boris's Attack Damage from 50/75/100 to 60/85/110



Danelaan: Tremble has been very controversial since his release and was nerfed very fast due to pubs not being able to deal with him and his invisibility in mounds. After this quick nerf, he decided to hide in one of his mounds for a while, only coming back for the Dreamhack Winter 2011. Since then, he has been a popular ban and pick. What are his assets and how is this nerf going to affect him? Last but not least, is renaming the Shrudder "Boris" considered as a nerf?

Fly: First of all, naming him Boris is an obvious buff! Anyhow, this nerf on Tremble's pet is pretty big, because that pet used to be able to farm so well and nearly solo supporters early on, and with this nerf I think Tremble is way weaker. He can still be a very annoying hero to deal with, but this nerf was good enough to make sure this hero wonít be banned in most matches. The gold gain increase from mounds and Boris is not too big, but it is also something minor which helps out. In a long game you might have killed over 30 mounds, so even this gold buff is good. I think Tremble is now going to be a situational pick, but we wonít see him as much anymore.

Danelaan: Thank you very much for your time and your answers, Fly! As a final note, what is your overall thought about the balance in Heroes of Newerth nowadays, and what would be its biggest issue?

Fly: Overall this patch is fairly good - most of the changes are in a pretty good direction. There are still a lot of heroes which can use changes, and I would like to see them trying to step away a little from this very tank-orientated metagame, but the direction is good.