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Heroes of Newerth

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Pro Patch Review:

By Danelaan - 25th March 2012 - 15:07 PM

Hello everyone and welcome to this new Pro Patch Review! Today we'll discuss about the changes introduced in the patch 2.5.16. The balance patch being quite short, we decided to ask a few players about the changes and let you read the different opinions about those changes! Big shoutout to Kubrick from Inclement, NoVa from Fnatic Raidcall, Riser_ from Jah & Friends and Slickz from Frenetic Array for taking the time to answer these questions!
- Hellflower
* Range reduced from 900 to 800
* Manacost increased from 100 to 200

Danelaan: Hellflower has been considered a powerful item for some time now; what do you think of this nerf - why was it nerfed and do you think it is a deserved nerf?

Kubrick: Well, Hellflower has been considered the best cc item, in most situation, at the moment and was definitely deserving in a nerf. This nerf is part of a series of nerfs on cc items that we are now seeing (Sheepstick, Stormspirit).

NoVa: Hellflower was the most powerful CC item in the game for quite a while now but only most recently people actually started to realize that. The nerf won't be enough given the Sheepstick nerf but it's a start. It will be interesting to see if the huge manacost increase will make this item unattractive for none-int heroes - I don't think this should be achieved.

Riser_: Well Hellflower is an extremely useful and versatile item with a relatively low gold cost and can also be built steadily with Great Arcanas, as compared to a sheep stick's large component costs. People were increasingly picking it up, you would probably see it almost every single game on someone. I think the nerf is justified and a pretty good one - not too much but hopefully toning it down a little. Hellflower is just so much better in HoN than it is in DotA, the Perplex effect really makes a huge difference
- Kuldra's Sheepstick
* Reduced the duration of being a sheep from 3.5 to 2.5 seconds
* Reduced cooldown from 35 seconds to 30 seconds

Danelaan: Could you tell us your thoughts about this nerf? Why was the item nerf and was the nerf sufficient or maybe too much? And what will be, in your opinion, the consequences of the nerfs of two of the most powerful CC items on the metagame?

Kubrick: As with Hellflower, this is an attempt to reduce the effectiveness of CC items, but in the case of Sheepstick, it is not as hard of a nerf as the other items received, having the cooldown reduction to regulate its use. Only time will tell if the nerfs are sufficient or excessive, but I definitely can agree with the overall direction of these changes. Having a game decided based on the amount of cc items another team has is not really a fun or exciting way to play a game. Hopefully more items see competitive play now that CC isn't the only option to go, as well heroes that can fill those CC roles without specific items (Pollywog, Witchslayer, etc.).

NoVa: 3.5 second was a little too powerful considering that the item gave very valuable stats as well to almost all heroes that tend to pick it up. With Hellflower still available and less nerfed I believe either this nerf to be too drastic or Hellflower not being nerfed enough though.

Slickz: Personally I think the nerf was definitely needed since we see Sheepstick being picked up nearly every game on any kind of hero. I do think that the nerf is a bit much from 3.5 to 2.5 seconds, but the 5 second shorter cooldown could be very useful. I donít think these nerfs will take too much of an effect on the current metagame.

Riser_: I guess they didn't want to nerf Hellflower and make Sheepstick the go-to choice over it. Kind of like how they changed Helm of the Black Legion and Shieldbreaker, trying to balance each other out and not make one completely worthless. I agree the whole one second seems excessive (maybe .5 seconds would've been better), and I don't think it will make a huge effect on the metagame.
- Aluna
* Deja Vu cooldown has been adjusted from 30 to 30/28/26/24
* Emerald Red mana cost has been rebalanced from 75/100/125 to 75)

Danelaan: Aluna was a very popular hero during the trilane era. Since then, she has been less used. However, she has been picked again recently, by teams like Frenetic Array or Jah & Friends. What are your thoughts about this buff? Will we see her even more regularly?

Kubrick: Recently she has been picked up as a support hero generally laning with a Forsaken Archer, because of her burst damage in the early game. I personally am not a fan of the hero, I think there are several other heroes that can fill the role more effectively. These changes are for the hero scale slightly better in the mid to late game with less items seeing as she is now being played as a support. These are useful changes for the hero, and I'm sure some teams that are comfortable with the hero will continue to run her in certain situations.

NoVa: I guess we could see her more often as a support hero with the escape mechanism having a lower cooldown and no need for mana items on higher levels to make use of the ultimate.
It will be interesting to see if people start using her Deja Vu offensively now. Right now only very, very few, including Maurice 'KheZu' (it's one of his trademark heroes), do so frequently.

Riser_: I don't think itís a huge buff and I'm not really sure why Aluna was buffed. She's still popular currently more as a support hero, but I've seen some teams run it as a solo. I don't see her being picked more often or less because of this change.

Slickz: With or without the recent buffs, Aluna is a great all around hero. I think we will see Aluna being used more but I donít think it will have anything to do with these changes.
- Arachna
* Precision now gives True Strike to everyone at level 4
- Moon Queen
* Multi-Strike damage reduction per bounce reduced from 35% to 35/30/25/20%

Danelaan: These two changes were joined because they are of the same kind, in some way: these two heroes have been regularly buffed during the past months. It seems that the goal is to make them viable in the current metagame: do you think these buffs would be enough to make them viable and if not, how would you change them to make them so?

Kubrick: I love the Arachna change because itís such a powerful buff on a relatively weak hero, I expect to see her being played in a roaming role although I'm still not entirely sure how that would work out without testing it. As for Moon Queen, I think she has always been a great hero but unfortunately her range has held her back in the laning phase. Hopefully teams begin to try her out and see whether she is viable with the recent changes, and if she is worth picking up over other hard carries. The changes I would make to have these heroes fit the only roles I can see them doing currently (roamer and hard carry respectively) would be to slightly increase Moon Queen's attack range, and change the scaling of Arachna's slow, so that it is more effective early game but regulates to its normal maximum at level 4.

NoVa: Arachna lacks a farming tool and always has. An example that has been brought up every now and then is the comparison to Drow Ranger from DotA. The hero looks similar but Drow gains a lot more damage in a shorter amount of time making farming much easier. Arachna has sort of a 'Viper' (another DotA hero) ultimate but whoever came up with the idea it should be destructible was on drugs. The buff is a nice gimmick and could prove really good in some situations but the hero itself is not more viable due to that.

Slickz: I think these buffs are quite nice although I donít really see Arachna being used much in this current meta game due to the hero being too much of a single-target hero. I really like Moon Queen as a hero and I definitely think she could fit really nicely in the scene as long as you draft around her, although I donít think these buffs will influence teams to pick these heroes.
- Cthuluphant
* Mortifying Presence bonus from a creep kill reduced from 2x to 1.5x
* Mortifying Presence bonus from a hero kill reduced from 3x to 2x
* Obliterate damage reduced from 80/140/200 to 80/130/180

Danelaan: Cthulhuphant has grown during the past months and is now the rival of Torturer: picked or banned in 100% of the games, this nerf is obviously very welcome. Do you think this nerf is enough to make him "just good" or is he still a force to reckon with, that will be banned in most games as he was during this month?

Kubrick: I think Cthulhuphant is still an extremely powerful hero regardless of the change, just not the powerhouse he has become recently. Hopefully he is banned less so that teams can actually see whether this nerf is enough or not. Although, to be honest, I still see him being banned in most competitive games regardless of this nerf.

NoVa: Nerf is not enough, his stats are way too good from start on. His ultimate probably shouldn't have been touched but the aura was too strong indeed and the nerf is justified. But yeah, compare his starting stats to other heroes...

Riser_: I think it was a solid nerf, Cthuluphant definitely needed one. I think he might not be god tier like Torturer is because of it, but still a hero teams will pick. So most likely not auto-banned or first picked 100% of the games but still used. The nerf on the ultimate tones down some of his damage but his laning capability is still amazing: high damage/high stun time at early levels, and the free creep kill for the extra experience and free gold are still great tools.

Slickz: Even with this nerf he is still a very scary hero to deal with and is definitely still first pick worthy. It's not so much what the hero offers it's more of the fact that he can pretty much go in any lane and do amazingly well. I expect this hero to either be first picked or banned.

Danelaan: What are your thoughts overall about this balance patch (and the recent balance choices)? Do you think they are going in the right direction or are there issues that S2 must address in the near future?

Kubrick: There are several issues to be addressed, but I think S2 and all the people working on these balance changes in SBT, are working hard to address them each individually and find an appropriate solution for them all. More and more we see heroes that were never seen a couple of months ago, being played now (Engineer, Aluna), so hopefully these regular balance patches keep up their current consistency and we can see the full effects in a few months.

NoVa: There's a lot to address but they're working on it as far as I know. 'A step into the right direction' as usual I guess.

Slickz: I think S2 are trying their best to make the game as fair as they possibly can. The only thing I can think of is to introduce more heroes that will fit into this current meta game because I feel that the same 15 heroes are being played almost every game.

Riser_: There were some changes I agreed with and some I don't really know were necessary or useful. But overall it was pretty good, nerfs on Cthuluphant were 100% needed. As far as the right direction I'm glad they addressed Cthuluphant because it was beyond obvious he needed nerfs, not sure why it wasn't changed earlier. I think they're trying and doing a pretty good job.
Big thanks to all the players that agreed to answer those questions and good luck to everyone for the upcoming tournaments.