Available here. Overall unsurprising. Let’s look at them in more detail.
Starting with the two item changes
- Tranquil Boots disabled speed reduced from 50 to 25
- Tranquil Boots heal increased from 170 to 250
- Tranquil Boots cooldown increased from 40 to 60
- Tranquil Boots heal duration increased from 10 to 20
I think everyone had a suspicion that Tranqs were headed for a nerf of some kind. The actual nerf is kinda weird, so it’s hard to predict with any precision how things will fall out. The heal increase and cooldown change mostly offset each other. In terms of healing per minute it’s an almost unnoticeable nerf and in terms of healing per mana an almost unnoticeable buff. The real goal to the bottom three changes was to make you commit more to each individual heal while keeping everything else about the item mostly constant. Now there’s a larger window for your heal to be interrupted and there’s more potential healing lost if you do get interrupted. It’s a pretty reasonable change.
I feel the disabled speed is the far bigger nerf and maybe too harsh of a nerf. Being knocked below brown boot speed when disabled is a huge disadvantage, and it might if anything make Tranquils exclusively an option for safe farming which if anything was the aspect of the boots that needed to be nerfed more.
Like a lot of other things in this patch, it’s an indirect nerf to Phantom Lancer. Luna might be hit a bit, but I wonder if the biggest losers will be big tanky characters who liked keeping Tranqs for a long time like Batrider, Axe, and Centaur Warrunner.
This will also be an extremely hard thing to test for. Items in general are difficult to test right now because you need a really large sample and can’t control when they’re bought, but Tranqs being commonly disassembled makes them even worse to test than other items.
- Heaven’s Halberd’s Disarm is no longer dispelled by Manta
Good change. Makes Heaven’s Halberd a much better Agility hero counter, particularly ranged carries like Luna, Gyro, and Drow. But there’s still always BKB. Also difficult to test for.
Now for the hero changes.
Keeper of the Light
- Illuminate manacost increased from 150 to 150/160/170/180
- Illuminate AOE reduced from 400 to 350
A bit of a light hit, but targeting his pony spam is way better than the ult nerfs people were suggesting. Maybe this is a test to see whether any further changes are necessary in 6.78. I don’t think this will push him out of competitive viability, and I honestly expect only a minor hit to his public win rates. I’ll likely test him a bit with a pre and post patch sample, but of the heroes changed I think he’s the lowest priority for what I intend to look at.
- Spiked Carapace duration reduced from 2.75 to 2.25
- Spiked Carapace cooldown increased from 14 to 23/20/17/14
Nyx has overall been one of the most successful heroes of both pub and competitive in 6.77, and his recently reworked Spiked Carapace was often considered way too powerful. Giving it a scaling cooldown makes a lot of sense to cut down on the effectiveness of his early game skirmishing. Like KotL, this might be a trial nerf that could be followed with more in 6.78 depending on how it pans out. One thing that could be interesting is to do a pre and post patch Skill Build Analysis to see how players react to Carapace being less of a one point wonder.
- Marksmanship bonus is removed when there are nearby enemy heroes (instead of just being halved)
- Reduced Marksmanship enemy detection aoe reduced from 400 to 375
Continuing to whittle away at 6.76’s monstrosity. It’s not surprising, it’s not unwarranted, and it targets the skill I would expect. The fact that it’s accentuating the counterable element of Marksmanship is a little strange. It fits the design MO, but it risks eventually hitting her too hard to be an eventual competitive option while still allowing her to be the end-all be-all of low level pubstomping.
- Living Armor damage reduction is now done for all instances of damage that reduce its charges
And of course there’s the complementary Treant Protector buff. The target here is to cut down on worst case scenarios for Living Armor and make it have a more steady effectiveness for all forms of incoming damage. It’s a good change, and it being the only change suggests two things for me. First, Icefrog appears to be happier with what Treant is approaching than he was a couple patches ago. Two, Living Armor is intended to be the star of his kit. On the last point I completely agree, but I think like Wisp he’ll never see much overall success in low level play because, like Relocate, Living Armor is insanely difficult for low level players to use effectively. I still have a feeling that we’re eventually going to get to a point where Living Armor is secret OP, and someone’s going to pull it out and surprise a lot of people. Like Nyx, Treant might be an interesting case for a Skill Build Analysis, but I think the more interesting thing will be to look at the rate of change in his win rates at different brackets. This will probably be something I delay to give players a bit of time to adapt to.
The biggest element that will complicate testing is not really knowing how long it’ll be before 6.78 proper. It takes a certain amount of real time to generate a decent sample, and if this is another short patch period there might not be enough days to get a sufficient sample. I’ll just have to play it by ear.