6.77c’s Treant Protector is Secretly Really Good

Technically this is another Skill Build Analysis, but on one hand I wanted a title that was a bit more inflammatory, and on the other, there’s not a lot to analyze.

Ever since the 6.75 nerf to Treant, people have been really down on him.  In 6.74, he was quietly a pubstomper extraordinaire at the lower levels of the skill bracket, thanks in a large part to his completely passive global aura.  6.75 revamped Living Armor into an active global ability with the potential to make him more viable at higher skill levels, but for various reasons it never really worked out, and couldn’t offset the removal of all ultimate damage that he received in the same patch.  Every patch since has come with a litany of minor buffs for Treant to the point where anticipating Treant buffs in every new patch is a running gag.  But 6.77c’s buff was different in that it finally plugged the final weakness of Living Armor.  Relatively speaking, Living Armor is a silent contributor, but it’s also one of the most potent abilities in the game right now and I have the stats to prove it.

Let’s start by looking at how players adjusted their skill builds in light of the new patch.  If you need a refresher on the methodology I’m using to generate these charts, you can find it at the top of my Silencer Skill Build Analysis.  And for a quick reminder:

Q: Nature’s Guise — single target tree stealth.

W: Leech Seed — single target DoT and AoE lifesteal

E: Living Armor — global single target HoT and damage block


Pre-patch Leech Seed and Living Armor builds were neck and neck at all skill levels.  Post-patch, we see an unsurprising surge in Living Armor builds that gets stronger the further up in the brackets we go, likely reflecting that a higher percentage of Very High players are aware of patch notes.  You’ll also note that the vast majority builds are either W->E or E->W.  Having looked through the stats, I don’t feel any other build has a statistically significant representation, so we’re basically going to be doing a head-to-head comparison.

And for those of you who like this kind of thing, that .08% of Q builds in Very High 6.77c represents 4 games.  They were not very successful.

Moving on to win rates, I mentioned a few weeks ago that Dotabuff was showing a 6.5% surge in his win rates between patches, but if we wait a bit and break things down it turns out that 6.5% was actually quite an understatement.


That’s an 8.4% bump in Normal and a rather amazing 12.3% bump in Very High.  Living Armor builds outperform its nearest competitor by a minimum of 4.5%, a gap not seen in any SBA I’ve done before.  Treant’s aggregate performance now scales greatly with skill level, capping out at a startling 62% win rate for Living Armor builds in Very High (out of a sub-sample of ~2700 games).  For reference, if we were including these stats in The Heroes With the Greatest Improvement in High Skill Games, Treant would now come in very close to Nyx Assassin who placed 4th.

To be fair, we only get 62% after we filter out his less performing builds, which could also have the side effect of filtering out less informed players.  For reference, Crystal Maiden’s top performing builds in her second SBA came in at around 63%, but they were minority builds and all of them combined didn’t have close to the 50% representation that the Living Armor -> Leech Seed build has.

It’s also the case that there’s no guarantee that any of this means Treant is competitively viable.  There have been plenty of heroes with high public win rates that don’t translate to competitive success for whatever reason.  That being said, he’s being tried more often, and I’m not convinced that the teams trying him out have him completely figured out.  There’s still a lot of room for team comp improvements, and it could be that the first team to put him in the right place and surround him with the right heroes will surprise a lot of people.

But for the average pub-player the message here is simple.  4 ranks of Living Armor by 7.  No exceptions.  0-2-4-1 appears to be the strongest performing level 7 build, but maybe a relatively early point in Nature’s Guise is ok situationally.  You exist to cast Living Armor on things.  Is someone possibly in a fight?  Cast Living Armor on them.  Is your carry missing HP in lane?  Cast Living Armor on him.  Are you going in for CS?  Cast Living Armor on yourself.  Has a tower taken damage?  Cast Living Armor on it over and over.  Your initial item goal is to find enough mana that you can cast Living Armor essentially on cooldown while also being able to Leech Seed and Ult.

And maybe you hate this playstyle; that’s fine and totally understandable.  But if you do, I advise avoiding the character entirely.  His kit is balanced around the idea that Living Armor is insanely good for the first 20 to 30 minutes, and you absolutely have to take advantage of that if you want consistent success out of him.


13 Responses to 6.77c’s Treant Protector is Secretly Really Good

  1. jimmydorry says:

    I can’t really say anything about the effectiveness of treant… because in the tier I am currently stuck in, less than 1/10 games run for less than 40mins (even if it is possible to outright win at 20mins). As you noted, tree completely falls off after 20mins, making him a bad choice regardless of team comp. I would seriously have to question his win-rate in normal tier, but I agree that he has bucket loads of potential.

    Have you tried getting a copy of that database yet? There may be a more complete set of data there for very high tier.


    Make sure you use a download manager so that you can resume. :)

    • phantasmal says:

      About normal tier Treant, Living Armor falls off later in the game, but it falls off from a really high spot so even in 40 minute teamfights it can still be a significant contributor. Normal also farms much more slowly and is worse at focus fire, so Treant’s expiration date should come later than it does in a pro game.

      The other thing to consider is the tower healing effect. Lower level pubs are bad at pushing and often slowly whittle away towers. Being able to stall out pushes can be huge in that it prolongs your map control and provides your team ample opportunities to wipe the enemy team as they repeatedly siege the same tower.

      About the database dump, ven skipping out on the ability data, 69 gigs is more than I can handle right now. Is there any way it’d be possible to create a 2 to 4 week slice of the most recent data in match and match player? That would probably be more than enough and much easier for my hard drive to stomach.

      • jimmydorry says:

        I’ll report back when I load these databases up. Haven’t had much time to fool around recently. It is definitely possible for me to re-upload a smaller portion, but it would be painful for me to do this over my terribly slow connection at home.

        Keep in mind that there were up until April.

        It might be better to bug the guy that pulls all of these down, and see if you can collaborate directly.

      • jimmydorry says:

        I agree that he always has an impact, but in most of the situations you describe, there are better heroes to pick. I think the only tangible advantages in very low level play come from:
        – prolonging tower life… which still won’t save them when a pusher wails on them, or a missplay allows a team to push a lane
        – the chance to snowball your carry early game by allowing him to take bigger risks while reducing chances of failure

        You are basically saying one hero is going to provide utility in a team fight, but is not going to outright deal damage or tank really. If you have a KoTL or any other support, you are now down 2 vs a potential 5.

        I am just not too sure of treant’s ability as a “pubstomper”. Perhaps people just aren’t used to playing against him… as he has a rather low play rate. There could be a skill level factor at play here (only the people comfortable playing the tree, play it)?

      • phantasmal says:

        Low level teams are, on average, absolutely terrible at pushing towers. Even a mediocre Treant player can keep all of your T1s up in a significant percentage of low level games, and that benefit will quietly win him games.

        Down 2 vs a potential 5 is a really silly way of looking at it. Yeah, if you passively let the game run for over an hour against 5 carries I guess Treant and KotL are liabilities, but literally the same thing can be said about every support hero in the pool. If you’re in a game with 4 terribly farming carries against 5 terribly farming carries, smart use of Living Armor should enable 1 or 2 of your carries to win fights that they shouldn’t have, which will also quietly win him games.

        I don’t think the current Treant is a low level pubstomper. 6.74’s passive aura Treant was, and the game is honestly better off with that gone. But 6.77’s Treant is more than viable at lower level play and potentially insane at higher level play. In my opinion, we haven’t seen anybody come close to realizing the full potential of Living Armor.

        I also don’t agree with the idea of there being better heroes to pick in every situation. No hero in the game can even approach Treant’s ability to win both of the lanes he’s not in. It’s a niche entirely of his own, and good Treant play revolves around achieving this potential and enabling your mid and carry to have an untouchable lead after those first 20 minutes.

        I’ll see if I can get in touch with Aardvarki about the database slice. Maybe he has a super recent one with some Elder Titan data.

  2. asFAFAFA says:

    too many active:

    1 level in E (just get the instance of refract)
    max W ; the heal tick worth it
    but u need to max Q or it will punish u hard upon usage(this what make treant really bullshit right now)

    my choice
    1 point W and E – Stats – Soul Rings – Thread – Mjolnir – Basher – Radiance(old finest dota 1 build that rape many but dont do that well in dota 2)

  3. AtK.Dagda says:

    Really loving the blog. Keep it up. One problem I do have though, is that your infographics or w/e you’d call them don’t have a legend. Maybe I’m just stupid, but it takes a good while for me to understand what you’re trying to show in each one.

    • phantasmal says:

      Is there a specific graphic you could point to so I can have a better idea of what’s causing the issue?

      • Dagda says:

        Nevermind. Completely missed out on the the titles of the first two graphics in this post. Half six in the morning and haven’t slept yet. :P

        Nature’s Guise either needs to be scrapped or reworked completely. I’ve been playing Treant a good bit recently and it honestly is useless.

        I feel like a good change for it would be instead of it’s current iteration where the invis breaks when you get 375 distance away from trees, that it doesn’t break but instead reveals you, but you go back invis when you go back within 375 range to a tree.

        Might still be shit, but I can’t see how they can make it much better without completely replacing it.

      • phantasmal says:

        People have a lot of frustrations with Nature’s Guise and the new damageless Overgrowth, but I’d be hesitant to buff Treant in any way from his current position until we’ve given it a couple months to see how this Living Armor change pans out. One way to look at his current design is like a healing analog of Nature’s Prophet. For the most part, Prophet has a kinda underwhelming kit, but it needs to be underwhelming to offset the sheer potential of having a global teleport. Treant is similar, except he can turn any 1v1 into a 1.5v1 without even having to leave his lane, so maybe it’s ok that his ult isn’t the greatest and his invis is kinda niche.

      • Dagda says:

        I suppose. Another buff might not be a good idea. But I really don’t see how Nature’s Guise will ever be more than gimmicky. It doesn’t fit into the hero at all.

  4. Sheep♥ says:

    Can you tell me on what lane is treant playing on most very high games? Is it still a viable solo offlane? Or is it a lane/pull support?

    • phantasmal says:

      That’s unfortunately not something I can see without a big collection of replay files and a parser, but I suspect he can work in both of the settings that you suggest.

      In the pro games that I’ve seen him run in he was used as a trilane farmer, which struck me as kinda weird. They were going for a heavy push strategy, but I still feel their teams would have benefited from the presence of a harder carry. Those teams did win the trilane vs trilane IIRC, so it does suggest that he’s at least a passable hero in that kind of a setup.

      I think he can easily be the offlane complement to a trilane vs trilane situation. His general tankiness and high base damage should make him at least frustrating for a lot of matchups, and good use of living armor can effectively make the trilane 3.5 vs 3 in your favor.

      He also has potential as a suicide solo because he doesn’t really need amazing levels. And if you’re expecting an especially aggressive trilane Treant’s a capable enough jungler that you could punch the easy camp for a relatively quick level 2 while you wait and see how their trilane supports react.

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