6.78 Win Rate Shifts in Charts

June 19, 2013

With DotaBuff appearing to be back in order, I can now offer you this chart of the biggest movers of the patch:


Overall my eyeball estimates held up pretty well.  The only big exception is Elder Titan who I estimated at 1% but shows up here at 3%.  My suspicion is that the 1% estimate is more accurate.

When I made my estimates, I was looking at a weeks worth of daily data.  This chart uses an entire months worth of the 6.77c patch period.  This is important because Elder Titan was released in the middle of 6.77c, so the chart includes the initial week of his release.  Some heroes experience a win rate bump after the first couple weeks of their release because the population of people playing the hero goes from “Whoever can lock them in first” to “Mostly players who actually know how to use the hero.”  Slark experienced the same kind of exaggerated boost going from 6.76->6.77.

Some other things worth mentioning.  It’s entirely possible that shifts of less than a percentage point are just noise.  Conversely, it’s extremely likely that shifts above two percentage points are significant, but just because a shift is significant doesn’t mean it’s uniformly significant.  Because this is a sample of all games, these results are mostly from Normal games.  It’s entirely possible that some shifts are understated, exaggerated, or even the reverse of what we might see in Very High games.  It’ll still take some time before looking into that is possible on a wide scale, but it will be coming in the future.

Also, before anyone sees that 7% Huskar shift and declares him overpowered, keep in mind that pre-6.78 Huskar was generally pretty bad.  That’s not to say that this particular iteration will survive the next patch intact.  All we can say is that so far the new Huskar appears to be positively average in the context of low level pub games.

Anyway, some of you might want a unabridged version of the chart, so here you go.



DotaBuff’s 6.78 Win Rate Page Appears to Be Working Again

June 13, 2013

Just another quick update to the Dotabuff issues brought up in my last two posts. Their tab for 6.78 win rates is updating again with Warlock going from 50k matches the last time I looked to 350k .  The win rate discrepancies between it and the sidebar now appear to be resolved.  Now that it appears to be working again, I might put together a quick 6.77->6.78 comparison table in the next couple of days.

6.78 Win Rate Shifts Followup

June 11, 2013

Seems that my last post just blew up, so I thought I’d add a brief caveat.  DotaBuff still disagrees with itself, and it’s still unclear which set of numbers is correct (assuming they’re not both busted in different ways.)  I’m not convinced their hero win rate page is even updating, since I think I recall Warlock being at 57k games a few days ago.

Over this last weekend I tried to take some hero samples of my own to test which of the results they more closely match, and the results were inconclusive.  One hero kinda agreed with one set, one with the other, and both were a bit off though within the expected error given the relatively small size.  I intend to try again later this week when I can get larger samples.

None of this will likely change the direction of the shifts (unless DotaBuff turns out to be completely broken in their 6.78 reporting), but it could have a significant impact on the size of some of the shifts.  Either way, I’ll update again once the samples are available.

6.78 Win Rate Shifts: First Impressions

June 7, 2013

We’re now 3 recorded days into 6.78, so we now have some information on how the public scene is reacting to the recent nerfs and buffs.

Typically, what I’d like to do here is just take DotaBuff’s win rate page for the lastest patch and compare it to the previous one.  Unfortunately, I’m not convinced the page for 6.78 is working properly.  DotaBuff also does daily win rate graphs for every hero, and these graphs disagree markedly with their overall 6.78 stats.  In one particularly egregious case, the disagreement is a whole 5 percentage points.

I’m inclined to believe that the daily win rates are the more accurate of the two.  Partially because they’re more believable as a whole, but there is one especially revealing case.


This is Batrider.  As you can see, his win rate plummeted 3% on the day of the patch and then recovered nearly 2% in the following days.  What happened here is that 6.78 broke Sticky Napalm so that it was no longer affecting turn rates.  This was a huge, inadvertent nerf but was shortly hotfixed.  The DotaBuff daily chart reflects this quite well, so I’m inclined to believe that the daily charts are at least reasonably accurate.  Thus, if the daily data and the 6.78 data disagree, I’m inclined to trust the daily data.

Unfortunately, the daily data is inconvenient enough that I won’t be able to make a table.  Instead we’ll just have to look at the biggest movers both up and down, a couple heroes that we might have expected to move but haven’t, and then we’ll briefly mention couple of heroes who have had a resurgence in pro games despite their buffs not really registering on the pub scene.  I’ll try to quote the relevant patch changes when possible, but if you’re following at home you might want to have the 6.78 Changelog handy.

Let’s start with the big buffs, and particularly the three major reworks:

Huskar — Up ~6.5%

His changes were a bit too extensive to quote, but basically boil down to three things

  1. Lost the stacking +dmg on his passive, but got extra attack speed on the passive and a buff to Burning Spear DPS to compensate for it
  2. His passive now stacks MR giving him a much higher effective HP against magical DPS at lower levels of health
  3. A small base strength boost

People complain about the first change, mostly because it hits the “ignore Burning Spear, rush Lifesteal” school of Huskaring.  As we showed in the past, Burning Spear builds tended to perform slightly better than Spear-skippers, so I don’t really feel that this change constitutes a nerf in any way.

The third change is nice, base strength is a huge factor in pub viability for every hero and Huskar gets even more out of it than most, but I suspect the biggest buff for Huskar is that stacking MR.  It’s a huge survivability increase in precisely the window that he needs it in, and I feel it’s taken him from an all around bad hero to a (possibly annoyingly) good one.  I’m not confident that Huskar won’t be seeing more adjustments in future patches, but in the meanwhile I do intend on looking into how his skill build preferences have shifted between 6.77c and 6.78.  Also keeping an eye out on how popular this Ghost Scepter -> Ethereal Blade build ends up being.

Medusa — Up ~4.5%

Another change I won’t be quoting, but effectively nearly every aspect of her Ult got buffed.  Significantly lower cooldown, slightly large AoE, slightly larger duration, but most importantly, facing Medusa for longer than 2 seconds during the Ult will now turn you to Stone, which is a 3 second disable that makes you magic immune but amplifies the physical damage taken.

She’s still the same late-game carry with the same issues that she had before, but this ult makes her much more of a teamfight presence while she’s trying to get her core items online, and early advantages like that count for a lot.  In a way I kinda feel she’s now comparable Naga Siren in that they’re both carries that aren’t your ideal carry (for different reasons) but those issues can be made up for by their teamfight ults.

Incidentally, both Huskar and Medusa were removed from Captain’s Mode, so don’t expect to see either in pro games any time soon.

Bloodseeker — Up ~2%

It’s a bit of a stretch calling this a rework, but I feel that he got more varied set of changes than anyone other than Huskar and Medusa, and one of those changes is particularly unusual, so I’m including him in this section.

  • Thirst now gives you bonus 3/4/5/6 armor when active
  • Bloodrage dispels the target before applying its buff
  • Rupture damage is now HP loss and goes through Magic Immunity

The armor bonus might be a reasonably big deal.  I’m curious to look at Bloodseeker’s skill builds next week to try to see whether this has a visible effect.  Ultimately though, I believe the last two changes are the bigger ones, and particularly the dispel effect.  Quantic (formerly DD) ran a Bloodseeker shortly after the patch, and it was pointed out that Bloodrage might actually counter the most op hero in the game, Living Armor.  In all seriousness, Bloodrage being the most convenient dispel in the game could end up being the utility boost Bloodseeker needs to see actual competitive use.  Based off some of the stats I’ve looked at, I feel that people are underestimating his carry potential (that is, how well he converts gold into death), and the complaint that anyone can TP away from him is completely overblown if you draft smart and work with your team.  Being able to land a Rupture on the enemy carry and have it go through their BKB charge is just icing on the cake.

One thing of particular note here that you should keep in mind in general is that some buffs easily translate to win rate boosts and others do not.  Base strength is a good example of a buff that will almost always have a visible effect because the player doesn’t actually need to do anything to take advantage of it and any playstyle, no matter how bad, will benefit from it.  The dispel on Bloodrage is very much different from a base strength buff because there’s a big knowledge check regarding when and where you ought to be using it.  Because of this, I feel that Bloodseeker’s win rate boost might be underestimating just how significant these buffs are, but of course this depends on how practical and valuable the Bloodrage dispel turns out to be in practice.

Now moving on to the Supports.

I’m looking at these separately because support selections tend to be in more direct competition with one another, so that the rise of a particularly valuable support can overshadow other equally viable supports.

Crystal Maiden — Up ~2.5%

  • Brilliance Aura mana regen increased from 0.5/1/1.5/2 to 1/1.5/2/2.5
  • Freezing Field explosion AoE increased from 215 to 230
  • Aghanim’s Freezing Field’s attack speed reduction aura increased from -20 to -50

Brilliance Aura is the big change here.  As I’ve mentioned in the past, I feel that that a lot of people underestimate the value of the Aura when Aura builds tend to have the highest win rates.  I won’t get into that argument here, but I’ll point out that I caught a Team Liquid game where they ran a 1 point Aura CM, and had multiple instances where small skirmishes ended in stalemate because various players on TL ran out of mana.  Rarely do we ever think to ourselves, “Well, if CM had picked up a 2nd point of Aura two minutes ago every player in that gank might have had a second spell available for use and that 0-0 fight turns into a 2-0 or 3-0 in favor of TL.”  I don’t actually intend this to be a criticism of (I believe) Fluffnstuff’s skill build choice in that game, just an example of how the value of the aura is really difficult to actually estimate because it’s not directly tied to a specific event.

In any case, contrary to my initial reactions, this buff might actually benefit low Aura builds more than Aura builds.  Effectively the only change is that the first point of Aura doubled in effectiveness, and Mana tends to have somewhat diminishing returns.  It’ll be interesting to look at her post-patch skill builds to see how things are playing out.

Vengeful Spirit — Up ~2.5%

  • Strength increased from 16 + 2.3 to 18 + 2.6
  • Nether Swap cast range rescaled from 600/900/1200 to 650/925/1200

Same old Vengeful with a bit more health.  If you liked what she brought to a team in damage amp but didn’t feel she was sturdy enough to compete, you might find that these changes are enough to push her into viability.  If on the other hand you find yourself in lineups where VS doesn’t provide the right skill set, no amount of  strength will fix that.  Well, I’m sure there’s a hypothetical amount of strength that would, but it’s likely more than she’ll ever get.

Mirana — Up ~2%

  • Elune’s Arrow now deals up to 100 extra damage based on distance the arrow traveled
  • Moonlight Shadow cooldown decreased from 160/140/120 to 140/120/100
  • Starfall will choose a new target for the second star if the first died before impact

A bit of a niche support, but not especially likely to see play anywhere else.  Most of her comps will involve Arrow setups, so getting a flat bit of extra damage on all levels is a big help for getting those kills.  Her ult has been buffed yet again, so that’s something too.  The Starfall change strikes me as more of a QoL fix.  I don’t expect to see a huge surge of Mirana play, but she might end up being a sleeper pick for a comp built around early Arrow initiations.

Other Slight (+~1%) increases: Lich, Elder Titan, Witch Doctor

For the most part I intend on covering the nerfs after the buff section, but since supports are in direct competition with one another, I’m going to mention the three major supports that received nerfs.

Shadow Demon — Down 2%

  • Base Intelligence decreased by 3
  • Shadow Poison no longer gives vision over the targets with the debuff

I’m a little surprised his win rate has gotten hit as hard as it did.  Shadow Demon was already one of, if not the hardest support to play in an uncoordinated public environment, and that gap has apparently gotten larger.

Keeper of the Light — Down 1.5%

  • Base Strength decreased by 2

Like I’ve said, base strength alone is a big deal.  KotL still does everything he did before, but he’s a bit more fragile, and possibly a juicier target for trilane aggression.

Io/Wisp — Down 1.5%

  • Spirits no longer provide vision, except temporarily when they collide with an enemy hero
  • Overcharge hp/mp cost increased from 3.5% to 4.5%

Still likely first ban material and still probably stupidly effective in a pub with any amount of coordination.  I’m still skeptical about this nerf, but we’ll just have to wait and see.

Now moving on to the Carry and Semi-Carry Buffs

Timbersaw — Up ~4.5%

  • Base Strength increased by 3
  • Int growth increased from 1.8 to 2.4
  • Chakram initial manacost rescaled from 125/150/175 to 75/125/175
  • Chakram move speed increased from 800 to 900

Now much to say here, just some really straightforward buffs.  He’s just significantly better at what he does, so if you’re up against him don’t go into the game expecting 6.77 Timbersaw.

Spiritbreaker — Up ~3% (To 59%!)

  • Charge of Darkness will now also Greater Bash its target (and the Greater Bash goes through BKB)

Spiritbreaker is probably the strongest pubstomper in the game at this point.  He even saw a pickup by Team Liquid earlier in the week for a Spiritbreaker + Lifestealer delivery strategy.  There was some controversy about Spiritbreaker being used as a support (a pulling/jungle farming support), but I feel it’s appropriate.  His farm dependency scores are pretty low, and he’s not a great mid, so that leaves support or suicide lane as his likely positions.  Frankly, his base stats are so good that I don’t honestly think he’s even that level dependent.

Meepo — Up ~2%

  • Innate magic resistance increased from 25% to 35%

Straightforward, but who knows what the actual implications are for the 5 people who can actually play Meepo well.

Other Slight (+~1%) increases: Broodmother, Drow, Pudge, Razor, Viper

Moving on to the Aghanim’s changes

Ancient Apparition, Doom, Necrolyte, Omniknight, and Silencer all saw received new (or in the case of Doom, heavily reworked) Aghanim’s effects.  These heroes also all saw a heavy surge in overall popularity.  Brewmaster, Earthshaker, Enchantress, Lion, and Shadow Shaman also saw buffs primarily targeted towards their existing Aghanim’s effect.  With one exception, none of these characters saw a win rate increase.

As we mentioned a few heroes back, buffs that kick in earlier tend to have more of an impact on win rate, and Agh effects only come into play +4000 gold into the game.  On top of that, they’re often on heroes who won’t be receiving much of a farm priority.  And then on top of that, you have to look at the opportunity cost of the Aghanim’s Scepter itself.  Suppose you rush an Agh’s on Omniknight.  Is the Agh buff significant enough that it has more of an impact once every two and a half minutes that a Mek and Force Staff can provide 3 or 4 times in the same time period?

That being said, this isn’t a blanket indictment of Agh effects.  Something like the Necrolyte Agh effect (prevents buyback when killed by Necro’s ult) could end up being an important buff.  But it’s a situational buff.  Something you build in a game that has progressed to the point where the ability to remove buyback on a specific hero has become extremely important, not something you rush every game for no reason.

The one hero who did see a +1% increase was Ancient Apparition.  Maybe he has the most effective Agh’s upgrade of the group.  Or maybe it’s just because his ult received a base AoE upgrade.

And now the Nerfs

Troll Warlord — Down ~8%

  • Battle Trance cooldown increased from 20 to 30
  • Battle Trance duration decreased from 10 to 7

The biggest mover of the patch, and the only nerf targeted at a hero without a competitive presence (Troll isn’t in Dota 2’s CM).  There’s also talk of an unmentioned change where Whirling Axes now has a cast time, but I don’t know the full details.

Magnus — Down ~3%

  • Reverse Polarity damaged decreased from 150/225/300 to 50/125/200

Despite his occasional dominance of the professional scene, Magnus has never been a particularly strong pub hero.  Part of this is that Reverse Polarity really requires good team coordination to take advantage of.  This nerf makes that coordination even more important, so it’ll probably hurt him more in pubs than it will in pro games.  Still, Magnus has kinda been trending off for some time as teams have somewhat adapted to him, and this nerf might turn him into a niche pick at best.

Gyrocopter — Down ~2.5%

  • Flak Cannon cooldown increased from 20 to 30

I’m a little surprised by this one, and maybe even a bit suspicious.  It’s certainly not an insignificant nerf, but I would have expected it to primarily hit Gyro’s later game teamfight and thus not have that large of an effect to his pub win rate.  Perhaps I’m just wrong.  In any case, it’ll be interesting to see what this does to his competitive draft rate.

Phantom Lancer — Down 2%

  • Spirit Lance, Dopplewalk, Juxtapose and Phantom Edge illusions damage dealt decreased from 25% to 20%

I’m not going to claim to be able to model the impact of this on Phantom Lancer’s expected DPS.  But it is a straight DPS hit, and it’s apparently not an insignificant one.

Lifestealer — Down 1.5%

  • Open Wounds cast range decreased from 600 to 200/300/400/500

I honestly think this nerf will be a bigger deal in competitive trilanes than it will be in the game as a whole.  It certainly won’t make Lifestealer obsolete (due to infest bombs if nothing else), but I think it has a good chance of opening up some carry variety.

Other Slight (-~1%) decreases: Batrider, Clockwerk, Lone Druid, Nyx

And finally, some other heroes to keep an eye out for

Dragon Knight

  • Corrosive Breath passive from Level 1 Elder Form now carries over to Level 2 (the DPS)

Change seems minor to me, but he saw a huge surge in picks this week, so maybe they know something that I don’t.

Naga Siren

  • Rip Tide cooldown rescaled from 19/16/13/10 to 10

Another hero that has been picked a few times since the patch without much of a public win rate shift.  One thing that I approve of is that the teams I saw playing her did not use her as a 1.  She has some carry potential, but she won’t out-carry most traditional carries, and I don’t feel she’s valuable enough to warrant a protected safelane.

Outworld Devourer

  • Movement speed increased from 310 to 315

I’m honestly really surprised this hasn’t impacted his public win rate more.


  • Nether Blast structure damage increased from 33% to 50%
  • Decrepify can now target Tombstone

And Pugna completes the Quadfecta of heroes that Icefrog only buffs so that Goblak can better annoy you with (Treant, Razor, Outworld, Pugna).  Seriously, it’s been 3 days and we’re already seeing a Pugna+Undying comp?  What an adorably creative asshole.

Summary Time!


Huskar — Up ~6.5%

Medusa — Up ~4.5%

Bloodseeker — Up ~2%


Crystal Maiden — Up ~2.5%

Vengeful Spirit — Up ~2.5%

Mirana* — Up ~2%

Other Slight (+~1%) increases: Lich, Elder Titan, Witch Doctor

Keeper of the Light — Down 1.5%

Io/Wisp — Down 1.5%

Shadow Demon — Down 2%

Other Buffs

Timbersaw — Up ~4.5%

Spiritbreaker — Up ~3% (To 59%!)

Meepo — Up ~2%

Other Slight (+~1%) increases: Broodmother, Drow, Pudge, Razor, Viper


Still costs 4200 gold.  Rush Mek plz.


Troll Warlord — Down ~8%

Magnus — Down ~3%

Gyrocopter — Down ~2.5%

Phantom Lancer — Down 2%

Lifestealer — Down 1.5%

Other Slight (-~1%) decreases: Batrider, Clockwerk, Lone Druid, Nyx

Also Keep an Eye Out For

  • Dragon Knight
  • Naga Siren
  • Outworld Devourer
  • Pugna