TI4 and 6.82 Part 2: Towers, the Pull Camp, and Blink Dagger

I talked about TI4 and why I expect it to foreshadow certain changes in 6.82 yesterday.  I prefer not to get too specific on stuff like this, in Dota there’s hundreds of possible ways to influence the game in a certain direction and I have no confidence that I’ll even come close to the one that goes live, but here’s at least some areas of interest that might come up in the patch.

The obvious change for slowing the game down is towers, but I’d expect any tower changes to be modest like a small boost in armor or bounty.  For one, there’s no desire to kill off push lineups entirely, only tilt the balance away from them a tad.  More importantly I think, the top TI4 strategies featured a broader variety of early aggression than just pushing, and  focusing on towers exclusively would leave those other schemes mostly intact.

What I have heard brought up are nerfs to Smoke of Deceit, which I find intriguing if perhaps a bit off the mark.  Support rotations were a big deal at TI4; fy and Fenrir come to mind, but there was also Liquid who upset a lot of teams largely on the production they were getting out of Bulba and waytosexy’s early roaming.  It might not be the case that Smoke of Deceit is too good right now so much as the opportunity cost of a gank attempt is excessively low.

I talk a lot about 6.79 because I believe it to be a game-changing patch, and I think it needs to come up again.  6.79 effectively nerfed support farm by changing the pull camp to a small camp.  It also reduced the XP bounties of many of the neutral spawns and made it possible for offlaners to steal neutral experience by just maintaining a presence in the area.  Supports can do a lot of things during the laning phase, but the two big ones are gank and neutral farm, and with neutral farming significantly weakened, heavy roaming supports won out pretty hard (6.79 also bumped up passive gold gain, further reducing the farm gap between the two styles of support).  And if ganking supports are decisively more productive that would then favor aggressive lineups that could best take advantage of those early ganks.  I recall TI3 having some crazy support item timings, from Alliance in particular, but I don’t remember anything comparable in TI4 that wasn’t largely a part of intense tower pushing.  I suppose there was LGD’s support Alchemist vs DK in their Saturday night matchup, but that’s a completely different case altogether.

I’m not making the case that farming ought to be favored over ganking, but it should be an actual choice and that maybe it’s not much of one right now.  So with that all being said, I could see 6.82 throwing a bone to more farm-intensive support options.  I don’t know that it will be as extreme as something like reversing the pull camp change, but it’s a possible, indirect way to approach 6.81’s over-reliance on aggression.

Finally, there’s Blink Dagger.  I don’t have anything against it, and I can think of other items that would be more annoying when bought in mass quantities (Shadow Blade, Necrobook, Hand of Midas), but 2014 was definitely the year of the Blink Dagger.

You might remember that 6.80 removed the mana cost from Blink Dagger.  In the preceding patch, Blink Dagger had 1667 purchases in 1341 games, for a rate of 1.2 Blink Daggers per game.  Jump ahead to TI4 and we have 625 Blink Daggers in 166 games, a rate of 3.8 per game or more than three times the purchase rate before its buff.  That’s a pretty crazy surge, mitigated some by the fact that it’s a pretty universally useful item, but if you were looking for factors that might have tilted the game towards early aggression you can’t really ignore it.

So yeah, I wouldn’t be surprised if Blink takes a bit of a hit.  If it does take one, I’d expect it to be smaller than the size of it’s buff, such as regaining a 15 mana cost down from the original 75.  Of course now that I’ve said it, Blink definitely won’t be nerfed in that way.  It might even evade attention entirely, but it still deserves some consideration in a discussion on what made TI4 as aggressive as it was.

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10 Responses to TI4 and 6.82 Part 2: Towers, the Pull Camp, and Blink Dagger

  1. guga31bb says:

    FYI, this sentence appears twice — (6.79 also bumped up passive gold gain, further reducing the farm gap between the two styles of support)

    • phantasmal says:

      Thanks for the spot. I swear I can actually remember deleting the second one, but I guess I must have missed saving it.

  2. nashon says:

    i think a buffing neutral xp will help EG style greedy supports farming jungles. alliance used to rely heavily on this too during ti3.

    also people have mentioned reducing early tower gold bounty and earlier gank gold too.

    6.82 will be interesting now that we have seen the outer boundary of what’s too fast for dota2.

  3. Daniel F says:

    I’m not sure if this has been mentioned, but what about a nerf to the gold gained through assists?

  4. citrus says:

    While roaming was more successful at TI, I don’t think it’s accurate to describe it as the only real choice. Most top tier teams having been running extremely greedy supports, EG C9, I mean DK ran support Juggernaut into first item Scepter multiple times.

    I think the bigger issue was that the “top” teams were playing in an echo chamber, all approached the situation of reduced farming by getting greedier, and over extended themselves.

    I’m fine with changes, but I think the larger issue is the reduced ability to crush the laning phase due to decreased deny penalties. More heroes are getting even farm/levels so 5 man strategies of team fights or pushing become more prevalent. The ability to win lanes harder creates more uneven development across heroes creating weak links and strong links, and gameplay becomes more dynamic as it becomes a battle to find and disrupt weak links or leverage strong links.

    Even development means synergy and timing windows become more important. More over than anything, I think Newbee and VG understood that in their drafts.

    I do like the increased experience from denies, as it widens the hero pool to heroes that are XP reliant, but gold independent. I would like to see denies reward gold. This would allow these XP dependent heroes to remain viable, but give lane dominators a bigger edge and increase the effective value of farming (which increased passive good gain reduced since the percentage of gold gained through farm decreased by an overall percentage of gold gain. )

  5. joesi says:

    The thing about blink dagger is that it’s crazy on a decent/good puck player. They can continually use their puck abilities along with blink to just screw the team for ages, and virtually never die.

    If It has some mana cost to it, that cheap strategy would not be as effective, as one would need to have a significantly larger mana pool to be blinking 4-5 times in a row while also using puck abilities.

  6. Reblogged this on Grumbl3dookGaming and commented:
    More gold from Dotametrics

  7. Luke says:

    The blink dagger manacost removal was one of the best changes ever and single-handledly brought back a lot of heroes into contention, plus helped a lot of other heroes find different niches than their initial intended role (the surge of support WK, or WK being run in general even after the backtracking on Mortal Strike, was helped a lot by it). Blink is one of the most interesting and fun mechanics in the game and making it more viable in general leads to a better game for regular players.

    I would be very sad if they added manacost back in it. I’m guessing either its cost will be nerfed or its cooldown, but yeah, a nerf is coming its way anyways.

  8. pzkw says:

    I’m inclined to agree most with citrus. I think the timing based styles we saw from the three most successful Chinese teams were largely successful because of increased income equality. Passive gold increase, hero streak increase, easier offlane, reduced jungle xp, pullcamp to easy spawn, retention of bottlecrowing all tend towards a game where everyone gets something, making it much easier to create early timing windows – perhaps more to the point, it makes it very hard to block or dislocate critical parts of the enemy’s lineup for a timing window for most or all of the goal window…

    The key problem for Ice going into the next ten patch cycle is that greedy strategies are actually already quite effective. EG and C9 both played what could only he described as very farm oriented styles at TI and both did quite well with them, both at TI and through the lead-up to it. In other words, the two best strategic archetypes right now are both viable, and if the one that performed better at TI is nerfed, the other will become utterly dominant.

    The final piece of discussion that’s missing is whether the aggressive strats run are actually dominant over a longer period of time, or whether with a few weeks of analysis and foresight, teams can use elements already in the game to break them.

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