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.