It’s closing in on a week after the release of patch 7.07— sweeping buffs and nerfs, talent reworks, and two new heroes. While win and loss rates will settle over time, what we’re seeing in these early spikes is quite unprecedented. In patch 7.06f, only three heroes had above a 56% win rate across all pubs, with Spectre being #1 at 56.82%. In the immediate aftermath of 7.07, that has more than doubled to 7 heroes, with Anti-Mage sitting pretty on top at a near 58% win rate. Valve and Icefrog quickly addressed this with the launch of 7.07b, but before that patch has its impact, let's take a look at 7.07 winners and losers.
Valve notes the hero was reworked, but he’s still largely the same hero. Wild Axes had its numbers tweaked, topped off with a new Amplify debuff on top of it. And Call of the Wild is now just one skill—a quality of life change for one of the most unpopular heroes in the game—and with an added, random neutral creep. With the auras from the neutral creep, along with the Roar movement speed buff, it Beastmaster a more team-friendly hero than just the guy you need to stun a BKB’d hero.
The additional neutral creep spawn also creates a larger power spike for Beastmaster at level 7. A Centaur can keep enemies stunned for up to 5 seconds, while the Wolf, Hellbear, or Satyr add more burst damage.
Medusa’s level 20 and 25 talents are particularly strong, attributing for 6-7% win rate discrepancies
No longer do Medusa players need to toggle Split Shot when last hitting or targeting down heroes, since the skill is now a passive, and it does full damage to its main target. Medusa players also don’t need to worry about Unique Attack Modifier interactions (UAMs now removed), nor do they need to target a specific hero to apply a modifier, since her new level 25 Talent now applies modifiers to all targets hit by Split Shot. Yes, each Split Shot arrow can life steal, proc Maelstrom (the item still has an internal cooldown), apply Diffusal mana burn, Desolator armor debuff, Skadi slow, and crit—at the same time, theoretically. It’s no surprise that talent alone has a 6.7% win rate advantage.
A Battle Fury buff is an Anti-Mage buff, who depends on it more than any other carry. The recipe change creates a greater risk for gold loss when saving up for that Demon Edge, but its cheaper cost also cuts down the Battle Fury timing by about a minute.
Anti-Mage has always been a fan favorite, but it was the new level 15 Talent that leaves an Illusion behind after Blink is incredibly strong, particularly due to how it can accelerate Anti-Mage’s farming through the jungle, streamlining his Blink from camp to camp. In comparison to the other talent, -1 Blink Cooldown, the new illusion talent is favored by a whopping 7.3% win rate.
It's no surprise that it was this talent that got nerfed in the recent 7.07b patch, as the win rate speaks for itself.
Morphling is excused from this post as he’s currently saddled with a few bugs.
Not all trees are alike, as Tiny saw his win rate dip in the patch
Tiny used to be an average hero in pubs. He had a 47% win rate and was occasionally dominant. Now he’s the 3rd worst hero in win rate, sitting between Pangolier and Lone Druid.
Tree Grab is small consolation for removing his Aghanim’s Scepter Upgrade. The new skill is clunky to use, and even though Dota is surrounded by trees, you won’t always have a tree when you need it. And if the cooldown comes off mid team-fight, it becomes an inconvenient hassle, especially with its high cooldown.
In this rework, Tiny was supposed to be a more relevant hero early on, as he doesn't need an Agh's to push or fight, but the massive attack speed reductions made it difficult for him to be that and the hero felt worse off than before.
Luckily for him, 7.07b addresses many of these issues and Tree Grab now has a significantly lower cooldown, among other buffs, which is why we already see a bit of a rise in his winrate.
Necrophos didn’t fall as hard as Tiny, but his nerfs were probably welcome by most of the Dota public. Meta fatigue played a part of his nerf campaign, but Necrophos isn’t a fun hero to play against. Playing against a good Necro player meant you were playing less, as Reaper’s Scythe added onto your respawn timer. With the nerfs, he’s more vulnerable under Ghost Shroud (though the skill still turns Magic Stick into Cheese), and Scythe is a little more mana intensive in the early levels. At the same time, its cooldown was increased by 20% (100s to 120s). More Dota to play for everyone.
In the days after 7.07, Windranger’s pick rate spiked nearly 7%, mostly instigated by a tweak to Focus Fire that now allows her to move and attack at the same time. At the same time its damage output was also nerfed. The result was that the hero is still underwhelming, and fallen far from her brief dominance as a mid-laner. Focus Fire’s strength was its burst—not just against heroes but also to take down towers. Its weakness wasn’t that Windranger couldn’t follow her target. In most mid-late game cases, a Shackleshot + Focus Fire was enough to take down any hero, without any need to chase.
Whether intentional or not, new heroes historically have terrible win rates. Ember and Earth Spirit were notoriously sub 40% win rates until a bevy of patches brought them to a playable status. It seems to be a trend of Valve’s to release a hero that is relatively underpowered, as to not disrupt the meta. But Dark Willow, sitting around 48% so far, is an unexpectedly high win rate for a new hero release.
Her win rate is in large part due to how effective she can be, even in the hands of novices. A simple AoE, a stun, a defensive skill, and an ultimate that does the work for you makes her impactful in the game even if you’re button mashing. It’s by far easier than picking up Remnant mechanics.
Meanwhile, Pangolier is the 3rd most picked hero so far, with the 4th lowest win rate, at 38%. Though it’s only just a week into the patch, these early trends hint at what heroes will be strong and weak in the meta, at least until the next patch.