6.86 is a patch that will take some getting used to.
That could be said about any patch but 6.86 included the most drastic map changes I’ve ever seen in Dota. Huge changes to both sides jungle, a number of small changes to rune spots and the addition of ladders around ward spots. It’s interesting, but it’s also confusing to suddenly have the map that you’ve been familiar with for years and years suddenly get torn up so drastically. I think that the changes, in this regard, are neither bad nor good. You are able to manipulate the map to your advantage in the same ways as before, there are just more places to do things now. Using high-ground is the obvious example. The chance for ambushes as you walk around the map carefree is greatly increased.
Overall, actual gameplay changes aren’t drastic. There’s nothing like the comeback gold of previous patches. Emphasis is still on teamfights, and the new items reflect this. They’re cheap, they’re predominantly early game focused and, for the most part, I quite like them. I personally have to wonder about Dragon Lance and Aether Lens though. An increase in range on spells and attacks strikes me as something that would be difficult to balance. Melee items like Skull Basher got a slight buff though, so I guess it balances out, but I do feel that we will see some nerfs to these 2 new items fairly soon. Faerie Fire is quite a fun little item. +2 damage and 75hp restored instantly is something that seems quite fleeting but it might save your life or secure a kill in some instances and I forsee a lot of offlaners now option to buy one of these and an Enchanted Mango instead of a Ring of Protection, which received a slight nerf, reducing armour gained from 3 to 2 and the cost to 175.
At first I had trouble placing the last item. Iron Talon didn’t seem like something a carry would really want to buy, and who else buys quelling blades? Well, if you’re against a Treant Protector and he has an Aghanim’s Sceptre, or if you’re just a support looking to get farmed, the 500g price tag on this seems relatively good for what you get out of it. I don’t foresee many people buying it but it’s nice to have if you want some reason not to have a Quelling Blade clogging up your inventory.
But now we move onto heroes, and my lord there’s a lot to talk about. I haven’t had much of a chance to play around with all the new Aghs upgrades but I think they’re quite fun. I especially like Shadow Fiend’s and Ursa’s is downright overpowered if there’s an Alchemist that can rush it for him. As an avid Ursa player I feel that his biggest weakness is being kited and being stunned. He’s difficult to kill but it’s also quite difficult to make kills with him until you get a Blink Dagger. This doesn’t stop him being kited, but it does stop him from dying from the long stuns that come up in the late game.
Then we come to Riki. Initially, when I read his rework, I thought that he was overpowered. Then I reread it and thought that he fit quite nicely on the power curve, but now, on the third run, I have returned to my initial position. He doesn’t get that ridiculous agility gain any more but, when you rush a Diffusal Blade which gives 35 agility when fully upgraded, what difference does this make? His Smokescreen has received no change, his ultimate is a nerf on his solo-kill potential, which is of course where Riki thrives, but the Diffusal Blade rush which every Riki does makes this obsolete if they have half a brain and have put at least one point into Smokescreen, and now his teamfight potential has rocketted. I wouldn’t be surprised if Riki kills both supports in a team just during his ultimate if there is a 5v5 team fight. You can move out of his ultimate area of effect but, if you’re a Witch Doctor, Crystal Maiden, Earth Shaker, or just generally anyone with a big ultimate to land then you want to be as near to the centre of the fight as possible.
Faceless Void has also been made more OP than ever before. I can’t really talk for his merits as a carry because, of course, no carry is good without farm and that’s almost completely reliant on your team but offlane he is almost unkillable unless you dive early. Time dilation may be one of the most broken abilities I’ve ever seen and, combined this with the buff Timewalk has received, it makes him into a disgusting hero during the laning stage and one that you have to hope is being played by the enemy team’s worst player.
Outworld Devourer is now a hero people will actually want to play. Hopefully he climbs to a 50% winrate now, having only managed to achieve a 45.71% winrate in 6.85. Lone Druid received a buff but I don’t think it will do much for him in terms of winrate as there is a lot of potential to mess up a team fight with it. Death Prophet is another, like Lone Druid, which has been removed from Captain’s Mode but I think this makes her a bit more useful in the meta against other meta line-ups.
One that I am most excited for is Silencer though because he actually has 4 useful abilities now and not just 3 with one that you level when you get to 22. Winter Wyvern has been completely ruined, Kunkka is now officially a support, the expected nerfs to Windranger happened and Tidehunter might be seen in a few more games now with his new Aghs.
Overall I like the patch but there are a couple of really broken heroes in it. Doom, thankfully, got nerfed. I didn’t think he was overpowered, unless he was in the offlane. My main thought about him was how boring he was to play and to play against. Magnus offlane is now more viable and Luna might actually win games now. Besides that there’s not much to say. I hope that Void and Riki don’t become more prevalent and annoying than they already are because everything else in this patch seems like a lot of fun. It seems mainly geared towards those who play for fun with their friends than those who play to be good and play to win.