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What you missed in the Dota 7.28a Balance Update

It’s typical for a big Dota 2 update to bring many unintended interactions, rendering many heroes OP or nerfed to the ground. The 7.28a gameplay update brings the first round of gameplay changes, bringing he outliers of the Mistwoods Update to the median.

Photo Courtesy of @wykrhm Twitter

After a recent mini-patch to prevent the new hero – Hoodwink – from ruining more pubs, the first of a series of balance patches is finally out. The update is an overall nerf-patch with minor buffs to a handful of heroes. The most significant changes are listed here.

Arc Warden got his Flux and Spark Wraith talents nerfed due to his new Aghanim’s Scepter ability, which makes his Spark Wraith ­- for the lack of better words – have a baby on every successful hit. He also received a base strength nerf, making the hero weaker in order to balance a 4200 gold item.

Juggernaut’s Scepter, when upgraded to Swiftslash, is now on a 20s cooldown instead of 15s, alongside its cast-range being reduced from 650 to 600. His Agahnim’s Shard Bladefury now does 75% of his attack damage instead of the erstwhile 100%.

Kotl – Keeper of the Light – received an overall buff. Illuminate now does 25 more damage per level while Chakra Magic mana restore is up by 20 per level. Solar Bind got rescaled to be weaker with one skill point and stronger when maxed out. The Blinding Light CD-talent also got buffed by 2 seconds.

Leshrac Scepter’s upgraded ability – Nihilism – no longer makes him take an additional 30% magic damage, making the 4200 gold a more viable pick.

Lifestealer is slightly buffed after his dumpster-trip, courtesy of 7.28. He received +3 base damage, additional slow on enemies from Ghoul Frenzy, a buff to Rage’s movespeed aspect, and a manacost reduction from 125 to 75 on his Shard and upgraded Open Wounds ability. These changes will likely help his 42% win-rate, although not by much seeing how fundamentally he was changed with the ability rework.

Ogre Magi is nerfed in the early game. He lost 3 base damage and Ignite now costs 10 more mana, making the spell an even worse level-1 choice for harass.

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The 35% win-rate abomination that got renamed to “Outworld Destroyer” finally received much-needed buffs. A movespeed buff from 310 to 315, Arcane Orb damage from 14% to 16% alongside lowered CD on earlier levels, Sanity’s Eclipse radius increase, and a buff to his levels 15 and 20 talents could potentially give him a small win-rate boost, but not by much.

Spirit Breaker’s Shard upgrade now doesn’t change the cast behavior of Nether Strike, nor gives Spell Immunity while casting it. Instead, he gains Spell Immunity on a successful cast of Nether Strike.

Tinker’s Shard ability received buffs. Defense Matrix now lasts 12 seconds instead of 10 and can absorb 75 more damage than before.

Vengeful Spirit got gutted in the support role with 7.28 making her ultimate usable only once instead of twice. 7.28a seems to be trying to buff core Vengeful Spirit with +10 damage increase to Wave of Terror, and a 3% increase to her Vengeance Aura at early levels only. Her ult also got rescaled from 60/45/30 to 50/40/30.

These are potentially the most significant gameplay changes in 7.28a. You can go through the full list of changes in-game or here.

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