Curious to know what AdmiralBulldog thinks of the changes to Lone Druid, or what the master of bottles, s4, thinks of the changes to bottle crowing?
One of the bigger changes in 6.78 was the nerf to Lone Druid with the bounty of the bear being increased as well as Armlet of Mordiggian now draining health from the bear. How will this affect Lone Druid’s viability?
AdmiralBulldog (AB): It will not hurt his viability at all. Lone Druid is a very versatile hero and he will adapt to these changes. Before Armlet people went maelstrom or radiance which will be the standard again.
Many people make the mistake in thinking this was a big nerf to Lone Druid which in reality it wasn’t, mainly because of the buffs he received. Radiance damage increased by 5 might seem little, but with a hero that has it on a summon which enables him to be in the middle of the fight and chase people down without putting himself in danger is really good.
Also the fact that Vladimir and Assault Cuirass are now stacking is a huge buff because lone druid has always only had one option to get armor, from cuirass, now with 2 good items giving him armor his viability later on is still solid after removing the Armlet.
Bottle crowing is something that has been questioned heavily within the last months, so it was bound change sooner or later. Is the 30% slower movement speed on a courier carrying an empty bottle a game-changing nerf? Will this decrease the number of heroes able to go mid?
s4: The same mid heroes will still be as strong, however this will nerf the two man bottle crow which could be seen with for example Magnus mid and Batrider offlane, who both wants to bottle crow in a 1-on-1 matchup.
You are one of few teams who have actually run Bloodseeker in a competitive game. He is already a rather strong laner and can silence heroes permanently; now he also seems to be a good counter against heroes who have magic immunity or build Black King Bar. Do you think this patch will finally make him viable?
s4: Yeah sure, he is viable but there is still a problem with him doing very little damage. As soon as rupture has been used he does not bring much to the table.
AB: Perhaps, we have not played him that much and almost never scrimmed with him. I feel he would become viable if his cast animation was improved.
The patch has seen several changes to buybacks such as increasing its cooldown. However, the most interesting change might be to Necrolyte’s upgraded Reaper’s Scythe which disables buyback after killing a hero. How strong do you feel this actual change is?
s4: This could be very strong against turtle lineups where they just buyback thus making it so hard for you to break their base. I think Necrolyte should be used as a hard carry and not a push hero though.
AB: It is hard to say. I like this hero and I do think he will get picked in the future but not that frequently since he has a fairly weak laning phase. He is easily ganked mid and fairly weak 1-on-1. There are better heroes to put in a trilane than Necrolyte. However, I think with the Aghanim he will be picked sometimes as a last pick and put in a 1-on-1 situation.
Icefrog added several new Aghanim’s Scepter upgrades in 6.78. For example, Doom, Omniknight and Silencer have received improved Aghanim’s Upgrades. How do you feel about these?
AB: I love Aghanim’s Scepter and I hope he adds this to every hero. I cannot wait to see what Aghanim’s does on Lone Druid! Most of the recent additions will have almost no effect to the competitive scene if any at all; the only exception might be Necrolytes’.
AB: I have not really thought much about this yet. I believe it will still be an item you should pick up if you have a lead during mid game to deny any vision of the enemy team. I like the fact that you cannot deny it anymore because it makes it very risky to buy so we might see less gems, which I like for Furion with Shadowblade and Bounty Hunter!
s4: This will make the 5 man stronger versus split push, if someone dies with gem your teammate can just pick it up instead of getting it destroyed in the mix of things.
The initial stock of observer wards now starts at one instead of two, which should make it even more important to remove wards early. Do you think this will enable roaming more or will it make it more difficult?
s4: I think this will force more supports and action to the midlane at night time because it will be a battle of vision.
AB: From my recent experience the map seems to be much darker in the new patch so this benefit roamers a lot for sure. I really like the fact that finding an enemy ward is actually a very big deal now, especially early game.
Lifestealer has been considered one of the strongest heroes in the pool for quite some time. He has received a nerf to Open Wounds thus making it harder for him to initiate. Is this going to be enough to make a difference?
AB: No. This hero is still extremely strong and the nerf is honestly barely felt. You might be forced to pick a few more levels in open wounds earlier, so he is slightly weaker early to mid game because of not having maxed rage or feast, but it is not that big of a deal to be honest.
One of the biggest changes introduced in this patch is a new picking and banning draft style. Will this impact drafting at all? Will this allow captains to out pick their opponents more effectively?
s4: I feel like this patch is about finding the new mid heroes to play. With the way the bans are right now, we will see a lot of mid heroes removed and more carries available. Expect to see Naga and Dragon Knight in the midlane frequently.
What are your general opinions about the patch? Is there anything specific you really like or dislike?
AB: I like that more heroes gets Aghanim’s! I dislike the Broodmother changes. I like this hero and want to play it, but I feel it’s one of the weakest heroes at the moment and these buffs changes almost nothing. I really hope EG picks it against us, as they are the only team using it at the moment.
s4: I love to see that gyro is nerfed, dust slowing invisible units, and siege catapults added hp for lasthitting. I cannot really think of anything bad about the patch.
Photography by GosuGamers
Written by Erik Barge and Elmer Eklund