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It doesn't feel like a HUGE overhaul at all, but I'm seeing a lot more of MQ, Slither and Devourer in random pubs.

Despite the buffs to Swiftblade, he doesn't feel that much stronger than before. (Mainly his earlygame though, lategame potential is probably a lot better)

Buff to Harkon's has made Hellbringer as a carry very viable, especially with his AoE death boil, and Harkon's in general feels a lot more useful on many heroes (a solid pick as a DPS item on puppet master for example.)

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If I currently were to place Wretched Hag in zircon's tier list, she'd be near the top of A-tier, if not S-tier. The +5 base int she got with the latest patch more or less ensures you will be able to cast your ult, scream, and blink at level 6-7 without having to regenerate mana in between casts. Her AoE damage output is straight up terrifying, not to mention that she's very hard to juke because of her blink and because of scream now hitting units that are in the fog of war or invisible. After SotM there's really no reason you should ever die (unless literally chainstunned, similarly to Magebane) as she will have a decent HP pool, and you'll be able to regulate the amount of damage you take because of her blink.

The only drawback is the lack of a hard disable, which would probably bring her up to god tier. Great hero, and amazing fun to play too, love what S2 did with her.

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So according to BardicKnowledge, apparently I'm 'one of those people' that will make lots of 'unnecessary' clicks, with my APM being as high as 170 in some games. This is all in good fun, but I'd actually like to share my thoughts on the subject. :P

In the laning phase it goes without saying that you need to be on your toes and dancing around while lasthitting/denying, harassing, and messing with creep aggro. Your APM here should be relatively high (at least 100+) or you're putting yourself at a pretty big disadvantage because it means you're not doing one of the things I listed (harassment, creep pulling, dancing) properly.

Now, imagine the game moving on to the ganking phase, with you playing a ganker/roamer soloing mid. You just got your bottle and marchers and you notice the top lane is being pushed pretty far, so it should be an easy gank, right? How would you get your hero over there though? Would you simply click once at the position where you want your hero and go watch the scenery while your hero moves over there? Or would you constantly click at the edge of your screen so you can immediately adjust to the situation if anything came up? It would be a lot easier to dodge that pyro stun if you're already issuing a lot of movement commands, wouldn't it?

Now, how about running back to the fountain? Ideally you have a homecoming stone, but that won't always be the case. Little chance of getting ganked early on among your own towers, so it's not too important to maintain vision and focus on your hero. Why not use this time to check other lanes? Click on enemy heroes that you have vision of, look at their items, and adapt your own build accordingly. There's just so much you can do that I'm honestly surprised some people manage to stay below 100 APM.

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eZ, Devourer is definitely sick now. Max range Hook at level 1 means you can max Decay and his Magic Armor early. Maxing the magic armor means that you can keep your Decay on way earlier, survive ganks better, and gain much more Strength from your own ganks. I think this really helps him because his single biggest weakness before was that he couldn't do much against competent opponents w/o max hook and rot, and by that time, he's already starting to become ineffective.

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After some thorough testing of the new Harkon's blade, I have developed what should be a fun new build for Madman! Instead of rushing a runed axe and playing him as a hard carry it focuses on making him an effective midgame roamer/ganker/DPS monster as soon as possible, and with the proper momentum you can segue into the standard lategame hard carry-style as well.

Skill build is completely cookie cutter and static. One level of stalk first, max barrel roll, then max stalk, don't touch the ult until lvl 10-11, and get the crit whenever you can (so lvl 9, 12, 13, 14)

Starting items are standard as well, hatchet, 3x minor totem, 1 set of runes and 1 Health potion. Lane with a babysitter at legion bot or hellbourne top. Depending on how you're doing inlane, grab a lifetube and possibly a buckler (if you're getting harassed and running out of regen), or grab a scarab (if you're dominating the lane and want to keep up your mana for kills).

No bottle is needed because of the relatively quick focus on increasing MM's mana pool and regen with this build, so go straight for Marchers after this. The build diverges a lot here. If you're still laning without too much trouble, build your scarab into a Greater Arcana. If you feel you need more survivability, save up for a Glowstone instead, but if the enemy team is heavily disable based and pushing early, there's no real option other than rushing a Shrunken Head.

Assuming you now have Marchers, a Glowstone and a Greater Arcana, you have the manapool and survivability to gank a bit. If possible keep laning and farming though, and carry a TP so you can countergank (good map awareness required!). Get a lifetube if you need to farm neutrals (Maybe you already had one), otherwise build the glowstone into a Sacred Icon, and top it off with a Sustainer to complete your Sacrificial Stone. Whew. Finish your Steamboots.

With this amount of mana regen, farming should be no problem at all as you can keep on using stalk and barrel roll, which makes Sac Stone an effective alternative to runed axe as a farming item. You now have the survivability to be effective in teambattles and should basically be playing MM as an AGI nuker. DPS, while nothing spectacular, will still be solid at this point due to the built-in crits and attack speed steroid.

2.7k gold is what you need for an Acolyte's Staff. This can either be farmed up by laning, or by ganking a lot. Either is fine, though the latter is more fun. It depends a lot on how the game is going, and on the team setups. With your effectively infinite manapool and decent health regen you will rarely need to retreat to the fountain.

Build the greater Arcana into Harkon's Blade. Now, having built your two core items, the tooltip will say your auto-attack damage lies somewhere around 100 per attack. Pretty shitty, right? Wrong. Having this huge mana pool is a necessity to sustain Harkon's Blade 50 mana per attack. The tradeoff is that an autoattack with Harkon's Blade will place a debuff that lowers enemy Magic Armor by 5 and turns your (physical) auto-attack into Magic Damage. Base Magic Armor is set at 5.5.

What this means, is that you will essentially be dealing TRUE damage with every attack, not to mention that a stalk/barrel roll combo will deal an unreduced 350ish damage as well. If you consider that most heroes at this point will often have anywhere between 40-50% damage reduction for physical attacks due to the armor-stacking metagame, you could say that having 100ish auto-attack damage with Harkon's on is more or less the same as having 200ish auto-attack damage without it. Not to mention that this build will synergize with any heavy INT nukers like Pyro, Witch slayer and Wretched Hag, and becomes downright ridiculous with a Hellbringer on your team.

After these "core" items, Shrunken Head is a necessity against most teams. The luxury items would be Symbol of Rage to be able to go toe to toe with farmed up enemy carries, and Savage Mace to make your DPS go through the roof. Any DPS item is fair game as an alternative for Savage Mace, just don't get Riftshards or Shieldbreaker.

With Savage Mace and Harkon's, you will be critting for about 500 'true' damage, with possibly the 100 true damage pseudo-crit/ministun from Savage on top of it. This will tear through even the most farmed up tanks.

Bracers and/or Power Supply can be gotten at any point early on if you feel like you need them. An alternative build would be Hellflower instead of Sacrificial Stone, which gives you more DPS and a pseudo-disable, but way less survivability.

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Tensei, I personally think you're over doing it to an extent as well. You mentioned checking things as you're heading back to base. I don' think that adds to APM but is the right hting to do. Also the other thing to do is that if you know enough about the battlefield you can also be checking other lanes and enemy items as you're laning or even as your entering a gank situation. I can't state for sure because I haven't played with you in forever.

Also, zircon, YES! Those were my exact first thoughts when I saw that line in the changelog. I used to love Pudge in Pudge Wars, a little minigame based solely on hooking people but hated playing him in an actual game because of the very reasons you stated.

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Pudge Wars TONIGHT.

Edit: Also I could see Harkon's being pretty freakin' sweet on Forsaken Archer.

Harkon's is a decent luxury on forsaken archer, but unfortunately the debuff only lasts for 3 seconds, so your ult won't benefit that much from it. Synergizes amazingly with AoE spellcasters on your team though.

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Really liking the Blacksmith buffs as well, seems like he'll finally be able to be a viable alternative to tanky INT semi-carries like Defiler and Torturer. (New) Sacrificial Stone, Hellflower, Harkon's Blade (4x Multicast fireball at -5 Magic Armor says hi!) and Behemoth's Heart would all be awesome items on him. I especially like the - Magic Armor from flaming hammer.

Awesome nerf to Madman as well, and the buff to Pollywog was kind of needed. Only thing I dislike are the changes to creep AI which will make it a lot harder to leash them, and consequently a lot harder for melee heroes to lane vs ranged, especially in solo mid.

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1.65 is out and uhh..let's just say i'll be playing tort and defiler a lot more in the near future :3

Played Tort last night. It was incredible with the buffed sac stone.

Really liking the Blacksmith buffs as well, seems like he'll finally be able to be a viable alternative to tanky INT semi-carries like Defiler and Torturer. (New) Sacrificial Stone, Hellflower, Harkon's Blade (4x Multicast fireball at -5 Magic Armor says hi!) and Behemoth's Heart would all be awesome items on him. I especially like the - Magic Armor from flaming hammer.

Awesome nerf to Madman as well, and the buff to Pollywog was kind of needed. Only thing I dislike are the changes to creep AI which will make it a lot harder to leash them, and consequently a lot harder for melee heroes to lane vs ranged, especially in solo mid.

The polywog ult change is nice. Madman is more balanced.

Creep AI is definitely hard(er) for melee to compete against ranged. almost need melee in a lane with a ranged at any opportunity, especially if the opponent is FA or similar.

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I don't think Blacksmith even needs Harkon's, since his auto attack is pretty meh (and melee to boot.) I think a solid build on him would be Talisman, Talisman, Armor Boots (better MS), Nome's Wisdom, Frostfield. The first four items will ensure he has no mana problems again, and also increase his survivability a great deal (+armor, +HP.) Frostfield synergizes REALLY well with him too. It increases his farming to insane levels, and with the new Flaming Hammer, you can debuff a group, run in, Frostfield and then Fireball. Massive damage.

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I don't think Blacksmith even needs Harkon's, since his auto attack is pretty meh (and melee to boot.) I think a solid build on him would be Talisman, Talisman, Armor Boots (better MS), Nome's Wisdom, Frostfield. The first four items will ensure he has no mana problems again, and also increase his survivability a great deal (+armor, +HP.) Frostfield synergizes REALLY well with him too. It increases his farming to insane levels, and with the new Flaming Hammer, you can debuff a group, run in, Frostfield and then Fireball. Massive damage.

Hellflower and Harkon's means he'll be dealing shittons of auto-attack DPS, especially with his aspd steroid. Not saying it's ideal, but he can definitely be played as an autoattack carry now. :P

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Yes but why would you want to? All he has is the ASPD steroid. There are many other, better characters who have self-steroids and who can carry more easily. I think Frostfield would give him more overall DPS to the entire enemy team.

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Let's not discuss the viability of Blacksmith. It isn't possible. You'll notice that most if not all melee carry heroes posses not only a strong self buff via a skill or high stat growth but also a means of closing distance quick and efficiently. This is why slows are by far some of the most devastating effects to any melee dps hero.

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Given that replays are now available, I'd be happy to take a look at a few, and give some pointers to people looking to improve, since I think I'm at least a decent player. :<

Edit: Also, antigrav, really sorry you ended up on the losing team that game, but it happens, especially in 'inhouses' like that. I actually joined that clan because it has a lot more active members (and consequently more games) and not so much because of the level of play.

At least I got this out of that game:

33blrv5.png

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