It has now been over a week since Dota 2's 7.30 update was released.
As with every major Dota 2 update, the metagame that begins to develop following its release tends to favour a certain number of heroes, either due to them being buffed (directly or indirectly) or others getting nerfed.
These heroes then get branded as either 'broken' or 'overpowered' (regardless of whether they deserve it or not) due to the ease with which they can win games, no matter the skill level of the player who uses them.
Read on for our list of three of 7.30's 'broken' heroes, primarily based on how much their win rates changed in the week that followed the update was released, according to Dota stat-tracking site DOTABUFF:
Even as his beloved Necronomicon lies buried in the item graveyard, Lycan remains Dota 2's king of lanes as he enjoyed the biggest win rate spike of 7.30. His win rate went from a good 51.45% to an amazing 55.24%, which corresponds to a massive 3.79% increase in win rate across all ranks.
The biggest reason behind this Lycan is the rework that 7.30 gave to the previously-neglected item Helm of the Overlord, which now requires players to buy the amazing (for Lycan) utility item Vladmir's Offering instead of the relatively useless Ultimate Orb to combine with Helm of the Dominator. Alongside the recipe rework, Helm of the Overlord's 'Dominate' active ability has also been changed to allow players to control one very strong creep instead of two moderately strong ones.
The new Helm of the Overlord is nothing short of amazing for Lycan. Not only does its passive component from Vladmir's Offering give him and his summons lifesteal as well as bonus attack damage, armour, and mana regeneration, it also allows him to control an additional unit that has been buffed up. Oh, and did we mention that you can control Ancient Creeps with this item?
Even after the 7.30b patch increased the gold cost of Helm of the Overlord's recipe, it is still an item that you MUST always build on Lycan. Play Lycan on either the safelane or offlane, depending on your team's picks, and build Helm of the Dominator then upgrade it into Helm of the Overlord as soon as possible (if you're confident in your laning abilities, you can even save up your starting gold to buy Helm of Iron Will as your very first item to speed up this process). You can even forego buying boots in almost all cases given how high Lycan's base movement speed is.
Your item choices after Helm of the Overlord will then depend on the game state and what your team needs. Assault Cuirass is a great all-around item to increase Lycan's damage output and tankiness, though you can also get Abyssal Blade if you lack disables or Black King Bar if you're the one constantly getting disabled. Even if your micro skills aren't the best, Lycan is just a very strong hero right now and should get you some easy wins with little to no trouble.
Sven has emerged as THE carry hero for 7.30 (in pubs at least) as his win rate after the update went from 51.69% to 55.19%, corresponding to the second biggest spike after Lycan, at 3.50%. While that is partly because popular carry heroes of the previous patch, such as Luna and Terrorblade, received significant nerfs and thus fell out of favour, another almost unnoticed change has also fuelled Sven's upward trend.
The 7.30 update rescaled the numbers of Sven's Great Cleave passive, making it so that he now deals 100% of his damage to all nearby enemies around his target. That can even be boosted up to 125% of his damage with his level 15 talent, which means that nearby enemies actually receive MORE damage than his target. It's easy to see how that change can impact Sven's gameplay, as it makes him that much better at farming creep waves and jungle camps and mowing down groups of enemy heroes.
Sven's game hasn't changed much from how it was previously. You simply max Great Cleave, then start farming once you have God's Strength and a Mask of Madness. With your ultimate and the buff from Mask of Madness, you can farm multiple jungle and ancient stacks (assuming you or your teammates were able to stack them) with little to no effort.
When it comes to items, Echo Sabre is a good second item after you've finished your boots as it amps up both your farming speed and damage output in teamfights. Sange and Yasha is a must-have if the enemy team only has a few stuns, otherwise Black King Bar is the way to go.
A cheap way to boost your damage output would be to get Crystalys, which you can then upgrade to Daedalus for even more damage or Silver Edge if you are facing heroes like Bristleback and need a Break mechanic. Round your kit out with Satanic or Aghanim's Scepter, and you should cleave through both the enemy team and their Ancient en route to some easy wins.
Keeper of the Light
While Keeper of the Light's win rate actually slid a bit — from 49.36% to 48.64% — in the week after the 7.30 update was released, the way he has been played has dramatically shifted. If you haven't already seen it in a pro game or in your pubs, then Keeper of the Light has now been promoted from being a position 5 support to a full-blown mid hero.
This build has been popularised by OG's Topias "Topson" Taavitsainen, who spammed it during his streams shortly after 7.30 was released, and Tundra Esports' Leon "Nine" Kirilin, who owned T1 with it during a group stage game in the ongoing ESL One Fall: Bootcamp edition tournament.
Think of mid Keeper of the Light as if he was old Tinker, in that he constantly pushes out all lanes with Illuminate while dealing an insane amount of magical burst damage.
How all this came to be was thanks to 7.30 reducing Illuminate's max channel time and reducing Chakra Magic's cooldown. This allowed Keeper of the Light to cast Illuminate on an very quick six-second cooldown given he has the levels for it. Naturally, pros took this as an invitation to play the hero on the midlane and build Dagon.
Here's how you can make it work (provided you've told your teammates before the game that you'll be running Keeper of the Light mid):
Max Illuminate and Chakra Magic then constantly keep the mid lane pushed out, which should give you control of the runes and the space to stack and farm nearby jungle camps.
With all the farm you've accumulated, build Boots of Travel as your first item (and get +20 movement speed from your level 10 talent) to zoom across the map and mow down all creep waves in sight with Illuminate, while slipping away from any enemy heroes trying to chase you down.
Once you have enough levels on Solar Bind (which reduces an enemy's magical resistance, in case you didn't know), start building Dagon and get it all the way up to level 5.
With your Solar Bind-Dagon-Illuminate combo (you can even add an Ethereal Blade to this combo if think you don't have enough burst damage), you should be able to instantly burst down virtually any hero that doesn't have magic immunity. Use this to dominate the map and give your teammates enough space to start outscaling your opposition.
Your damage is bound to fall off once your enemies start getting more HP or items like Black King Bar and Pipe of Insight, so you should pivot to building utility items to remain impactful in the late game.
Aghanim's Scepter is a must-have, as it allows you to cast Will-O-Wisp and provide an insane area-of-effect disable during teamfights.
Aghanim's Shard is a good pickup too, as it allows you to cast Recall and give your team global presence.
Scythe of Vyse is also great if your team needs an additional disable, though you can't go wrong with buying Solar Crest, Lotus Orb, and (ironically enough) Pipe of Insight to help keep you and your teammates alive.
It won't be easy playing Keeper of the Light mid, and it isn't a guaranteed win either, but it sure is fun bursting down an unsuspecting hero in an instant with his combo.
Just be sure to tell your team what you will be doing before the game starts and be prepared to catch some flak (or a couple of reports) should things not go your way.