The 7.30c balance patch for Dota 2 has been released on Saturday (11 September), bringing with it some long-overdue nerfs to neutral camp stacking as well as meta heroes such as Batrider, Beastmaster, Clinkz, and Lycan.
Neutral Camp stacking nerfed
Neutral camp stacking has long been a focal point in high-level Dota 2 play, as it gives teams a relatively easy way to quickly gain a huge amount of gold and experience for one or two of their core heroes.
As a result, high-level games tended to revolve around stacking as teams engaged in teamfights to either contest or protect neutral camp stacks. In both professional matches and the high-tier pub games played in recent patches, whichever team is able to stack and farm neutral camps the most almost always ended up victorious.
With the 7.30c patch, Icefrog is scaling back how much resources teams can get from their neutral camp stacks by scaling the gold and XP bounty from stacked Neutral Creeps by 15%. This reduced bounty only affects the player that is taking the stacks, however, and the player that stacks the camps will have the gold bounty they get for it unaffected.
Zoo meta nerfed
Even as the Necronomicon remains buried in the item graveyard, the 'Zoo' meta and its leading proponents in Beastmaster and Lycan have made a huge comeback in the 7.30 update thanks to the Helm of the Overlord getting some significant buffs.
While Icefrog hasn't nerfed the Zoo meta into oblivion quite yet, he is trying to scale back its effectiveness a bit by nerfing Helm of the Overlord and the heroes that love getting it.
Helm of the Dominator has received a slight gold cost increase while Helm of the Overlord had its attribute bonuses slightly reduced and the bounty from killing its Dominated creep significantly increased. In addition, Ancient Creeps that are often targeted for Domination — namely the Ancient Black Dragon and Ancient Thunderhide — had their abilities' mana costs increased.
While Icefrog didn't touch Beastmaster's signature ability to command an army of summoned units, he did nerf the hero's other abilities to make him weaker. The cooldown for Beastmaster's ultimate, Primal Roar, has been rescaled from 90/80/70 seconds to 100/80/60, meaning he won't be able to use it as often in the early game — when he needs it the most to start snowballing — but can use it more often in the late game when it is most effective.
In addition, Beastmaster's talent tree was tweaked to make his best talents available much later in the game. His 250 bonus health to controlled units talent is now available at Level 20 while his 30-second cooldown reduction to Primal Roar talent can only be acquired at Level 25.
Meanwhile, Lycan was hit with a nerf on his ability to buff his army of summoned units with his Feral Impulse passive. Feral Impulse's bonus damage aura has been reduced from 12/24/36/48% to 11/22/33/44% while tha ability's bonus health regeneration component was dialed back from 2/4/6/8 health regeneration per second to 1/3/5/7.
Lycan's strong talents were also nerfed. His 20-second cooldown reduction talent for Shapeshift at Level 15 now just reducing his ultimate's cooldown by 15 seconds while his +30% damage bonus for Feral Impulse talent at Level 20 was scaled back to provide just a 25% bonus.
7.30 meta heroes nerfed
Meta heroes that emerged after the release of the 7.30 update, such as Batrider and Clinkz, have also received significant nerfs. The 7.30 update gave Batrider a significant boost in early game strength, which allowed the hero to snowball to victory in many games and steadily climb to the top of the win rate charts.
Firefly, arguably Batrider's strongest ability, had its cooldown in the early game massively increased from 46/42/38/34 to 52/46/40/34 seconds. The ability's bonus vision has also been significantly reduced from 200/400/600/800 to 100/200/300/400, further reducing the ability's effectiveness as a scouting tool. With that said, Batrider's base vision during daytime was increased from 1200 to 1600 units.
Meanwhile, Sticky Napalm had its debuff duration reduced from 8 to 7 seconds and no longer increases the damage from the Fae Grenade neutral item while Flamebreak's damage per second was reduced from 20 to 15 damage per second.
Meanwhile, Clinkz has emerged as one of the most popular picks for the carry position in the 7.30 meta after his Strafe ability was replaced with Burning Barrage, which gave the hero the farming tool that he has been missing for so long. As expected, Icefrog nerfed Burning Barrage by increasing its cooldown from 28/24/20/16 to 30/26/22/18 seconds while increasing its mana cost from 40/50/60/70 to 40/55/70/85 mana.
Clinkz's damage and tank potential have also been reduced. The hero's agility gain is now at 2.5 agility per level instead of 2.7 while his attack range was reduced from 625 to 600 units. In addition, the bonus health that Clinkz receives with every use of his Death Pact ultimate was reduced from 40%/70%/100% to 30%/55%/80% of the consumed creep's health.
Dragon Knight, Tiny get buffs, Dawnbreaker added to Captain's Mode
Of course, not every change that Icefrog made in the 7.30c patch was a nerf. A couple of relatively neglected heroes in Dragon Knight and Tiny have received some much-needed buffs to help them regain some popularity in the meta.
Dragon Knight can now transform into a dragon more often, as his Elder Dragon Form ultimate had its cooldown reduced from a constant 115 seconds to 115/110/105 seconds. Acquiring Aghanim's Scepter and unlocking the fourth level of the ultimate further reduces the cooldown to 100 seconds, with the Black Dragon form also having its magic resistance bonus increased from 20% to 25%.
Meanwhile, Tiny will be getting tankier and hitting much harder after his base strength and strength gain were increased from 28 base strength plus 3.8 strength per level to 30 base strength plus 4 strength per level. However, his Level 25 talent that gives his Toss ability three charges has been scaled back to instead give just two charges.
Finally, Dawnbreaker — Dota 2's latest hero that was added in the 7.29 update back in April — has been added to Captain's Mode. This means that we will finally be able to see the hero in action in professional play, including The International 10 (TI10) — this year's iteration of Dota 2's annual world championship tournament — in October.
For the full list of changes in Dota 2's 7.30c patch, you can check the patch notes here.