Powercreep in Dota 2 has been a thing for a long time. Ignore any hero long enough, and the nerfs and changes to the rest of the game push it to the forefront. Axe seems to be one of those heroes, powering up from a 55% winrate in 7.06.
Why Axe is Strong in 7.09:
- Ability to creep skip and destroy the enemy safelane, especially if it’s a melee core.
- Jungle from either level 1 (not recommended) or after taking the enemy Tier 1 to farm a quick blink.
- A new Aghanim’s Sceptre that causes basically makes Axe a walking demi-god. Applies Battle Hunger on enemy heroes within a 700 AoE after a successful Culling Blade.
- One of the best heroes against BKB buying carries.
- Not easily zoned by enemy supports and can hold its own against melee cores.
- Good against every illusion hero in the game.
The best part about Axe offlane is his versatility, which is what makes him a good hero not just to pick but to spam. Even if you’re zoned heavily by supports or a really tough dual lane, you can invade the enemy jungle or farm the secondary jungle for your Blink. Blink Dagger pretty much guarantees one kill if you take care not to show it beforehand. That first smoke gank on the enemy mid player is crucial to elevate your team moral (Remember PMA, guys).
Axe is good against some of the meta carries like Weaver, PA and Troll. Since the 6.87 change of making Counter Helix a pure damage spell, Axe is an excellent initiator in the lategame, as pretty much his entire kit goes through BKB.
Wraith King is one of those heroes whose talents brought him back to the forefront. The hero has always had a high winrate, but previously Wraith King didn’t really have any direction; it wasn’t a strong carry that scaled well into the lategame due to low attack speed. Wasn’t really a durable hero that sits up front, due to lack of any durability mechanics (like Bristleback), or an initiator because of its limited kit of just one stun. Wraith King doesn’t buy any utility items either. The talents sort of brought back the hero to life, giving it some much needed carry and late game potential (and making it even more retard proof).
Why Wraith King is Strong in 7.09:
- Level 25 no manacost for Reincarnation talent, though the winrate on Dotabuff for the other talent is slightly higher, I suspect that’s because of Wraith Kings in losing games going for this more defensive talent.
- Level 20 talent that gives 40 attack speed (which makes him a real carry now!)
- Lane pretty much anywhere, including jungle (not recommended).
- Armlet buff, and Echo-Sabre is still a very good item.
- Some of Wraith King’s strongest counters, like Anti-Mage, Phantom Lancer and Invoker, are very bad this patch.
It’s the 80s all over again; Abba is back. Although it’s a top tier hero in 7.09, Abaddon is strong, not because it’s been buffed, but because a lot of other things have been nerfed. Most notably heroes like Anti-Mage, Phantom Lancer (is there a trend here?) and Alchemist. Sit in any lane you want, as there’s not a single carry in the game that wins its lane against Abaddon, and farm creeps. Get your Vlads (Vanguard is out of fashion now), a Helm of the Dominator if you’re in that way inclined, and push towers with your team.
Why Abaddon is Strong in 7.09:
- Like most heroes on this list, Abaddon doesn’t really die.
- Strong healing power with its Q and the items it builds (Vlads, Guardian Greaves, Mek)
- Very strong early-mid game pusher. Can close out the game easily and take objectives.
- Taking damage during your ult does not put Blink on cooldown, so using Blink Dagger during your ultimate is quite easy unless you’re chain stunned for a long time.
- Destroys every enemy carry in lane, except Anti Mage (who no one plays any more.)
- Insane level 25 talents in the +250 Aphotic Shield Health and +25% Curse of Avernus Slow
One of the ways Reddit user /u/WildfireTP wins as Abaddon is using Mist Coil on the enemy carry again and again, due to its low cooldown, and then shrining up. Their carry has no regen and you’re an Abaddon who pushes lanes. That’s 7.09 for you, guys.
As one of the only pure supports on this list, Treant is very good at keeping your team mates alive while messing with vision on the enemy time. You’re not a ‘medic’ like Omniknight, and it’s easy to harass lanes, take Bounty runes and farm small and medium camps with Leech Seed and Tree Punch (that’s what I call Treant’s autoattack). With an overall 54-55% winrate, Treant got a small nerf with 7.06 but was still blessed with a good set of skills earlier.
Why Treant Protector is Strong in 7.09:
- Can steal enemy Bounty Runes, even at minute 0.
- If your team starts snowballing you have full vision across the whole map with Aghs.
- Very versatile support playstyle; can go offensive (punchy punch) or defensive (sit behind tower and heal up towers and teammates).
- Great early game lane presence for harassing the enemy.
The quintessential example of powercreep in this patch is Pudge, who hasn’t been this strong since 6.78. Receiving barely any nerfs for several patches except 7.03 itself, and several important buffs including new items added to the game (Aether Lens, Aghanim’s Sceptre for Pudge and Lotus Orb). A very wise man with much higher MMR than me once said that negative displacement is the strongest CC in Dota 2. I choose to believe this Confucian wisdom, as a potential Pudge hook every three seconds is the scariest feeling in the game.
Why Pudge is Strong in 7.09:
- Most of the Jungle camps have receded to low ground, so a hero farming a camp won’t have vision of a Pudge on high ground. This is a huge map change that buffed Pudge inadvertently.
- Shrines mean roaming, support and offlane Pudge all have huge uptime.
- Can farm jungle creeps quite efficiently with rot and dismember.
- Clarities and Healing Salve not being dispelled by creeps means you can roam and try for hooks without worrying about cancelling regen.
If you’re a sadistic sort of player and your only goal is to increase that imaginary number in your profile, playing heroes that don’t die on average is always your best bet. There are nuances in 7.09 that make flavour of the month heroes like Lone Druid, Luna and Clockwerk really strong, but there’s still a lot to be said for simply staying alive.
It goes without saying that to truly rise in rank you need to understand the game; develop game-sense, inculcate teamwork and play as a team. But strong heroes can be used in any MMR bracket to rise a little bit.
For a hero to be truly spammable for easy MMR, it needs to be a few things:
- An easily executable strategy.
- Some sort of survival/durability mechanism to avoid surprises.
- A power curve that peaks early to mid game.
All 5 heroes listed here are fairly easy to execute; push Towers with Abaddon, initiate into teamfights with Axe, heal your team and create chaos with Treant… In lower tiers of play many players won’t utilize their advantage to take objectives, which makes it your job to pick a hero that helps do that.