An early glimpse into Dota 2 patch 7.35 through the lens of ESL One Kuala Lumpur

With the first tournament of the 2023-2024 Dota 2 season wrapped up, we take a look at how the new meta around Dota 2 patch 7.35 is evolving.

Dota 2 patch 7.35 dropped in the middle of ESL One Kuala Lumpur, giving teams the headache of some additional preparation. But it did stir up the pot in a good way, as Azure Ray were the ones who rose to the occasion to reverse sweep the favorites, Gaimin Gladiators, in the grand finals. Few wanted to see the same repeat story of Gaimin Gladiators taking on Team Liquid in the grand finals, and the Chinese team prevented that with an impressive comeback.

The group stages of ESL One Kuala Lumpur were played on Dota 2 patch 7.34e, as were the first few games of the playoffs. But the most interesting games – a total of 21 games – towards the end of the tournament were played on Dota 2 patch 7.35, which gives us some idea of how the professional teams are looking at the recently released patch. Let’s take a look at how the new meta might look based on those 21 games from ESL One Kuala Lumpur. All data is taken from datDota.

Most Picked

Looking at the most picked list of heroes in the 21 games, it is heartwarming to see Crystal Maiden at the top with the most picks. She hasn’t been a meta pick for a while now. What is not heartwarming is seeing Pangolier in there, who keeps being a popular pick even after a series of nerfs.

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(taken from datDota)

Crystal Maiden was buffed in patch 7.35, and she seemed to be a good pick in the grand finals for Gaimin Gladiators, who won the first two games with Rylai in their ranks. But things didn’t go so well for game 3 and game 4, which led to the GG captain Melchior “Seleri” Hillenkamp making a declaration about the hero.

It will be interesting to see how teams perceive this hero going ahead.

A hero that sticks out is Storm Spirit, who had a 100% win rate in 6 games! It isn’t a huge sample size, but it is something to make a note of. In terms of hero buffs, there weren’t too many for Storm Spirit, but item buffs might be something that makes him strong this meta. Guo “Xm” Hongcheng started Azure Rays comeback in the grand finals with a flawless 11/0/13 game on Storm Spirit, and he went for Parasma. Witch Blade itself received a buff with additional attack speed and mana regeneration. Parasma, which is a new item and Witch Blade’s upgrade, reduces the enemy magic resistance by 20%. Majority of Storm Spirit’s damage is magical. The item buffs in general seem to benefit intelligence carries, and Storm possibly tops the list.

Vengeful Spirit also seems to be a hero on the rise after her Swap was turned into a nuke on top of the original ability, which gives her allies a damage barrier equivalent to the damage done (150/300/450 magic damage), which is a game changer.

Most Contested

A lot of heroes don’t make the most picked list due to being banned in the majority of games, and in the latter stages of ESL One Kuala Lumpur, that was the case for Chen and Magnus. Chen had a 100% contest rate, with just one pick in the lower bracket final. This isn’t a surprise, as Chen received sizable buffs in Dota 2 patch 7.35. On top of that, Solar Crest was buffed quite a bit, and that is a standard Chen item.

The other hero the pros seem to fear is Magnus, who had Skewer buffed to damage the hero being taken for a ride based on the distance (along with a base magic damage at every level). A maximum range Skewer can now deal 448 magical damage, which goes up to 505 magical damage with the level 20 Skewer range talent. Once Team Spirit gets back from vacation, Magomed “Collapse” Khalilov is going to have some fun with the hero!

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(taken from datDota)

Another hero who was banned out a lot, and who might be a sleeping giant, is Leshrac. The changes to Bloodstone and Shivas Guard possibly benefit the Disco Pony the best. Increased spell AoE from Bloodstone and magic damage amplification from Shivas Guard is an absolute dream for the hero.

This is all very early in the patch, so nothing is carved in stone. There are a lot of moving parts, but one thing that is clear is that there are very few of the heroes that dominated TI12 visible in the favourable heroes. Bristleback, Chaos Knight, Kunkka, Spirit Breaker, Spectre and the likes that were roaming around building Blade Mail and Heart of Tarrasque seem to be a thing of the past. It is time for a new dawn!