After the release of the 7.00 and subsequent 7.02 patch, one of the major changes was the introduction of the DOTA Talent Trees. As the theory-crafting began, the community were both shocked and excited about what could be possible. As the two month mark approaches, it’s time to take a look at the top 5 DOTA talent trees. It is important to remember that this is a subjective list intended to provoke conversation. So enough chatter let’s get into the list.
Talent Tree #5 – Centaur Warrunner
Starting off the list is Centaur Warrunner. Centaur was another hero missing from the meta who received some love in the 7.00 patch via the introduction of the DOTA talent trees.
Now Centaur is currently one of the better offlaners and his early talents help him stay in the fight for as long as possible. Although his levels 10, 15 and 20 talents are not the most flashy in the game, they allow him to be a great front line initiator for any team.
Level 25 however is where Centaur really shines. Being given the ability to gain a Return Aura that benefits members of his team in a 900 radius is a massive power spike for the hero. Now in the previous patch level 25 may seem like a long way away, however with changes to the XP scaling level 25 is easier than ever to achieve.
Talent Tree #4 – Sniper
Well it seems as if hoho haha may be making a comeback, or at least it seems that’s what Icefrog wants. Whilst things are not as bad as before, Sniper has been given a talent tree that focuses on upgrading Shrapnel to deal more damage as well as to have more charges.
The level 10 talent for sniper is still very much run of the mill, however at level 15 Sniper gets an additional +20 Shrapnel DPS taking the DPS up to 95 that is dealt once as the spell is cast and then every second for 10 seconds at max level. This means that Sniper has the potential to deal 950 damage in an AoE over 10 seconds, whilst most heroes will escape the AoE it is an effective zoning measure to allow Sniper to take towers without much risk.
The Level 20 Talent provides a 25% Cooldown Reduction which will mean that Shrapnel charges restore every 44 seconds rather than 55. Furthermore Assasinates cooldown will be reduced to 7.5 seconds rather than 10 seconds.
Level 25 is where things get out of hand. Sniper is given the option of +4 Shrapnel Charges meaning that he can safely spam Shrapnel without having to worry about running out of charges. It also allows Sniper to provide excellent crowd control during team fights whilst causing massive damage from Shrapnel and his right clicks.
Talent Tree #3 – Shadow Fiend
Shadow Fiend was missing from the meta in the most recent patches prior to 7.00. However with the addition of his new DOTA talent tree he is beginning to find favour once again.
SFs level 10 and 15 talents are nothing spectacular but do provide go synergies with the hero. It is SFs level 20 talent that really steals the show, providing him with an additional +2 damage per soul. By doubling the damage per soul this is a real boost to an SF focused on dishing out heavy right clicks. To put it in to perspective having 4 damage per soul is equivalent to an additional 144 damage when at max souls. This is just over half of the damage provided by a divine rapier. With the addition of the extra 10 souls provided by the Aghanims upgrade, SF can max out at a massive 184 bonus damage.
Having 184 bonus damage from the souls, plus +20 Attack Speed and +150 Attack Range give SF the damage to deal out massive right click damage over a short period of time. The addition of these talents means that SFs can now be versatile in their item builds opting to prioritise survivability over damage.
Talent Tree #2 – Ember Spirit
Prior to the previous patch Ember was in an awkward position due to his heavy reliance on getting a lucky crit during slight of fist. However with the introduction of his new DOTA talent tree a new build was born. With a focus on picking up items focused on magic damage, the fire wizard was reborn.
At level 10 Icefrog blessed Ember with +12% Spell Amplification. Whilst this is not the highest amount it does allow Ember to dish out massive damage early on. Combine this with a Veil of Discord and Ember is able to provide huge burst potential.
At level 20 Ember is also provided the option for a 15% Cooldown Reduction, which when combined with an Octarine Core can lower the cooldown of Searing Chains to 5.2 seconds. Combine this with the +2s Searing Chains, at level 25, you have 5 seconds of lockdown on a 5.2 second cooldown.
The new talents have seen Ember rise from the ashes and return as a large part of the current meta. For example in the current DAC qualifiers he has been picked in around 1/3 of the 141 games played so far.
Talent Tree #1 – Lone Druid
Some players will remember the wasteland that was the hoho haha patch, 6.83. Nowadays there is a sniper in town and he goes by the name of Lone Druid.
LD was in an interesting place prior to the release of 7.00 and 7.02. With a very low pick rate he was flying under the radar. Icefrog was obviously a fan of Lone Druid as the talents LD received are bordering on ridiculous.
The talents have opened up a new build focused more on the right click power of LD rather than focusing on building items on the bear.
Receiving +175 Attack Range at Level 10 is an absurd amount of range on a hero with good attack speed. Combine this with +55 damage at Level 15 and LD starts to become a right click machine. It is common to see people building Dragon Lance / Hurricane Pike and Maelstrom / Mjollnir. This makes for a lethal combination which can see LD dishing out damage to rival a sniper at a similar range.
LD has also been gifted with a -40s Respawn Time at level 20, a massive amount that could be pivotal moving in to the later stages of the games.
Whilst not as popular as Ember, LD was still been picked in 1/5 games played so far in the DAC qualifiers.
DOTA Talent Trees – Final Thoughts
When first confronted with the idea of adding in DOTA Talent Trees into the game many fans were unsure how to react. In fact their introduction has opened up heroes to be played in new ways. It has also added a new level of balance to the game, and expect to see many of the DOTA talent trees reworked in the next patch.