Several days after the release of 7.20d and the end of the Chongqing Major Qualifiers, we have seen a lot of pro players take advantage of the changed heroes in this patch. Although we can not simply learn how to play like a pro, learning and mastering these heroes can be a big help in your mmr grind.
Getting good with Bad Juju
Banned from 106 games in the Chongqing major, Dazzle the Shadow Priest boasts 53.58% win rate in pubs. With Dazzle’s reworked ult called Bad Juju, Dazzle’s skills and items are passively have its cooldowns reduced as well as reducing nearby enemy armor.
Still mainly played as a safe lane support, Dazzle’s win rate on the offlane and midlane is both above 50% showing how effective he is. The key in winning lies in whether you play Dazzle aggressively or defensively.
To give a quick overview of his skills, Dazzle’s Poison Touch (Q) is a strong debuff that slows and deals physical damage over time in a conical manner as well as having its duration refreshed when the target is attacked. Shallow Grave (W) is one of Dazzle’s signature skills for this skill makes the target invulnerable to death (except from Axe’s Culling Blade) and the aghanims upgrade makes it an AOE skill. For the third skill, Shadow Wave (E) is nuke that heals allies while damaging nearby enemies.
Playing aggressively, the player should have three levels on Q and one levels each for W E at level 5. This skill build allows Dazzle to target six units that can deal 40 damage per second as well as slowing the target’s movement speed for 18%. At level 6 with his passive ult, Dazzle can immediately increase its teamfight potential by simply trying to survive. The longer the team fight, the greater armor reduction will be dealt to the enemies. Throughout the game, Dazzle can build Urn of Shadows into Spirit Vessel for additional damage, Medallion of Courage into Solar Crest for additional armor reduction or bonus attack speed for the ally, Arcane into Guardian Greaves for additional healing, and on rare occasions, Necronomicon since the cooldown reduction from Bad Juju also affects items, thus giving Dazzle some pushing strength. Lotus Orb and Scythe of Vyse are also luxury items that can be purchased to maximize Dazzle’s aggressive playstyle. Observing from the high ranks, some Dazzle players tend to go out all-out by becoming a hitter that purchases Power Treads/Phase Boots, Desolator, and Mask of Madness, but you should only try this if all your teammates give you permission.
On the other hand, playing Dazzle defensively is only seen in prioritizing the levels of his Grave and Shadow Wave, this is to ensure that his teammates can farm without worrying of being bullied by the enemies. Despite this build, Dazzle’s presence over the map can still help offensively by quickly responding to ganks on other lanes with a Town Portal Scroll. With a clutch Grave on a core, your team can instantly turn around a clash in their favor. For the items, Urn and Greaves are priority, while Force Staff, Eul’s, Glimmer, and Ghost Scepter can be purchased to save yourself from being focused by the enemy team, or use some of them to save teammates who are out of position in a fight. On some occasions, Pipe of Insight can be purchased to increase Dazzle’s teamfight presence with an aura and active that grants magic resistance to ally at the same time improving his health regen.
For the talents, it can be on the players’ discretion what they want to use since each talent is obviously inclined to be offensive or defensive, depending on what he and his team needs.
Dazzle can be an easy counter for elusive or tanky heroes such as Spectre, Wraith King, Lycan, and Centaur Warrunner since Dazzle’s skills are greatly improved with Bad Juju as well as destroying the armor of these heroes given enough stacks.
Behold the horn of Magnus
The Magnoceros makes a comeback in the pro scene after being the third most first-picked hero in the Chongqing Qualifiers at 17 games. Magnus was always deemed as one of the greatest initiators in the game and the reason why he returned to the meta is for his reworked first skill called Shockwave (Q) that now serves as a mini Reverse Polarity (R).
According to Dotabuff’s stats, Magnus is most effective in the midlane because he can easily farm gold and experience to allow him to get items needed to initiate and make teamfights favorable for them.
For his first skill, Skewer is a 300 (level 4) damage nuke that slows enemy movement speed by 60% and pulling affected enemies to the center of the shockwave and towards Magnus. Although this skill is nerf in 7.20, Empower (W) is still a strong support skill for it gives allies or him bonus damage and cleave attack that lasts for 40 seconds. His E known as Skewer is targeted point spell that allows Magnus to surge toward the direction he is facing that slows, damages, and drags heroes caught in this skill. For his ultimate, Magnus’ Reverse Polarity is a 3.75-second AOE stun that is almost instantly cast.
On rare times, some heroes try to play Magnus as an aggressive carry, but his strength actually lies on his initiation and ult. So no matter where you lane, you should prioritize Q and E since this can help you farm and also use to escape or counter initiate the enemies on your lane. Having at level 3 Q by level 5 and one level for W and E allows Magnus to deal heavy damage as well as slow to the enemy. A point in Empower also gives Magnus greater farming potential in the laning phase because the cleave and bonus damage can be used to harass or zone out the enemy. Skewer can also be used to escape incoming enemy ganks, or use it drag the enemy onto your tower if they become out of position. Although his ult is necessary in ganking other lanes, this skill can be used only used on unsuspecting heroes since this is easy to dodge when you have no item to initiate.
To put more emphasis on this hero, Magnus effectiveness can only be seen with enough items and levels, so prioritizing Arcane Boots and Blink Dagger is a great way to land most of your spells for a few times before running out of mana in a clash. Furthermore, higher levels of Empower allows Magnus to give his carries a buff and can be synchronized well with Skewer by dragging an enemy towards your carry given an Empower. Other initiation items such as Force Staff and Shadow Blade are recommended alternatives so you can have extra mobility around the map. Eul’s also gives Magnus additional movement speed and its active can be casted to dispel himself on silences and stuns.
The usual combo is to Blink in the enemy team, cast RP, Skewer them towards the tower or your team, and use Shockwave to slow down escaping enemies. An optional way is to also use Force Staff to temporarily get out of the clash, or use it to initiate along with Refresher. However, beware of Rubick stealing your ult so it is advised to cast Q or E quickly so he cannot use your ult against your team. In addition, make sure to check your Blink before you RP because if it is on cooldown, you might RP on the ground, but if it you noticed before that your Blink is cancelled, use E to initiate on the enemies then cast R.
For the talent tree, Magnus’s survivability should be prioritized since good players know to focus Magnus because of how devastating his spells can be. Choose the +200 health at level 10, +12 strength at level 15, +10 armor at level 20, and decide whether you choose the bonus 20% bonus Empower damage cleave for you or your teammates, or the +1s RP stun depending on what your team needs.
Also synchronize your RP with other team spells such as Lich’s Frost Nova, or Juggernaut’s Omnislash. Isolating the enemy team with RP and Skewer allows these examples to deal massive damage and can possibly teamwipe. Never forget to Empower your carry before going in the clash since it would be more effective when casted on them than yourself. A good initiation from Magnus can instantly turn a teamfight into an easy five-man wipe.
Magnus is a great counter for illusion-based heroes such as Naga Siren and Phantom Lancer. Since his Shockwave and Empower can easily delete illusions as well as Broodmother’s spiderlings. The RP also allows him to disable elusive and strong heroes such as Dazzle and Morphling.
Before proceeding in ranked, make sure to practice these heroes several games and pick or ban them according to your draft.