The mid lane is going through some changes in the new patch. Most notably, we are seeing a decrease in popularity and effectiveness of several important setup heroes from the previous patch. Their place is taken by some of the cheesiest, most annoying characters in the game, so if you are a good mid player with no conscience, now is your time to gain some free MMR.
Tinker really flourishes in times of uncertainty. Longer games allow the hero to fully come online and his scaling is almost unparalleled. Tinker can win a very long game 1v5 and that makes him truly scary.
Nothing really changed for the hero outside of his relative power level. Everything popular in the meta got nerfed, new trends are yet to be fully discovered and exploited, so for now we will have to make do with Tinker being the strongest mid in the game.
Dealing with the hero is definitely not trivial and will require some forethought. Tinker is at his weakest when played against heroes who can scout him out with ease, most notably it is Zeus and Spectre. He also can struggle against tankier opponents or heroes with good survivability and mobility, like Anti-Mage and Puck. Nyx Assassin is also among the strongest matchups against Tinker and in the current patch can be safely picked in the first phase.
Huskar was doing pretty ok even before the patch and didn’t receive a lot of direct buffs. For the most part the hero is just better because some of his more annoying matchups and some of his stronger substitutes got nerfed. Most notably, Lina and Shadow Fiend were surprisingly good at dealing with the hero, both now slightly weaker than they used to be.
The niche Huskar carved up for himself is a pretty interesting one: he isn’t necessarily the best playmaking hero in the game and it reflects in his common item builds in the current patch. Most high level players delay their Black King Bar until after they get both Phase Boots and Armlet of Mordiggian and sometimes even until after they get their Heaven’s Halberd.
Huskar can’t really fight without his BKB, at least in most matchups, so it means that he is a space-taking hero for a little bit longer, when compared to conventional mids. With his aforementioned “starter kit”, though, he gets an absolutely insane powerspike that allows him to pressure the map, take objectives, take Roshan and teamfight endlessly. The only real cooldown he has is his BKB.
His later game should not be underestimated either: the hero does have a very powerful level 25 talent, and he also has one of the stronger Aghanim’s Scepters in the game. Taunt is an undispellable effect that also forces the direction, meaning the usual defensive Force Staff plays aren’t effective. With Huskar it also lasts for three full seconds and potentially can have a cooldown of seven seconds, for a 40%+ uptime on the strongest disable type in the game. Most players still opt for the survivability talent, but do keep the other option in mind.
The only “old” hero in this rating. Pangolier was great last patch, received some inconsequential nerfs and is great this patch as well. Having insane mobility, good survivability and not being reliant on Black King Bar for damage and control make for one hell of a hero.
Unlike the other two heroes in this list, Pangolier is a space-creator. His job is to make plays, run into the enemy and force reactions. He can deal a respectable amount of damage, courtesy of his Aghanim’s Scepter, but his primary role is one of utility, rather than DPS.
That said, it is very uncommon for Pangolier players to skip Diffusal Blade. The item is just too valuable for the hero, providing a very necessary slow, while also increasing Swashbuckle damage by ~50%. After that Pangolier has to concentrate on his survivability and initiation with items like Blink Dagger and Aghanim’s Shard. In high-pressure games where the enemy has access to multiple silences, going for Eul’s Scepter of Divinity or Lotus Orb is also advised. Finally, getting Skull Basher is definitely worth it for the BKB-piercing control factor.
The mid meta didn’t change drastically. For the most part heroes like Ember Spirit and Puck still work well, it’s just the uncertainty that really amplifies the power of greedier mids. This trend is very noticeable and very strong, but it might revert after a while. Though we are not sure whether they will have enough time before the end of April.
Next time we are going to have a look at the top heroes in the last core role left to discuss, but for now share your own experience with the mid lane in 7.32e.