Dota 2 is currently in the throes of Battle Pass season, but that doesn’t mean Valve has stopped giving us updates that aren’t new hats. Version 7.22 of the massive MOBA has just hit with the usual slew of tweaks and changes – the most eye-catching of which is the addition of Aghanim’s Scepter upgrades for the 24 Scepter-less heroes.
As noted, those Scepter upgrades aren’t the only things (the map has been tweaked slightly, killstreak bounties have changed, Mars and Io are now in Captain’s Mode) but they’re definitely the most ooh-inducing. To go along with this, Roshan can now drop a consumable Scepter Buff item which, if I understand correctly, gives the hero the passive ability of a Scepter. This can also be purchased as a 2000 gold recipe upgrade for the Scepter item itself. If you do so then you’ll lose the stats of having the Scepter, but it won’t take up an inventory slot to give you the shiny ability changes.
And, yes, there are a lot of changes to heroes themselves. Barring the normal “this hero does slightly more damage” stuff, heroes can now have non-standard initial attack speed and base mana regen values. As an example, Abaddon and Crystal Maiden now attack faster than other heroes by default, while Tinker and Techies have a better base mana regen. You can (and should) read the full list of patch notes over here, but let’s dive into those juicy scepter upgrades.
The list of heroes with new Scepter upgrades is as follows: Alchemist, Anti-Mage, Arc Warden, Broodmother, Clinkz, Dark Willow, Death Prophet, Dragon Knight, Ember Spirit, Grimstroke, Io, Lycan, Mars, Monkey King, Morphling, Night Stalker, Pangolier, Phantom Assassin, Slardar, Spectre, Templar Assassin, Terrorblade, Tiny, Troll Warlord.
Five heroes have also had their Scepter upgrades reworked, though. The lucky few with full reworks are Abaddon, Axe, Beastmaster, Elder Titan, and Windranger. Then there are plenty of others with minor changes, like Warlock, whose second golem now lands 0.4 seconds after the first.
As you’d expect, the actual nature of these upgrades varies greatly, but now that you can get the ability change without needing to expend a valuable item slot they’re arguably useful for any six-slotted hero. It’s often hard to justify a Scepter upgrade on a carry, after all. But having Spectre able to cast a single-target Haunt every 70 seconds? Well, if your Spectre is already six-slotted, then why not?
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A few particularly stand out to me for various reasons. Death Prophet’s Scepter upgrade appears to turn her into a raid boss: any time she attacks or hits an enemy with a spell, a ghost flies out. It hits the enemy for double the usual ghost damage, returns to Death Prophet with life, and applies a 100% slow for 0.3 seconds. So basically, Death Prophet is going to get a lot more health regen and is going to make teamfights even more unpleasant for the opposing team as they’re suddenly locked in place with every cast of Crypt Swarm.
I rather dig Lycan’s, too, albeit more in a thematic sense. His Scepter upgrade causes one of the three creep waves to include two wolves, which he can’t control. That’s it. It doesn’t sound very impressive, but it adds permanent lane pressure, and pressuring lanes is kind of what he does.
Let’s quickly go over a few others. As long as he has a Scepter, Alchemist gets +30 Damage and +6% Spell Amp for every Scepter he’s given his allies. Arc Warden can spawn a random rune every 60 seconds. Morphling, when Morphed, gets vastly reduced cooldowns and manacosts and a much larger cast range. Templar Assassin can teleport to any Psionic Trap, without breaking Meld. Dark Willow’s attacks no longer take her out of Shadow Realm, and all inflict bonus damage based on the buff duration. Whew.
Dota 2‘s 7.22 update is out now, and your game should automatically patch. Time to experiment with a lot of new abilities, everyone.