Midas was extinct in the previous meta, when the 2000 gold item hamstrung your early and mid game development. You needed that gold for your mass of Wraith Bands and Bracers to eke out every advantage at every point in the game. The opportunity cost for a Hand of Midas was too great. Now, a confluence of factors in Dota's previous patches have brought Hand of Midas back.
Before its corrective in 7.21b, Midas had been buffed across 3 patches. 7.16 and 7.18 reduced its overall cooldown from 100 to 90, but it wasn’t until 7.20 that increased its attack speed bonus, from 30 to 40, that Midas came back into the meta. Patch 7.21 doled out adjacent nerfs to Agility carries by nerfing Battlefury and Wraith Bands and removing main stat attribute bonuses. Hand of Midas mitigates both of these hits.
But it isn’t just the attack speed (the item is built on Ursa, for one) that has tipped Midas over into viability. Its main value proposition is its bonuses to XP and Gold over time. In 7.21, there’s less gold on the map--less gold from creeps and less ancient camps. At the same time, the XP required from levels 7-12 increased. Both changes made the game slower and longer in, opening the door for Midas' return.
Midas on Dark Willow? Midas has been a boon for teams who favor greedy supports, like EG’s Cr1t in their game against VP at MDL Macau.
Monkey King is an interesting barometers for how strong Midas is in the meta. Because of his need to both farm and fight, he has a variety of items at his disposal, from Battlefury, Radiance, and Maelstrom. All of these accelerate his farm and increase his teamfight potency, and yet pros are also opting to throw Hand of Midas into the mix. Though it delays his teamfight, Monkey King was always highly dependent on levels to enter the fray. Midas has always been a good synergistic item for Monkey King, but it wasn't the right meta yet, until now.
Whenever Midas is a viable item, it seems like it in pubs it becomes a ubiquitous one. There’s always one way or another to rationalize the pickup, and at the pace of most pubs, players often default to the greedier option. It’s for the same reasons why players jungle with heroes when they shouldn’t—because they can. For most players, the risk will rarely be punished. Towers and tower auras are buffed, and the game moves even slower in lower levels of play.
But be wary that the same window that makes Midas viable makes it easily exploitable by heroes with early game power spikes. Viper, whose winrate has ramped past 60% this week, is a solid candidate to take over against slower teams. The current Atos+Greaves build makes Viper a powerhouse in fighting and pushing, while opponents are still scrambling to transmute their gold.
Midas, in its current state, isn’t as strong as its build rate suggests. Take a look at competitive games and high level pubs. Top ranked pub players exercise greater restraint on Midas pickups, because there’s a demand for them to carry their lower ranked teammates throughout the game.
Players may grow weary of the Midas meta, but at the same time it’s also opened up the meta to forgotten heroes, like Puck. As with many choices when it comes to Dota’s heroes and items—regardless of how strong they are, there’s always a time and place.
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