Image by Airborn Studios
No hero in the history of Dota has received as many major reworks or as many name changes as OD. The constant struggle to find their identity has sometimes left the hero completely busted. Other times the hero has been close to useless, even in their most favorable matchups. Right now, it feels like OD is in the former state, and today we would like to discuss why and how this hero works in higher level pubs.
Let’s start with the basics: what exactly changed with the hero in 7.28. Astral Imprisonment received another rework and now steals a percentage of the enemy max mana. It means that it synergizes very well with OD’s ultimate and unlike previous iterations of the hero’s combos, this one scales better into the late game while also being more of a threat to enemy Intelligence casters.
The cast range increase on Astral Imprisonment is also very relevant when it comes to mid matchups. With a cooldown of 24 and a minimum duration of 1.75 seconds, any hero without a nuke in the middle lane will have a hard time contesting the ranged creep. In some sense, we have come full circle when it comes to OD mid dominance. Only now Astral Imprisonment also deals damage. In fact, it is among the strongest basic ability nukes with 360 damage at level four.
Arcane Orb is also slightly different now. It uses a fixed amount of your current mana pool and hits for a percentage of your current mana. It is still functionally the same old extra-expensive auto-attack modifier with tons of damage, but since it now uses a percentage of your mana it is now probably easier to sustain. And it also has a higher burst potential.
All in all, the changes in 7.28 drastically increased OD’s tempo within the fights. Previously, OD really needed to have several seconds where they could stack extra mana for a massive, team-fight-winning Sanity’s Eclipse. Now the hero is more capable in skirmishes and shorter team fights, while also having a higher burst potential. His long fight potential didn’t really suffer much either, since OD can still stack his max mana through multiple Astrals.
Meteor Hammer, unironically. Since the item’s introduction, the general opinion on it has changed drastically and now most players understand that it can be a valuable tool on correct heroes. OD is one of those heroes, with his self-setup for Meteor Hammer through Astral. This combo alone deals close to 800 damage after reductions. Follow it up with Arcane Orb and potentially Eclipse, and you get a pretty neat ~5-second combo that deals a ton of damage and doesn’t allow the enemy to react, unless they have BKB or very low cast-point mobility.
Looking at guides we also see that most OD players find this item sufficient in the early game, before they transition into extra safety or mobility through BKB or Blink Dagger. By the end of the game, typical high level OD will have both and the order depends on the enemy lineup and how threatened you feel by their magic damage output and disables.
One very interesting and pretty understandable addition to OD’s kit is Witch Blade. With 30 base and 4.2 Int per level OD is among the smartest heroes in the game that can take full advantage of both the slow and the DoT effect. Don’t expect the Blade to do a ton of work damage-wise, but it does help with fast-moving, elusive targets.
Late into the game both Shiva’s and Scythe are still as great on OD as they always were. It mostly depends on the matchup, which of the two you want first. If the enemy has a magic damage hero with high mobility, having Scythe is better. Otherwise, Shiva’s is a pretty good hybrid offensive and defensive tool that helps mitigate physical damage, while also giving vision and lowering enemy regen and healing effects.
Perhaps this reference is going to be lost on players who didn’t play the original Dota, but it still conveys the general idea behind OD’s changed playstyle. As OD you no longer farm up and try to scale. You don’t sit in your lane and play passive. The moment you get your Meteor Hammer you can and should start rotating, at least in most games.
The last straw with the hero was the movement speed increase. OD now moves at 325 MS. This is important both tactically and strategically, since not only is OD faster than 80%+ of the heroes in the game, but as mid he can also contest runes and move towards side lanes in less time. Use this to your advantage.
Level seven OD dealing ~1000 damage after all reductions should be more than enough to get a kill on most cores in the early game. The fact that you also have Meteor Hammer means that transitioning into push is also an option, oftentimes the best option after a successful gank.
As OD you no longer have flash-farming potential, so don’t farm. Play like you would play heroes like Queen of Pain, Leshrac, or Death Prophet and let your carry do their job, while you do yours. Be relentless and always try to translate kills into objectives.
Looking at OD win rate after the last several mini-patches is slightly disturbing. The hero went from ~40% win rate to almost 55% in Divine+ this week. And it’s not like the hero is played that well only by a selected few: he is in every fifth game of Legend+ Dota.
The hero will get nerfed, that is almost certain. Now the question remains, will OD get nerfed into complete irrelevance once again or will they just get some small number adjustments to get in line with other heroes, and there is a reason to train them? Unfortunately, we can’t answer that question.