Patch 7.21 did not bring any significant changes to the game. The vast majority of them were small tweaks. Regardless of that, probably the most interesting part of the update was the new ranked season.
Like every restart, people have to play ten solo and/or party games to calibrate their rank again. There are many theories and whatnot about how the calibration works, but from my personal experience, you always end up pretty much where you were before the actual restart. The general rule is that each win gives you +100 MMR on top of the MMR you had before. However, this might not be 100% legit, because there hasn’t been any official confirmation.
Playing YOUR Hero
Of course, you should always play the hero that you are most comfortable with. We all have that one hero which we think is our “main.” Playing the hero that you believe is your best is generally the best thing to do not only because you will most likely be good with it, but also because it will affect you on a psychological level. You will essentially not leave your comfort zone. This will allow you to focus more on the game, and less on how to play the hero.
Another important thing is to read the item changes carefully. While you might think that it’s not as important as the hero changes, you are wrong. Most of the core heroes have one item which is invaluable to them. That’s why if you are planning on spamming Invoker, for example, you have to make sure that there are not major nerfs for Aghanim. Also, it goes without saying; you have to read the hero changes too.
Like in all aspects of life, one of the biggest mistakes that people make is to rush things. While it is indeed cool to be first in something, it’s not a good idea to sit and play all your calibration games at once. I always try to watch a couple of games on the new patch fist before I dive into calibrating. By doing this I can see whether something is “broken” or not and if it is, I use it to my advantage.
Do Your Research
This might overlap a bit with the previous point, but you have to do your research before you start playing. Nowadays, there are tons of websites that you could use to do that. DotaBuff, Dota2protacker, and OpenDota are just a few of the examples. These sites allow you to check the trends, win ratings, item choices, and all other things that will surely be helpful.
Let’s take a look at one of the best heroes to recalibrate within this patch.
Visage is most certainly one of them. The reason behind this is his item build. The hero uses a very efficient yet super effective item build that does tons of damage. Usually, players will start with a Helm of the Dominator, followed by a quick Solar Crest. At this point, Visage can kill anyone on the map. Other significant items include an Aghanim, Assault Cuirass, and Vlads.
The biggest downside is that Visage requires excellent micro control to play him correctly. That makes the hero a little harder to play, but should you learn how to play him, you will not regret it.
Even though the hero received two nerfs and only one buff, the heavy pushing strategies in Dota are still here. Until that changes, Visage will be one of the best picks to get.
Like I mentioned before, Naix is one of the heroes that received a lot of buffs this patch. Having that extra movement speed and armor helps and the statistics prove it. For the previous week, Lifestealer has a win rating over 56% in all brackets, according to DB. Besides being a stronger laner, especially versus certain offlaners, Naix is that type of a carry that can be effective without having to farm for an entire decade. As soon as you get your Phase + Armlet, you are pretty much ready to start fighting.
A very popular strat with the hero is the so-called “Naix bomb.” It works with various heroes such as Storm Spirit, Magnus, and many others. All the mentioned above, plus the natural tankiness of the hero, makes him an excellent choice for recalibration.
“The Plague Mage” has always been considered as one of the best calibrating heroes. The hero received a buff to his healing and his second spell, which makes him a lot tankier compared to before. Necrophos was one of the most spammed heroes in patch 7.0 when he got reworked. There was a point where he was in every single game just ripping through the enemies.
Of course, actions were taken, and the hero got nerfed to the ground. Now, following the buffs, he is on the way to becoming a top pick yet again. Having that 55+ % win rating just further proves my point. Another great bonus is that the hero can be played in every core position.
The last hero in the list is NS. He has seen a lot of ups and downs throughout the years, mainly in the Pro Meta. In pubs, NS has been relevant in pretty much every patch. In 7.21 the hero got buffed - his “Hunter in the Night” spell has a 5% movement speed bonus, and Dark Ascension now provides UNOBSTRUCTED vision instead of only 900 range.
This all adds up and results in his 55+ % win rating across all MMR brackets. Having that vision advantage helps your team to take the proper fights. That’s why if you are not the typical MID or feed/pos1 or jungle kind of guy, NS is the hero for your calibration. I am more than confident that he will be able to make a big comeback in the pro scene too.