Valve’s flagship DOTA 2 has the newest addition to its roster in the form of Grimstroke, an aggressive, intelligence-based ranged hero. As with every new hero, there’s always the balancing issue that renders the hero “too broken” for competitive play. This seems to be the case for Grimstroke as well. As of now, the hero is second only to Earth spirit, a hero known for being nerfed every patch since his introduction into Ranked play.
The conclusion of The International 8 normalized the dual lane meta after consistent nerfs to both roaming supports as well as bounty runes. As it stands, teams opt for aggressive lanes leading to an increase in pick rates of lane dominating heroes as well as aggressive supports. Grimstroke fits right into the meta as shown by Dotabuff’s pick-rate trend with the hero being second only to Pudge.
The simple reason is that the hero, like earth spirit, has a plethora of disables and high damage nukes that be used from a distance. The range, as well as low cool-down on Stroke of Fate, allows the hero to safely harass and zone out nearly every melee offlaner. The refresh mechanic on Phantom’s embrace works well with both Ink-swell as well as any hero with a stun. The recent change to Ink-Swell allows for massive set-up and turn around potential since it no longer silences the target.
Arguably the least useful spell is his ultimate Soul-bind, which says a lot about the hero as it binds two enemies together causing them both to take the same targeted spell separately.
Grimstroke is a perfect fit in the current meta, his high damage output coupled with excellent synergy with most heroes turns him into one of the most hotly contested heroes in ranked play, hopefully, we won’t have to wait long to see him in pro-play in the hands of aggressive players like Jerax and Lil.