It got banned so often in The International that you could almost play your own drinking game on which team was going to ban it. But the Disco Goat, aka Leshrac, is starting to fall out of favour.
It's all because of Valve's latest balance patch, which has taken Leshrac and his massive nukes down by a few pegs. He's not the only hero that's gotten a substantial rework, however.
We wrote earlier in the week that Valve's free-to-play MOBA juggernaut would be getting a balance pass and considering the raw power and profligacy of the lightning centaur, it's not a surprise that Leshrac was backhanded by the nerf stick.
His lightning storm, a low cooldown nuke that does substantial damage in the early game which jumps across units and slows everything it hits, has been brought back to earth. Instead of doing 80 damage at level 1 and 260 at level 4, it's been reduced to a much more manageable 50/100/150/200. The storm itself can now only jump 475 units, instead of 650, the latter of which was greater than the attack range of most heroes.
Disco Goat isn't the only hero to cop a significant rework. The changes to Goblin Techies will alter the way people play against it, with mines no longer triggering when they're been destroyed. This change means a wider range of heroes can safely de-ward the map without fear of inadvertently blowing themselves back to the fountain.
The fact that mines now give players 10 gold for destroying them helps opponents pay for the impost of getting extra wards to combat them. It's a sensible change that should make Techies Just Another Dota 2 hero, and less a character that completely alters how players move around the map, react and respond.
Another hero brought slightly back to normality is Bloodseeker, with Valve tweaking the scaling of his passive Thirst ability so it only begins once an enemy reaches 75% health. Thirst buffs Seeker with added movement speed and damage depending on how much health was missing, and by making it trigger from 75% health, as opposed to 100%, it will force some small adjustments. It's likely something that will end up being a net neutral change: Bloodseeker's opponents won't have to stay at full health to negate the advantages of Thirst, but the benefits of Thirst ramp up more quickly once it comes into effect. (Update: Thanks to @thefong for correcting me on this.)
The mana cost for Storm Spirit's abilities have increased, which should delay the time it takes before Storm can start to dominate by roaming around the map with his ultimate. Tiny's base stats have gotten a nice little buff, while Tusk's abilities have gotten a slight nerf across the board.
On the item front, the biggest changes are to Bloodstone, an item that was the centrepiece of many Leshrac and Storm Spirit builds. "Bloodstone no longer reduces gold lost on death, [and] no longer grants vision/experience where its owner died," the patch notes read. Lina, Gyrocopter, Bounty Hunter and Huskar have each been pared back too, while the Solar Crest (upgrade for the Medallion of Courage item) and Glimmer Cape are marginally weaker.
I've been told — and thanks Adam, who helped illuminate a lot of this for me — that the next patch after the upcoming major tournament in November will be more devastating balance-wise. 6.85 certainly seems to revolve more around nerfing heroes that are ridiculously powerful and slightly tweaking the capacities of others to allow a greater range of movement.
How that works out in practice is something I'm completely unequipped to say, although my guess is that it should result in a little more diversity over the next couple of months without substantially altering the flow or compositions players have become accustomed to. Of course, I'm terrible at Dota 2. So if I'm entirely wrong and you think things are going to play out differently, have a crack at me in the comments!