When will Valve finally respond to the cries for a new gameplay patch?

Tundra Esports coach, David "MoonMeander" Tan, called Dota 2's Universal heroes into question amidst PGL Wallachia Season 1. Comparing Timbersaw to Treant Protector, MoonMeander commented that "it's boring to watch the same [Universal] heroes dominate for years."

Lvl 2 hero btw, higher base hp than treant protector. Universal heroes needs to be looked at next patch. It's boring to watch the same heroes dominate for years. The last "nerf" to pango was actually a buff as well

Universal heroes have been around in Dota since patch 7.33 from August 2023. It is nearly a year and the only change they had was an upgrade to the base attack bonus per point of attribute from 0.6 to 0.7. This change, while seemingly insignificant, made a major difference that added to Universal heroes' prowess. Here's why.

Understanding Universal attribute in Dota

While there are many guides on Universal heroes, many are still perplexed by how they work. Let's refresh our memory on the basics of the Universal attribute. Heroes in Dota gain one attack power bonus per their corresponding attributes of Strength, Agility and Intelligence.

For example, Strength heroes will get one additional attack bonus for every Strength attribute point they acquire from items. Universal heroes, however, gain attack bonus from all attributes at 70 percent rate (0.7). Hence they benefit from items that boost all attributes. Check out the demonstration below based on MoonMeander's X post.

Calculating attack bonus for Universal heroes

Universal heroes gain twice the amount of attack from items boosting all attributes (Image by esports.gg)
Universal heroes gain twice the amount of attack from items boosting all attributes (Image by esports.gg)

Timbersaw has the highest number of overall stats and base damage amongst all Universal heroes. Note that Universal heroes generally have lower base damage than Strength heroes. However, the amount of attack bonus they gain from items are not to be scoffed at.

As shown in the image above, buying three branches and two circlets nets a total of seven points increase to all attributes. However, Treant Protector and Chaos Knight gain only seven points of attack bonus while Timbersaw gains twice of that. The corresponding formula to calculate the attack bonus is as follows:

Chaos Knight & Treant Protector: 1 x 7 (Strength) = 7 attack bonus

Timbersaw: 0.7 x 7 x 3 (All attributes) = 14.7 attack bonus

Timbersaw gains a 2.1x increase to attack bonus

At Level 1, Timbersaw's base damage still pales in comparison to the two heroes with the highest base damage in Dota. However, at max level is where he shines. Below is the base damage increase from Level 1 to 30 with the same items from the previous example.

Level 1
Level 30
Chaos Knight70176
Treant Protector96208

Are Universal heroes dominating PGL Wallachia?

Despite what MoonMeander had said, Universal heroes do not completely dominate PGL Wallachia. However, they have been picked quite a lot and have achieved solid win rates throughout the tournament thus far. Here are some of the best performing Universal heroes at PGL Wallachia:

  1. Timbersaw | 71% win rate over 14 games
  2. Batrider | 64% win rate over 22 games
  3. Bane | 57% win rate over 21 games

Note: Data based on PGL Wallachia Season 1 Group Stage from Spectral

Prior to this, a number of Universal heroes had performed well in other tournaments. This includes Mirana who had a 65% win rate at ESL One Birmingham 2024 and was the most-picked hero (77 times) of DreamLeague Season 22.

Pangolier was also a popular pick during Elite League with 53% win rate over 66 games. Going back to what MoonMeander had said about Pangolier's nerf being a buff instead, he was likely referring to the change of Shield Crash damage from magical to physical in 7.35.

Do Universal heroes deserve to be nerfed?

Universal heroes are definitely powerful, but perhaps not in an utterly broken way. However, this doesn't change the fact that there is an urgent need for a new gameplay patch.

A young pro player like Ivan "Pure" Moskalenko affirming that Dota is dying should be a clear indication that this current state of game has gone far long enough.

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