The six-second Black King Bar is here to stay—at the cost of a nerf to its cooldown.
As of patch 7.31d, Black King Bar will now be usable after 90 seconds, instead of 75 seconds in the previous patch. This is arguably one of the patch’s biggest nerfs, and will likely slow down the hyper-aggressive brawler meta in 7.31.
Black King Bar remains essential, but will be easier to punish in 7.31d
Black King Bar, while always an essential item in most cores’ progression, has become a must-have in 7.31.
Accumulated nerfs to status resistance over the past patches have made spell immunity far more important if players want to go on the offensive uninterrupted. Rushing the item has become the norm for several offlaners, while carries and midlaners often opt to buy it second.
It’s part of the reason why heroes with BKB-piercing or physical damage spells like Chaos Knight, Mars, Pangolier, and Enigma feel so rewarding to play. Pro teams have often even opted to put semi-carries as their position one.
The cooldown nerf doesn’t reduce the item’s viability, but will open up lengthier windows of opportunity, should the item be used unwisely. Every popped BKB is an extra 15 seconds to secure a key objective, like hunting down a defenseless core, securing a Roshan, or assaulting the high ground when you know your opponents don’t have immunity to your spells.
The BKB nerf will likely have trickle-down effects to magic cores and support heroes, who possess dangerous lockdown or high-damage skills.
Refresher Orbs will also be in higher demand. Since the nerf is to BKB’s cooldown instead of its duration, players can still get 12 seconds of spell immunity if they get Refresher Orb. This will be good news to heroes who can use both items effectively, like Razor’s stacking Eye of the Storms and Mars’ area denial spells.