The recent Dota 2 patch 7.30c came with a host of important changes to get the game ready for The International. It was a rebalancing patch which aimed to help many heroes be as viable as possible.
Among the changes in Dota 2 patch 7.30c was this innocuous update to the stack meta, where Stacked Neutral Creeps gold and XP bounty was reduced by 15% (Stacker gold bonus unaffected).
A 15% reduction in gold and experience from stacked creeps might not seem like a big deal, but it has already proven to have a big impact on the game.
What is the stack meta in Dota 2?
Stacking in Dota 2 refers to pulling neutral creep out of the camp and spawning another camp. Players can stack multiple creeps in one camp to allow their core to farm them up later for an influx of gold and experience.
Stacking not only provides a way for cores to accelerate their farm, but it also gives supports 30% of the camp’s gold value. This makes stacking an efficient way to get farm for the entire team.
The stack meta therefore, is all about heroes getting the majority of their gold from consuming neutral camps. These heroes are usually mediocre in the laning stage and early team fights, but make up for it later in the game.
The recent nerf in Dota 2 patch 7.30c slows down the pace of farming carries
Now that stacked creeps provide 15% less gold and experience, farming cores will hit their power spikes even later in the game. Heroes such as Sven, Luna, and Medusa tend to avoid fighting early until they acquire several core items.
This stack meta nerf forces teams to delay even longer for their farming carries to come online. As such, drafts that target the game early are much more threatening to deal with.
In the BTS Pro Series Season 8, the most popular and successful carries are Monkey King, Gyrocopter, and Tiny post-patch. All these heroes are able to take fights early and scale into the late game. These heroes can also take neutral camps, but are not reliant on the stack meta to be a threat.
Farming heroes such as Sven, Medusa, and Luna, are experiencing plummeting win rates in the same tournament. Sven currently has a 33% win rate, while Luna is struggling at 30%. Medusa has fared the worst so far, winning only one game out of the six she appeared in.
What kind of Dota 2 meta can we expect at The International
The stack meta isn’t going anywhere because stacking remains one of the best things players can do, even after the Dota 2 patch 7.30c nerfs.
However, even though stacking remains useful, heroes who rely exclusively on stacks to farm have taken a serious hit. Teams that do will be taking big risks if they rely on ultra-late game carries to win.
As such, expect heroes such as Sven, Luna, and Spectre to be absent at The International, while active carries such as Monkey King and Tiny take the spotlight. This change might give us the most action-packed International yet.