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Terrorblade: Change is a Journey without a Destination

Terrorblade was introduced in Dota 2 during the New Bloom Festival together with the release of the version 6.80. Actually at that time he was a really strong hero able to dominate the lane without the need of excessive help from the supports, sometimes he could even solo the easy lane. In ranked games the players used to last hit the creeps in lane with the illusions, while at the same time, the real hero was able to gain extra gold from the jungle. Overall, he had a high farm efficiency with a moderate skill cap, in this period he was abused the most to climb the MMR queue.

This was the best patch to play Terrorblade, in fact he received a significant nerf in v6.81: the strength gain reduction from 1.9 to 1.4 made him very susceptible to magic damage during the early and mid game. This brought the necessity of good supports during the laning phase and has also led to the development of an alternative gameplay, the Jungler Terrorblade (probably this build was used also in the previous version but his popularity grew considerably). This build wasn’t a joke but was actively played with a good chance of success even at 6k rank.

The original creators were two PlayDota’s members, Matrice and Zenoth. Their builds were almost the same, with small differences, but overall they were able to achieve a great farm for a jungler (about 60 creeps/10 minutes). Overall Terrorblade was still a terrific hero even after the strength nerf.In the next patch, v.6.82, he was finally introduced in Captain Mode. Pro players already knew his qualities and so he was immediately picked with optimal results. Icefrog shortly realized his mistake but instead of balancing the hero he opted for the nerf hammer.

It was a short but nice life for our Demon.The hero has been trying to find his own space in Dota for a long time, even before his release in Dota 2. His ability Reflection has been reworked four times if we consider also the last patch. Before 6.72b it was called Soul Steal and in his last version it was a sort of Pugna’s Life Drain, able to drain health from enemies or to heal allies over time. Metamorphosis changed two times while Conjure Image only one time. 

Overall, the hero has never been lucky. In Dota 2 he focused his power on his illusions and split-push ability but we know that since the end of The International 3 (played on v6.78), the following patches sought in various ways to weaken the so-called “Rat Dota”. Everyone must have realized that Dota changed a lot in the last years and the “Frog”, probably with the final purpose to make the game more enjoyable for the spectators, has tested different gameplays.  

The final result is an increased difficulty in pushing the lanes and a nerf or rework to most of the illusion based heroes: we can’t split-push anymore the lanes with Phantom Lancer or Terrorblade, the only one left is Naga Siren. The game has shifted more and more from individuality to team-play skills.What happened to Terrorblade in 6.85? His gameplay heavily shifted from a split-pusher to a teamfight-oriented hero.

Metamorphosis now works only if the illusions stay in a 900 range around him so he can’t send them anymore to rat towers as demonic ranged damage dealers. Reflection became a good teamfight ability, you are able to create an army of illusions and generate a huge 900 AoE slow, we can consider it as one of the best non-ultimate AoE skills in the game. Probably he has been removed from Captain Mode to further test him in pubs and apply more changes before his release in the next patch. 

Finally, I don’t consider him OP and neither good, now he is just an average hero. Overall the changes introduced in this patch modified his play-style and the new Reflection gave him an increased value in teamfight but they didn’t address his main problem: the lack of strength.

Terrorblade has little health because in the past he was used as a pusher - avoiding most of the teamfights he can focus on his illusions stats and improve their damage to destroy towers faster. He already has a pretty bad early game and now that he is literally forced to teamfight he must also cover his lack of hp with proper items, thus leading also to a reduced dps in late game. Probably the easier way to balance the situation would be to give him a strength or agility gain buff. With the agility he could really become again a super hard carry while with the strength he could improve his early and mid game and be also able to focus on different items not related to hp.

Source.

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