Facets that Desperately Need a Buff

The facet mechanic is very interesting, but it is going to take a while before it matures into what we feel Valve envisioned. Currently, many heroes have a “weak” and a “strong” facet, as opposed to having two distinct situational options. Today we are going to look into some of the most egregious examples of this and share our opinion on why they are underwhelming.

Disruptor Disruptor Kinetic Fence (-6.0% Win rate)

Replaces Kinetic Field with the ability to create impassable walls.

This one is very straightforward to explain: Kinetic Fence is a fun looking ability, but it doesn’t synergise with the rest of the hero’s kit. Two Fences can be used to block the enemy’s escape and there are definitely creative ways to use them, but the end result is still inferior to the regular, circular barrier.

Dealing Thunder Strike Thunder Strike damage along the wall in a small AoE and applying the associated slow could be an interesting buff and fix to an otherwise weak aspect. We are still not sure when exactly Fence would be better than Barrier, but it could be an interesting experiment.

Keeper of the Light Keeper of the Light Recall (-6.6% Win rate)

This facet grants the ability Recall

This is probably one of the situational abilities that isn’t necessarily weak, but is rather hard to utilise in uncoordinated pubs. The opportunity cost of losing Solar Bind Solar Bind is also too high, in our opinion. Perhaps having access to both spells, with different power levels could be a solution.

There were several semy-effective support KotLs during TI qualifiers who took the Recall aspect. We can’t say it was particularly impressive, but it is a way to flex KotL between multiple positions in Captain’s Mode. Having pro-only and pub-only aspects isn’t inherently a bad idea, so maybe it is ok this facet is underperforming in pubs.

Lone Druid Lone Druid Unbearable (-14.22% Win rate)

True Form transforms the Spirit Bear instead of Lone Druid.

This one is just silly, to be honest. LD is easily one of the most broken heroes in mid level pubs and the reason for it is the ability to survive most ganks, while dealing a lot of damage to both heroes and buildings. Unbearable takes away the survivability factor and makes Lone Druid an unreliable glass cannon.

This facet definitely needs a rework or some creative buffs, because we genuinely don’t know how it is supposed to work. Maybe the idea is to make Sylla the main source of ranged damage, but with a 1.8 / 2 / 2 Attribute gain this is a very questionable idea, even on a Universal hero.

Naga Siren Naga Siren Deluge (-10.62% Win rate)

Naga Siren can create a splash around herself and her illusions, damaging enemies and reducing their Status Resistance.

The supposedly “support” facet for the hero is kind of weird. -20% Status Resistance sounds interesting, but actually making it work in a frantic teamfight is very hard, especially on a support hero who has little to no Illusion survivability.

Core Naga definitely prefers having the -Armor effect from Rip Tide Rip Tide, as it is her main source of manacost-free early game economy and teamfight damage. Perhaps leaning more into displacement potential from Deluge Naga with an increased AoE on Deluge and increased Cast Range on Ensnare could be a way to make Naga work as a support. For now, though, just skip this facet altogether.

Sand King Sand King Dust Devil (-9.77% Win rate)

Sand Storm follows Sand King when he moves or Burrowstrikes.

There isn’t much to say about this one. It was heavily overnerfed and truth be told, we are ok with it. The “random AoE crowd control” mechanic isn’t particularly fun to play against.

Realistically, this facet should be buffed, but we hope all the Sand King changes are going to come with an Aghanim’s rework of some sort. The hero is constantly shifting between being overpowered and irrelevant and we hope Valve will find the right balance. For now play the Sandshroud SK — it is actually quite decent.

Venomancer Venomancer Plague Carrier (-9.1% Win Rate)

Plague Wards can be attached to allies and have extra charges.

There are two reasons for this big discrepancy between facets: not only is Plague Carrier kind of bad, but Patient Zero is also extremely good. We don’t really know what the big idea with Plague Carrier is, to be honest.

The only realistic way to utilise it is by playing Veno core and using mobile wards to farm quickly and efficiently. Building into a Bloodthorn Bloodthorn and getting extra +50 magic damage from every single ward attack is a neat idea, but at this point why not just play any of the conventional illusion heroes with higher levels of survivability, farming speed and late game potential?

Visage Visage Faithful Followers (-12.5% Win rate)

Familiars automatically move with Visage and attack his targets.

The “newbie” facet that sounds kind of ok on paper. Familiars having extra MS and Range isn’t nothing, but the lost versatility is definitely noticeable. It is much harder to land good stuns, impossible to prioritise backline enemies and it can’t be even used as a crutch to learn the hero — Visage is a micro character first and foremost.

In our opinion this aspect is unnecessary. It doesn’t work for newbie players, it doesn’t teach newbies anything important about the hero or micro in general and the only it can be “fixed” is by really amping the values on Familiar bonuses. Brute forcing balance isn’t the way Valve usually operates, so hopefully we will see some sort of a rework for Visage aspects.

Windranger Windranger Whirlwind (-5.63% Win rate)

Focus Fire randomly attacks enemies within range.

This one is kind of cool on paper and we believe that in a slower meta it could actually work as is. Right now, though, it takes too much time to get off the ground and become useful. It also doesn’t contribute to Arcana progress, which is a shame.

Perhaps some small number adjustments could make it a viable facet for the hero: the teamfight potential is definitely there and with a right setup this facet can deal more damage than the regular Focus Fire Focus Fire. Being both slow and conditional makes it too unreliable for now, but do keep an eye on it.

Closing thoughts

“Where are the Time Zone and RRP?” some of you may ask. This is a good discussion starter and may be a topic for next week. For now we are just going to point out that they aren’t necessarily as bad as people think they are. At least in terms of Win rate stats.

Today we concentrated on Facets that have a >5% negative win rate difference when compared to the alternatives. They are undeniably weak to a point where they can’t even be considered “situational”. These are the ones we hope to see buffed or maybe even reworked.

What are your thoughts on this list? Do you feel like players are simply bad at utilising some of these “bad” Facets and how would you fix them? Share your thoughts in the comment section below.

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