The two sides of Queen of Pain in 7.01
The last time a meta focussed on early fighting was present, Queen of Pain became one of the premier choices for mid laners. However, 7.01 has brought some mixed results for her, reason enough to take a closer look at her current upsides and downfalls.
Fit for a queen- 7.00 changes
Looking at Queen of Pain’s 7.00 changelog, plenty of buffs are to be found. First of all, her base attack time was reduced from 1,6 to 1,5. While this does not sound like much, the viability of an intelligence core mostly comes down to his ability to transition into a right-clicker. A low base attack time is easing that process alongside attack speed and attack damage.
Talent usage for Queen of Pain, image courtesy of Dotabuff
Additionally, the talents Queen of Pain received cater nicely to both her strengths and weaknesses. At level 10, 20 damage can be picked up to jumpstart her right-clicking prowess early. As an alternative, the extra 5 strength can be useful in situations, where the hero falls behind and needs a bit of extra tankiness to sustain through fights. While both of those options sound rather unspectacular, the next talents up are superb ones.
At level 15, the options are an additional 90 gold per minute on one hand and 12% cooldown reduction on the other hand. While the extra GPM can once again be utilized as a catch up mechanism in games that are going south early on, the implications of a 12% cooldown reduction are huge. Cooldowns are one of the main balancing mechanisms within Dota 2. The frequency in which a spell or an item can be used is absolutely crucial to its effectiveness and impact. Until the introduction of Octarine Core, there was no mechanic in the game interfering with cooldown times, because it was so essential to balancing.
Especially for an intelligence hero such as QoP, who is very dependant on her spells, reduced cooldowns are a huge factor, creating an opportunity to scale her spell damage into the late game. Such a mechanic gives intelligence heroes the chance to break the dominance of agility cores, who had the edge due to their superior late game damage output for years now. Until the introduction of measures that allowed magic damage to scale, such as amplifications or cooldown reductions, heroes like Queen of Pain or Necrophos had a hard time meeting the standards of a late game damage dealer. With the creation of these mechanics, the potential usage of intelligence heroes has vastly broadened.
Image courtesy of r-chie.deviantart.com
While not as spectacular as the cooldown reduction, the level 20 talent upgrades also fit in nicely. While the 100 attack range serve as another buff to her right-clicking capabilities, the 200 health can help to add to her rather squishy frame. At level 25, another absolute game changer awaits. Picked up in 90,1% of pub games over the plus 35 intelligence upgrade, 70% spell lifesteal offer enormous value. For a hero that does as much spell damage as Queen of Pain, any lifesteal received through spells is a huge factor, making for very significant sustain in battles.
Besides adding value to the cooldown reduction picked up at level 15, this also opens up another item build for Queen of Pain. While Blade Mail was already occasionally picked up as a source of cheap damage and intelligence, it is now a key component of her item progression. The damage returned while Blade Mail is active is considered spell damage and therefore creates lifesteal. Making things even better, the return damage is calculated before reductions, meaning that she is basically unkillable during the time Blade Mail is active.
Between success and failure
With these additions to her skillset, Queen of Pain has made her way back into the competitive scene. Ever since the patch hit, she has become both a frequent and successful pick. No wonder with those buffs, right? Well, somewhat wrong.
If you look at the numbers the hero produces in pubs, you get a totally different picture. While still a popular pick in the 5K+ bracket at 12,8%, she posts a lackluster win rate of 44,62%, marking the 11th worst percentage in very high MMR games. Once you go into lower MMR brackets, the win rate drops along continuously, reaching an atrocious low of 39,48% in games of 2K MMR and below.
How is it, that a hero this well-equipped for the meta struggles to find success in pub games? While at first glance, this seems illogical, there are some good reasons to be found for her failure in public matchmaking. The first reason is also within the 7.00 patch notes. While her personal changelog makes her look like one of the winners of the patch, a general change has hit Queen of Pain hard. With the changes to roots, mobility spells such as Blink can no longer be used while rooted. This means trouble for heroes relying on those spells for their positioning in fights such as Anti-Mage or QoP. While Anti-Mage has a dispel in his standard item build with Manta Style, QoP can hardly fit in an item to combat roots.
Image courtesy of cizu.deviantart.com
With these changes, heroes possessing a root mechanic have become much more popular. On top of that, heroes like Crystal Maiden, Treant Protector, Ember Spirit and Lone Druid have also received direct buffs, making the presence of a root very likely. Especially the resurgence of Treant Protector has another bad implication for QoP.
Besides his root, he represents a breed of tanky heroes with high sustain, that have also seen a rise in popularity. Heroes like Treant, Underlord (who also has a root to boot) or Ogre Magi are all essential parts of the meta and they all share one treat: they are basically impossible to burst down. Again, this is troublesome for Queen of Pain, who struggles to deal with enemies who are capable of surviving her first wave of spells.
The Queen is dead, long live the Queen!
With that being said, the question remains what separates the Queen of Pain we see in competitive games from the one we see in public matchmaking. The answer to that might be simple: the pros have been quicker to adjust. While they are presented with the same problems surrounding the new root mechanics and tanky heroes, they have found ways to deal with them.
The key to that is positioning. While it still isn’t Queen of Pain’s strong suit to face heroes that she cannot burst down, she certainly now has the right-click capabilities to get the job done. However, this requires to rethink your positioning in fights. With the old QoP, your best bet was often to blink right into the middle of things before unleashing your spells in order to maximize your magic damage output and blow your enemies off their feet.
Due to the increased attack range and higher damage output through auto attacks, the standard procedure has turned into staying at the edge of fights, keeping yourself safe while still hitting several heroes with Sonic Wave and Scream Of Pain.
Still, the extremely high popularity of Ember Spirit (25,3% pick rate in 5K+ MMR games) will keep Queen of Pain in a niche role throughout this patch. With pub players picking the hero with less consideration to facing counters, her overall stats won’t look so bright as long as this patch lasts.
KardinalR 31 January 2017, 15:07 17006 0