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Grimstroke

The most popular Aghanim's Shards from Season 2 of the DPC Leagues

Dota 2 Siddharth “Gopya” Gopujkar

Aghanim's Shards have seen highly variable usage. Certain Aghanim's Shards stand out after looking at the stats for Season 2 of the DPC Leagues.

The second season of the DPC Leagues is done and dusted. A total of 809 games were played across the six Dota 2 regions on Dota 2 patch 7.29. We looked at the heroes that made a mark on Season 2 of the DPC Leagues, and as we head into the second DPC Major of the year, there’s another parameter to take a look at – which Aghanim’s Shards were the most popular in Season 2.

Aghanim’s Shards were introduced in Dota 2 patch 7.28, a little more than six months ago, although it seems longer than that as they have assimilated naturally into the game. The introduction of the Shard has added another interesting variable to the game and the Shard has gained more importance now with the second Roshan dropping an Aghanim’s Shard as well along with the Aegis of the Immortal.

Heading into the WePlay AniMajor, let’s take a look at which Shards won the popularity contest in the second season of the DPC Leagues, which will also possibly be the ones we see a lot of at the second DPC Major of the year.

Only the Aghanim’s Shards that were purchased were considered in the stats shown below and do not include the ones dropped by Roshan. All the data was obtained from DatDota.

Most Picked Aghanim’s Shards

The table below shows the heroes for whom the highest number of Aghanim’s Shards were purchased over the 809 games of Season 2 of the DPC Leagues. Grimstroke leads the pack by a comfortable margin, with Snapfire in the second position.

 

Highest Percentage of Aghanim’s Shards Picked

While the most picked by absolute number is a good way to look at the popularity of an Aghanim’s Shard, looking at the purchase of Aghanim’s Shards from a percentage perspective gives an idea of which ones are highly prioritized; and that paints a slightly different picture. While Grimstroke is still up there at the top, Snapfire falls a lot in the rankings. Pangolier, Dark Willow, and Legion Commander have a pick rate of over 65% for the item, showing how important it is to their current build.

 

Combining the best of both worlds, we will take a look at what are possibly the five best Aghanim’s Shards currently in the game and why they are so good.

1) Grimstroke

Reworked Shard upgrade

Causes Ink Swell to deal 50% more damage and heal the target for 50% of the damage Ink Swell deals. Upon expiration, the target will receive a strong dispel.

Patch 7.29c nerf: Aghanim’s Shard increased damage and heal reduced to 40%.

Grimstroke’s Shard brings a lot to the table – increased damage for Ink Swell, heal for the ally on whom Ink Swell is used, and more importantly, a strong dispel. The strong dispel makes Ink Swell a skill similar to Slark’s Dark Pact – when you know a strong dispel is on the way, opponents are hesitant to use dispelable disables on you. Without the Shard, the maximum Ink Swell damage at level 4 is 394 (taking into consideration the 25% magic damage reduction heroes have). With the Shard, that damage increases to 551 (634 with the 15% magic damage amplification from the level 15 talent). A 40% heal is a heal of 220 (254 with the talent) per target, and if there are multiple targets the heal increases linearly with the number of targets. Grimstroke is also one of the supports who can farm quickly, thanks to the Stroke of Fate, so getting 1400 gold for the Aghanim’s Shard isn’t as difficult for him as it could be for other position 5 supports.

2) Pangolier

Roll Up – New Ability

Grants Roll Up. Turns you into a protective ball for up to 4 seconds, gaining magic immunity and allowing you to turn. Can be cast during Rolling Thunder to temporarily pause it. Can cast Rolling Thunder and Shield Crash during Roll Up. If enemies attack you during Roll Up, you will roll away from the attacker for 0.75 seconds, applying Rolling Thunder damage/stun if there are enemies in the way. Cooldown: 30 seconds.

Pangolier’s Aghanim’s Shard was one of the most popular Shards in Season 1 of the DPC Leagues, and with no nerfs in Dota 2 patch 7.29, it continued to be just as popular, if not more, in Season 2. The Shard offers a lot more than what 1400 gold typically gets you in Dota 2. The Shard allows Pangolier to get off his ultimate without being interrupted. Rolling Thunder has a cast point of 1.2 seconds, which makes it easier to stop. But Roll Up has a cast point of 0.1 seconds, which makes it a lot easier to get it off. In case it is a game in which Pangolier requires getting a BKB just for getting Rolling Thunder off, the Shard saves 2650 gold for accomplishing it. Roll Up also gives the hero a chance to turn around while Rolling Thunder is active in case there isn’t any surface to roll off of. The hero himself has lost popularity due to other nerfs, but the games in which is picked have a high probability of seeing the Shard being deployed.

 

3) Snapfire

Scatterblast – Upgrade

Patch 7.28: Units in the point blank range of Scatterblast will be knocked back 250 units, take 125 extra damage and be stunned for 1.5 seconds.

Patch 7.29 buff: Increased  Scatterblast point-blank stun duration from 1.5 to 2.

Snapfire’s Aghanim’s Shard was one of the better ones to come out of patch 7.28, but with her being out of the meta, it didn’t see too much use.  The Shard gives her more control with the additional stun. Any heroes in the point-blank range are pushed out along with being stunned, and they land in the perfect spot for her to follow up with the Firesnap Cookie. The combo done correctly can lead to multiple heroes being stunned for a bit more than 4 seconds, along with 795 magic damage done to each of them. The best use of the Shard was demonstrated by both of Team Liquid’s supports, Tommy “Taiga” Le and Ayodin “Insania” Sarokhi in their EU DPC games. Blink into Scatterblast with the Shard on multiple opposition heroes gets them out of position and stuns them, making it easier for you to begin and dictate the fight, which Liquid did perfectly.

4) Legion Commander

Reworked Shard. Causes Press the Attack to apply Spell Immunity for 1.75 seconds. Reduces cooldown by 3 seconds.

Legion Commander has one of the few strong dispels in the game with Press the Attack, which makes her an amazing counter to heroes with disables that can be purged, as well as against items like Scythe of Vyse. With the Shard, the same skill acts as a mini BKB for the carry or mid. Without the Shard, an ally is still susceptible to disables after the strong disable is applied. With the spell immunity, the hero has a short amount of time to make the great escape. It can also be used to prevent impending magic damage. The skill with the Shard is also a strong initiation tool for either Legion Commander or any of her allies. At level 25, there is potential to make the entire team magic immune! Owing to what her Aghanim’s Shard brings to the table, Evil Geniuses tried to play LC as a position 5 support in their deciding game against Quincy Crew in the NA DPC League, but it didn’t work out too well.

5) Dark Willow

Cursed Crown – Upgrade

Patch 7.28: Cursed Crown now creates four brambles around the target after the counter ends (regardless of how it ends). Reduces cooldown by 3 seconds.

Patch 7.29 buff: Shard also reduces delay by 1 second

Patch 7.29c nerf: Reduced  Cursed Crown cooldown reduction from 3 to 2.

Dark Willow’s Shard popularity has a lot to do with her talents as well. She gets 0.6 seconds increased stun duration on Cursed Crown thanks to her level 10 talent, taking it to a 3.85 second stun along with a 160 AoE increase because of the level 15 talent. It helps that the Aghanim’s Shard reduces the cooldown and the delay. The four buffs within the game make the skill a very strong one, especially if multiple heroes are caught in it, leading to all of them being stunned for 3.85 seconds. Patch 7.29 increased the Bramble Maze damage, which bodes well for the Shard, as it creates its own brambles. The combination of the two brambles, if placed correctly, can completely block off the escape path for a hero and make life for the opposition harder than usual.

Aghanim’s Shards have introduced a new pathway for hero progression, in a game that already had a multitude of choices, which has made things a lot more intriguing. The decision on whether to invest 1,400 gold on an item that offers no stats and when to do so, is one that can have major repercussions on the game.

With how strong certain Shards can be, players have been calling for a rework for the second Roshan, which can give a team an immense power spike early on in the game. But even if that happens, it will be in patch 7.30, and teams will have to keep being cognizant of the importance of the second Roshan at the WePlay AniMajor and make a decision about whom to give the Aghanim’s Shard to. If it is one of the heroes in the lists above, it won’t be too difficult a decision!

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Siddharth “Gopya” Gopujkar
A Mechanical Engineer who is as interested in the mechanics of DotA 2 as every machine he studies. Pursuing his Master's at the Michigan Technological University.

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