Mid Keeper of the Light is making waves at ESL One Fall
Of all the crazy strats to arise from the Dota 2 patch 7.30, mid Keeper of the Light is the one that not many would have predicted.
We have seen position 5 Faceless Void and we have seen carry Axe in recent times, so the Dota 2 community is not unaware of the fact that with every new patch, there is bound to be a hero that will find itself being played in a role not too traditional to it. It is in fact, more than welcome to inject additional interest and intrigue into the game. With the addition of the Aghanim's Shard with Dota 2 patch 7.28, such deviations are more likely now, which was the case with the previous Axe Shard, which made him a viable carry.
Something similar has been happening since the 7.30 patch was released a few days ago, but the hero and position combination that is worrying teams is not one many would have predicted – Keeper of the Light in the mid role! And one could say it is a position 2 role, but looking at the two games in which the old wizard has wreaked havoc, it wouldn’t be wrong to say it is a position 1 role.
The effectiveness of the hero in the mid lane was first seen in Tundra Esports’ game against T1 in their ESL One Fall series, in which their mid Leon "Nine" Kirilin destroyed the opposition with his mid KotL, going 16/1/14 with a GPM of 817. He out farmed his Wraith King and also managed to get the most damage in the game.
The feat was then repeated by T1 in their game against Thunder Predator, when their mid Karl "Karl" Jayme, used the same strat that had previously annihilated his team.
Both these games ended between the 30 and 35 minute marks, and in both of them, KotL did a little over 29,000 damage, which was the most in the game by quite a margin.
So why is KotL a good contender for mid in the patch 7.30? Let’s take a look at the changes to him, which were two buffs in the form of a reduced channel time for Illuminate at levels 4 and a reduced Chakra Magic cooldown by 2 seconds at all levels.
It is a bit of a pain at early levels that the channeling time is higher, but the benefits at the higher levels far outweigh that. The build is-
● Max out Illuminate
● Get two levels of Chakra Magic
● Get Spirit form at level 6
● Get one level of Solar Bind at level 8 when
● Then max out Chakra Magic
Because of Chakra Magic, the Illuminate cooldown gets reduced and because of the reduced cooldown for Chakra Magic, the ability is available for use earlier than in the previous patch! The laning phase is getting the entire creep wave using Illuminate (need to make sure creeps are at the right HP, depending on the level of the skill) and then trotting off to farm the small camps on both sides. In Tundra’s game against T1, Nine had 125 creeps in 10 minutes! That is a crazy feat.
The item build for the mid KotL is-
● Three Null Talismans to amplify the 525 Illuminate damage
● Boots of Speed (which can be immediately upgraded to Boots of Travel depending on how the game is going)
● Dagon 5 (aren’t we all happy to see that?!)
● Sange and Kaya or Octarine Core
The rest of the build is pretty open, again, depending on how the game is going.
Solar Bind reduces magic resistance by 30%, which amplifies all the magic damage KotL has to offer. The reduced two buffs he received in patch 7.30 ensure he can get out Illuminates out at lightning speed, and just as a hero tries to recover from the fact that a good chunk of HP has suddenly gone missing, the second Illuminate hits. Since the two KotL performances have rocked ESL ONE Fall, every team has started first phase banning the hero. However, Virtus.pro did let it through against Tundra in both games, and even though Nine did alright on the KotL, Tundra lost both games. So it isn't a free win by any means.
Not only is he a good mid option, but the ability to put him in either support role (position 4 or position 5) gives teams an insane amount of flexibility in their drafts. Make no mistake though, the mid KotL is not easy to play and requires not just skill, but good rotations and good communication with the team to make it successful.
The answer to the mid KotL is magic damage mitigation, and Pipe of Insight is the first thing that comes to mind. But he farms so fast, that his timings are a lot quicker than that of any other hero planning on getting a Pipe. As teams learn to adapt to the changes coming in from Dota 2 patch 7.30, it will be interesting to see whether mid KotL becomes a staple of the meta and if so, how teams plan to deal with it. For now though, Dota 2 Gandalf has changed from ‘Thou shall not pass’ to ‘Thou shall be obliterated’.