With the last major patch out before TI8, it seems that there will be less hope for Lone Druid, who almost gets the crown for the least picked hero in pubs, after Chen, and the hero with the lowest win rate. What has happened to plummet Lone Druid into irrelevancy?
Our meta stats suggests that pub players just don’t know how to use him. There’s a near 10% win rate differential between Crusader and Divine brackets. That’s usually the case with heroes that have a high skill floor to reach their potential. It’s why heroes like Spectre and Zeus can still succeed at the lowest brackets, and why Puck and Earth Spirit tend to do better among higher brackets.
But Lone Druid’s win rate difference outpaces all other heroes between high and low brackets. Compare him to Chen, a companion in the hard to use department and also the least picked hero, who only has a win rate differential of 4% between Crusader and Divine brackets. Chen could be inherently stronger in this patch, and a global heal is effective in anyone’s hands. And players who are picking him, willing to multitask multiple creeps and heroes, might be attuned to his skillset.
It’s been a long time for Lone Druid at the bottom of the win rate charts
Lone Druid hasn’t had many changes significant changes since patch 7.07, where his talent rework essentially eliminated his ranged build. Spirit Bear got a few small buffs in 7.07 and 7.10, resulting in almost doubling his health regeneration from 2/3/4/5 to 5/6/7/8. It’s small recourse for the meta changes that have happened around Lone Druid.
Despite being excellent in the lane, Lone Druid doesn’t contribute much in a teamfight. Where his strength was mowing down towers—while also holding a late game ace to even backdoor them with the Aghanim’s Scepter upgrade—it’s now less essential in today’s meta.
Buildings got stronger. In patch 7.07, backdoor protection increased from 25% to 40% in 7.07, and all towers received armor buffs. Then patch 7.13 buffed Glyph from 5-6 seconds and reduced the bounties of all towers. Ranged and melee barracks got similar buffs—more health, less money rewarded.
There were other changes in the meta, such as the focus on bounty runes and Roshan as early and mid game objectives, that shifted the focus away from pushing and towards controlling the map. That’s not to mean that Lone Druid is completely unplayable, since he still has some use cases in the right lineup. He’s especially strong with a Helm of the Dominator, which can now allows him to use Battle Cry with a siege creep.
But he only works for a small percentage of Dota players and only in select cases. Valve’s two week patch cycle has been quick to target the strong and weak heroes of the meta, usually following the results of a Major. But as a consequence, pubs have suffered. This month, Lone Druid has a 1.26% pick rate and 37.6% win rate, yet he’s situational enough in pubs to fall under Valve’s patch radar. What else has to happen before he comes back?