Dota 2 Introduces Aghanim’s Shard Bringing More Fun To The Gameplay

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New abilities to play around. Valve

Looks like Valve is making up for the fact that there weren’t many DPC-sponsored tournaments this year. Dota 2 just dropped its latest update and there's a lot to unpack.

There’s a new hero Hoodwink and will likely be a favorite of many players. You can read more about this new hero here.

There’s also an interesting item that’s going to make the gameplay fun. Now before we go into that, if you’re a Dota 2 player, then you already know about Aghanim’s Scepter. At 4200 Gold, it brings new abilities to the hero who carries it. Then, there’s Aghanim’s Blessing. For an extra 1600 Gold, it makes the buff permanent and opens a new slot in the inventory.

This time prepare for Aghanim’s Shard.

So, what makes the Shard different? For starters, it either adds a new ability or upgrades an existing one. It costs 1400 Gold and available after 20 minutes. Here’s the thing, you don’t need to buy Aghanim’s Scepter to get the Shard. That alone should make gameplays more interesting.

Obviously, we can’t discuss all the effects of this new item. We also won’t be able to give it a rank considering the update is just released. But we’re going to give you an idea how it works. We’re going to choose two heroes from each attribute and they are from my typical hero pool choices. I’m also going to give some initial impressions, though, I have yet to actually try them.

Strength Heroes

Bristleback is one of my go-to heroes, especially when I feel it’s going to be a long game. The Shards give him a new ability called Hairball. He coughs a quill that’s filled with hairballs and erupts at the target location upon reaching it. It will hit enemies in a 700 radius.

Our take: It’s interesting. But at 20 minutes, you’ll probably be better off with other items. It would be better to start with Heart of Tarrasque or Octarine Core.

The next hero is Chaos Knight. He gets his Chaos Bolt ability upgraded. It now creates a Phantasm illusion that attacks the target for the duration of the stun.

Our take: This adds some firepower to his offense. So, this appears to be a good deal.

Agility Heroes

For Agility, my go-to heroes are mainly poison-based. Let’s start with Venomancer whose Venomous Gale ability gets upgraded. It now summons two Plague Wards when it impacts an enemy hero. Travel distance is also increased by 400.

Our take: This was initially a Level 15 Talent. While this makes it optional, it made the Level 15 Talents choices better. So, there’s that.

Then, there’s Viper who also gets an ability upgrade. Poison Attack now lowers armor by 1.5 per stack with max stacks increased by two.

Our take: It's an interesting upgrade but at the price, Viper should get other items like the Scepter itself.

Intelligence Heroes

Of the changes offered by Shards, our favorites are in these heroes. Crystal Maiden’s Frostbite gets an upgrade. It now lowers the skill's cooldown by one second. That’s not all. Crystal Maiden can now cast Frostbite on herself to reduce incoming damage by 70%. This upgrade also allows her to cast Frostbite while channeling as long as a valid target is in range.

Our take: There’s no question it is a good investment for those who play Crystal Maiden. Instead of going for a Scepter, they can now opt for the Shard. The effect actually makes the hero more versatile.

Finally, there’s Shadow Shaman. His Shackles skill is already a pain to deal with. The addition of a Shard effect makes it deadlier. It increases the range of Shackles by 150. Anyone caught in them now has to deal with four attacking Serpent Wards. Lasting eight seconds, the damage of the Shackles and Wards are really going to hurt.

Our take: Like with Crystal Maiden, the effect of the Shard makes Shadow Shaman a stronger support hero. The Mass Serpent Ward already summons 10 Serpent Wards. With his usual combo, this means those caught now need to deal with 14 Serpent Wards. Ouch! 

Overall, the introduction of Aghanim’s Shard brings more fun to the game. It’s not really going to change the game, unlike the Scepter. Still, it wouldn’t hurt to try this one.

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