Chen has gotten very popular lately, going from not being picked at all to almost getting picked or banned in every game. Why did this happen? Was it one big change or a lot of small ones?
Chen has always been my favorite hero. When I started to play Dota1 the reason why I liked Chen was that it gave you the option to control more than one unit compared to most other heroes. I played a lot of Warcraft III before I switched to Dota so some of the micro was already there. Speaking of Warcraft III, I’m still waiting for Warcraft IV to be released even though it would probably be the end of my Dota-career because I would play too much Warcraft :D.
There are two main reasons why I feel that Chen has become more viable which is the new creep camp at the secret shop and the change of the meta (what people tend to pick and how they play). There has also been a lot of other changes like the aghs upgrade (that you can take over ancients) as well as the penitence buff but for me they aren’t as important. Sure, the last patch when you could take over ancients and the cooldown of the heal was 30 seconds was a bit broken since you could just split push with the ancient creeps and heal+send them back without risking any cooldowns. Right now I would say Chen is more balanced because of the change but I guess we will see how it turns out.
Starting with the first main reason – the new creep camp. A very good way to counter Chen is to slow down his impact and ability to do anything early on. To do this you hunt him with a support and if you also block some camps Chen can really struggle. A hero that was used often to do so was Bounty Hunter (which I would say was the most effective as well) but other heroes also worked fine. Some teams also liked to go aggressive trilane and have their supports roam for Chen which also worked sometimes.
What this new camp gives you is somewhat of a safe-zone. It’s not easy for your opponents to go there without showing themselves through the mid lane (if they are coming from your jungle) and if you want to go into your opponents jungle it’s much safer if you have a creep with you that you can take from the new camp at the start.
The second reason, the change of the meta, is about what the opponents like to pick and what heroes that are being played every single game. The last patches you saw heroes like SF and Lina mid with a Gyro carry every game and facing those heroes with Chen is really annoying. If you make one mistake they kill all your creeps straight away. You still see some of those heroes now as well but somehow I can manage to keep them alive most of the time :).
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