Dota 2 has been shaken up a lot recently. The Mistwoods Update shifted the meta entirely with its addition of Aghanim’s Shard upgrades for every hero in the game. Hoodwink has impacted public matches with its high pick-rate (much like any new hero) and the addition of new items and neutral items has seen large changes to item builds throughout the game.
The mid role has changed with the times as well. While we are seeing the same old stable mids in a lot of cases, the way they are being played throughout the course of a match is often entirely different to previous patches. So without further ado, let’s get into our best Dota 2 Mids in 7.28.
I have spoken about why Outworld Destroyer is one of the best suppoers in 7.28 and I’ll be explaining why he is one of the best Dota 2 mids in 7.28 as well. OD has been one of the quintessential mid heroes in Dota 2 for a long time. In 7.28, you will see him in a lot of different roles, as people experiment with the new changes, but try not to forget how dominant this hero is as a position 2 core.
Many of the changes to OD in the Mistwoods Update have allowed him to shift roles to support or offlane, due to a new focus on Astral Imprisonment as an initiation tool. However, these changes have also changed how you play the hero as a mid.
From Space-Taker to Space-Maker
OD has always been infamous for his ability to dominate 1 on 1 matchups in the mid-lane, but the ability to flash-farm with Astral Imprisonment in previous patches had meant that this wasn’t necessarily his main focus. Patch 7.28 alters the spell, removing the AOE damage and compensating with higher single-target damage instead. This means that your focus as an OD is going to be on dominating the lane early on and then transitioning into a ganking hero in the mid-game.
Arcane Orb now requiring 20% of your mana pool, rather than a flat amount, and this means that you can spam this spell in the lane without running out of mana. Its high damage will create strong pressure on your opponent and with accompanying Astrals, you will be able to keep their mana-pool low enough that retaliation will be difficult. You also no longer have to worry about Astral Imprisonment pushing the lane when you are using Astral on your opponent to secure denies and last hits. This makes maintaining creep equilibrium much easier and will help to cement an early advantage.
Meteor Hammer on a position 2 Outworld Destroyer is just as important as it is on one playing in a supporting role. The item gives you an 800-damage nuke with Astral Imprisonment (after reductions) and a disable that is unavoidable until BKBs come out later in the game. This item, coupled with Astral’s longer cast range, has turned OD into an incredibly strong ganker, and this is another reason why he is one of the best Dota 2 mids in 7.28.
Importantly, the Meteor Hammer combo is easy to execute and allows follow-up damage from any support with a stun or nuke, making OD one of the strongest roaming heroes in the game right now. The increased based damage to your ultimate and lower cooldown means that you are more effective earlier in the game and have less reliance on stacking Intelligence items to do early damage. On top of all of this, having Meteor Hammer as a core item means that OD can now transition early ganks into tower pushes much more easily, something which was lacking in his kit in previous patches.
The addition of Witch Blade has helped a lot of Intelligence heroes transition into more right-click oriented builds. A hero like Outworld Devourer, who was already a right-clicking powerhouse in the late game, has only benefited further from this addition.
Witch Blade is perfect for OD as it gives damage based on his Intelligence, something the hero has in abundance, along with a boost to his projectile speed and a boost of 12 Intelligence to help pump up the damage of his ultimate. It also gives him a damage-over-time effect, which can be helpful in the late game for catching heroes with Blink Dagger. Importantly, the build-up for the item is relatively good, which is something OD needs this patch as his ability to farm has been reduced with the changes to Astral.
Overall, Outworld Devourer could easily be considered one of the best mid heroes in 7.28, with the new changes in the patch allowing him a lot more diversity in both his playstyle and his role.
Puck has always been a popular mid hero. He has decent base damage, 2 nukes to push waves into the enemy mid’s tower and Illusory Orb allows him to both secure runes and escape ganks. In 7.28 the hero is being picked up for a number of reasons. The Mistwoods Update basically gave him buffs across the board, the most important ones being:
- Increased turn rate
- Agility gain increased
- Illusory Orb damage increased at all levels
- Dream Coil initial damage increased at all levels
Slight buffs like these are often the way that heroes creep into notoriety in Dota 2. A 0.3 increase in agility gain might not seem like a lot on paper, but the slight attack speed he gets from this minor increase helps Puck build into damage in the late-game; not the mention that the slight armour increase doesn’t hurt either. The increase in turn rate is fantastic for Puck because it makes him more elusive, allowing him to blink or orb away from opponents more easily after using Phase Shift.
The damage increases to Illusory Orb and Dream Coil are fairly small –20 damage at max level for Orb and 75 for Coil– but they make a big difference. Burst damage for mid-game ganks is something Puck craves as a rotating mid hero and a bit of extra damage can help secure a kill he’d otherwise miss. But now let’s go over what really makes Puck one of the best Dota 2 mids in 7.28.
These are mostly minor buffs, but all of this is in combination with his new Aghanim’s Shard upgrade giving his silence, Waning Rift, 70 bonus damage, a knockback (to synergise with his ultimate), and the ability to reveal invisible units and wards for 5 seconds. Frankly, if this Aghanim’s Shard only gave the true-sight, competitive players would likely still be buying the item, as it makes Puck’s Waning Rift into a Gem of Truesight that isn’t dropped on death.
Counter-Picking the Meta
The most desirable thing about Puck in Patch 7.28 is that he counters a lot of the top cores in the meta right now. This is mostly down to the huge buffs Waning Rift has received. Silences are obviously good against any hero in the game. However, in 7.28, there has been a high focus on team-fight oriented lineups, along with teams wanting to group for early tower pushes, making speedy initiators like Puck excel.
Big team-fight lineups utilising heroes, such as Tidehunter or the now classic Mars/Phoenix combo, are dependent on their ultimates to win skirmishes. Puck’s AOE silence and ultimate that punishes grouping up allow him to control large teamfights and punish early grouping, especially with his extra nuke damage.
A Diverse Portfolio
Whether you build him as a traditional nuker, or you lean more towards the new right-click build, Puck is strong in every stage of the game. He is also strong in multiple roles. Puppey, captain of Secret, has been showing off the potency of support Puck throughout the early stages of the DPC and Puck’s ability to harass with his toolkit, along with his evasiveness makes him perfect for the offlane role.
With all of the buffs he has received, his strong lane presence and diversity in playstyle, Puck is assuredly one of the best Dota 2 mids in 7.28.
Unlike the other heroes on this list, Ember Spirit did not receive significant changes. In fact, the only change he received, apart from a slight nerf to his Aghanim’s upgrade, an increase to his Intelligence gain from 1.8 to 2.2. Not exactly earth-shattering. The fact is, Ember Spirit is on this list because, since he entered Dota 2 in 2013, he has been a perfectly capable core in nearly every patch.
Ember Spirt is one of the best mid heroes in 7.28 for for many of the same reasons that Earth Spirit has been a top-tier support hero since he entered the game.
Stable in The Lane
Ember Spirit is one of those heroes that can handle most laning situations. This is due to his third skill, Flame Guard. Flame Guard allows Ember Spirit to do a lot of things in the lane. He can use it offensively to pressure his opponent away from the creeps or to push the lane to secure runes, he can use it defensively to ensure he gets last hits and he can use it to tank nukes that would push most other melee cores out of a lane. Flame Guard allows Ember Spirit to deal with lanes that most melee heroes simply wouldn’t be able to and it allows him to survive and get last hits even in a lane that he is supposed to lose.
Flame Guard also allows Ember to farm effectively, being able to quickly and efficiently farm the camps near to the mid lane. Sleight of Fist also helps with this, along with securing ranged-creeps at early levels.
Split Push City
Split pushing isn’t generally a strategy that you build a lineup around (unless you’re TI3 Alliance of course), it is usually a fallback, used when a team is behind and needs to pull the other team around the map to create some space and regain some map-control.
The fact that Ember Spirit’s ultimate allows him to farm the map in dangerous places, not only means he can access lane farm that other cores can’t, it means that he is a core that creates space for his team. Space creation is key this patch and to be one of the best Dota 2 mids in 7.28, you need to have it as part of your kit.
For a long time, the main focus of a mid hero was to gank the sidelanes and provide space for the safelane carry so that they could farm enough gold to become useful. These days, the 1 and 2 position are often jostling for the top spot on the net worth chart, splitting their attention between farming and fighting. Ember Spirit is a hero that can do a lot of things well. He can win his lane, join early team-fights and also farm quickly to help him scale into the late-game.
Ember Spirit’s late-game is incredibly strong. The fact that Sleight of Fist can proc any damage modifier Ember Spirit has, such as Maelstrom or crit, means that he can do vast amounts of AOE damage in the late-game —especially with a Divine Rapier.
With a 57% win-rate in professional matches in 141 games at the time of this article, Ember Spirit is outperforming most other mid heroes in 7.28. His brother, Void Spirit, has a much higher pick rate at 223 games, but is sitting at a 48% win-rate. It seems that Ember Spirit is a strong contender for one of the best mid heroes in 7.28 and due to his lack of actual buffs in this patch, is likely to remain strong in subsequent patches.
The Mid Meta In Dota 2 Patch 7.28
The best mid heroes in 7.28 are about self-sustainability and giving your team options through early and mid-game aggression. Outworld Destroyer is now a hero that creates space for his team by ganking with Meteor Hammer and turning those kills into early tower pushes. Puck wants to push waves and participate in early skirmishes and Ember can show up to fights early or continue to farm for late-game.
Choosing mid heroes who can affect the game at all stages is becoming more and more important. Rotating your supports to secure your midlaner’s farm is of high importance in 7.28, as farming priority between your 1 and 2 positions is often blurry in Dota these days. Look to gank for your mid instead of expecting ganks from them.