Okay, so I've watched a TON of pro games lately, and I'm getting good enough to predict wins fairly accurately based on drafts alone.
So.. I'm going out on a limb here, and giving my predictions for the future.
Last Edited: December 9, 2015.
Deadly combinations of Note in 6.85:
- Shadowfiend + Ember or Beastmaster usually heralds a win.
- Wyvern + Bane support combo.
Nerf bat incoming:
- Shadowfiend (Raze damage will likely be decreased, possibly to something like 80/140/200/260), to reduce his flash-farming ability. His win-rate at the pro level is too high right now.
- Ember spirit will receive a nerf (Flameguard damage absorption amount, probably. May also get a slight nerf to remnant recharge time).
- Tusk will have some of his nuke damage reduced, or cooldowns increased. His Ice Shard range may be decreased.
- Wind Ranger's Shackle Shot duration will be reduced slightly (currently rivals many ultimates).
- Winter Wyvern: ultimate cast range decrease. Cold Embrace will be nerfed.
- Slardar: Ult's armor reduction may get reduced slightly, and will only give vision of the hero itself.
Popular but balanced:
- QoP will not be buffed or nerfed. She's a strong laner, but very squishy and can be brought down.
- Broodmother: popular, but balanced and can be countered. Often countered by laning choices.
- Gyrocopter: will likely be untouched. Suits some team line-ups but not others.
Still needs work (buffs or re-tooling):
- Legion Commander: despite her recent buffs and popularity, picking her usually means a loss (in Pro games). Needs slight re-tooling to balance pub vs. pro play.
- Crystal Maiden: will receive a minor buff, probably to base strength or strength gain.
What you will see ( or see more of ):
- Armor reduction drafting strategies (also enables quick Roshan kills)
- Vengeful Spirit as a carry
- Keeper of the Light will be drafted more often in competitive games, especially for his Chakra magic and anti-push.
- More carries buying Desolator to gain an early fighting advantage.
- Pro teams picking Omniknight or Abaddon to protect against armor reduction and physical damage
- Elder Titan to counter Agility carries
- Huskar, because of trend towards early aggression (possibly dual-offlane or even dual-lane safelane until L6). Huskar with Maelstrom may be a thing (so he can farm / wave clear / push).
- Luna, with support picks to compensate for her low hp (Abaddon, etc).
- Warlock, especially in low-tier team games. His abilities, I feel, are underrated.
Trends that will continue:
- Early aggression and mid-game aggression
- Continued dependence on drafting heroes with "vision" abilities (at least in the pro scene), such as Nightstalker, Clockwerk, Beastmaster.
- Picking at least one "greedy" support, or a support that could transition to semi-carry
- Heroes such as Spiritbreaker and Beastmaster will still be strong picks
- Slardar will remain a "pocket pick" for many teams
- Dazzle & Witch Doctor will continue to be strong supports.
You'll see less of:
- Shadowfiend, after a nerf.
- Ember Spirit, after a nerf.