This Dota 2 pub menace’s winrate has plummeted after Patch 7.36—but he was already dead

Notorious Dota 2 pub hero Tinker has had its win rate nosedive after Patch 7.36 on May 23 owing to drastic changes to the hero’s abilities, which saw a key component of Tinker’s playstyle wiped out overnight.

As happens with all major patches, we saw a significant shakeup in the metagame with the latest one introducing Facets and Innate abilities to all heroes, but Tinker stands out as having seen the wildest swing in terms of win rate., The hero is currently sitting at a measly 35.18 percent win rate according to stats site Dotabuff, dropping from a passable 49.40 percent before the patch.

Dota 2 loading screen featuring the hero Tinker with his Submerged Hazard set
Dota 2‘s flagbearer of science is facing an identity crisis. Image via Valve

Tinker got most of his kit reworked with Patch 7.36. There’s one key change, however, that fundamentally changes the way the Dota 2 hero has been played for its entire existence: Rearm no longer refreshes item cooldowns. This means the hero can no longer utilize Soul Ring perpetually to spam his spells or other items, no more non-stop Blinking around the map, no more perma-Hex in the late-game, and no more constant Wind Wakers as a get-out-of-jail-free-card.

While Tinker undoubtedly was a notoriously hard hero to deal with, especially in an uncoordinated pub, even the hero’s biggest detractors are astonished at the neutering of the hero’s unique playstyle. “By removing the possibility to refresh ANY item, they killed the hero and its flavor. Slowly but surely every single hero is getting dumbed down to a boring version of itself,” one player said in a May 24 thread on the Dota 2 subreddit.

With the metagame shaped up to prioritize playmaking mid laners, Tinker was a rare appearance in pro and pub games alike. Tinker only had a 4.34 percent pick rate prior to the patch. Pro Dota 2, on the other hand, had him as an uncontested hero in the last four tier-one tournaments—DreamLeague S22, Elite League, ESL One Birmingham, and PGL Wallachia. Tinker was not in the same league as the Disruptor’s and the Doom’s of the last patch who needed a heavy nerf. If anything, he needed a few buffs to bring him back to the meta.

However, from the looks of it, Valve is pushing Tinker into a support role with the Repair Bots Facet and the loss of AoE on Laser which used to be Tinker’s farming tool. Although the number of matches is quite small on Dota2ProTracker, we can see a developing trend of high MMR pub players trying Tinker in a support role, building items like Guardian Greaves and Solar Crest.

All that said, this is a huge change to the core identity of Tinker. The Dota 2 community is comparing it to the Techies rework of Patch 7.31 where Remote Mines were removed from their kit. One could argue that both of these reworks point in a direction where Valve is homogenizing the hero roster and bringing the most polarizing heroes to a more palatable state. We can also see a reflection of this with some of the Facets introduced in Patch 7.36 for the former micro-heavy heroes like Visage and Lycan.

While making the less popular heroes accessible is a commendable goal, Valve has a fine line to toe here. Dota 2 is lauded for its jaw-dropping complexity, and now that the game is arguably in its retention phase, the invested players wouldn’t want to sacrifice the complexity for casual appeal.

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