UPDATE: The Latest Dota 2 update shifts snow and teases a new hero

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I’m incredibly disappointed that Valve have cancelled Christmas in Dota 2 this year. I know they have their reasons (something about an engine overhaul or something), but that doesn’t mean I won’t be a spoilt Internet brat and demand free stuff anyway! Dear Gaben, please send a update with lots of extra snow flakes and candy sprinkles. Lots of love from Porra #2.

See? Mister Newell is literally Santa Clause! He knows he can’t not release some sort of festive goodies to his adoring fans, which is why Dota 2 is getting the Shifting Snows update. Sadly, there is no new shiny game mode, but there are some other goodies and balance changes to be had!

Shifting Snows

Gifts for Everybody!

First of all, we will be getting the expected winter map. Remember that nice, wet river that separated good from bad? Gone, replaced with icy hell! Crystal Maiden, Ancient Apparition, and Tusk have never felt more at home on this new frosty playground. I’m assuming it’s the map we’ve had in previous years – something more than just the snow weather effect.

What’s Christmas without some presents? Spoil yourself with two new treasures; the Frosted Flame and Nested Cache. Valve are doing this for us I swear, they aren’t making millions of dollars for their pockets in the process!

The Frosted Flame has sets for Luna, Sniper, Legion Commander, Drow Ranger, and Shadow Shaman. The rare drops include a new set for Tiny and a rare shark courier. CRIKEY SHARKS IN THE BILLABONG I WANT ONE!

The Nested Cache is kind of weird to explain, so I’ll let Valve do it for me.

It’s a treasure that contains treasures! Open a Treasure of the Nested Cache, and you’ll receive a random treasure, and have a chance to earn a special gift. You might even find a Treasure Redemption Token inside, which can be redeemed for another treasure of your choosing. It’s the gift that keeps on giving.

I’m assuming the random treasure you receive is one of the many chests that have been released over the past year. And just like that, Gaben now has holiday homes in five new countries.

If sets aren’t your thing, perhaps idols are. There’s a new material for sculpting brand new icy effigies. This is easily one of my favourite additions to the game, as there is nothing more satisfying than destroying an enemy’s perfect statue, or watching yours get wrecked just before your ancient is destroyed. That and some of the captions and poses are plain ridiculous! I think Gaben just bought his own country.

Bringing Balance to the Festive Season

There are a ton of changes, some minor, some significant. I’m only going to select those that really stand out to me. Be sure to read the rest of the patch notes right here for a look at everything else.


  • First rune spawns are now both Bounty Runes that are twice as effective (50/50 gold/xp to 100/100)
  • All Illusions now deal 25% less damage to structures.
  • Maximum Attack Speed increased from 500 to 600 (the primary impact of this is on abilities like Windranger’s Focus Fire and Ursa’s Overpower)
  • The following abilities no longer have restrictions when cast on Spell Immune Allies: Kunkka’s X Marks The Spot, Magnus’s Empower, Treant Protector’s Living Armor, and Warlock’s Shadow Word



  • Greevil’s Greed base bonus gold increased from 4/6/8/10 to 6/8/10/12
  • Greevil’s Greed extra bonus gold per stack from 1/2/3/4 to 3
  • Greevil’s Greed max bonus gold from 30 to 12/20/28/36
  • Greevil’s Greed recent kill window duration increased from 25 to 30


  • Base attack range increased from 600 to 630 (LIKE HE NEEDED MORE RANGE?)

Crystal Maiden

  • Crystal Nova attack speed slow from 20 to 30
  • Frostbite cooldown from 10 to 10/9/8/7
  • Freezing Field duration increased from 7 to 10 seconds (like she survives long enough to even hit 7?)
  • Freezing Field explosion spawn radius and slow radius increased by 150
  • Freezing Field explosion damage radius increased by 50


  • X Marks the Spot enemy delay from 1/2/3/4 to 4, and allied delay from 2/4/6/8 to 8
  • X Marks the Spot cast range from 500/650/800/950 to 350/550/750/1000
  • X Marks the Spot cooldown from 14/13/12/11 to 19/16/13/10
  • X Marks the Spot Return mana cost reduced from 50 to 0


  • Infest now allows you to control the unit you are in using a sub-ability:
    – Allows you to take control of the unit you are infesting, including their abilities
    – If you take control of a unit, it will maintain its cover, however it will become attackable by your enemy
    – Controlled units share Lifestealer’s movement speed
    – Cannot be used on heroes (hallelujah!)


  • Meat Hook range increased from 700/900/1100/1300 to 1000/1100/1200/1300 (level 1 hook is officially scary now)

Queen of Pain

  • Blink range increased from 700/850/1000/1150 to 1300
  • Blink cooldown from 12/10/8/6 to 15/12/9/6
  • Sonic Wave now does Pure Damage and affects Spell Immune (*heavy breathing*)
  • Sonic Wave damage reduced from 350/475/600 to 290/390/490 (Scepter reduced from 350/530/725 to 325/450/575)


  • Shrapnel no longer does damage to buildings
  • Shrapnel now has 3 charges with a 40 second replenish time
  • Shrapnel mana cost reduced from 120 to 50
  • Shrapnel duration increased from 9 to 10


  • Ice Shards projectile speed from 900 to 1100
  • Ice Shards shard duration from 5 to 7 seconds
  • Walrus PUNCH! is now an enemy target ability, and is auto-castable
  • Walrus PUNCH! cooldown reduced from 25/20/15 to 20/16/12


  • Powershot travel range increased from 1825 to 2600 (literally Clockwerk)
  • Powershot max damage is now dealt after 1 second channel instead of 0.7
  • Reduced the area of the lingering vision at the end of Powershot from 800 to 400
  • Focus Fire attack speed bonus increased from 400 to 500


Animal Courier

  • Cost reduced from 150 to 120 (I foresee supports arguing over who buys this now thanks to the 30 gold saving)


  • A courier carrying a non-full bottle will always be slowed

Diffusal Blade

  • Diffusal Blade is no longer a Unique Attack Modifier
  • Multiple Manabreak type abilities do not stack

Medallion of Courage

  • Recipe cost increased from 200 to 325
  • Valor can now be cast on allies to give them armor
  • Passive armor and exchange armor increased from 6 to 7

Merry Christmas!

Phew! I’m quite happy with lots of the changes. It should hopefully mix the meta up once more, resulting in new strategies, hero selections, and so on.

Christmas has officially come to Dota 2! The update isn’t out yet, but should be in the next day or two. What do you think of all the changes and additions? Are you sad that there isn’t a new game mode?

Update: Is Winter Wyvern being teased?

I never noticed it myself when writing this article, but those with sharp eyes (thanks Reddit) have spotted what is potentially a teaser for the next hero to be added to Dota 2 – Winter Wyvern. See for yourself…


Still don’t spot it? I admit it took me a while too. I can’t unsee it now though. This might help…


That looks pretty much like a fuzzy wyvern to me. I wonder when we can expect the hero. Maybe Valve will place the winged terror under our trees in a surprise Christmas patch? That would be awesome!

Also, thanks to my friend Mark Brown for the heads up!

Last Updated: December 17, 2014

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