Dota 2 Games Guide

The New BKB Explained

The New BKB Explained

    Last Updated on May 2, 2023

MOBA games are often defined by a single unique mechanic within the game state. The entire game is built around this mechanic, and little is changed about it. Making a drastic alteration to this could destroy the state of the game and its meta. Thus, it is important for MOBA developers to ground their game around this certain mechanic. Without it, their games stand to become a wild wasteland of spammers and cheese-eating degenerates.

Dota 2’s anchoring mechanic is the ever-iconic Black King Bar, a polarizing item in the game. For the longest time, it remained the same. All the interactions of the game were designed with the Dota 2 BKB as the reference. Without its existence, the game becomes a clone of other MOBAs and nothing more. With The New Frontiers update (Dota Patch 7.33) comes a revolutionary change to the item, and we are finding out how Icefrog did it.

The New BKB is Flawed (and It’s Good)

BKB’s longest-standing issue is its be-all-end-all status as an item in Dota 2. As the patches came and went, BKB became more and more necessary to get. Dota has a plethora of disables built into a lot of hero kits and items over the years. Its activation sound become synonymous with the expression, “RUN AWAY!” as there was little a team can do. A core affected by BKB is simply hard to deal with if your team doesn’t have the right tools.

This new iteration reimagines its anchor status and moves away from that identity. With the new Barriers mechanic, Icefrog clears BKB of its must-buy status in some situations. With a flawed BKB, each game is different from the last one. It is no longer the key item or the final answer it used to be. What tipped off this BKB rework was Muerta’s ultimate, which converted her ability to magic. With Icefrog’s morbid need to balance all things, he can’t have one hero be clocked by a single item.

Crash Course on Debuff Immunity

New BKB Debuff Immunity

The new kid on the block calls themselves Debuff Immunity and replaces Spell Immunity outright. Debuff Immunity is self-explanatory, in that it makes you unaffected by negative effects. But here is the catch, you are still targetable by spells while under Debuff Immunity. This change is important because it balances out the boring BKB problem. No more kiting yellow heroes, because they can be hurt by magic damage through BKB.

Debuff Immunity always comes with a set bonus magic resistance. This applies to all kinds of former spell immunity, like Brewmaster’s Earth Brewling, or Jugg spin. Another thing to be careful about is the debuffs that are on you while Debuff Immune. Sure, they won’t affect you, but as soon as immunity runs out, you are affected for what duration is left. Don’t worry though, Anti Mage and other mana burners are still unable to burn you while BKB.

If you ask for our armchair professional opinion, we like this change, but we are bittersweet. One, we can still see almighty yellow heroes carry a team fight. And the bitter part is that once the yellow goes away, they become gutted with slows and stuns. Although Icefrog reduced the duration of most disables in the game to compensate, games are now different. We still recommend that you buy BKB though, especially if you are a core hero.

Written By
Jean Salgados

Spent all the years of his college writing for the school newspaper and transitioned to casting Dota 2 games shortly after graduation.

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