There is so much great Dota happening right now and while it might be a while before we get a full LAN experience, the quality of the games definitely doesn’t suffer. ESL One LA was entertaining for a lot of reasons, but for many of you entertainment is secondary to getting better and dominating your pubs, so today we would like to concentrate on the tournament’s meta and what lessons could be learned from it.
These two supports were both picked more than 50 times and both could boast win rates of over 60%. Does it mean it is a good idea to start spamming Oracle? We don’t really think so.
The hero isn’t particularly hard to execute correctly even in pubs. Sure, three of his skills can be used on both allies and enemies with very different effects and that does add complexity, but for most players the problem isn’t going to be the tactical execution of the hero, but rather the strategic one.
Oracle demands cohesive teamwork, he needs to hit his timings with the team and start applying pressure and he only really works with very specific heroes. His laning stage is far from being great: 42 starting damage doesn’t really allow him to harass or deny too well, while his abilities, while strong, require a lot of coordination.
As such, we strongly suggest you don’t over rely on Oracle in your solo pubs, an idea that is consistent with our pub statistics. Leave him for games with you friends, when one of them intends to pick Death Prophet or Huskar.
Keeper of the Light, on the other hand, is certainly worth your time. While in the professional scene he is primarily picked for Bristleback or Ember Spirit synergies, he can be a strong independent support in most games. Will-o-Wisp is among the most powerful crowd control ultimates, while Blinding Light and Chakra Magic spam is very annoying to deal with for most lineups.
Couple it with the highest starting movement speed and decent laning presence and you have an all-around great hero that has potential to make some pretty cool plays through Blinding Light repositioning.
Dragon Knight emerged as one of the best core heroes in the game and his success in the professional scene is mirrored in pubs as well. His main strength, we believe, is that he is incredibly flexible.
DK can be played in all three core positions with decent success. Depending on your lineup and what it needs, he can become a tanky frontliner, a strong initiator, a decent pusher or a full-on DPS carry. In fact, he does all of this by default and your item build and farm priority will determine which way the hero pivots.
The hero is pretty straightforward execution wise and requires a different set of skills, generally seen in more experienced, but possibly less nimble players. If you can identify enemy timings and strengths and weaknesses of your team from the draft alone, but do struggle to execute more input-complex heroes, Dragon Knight might be the hero for you.
Death Prophet was the most contested hero of the tournament and there are good reasons for it: her tempo is pretty high, her survivability and ability to deal with tanky heroes is great and, surprisingly, she can even be flexed into support roles. That said, after the most recent nerfs, she is now firmly in the “balanced” category of heroes.
50% win rate exactly is still a good result for a hero that is often picked in the first phase and it is actually higher in high level pubs. Patch 7.26 might have made the hero better as well, since she can deal with tanky Strength heroes slightly easier, while utilizing her peak timings with even greater success.
All in all, the hero is still definitely worth exploring and maybe even spamming in pubs. Perhaps even in a support position.
Furion was among the most contested and popular heroes of the tournament, but his win rate was below 43%. When 7.25 hit, many speculated on whether split-push is going to be back and while the jury is still out on this, we can reasonably safely state that Nature’s Prophet doesn’t deserve as much attention as he gets.
The hero was most successful when played as a core and with some starting farm and occasionally solo experience he can be very oppressive across the map. However, most of his scaling comes from economy and with the reduction to overall amount of gold on the map, it is going to be even harder to fit Nature’s Prophet into a game plan.
In pubs the hero currently win less than 50% of his games in all brackets and we expect the number to go even lower, once the economy changes fully kick in into data.
Anti-Mage holds the title of the most successful hero of the tournament with 10+ games and if there was a time to start picking this hero, it is now. Sure, similarly to NP he is going to get hit hard with the economy nerf, but his teamfight contribution is certainly not limited to the items he has.
With so many juicy Intelligence heroes in both core and support positions, Anti-Mage almost always has a decent Mana Void target and that typically means that come midgame he can turn almost any teamfight into a 5v4 right at the start. Couple it with the fact that he can also play the avoidance game and split-push with impunity and you get a hero that, if played really well, can pretty much win the game solo.
The last Dota patch was definitely a weird one. Valve reverted some of the global changes they’ve done previously without touching the hero balance and it is going to be interesting to see how much of an impact it is going to have on the game.
That said, collecting data and identifying balance issues might take some time so it is impossible to predict when exactly we are going to see the next balance update. As such, now is the prime time to use the knowledge and experience of the professional teams to your advantage.