We’re back! After nine months without an updated hero tier list, we have returned. To give some perspective, our last tier list had Invoker and Broodmother listed as tier one heroes. This edition of the list comes at an interesting time in the Dota 2 metagame. The last few months were dominated by tri-lanes both offensive and defensive, but the rise of heroes like Lycan and Lone Druid has accompanied a more push-heavy playstyle, while heroes like Lion bring some major nuking and teamfight lineups to the forefront.
As before, this list is not intended to point out the strongest and weakest heroes in public matchmaking. Just because a hero is more popular in professional Dota does not mean it will win you ladder games.
The ESFI Dota 2 Competitive Hero Tier List is a current representation of the picks and drafting patterns of high-tier competitive and recent Dota 2 matches. Classic DotA matches do not affect the rankings, and as such, the list is largely based on European/North American Dota 2 play – for now. The list itself is divided into a 5-Tier system, ranking heroes based on their current usage and effectiveness alone, not potential usage or subjective strength of the heroes.
Tier 1: Picked or Banned Nearly Every Game
» Nature’s Prophet
Nature’s prophet is a hero returning to the tier 1 list. His ability to globally teleport offers teams the ability to use him as an insane ganker from early on, and when paired with an IO combo, the trio can gain complete map control with three-man global ganks in the mid-game. His treants allow fantastic split pushing ability as well as giving him the ability to jungle. Wrath of Nature is a skill that let’s him farm from anywhere on the map resulting in fast farm, and it can also put enemy team’s push to a halt.
Despite an outrageous amount of AOE damage output, this frail kite-flyer lacks both a reliable disable and an escape mechanism, which probably kept him from the limelight in the era of reliable hard carries. But now that picking up multiple cores has become common, Gyro distinguishes himself by being able to contribute to team fights with little farm early, while still racking up the creep stacks at breakneck pace and becoming a rocket throwing DPS monster in the late game. The flexibility of his laning phase and the ability to counter such popular picks as Phantom Lancer (to an extent) is just gravy.
Tier 2: Sometimes Banned, Often Picked
Like so many others, Chen saw nerfs in 6.75. The teleportation effect was moved from Holy Persuasion to Test of Faith, resulting in a significant early game nerf, as he has now has major mana problems if he plans on using his teleport. Due to this change, and a meta-game shift, Chen’s draft presence plummeted in late 2012. Since then, his popularity has gradually increased. He is now once again one of the most popular junglers, and very close to a tier 1 hero. With a fast Mekansm, Chen is the best burst-healer in the game, not to mention the pushing power his creeps can bring.
» Phantom Lancer
After a huge agility gain buff from 6.75, and games started lasting longer, Phantom Lancer became one of the popular carry picks. Paired with Keeper of the Light, Phantom Lancer is able to out-lane almost any combination of heroes whether it be a solo, dual or a tri lane. With a quick Diffusal Blade, Phantom Lancer can split push extremely fast, and with an additional Heart of Tarrasque, he is capable of wiping out an entire enemy team.
Tier 3: Situationally Banned, Regularly Picked
» Storm Spirit
Storm Spirit is a hero whose popularity has risen and fallen dramatically in the past months. Just like Puck, Storm’s mobility allows him to combo with Lifestealer to find pick-offs in the mid-game. He is not reliant on Naix, though, as even without his fleshy friend, Storm Spirit is a dangerous ganker. While Bloodstone used to be the go-to item on Storm Spirit, the more common choice is now a quick Orchid, as it provides him with even more gank potential, and an extra disable that can be useful in team fights.
Although he had been ignored for quite some time, Lion has recently seen a resurgence, being a common pick for many teams. Thanks to his ability to consistently disable a target for up to 6.5 seconds at max level of Hex and Earth Spike, and his nearly unparalleled single target burst coming from Finger of Death, Lion has a great mid game presence, provided he finds decent experience. However, without levels his disables are significantly shorter and he is very weak in lane.
Tier 4: Rarely Banned or Picked
The king of TI2, Lycan is a hero who saw significant nerfs in 6.75, specifically to his wolves. While he was previously one of the most efficient junglers in the game, teams have had to adjust to fit Lycan into their lanes, significantly weakening his early game impact. His late-game, however, is still as strong as ever; especially after farming up a BKB and Assault Cuirass, towers stand no chance against Lycan’s split pushing ability, and if the enemy team ever shows up to kill him, his ultimate allows him to escape almost any situation.
With the recent fixes to his Chaotic Offering (AKA The Rock), Dignitas has allowed Warlock to see some light in the competitive scene. Now played more frequently as a mid hero, the quick Aghanim’s Scepter and Refresher Orb can turn any game around in Warlock’s favor. Despite his massive teamfight and push potential, his lack of mobility or escape mechanisms keeps him from being a top tier pick.
Tier 5: Almost Never Picked
Disruptor has yet to see real play time in the competitive scene. While providing great AOE silence for team fights and an ability to force an opponent to be out of position, Disruptor simply does not fit in the current trilane vs trilane metagame as he does not provide solid lock down during laning stage.
Not in Captains Mode: