It’s that time again! With the International qualifiers complete, we thought we would take the chance to look at the state of Dota 2 for the month of May. This list is based entirely on pre-patch data, so you can look at it as a snapshot of the 6.77 era.
The same heroes that have been dominating the game for the last few months are still the class of Dota, but in the middle of the pack is a noticeable shift towards mid-game oriented lineups with high mobility. Heroes like Clockwerk and Weaver are on the rise, while clunky teamfight specialists like Undying saw their stock plummet.
Remember that this list is based on NA/EU stats, so if you’ve been watching the G-1 League and East Qualifiers recently, you will notice that Visage and Kunkka are under appreciated by Western teams.
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. Following each tier is not a complete differential report, but some substantial or interesting changes since previous months.
Tier 1: Picked or Banned Nearly Every Game
Lifestealer was the most picked hero in the TI3 West qualifiers, and for good reason. His skill set makes him a very versatile hero. Open Wounds allows Lifestealer to contribute more to a trilane than almost any other carry in the game, and Rage allows him to survive most ganks. The metagame is currently focused on mid-game skirmishes and ganks, an area that Lifestealer thrives in because of his survivability from Rage, crowd control from Open Wounds, and initiation from Infest. With the raw stats provided by an early Drums and Armlet, Lifestealer can quickly take control of a game.
Clockwerk is a hero that can excel as an off-laner, a mid, as well as a support. His ability to initiate from a long distance and force the enemy team out of position makes him extremely dangerous in the mid-game, especially when combined with a Lifestealer. Clockwerk’s cogs also make him a good counter to Heroes with big teamfight ultimates like Magnus. Cogs can quickly divide the enemy team, disrupting their combos and allowing for quick pick-offs of isolated targets.
Tier 2: Sometimes Banned, Often Picked
Rubick’s decline from tier 1 is not because of weakness, but variety in similar heroes. His strength in the early game is to set up kills with telekinesis, much like Shadow Demon and Bane. Every team seems to have their preference of set-up heroes in their trilanes, so the main difference is in the midgame and onwards. Rubick, unlike the other two, has no abilities that go through magic immunity (not by default, that is). With Lifestealer such a popular pick, this is a big weakness for the Grand Magus. Still, if there are big spells like Magnus’ Reverse Polarity on the field, Rubick is a very popular choice.
The desire for teams to dominate mid game has brought Templar Assassin back to the metagame. Favoured strongly against Puck and Magnus in mid lane, TA has the ability to snowball incredibly fast during the early game. With her mobility and high damage output, she is able to pick off supports almost instantly.
Tier 3: Situationally Banned, Regularly Picked
**NEW** Skywrath Mage
Of all the heroes that are new to Dota 2’s Captain’s Mode, Skywrath Mage has had the biggest impact. Played as both a mid and support role, he has one of the few instant cast silences in the game in Ancient Seal, and unparalleled burst damage from his other abilities. When coupled with a lockdown hero like Bane or Clockwerk, Skywrath Mage can instantly kill a support, or sometimes even a less tanky carry.
With a strong pushing ability, survivability and an ultimate that punishes any out of position enemy, Juggernaut is a hero that can be played in any lane. Juggernaut can quickly take over the mid-game with an Aghanim’s Scepter, and his well-scaled crit allows him to be viable as a strong mid-late game carry. Most dangerous, perhaps is an early push strategy based around his healing ward and a summon hero like Lone Druid. As he is such a versatile hero, Juggernaut has quickly become a very reliable pick.
Tier 4: Rarely Banned or Picked
Treant’s ability to eliminate almost all chances of picking off/focusing one hero and bringing an edge for his team has made treant into a popular trilane support. He has also been seen as a solo lane hero, buffing up his team’s tri-lane and middle lane from across the map with Living Armor.
Recently a first-pick worthy hero, Undying’s stock has plummeted in the last few months. In a trilane vs trilane situation, he is extremely dangerous, but in other laning situations he pales in comparison to other supports. When a team picks Undying, their strategy immediately becomes obvious: offensive trilane. His other strength is his teamfight control, especially in the early to mid-game when his tombstone reaches max level. Unfortunately for Dirge, the trend is towards mobile, gank-heavy team compositions that can easily avoid the confined teamfights that Undying prefers.
Tier 5: Almost Never Picked
Ursa is a hero that is susceptible to being kited. However, he is one of the highest theoretical DPS heroes in the game, and with a proper team that can hold the enemy in position Ursa can snowball incredibly quickly and take over the game. He is especially effective against Lifestealer when compared to other carries, as Ursa wants nothing more than to stand and fight.