Skulz Competitive Hero Tier List September 2017

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Permalink | Quote | PM | +Rep by Skulz » September 29, 2017 7:39am | Report

The Competitive Hero Tier List for September is out! All the Dota 2 heroes are assigned in tiers based on their statistics in pro gaming. Pubs aren’t included.

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Every month, the tier list distributes the Dota 2 heroes in five different groups according to their total pick and ban rate. The requisites for each tier never change - the goal is offering a neutral comparison that shows how the meta evolves over time. The tiers depend only on drafts, and aren’t influenced neither by the win rate of a hero, or by their performance in pub matches.

Record number of games



With the introduction of the Dota Pro Circuit, the number of games played during September greatly increased compared to the previous month.
  • 7.06 patch: 1715 games recorded
  • August 2017: 191 - mostly during The International 7
  • September 2017: 686
Valve established that all the Minors and Majors must have at least one qualifier from each of the six primary regions (NA, SA, SEA, CN, EU, and CIS). This new rule led to an absurd number of matches played daily in the past weeks, and it interfered with the tier list as well.

A large amount of teams participated in the open and closed qualifiers. This circumstance - along with a patch introduced several months ago and at the end of its life circle - brought to an overuse of multiple heroes considered very strong in this meta.

Using my standard distribution, there were just too many exploited heroes in tier 1, so I increased the draft rate needed to be in tier 1 by about 10%. Honestly, the heroes at the top of tier 2 can be treated as a sort of tier 1.5.


Hero P+B P+B% Picks Picks % Bans Bans % Win %
Venomancer
632
90.8%
194
27.9%
438
62.9%
47.4%
Night Stalker
600
86.2%
189
27.2%
411
59.1%
54.5%
Lich
594
85.3%
180
25.9%
414
59.5%
58.9%
Necrophos
578
83.1%
208
29.9%
370
53.2%
57.2%

UP:
DOWN:
Compared to August Tier list

Bans are the deciding factor



I will never stop pointing out that what really matters in competitive games aren’t the picks, but the bans. Pro players know how to behave against any hero, so the most banned ones are those considered such a nuisance that dodging them is a better idea.

It is not a fluke if I ultimately opted for this division among tiers. All the tier 1 heroes have a ban rate ranging from 53% to 62%, while the one at the top of tier 2 “only” hits 32%.

Even if picks and bans are equally important, one can notice that the most banned heroes in pro games are also the most troublesome in pubs. When you need to designate too many resources to counter a hero, you just ban them.

Bans are a fundamental system to balance the game

Unfortunately, our use of this tool is limited in pub matches, because only a small amount of players queues for captains mode. If we could cut the tricky heroes of the patch from our games, perhaps we would enjoy Dota 2 more.




Venomancer: Master of DoT



What makes Venomancer really troublesome is his poison, an infinite source of damage over time. Many players underestimate the value of poison because the damage is spread, thus you can keep fighting without realizing what's happening to your hero.

His area of effect ultimate, Poison Nova, isn’t only a problem due to the damage inflicted - exceptionally dangerous for heroes with low hp - but more so because it disables the Blink Dagger. Mobility is the key for many heroes. Almost any caster and support wants a Blink Dagger for positioning, escaping, or ganking purposes, but also melee carries like Ursa need it to literally reach the enemy.

A well-placed Poison Nova will hinder the capability of the team to fight for 16 seconds, and this amount of time can often be lethal in a teamfight. Venomancer’s ultimate isn’t the only tricky skill: all his abilities have a long poison duration and are troublesome at all stages of the game:


Countering Venomancer



When fighting against Venomancer your goal shouldn’t be understanding how to kill him, because that’s pretty easy. He is a squishy hero without escapes, and often he will just buy a Blink Dagger or a Shadow Blade for a fit positioning in teamfights.

What you must do is nullify his poison.

Many Health Points. Tanky heroes or those with a good regen will have more chances to survive against his poison. Ogre Magi won’t die easily against him in the early game, while Centaur Warrunner is an optimal choice as a tank: his ability Stampede can be used to disengage if the entire team got hit by Poison Nova.

Magic Resistance. Heroes with magic resistance, such as Anti-Mage or Viper, can just ignore the poison. On many heroes you can buy a Hood of Defiance, or even better, a Pipe of Insight, to help also your teammates. Black King Bar is handy, specially when facing opponents with many disables.

Mobility. Heroes with a high mobility, like Queen of Pain, can just blink away if poisoned. As a support, you should buy a Force Staff to dodge the poison.

To counter Venomancer, you are forced to spend extra money on items, and sometimes even limit your hero pool. Now you understand why pro players ban him more often than not.

Hero P+B P+B% Picks Picks % Bans Bans % Win %
Ancient Apparition
486
69.8%
261
37.5%
225
32.3%
56.3%
Nature's Prophet
483
69.4%
153
22.0%
330
47.4%
44.4%
Batrider
471
67.7%
204
29.3%
267
38.4%
52.0%
Nyx Assassin
452
64.9%
164
23.6%
288
41.4%
57.3%
Puck
417
59.9%
206
29.6%
211
30.3%
46.6%
Earthshaker
403
57.9%
285
41.0%
118
17.0%
48.4%
Bloodseeker
289
41.5%
123
17.7%
166
23.9%
51.2%

UP:
DOWN:
Compared to August Tier list

For the sake of data consistency, Bloodseeker has been included in the tier 2. He is in a grey zone between 2 and 3, so you should look at him as a member of both.



Bloodseeker: Radiance or Blade Mail?



Bloodseeker was only a low tier 3 hero in August, while now he reached the tier 2. Even if he can’t be considered as strong as the high tier 2 picks, I resolved to dedicate a section to him as he is also a very popular hero in pub games (top 10 in almost any MMR range)

A question that I often hear about Bloodseeker is whether it is better to build a Radiance or a Blade Mail, and why?

In September, considering only competitive games, the Radiance has been bought 69 times with an average purchase timing of 23:12, while the Blade Mail can only boast 32 times, at 20:42 minutes on average. Pro players prefer to rush the Radiance, because:
  1. Bloodrage works on the Radiance, increasing its AoE damage by 40%.

  2. During ganks and teamfights, the AoE damage of the Radiance will kill the creeps surrounding Bloodseeker, boosting his hp for up to 25% of their max health thanks to Bloodrage.

  3. While in teamfight, the enemies affected by Burn (the Radiance’s aura) will lose hp, and at the same time boost your damage thanks to Thirst.

  4. It increases your farming speed.

  5. Even if the Radiance requires to save a good chunk of money, meanwhile Bloodseeker remains a strong hero in the early game, and able to join ganks and teamfights.

  6. It is handy against physical carries because Burn causes enemies to miss 17% of their attacks.

  7. Bloodrage’s synergy with the Blade Mail has been nerfed.

How does Bloodrage interact with the Blade Mail?



The Blade Mail is an item with the no-reflection flag, which is used to prevent infinite damage loops (such as two heroes both using a Blade Mail).

If the damage has the no-reflection flag, Bloodrage doesn’t amplify outgoing flagged damage anymore, but it does amplify flagged incoming damage.

Example: You are Bloodseeker with a Blade Mail, and you cast Bloodrage on yourself: the damage you receive is amplified.

Prior the change, the damage that the Blade Mail inflicted to the opponent was boosted again by Bloodrage. Now, the damage of the Blade Mail isn’t boosted anymore because it is an outgoing flagged damage. Simple, right?

Hero P+B P+B% Picks Picks % Bans Bans % Win %
Faceless Void
278
39.9%
139
20.0%
139
20.0%
51.8%
Viper
256
36.8%
99
14.2%
157
22.6%
54.6%
Earth Spirit
247
35.5%
161
23.1%
86
12.4%
47.2%
Sven
246
35.3%
102
14.7%
144
20.7%
51.0%
Monkey King
234
33.6%
122
17.5%
112
16.1%
54.1%
Spirit Breaker
231
33.2%
128
18.4%
103
14.8%
56.3%
Weaver
226
32.5%
108
15.5%
118
17.0%
49.1%
Queen of Pain
207
29.7%
113
16.2%
94
13.5%
52.2%
Clockwerk
202
29.0%
142
20.4%
60
8.6%
57.0%
Silencer
197
28.3%
119
17.1%
78
11.2%
39.5%
Io
184
26.4%
57
8.2%
127
18.2%
47.4%
Anti-Mage
180
25.9%
74
10.6%
106
15.2%
47.3%
Broodmother
180
25.9%
40
5.8%
140
20.1%
45.0%
Legion Commander
173
24.9%
87
12.5%
86
12.4%
42.5%
Mirana
170
24.4%
135
19.4%
35
5.0%
54.1%
Jakiro
166
23.9%
128
18.4%
38
5.5%
46.9%
Chaos Knight
153
22.0%
75
10.8%
78
11.2%
56.0%
Lifestealer
152
21.8%
66
9.5%
86
12.4%
42.4%
Phantom Lancer
146
21.0%
58
8.3%
88
12.6%
44.8%
Kunkka
143
20.6%
90
12.9%
53
7.6%
46.7%
Ember Spirit
140
20.1%
70
10.1%
70
10.1%
54.3%



Surviving mid against Spirit Breaker



Spirit Breaker is one of the heroes with the highest win rate in tier 3, but also is a respectable pick in pub: second most played hero at 5k+ rank while having a 55.1% win rate.

When playing in the mid lane, the Space Cow is often one of the worst nightmares because the ganks can happen at any time. Here are some tips to improve your survival chances.

Wards are your best friends. If you can see SB charging, it is easy to disengage and flee under your tower. If no one buys wards, just get them yourself. It is better to invest some extra gold and delay your items than to die multiple times.

Communication. If the team alerts you about incoming charges, life will be easier. Once the game starts, politely ask them to alert in chat or ping when Spirit Breaker is missing or charging. Don’t expect people to know what to do.

Pick the right hero. Some heroes have abilities that can block Spirit Breaker or provide a quick escape.
  1. Puck can Phase Shift to avoid the stun, and flee with Illusory Orb.

  2. Outworld Devourer can negate the stun with Astral Imprisonment, or block SB with it.

  3. Queen of Pain can Blink away.

  4. Templar Assassin will reduce the incoming damage with Refraction.

  5. Heroes with a good defense, such as Viper or Necrophos, can survive and even counter-attack.

  6. Any hero with a stun can stop the charge.
Team and teleport scrolls. This is something beyond your control in solo queue: if a support teleports mid when you are charged, together you could stay alive and even kill Spirit Breaker.

Hero P+B P+B% Picks Picks % Bans Bans % Win %
Pugna
137
19.7%
72
10.3%
65
9.3%
52.8%
Rubick
136
19.5%
118
17.0%
18
2.6%
49.2%
Sand King
136
19.5%
114
16.4%
22
3.2%
35.1%
Oracle
133
19.1%
83
11.9%
50
7.2%
37.4%
Death Prophet
129
18.5%
53
7.6%
76
10.9%
54.7%
Dark Seer
126
18.1%
68
9.8%
58
8.3%
47.1%
Shadow Shaman
119
17.1%
94
13.5%
25
3.6%
44.7%
Enchantress
118
17.0%
47
6.8%
71
10.2%
53.2%
Disruptor
117
16.8%
97
13.9%
20
2.9%
51.6%
Visage
111
16.0%
56
8.1%
55
7.9%
48.2%
Terrorblade
111
16.0%
55
7.9%
56
8.1%
49.1%
Templar Assassin
108
15.5%
42
6.0%
66
9.5%
57.1%
Lycan
107
15.4%
45
6.5%
62
8.9%
57.8%
Doom
98
14.1%
67
9.6%
31
4.5%
55.2%
Outworld Devourer
93
13.4%
47
6.8%
46
6.6%
31.9%
Dazzle
92
13.2%
72
10.3%
20
2.9%
58.3%
Magnus
88
12.6%
58
8.3%
30
4.3%
46.6%
Beastmaster
86
12.4%
58
8.3%
28
4.0%
56.9%
Dragon Knight
84
12.1%
53
7.6%
31
4.5%
50.9%
Drow Ranger
84
12.1%
28
4.0%
56
8.1%
50.0%
Ursa
82
11.8%
41
5.9%
41
5.9%
43.9%
Bane
74
10.6%
61
8.8%
13
1.9%
54.1%
Brewmaster
74
10.6%
42
6.0%
32
4.6%
52.4%
Juggernaut
72
10.3%
42
6.0%
30
4.3%
40.5%
Sniper
72
10.3%
42
6.0%
30
4.3%
42.9%
Invoker
72
10.3%
30
4.3%
42
6.0%
53.3%
Bounty Hunter
69
9.9%
54
7.8%
15
2.2%
51.9%
Troll Warlord
69
9.9%
46
6.6%
23
3.3%
32.6%
Storm Spirit
68
9.8%
36
5.2%
32
4.6%
47.2%
Lina
67
9.6%
43
6.2%
24
3.5%
41.9%
Witch Doctor
66
9.5%
53
7.6%
13
1.9%
49.1%
Clinkz
64
9.2%
39
5.6%
25
3.6%
61.5%
Timbersaw
64
9.2%
36
5.2%
28
4.0%
55.6%
Alchemist
63
9.1%
31
4.5%
32
4.6%
58.1%
Razor
61
8.8%
35
5.0%
26
3.7%
31.4%
Lone Druid
60
8.6%
26
3.7%
34
4.9%
57.7%
Huskar
60
8.6%
17
2.4%
43
6.2%
41.2%
Tinker
59
8.5%
26
3.7%
33
4.7%
38.5%
Omniknight
53
7.6%
24
3.5%
29
4.2%
41.7%
Underlord
52
7.5%
38
5.5%
14
2.0%
50.0%
Winter Wyvern
51
7.3%
44
6.3%
7
1.0%
47.7%
Keeper of the Light
51
7.3%
26
3.7%
25
3.6%
42.3%
Medusa
47
6.8%
25
3.6%
22
3.2%
48.0%
Enigma
47
6.8%
22
3.2%
25
3.6%
45.5%
Meepo
44
6.3%
11
1.6%
33
4.7%
36.4%
Slardar
40
5.8%
36
5.2%
4
0.6%
38.9%
Tiny
39
5.6%
33
4.7%
6
0.9%
48.5%
Tusk
35
5.0%
32
4.6%
3
0.4%
46.9%
Shadow Fiend
35
5.0%
21
3.0%
14
2.0%
38.1%

In tier 4 and 5 we find all the situational heroes. They are strong when paired with others, or against specific lineups. These heroes aren’t bad, they just don’t work in every game, so the pick and ban rates aren’t stellar.



Why Pugna isn’t played more?



We will use as example the top tier 4 hero, Pugna, who boasts a 19.7% pick + ban rate, while also having a 52.8% win rate.

Pugna is a strong pusher, and his Nether Ward is a real pain to deal with if you are an INT hero with high mana cost spells. But why other heroes are often preferred?
  • Low hp and an item build that doesn’t have much room for survival items.

  • No mobility skills. A Blink Dagger is often mandatory to survive and properly use his skills.

  • No reliable disables: Pugna has no stuns. Decrepify slows the target and increases the magical damage inflicted, but also disables any physical attack. Often this is a nuisance.

  • Not the best in any role. He isn’t the best support due to the lack of disables, and because he requires some farm to become effective. At the same time, there are stronger options for the mid lane.

  • Decrepify is dispellable with a Diffusal Blade. The item was recently nerfed in 7.06f with 5 agility reduction, but is still a popular pick.
Honestly, I regard Pugna as a pretty good hero, so he is a great example to point out that tier 4 and 5 tiers aren’t weak. When considering playing these heroes in a game, we should ask ourselves if there aren’t better options open for that role.

Hero P+B P+B% Picks Picks % Bans Bans % Win %
Arc Warden
33
4.7%
19
2.7%
14
2.0%
57.9%
Tidehunter
31
4.5%
14
2.0%
17
2.4%
57.1%
Phantom Assassin
30
4.3%
24
3.5%
6
0.9%
41.7%
Zeus
27
3.9%
18
2.6%
9
1.3%
55.6%
Bristleback
27
3.9%
15
2.2%
12
1.7%
26.7%
Morphling
24
3.5%
17
2.4%
7
1.0%
82.4%
Skywrath Mage
22
3.2%
19
2.7%
3
0.4%
36.8%
Chen
22
3.2%
13
1.9%
9
1.3%
76.9%
Axe
20
2.9%
14
2.0%
6
0.9%
42.9%
Naga Siren
19
2.7%
14
2.0%
5
0.7%
35.7%
Warlock
18
2.6%
15
2.2%
3
0.4%
46.7%
Wraith King
18
2.6%
15
2.2%
3
0.4%
60.0%
Slark
18
2.6%
12
1.7%
6
0.9%
58.3%
Gyrocopter
17
2.4%
14
2.0%
3
0.4%
50.0%
Abaddon
17
2.4%
12
1.7%
5
0.7%
66.7%
Riki
16
2.3%
9
1.3%
7
1.0%
33.3%
Centaur Warrunner
13
1.9%
12
1.7%
1
0.1%
58.3%
Luna
13
1.9%
9
1.3%
4
0.6%
66.7%
Vengeful Spirit
12
1.7%
11
1.6%
1
0.1%
45.5%
Crystal Maiden
10
1.4%
10
1.4%
0
0.0%
40.0%
Windranger
9
1.3%
8
1.2%
1
0.1%
37.5%
Leshrac
9
1.3%
8
1.2%
1
0.1%
75.0%
Undying
8
1.2%
8
1.2%
0
0.0%
37.5%
Phoenix
8
1.2%
5
0.7%
3
0.4%
60.0%
Pudge
6
0.9%
5
0.7%
1
0.1%
20.0%
Lion
6
0.9%
5
0.7%
1
0.1%
60.0%
Spectre
6
0.9%
5
0.7%
1
0.1%
20.0%
Shadow Demon
6
0.9%
3
0.4%
3
0.4%
100.0%
Ogre Magi
5
0.7%
4
0.6%
1
0.1%
0.0%
Treant Protector
4
0.6%
3
0.4%
1
0.1%
33.3%
Elder Titan
2
0.3%
1
0.1%
1
0.1%
100.0%

About a year ago the Tier 4 and 5 had a similar quantity of heroes, but thanks to IceFrog's efforts the amount of tier 5 heroes greatly decreased. We complain so much about the game and any minimum problem, that it becomes hard noticing the incredible work behind every patch.

In a month, things will change again, for better or worse. Valve announced that the next big update, The Dueling Fates, will require about 1 month to be ready. What changes you want in Dota 7.07?

Credit: Statistics gathered from DatDota, thank you for your wonderful DotA 2 stats!

Skulz
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Permalink | Quote | PM | +Rep by Masked_Man98 » September 29, 2017 9:23am | Report
A 0.2 agility gain for huskar.
+1 starting armor for lion.
A heavy nerf to Ck and several buffs for illusions are what i wanna see in the next patch.
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Masked_Man98


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Permalink | Quote | PM | +Rep by Skulz » September 29, 2017 10:55am | Report
Masked_Man98 wrote:

A 0.2 agility gain for huskar.
+1 starting armor for lion.
A heavy nerf to Ck and several buffs for illusions are what i wanna see in the next patch.


Loved playing illusion heroes too in the past, they got nerfed a lot over time. Valve probably wants to limit rat-dota through illusions as much as possible.

Skulz
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Permalink | Quote | PM | +Rep by TheSofa » September 30, 2017 8:44am | Report
Wow!

A lot of effort put into this, skulz. Thanks for doing that! When did you start writing these for dotafire?

TheSofa
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Permalink | Quote | PM | +Rep by Skulz » September 30, 2017 1:43pm | Report
TheSofa wrote:

Wow!

A lot of effort put into this, skulz. Thanks for doing that! When did you start writing these for dotafire?


Thank you! Honestly I also received help with tables and design from Mowen :).
This is my first article for Dotafire.

Skulz
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