The DOTA 2 Metagame is an ever-changing construct that often revolves around which heroes and items are viable on the current patch.
It’s often dictated by professional players, who spend countless hours finding out which heroes and team compositions were directly or indirectly buffed and nerfed by the recent patches. The differences are minute at best. But, in the hands of highly-skilled players, such little advantages are amplified to the point that the heroes become unfair.
In professional tournaments, you’ll often see teams pick and ban a pool of 30-40 heroes. Those often are the heroes that are “meta”. Of course, there are a few exceptions to this.
“Cheese strats”, which are highly unconventional strategies and picks that may look stupid at first, but are actually quite effective, are a good example. “Comfort picks”, which are heroes chosen because a player is very comfortable playing it, is another one. In contrast, teams sometimes ban heroes not because they’re meta, but because their opponent/s just play the hero very well.
DOTA 2 Metagame: What’s In Today?
The DOTA 2 metagame, however, revolves around much more than just heroes.
For example, the recent changes made to the neutral camps, the laning phase, and how denies work, among many other things, have turned 7.06 into something vastly different compared to previous 7.xx iterations.
In 7.06, because of the changes made to the neutral camps, who now respawn every minute, and how denying now gives exp, it’s much easier for carry heroes to snowball hard. As such, support heroes are no longer encouraged to roam early on. Instead, dual lanes and tri lanes have come back to help shut down and protect greedy carries who’re often weak early on. Also, because of the addition of one melee creep for the first 15 minutes, the middle lane has become even more highly contested. Teams now even send a support to help their mid lane carries as early as the start of the game.
It’s no longer just about gold and farming, however.
Thanks to the talent tree’s introduction in 7.00 and the changes made in 7.06, levels are now also very important. While incredibly important for all, support heroes arguably value their talents and levels in this patch much more than their total net worth.
You need only take a look at Newbee’s Grand Finals matchup at Galaxy Battles 2017 against Planet Odd for a recent example. Although Newbee went on to sweep the series, all games were very close. The biggest difference makers? The supports. In particular, in Games 2 and 3, Newbee’s experience distribution was much better.
In a patch that’s all about fighting and clashing, Newbee’s supports simply were able to contribute much more. This gave them an upper hand, despite not having much of an advantage in terms of net worth throughout all the games.
DOTA 2 Metagame: The International 2017
It’s highly unlikely that we’ll see major changes in the weeks ahead of TI7. There’ll be a patch or two here and there, but nothing that will significantly change how the DOTA 2 Metagame will play out.
In TI7, and the games leading up to it, expect to see even more laning and fighting, and very few of the dull moments that were evident in TIs of the past.