Now that the dust has finally settled, we can finally take the time to take a look at what we learned from the TI7 Qualifiers Meta.
The Most Versatile and Stable Meta Yet
The introduction of 7.00 late last year brought radical changes to the game as a whole. The next few months saw teams trying to figure out how to exploit each of the little advantages that came with ‘The New Journey’ update.
If there’s one thing we can take away from the TI7 Qualifiers Meta, however, is that the current patch is the most stable and versatile meta yet.
In total, 111 heroes were picked and played throughout the qualifiers. Granted, Alchemist and Morphling were each picked only once. But, that’s still better than last year’s where teams basically played exclusively around illusion-based heroes and the Shadow Demon + Luna combo.
Speaking of Shadow Demon, the once-prominent support hero was one of the two heroes that did not see a single minute of action in the whopping 356 games played in the main qualifiers. The other one? Techies.
The Importance of Dual-Role Heroes
The TI7 Qualifiers meta put much emphasis on versatile heroes that could play any one of two roles effectively.
If you look at the most picked and banned heroes of the TI7 qualifiers, you’ll see a common trend across the board.
Teams fought over Sand King, Nyx Assassin, Clockwerk, Night Stalker, and Puck, throughout the qualifiers.
Teams mostly feared Night Stalker’s flying vision and ability to fly over cliffs. Most banned the hero outright to avoid having to deal with him. On a similar note, teams coveted the map control that Clockwerk and Nyx Assassin brought to the table.
While Sand King isn’t capable of controlling the map in the same way as those heroes, the hero can effectively control the lane. Many teams ran Sand King in the offlane. Caustic Finale proved very effective even against two heroes, especially when up against melee carries.
Puck was also a sought after pick because the hero could be played either in the offlane or in the middle. Either way, the hero could find the farm it needed to become effective. Especially late in the game because of the 420 GPM talent the hero gets at level 25.
Perhaps it was only fitting that the latest Dota patch dropped the nerf hammer on all five heroes.
Sand King and Night Stalker, however, stand to feel the change the most. The latter may drop out of the meta entirely as a result. While we’ll probably see less of offlane Sand King from now on.
Queens of the Midlane
Because heroes could no longer use the shrines until after five minutes had passed in the game, Lina and Queen of Pain, both heroes who can effectively zone out enemy heroes thanks to their early AoE nukes became much more viable. It also certainly didn’t hurt that they could now scale well into the late-game as right-clickers thanks to their revamped talent trees.
Digital Chaos’ Abed Azel ‘Abed’ Yusop, in particular, used both heroes, including Puck, to great effect. He played Queen of Pain, Lina and Puck, 5, 6, 7 times respectively and his team ended up winning all but four of those games.
Queen of Pain was particularly OP.
The hero was nigh unstoppable, capable of dominating during the laning phase and late-game. The 57.03% win percentage across the 128 games the hero was picked serves as proof of just how effective the hero was throughout the qualifiers.
It will be interesting to see if Lina and Queen of Pain will continue to remain viable.
The base damage reduction that came with the recent patch is a huge hit to Queen of Pain’s lane dominance. While the nerf from 70% to 60% to the spell lifesteal will likely affect her late-game potential. The slight nerf to Bloodthorn and the recipe cost increase to Discord of Veil was likely done to keep the hero in check as well.
With Lina, the dragon slave nerf will make it easier for other heroes to stay and keep up with her in the midlane during the laning phase. The nerf will also make it hard for the hero to flash farm and keep up in the midgame herself.
Changes To The Safelane
Ever since 7.00, the safelane has begun changing and now, we’ve come to the point that picking farm-heavy heroes and idle-farming has become ill-advised.
As the meta now favours team fighting and pushing the tempo, heroes that are capable of securing the mid-game and can contribute to team fights have become hot commodities.
The TI7 qualifiers meta serves further proof of this, with teams now choosing to run the likes of Venomancer and Razor in the same lane that heroes such as Naga Siren and Anti Mage used to prowl.
Bye Bye Bristleback and The Offlane Shaker
For a while, teams could just pick Bristleback and drastically up their chances of winning the game, even when playing from behind.
The hero proved an absolute nuisance; teams often could not do anything to push against a Bristleback defending its tower.
7.06d changed all of that. He’s even less viable now no thanks to another nerf that came with 7.06e.
Going forward, the hero should remain an excellent choice. However, gone are the days when teams could win solely on the backs of the hero (pun intended).
Earthshaker is also slowly making his way back into the meta. Although the hero requires a lot of skill and farm, Earthshaker is an absolute game-changer when played right.
As such, teams have begun playing him in the offlane to give him as much farm as possible so he can contribute much earlier to the team.
Final Thoughts On The TI7 Qualifiers Meta
The TI7 Qualifiers meta offers only but a glimpse of what will likely be the meta in the weeks before TI7 and during the event itself.
The latest Dota patch only makes it more likely that things will still change.
In theory, notable meta heroes such as Queen of Pain, Lina, Sand King and Night Stalker are less viable now. On the other hand, the recent buffs to Alchemist and Naga Siren might pave the way for both heroes to becoming top tier picks again. In Naga Siren’s case, teams may be more willing to pick her up now if only to run as a position 4 support.
Whether this will ring true at the professional level remains to be seen, however.
We have three LAN events taking place between now and TI7. MDL 2017 and The Final Match 2017 will all start in the next coming days. While DreamLeague won’t start until later this month.
Look to those events to give us more insight as to what heroes will be part of the meta at Seattle in August.
What do you feel about the current state of the meta? Be sure to let us know your thoughts in the comments down below!