While 7.06c has since been released, we can still learn a lot from looking back at the Manila Masters Meta.
Manila Masters Meta – The Resurgence of Puck
Although often picked was a comfort hero by midlaners, Puck has never really been a go-to pick in recent patches. This, even after a recent patch helped the hero hit real hard from the start of the game even with just Null and Faerie Fire – and the mandatory pooled tangoes.
Then, suddenly, the Manila Masters meta brought the hero back. In particular, Evil Geniuses seemed to favour the little trickster. ‘Suma1L’ played the hero five times at mid, while ‘Universe’ played the hero twice on the offlane.
So, what gives? Could it be that Evil Geniuses is just fortunate to have two players capable of playing the hero well? Well, not exactly.
The current meta heavily favours tempo-control and aggressive midlaners. Plus, the absence of shrines before the 5-minute mark gives Puck a significant advantage. Very few midlaners can trade blows with Puck early game due to the hero’s high base damage. The hero can also nuke waves, control the runes, and is just so damn hard to kill.
Sure, Puck still can’t take towers down quickly. But, the recent changes favour the hero because he can take creep waves fast. At the same time, he can easily zone out enemy heroes while taking control of the rune during the laning stage of the game. And, while not particularly tanky, the hero has always been so hard to kill.
Those particular attributes contributed to Puck also being one of the most banned heroes throughout the Manila Masters.
Nyx Assassin and Clockwork
With tempo-control and initiation so important in the current patch, the Manila Masters Meta saw Nyx Assassin and Clockworks become popular picks. The latter, for one, went from seldom picked to being the most popular pick at the LAN tournament with a 46% winrate.
Meanwhile, Sand King and Jakiro, the two most popular picks at the StarLadder i-League Invitational Season 2, were picked nine and eight times respectively throughout the Manila Masters.
Manila Masters Meta – Most Banned Heroes
Io being a priority ban is hardly a surprise. Many teams have won big tournaments on the backs of the wisp. However, Treant Protector being banned almost as much as the Io was unprecedented. Ditto for the bans on Death Prophet and Enchantress.
With the Zotac Cup Masters already on full swing and the 7.06c patch online, the meta may very well still change. We won’t be seeing drastic changes, however. For one, we won’t be seeing a collection of talented teams anytime soon.
As such, look to the Manila Masters Meta to be a sign of things to come as we head to the TI7 regional qualifiers.