With dozens of officials played nearly every day since the season started, pros have arguably already found out what works best in the current Dota 2 meta, which has prompted many to wonder if it’s time for a major shakeup.
With that said, let’s take a look at how the current Dota 2 meta has played out across all five qualifier tournaments in each region.
The 7.06f Effect
Released barely more than a week after the conclusion of The International 7, patch 7.06f brought a couple of noteworthy changes to some of Dota 2’s most popular and least popular heroes.
Tiny, Bane, Lion, Spectre and Wraith King — these five heroes went unpicked throughout TI7 — all received notable buffs. Although this was not enough to make them popular in competitive matches. Meanwhile, heroes such as Lich, Earthshaker, Nature’s Prophet, Necrophos and Venomancer, despite the recent nerfs, remained common picks.
Then again, you can’t exactly blame teams for prioritising the likes of the aforementioned common picks given the current state of the meta.
Nature’s Prophet can push out lanes, gank at any time and split push with little to no worry; Necrophos is annoying, tanky and hard to kill; Venomancer is the king of “damage over time” and a flexible pick that doesn’t need much farm to have a huge effect on the game.
All three are also very reliable heroes who can either win lanes and snowball when left alone or even when bullied, have a way to break even in terms of farm.
As for Lich, the hero is a low-maintenance support hero who can rack up levels fast. His Frost Armor warrants a Diffusal Blade pickup and generally just makes pushing hell for enemy teams. Meanwhile, Earthshaker is an ever-constant threat that needs little farm to gank, rotate and even get pick-offs on his own.
Put simply, the way that the current Dota 2 meta prioritises objectives and team fights play to the strengths of the said heroes.
A Cold Wind Blows
Ancient Apparition is another low-cost support hero that pretty much has always been a viable pick. However, more often than not, the hero was often only seen as a hard counter to Alchemist, which relied on regeneration to weave in and out of battles.
While the hero did not exactly get buffed — it was even nerfed with a mana increase cost to its ultimate — it has become quite popular. So much so that, in fact, it has surged as one of the most sought-after picks across all five qualifiers.
There are a lot of possible reasons for this.
For one, Ancient Apparition is one of the only two low-maintenance hard support heroes who can comfortably outrange Plague Wards. The slight range advantage makes the hero a soft counter to Venomancer as he can comfortably farm the wards for EXP and Gold, preventing Venomancer from snowballing out of control.
Lina and Pugna are two other notable support heroes that can also outrange Plague Wards, but neither are suited to the position 5 role.
Ancient Apparition’s abilities are quite useful as well; Cold Feet and Ice Vortex are lowkey annoying and the latter provides important vision for warding, pushing high ground and etc. Cold Blast is also criminally underrated for some reason right now.
The best part, though, is that Ancient Apparition needs virtually zero farm to function well. The hero is essentially the ultimate position 6.
The Chinese Dota 2 Meta
It’s no secret that the Dota 2 meta in China is always different compared to the rest of the world. This was true throughout all the five qualifier tournaments in September.
Chinese teams don’t put as much priority on playing meta heroes such as Necrophos and Venomancer. Instead, they put emphasis on playing supports such as Nyx Assassin, Night Staker and Ancient Apparition.
They also seemed to have found a counter for Venomancer and Necrophos in Doom. Although other regions have yet to catch on, their decision to play the hero often makes a lot of sense.
Doom’s ultimate is one of the best disables in the game and pretty much negates Necrophos. He is also a flexible pick that excels in the offlane, as a safe lane carry and as a roamer and ganker. Of course, it certainly doesn’t hurt that he can farm fast thanks to his level 10 talent.
Speaking of differences in Dota 2 meta between regions, it seems that China isn’t alone in having a meta of their own. Although it is more noticeable in China, other regions also seem to have found their own niche picks.
North American teams have had much success with the pub-favourite Spirit Breaker with an average win-rate of 57% across all five qualifiers. And, as for Europe and CIS, they have taken a liking to the likes of Broodmother, Doom, Monkey King and Mirana.
Across the ocean, Mineski and Fnatic have made the Dota 2 meta in Southeast Asia rather peculiar. The former, in particular, gave birth to the Winter Wyvern core offlane and have had much success running Visage as a core.
For the most, South American teams haven’t exactly deviated from the norm. Although they do have a tendency for prioritising Silencer and Bloodseeker.
Has the Dota 2 Meta Gone Stale?
Idc drama just playing dota ty also any pugna veno thd lich nerfs tyty
— Artour Babaev (@Arteezy) September 28, 2017
That depends on who you ask. However, if by stale you mean that the latest 7.06f patch did little to shake up the Dota 2 meta that dates back to 7.06e in July, then the meta might have gone stale.
Since 7.06, the Dota 2 meta has always gone through notable changes with each “small” update; 7.06b nerfed Sven; 7.06c slowly shaped the meta to what it is today, along with nerfs to Blade Mail and Solar Crest; 7.06d and 7.06e had a huge effect on Lina, Sand King and Bristleback.
7.06f did nothing to change the Dota 2 meta. Although teams are experimenting with Tiny, Wraith King and Bane more, they remain extremely situational at best. The same goes for Lion. Spectre too remains out of the competitive meta.
Even if we consider that the data from DotaBuff is incomplete because a number of official games were played off-ticket, the number of games aren’t enough to make any notable difference.
Hopefully, a 7.06g patch will come before the “Dueling Fates” update that will help spice up the Dota 2 meta and hopefully balance “OP” heroes such as Venomancer, Necrophos, Pugna, and Nature’s Prophet.
Do you like the current state of the Dota 2 meta? If not, what kind of changes would you like to see? Be sure to let us know your thoughts in the comments down below.