The Final Match and MDL 2017 Meta Recap

The MDL 2017 Meta, more so than The Final Match 2017, tells us a lot about how the meta at TI7 is going to play out.

As such, it’s time that we take a look at the trends and hero picks that emerged from both tournaments.

The 7.06e Nerfs Take Effect

TI7 Qualifier’s Most Popular Heroes (c) DotaBuff

Whenever a new patch rolls out, the most nerfed heroes are those that saw the most recent success. True to that, the most successful heroes at the TI qualifiers all received nerfs.

This includes Night Stalker, Clockwerk, Sand King, Nyx Assassin, Puck, Lina and Queen of Pain, among many other heroes.

Sand King and Night Stalker, however, seemed to have felt the nerf hammer the most. Although the latter remained one of the most hotly contested heroes at MDL 2017, the hunter in the night was only picked 10 times out of the 56 matches in the tournament. Meanwhile, Sand King’s win rate plummeted from a respectable 47.88% during the TI qualifiers to just 35% at MDL.

The Final Match & The MDL 2017 Meta Staples

MDL 2017 Meta

MDL 2017 Popular Heroes (c) Dotabuff

Barring any patches in the coming weeks, it’s safe to say that the MDL 2017 meta offers a glimpse of what we can expect to see more of at TI7 – roamers, team fighters, and the absence of hard carries.

Unfortunately, we don’t really have much to take away from the hero picks and trends at The Final Match 2017.

The tournament featured only one TI-bound squad who were eliminated early on. Also, Alliance absolutely dominated the competition using an assortment of heroes, which skews the numbers. Not to mention, the other Grand Finalists, SG e-sports, preferred to stick with their comfort picks than to experiment and see what works.

MDL 2017 Meta

The Final Match 2017 Most Popular Heroes (c) Dotabuff

Going back to the MDL 2017 Meta, the tournament gave the likes of Earthshaker and Shadow Shaman a chance to come back. The former, in particular, has proven to be an extremely valuable flexible pick in a meta that favours team fighting and dual-roaming.

We can’t really say the same for Shadow Shaman, however.

Despite boasting a high win-rate, the hero continues to remain popular only with Chinese teams.

Say Goodbye To The Classic Hard Carries

This year’s TI will likely feature less of Anti-Mage, Spectre and Naga Siren and more of Faceless Void, Dragon Knight, Venomancer, Chaos Knight, and even Visage as position 1 carries.

Classic hard carries just have no place in the current meta.

Sure, LGD Gaming successfully used Anti-Mage in the title-clinching match against their sister squadLFY. However, that one single game merely is an exception.

Ultimately, teams value flexible picks that can contribute early and have some form of utility as carries more these days than ever before.

Faceless Void has his (???) ever-annoying Chronosphere while Venomancer has Plague Wards and Poison Nova for lane control and team fights. Visage has his familiars, which, in the right hands, can be very annoying. Dragon Knight is tanky, stable and can take towers down faster without needing to farm much.

Finally, we have Chaos Knight, whose illusions allow him to completely change the outcome of team fights on his own and take down towers with relative ease.

Who’s In and Out of the Meta?

Picked only 6 times throughout the tournament with a 33% win-rate, it’s probably safe to say that Lina is out of the meta by now. The nerf to Dragon Slave had a huge effect on her midgame impact, while Fiery Soul no longer gives her a significant advantage in late-game situations.

Going forward, we’ll likely see less of Sand King, Batrider, Rubick – picked 23, 17 and 11 times respectively with roughly 35% win rates MDL 2017 – as well. While Clockwork fared even worse. The hero was picked only five times with a 20% win rate.

After a stint as one of the least effective picks at EPICENTER 2017, Kunkka now seems to have bounced back, posting a 60% win rate across 15 games at MDL 2017.

With Shadow Fiend, Dragon Knight and Ember Spirit continuing to suffer from atrocious win rates, we’ll probably see more of Death Prophet, Bristleback, Troll and the surprisingly still-viable Queen of Pain in the middle lane at TI7 in August.

Final Thoughts

We now only have DreamLeague Season 7 as the only big tournament remaining before the big one finally starts in August.

Right now, the results of MDL 2017 tells us the most about the current state of the meta and how teams stack up gainst each other ahead of TI7.

Of course, we can never say for sure; Valve could decide to change things up and introduce a new set of nerfs and buffs with a new patch.

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