Image by HyrX
One of the biggest tournaments of the year finally starts tomorrow and it is coming right after a small balance patch that supposedly dealt with a lot of problematic meta heroes. This will have an impact on the overall professional meta and today we would like to speculate on what heroes we feel like will rise in popularity and success.
The hero was somewhat popular during the Major, but he was very much overshadowed by Broodmother and Beastmaster. The former received some big nerfs, while the latter wasn’t that successful, so we think that Lycan might be the next big thing of the patch.
The hero lanes exceptionally well, has good damage progression and is very survivable, courtesy of both high MS and high Strength gain. While lacking in Agility gain, he can go for Harpoon to get some powerful DPS spikes in teamfights, or he can build classic offlaner items like Helm of the Overlord to apply pressure across the map.
Lycan is a very flexible and powerful hero, who has some unique late-game options. His Aghanim's Scepter upgrade, Wolf Bite, isn't as popular as it used to be, but it can still solve some late-game kiting problems for a lot of melee position one heroes.
The end result is a hero who should be both popular and successful in the upcoming tournament, primarily because he currently outclasses most other DPS offlane characters.
Drow’s popularity isn’t necessarily based on her own power in the current patch. There is a reason the hero is struggling even in higher level pubs, with a below 50% win rate in most skill brackets. The professional scene is a different beast, though.
There are currently many melee support heroes who can be considered “broken”. Clockwerk, Spirit Breaker and even post-nerf Undying are all good or great heroes in the current patch who can initiate and survive fights, have a lot of disruptive abilities that force the enemy to react and are even capable damage dealers until the later stages of the midgame.
Their main weakness is that they often force the team playing these supports into an awkward double melee lane that can sometimes get punished. Drow Ranger is a solution to this problem: she is absolutely fine coming into lane with no regen, since she doesn’t really trade fair. She has high damage output and a powerful slow. With some setup she is great at killing enemy heroes and she also scales incredibly well.
Her farming speed is much slower nowadays, since she no longer gets access to Hypothermia early with the Shard and needs a full Scepter. However, this is a problem often solved by an early Hand of Midas pickup. It might sound a bit too greedy, but it allows Drow to keep up in terms of Net Worth, while also providing some early game Attack Speed, which might come in handy.
A lot of players gave up on the hero at the beginning of 7.33. Invoker lost a very powerful level 20 talent that increased Meteor damage by 80% and got an EMP Utility upgrade instead. The hero was very weak, but we feel like 7.33c made the hero even stronger than he was.
One thing to understand is that magic damage now pierces Black King Bar. It is going to be heavily mitigated, but it is still a relevant source of damage. So the old +80% Meteor Damage talent would indeed be broken in the current patch. Instead, in 7.33c Chaos Meteor got a roughly 20% buff to its damage for free. It means that pre-level 20 Invoker has higher DPS than in the old patch, while also having the ability to deal damage into debuff immunity.
On top of it, he now has a way to group enemy heroes up with EMP. The pull strength got buffed to 175 units per second, so against a hero with a speed of ~400 it is essentially a ~40% slow if they are trying to disengage from the Chaos Meteor is landing. That is with just a value point in Wex.
Add to it an absolutely ridiculous selection at level ten, where Invoker with the classic 4 Quas levels can either triple the damage of Ice Wall or get the now buffed Tornado to 24 seconds of cooldown and you get a hero who is flexible, has options against Medusa if needed, has multiple ways to engage and disengage and is ~20% stronger than he used to be from level 13 to level 20 when it comes to Chaos Meteor damage.
He also has the best Juggernaut buff in the game by a huge margin, which isn’t necessarily the biggest selling point, but does come in handy when you need a reliable position one.
It is customary for Valve to get the iconic Dota heroes in shape before the International and we feel like Riyadh Masters is going to be a test run for a lot of new heroes. There is still a “universal hero” issue, where they get to be a bit too powerful for how tanky they are in the late game, but all in all the hero variety should go in the right direction.
What are your thoughts on the upcoming tournament? Do you think there are other undiscovered gems that will shine bright in the upcoming tournament or maybe you disagree with our selection? Share your thoughts in the comments below.