The first step of the new DPC Minor and Major cycle is over and it is time to look at how the professional players adjusted to the new patch. 82 heroes picked and 87 heroes contested is a pretty decent result, considering a total of 47 matches were played. It is hard to say that “everything can work” from this statistic alone, but the meta seems to be diverse enough to allow for a great Major starting next week.
Tusk was the most contested hero of the tournament, appearing as either a pick or a ban in 100% of the matches. New Tag Team is valued highly among the professional players—it creates kill threats in lane, works as a slow, scales decently and is an overall improvement over Frozen Sigil.
The majority of Tusk players preferred maxing out Tag Team first, with value points in the other two abilities, but we did see a couple of more conservative Tusk players opting for maxed out Ice Shards.
Despite high contest rate, Tusk’s win rate wasn’t particularly impressive—the hero won 47.62% out of his 21 games. The sample size is understandably small and we shouldn’t jump to conclusions, however it doesn’t seem that the hero is overpowered, but rather reliable and consistent.
Earth Spirit, Dazzle, Beastmaster and Io all had an above 80% contest rate. The latter three are understandable—Io is a pro scene staple, while Dazzle and Beastmaster are largely perceived as exceptional heroes for the current meta. Earth Spirit, on the other hand, is an interesting new addition.
Played by six different teams, he wasn’t some sort of a signature hero for a particular player, but rather a good overall pick. Win rate above 50% supports this idea as well—the hero wasn’t played often enough to gauge his strength in the current meta precisely, but it is still safe to say he is at least playable.
Lich, Phantom Assassin and Centaur Warrunner were the three most successful heroes with more than 10 games. Lich remains one of the better supports in the current meta that has a nice combination of defense and offense—his physical damage mitigation and slow from Frost Shield allow him to completely turn around the early fights, while still being relevant even in the latest stages of the game.
Phantom Assassin exceeded our expectations as an independent core—she played and won with Magnus on her team only twice. The Battlefury build was also more popular, than a tempo one—in the majority of cases PA would rush this item to keep up with farm, instead of trying to get an early Desolator and try to gank enemy heroes.
Finally, Centaur Warrunner seems to be valued very highly as a decent initiator, strong laner and a damage-mitigating utility core later in the game. Winning 8 out of 12 games is a great result made possible with the changes to Retaliate—with this ability Centaur Warrunner is now a bigger threat in lane and a much better push hero.
Tidehunter, Dark Seer and Keeper of the Light were the most overrated heroes of the tournament, winning less than 40% of their 10+ games. The recipe for disaster is quite similar for Tide and KotL—their abilities are exceptionally strong and can turn around a fight, but the long cooldowns make it hard for them to keep the tempo or fight into buybacks. KotL after the rework now also contributes much less to the game overall, once his ultimate is on cooldown.
Dark Seer also suffers slightly from long cooldown on Wall of Replica, but the bigger problem is perhaps that the hero doesn’t have lockdown and his utility is largely dependant on the utility spells of his teammates. Moreover, Dark Seer can no longer be this reliable solo offlaner—level one Ion Shell isn’t enough to effectively contest the lane and getting to level two of the ability can be problematic without support. While jungling relatively early is still an option, the farm to in-game effectiveness conversion on the hero isn’t as high as on most other offlaners.
The Bucharest Minor gave us an idea of what to expect going forward to the Chongqing Major. Overall, the meta seems to start settling down on slightly longer and more farm oriented games, than in the initial couple of weeks of the patch.
More games at the Major probably means we will see more heroes contested as well and so far there doesn’t seem to be an unbeatable, guaranteed first phase pick or ban hero in the game. Tusk’s popularity largely depends on his consistency, while the next most contested hero is below 90% contest rate. Hopefully it means we will see even more diversity, especially from teams who had more time to analyze the patch and prepare for the tournament.