The Chongqing Major was a strange tournament. There were almost no technical issues and it completely disproved any notions that the Chinese crowd is only interested in the games of the Chinese teams, with a full venue during the Grand Finals between Virtus.Pro and Team Secret. It was a well produced and a well received tournament, but at the same time it was also one of the least diverse tournaments in the last several years.
89 heroes or 76% of the overall hero pool was contested and 84 heroes were picked across 96 games. It is a poor result if you are accustomed to the diversity of Dota. Something about this patch doesn’t work as well as it should.
Luckily it didn’t have a huge impact on the quality of the games. The average match duration for the tournament was around 35 minutes, but we’ve seen games go much longer or much shorter than that. There was intense back-and-forth, there were stomps and there were overwhelmingly powerful cheese strats, both trying to rush the opponent or delay the game.
Somehow, however, these strategies were executed with roughly the same heroes. These heroes were discussed at length in our blog and closely mirror what we’ve seen during the Bucharest Minor. Instead of going through the same list once again we are going to concentrate on the 27 uncontested heroes of the tournament, highlighting why they might be unfavored by the professionals.
The hero is in a pretty bad place across the board. The overall increase in the amount of gold on the map made his strong points a lot less pronounced, while his poor laning stage was the final nail in the coffin of his viability.
Compared to a somewhat similar “acceleration” hero like Anti-Mage, Alchemist is incapable of prolonging the game safely by himself. The former can still cut waves and split-push to slow down the pace of the game and farm up. Alchemist is never as safe and rarely as fast.
The hero really doesn’t offer much until his level six and in a meta where trilanes are back, while denies still only give 25% XP this is too greedy. His previous trilane equalizing spell was changed and given to Tusk, so he can’t even offer that.
The hero might actually be good if your trilane is facing a solo offlaner and it might actually work in pubs. But in the professional scene most opponents will simply adjust by switching their lanes at the start of the game.
This one is actually interesting. Bloodseeker has good starting stats, stat growth and his power spike comes early enough for the hero to matter. The problem is probably in his laning stage.
Bloodseeker is a good laner, but he can’t be a part of a trilane in the current patch—the hero needs his XP early on to have a chance of having an impact on the game. He can be a solo offlaner in a 1v1, but he is outclassed by many heroes in terms of both tempo and utility. He also potentially loses many mid matchups and is incredibly susceptible to ganks.
Bounty Hunter suffers the same problems as Alchemist—his team gold acceleration is redundant in an already fast patch. Sure, you can make the early game of the enemy supports harder and maybe even gank successfully a couple of times, but then your utility is limited to a melee range slow and an interrupt—not something professional teams can afford.
Broodmother is a very niche hero and it makes her incredibly hard to assess by non-dedicated players. The problem might be that she isn’t a group up and push hero or that she can’t dominate her lane as comfortably as she used to. We honestly don’t know why the ultimate cheese pick no longer seems viable and would be happy if your shared your thoughts on that.
There is a degree of similarity between Chaos Knight and an extremely popular Terrorblade—both heroes really don’t want to fight without their main “ultimate”, be it Phantasm or Metamorphosis. It is even possible to argue that in teamfights Phantasm is actually stronger.
The problem is in the downtime—Terrorblade is still one of the fastest farming heroes in the game, while CK really suffers in this regard. Moreover, while teamfight impact between these two spells might be similar, Terrorblade is also much stronger when it comes to pushes, as he can stand at a relatively safe distance.
Dark Willow needs her level six to be effective and in a trilane vs. trilane environment it comes way too late. She also doesn’t offer as much guaranteed utility early on as most other position four supports popular in the meta.
Once again, it is a problem of midgame utility that makes Enchantress so unpopular. She can be extremely safe in a 1v1 and will at least break even in most lanes, but capitalizing even on a great start can be problematic for this hero. She can also die to randomly flying spells in the early game and good teams generally draft a healthy mix of physical and magical damage.
Legion Commander can’t guarantee her farm as well as other offlane heroes and she also arguably needs more of it. If she can’t hit her Blink Dagger or Shadow Blade timings, her game can go awry and even if she does the prevalence of casual Bracers, Wraith Bands and Null Talismans make her game a lot harder.
Yet another Strength core that can’t be in the offlane and doesn’t offer as much as the first position carry. Juggernaut does more in lane, scales better and has a more pronounced teamfight presence, if you are looking for a punishment on a lineup that has no spell immunity-piercing disables.
The hero is too all-in on push and it might actually work against weaker opponents, but better teams will always find a way to avoid fights and prolong the game. Lycan doesn’t scale well enough to survive such circumstances and once he falls off, there is no plan B. Moreover, with Dark Seer popular in the meta, Lycan isn’t even necessarily going to be the alpha wolf in terms of speed.
Mirana’s absence from the meta is surprising. She can be played in multiple roles and can be devastating in trilanes, almost guaranteeing a kill with some set-up. The hero doesn’t offer as much utility as other position four supports or position three cores and doesn’t scale as well as other mids, but she is still a flex pick and that was generally valued highly in previous patches. Perhaps the hero is simply too weak in general to be considered.
Playing around day and night cycle is one of the more satisfying Dota mechanics, but it isn’t particularly effective or consistent. You can’t fight during the day and can’t afford to lose fights during the night—the tempo swing can be too devastating. Moreover, it is hard to find a role for a hero who you generally don’t want to be farming, but who isn’t as effective without items.
Current meta revolves around Agility carries and the extra Attack Speed is often redundant on them. Ogre Magi still offers a great body, a potent slow and a reliable stun, but his scaling isn’t as impressive, while his midgame isn’t as dominant. With his utility presence either subsitutable or redundant, it is no wonder he was ignored in the tournament.
Once again, it is hard to place the hero on the map. As a position three he doesn’t offer lockdown utility of heroes like Beastmaster or Centaur. As a support, he is way too greedy. Omniknight can still turn fights around and Heavenly Grace is a decent substitute for Repel, but you will always feel awkward with this hero on your team, at least for the first 10 minutes of the game.
Very similar to Bounty Hunter, Riki simply doesn’t do much, except for support annoyance. He isn’t good in a trilane and isn’t effective enough as a solo hero, except for some ludicrous starts. Players have been toying with the idea of a position one Riki, but, once again, it is high risk-moderate reward proposition: the hero doesn’t farm fast enough and doesn’t scale as well as most other cores.
Sand King can be a good position three or four hero. Reliable stun, high-damage ultimate and support taxation all seem like a recipe for a popular and effective hero, but he isn’t one. The main reason for it is that he is simply outclassed in the current meta—you don’t need damage from your position three or four hero, but you do welcome either spell immunity-piercing effects or other utility tools from them. With how early Centaurs, Tusks and Beastmasters are picked, there is little to no space for SK.
This hero is all about damage and that makes him unfit for a support in the current meta. Current gameplan for most teams is two DPS heroes and three utility ones—Terrorblade, PA, OD and to a certain extent even Juggernaut are all glass cannons in the early stages of the game. They provide more than enough damage and all they need is a safe way to dish it out. Skywrath Mage doesn’t offer it, while still losing DPS-wise to other mid heroes.
Changes to Bloodstone as well as renewed focus on mid lane as a lane for semi-tempo heroes completely killed Storm Spirit. This hero needs a lot of farm to be effective, won’t necessarily deal enough damage in the late game to justify it and can feel powerless in lane. Storm Spirit is currently below 40% win rate in highest level pubs and this won’t change without some direct buffs.
The hero looks pretty good on paper but he is very cooldown reliant. Given enough time and space he can prove himself as a support, but the games are simply too fast for him to catch up. Living Armor is still an amazing spell, but given how most teams now prefer to group up and 100 to 0 a couple of towers in one go once they have an advantage, at least half of the spells utility is wasted.
Ursa can’t be a position one core—he simply doesn’t scale well enough in a meta with Terrorblade and Phantom Assassin. What he offers in terms of killing Roshan is also overshadowed by his low tower damage. He could potentially work as a lane counter to some popular heroes, but outside of the mid lane matchups his presence is justifiably low.
Once again, long cooldowns on supports are too punishing in the current patch. You want your supports to run around creating space and not sit back behind their carry for 75% of the game, without applying any pressure. Proactive play is rewarded, passive play is punished more than ever and Warlock is simply too passive.
We believe Witch Doctor could actually work as a position five support. Paralyzing Cask is both annoying and effective in trilanes, while Voodoo Restoration can be a game-changer in a trilane vs. trilane setup. The problem is probably how the hero has to make a choice between being a lane equalizer or a strong midgame ganking support, whereas many currently popular heroes are more than capable in both regards.
Once again, it is not a good patch for position one Strength carries and the offlane is currently occupied by higher utility heroes. Wraith King doesn’t do as much with farm, doesn’t scale and while his laning is decent, it might be hard for him to capitalize on it. Second life in engagements can be pretty powerful, but probably not as powerful as being able to kill enemy cores in less than five attacks or having massive, sustainable ranged damage.
BKBs come earlier, everyone is buying cheap transition items and that completely destroys the powerspike of Zeus. The hero simply doesn’t deal enough damage in a meta where you can have Centaur Warrunner running around 17 minutes in with almost 3000 HP and a Hood. Even when BKBs get short and the passive is maxed out, Zeus is still going to be inferior to heroes like OD in terms of damage, since the scaling on his abilities isn’t as pronounced.