At the end of every year, people like to look back at the things that have made the year special, standout moments and highlights. In sports, this is the time when the best players will usually be awarded for their skills and accomplishments. Esports & gaming have started to adapt this tradition, with various game and industry awards taking place just a month ago.
We at Dotabuff could’ve put a panel together to vote for the best midlaner of all of 2017, but as our community management team puts so much focus on the meta and the gameplay aspects, we figured it’d be more appropriate to present different kinds of awards. Which hero has made the biggest impact this year, which nerfs and buffs stood out the most? Here are our awards for 2017:
Clip of the Year
With the launch of Clips earlier this year, we’ve been able to capture some of the most memorable moments in pro Dota this year. We’ve seen amazing plays and stunts this year, with numerous Aegis steals and clutch team wipes, but one moment stood out in particular, both to us and you guys. The most popular Clip of 2017 is also our pick for Clip of the Year. Skylark’s head up play lured Planet Dog into the Roshan pit, as they did not expect the second Blackhole. Together with ODPixel’s great commentary, this Clip stood out for us as the Clip of the Year.
Tournament of the Year:
This wasn’t an easy category to judge, especially since online and offline experience for tournaments differ a lot. But with three people on site and various watching, the Kiev Major was a easy pick for us. It was a fantastic tournament from a fan’s perspective with not only great games but also a great crowd in a small, but very comfortable venue. The National Palace of Arts may not house 10,000 of attendees as other events do, but it was a welcome throwback to the intimate atmosphere of Benaroya Hall or even the Boston Major.
The broadcast experience with Aui_2000 and 1437 as panelists was also a unique, but enjoyable experience. There are definitely things the Kiev Major could’ve done differently and better, but it stands out with its fantastic crowd and atmosphere, much like the Manila Major had in the previous year.
Midas Mode deserves an honorable mention in this category. While it was only an online tournament that spanned across about 2 weeks, it captivated the scene with its unique concept and execution. Moonduck and SirActionSlacks found the perfect recipe to an enjoyable, almost off-season event that had pro players and fans engaged all-throughout.
Buff of the Year:
Loading screen by liangbinge
7.06: “Added an active component to Hunter in the Night“
Night Stalker had always been a more situational pick and at the dawn of Dota 2 he was regarded as a core hero because of the need for an Aghanim’s Scepter. Providing him with flying vision across even a short distance made Night Stalker a much more potent pick this year, so much so that it has become a top pick ever since.
Rarely do support Night Stalkers purchase an Agh’s Scepter anymore, simply because they don’t need it and it opens up a variety of different item builds. The hero’s map control in various stages of the game is near unparalleled, making him a valuable 4 position support pick-up that still has the flexibility to be played as a 3 position core.
In pub games, Night Stalker’s win rate is only just above average across all brackets, but in the 5k+ MMR bracket Night Stalker has established himself at the top, with the 14th highest win rate (~54%).
Nerf of the Year
7.06: “Soldiers no longer copy Skull Basher and Abyssal Blade“
Monkey King had a tumultuous year, which peaked at the Dota Asia Championship 2017. At the event, Monkey King proved to be too strong of a hero and especially in the hands of iG support Boboka, Monkey King was a deadly weapon from the support position. A month after the event, 7.06 spelled doom for the hero with several changes, but most importantly nerfs to the ultimate. Soldiers would no longer gain additional attack damage, but most importantly they would no longer copy Skull Basher and Abyssal Blade.
These changes effectively removed any viability a roaming support Monkey King had, as scaling was and remains a huge issue for the hero. At the time, supports could scale by simply picking up an early Skull Basher, transitioning from annoying roamer to capable teamfight controller. We know today that the hero is far from dead and pros and pubs alike have acknowledged the carry potential of the hero, but support Monkey King has since become a niche pick.
Hero of the year:
Image by motenai – “Apostle of Decay” set
It could’ve been very simple to choose the hero of the year. If this was a pub only category, Pudge would take this win easily, but with the pro meta in mind, there are a few other heroes that come to mind. Some heroes have had some huge success over the year or at the very least have drawn a lot of attention towards them. Ember Spirit was a fierce monster throughout the first half of the year and Monkey King has impressed in his first year of Dota 2 and despite numerous nerfs the hero has remained relevant in both pub and pro meta.
But there can be only one winner in this category and the winner is:
As the hero with the 13th highest pick rate throughout all of 2017, Necrophos hasn’t exactly been an ever glooming presence in pub games, but his win rate of almost 56% is unmatched for a hero with his presence. Additionally, while we don’t have stats on bans in pub games, it is safe to assume that Necrophos has been targeted quite frequently, especially when he was at the height of his strength around TI.
7.07 nerfed all of his abilities and it has left the hero out of the pro meta for the most part. It is worse in pubs where the hero has dropped to a win rate below 50% in the very high skill bracket. At the beginning of the year, we crowned Necrophos the new king of pubs and many of those things have stayed true until 7.07.