No matter whether you are looking for bragging rights, extra battle pass points or simply want to enhance your viewer experience, we are here to help. Dota Fantasy League has been an important part of the International for several years now, but it might still be worth refreshing how the whole system works and updating our expectations of different players.
First of all, simply participating in the Fantasy League will likely get you in the top 25%. It is not everyone’s cup of tea and though its popularity has been steadily increasing over the years, it is not ubiquitous.
Secondly, there is no need to obsess over extra stats from silver and gold player cards. The bonuses are pretty underwhelming most of the time and mostly just work as a tiebreaker for the top 1000 or so players on the leaderboards. That said, Observer Wards placed, Camps Stacked and Teamfight Participation are a priority for Supports, while Kills and Tower last hits are the only potentially meaningful bonuses for cores.
Finally, while the fantasy league only calculates the best two games of a bo3, it still takes into account all points from multiple series in a day. That means you don’t need to guess which teams are most evenly matched in a series, but you do need to pick players from teams that play multiple series a day.
Best cores to pick
Kills, tower last hits and teamfight participation are the most important metrics for core players in the Fantasy League. GPM and Last Hits are nice, but they don’t really translate into meaningful points too well.
With 0.003 points per last hit and 0.002 points per GPM, a player with ~700 last hits and ~1000 GPM would get 2.1 and 2 points respectively for each category. It is comparable to either 7 kills or 2 tower kills, which is a lot less statistically extreme, so don’t go for farming cores, go for bloodthirsty murderers. And generally don’t go for offlane players, since they tend to score low.
Miracle- is probably the most Fantasy-impressive core player in the tournament. Almost 10 kills on average per game with a relatively small amount of deaths makes him a safe pick on any day Team Liquid plays more than one series in.
Paparazi灬, PSG.LGD.Ame, Nisha and RAMZES666 are also great, consistent picks, but you probably knew about all these players or at least heavily considered them. But what if Team Secret is not playing two series in a day or there is no chance PSG.LGD is going to tiebreakers at the end of the group stage? Here is when you need your B Team.
There are players who have comparable and even better stats than aforementioned established cyber athletes, but they are untested and unproven. They play on teams that might be weaker and it is expected they will do worse against the toughest competition of the International. But they definitely deserve your recognition and consideration, especially if they have extra series in a day.
Nikobaby is the second most impressive core after Miracle, at least according to the stats. He has the second highest amount of kills, third highest KDA and the lowest amount of deaths across all attendees. Naturally, his competition this year might not have been on the level of what Miracle had to face in the qualifiers, but the potential is there and this potential is definitely worth considering.
Calling ana untested and unproven is, frankly, weird, but it is what it is—OG didn’t pick up pace until the second half of the year and once again they are going to TI as a Dark Horse. Despite all that, Ana is still an excellent Fantasy pick that easily rivals the A-listers in terms of stats and depending on OG’s performance in the first couple of days, you can easily move him into the “first choice” category.
And to complete our bench, we nominate Gabbi from TNC Predator and m1CKe from Alliance. Once again, initially you should consider them good picks for when the A-list players have fewer series in a day, but should adjust, if their team starts overperforming.
These nine players should more or less cover all your Fantasy core needs, but you should still be very flexible—there is at least one breakaway star each year.
best mids to pick
Going with mids from DPC season top4 is always a safe bet. These teams are expected to win most of their games and do well in them. For this reason, Ori, No[o]ne-, SumaiL- and MidOne are going to be on our A-list.
For our B list we are, once again, going to look at the stats, with a heavy emphasis on Kills, Deaths and Tower Damage as the main factors. Somnus and Armel clearly stand out.
In fact, it is statistically justifiable to switch MidOne and Maybe in your A and B lists, since while MidOne is expected to win more games, Maybe is just so much better in terms of stats. Moreover, comparatively underperforming PSG.LGD is still a team to be reckoned with and is still ahead of most competition.
To complete our bench, we are going to go with Abed and MagicaL. These two are an unknown and it is hard to predict what kind of performance should we expect from their teams, despite them having great stats on paper. If their teams start doing well it is absolutely justifiable to promote them to your A list, replacing underperforming mids. It might also be reasonable to ditch them completely otherwise.
Best supports to pick
Wards placed and Camps Stacked are ridiculously overpriced categories for support players. Moreover, every TI, at least in the beginning, many teams start to play more conservatively, going for economic potential over constant pressure. That means we are looking at position five supports with greedier cores that like to hit creeps, rather than risk it in teamfights.
Puppey, Fly, SoNNeikO and pieliedie are going to be on our A list. The ability to place wards and stack camps is a lot less dependant on the overall performance of the team, so going with riskier supports is more than justified. In fact, there is an argument to be made that you should generally go with the “middle of the pack” teams, since they are most likely to have longer game averages which directly translates into more wards placed.
We will also place TIMS on our A list. He is the only position four support we are going to mention, but he is probably worth it. TNC Predator has the longest game average and Tims has the highest kill participation and one of the highest assist averages.
For our B list, we are going to go with e, for the reasons mentioned above and will also add PPD and xNova, since they are the middle of the pack position five supports.
Finally, we will also mention Dy and KuroKy as backups for our backups. Both Vici Gaming and Team Liquid have too aggressive of a playstyle to have consistently long games where they stack and place wards continuously and they are also pretty high in overall team rankings, especially taking into account recent results. They are by no means bad picks, but definitely require extra monitoring on your side.
As discussed previously, players should be really flexible when making their choices for the day in the fantasy league. The International is a capricious and unpredictable beast and it is more or less guaranteed some favorites are going to underperform, while the underdogs rise. Because of that, we are going to heavily monitor the overall fantasy rankings of the players and add extra details in the comment section below.