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    Dota 2 – Heroes to Avoid Picking in Pubs

    Habits are hard to break, but it is necessary to adapt to new patches and balance changes. There are several heroes who persist as some of the most popular pub picks, despite being very situational or sometimes even outright bad in the current meta. Today we are going to talk about such heroes and why we think they don’t really belong in above average level pubs.

    Ember Spirit

    We don’t really know why this hero needed nerfs. He is not particularly strong in the professional scene and his pub win rate this week is below 45%. Between tankier supports being in meta and some direct nerfs, there is just no place for the hero.

    The hero is still technically powerful against illusion-based carries. His constant poke damage creates openings the team can capitalize on. However, you are not guaranteed to play against illusion heroes in your pubs and you also can’t always rely on your teammates to react in a timely manner.

    We honestly don’t see any reason to pick Ember Spirit in the current patch. He doesn’t have a strong tempo play, and neither does he scale particularly well. Avoiding the hero is probably the best play.


    Rubick is a bit weird. He probably has one of the highest potential impacts as a support, but making it work is very hard in the current patch, because of his inferior laning stage. His level one is especially painful, considering he sometimes needs to lane against popular heroes like Treant Protector.

    We feel like at the highest level of play, the first two-three minutes of the laning stage are incredibly important because better players are better at converting small advantages into bigger ones and snowballing from it. At the lower levels of play, the early game is important because cores are sometimes easily tilted. Rubick with the measly 5% damage reduction on level one Fade Bolt who can’t trade and can’t secure the lane or at least force a draw is objectively tilt-inducing.

    So just ignore the hero for a couple of patches. There are going to be situations where Rubick will look like an excellent pick, but it is simply not worth it, especially if you are playing solo.

    Drow Ranger and Juggernaut

    Two very iconic Dota 2 carries are sitting at below 47% win rate and it doesn’t look like it is going to change any time soon. Drow doesn’t really feel comfortable in the early teamfight meta: she rarely gets to play against her favorite late-game agility carries, while being quite susceptible to being gone on early.

    Juggernaut is just way too slow. Without a built-in farming tool, he has to rely on Battle Fury and even then he gets outpaced by both tempo cores and flash-farming cores. Previously he compensated for it with a very broken armor-ignoring lifesteal talent, but ever since it was fixed, the hero became close to unplayable.

    If you want to play a strong late game melee carry, you are better off playing Phantom Assassin, Sven, Faceless Void or Wraith King. With the exception of PA, all of them are stronger than Juggernaut at every stage of the game. And PA more than makes up for her laning stage with unparalleled late game burst potential.


    Snapfire can no longer be played as a core. As a support she can still work, especially in the offlane when paired with an aggressive position three, but as a core the hero just takes way too long to get off the ground. The changes to Rod of Atos and her talent distribution made her a much weaker tempo hero as well.

    A lot of Universal heroes got much weaker in 7.34, but we feel like there might still be a way to make them work, prioritizing different items and different playstyles. Perhaps Snapfire can find herself in the offlane, where right-click DPS and farming is Plan B, while Plan A is to get ahead in lane and continue applying pressure with strong magic damage abilities.

    All in all, we feel like Snapfire is playable, but there are almost always better options. She doesn’t hard counter any heroes and doesn’t offer enough as one of the opening picks during the drafting stage.

    Closing thoughts

    Do you agree with our selection or would you like to nominate other heroes for it? There are some obvious candidates, like Pudge, but at this point we gave up on trying to dissuade our readers from playing him and he was a good pick for a couple of patches in the last couple of years.

    Feel free to share your thoughts in the comment section below or just vent at your teammates who insist on picking weak and underpowered heroes.

    As seen on Dotabuff

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