It’s been more than half a year since we did our last Tier List, and now is an excellent time to have a look at how meta has changed since then. During this period we’ve received numerous small patches, all aimed at making pub play and The International balanced as possible.
Despite a slightly increased amount of “Stomper” heroes, Valve introduced changes that have also made the “Repick” tier much smaller: the number of consistently underperforming heroes has halved from 14 to 7. Overall, the distribution across tiers has tightened significantly around the 50% mark. Interestingly, the patches have also increased the amount of heroes which have above 50% winrate: there are now 8 more heroes who win more than half of their games, compared to January statistics. Once again we will only be using the Very High Skill bracket data for the tier list.
Underlord, Zeus, Spirit Breaker
Underlord is the only hero who managed to stay in this tier throughout the period. His pub dominance is especially impressive, given how he is the second most successful hero in the 5k+ bracket. The hero offers a lot of teamfight potential with his spells and remains relevant throughout the game because of his aura. That said, he isn’t particularly flexible as offlane is the only position where the hero retains his impressive win rate. When played as a support, his win rate drops to below 50%, while mid Underlords remain only situationally viable with 51% win rate across a very small sample size.
Both Zeus and Spirit Breaker have received small buffs, which allowed them to get promoted from the “Winners” tier. The Zeus buffs are numerous and have been discussed in great detail in our previous blog post. Spirit Breaker hasn’t really changed much, but an overall improvement of Strength heroes coupled with meta changes allowed the Space Cow to truly shine. The hero is also quite flexible and capable of filling both support and offlane positions. Though the latter is a less popular option in high MMR games, where Spirit Breaker is primarily played as a position 4 support with some heavy roaming and early game bullying.
Visage, Necrophos, Lich, Omniknight, Riki, Drow Ranger, Sven, Bloodseeker, Clinkz, Silencer, Shadow Shaman, Ursa, Centaur Warrunner, Spectre, Chaos Knight
Sven has jumped three tier in the last 6 month, rising to the “Winners” tier from the “Avoid” one. Given the return of the jungle, positive changes to Strength heroes and multiple personal buffs it is unsurprising, yet still impressive. Despite the number tweaks and a slight rework of God’s Strength, the hero remains largely the same both in his itemization and playstyle, with the exception of Helm of the Dominator, which has been severely nerfed.
Another big winner is Clinkz, who rose 2 tiers. We’ve discussed the hero in great detail in one of our previous blog posts, outlining the biggest changes to the hero and their impact on his success. Returning to the HotD discussion — the item is definitely worth considering on a support if you have Clinkz on your team, as it will give him at least 36 extra damage and 360 HP at level 3 Death Pact.
Clockwerk, Bounty Hunter, Jakiro, Wraith King, Viper, Venomancer, Sniper, Crystal Maiden, Phantom Assassin, Nyx Assassin, Faceless Void, Ogre Magi, Abaddon, Winter Wyvern, Ancient Apparition, Vengeful Spirit, Undying, Troll Warlord, Earthshaker, Pudge, Huskar, Arc Warden, Warlock, Tidehunter, Phantom Lancer, Brewmaster, Night Stalker, Skywrath Mage, Luna, Weaver, Elder Titan, Slardar, Treant Protector, Pugna, Witch Doctor, Lycan, Anti-Mage
A lot of heroes have transitioned from the “Situational” tier to the solid one, some of which we have previously covered: Venomancer, Night Stalker, Earthshaker and Clockwerk have been performing very well lately.
Phantom Lancer is probably the biggest winner in the whole tier, coming from the “Avoid” section. The hero has received some much needed buffs and is no longer completely terrible in high MMR games. His win rate remains positive even in the 5k+ bracket, where he wins 50.10% of his games. And he is definitely the hero to look out for as a surprise pick during the TI.
Enigma, Axe, Death Prophet, Disruptor, Tinker, Mirana, Phoenix, Dazzle, Terrorblade, Bane, Ember Spirit, Storm Spirit, Kunkka, Lina, Meepo, Dark Seer, Windranger, Sand King, Dragon Knight, Juggernaut, Queen of Pain, Templar Assassin, [missing hero: outworld-devourer], Rubick, Keeper of the Light, Razor, Shadow Demon
Windranger rose all the way from the “Repick” tier. She received nothing but buffs since 7.01 and the meta also favors her slightly more than it used to. If previously the hero felt out of place in pretty much any draft, currently she is strong enough to be a very strong midgame teamfight hero against heavy physical damage lineups. Her utility has also increased substantially, opening a way for a support position. Though, to be fair, the hero is slightly too inconsistent to be seriously considered for professional play, only appearing in very specific scenarios for specific teams.
Queen of Pain is another hero who made the leap from <44% win rate. In fact, she was the second most picked hero during TI qualifiers, after receiving nothing but buffs up until 7.06e. In the qualifiers aftermath her base damage and level 25 spell lifesteal talent were nerfed. The buffs primarily focused on her talent tree, increasing their value, but she also won big time from the meta changes and playstyle development. Once her Blade Mail build was canned by Valve, she lost a lot of appeal, until Mjollnir became the go to item for the hero, providing almost the same amount of survivability and damage, while also allowing the hero to remain a relevant right-clicker. On top of it the meta currently favors self-sufficient cores with high teamfight potential.
Finally, there is Razor — another former reject. As was the case with the previous two heroes, Razor’s rise to power is a combination of personal buffs (mostly QOL improvements) and meta changes. Securing the midgame became extremely important in this patch and Razor definitely excels at it.
Invoker, Doom, Earth Spirit, Lion, Timbersaw, Lifestealer, Morphling, Chen, Shadow Fiend, Leshrac, Magnus, Gyrocopter, Oracle, Puck, Slark, Monkey King, Legion Commander, Bristleback, Enchantress, Broodmother, Batrider, Beastmaster, Tusk, Techies
We’ve assumed the Monkey King is going to fall from favor and it is definitely the case — hero’s win rate decreased enough for him to fall all the way from the “Solid” tier. There are numerous problems the hero is facing. Ever since the Wukong’s Command change, which left him with no damage and no potential bash procs, the hero’s been lacking identity — it isn’t quite clear whether the hero wants to deal damage, provide utility or be a frontliner. Moreover, meta has shifted away from dedicated roaming supports, especially the ones who have almost no impact in the late game and can’t transition into a semi-core. In his current state, the hero is too all over the place to be seriously considered.
Interestingly, Bristleback is also a part of the “Avoid” tier. He was here 6 months ago as well, but had a brief moment of fame where he was so powerful he even deserved his own “Dealing with…” blog post. It is unclear whether the hero will return to the pub meta, but he remains a popular pick and ban in the pro scene.
Some other heroes in this tier are former “Repick” material, who have received some buffs and are no longer almost unplayable in the pub environment. The tightening of the win rate spread is definitely a good sign for a varied International, and while pub and pro scene do not necessarily always agree on certain heroes, there is at least some correlation between the two.
Naga Siren, Tiny, Lone Druid, Nature’s Prophet, Medusa, Io, Alchemist
Lone Druid has lost a lot of appeal since his fighting build got severely nerfed. It was especially hard on pubs, since it was easier to execute effectively and the hero is currently in a very bad shape with almost no signs of life.
Medusa’s downfall is more of a product of meta, rather than direct nerfs. There is simply no place for a fully farm-oriented hero in the game right now. Even the typical “hard carries” such as Spectre and Terrorblade are capable of providing benefits for their team in the early to midgame: the former can go for an early Blade Mail and be a very strong frontliner with global presence, while the latter can become a pushing machine very early. Medusa doesn’t do anything until very late into the game, and every single hero receiving a Strength gain increase only exacerbated her problems. The only way we might see her work during the International is in a Drow-Medusa combo, and even then it is a high risk-moderate reward type of deal.
Same things can also be said about Naga Siren — she is just too slow. And there are many far better options for a support role.
Alchemist, the “worst” hero in the game right now is very similar to Naga, and his position in the tier list perfectly reflects the similarities. Radiance on illusion heroes is currently a game-losing strategy, unless you are Spectre. And both Naga and Alchemist got too dependant on this item and are now facing the consequences, despite the buffs the latter received in 7.06e.