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    Dota 2 – Terrorblade Dominates TI6 Qualifiers

    With only six teams invited to TI6 this year, the number of qualifying spots more than doubled, giving now two slots from each region, along with a third, Wildcard spot. It was a stark change from previous year’s TI, where the majority of attendees were invited. For this year’s qualifiers, there were higher stakes at hand.

    Team Fnatic had a chance to redeem themselves, after failing to secure an invite, despite a consistent performance throughout the year. Rival NA teams Digital Chaos and Complexity would be contending against each other for those two qualifier spots. Alliance had a resurgent year that stopped short of an invite. Then there’s Team Secret and Evil Geniuses, both top tier teams and rife with TI champions, who were at risk of not attending TI6 at all.

    Secret And EG: Never A Doubt?

    The stories for both teams is bittersweet. Amid some controversy, they dropped players and added new ones, shuffling their rosters for a better chance at success at TI. But in doing so, they put themselves in the minor leagues of the open qualifiers, where they dashed the hopes of inferior teams. It would seem to be against the spirit of the open qualifiers—that hopeful optimism where any amateur team can make it to the most prestigious Dota tournament of the year—to have a juggernaut partake in it.

    Both Secret and EG had disqualified themselves from receiving invites, and both had to run the gauntlet of the Open Qualifiers, where a best-of-1 format lends itself more to chance. Though they were favorites in every matchup, sometimes even rolling a weighted dice can end inauspiciously. Still, they didn’t drop a game as they ripped through the open qualifiers, including the last two best-of-3 series.

    Secret and EG both secured a TI6 invite through the main qualifiers by placing first in the group stage. They might have stolen a slot that would have been available had they been invited. But then again, if Secret and EG were invited, we may not have the expanded qualifiers and those slots at all. Nonetheless, Team Secret and EG have intertwining histories—friends, rivals, players that have played and coached for both teams—and their stories will extend into the main event.

    The Most Contested Heroes

    The picks and bans have been fairly consistent across all regions, except for one: only in NA is where Riki is the most banned hero. China also prioritizes Riki (3rd banned), but also has an abysmal win rate with him, at 28%. He has been trending since the Manila Major, and it doesn’t seem like he will be going away soon, especially on our own front page. We’ve talked about Riki for the past two months.

    One hero that utterly failed, spiking our own predictions in the process, was Tinker. He had the lowest win rate, 31.82%, out of at least 20 games played (Slark is right next to him, at 32.61% over 46 games). He was a victim of some severe nerfs, but his performance in high MMR pubs and limited success at the Manila Major hinted at a comeback. Certainly, teams did try, with VG.Reborn securing their TI spot with a late-pick Tinker, but the experiment may be over.

    Terrorblade: “Just Ban It”

    Terrorblade is back. He’s back in the competitive scene, where he was the 2nd most banned hero behind Death Prophet, and he’s back in our pubs, where his pick rate has nearly doubled, from 3.56% when patch 6.88 was released to a high of 7.03% on June 30th, at the end of the qualifiers.

    Could we have predicted this ascent from his minor 6.88 changes, which reduced Conjure Image’s mana cost from 80 to 70 and increased its duration from 32 to 34? His strength was unrealized in pubs, and it was only until the qualifiers until he became a juggernaut. Terrorblade in the qualifiers had a win rate of 71.67% out of 60 games played, which is the highest for any hero with at least 20 games (Mirana cuts close at 72% with 18 games played).

    It’s not that Terrorblade’s 6.88 changes tipped the scales, but rather the meta around him has shifted towards his strengths. He has benefitted from a meta where OD has receded and passive, Iron Talon-wielding, jungling offlaners have risen. It’s rare that a hero rises to the meta when so few changes occur between patches. During the Manila Major, he was picked 8 out of 322 games played. And at ESL Frankfurt, played during patch 6.88, he was picked 11 out of 190 matches.

    It would be an overreaction to nerf Terrorblade, despite his recent, outsized performance. His rise came from the meta around him, and there should be time from now until the main event for teams to adjust once again. It’s these strategic twists that happen within a patch, and within the span of a tournament, that makes Dota the game it is. A small patch change may not do much, but rather what player make of it.

    Headline Image by sandara on Deviantart

    As seen on Dotabuff

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