Most Played Heroes in very high and normal bracket games
The main goal of almost any Dota 2 player is to improve and attain a better MMR. To achieve this, we try to copy the tactics and the heroes utilized by pro players or pub stars with a high rating, but is this really the best way to approach the matchmaking? If you play in a team or already have a good rating, studying the high-end games could indeed help you grow as a player; otherwise, it is better to read the guides and the tips purposely created to help each kind of player. Today we are going to understand one of the reasons behind the need for a different approach: the most played heroes in the different matchmakings ranges are different, so your play style and heroes should reflect this change. We will take a look at the top 5 most played heroes in the Very High ranked and Normal not-ranked brackets during this month.
Windranger is the real queen of the very high queue with more than 900k picks during October. Her popularity boosted since v6.83, when the maximum attack speed bonus of Focus Fire increased from 400 to 500, providing her with a better DPS. She almost reached the top 10 during the same patch, attained the top 5 during v6.84 and finally reached the top spot in the current meta. She hasn’t had a positive win rate, but generally the most played heroes have more chances to be picked by inexpert hands and end up with more free losses. WR has a high mobility and versatility so she can fit in different teams, but even if not difficult to “play” she is hard to “master” - you need a good positioning to make a good use of her skills, like Shackleshot double stun.
By different patches, Shadow Fiend is a popular hero in pub and pro games. He is a good farmer with an optimal presence in any stage of the game. Even if you try to damage his early game he can always rely on the jungle to gain easy extra gold, especially when playing as Radiant, because he can easily stack and farm the camps near the mid tower. Requiem of Souls is a good AoE burst damage skill and combined with his auto-attack he is able to inflict respectable DPS during the early and mid-game. Also in the late game, he is still able to be a threat and the armor reduction provided by Presence of the Dark Lord is useful in any team with more physical damage dealers.
We consider Earthshaker a hero that requires an above-average level of skill. He can literally change the fate of a lane or teamfight, and not just in a positive way. While his AoE damage nuke Echo Slam only requires a good knowledge of timings and position, Fissure is the real deal, and being able to use this skill properly makes a big difference between a good or poor player. The skill can obstruct the movement in an area of 1344x48 and can be used for defensive or offensive purposes. Exploiting the composition of the map you can save teammates or trap enemies, but if you make a mistake, the exact opposite result could be achieved. Beware!
As in the previous patch, Lina is a popular pick in pubs and pro games, where she attained almost a 40% draft rate during this month. Her burst damage makes her an optimal choice in this meta as an offensive caster. In v6.85 she has been nerfed reducing the damage of Laguna Blade and Light Strike Array, but the pure damage inflicted by her ultimate (with the Aghanim's Scepter upgrade) makes her a dangerous threat for any carry that relies on the Black King Bar to survive, like Phantom Assassin. She is also a popular pick in the normal bracket: top 10 and same win rate.
Finally Queen of Pain, one of the heroes that best represents this meta. A ganker with a high mobility, annoying in lane and with a fearsome nuke that inflicts Pure Damage, making the enemy carry's Black King Bar pointless. Sonic Wave damage switched from magical to pure damage in v6.83 and in the same patch Blink also received a big buff increasing the max distance to 1300 on each level. In competitive games she literally jumped from 3% picks in v6.82 to one of the most picked heroes in the last two patches. She is also relatively easy to play for pub players. All you need to understand is “when to engage”, because once blinked in you will be at the mercy of the enemy without escapes. Also her ultimate requires some practice due the conic shape of Sonic Wave. Don’t miss the targets!
Moving to the normal queue, we aren’t surprised to find Pudge, probably the hero has never lost his top position. He has a high skill cap and is a super situational pick, so there is no logical reason for him to be at the most picked hero. It isn’t easy to find a good Pudge, but when it happens he can be a real pain for the enemy, especially for a disorganized low rank team that keeps being ganked due to the lack of missing calls and wards on the map. The hero is really fun to play, and this explains his vast popularity, but probably you need Dendi’s skills to rank up playing him! As a player fighting against Pudge you have to show team play, support your team, buy vision and communicate about his movements on the map.
As we have explained in our previous analysis, Phantom Assassin doesn’t fit this meta but in the Normal queue she is surely appreciated for the huge critical damage and the evasion. Many people surely don’t even know which items pick to counter her. Windranger is also in the top 5 of this bracket: her ultimate’s damage and skillset are surely attractive for any player.
Sniper is a hero appreciated by many players in the normal bracket. The ability Take Aim extends his attack range bringing it up to 950 and new players usually think that “range means survivability”. This sort of thinking is of course incorrect; Sniper is a squishy hero that requires a lot of help from his team to survive. He can easily be ganked in lane, unless the enemy team is static (which shouldn’t happen in the current meta), and in a teamfight any hero with a Blink Dagger or a skill able to get through the enemy team will dispose of him in no time. Sniper’s win rate, already negative in this bracket, falls down to 45% in Very High.
No one can resist the temptation to play a hero with Permanent Invisibility, and this is the reason behind Riki’s popularity. People don’t know how to play against him at this skill level and he exploits this situation to snowball and become a really dangerous threat. Invisibility isn’t a big deal at higher levels where people find natural to buy dusts, sentries and gems, but the situation is really different at Normal, so he is almost free to do what he wants. His win rate is positive also in the Very High queue, where he is still able to achieve a 55% - but of course, here he is a situational pick, not even in the Top 50.