Hero Tier List – February 2013

First Tier – The Essentials

Keeper_of_the_LightBatriderMagnusShadow-DemonWispLone-DruidLifestealerPhantom-LancerGyrocopterUndyingDark-SeerNyx_Assassin

These heroes are rarely missing from every game we see these days and can be categorized in three groups. First are the versatile heroes with several lane options and great team fight potential like Nyx Assassin, Magnus, Batrider, and Dark Seer. The second group includes usual participants of the trilanes that have been quite prevalent in tournaments for the past few weeks, after the craze of pulling mid neutral camps died down. Heroes like Keeper of the Light, Shadow Demon, Undying, Wisp and Gyrocopter can support the trilane’s carry and help with their disables to get the advantage over the opponent’s trilane. The most popular carries are in the third group of the essentials. Lone Druid can start in the off lane or farm in the safe lane if the team has an offensive trilane and presents a great option for the late game, as his and his bear’s slots fill with expensive items. Lifestealer with his innate BKB is a popular choice while teams also seem to have discovered the power of the agility buffed Phantom Lancer, with his great split pushing ability.

Second Tier – The Standards

RubickLunaQueen-of-PainEnigmaBounty_HunterChenChaos_KnightBrewmasterLinaClinkzSvenTemplar_Assassin

Here we find the heroes that may not be as hot and ‘trendy’ as first tier’s but they are often seen in tournaments, usually picked in the second phase (3rd to 5th pick). This tier is populated with a lot of mid lane heroes who can dictate the game’s pace; Queen of Pain, Templar Assassin, Brewmaster, and Rubick. Clinkz is a versatile hero that has been tried solo in all three lanes and can snowball off killing squishy supports, once he farms his Orchid. Enigma and Chen are two very fast junglers who also have ganking potential in the early game and can help push quickly with the aid of their summons. For that very strategy, Luna is a popular choice that can gain control of the early game while still being one of the best farmers in the game. Chaos Knight and Sven are two carries that are usually paired with Wisp to spread panic in enemy lines, although some teams prefer them in other roles – CK as a secondary carry and Sven as a support. Bounty hunter’s Track is recognized as one of the strongest ultimates that can help turn a game around, that’s why he is a regular pick as offlane solo. On the support front, Lina’s stun and decent scaling damage have made her a usual participant in trilanes.

Third Tier – The Why-nots

BaneSand-KingShadow-FiendFaceless_VoidNight_StalkerWindrunnerLeshracJakiroTinkerPuckNatures-ProphetNaga_Siren

This tier consists of the alternative picks that may not appear frequently but several pro players consider their favourite heroes. The main group involves once more mainly mid heroes that need the early levels to dominate; Night Stalker, Shadow Fiend, Puck, and Tinker. Next group contains versatile heroes that often fill the final missing spot in a lineup and play completely differently depending on their level of farm. Windrunner, Leshrac and Nature’s Prophet offer great pushing, disables and, if you want to invest in it, terrible terrible damage. Naga Siren and Faceless Void are two carries that are not seen as often as six months ago, the former due to patch nerfs and the latter due to tactics that require the carry to participate much earlier in team fights and ganking attempts. Bane, Sand King and Jakiro are handy heroes for trilanes and can also change the flow of every teamfight with their spells, thus making them frequently picked.

Fourth Tier – The Surging and the Dwindling

AlchemistClockwerkKunkkaTinyAnti-MageEnchantressInvokerVisageWeaverVengeful_SpiritTidehunterStorm-Spirit

Here lie the trends of the past and the future. Picks that were fought over as recently as the International are now rarely seen, like Invoker, Tidehunter and Enchantress. Heroes like Weaver and Storm Spirit are also used more as surprise picks or specific counters to opponent strategies. The ever-present Anti-Mage has also fallen hard.

One the other hand, we have heroes that have that are making their entrance in several games, enough to be noticed and perhaps picked more often in the future. Visage is an extremely useful tool for a trilane, (FLUFF can vouch for that) as is Vengeful Spirit, who is also a part of early pushing compositions because of her aura. The list is completed by Alchemist (constantly buffed over the last patches, Tiny (Wisp’s second best buddy), Clockwerk (who is becoming a decent offlane option) and Kunkka (whose teamfight potential is beginning to be discovered).

Still to Come

Silencer

Silencer will make his re-appearance in the tournament scene of Dota and it remains to be seen if he can actually become a steady choice for teams or he will be forgotten somewhere between the Fourth Tier and public games.

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29 Responses to Hero Tier List – February 2013

  1. professorpeanut says:

    If I may ask, how is it that someone as versatile as Invoker has fallen off in usage? Not that I root for him, but I thought his arsenal always made him a valuable and unpredictable choice.

    • Salokin says:

      Invoker is a hero that scales extremely well with quick levels so his natural position is in the middle lane. After getting his base damage lowered twice (5 points in patch 6.72 and 4 in 6.75), he has trouble winning mid, which would allow him to control the game and the teamfights. He is still picked but not as often, compared to a few months ago.

    • D3mon says:

      The nerfs that were made to him made him more dependent on support early game, something that Invoker really hates. Being one of the most level dependent heroes, Invoker needs solo lanes to be able to dominate in mid game then scaling into late game as a powerhouse. The nerfs to his damage results in the more risky exort build to last hit better as opposed to the usual quas build which most pro players enjoy. With less last hit power, Invoker’s items tend to be delayed, making him unable to gank as early as he would like. This would make his mid-late game tougher than it should and make him a less viable pick.

    • FROmatoe says:

      No creepwave control skill in the early levels. Less base damage. No rune control.

      Last hitting with Invoker is hard unless you go into Exort, which limits your options.

      Rune control is hard. you have no way of getting the rune, or keeping the rune away from your opponent when they can just nuke the wave and have you pushed behind your tower. A free rune means ganking possibilities, more sustain, more attempts to kill you and push you out of lane.

      This also means he has no way of leaving the lane and being able to gank without mid tower being killed.

  2. Jase says:

    Why is keeper suddenly popular past few months? Nothing about him has changed.

    • Salokin says:

      We were not seeing trilanes for a long period but once they became fashionable, teams discovered the power of Ezalor pretty quickly. Great harass/anti-push, mana refreshing (that synergizes with an awful lot of heroes in the early game), and the ability to leave your carry farming and recalling him for the fight have been the main strengths that brought him to top tier.

      • basdfasd says:

        What are you talking about? Tri-lanes were always the standard in competitive DotA.

      • Salokin says:

        Trilanes were very popular in the past and they obviously are now too. In my opinion, during 2012, we mainly saw pseudo-trilanes with 2+jungler, sometimes dual mid lanes (carry+support) and at the end of the year there was that whole mid radiant pulling neutrals weirdness which threw everything out the window. All strategies in Dota seem to come into fashion and then fade as teams learn how to counter them, until some team rediscovers them and the circle begins anew.

      • vtrane says:

        Trilanes were used but it wasn’t until they buffed bounty gold for ganks that they became standard. It made the meta game a lot more aggressive and really phased out the pushing and turtle strats we saw before 6.76.

      • osiris says:

        its just that players got to know how to use him efficiently now.
        and yes trilanes were standard in competitive dota but not in dota2,they became standard just recently

    • D3mon says:

      Mana fountain, strong push/counter push, fits into the current metagame excellently. Kotl was never a top pick because he was not a support with an instant disable like Lion and Venge. On top of that, he has virtually no late game power compared to most other supports. Back in Dota, the metagame was more late game oriented due to the legendary ZSMJ and the Chinese powerhouses. In Dota 2, it is more mid game oriented, making KOTL a more viable pick since he caps around the 35 minute mark in terms of effectiveness.

  3. vtrane says:

    I’d say puck is on his way to tier 2. He is seeing tons of plays and its a pretty good option against power mids like qop and bat.

    • D3mon says:

      No. Puck is a very poor pick against power mids like QOP and Bat. For every time a Puck dodges a 100 damage poison sting, he can receive over 200 damage in right click damage while his phase shift is on cooldown. Same for bat. Dodge the flamebreak but still get burnt from firefly. He is most viable against heroes like Brewmaster and Magnus. Others like Rexxar and Windrunner would just obliterate Puck very hard with either right click damage or in Rexxar’s case, the return damage of his axes. His late game is also fairly weak compared to bat and qop. With agha, qop can easily clear pushes and can be played as a hard carry with right clicks. Bat fails in the right click side but brings the ability to pick off a hero even though he has bkb. Also, an extended teamfight would be to bat’s benefit if he survives it since he can stack on so many napalm stacks that flame break and firefly would deal insane amounts of damage. Puck brings a lot of lock down but that lock down becomes useless late game since key items like bkb and manta would be up for most players. So puck is not as viable as you think.

  4. HeliaXDemoN says:

    IMO: Only need to remove Alch.

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  6. Where should be Morph in this List ?

    • Salokin says:

      Morph has only been picked a couple of times in 2013. After the 6.75 patch nerfs, he has disappeared from competitive play, since there are several better options for the carry position. He will probably need more buffs than his cast animation to reappear in the scene.

  7. vesper says:

    Could you elaborate on the increase in Gyro usage?

    • Dota 2 Guide says:

      I would like to know this as well if you don’t mind.

      • Salokin says:

        As discussed in comments above, Gyrocopter’s popularity is directly connected with the rise of trilanes in the past couple of months and the aggressive styles we are observing, after the AoE bounty gold buff.

        As a carry, he is quite similar to Luna, being useful earlier than most hard carries but also scaling well with damage items (and divine rapiers) in the end game. He has excellent teamfight potential, a pre-casted stun, he can clear stacked camps extremely quickly with his abilities, he can fight as early as he gets his BKB.

        No Tidehunter started using him as a secondary support (the 4th position) a month ago because he can be extremely potent without soaking the farm from the other positions. He offers great pushing and anti-pushing capability, he can flash-farm the jungle if camps are available, he can roam to initiate with his stun, he can counter initiate to turn a gank or a teamfight around.

        This versatility is also a great edge for the drafting phase. A first/second pick of Gyrocopter helps covering up your real strategy, allowing you to bluff playing him as a carry and then drafting a hard carry in the next pick phase.

  8. vesper says:

    any thoughts on axe’s viability in competitive games? puppey’s recent use in conjunction with dark seer has been fun to watch.

    • Salokin says:

      We’ve only seen Puppey and Maelk play him occasionally and he had a grand total of 1 appearance in TI2 from Zenith. In my opinion, he will is always picked for very specific counters as a surprise, usually drafted last and never in important matches. He lacks the versatility of most initiators; he can’t play solo offlane (mainly because of no escape skill), his jungling is not quick enough, and he often needs support in his lane. To sum it up, Axe is too manly for the current metagame. :)

  9. roi says:

    Great Website !

  10. Brody Whiteman says:

    I think you’ll find that Beastmaster is still a common pick nowadays, definitely not his old Tier 2 spot but is an arguable Tier 3

  11. Jim Burgundy says:

    Just a question about pro team comp. How many heroes would a pro team pick from each tier on average? Obviously countering is involved at that level, i’m just curious.

    Great site btw. Looking forward to seeing the updated tier listings!

    • Salokin says:

      Effective drafting is about starting the game with the heroes that you had originally planned for your strategy and leaving your opponent with the fewest counters for it. Of course, it’s natural that most strategies would include the most powerful heroes but there are more factors that affect the final composition.

      1) Synergy
      There are several picks that complement specific heroes and add to their overall strength. For example, Wisp can combo with Chaos Knight far better than any other support, creating a top tier duo. On the other hand, it is common for teams to avoid heroes with abilities or styles that overlap. That’s why one would be better off not picking a second invisible hero, if you already have one in your team.
      2) Laning
      Picking five top tier heroes will not win you the game if they cannot win their lanes and find the space to farm. There are compositions that look great on paper but are easily countered by aggressive laning or fall behind quickly if they don’t get enough farm towards the mid-game.
      3) Familiarity
      All teams have signature heroes who may not even be in the tier list because their players can take full advantage of the hero’s potential. Banning Dendi’s Pudge happens because Puppey can add this option to his draft and make it work, despite Pudge being generally irrelevant in the current metagame.
      4) Outdrafting
      Winning the draft involves cunning, besides preparation and strategic thinking. Revealing your strategy and final laning as late as possible is integral to confusing the opponent and avoiding counterpicks to your heroes. This is the reason for the first round (1st/2nd/3rd pick) popularity of versatile heroes like Nyx, Batrider, and Dark Seer.

      Thanks for the kind words. Already working on the next listing.

  12. Brody Whiteman says:

    Can’t wait for the March update:

    Expecting to see Clockwerk rise to tier 2, Storm and Tide to tier 3, Beast to tier 3 and PL drop to tier 2 (at least)

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