Hero Tier List – March 2013

This list is based on games played from February 1st to March 15th. On each tier, there are a few remarks on the heroes that joined and fell from that tier during this update.

First Tier – The Essentials

Keeper_of_the_LightBatriderMagnusShadow-DemonWispLone-DruidLifestealerPhantom-LancerGyrocopterDark-SeerNyx_AssassinRubick

On the up and up: Rubick is re-emerging as a first-phase pick trilane support, after his long sting as the most popular solo mid last year. His Telekinesis is a strong reliable initiation and countering Magnus by spell stealing Reverse Polarity can change fights to his teams advantage.

Going downhill: Undying’s use in a trilane has been figured out and that is the main reason we will be seeing less and less of him. His lack of versatility is costing him his spot in the top tier.

Second Tier – The Standards

UndyingNatures-ProphetBaneBounty_HunterClockwerkLunaQueen-of-PainChenPuckLeshracEnchantressBrewmaster

On the up and up: Furion is the most prominent addition to this tier. His strengths are the same as before (global presence, easy farm, constant lane pressure and split pushing) but teams are once again turning to tactics that suit him, following the footsteps of Fnatic.EU and Virtus Pro. Clockwerk is the other hero that we’re seeing quite often these days as an offlane solo, getting early level advantage that is great for initiation with his abilities that (partially) go through magic immunity (Hookshot / Power Cogs). Bane and Leshrac are the new faces in the hard disable support role. Bane has Nightmare and Fiend’s Grip to neutralize the most dangerous targets and Leshrac has great pushing capability. The increased use of Enchantress is a sign that jungle strategies are not past their prime. She has excellent early game gank potential and decent damage with Impetus to keep her relevant during the midgame. Puck has joined Queen of Pain as a steady middle lane pick with its quick initiation and survivability.

Going downhill: After months of being a frequent sight in the carry position in tournament games, Sven is usually limited to a support role nowadays and that means he has to stand against heroes that are more suited for this type of play. Templar Assassin is another hero that was extremely popular but teams have finally figured out that she can be isolated and killed early to prevent her from controlling the mid game. Chaos Knight is not the default choice as Wisp’s partner anymore, even though he is not totally forgotten. Enigma is clearly a victim of the popularity of Magnus that can outshine him in every crucial department – teamfight potential, damage output, escape and tanking ability. Clinkz was an overrated choice in the previous list and has thus returned to a more suitable tier.

Third Tier – The Why-nots

SvenTemplar_AssassinChaos_KnightLinaTinkerFaceless_VoidWindrunnerEnigmaSand-KingWeaverStorm-SpiritBeastmaster

On the up and up: Storm Spirit is proving to be a popular choice for players that enjoy solo tactics. He can pick off targets easily, has a disable and burst damage output and the recently arisen Orchid-instead-of-Bloodstone build gives him one more teamfight advantage. Beastmaster was an omission from February’s list but he is coming back, both as a solo mid or a solo offlane. Even though there are much stronger individual picks in both roles, his ultimate can turn teamfights around and Inner Beast aura and the Hawk vision provide unique team utility. Weaver is seeing more play with a farming focus lately, drifting a bit from the solo offlane spot that was almost exclusive in the past few months.

Going downhill: Shadow Fiend and Night Stalker are two mid heroes that need to dominate the early game and find ganking opportunities as soon as possible, which is proving exceedingly difficult with teams becoming more careful and passive during the first fifteen minutes. The nerf of Jakiro’s Ice Path has been proven more severe to its picking potential than originally expected. As with several other supports, there are far better options right now for the trilane. Naga Siren will probably re-emerge later on but right now the focus is on carries that can contribute much earlier.

Fourth Tier – The Surging and the Dwindling

VenomancerSilencerClinkzDisruptorAnti-MageVisageAlchemistJakiroNight_StalkerShadow-FiendJuggernautOutworld_Devourer

On the up and up: Venomancer and Disruptor have been used in the past for their synergy with early fighting carries but we don’t know yet. As predicted, we finally saw Silencer picked in several games but he has failed to uphold the claims of many that he was overpowered after his spells were revamped. Outworld Devourer counters other Intelligence-based mid heroes very effectively and provides an instant disable in Astral Imprisonment but his late game is completely negated by the purchase of a BKB. Juggernaut is never totally forgotten, used more often in pushing compositions, with teams exploiting his semi carry peak to prevent the game from dragging too long.

Going downhill: Tidehunter and Invoker were top tier heroes once but now they are rarely seen in competitive games, as they were both superseded by heroes that can fulfill their duties more adequately. Tiny has also fallen from grace, as he doesn’t fit the current laning trends. Vengeful Spirit’s skill set is decent – that’s why she’s not completely ignored – but she doesn’t give an edge that would make her necessary for specific tactics.

Still to Come

Timbersaw

Several pro players are claiming that Timbersaw can become a pocket pick in official games. Others are citing his needs for quick leveling and a bloodstone that will probably limit his potential to be a regular pick.

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31 Responses to Hero Tier List – March 2013

  1. Anon says:

    No Earthshaker? It’s a roaming Sand King that’s arguably less item dependent.

    • Salokin says:

      Earthshaker was a contender for the last spots of Tier 4, based on his appearances during that period but there were other heroes that were featured more often, like OD and Juggernaut.
      He does indeed fill the same role as Sand King, but I feel that Sand King can find farm more easily and their base item needs are the same (Arcanes & Blink). There were also several reports that Fissure’s blocking is not as effective as in the Dota 1.

  2. Brody Whiteman says:

    List is fair and even.

    I will argue Enchantress jumped up a bit too much but I can see the reasoning behind it. I think Kunkka’s removal is because this list is based up until 15th March. In recent weeks Kunkka + Shadow Demon has resurfaced and has been proven successful.

    And besides my opinion that Alchemist is Tier 3, this list is spot on.

    Nice work Salokin ^_^

    • Salokin says:

      Several non top tier heroes that synergize with SD are used to fill out team compositions, like Leshrac and Kunkka, and I agree that he’ll be back next month.

      I don’t know if teams have discovered exactly what is the best position for an Alchemist. We’re still seeing him as hard carry, second carry or utility/initiator. If they settle and players become more familiar, he could become more popular.

      Thanks for the kind words!

  3. asdf says:

    No Lion but Lina? ……..

    • Salokin says:

      Lion wasn’t used much during the examined period (1/2-15/3 – 4 picks and 0 bans in 299 games) but some teams like Liquid and Fnatic.EU have been trying him out during the past two weeks. He will most probably be added in the next update.

  4. If CK is not the default Wisp partner than who is? He is certainly the best and most picked partner. I have seen some random wisp-riki, or wisp-sven lineups, but usually only when the other team picks CK in response to a first pick wisp.

    • Alley says:

      CK is the general strongest teamup, but as has been explained he’s not default. Teams have discovered that you can use quite a few other combo’s. A popular combo lately has been wisp storm spirit with a naix infest. triple bomb.

      • Salokin says:

        You are correct. As Alley said, I meant to write that he’s not the only choice now that Sven and Tiny are not picked that often. Wisp-Riki is indeed a duo we’ve seen recently by Nth, but there are also other choices like Lifestealer (with or without the +1 infest option) or Magnus.

  5. Joke says:

    What is your opinion about Dragon Knight? I feel like he has begun to rise in popularity a bit recently. Both NTH and VP seem to pick him occasionally. Do you think he will continue to rise in popularity, or will it be just a temporary thing.

    • Salokin says:

      I’d say DK is a situational pick because there are better options like Lone Druid or even CK that provide tanking, pushing and damage for the team. In my opinion, he’s not going to shine any time soon and will remain a regional popular pick for SEA.

  6. matt says:

    I’d say Jakiro and Juggernaut should be a tier above. Jugg maybe two. Lots of teams are picking jugg these days, as a early game carry/pusher, and even kinda of a support, with the healing ward. Also, Lycan is definetively on the rise again, probably should be in the 4th tier.

    • matt says:

      Nice work, btw. Really nice to have a place like this, to give a general idea about the current metagame.

      • Salokin says:

        There are some picks that are used currently so they will be included in the next update. Juggernaut and Lycan are picked in specific compositions but I think there are too many valuable options over Jakiro right now. Cheers! :)

  7. BeastMode for God says:

    i think it was great…………….

  8. GalaxyTitan says:

    Why do you think lone druid is so high on the list?
    He is a good solo but is weak in the mid game and can be outcarried by Naix and Pl easily.
    Also nice list btw.

    • Salokin says:

      Lone Druid is one of the top laners in the game and some would argue he is the best. He can be run in any lane, with or without support. He can run double Midas if he wants to go late, or go straight to damage and push with his bear early.
      It is open to question whether a 12-item LD can win the game over the other hard carries but currently he is picked alongside another hard carry (like Naix), providing a high health target and a random but BKB-piercing disable.

  9. Jim Burgundy says:

    Another nice list, thanks heaps! I would really love to see Invoker become a semi-popular pick again someday. Maybe it would just take one buff (or remove one of his previous nerfs even). What are your thoughts on that Salokin?

    • Salokin says:

      I’m also a fan of Invoker in tournament play, he is a hero with unpredictable gameplay and a high skill ceiling. I think it would take more than a single buff to bring him back, as it took several nerfs (base damage, force staff, drum) to make him a rarely picked hero.

  10. Jeff says:

    Tiny has been used by Zenith recently to great effect. He seems to be situationally useful at the least as a nice counter to high attack speed carries.

  11. Jeff says:

    Tinker and Invoker both see much heavier use in the SEA scene from what I’ve seen recently. Any thoughts on the differing playstyle that drives their inclusion in core comps? I’m sure I’m forgetting a few others.

  12. GalaxyTitan says:

    Predicting that PL and Gyro fall into tier 2 while Puck and Nature’s Prophet go up to tier 1.

    • Brody Whiteman says:

      I think we could even see Leshrac and even Clockwerk head upwards. I think Prophet might be pushing though but definately PL will fall and Gyro is a possibility.

  13. Entenei says:

    Can I ask why Visage is low? I thought he was good for early tri lanes and such?

    • Salokin says:

      Visage is indeed a great pick for the earliest stages of a trilane but you have to dominate the trilane or be far behind afterwards. So far, we’ve only seen Liquid draft him frequently in tournaments. For the current western playstyle, I think there are several supports available for the trilanes that don’t fall off after the first 10 minutes and have better AoE abilities and more reliable disables. Adding to that, Visage’s familiars eventually become a liability and free farm for the other team.

      • Entenei says:

        Awh I see.. I guess that makes perfect sense! :) Thank you. I only really asked because i love to use him in pubs where I know the … Format is completely different. and at my skill level I guess that makes a huge difference too.
        None the less thanks for getting back to me.

      • Salokin says:

        He is certainly entertaining to play and because he is not a common pick, most people don’t know how to play against him. Thanks for commenting. :)

  14. Drasocon says:

    Is the next list coming out soon? I find this very helpful in Captain’s Mode games and its slightly dated.

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