Hero Tier List – Pre-TI3 Edition

This list is based on games played during the month of July. On each tier, there are a few remarks on the heroes that joined and left that tier during this update.

This is not a power rank but a popularity list and it does not follow strict numerical ranking. Please read the FAQ for further questions.

There haven’t been dramatic changes during the last month so we are more or less going in TI3 with similar hero picks that we have seen since the TI3 qualifiers or even earlier than that. Most teams did not want to risk changing what worked for them and opted for more conventional strategies for the final stages of the tournaments that were completed in July. On the other hand, it’s also normal to not reveal their hand and keep the most innovative pocket picks as a surprise for TI3

First Tier – The Essentials


On the up and up: Alchemist has been on the rise for a while and we are now seeing him being a first pick/ban in most matches. His versatility gave him the push into the first tier and it’s the same characteristic that has made most of this tier’s heroes irreplaceable for a long time. To give a more specific example, Puppey has been picking him quite often this month and four different Na`Vi players have actually played Alchemist in July (all apart from Kuroky, who did play the hero earlier this year).

Going downhill: Keeper of the Light is not a forgotten hero but teams have not been rating him as high in their trilanes as in the past few months. His inability to roam is probably the flaw that’s costing him his first tier spot.

Second Tier – The Standards

BaneQueen-of-PainChenPuckLeshracEnchantressWeaverTreant ProtectorDragon KnightKeeper_of_the_LightNaga SirenOutworld_Devourer

On the up and up: In case you missed last year’s numerous concerts of her, Ms Naga Siren will be making an appearance again, just in time for TI3. Many teams have experimented with a support Naga that eventually farms in the late game while the option of a carry Naga also helps keeping the draft a mystery. OD has always been a great mid hero and recently he is actually finding frequently a spot in drafts, now that the midgame arrives relatively later and he can shutdown the popular intelligence mid heroes.

Going downhill: Phantom Lancer will not disappear, as long as there are no more nerfs, although teams finally know how to fight against him. I’m sure we will see desperation KotL-PL picks in TI3, even though they will be much more rare than 3 months ago. Storm Spirit and Clockwerk have not been superseded in their roles, in mid and offlane respectively (and mid for Asian Clockwerks), but there are many options that the teams are trying out. They will probably be picked more times than they are banned in TI3.

Third Tier – The Why-nots


On the up and up: Bounty Hunter is a well known suspect of this list and he will remain a standard option for teams, just as the heroes who dropped from the second tier will. His Track ability is valuable enough to compensate for his slow farm and lack of other teamfight perks.

Going downhill: Chaos Knight keeps dropping tiers because Io remains a necessary first ban and rarely makes it in the picking phase (approximately once every seven games in July). If Io is banned, there is no reason to pick or ban Chaos Knight as there are more attractive options with better laning, like Dragon Knight.

Fourth Tier – The Surging and the Dwindling

SilencerDisruptorJuggernautBeastmasterTinkerEnigmaSpectreVengeful SpiritChaos_KnightLichTimbersawRazor

On the up and up: Lich is a hero that can accomplish a lot with minimal farm and that’s the first criterion when picking a support. He is more usually seen in the offlane where his Sacrifice ability lets him stay in the lane and deny experience from the opponent farmer. Razor is great against melee mids and can help contain the opponent’s carry with Static Link. He has been advertised as the best counter to Lifestealer. Even though there are few trees in the middle lane, we saw Timbersaw played mid by Kaipi’s Arteezy and Alliance’s s4 with moderate success. He is a hero that needs the early levels and can then help his teammates overpower their lanes.

Going downhill: The bottom tier always has the most changes as its heroes are generally picked in a small number of games. Luna and Faceless Void have been situational picks and will be picked in TI3 but were not as popular during the last month. Slark did not move up to dominating mid or demanding a first ban. He will be picked by teams who have players that enjoy his risky and active playstyle, like Korok.

Still to Come

PugnaSpirit BreakerIoMorphling

What are the secrets that the teams are saving for TI3?

My prediction for heroes that have not been seen as often yet lies between Pugna and Spirit Breaker. They complement current strategies well and most teams have not practiced playing against them, even though we saw Kaipi trying out support SB in several matches.

Io is the cause of a complex issue in the drafting phase, as it forces your team in a specific playstyle, instead of just providing more options for the opponent’s team. I don’t know how long the teams can afford spending a ban on Io. Eventually they will have to learn to play against it, just as last year’s Naga Siren was a hurdle that was overcome.

TI3’s Morphling will be a distant relative of TI2’s Morphling but I’d bet that he will show up in the later stages.

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Hero Tier List – July 2013

This list is based on games played from May 1st to June 30th. On each tier, there are a few remarks on the heroes that joined and left that tier during this update.

The past two months haven’t brought critical changes in the playstyle of competitive teams as the trilanes still rule the battlefield. We are seeing some tactics resurface, such as melee middle lane damage dealers (Dragon Knight, Kunkka, Slark) showing up more often. The 6.78 patch did nerf most of the top tier heroes but all that change accomplished for now is to delay their power surge towards a later point in the game.

First Tier – The Essentials


On the up and up: One could bet that Nature’s Prophet must be the one hero that will never be missing from this list. His lane versatility and excellent pushing ability are assets unique to the hero, who can also become a credible late game threat as he acquires more items. Liquid`FLUFF was the captain who stuck with Visage earlier this year and most teams have finally decided to follow. A hero with strong trilane presence and high damage output in the early stages, Visage was the top pick for TI3 Eastern Qualifiers and it’s certain that we’ll be seeing him a lot in the grand finals in Seattle.

Going downhill: Magnus was the victim of both direct (RP duration and damage, Skewer not affecting magic immune units) and indirect nerfs (bottle crowing). As teams became more familiar playing against him and his early game power diminished, he fell down the ranks of the draft trends. Phantom Lancer was not hit as hard with the nerf bat but captains are not picking him as often and they are instead experimenting with other late game carries that were out of favour (Naga Siren, Spectre).

Second Tier – The Standards

BaneClockwerkQueen-of-PainChenPuckLeshracEnchantressPhantom-LancerWeaverStorm-SpiritTreant ProtectorDragon Knight

On the up and up: It seems that all those Icefrog buffs finally paid off. In what is probably the most impressive climb in competitive Dota 2 up to now, Treant Protector is close to becoming a constant pick/ban for all teams. Quantic’s Goblak pioneered a passive solo lane Treant that outheals the damage of the opponent’s trilane and lets the playmaker heroes of his team shine.

Weaver and Dragon Knight are becoming common additions to several triple core strategies, mainly because of their damage potential and decent scaling towards the end game. The former is usually picked in the offlane due to his escape capability, while the latter is coming back as a durable mid hero with a hard disable and great pushing. Storm Spirit was always a decent mid pick and he has been more popular in the past couple of months. All three heroes have great synergy with Treant Protector which allows them to be more daring during the early kill chases.

Going downhill: It’s that simple, Undying has died. The descent that was discussed in the previous list was steep and a hero that was part of every trilane three months ago is now picked/banned in less than 5% of games. Luna is another hero that has not been nerfed but, like Phantom Lancer, other heroes are taking her place as the safe lane carry. The emphasis on winning the laning phase has left Bounty Hunter forgotten, since it seems teams are not risking coming back with track gold as often as they did in the past. Brewmaster is another hero that does not provide the disables or damage scaling that other mid heroes provide and his lane inflexibility has cost him his pick popularity.

Third Tier – The Why-nots

MagnusJakiroTemplar_AssassinAnti-MageChaos_KnightLinaOutworld_DevourerAlchemistSand-KingWindrunnerKunkkaNaga Siren

On the up and up: Three carries that we have seen in the past are making a reappearance. Their skill kit has not changed but carry players were already familiar with Anti-Mage, Naga Siren and Alchemist and are picking them again as superior farming choices. Alchemist has also been seen in the mid lane, as has Kunkka, in a trend of damage dealing disabler that can snowball and dominate the early game stages. Outworld Devourer is another hero that has great synergy with Treant Protector in his team, as he can completely shut down the opponent’s mid hero. He is still vulnerable to ganks and his scaling is completely denied by BKB but it can block the other team from executing their tactics while his teammates are winning the game.

Going downhill: Enigma was superseded by Magnus but they are now both out of the upper tiers of drafting. He will probably return when teams focus on teamfighting wombo combos and can spare a jungler spot. Beastmaster is a utility mid that remains popular in the eastern scene but he has to contend with many other options nowadays. Faceless Void is a carry that needs a 4 protect 1 strategy and he cannot farm as fast as the carries that we’ve seen in the upper tiers. Tinker’s PVE playstyle just doesn’t seem to interest teams playing in a strong teamfight environment so we will probably be seeing him less in the near future. Finally, Sven’s dive to irrelevance is close to hitting its nadir.

Fourth Tier – The Surging and the Dwindling

SilencerDisruptorJuggernautBounty_HunterLunaBeastmasterTinkerFaceless_VoidEnigmaSpectreSlarkVengeful Spirit

On the up and up: Teams are trying to see if they can get Spectre the farm to 1v5 their opponents but up to now she hasn’t been a steady pick yet. Slark’s solo ganking potential makes him a decent mid hero that profits from early levels and he can burst supports better than most heroes. Vengeful Spirit is a support that has seen a few buffs in the last patches and she brings a reliable stun and a scaling aura that benefits her teammates.

Going downhill: Nightstalker and Shadowfiend need to do great early or they are not that useful so we’ve seen other mids push them out of their lane. Venomancer saw a small buff in 6.78 but he cannot compete with the other supports for a trilane spot. The CIS scene has abandoned Clinkz and it will be some time before we see him again.

Still to Come

Ancient ApparitionPugnaNecrolyte

It’s not too early for recently buffed heroes to appear in top tier matches. We’ve already seen experiments with Ancient Apparition in mid, Pugna as a trilane support and Necrolyte with his gamebreaking Aghanim’s upgrade as a 1-2 position farmer.

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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


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


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


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


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


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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DOTA is too complex for power tier lists, why make one?

This is not a power tier list, it’s only a popularity list of picks of heroes in the professional gaming scene. That’s why heroes change tiers even when there are no balance changes.

How are the tier lists decided?

The data is taken from Dota Academy for the relevant period and drafts from tournament semi finals and finals are adjusted to contribute more to the result. After that, a little bit of tinkering takes place to account for current trends.

Why not prepare a list on pure data?

Pure data is already there for anyone to check. Since trends are what guides a large part of the drafting, it’s worth it to incorporate them in creating the tiers. The point is not to make a flawless list but rather to start a discussion on the hero picks.

Why aren’t specific regions like China weighted more favourably?

In my opinion, it’s clearer for the readers to have an equal global view of the current tiers, rather than forcing a specific picking preference of regions. We will see an actual clash of the drafting strategies of all regions in the next International.

Treant Protector is OP, why is he missing?

That’s for the pros to answer and for us to speculate.
June ’13 edit : We finally have our answer. 🙂

I think you’re wrong.

It’s not improbable. Feel free to comment and let me know.

I think you’re wrong, you “!”$!$£$”%”^^$%£$.

When is the next list coming up?


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Hero Tier List – February 2013

First Tier – The Essentials


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


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


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


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 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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Welcome to d2htl!

Welcome to d2htl! Purpose of this blog is to keep up with the current hero pick and ban trends in the world of competitive Dota 2.

There are three main goals that will hopefully be served by d2htl:

  • Help people who are new to the game to understand the choices of the pros.
  • Inspire people familiar with the game to try out new team match-ups and strategies
  • Spark discussions about the dominance of some heroes and the viability of others, in the current competitive stage.

The presentations within are prepared mainly with the data of Dota Academy (many thanks to Bruno and Bruno), the reviews of all the major Dota 2 news sites and a casual observation of the running tournaments. Of course, all content is product of personal opinion and I’m sure the Internet is ready to let me know that everything is wrong, with or without due respect.

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