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.