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.