State of the Meta is a bi-monthly article designed to track the ever shifting meta-game within Dota and keep readers ahead of the curve. It is based off of recent professional games and their reflections upon matchmaking.
Ti2, is that you?
Recently we have seen carries that have been relatively absent, since the second International, emerge once again. Not only have they seen play, they have been winning. Next.kz had the surprise Lycanthrope pick, Meracle has been putting on a show with his amazing Naga carry play, and Speed gaming shocked Fnatic with a mid faceless void. If you missed the recent match between Fnatic and Speed gaming you need to check it out. It was long but warrants at least one viewing.
The MLG and Joindota T.K.O. league is helping to bring less known teams into the limelight. One team that showed potential was Next.kz, as stated above they picked lycan and helped him free farm early game with a defensive tri-lane. Crystal Maiden and Chen were both able to get levels with pull and jungle farm, while still being there for Lycan if he was in any danger. Rox.kis couldn’t keep up with the pressure Lycan put on during the mid game, with his necro book and vlads. Keep an eye on this Kazakhstan team as they move forward.
The real up and coming team is S A D B OY S, a collection of North American and one Swedish player who have bounced around from team to team. They have taken the Evil Geniuses style of aggression that Fear and Universe had played with and cemented it with strong teamwork and impressive mid solo play by Arteezy.
A lot has happened for Arteezy lately, a player who was once on the North American team Kaipi. He took a break from the pro scene for school but recently came back as a stand-in for Speed Gaming during their championship run at MLG Columbus. Now Arteezy has another championship under his belt as S A D B O Y S routed Empire 3-0 in the grand finals of ESP Shock Therapy cup.
Despite a fresh patch, the meta game hasn't changed much with a few exceptions. Alchemist who received substantial nerfs hasn't been being played. Invoker, who received a series of nerfs and buffs is still played but played in a different style. Instead of the Forge Spirit rushing build, he is being played as Quas Wex build, using his tornado and EMP to disrupt the enemy team instead of dishing out as much damage. This lack of real change in the meta game is likely due to the world’s top teams not playing at the moment. Few of China’s top teams have been playing big games, and both Navi and Alliance aren't playing at the moment either. Surely when these teams return, they will have a few secrets up their sleeves.
Hero Trend Predictions
Heroes to rise:
- Invoker- Invoker has been steadily rising for some time but with countless ways to play him there is no reason he shouldn't keep rising.
- Naga- If Meracle has showed us anything, it’s that carry Naga is still something to fear. That being said, support Naga is just as deadly and that’s why this hero is sure to rise.
- Slardar- Slardar can be played as nearly any role and fits into any phase of the game. He has struggles in lane but doesn't need as much farm as most heroes in his position.
- Bristleback- Despite a small nerf to damage, Bristleback is still looking strong. His early aggression potential is unparalleled and he transitions well into the mid and late game.
Heroes to Fall:
- Alchemist- After being beaten with the nerf bat Alchemist isn't looking very strong. The night vision nerf hurts his ability to gank early and his concoction nerf hurts his early damage potential. Pro teams will likely overcome these nerfs in time but right now most people are afraid to touch him.
- Venomancer- Venomancer burst onto the scene recently with his changes. He will likely be falling down a peg as his early aggression and damage has been nerfed.
- Spectre- Increased aggression makes it hard for Spectre to get the farm needed to be potent. Spectre can still be viable in a team that can protect her or put enough pressure on the enemy team to give her room to farm.
The patch hasn’t completely changed the game as much as some patches have but it’s impact has been felt immediately and surely will lead to more things to come.
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