Starladder just ended and with it there was a lot to take away from the event and what it means moving forward. This is a relatively immediate reaction list breaking down 5 important things that Starladder taught us and how they may impact Ti4.
- Wombo Schmobo - Ti2 was the era of big ultimates and wombo combos. Slowly since we have seen these long cooldown ultimates being filtered out of the meta. Not to say they aren’t picked, but teams don’t build around them as much as they used to. Teams want to be unpredictable and it’s hard to not fall into patterns when your play is determined by whether your long cooldowns are up.
- Dota Globalization - Western Dota and Eastern Dota used to be two very separate things. Certain heroes would be considered Western or Eastern heroes because they were played primarily in those regions but we have seen that change drastically in recent times. iG were the first Chinese team to really adopt a Western playstyle, especially when playing against Western teams but it’s steadily becoming the norm. Now is the first time it feels like we are finally seeing a true global meta game.
- The development of Synergy - Lately teams have been trying to find synergy in pairs instead of trying to find it throughout their entire team. A good example is when iG ran Slardar and Shadow Fiend together. These two heroes both benefit from each other as they can reduce their enemies armor and both right click very hard. Beyond that slardar is able to initiate with blink and give Shadow Fiend an opening to dish out massive amounts of damage.
- A new era of supports - Supports traditionally have been picked for their ability to benefit a team without levels or farm but this has been steadily changing since the days of Ti3. Visage may not have been the first but was possibly the tipping point when it came to supports. He was wildly popular in the Ti3 era but defied the norm as he was a position 4 or 5 that desperately needed levels all game. Now you see heroes like Dazzle, Sand King, and Ancient Apparition dominating the support scene and all require levels and some farm.
- Distribution of Talent - The three top teams from Starladder were from very different areas of the world. North America finally has a footing in the world of Dota with potentially three Ti4 teams ready to go. Empire has been dominant in the Western scene but still have fierce competition from both European and North American teams. DK has secured the Chinese scene but iG are never too far behind. Korea is finally getting solid teams in Zephyr and MVP. It’s great to see so much talent across the globe going into Ti4, every area of the world should be at least somewhat represented by top tier teams.