We know the winner of the last Major of the season, we know the teams who will participate in TI and we know that there are still some eight-legged things to iron out balance-wise before the biggest esports tournament of the year. For now, though, we want to have a closer look at an incredible Kyiv event and its most iconic heroes.
TA was easily the most important hero of the tournament. The highest contest rate, high pick rate, and 60% win rate mean that there are good reasons teams prioritize the hero. She is a strong laner, fast farmer, comes online early, and has great late-game potential.
A pretty powerful Shard coupled with high Roshan-taking capabilities already make the hero a great meta fit, but we also want to highlight another point. Psi-Blades now have a massive theoretical range, and we’ve seen more and more teams squeeze out the most out of this mechanic.
The fact that the damage on spill is pure and how TA naturally wants to prioritize low-armor supports first, it is now possible and much easier to start a fight with a tremendous HP advantage from a couple of hits. Your typical Agility carry doesn’t like it when they get attacked through their own support with close to no armor: the Psi-Blade damage gets reduced by support’s low armor first and then turns pure, which is very painful for carries in the midgame, before they beef up.
We don’t know whether teams were simply not prepared for the hero, or whether the hero is that good after the 7.29c buffs, but the fact remains: Hoodwink is the most successful situational hero of the tournament with 14 picks and an almost 80% win rate. We feel like going forward, we might see a surge in popularity for the hero in our pubs as well.
Bushwack, Hoodwink’s primary disable, is the skill that is prioritized by all professional players. 2.4 seconds of stun on a 10-second cooldown with the level 10 talent is pretty strong and while it might be conditional on trees being around, maxed out Acorn Shot should cover you.
There is also the Sharpshooter ultimate, which is a 550 damage nuke on a 45-second cooldown at level six. As long as your team has enough control, it is essentially Lion’s Finger of Death, only more than three times as frequent, with a 3000 cast range and Break on top. If there is a nerf to the hero, we expect it to land somewhere around this ultimate.
We’ve already touched upon the subject of Tiny: a hero that keeps on getting picked, while losing most of his game, and Void Spirit feels like he’s in the same boat. Burst heavy mid heroes with limited utility and no late-game scaling do not work in the current meta.
Void Spirit was picked 11 times and won two games: the most disappointing result across all heroes. This is probably unsurprising, given how the hero already struggled in the previous patch and got further nerfs in 7.29.
The hero was often compared to Puck: another elusive burst-heavy hero. However, without a teamfight-winning ultimate, incredible scaling from talents and high build flexibility, a similar in concept Void Spirit is objectively overrated: he was picked 11 times too often.
Broodmother is an abnormality. She is the most banned hero of the tournament and for a good reason. In fact, for a multitude of good reasons. The most banned “normal” hero, though, is Viper and it is a far more interesting discussion.
Viper is a bit of a flex hero: he can theoretically be played in four positions, though we most frequently saw him in the off and the midlane. He is also a lane dominator, especially versus some of the meta’s staples, such as Dragon Knight and Templar Assassin. Most importantly, though, he is a tanky frontline hero with high magic resistance and decent stat growth.
Truth be told, Viper is very susceptible to physical damage, perhaps too susceptible, hence the ~45% win rate. However, it is still one of only two “free” sources of Break in the game and that can be a big deal, depending on the draft. This is the reason we see Viper banned so often: teams don’t want to pick him preemptively, since he is not the most reliable of heroes and that leaves him wide open to bans for teams that fear his Nethertoxin.
What do you think of the AniMajor meta? Are you patiently waiting for Broodmother to get nerfed, or do you think the hero was in a decent enough place? What heroes do you want to see more in the International? Share your thoughts in the comment section below.