Since 7.07 to now, we have had 4225 professional matches. Some heroes get picked a lot: Sand King tops the list with 1185 picks and Tiny is second with 1056 picks. However, there are a few names that rarely appear and deserve a chance to return in the future Dota 2 patches 7.20. Some heroes like Clinkz and Wraith King, although lost at times, still received a chance to shine at The International 2018, so they may not be favored in 7.20. A lot of safelane carry heroes need buffs, simply because we’ve seen so many Terrorblade, Morphling, and Phantom Lancer. These three heroes are dominating the carry position and it’s time for them to give way to the other heroes in position 1. Let’s take a look at the heroes that deserve attention. The focus of the article will be based on picks from the pro arena, but there will be a bit of opinion taken from pubs:
1. Sven (154 games as of 7.07)
The last time Sven was heavily used was 7.06. After that, the hero was nerfed a lot, including base attack time increased from 1.7 to 1.8 (it was really unnecessary). Sven really needs that stat back to 1.7 and some good talent to support. But more importantly, this hero needs to go to the jungle. Sven relies on ancient stacks to farm items because, without Blink and Black King Bar, Sven really doesn’t contribute much. The jungle also needs to be buffed, because currently, the amount of gold and XP is not as good as the lane. Hopefully we’ll see more of sven in the next season.
2. Bristleback (42 games as of 7.07)
When was the last time Bristleback was used? At the same time as Sven. Sven is considered a popular pick to counter Bristleback. Since 7.07, these two heroes are missing. Bristle seems to suffer more when appearing only 42 times in the last season. According to Dotabuff, Bristle ranks 23rd in popularity with a win rate in pub games of around 50%. Hopefully, IceFrog is working to ensure the hero returns to the pro scene.
3. Oracle (116 games as of 7.07)
Oracle used to be the hot pick to confront the Dark Seer to purge the Ion Shell. But with Dark Seer now deprecated, Oracle also lost its charm. Another hero that Oracle works well with is Huskar, but currently, Huskar is picked without Dazzle or Oracle. The current meta is in the laning phase and Huskar is the hero that dominates that strategy. No healer needed to assist as long as Huskar destroys the enemy in mid. The other surprising thing is that no one chose Oracle to pair with Terrorblade – the most popular hero in the current meta. With False Promise, Terror Blade had more time to shoot Sunder, but teams preferred Dazzle to Oracle. Oracle isn’t really that bad. The only reason Oracle might not be picked is because I don’t have skills like Poison Touch or Brain Sap to overwhelm the lane. With the current meta emphasizing the importance of lane, no one wants to take the risk. Changing the deny structure will also make a lot of difference, not only Oracle but also many heroes who can’t get close to the enemy in the laning phase.
4. Phantom Assassin (124 games as of 7.07)
Many people gave up hope that PA would return to the pro scene, until a miracle happened and Wraith King became a popular pick. Wraith King has never been picked as much, but the pre-TI8 patches made it happen. The same thing needs to be done with PAs. She falls into the same group of heroes as Riki, capable of dominating pubs but unable to shine in the professional arena. There was a time, when Pangolier was added in Captain’s Mode, people believed that Phantom Assassin was the solution to Rolling Thunder. In a way this is true, but blood is ‘too papery’ which makes PA unreliable. This is a difficult hero to balance, but hopefully more heroes will appear in the 2018-2019 season.
5. Slark (164 games as of 7.07)
Slark was back at the end of the season. At SuperMajor Shanghai, Slark was a popular pick and was in the finals, picked by Virtus.pro. But now, Slark is completely ignored in two tournaments: The Summit 9 and TI8. From what BSJ said in his stream, the hero is very weak until level 6. Slark’s healing has been buffed, but it’s still hard to stay in lane for long. Unfortunately, now, if a hero doesn’t perform well in lane, he won’t be picked anymore. Increasing the duration of Essence Shift for the first few levels or reducing the cooldown or mana for the first few levels for Pounce is what Slark needs to bounce back. Slark is really a formidable threat when entering the late game.
6. Pudge (65 games as of 7.07)
Pudge’s story is quite sad – buff to get first pick in Summit 9 only to be nerfed level 1 (Meat Hook cooldown increased from 17 to 27) and very little in TI8. That means if Hook misses, the enemy can farm for free for half a minute without any worries. This nerf hit Pudge badly and it felt like the hero didn’t exist in TI8. Surprisingly, according to Dotabuff, Pudge is the most popular hero in pubs. Hopefully there will be some buffs, but not too much so that Pudge doesn’t ruin the pub game.
7. Slardar (209 games as of 7.07)
Does anyone remember Slardar’s appearance? It has been a long time since Slardar has been prominently present in the tournament. Again, let’s go back to the deny structure. Slardar used to be an offlane who didn’t mind farming a lot, as long as he had a level. This is a hero that doesn’t really dominate the lane and that makes him unpopular in the 2-1-2 meta. To be fair, Slardar got buffs a few times this past season. Maybe buff a few more times and the XP structure is adjusted, then Slardar will appear. That also helps other offlaners like Abaddon and Tidehunter. Offlane pool currently only has Ursa, Weaver, Mirana and a few others. The traditional offlane heroes are missing!
8. Outworld Devourer (442 games as of 7.07)
Mid has a wider variety of heroes than safelane. Not only 3 heroes, but there are a few names that weren’t picked at all. Outworld Devourer is among them. OD was buffed right before TI8 but still not considered strong. A small change to the increased range of Astral Imprisonment at early levels will make a big difference. It ensures OD has the tools to overwhelm lane, especially against ranged heroes.
9. Chaos Knight (200 games since 7.07)
Chaos Knight might not have been picked during TI8 if Liquid hadn’t picked him in the series against Evil Geniuses. Liquid lost, meaning CK ended TI8 with a record of 1 match (lost). CK doesn’t farm fast. In lane, CK doesn’t have enough mana to constantly harass Weaver. What makes this hero so good is his ability to help his opponent to the board in just a second. But if you lose the lane, there is nothing that can let CK come back. Because the forest is too weak, CK can’t find another solution. Of course, CK can throw Phantasm and get a life or two, but it will be completely useless for the next 100 seconds. Another reason for not being picked is because CK’s level 20 talent is not strong. Reality Rift through spell immunity is a situation-specific talent, but can’t push CK any further. The remaining talent +150 Gold per minute is too weak for a position 1 hero. Teams always prioritize safelane carry farm and with a hero that can get close to 600 GPM, adding 150 GPM doesn’t really help much. CK really needs better talent in 7.20.
10. Puck (614 games as of 7.07)
Puck has more games than the other heroes on this list, 614 games last season. At the beginning of the season, Puck was still a popular hero used in mid as well as offlane. But when the update every 2 weeks came out, Puck also disappeared. Puck is considered a good counter for mid Broodmother, but when the XP and gold for killing spiderlings decrease, the hero no longer works. Nerf for Dream Coil eventually weakens the hero, and that’s something that needs to be fixed. IceFrog needs to buff Puck up, but here’s how. Many people have suggested putting the Scepter upgrade into a talent, so that the green stick is no longer a redundant item in the inventory. But that can make Puck too strong.
7.20 is not long away from us. Personally, the heroes mentioned above will definitely be buffed (maybe except Pudge, because the stats in the pub are too strong). In addition, other names mentioned are Juggernaut, Queen of Pain and Elder Titan. These hero changes incorporate some of the mechanics of the laning system (as long as it’s good) that will give the game a whole new look. Let’s enjoy the last moments of Terrorblade, Morphling and Phantom Lander until November 18, because from November 19 will be a new era.
Also, here is a list of heroes that can be nerfed in patch 7.20:
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