TI8 meta overview: The battle between supports

support meta dota - Emergenceingame

This season saw one of Dota’s biggest changes. The Dota Pro Circuit system and the way the new patch is implemented, we see the TI8 meta change as the pros start to prioritize dual lane. For the vast majority of players, dual lane rotation is somewhat confusing. As a result, general knowledge of Dota has decreased as players do not understand why certain heroes become so strong.

Dual lane started to creep into the game from March last year with patch 7.06. That’s when deny lane creeps started giving extra XP to the deny hero. The pro players weren’t used to the new system at the time, so let’s take a look at patch 7.07. This is where IceFrog gets stronger, reducing the amount of XP it receives from deny creeps to its lowest level ever:

Denied creeps XP gain for opponent (player denied creeps) reduced from 70% to 25%.

Denying creeps XP gain reduced from 30% to 25%

Just getting 25% XP is really a huge loss. This change means that the offlane is completely destroyed, when the safelane can receive 5 times more XP than the offlaner. And with nerfed jungles, entering neutral camps is no longer an option. Therefore, Dota 2 was forced to change to a dual-lane meta, with an emphasis on good laning.

Meta also discourages leaving lane. With dual lane, one hero leaving lane means the other hero will be ‘stalled’ and we are back to the tricky situation: when one side can get 5x more experience than the other.

This change has revived laning supports. Heroes like Io and Witch Doctor return to support carry. According to DatDota, these two heroes were picked or banned 25% and 34% of the total 4,143 matches recorded from patch 7.07 to the present.

As the pros gradually understood the meta, other supports gradually appeared. Heroes like Crystal Maiden are more visible thanks to the changes in Crystal Nova. With only one hero in the lane, CM is often ignored but when facing 2 heroes, her damage is doubled because this AoE can hit both heroes.

Chiến trường của các support Tổng quan meta TI8 - Emergenceingame

Heroes that can shape TI8:

Now, picking the right support is more important than ever. When looking at DatDota’s ban/pick ratio for 7.19, three of the top 5 on this list are supports. While it’s not very reliable – given that the vast majority of teams that officially competed with patch 7.19 are tier 2 or below – this list does somewhat tell the meta in general.

All of these heroes have one thing in common: they can stay in the lane very well, or there’s always a way to counter turret. Let’s start by looking at the supports on this list, as well as a few heroes that didn’t make the top 5.


If you want proof that there are a lot of ‘overwhelming’ supports right now, you need look no further. Patch 7.19 almost nerfed all supports in the meta. The change is small, and doesn’t change much compared to 7.18. Like TI7, supports will be the most competitive heroes. Here’s what we think the top teams will draft.

OFUO6G9.png Treant Protector

Change in 7.19

  • Leech Seed mana cost increased from 80/95/110/125 to 100/110/120/130

Treant is considered a super strong position 5 support. In lane, this hero can do a lot of things with little effort. With Leed Seed’s slow, chasing enemies is almost too easy. In addition, you also gain health when tailing him, making this move too powerful. And if the other side is going to protest, it doesn’t matter. Living Armor not only heals but also blocks damage.

Still not convinced Treant is the top pick? Then Nature’s Guise will allow Treant to move freely in combat and put himself in a position to launch his ultimate AoE, locking down opponents longer than Tidehunter’s ultimate. Treant Protector is likely to be the most banned hero at TI8.

Dark Willow Dota - Emergenceingame

TTW4o1Q.png Dark Willow

Changes in 7.19:

Not available

Although Dark Willow does not have a healing ability, this hero is considered to be the opposite of “buffalo” heroes in the lane. Shadow Realm is the key to that. When used correctly, it deals 120/200/280/360 damage to enemies. If you compare it with Living Armor, you’ll see that the enemy always loses health (ie enable Living Armor and hit Shadow Realm at the same time).

Dark Willow also transitions into the mid-late game well. With root AoE, you can help your team win teamfight and Cursed Crown is perfect for chasing enemies, even though it’s not an instant stun. And if the team loses teamfight, don’t worry too much. Dark Willow’s Terrorize will get anyone out in most situations. Overall, Dark Willow is a well-balanced position 4 hero that can shine at any stage of the game.

fiOZKAi.png Crystal Maiden

Changes in 7.19:

Crystal Nova Manacost increased from 100/120/140/160 to 130/140/150/160

Rylai is similar to Dark Willow: against ‘buffalo’. While Dar Willow can only damage 1 target, CM’s Crystal Nova can deal AoE damage. Even though it was nerfed a bit in 7.19 with the increased mana cost, it’s still very powerful in lane: you just need to buy an extra clarity or two. And once you’ve reached level 2 or 3 for Arcane Aura, you don’t need to worry about mana shortages for you or your team.

CM’s weak point is always the ultimate. In general, the ultimate that requires channeling is never optimal for a support, until I get to the Black King Bar. And if they can, the enemy cores are probably already on BKB. And the fact that Freezing Field requires CM to be the focus doesn’t help this hero much. But the amount of damage she does in lane will definitely make CM a pick/ban target.

ZhCgrKh.png Winter Wyvern

Changes in 7.19:

Splinter Blast mana cost increased from 90/110/130/150 to 105/120/135/150

Although this hero is not in the top 10 with the current ban/pick ratio, Winter Wyvern still holds the 2nd highest win rate in the current tier 2 (with the hero being picked more than 10 times). Like the other supports on this list, WW is a good lane support thanks to its healing and slow. But unlike other heroes, WW’s skill set is not too strong. Cold Embrace needs a few levels to be really effective, while Arctic Burn does a lot of damage, its cooldown is quite long, minimizing the hero’s influence in lane. And that’s why Winter Wyvern is always present in the draft, with a high win rate.

Necrophos - Emergenceingame


As mentioned earlier, the real battle in this TI mostly revolves around supports. If the support can help the core farm lane well – or harass the enemy lane well – the game is definitely decided. But that doesn’t mean cores won’t play an important role in laning. Combined with the supports mentioned above, these cores can increase their influence and help win.

C3DEhnE.png Enchantress

Changes in 7.19:

Nature’s Attendants mana cost increased from 110/120/140/150 to 170/160/150/140

Good news for fans of and Team Liquid: this change has had almost no impact on her. Obviously her dizzying increase in manacost is a big change, but the amount of damage she deals is what makes Enchantress worth picking. Healing is still important, helping her stay in lane well. It helps supports that don’t have the ability to heal – like Dark Willow – to dual lane with Enchantress. It can be said that, if the team doesn’t have anyone who knows how to play Enchantress, then it’s best to ban this hero for every game.

hARLQ66.png Necrophos

Changes in 7.19:

Necrophos: Reaper’s Scythe cooldown increased from 55/40/25 to 60/50/40

Necrophos: Magic resistance Ghost Shroud on Necrophos himself reduced from 30% to 40% (i.e. take more magic damage)

Necrophos: Reaper’s Scythe attack duration increased from 0.5 to 0.55

Not too many heroes have been changed in this patch, but Necro is among the hardest hit groups. Aghanim’s Scepter’s cooldown increase is a huge shock. Adding a 15 second cooldown to level 3 Reaper’s Scythe is a real problem. At first, many thought it would kill the hero, as the green stick is an indispensable item for Necrophos. But actually, this is not a big effect. Necrophos is strong in its ability to live long. With Ghost Shroud, Necrophos can build something as simple as a Magic Stick – healing is increased by 75% while Shroud is on very powerful porcelain. This move allows Necro to stay in lane longer, helping the team.

VyGLzcT.png Drow Ranger

Changes in 7.19:

Base Strength reduced by 1

“If the current meta is all about staying in lane, shouldn’t Drow be in the new TI8 meta?” That might be what you’re thinking, but that’s not necessarily the case. What Drow does for the team is similar to Dark Willow. A strategy around Drow will counter a lot of laning heroes and aim to push the lane during the laning phase. Drow’s greatest strength lies in the Precision Aura. Drow can be paired with a safe lane healer support, a mid range hero, and an offlaner tank melee (combined with range support) that will make enemy lane extremely difficult. Base strength reduction by 1 won’t change this.

When it comes to strong heroes this year, drafting is now more important than ever, not because we have so few heroes to choose from, but because we have so many heroes to consider. The captains and coaches have worked hard this year. If they can find a hero that counters the opponent, it will help their team make it to the most expensive finals in esports or soon watch the match from the stands.

According to Cybersport

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