With the TI6 main event just a few weeks ago, the current patch, 6.88, has proved to be one of the most balanced versions in recent memory. The proof lies in how seldom you see drafts revolving around a few heroes these days. This sort of versatility bodes well for spectators. But, it can also get quite confusing, as teams end up choosing new heroes almost every other game. Of course, this could still change in the days leading up the main event.
Here are some of our thoughts regarding the status of the current Dota 2 meta heading into the game’s biggest annual event.
The Importance of the Four-Role
The new patch saw the importance of adaptability and versatility among supports, especially in four-role players. Although Vengeful Spirit, Earth Spirit and Lion will always be standard picks, we’ve seen teams all but replace Bounty Hunter with Riki. Elder Titan, Shadow Demon and Disruptor, heroes of which possess abilities to control team fights and overall skill sets that remain relatively useful from early to late game, have become popular picks as well.
Look for teams to continue experimenting with a variety of support picks throughout the tournament.
The Iron Talon
Three-roles have long typically had the burden of facing off and preventing an opponent’s safe-lane carry to farm up the items they need. This usually came at the expense of their own farm. But, with the Iron Talon, three-role players have mostly changed their approach. This has led to the resurgence of once-overlooked picks as jungling has become an even more viable means of catching up in terms of farming. Although doing so leaves a lot of room for the opponent’s safe-lane carry to farm, some teams are willing to live with such trade-off by compensating for timely ganks and rotations.
More and More Surprise Core Picks
With supports roaming more, trilanes becoming more prevalent and early pushes being emphasized, as well as the introduction of valuable early item pick-ups, the carry role has opened up to a lot more heroes than in recent times.
Terrorblade and Huskar, both considered risky picks prior to the patch, have become much easier to draft. Timbersaw, although nerfed, still remains valuable. This, in turn, has led to some teams countering it with a Sand King core. As always, expect playmakers to value Tinker’s burst potential.
While many of the surprise core picks seen throughout the qualifiers and events prior to TI6 aren’t likely to be seen, there’s no denying that the mid lane has become an outlet for playmakers to show off their skills and just how diverse their hero pools are.
The International Meta Is a Different Beast
Despite the willingness of most teams to experiment on picks, that’s likely to change once the main event kicks off. By then, most teams will probably go with their noted picks to keep things safe. But, if recent majors are an indication, we’re likely to see even more surprise picks during the main event, especially among the mid-laners.
Worth taking note of are teams such as OG and Wings Gaming, both teams who are unafraid of experimenting and taking risks.
Regardless of what happens, though, the International is likely to breed its own meta, which hopefully will lead to even more exciting games than in years’ past, thanks in part to just how incredibly balanced the current patch is.
Written by Ray Ian Ampoloquio