As much as I love playing Dota 2, my real obsession is with the professional scene. Watching the best players in the world take part in a game that they know every last detail of is fascinating, and the entertainment value matches that of any other sport. Perhaps the most amazing thing about professional Dota is the ever-changing meta.
Every professional player knows the exact time to stack ancients, the best trees to juke around, and all the perfect ward locations – but something they can never be sure on, is the strongest heroes to pick in each game. A good combination of five heroes can almost win a game before it starts, but getting the perfect draft is nearly impossible.
So with the International 4 kicking off, now is the perfect time to look at the current meta and decide which heroes will show up the most.
One of the most common heroes to be picked or banned almost instantly over the past few months has been Lycan. Many teams have favored his pushing power combined with easy Roshan potential and general tanking ability. Despite a slight nerf in the previous patch, he is still regularly picked or banned first, and we can expect him to show up a lot at TI4.
Next up is Doom; the hero I expect to see banned the most in the tournament. His Doom ability provides a great way to take a single target out of a fight, and being able to grab further abilities from neutrals gives him even more versatility. Recently he has been a very popular pick (one that teams don’t like playing against), so expect to see Doom banned in most games.
The next hero I expect to see a lot is IO (also referred to as Wisp). Whilst IO hasn’t been picked a lot recently, his overall versatility as a support, and his incredible ability to move himself and others anywhere on the map make him a top choice if combined with the right heroes. The play in series proved this with IO being a popular choice if available even if a traditional combination hero such as Tiny want picked up.
Another support I expect to see feature heavily is Shadow Sharman. His Mass Serpent Ward ultimate makes him one of the best pushing supports available. Combine him with a Lycan, Punga, Death Prophet (or another push heavy hero) and the towers will stand no chance. Add in his natural hex and the shackles and you have a great all-round support whose only issue is his God-awful movement speed.
One pick that is sure to surprise a few is that of Faceless Void. Despite being almost entirely absent from the Western pro scene for months he is guaranteed to be picked a lot due to his favour in the East, specifically China. Almost all of the big Chinese teams like to run a Void, and for good reason: his ultimate can easily change a team fight and once he gets big he is almost unstoppable.
The final hero that will see a lot of play is Mirana. She has consistently been one of the most picked heroes this year whether as a support or a carry. Her ability to be run in either role makes her a great pick and a perfectly timed arrow can be the perfect initiation. Sure, she needs a lot of items to be effective as a core, but in the right situation it can be perfect. It’s quite rare that she is banned out so expect her to pop up more than most.
There will be other heroes that see a lot of play, such as Batrider, Enigma, Tidehunter and my surprise prediction of Pugna, but the previously mentioned heroes should be the ones we see the most. I’m also sure that there will be many surprises, at least one hero will come out of nowhere and become a new top tier pick, and I’m sure there will be another insane combination revealed such as Fountain Hooking from TI3.
Are there any heroes I have missed or you think will become successful during the event itself? Let me know in the comments below.