Pub Tier List 6.81
Disclaimer: We've assembled this list largely from win rates in public games. It may be different in many ways to professional play, but it offers insight on why certain heroes have a distinct impact in pubs.
Ten days is a long enough period for the changes introduced in a patch to take a statistically significant effect on the public matchmaking metagame. As previously, we will be creating a tier list based on the Win Rate of heroes in pubs, with explanations and analysis on the most interesting cases.
The order of the heroes in each Tier is based on their Win Rate, with highest first. Additionally, we will be adding a +, - or = signs to indicate the changes from the last Tier List.
Tier 1: Pub Stompers (56%+)
Abaddon and Wraith King again establish their Tier 1 positions, with their pub friendly skill set of not dying.
Abaddon's spike in win rate was due to a bug that gave his ultimate the new Aghanim's upgrade, without needing Aghanim's Scepter. It is not surprising his pick rate rocketed in the same period.
In the past, our Tier 1 6.79 heroes shared a strength in team fight potential. Today, they have a common trait in resiliency. We have two new entrances into our top tier.
Necrophos: (55.10% -> 58.89%) Our #1 hero laughs at your respawn timer and has vaulted to the top win rate spot. Despite many PSAs on his carry potential, he is often relegated in low bracket pubs to a support or even, shiver, a jungle role. Aside from his strength in team fights, his durability is the trait he shares with our Tier 1 heroes. The Reaper's Scythe change (30% increase in respawn timer) seems to have a significant impact on pubs, and we are excited to see his potential in professional play.
Omniknight: (54.05% -> 56.35%) Rarely seen in competitive play due to his weakness in the lane, he is incredible in pubs because no one knows how to lane. Pubs tend to shift towards greedy lineups. If your team can have five carries or five mid heroes, whats the difference in having just one greedy support? Omniknight received a multitude of buffs. An extra second to his ultimate and the changes to Repel appear to have the greatest impact.
Tier 2: Pub Winners (52%-56%)
Lich (-) Zeus (=) Vengeful Spirit (=) Witch Doctor (=) Centaur Warrunner (=) Warlock (=) Brewmaster (+) Silencer (=) Death Prophet (=) Sven (=) Treant Protector (=) Viper (=) Mirana (=) Bloodseeker (=) Ogre Magi (+) Razor (+) Ursa (=) Crystal Maiden (=) Venomancer (=) Tidehunter (=) Disruptor (=)
Brewmaster: (50.77% -> 54.09%) Heroes that require micro are not very friendly to pub players (with the exception of Invoker, our 2nd most picked hero). Brewmaster is one of the least picked heroes in the pub meta, but unlike his fellow unpopular heroes such as Io, Anti-mage, and Broodmother, his win rate has been consistently greater than 50%. The last buff to Blink Dagger also proved to help a hero in constant strain for mana. And the latest buffs to his passive, granting a guaranteed critical, adds a good bit of damage for his initiation.
Razor: (49.40% -> 52.71%) The strength of a strength buff (from 1.7 to 2.3 per level). Razor remains as one of the best anti carries, and this increase in his durability is proving to be more significant than we thought. We expect he is able to extract more potential from his Static Link, and his Aghanim's upgrade makes him an adequate pusher as well.
Vengeful Spirit: (54.26% -> 54.77%) We anticipated that the VS change to her aura would have a more significant impact due to her feeding tendencies in pubs. You actually don't mind dying when you swap. However, we failed to realize that most pub players prioritize her other abilities before her aura. Among pub players, her most popular ability build prioritizes Vengeance Aura last. She still remains one of the most friendly pub friendly supports and we would consider her a top draft pick in CD and CM games.
Tier 3: Average Pubbers (49%-52%)
Spectre (-) Dazzle (-) Pudge (+) Drow Ranger (-) Undying (+) Riki (-) Slardar (-) Faceless Void (+) Jakiro (=) Lycan (-) Earthshaker (=) Shadow Shaman (-) Luna (-) Ancient Apparition (=) Slark (=) Spirit Breaker (=) Sniper (=) Bristleback (=) Phantom Lancer (=) Juggernaut (+) Keeper of the Light (=) Weaver (=) Kunkka (+) Clockwerk (=) Sand King (=) Doom (+) Medusa (+)
Dazzle: (53.33% -> 51.96%) One of our favorite heroes received a significant nerf in the ministun of Poison Touch. Though it will still stun at the end, the initial stun was often situationally crucial for quickly interrupting channelled spells, including the most powerful escape item in pubs: the Teleport Scroll. Dazzle still remains an excellent team fight hero, with Shallow Grave saving your YOLO teammates.
Faceless Void: (47.94% -> 51.50%) Void is now no longer a losing hero. His increase of 2 in his base agility was negligible, so who knew how huge a turn rate buff could be? Time Walk became a little more effective as an escape tool. We are also seeing an increase in popularity in the competitive scene as well, with Aghanim Scepter a common first big item among carry players like Burning and EternalEnvy. This item choice is unpopular in pubs, but perhaps should be reconsidered, with its 70% win rate.
Lycan: (55.38% -> 51.35%) Lycan has one of the most significant drops in win rate this patch. It was a well-deserved nerf, as he had the highest win rate in competitive play and was a mainstay in the first ban phase. However, it was this nerf in conjunction with the buff to Roshan's armor and the nerf to Necronomicon that hamstrung Lycan in this patch. Still, he remains an effective hero, especially in pubs where weak lanes can give your team room for a jungler.
Tier 4: Pub Losers (46%-49%)
Enigma (=) Night Stalker (-) Phoenix (=) Elder Titan (=) Axe (- -) Troll Warlord (=) Lion (=) Shadow Fiend (=) Huskar (=) Dark Seer (=) Pugna (=) Invoker (=) Beastmaster (=) Meepo (=) Skywrath Mage (+) Leshrac (=) Lifestealer (=) Nyx Assassin (=) Dragon Knight (=) Phantom Assassin (+) Nature's Prophet (=) Chaos Knight (+) Tiny (=)
Night Stalker: (49.48% -> 48.91%) By all means a very small and insignificant change. Interestingly, the 6.81 patch has introduced a buff to his upgraded ultimate - [missing skill: night-stalker-darkness-5278]. It is possibly one of the reasons for the lower Win Rate, since a lot of people were trying to get that extra effectiveness, rushing for an Aghanim's Scepter, instead of getting more useful items, such as Black King Bar.
It is further substantiated by the fact that Night Stalker did not receive a huge popularity boost after the 6.81 patch and the fall in the Win Rate can not be attributed to an extended player base on the hero, who were not playing him efficiently. Hence, it is probably the case of existing players trying out new things that are extremely interesting, albeit gimmicky.
The dunk of almost 4% derived from a change on an ability that in the long run should be exactly the same is peculiar. On the other hand in a real-life situation, where you manage to Berserker's Call several enemies, you only have 3.2 seconds of being unconditionally hit by the enemy. In this time frame, the amount of successful Counter Helixes that use PRD is probably lower than with a true random. Hence the decrease in damage output and Win Rate.
If, for example, there was a way to ensure that Axe is consistently hit by enemies in a small range around him for 10+ seconds, the change would not be as drastic.
Skywrath Mage (44.75% -> 46.94%) An increase in movement speed that made this hero the second fastest in the game did pay off bit time. It has effectively increased the Win Rate for the hero by 2.19%, which is very substantial. Considering the fact that levelling Concussive Shot past the first point at early levels is less popular and yields lower Win Rate (see: ability builds), the buff to it could not have such a drastic impact.
It further proves the point about secondary stats, such as Turn Rate, Speed, Cast Point etc., have a huge impact on the gameplay. These buffs, as well as an increased popularity of the hero among pub players could also put him on the radar for the professional teams. It will be very entertaining to watch him being played with heroes like Outworld Devourer on the same team.
Phantom Assassin (43.74% -> 46.38%) In our 6.81 changelog analysis I have stated that while the buffs to the hero might be really strong, they are still rather meaningless, considering the hero is somewhat weak by design and extremely inconsistent. While I still believe that this holds true for the competitive scene, it is impossible to deny the impact it had on the public matchmaking.
An increase of Win Rate by 2.64% is very impressive. Looking at our ability build page for PA, we can see that lower priority on Blur is still more effective. It does make the window of opportunity before the enemy cores get their Monkey King Bars a lot more distinct, but it rarely makes this window longer. Hence, having a potentially deadly nuke in the form of Stifling Dagger is still preferable.
Chaos Knight (45.13% -> 46.05%) It is interesting how an increase in inconsistency makes some heroes stronger, while an increase in consistency makes others weaker.
To be fair, there was no drawback for the buff to the Chaos Knight introduced in 6.81. And skilling Phantasm at level 6 is still sub-optimal, as seen on our ability builds page. However, there is no denying that this inconsistent buff has not made the hero broken, while significantly increasing his Win Rate and popularity. Hence it can be considered a good change and it will be interesting to see the hero in the competitive action once more.
Tier 5: Pub Throwers (41%-46%)
Terrorblade (- -) Legion Commander (=) Lina (-) Timbersaw (=) Gyrocopter (=) Batrider (=) Templar Assassin (=) Bane (=) Bounty Hunter (=) Lone Druid (=) Magnus (=) Clinkz (=) Windranger (=) Rubick (=) Visage (=) Chen (=) Puck (=) Outworld Devourer (=) Storm Spirit (=) Naga Siren (=) Broodmother (+) Tinker (=) Enchantress (=) Morphling (=) Queen of Pain (=) Alchemist (=) Ember Spirit (=)
Terrorblade: (52.21% -> 45.98%) While the decrease in Win Rate could be expected, it is the decrease in popularity of this annoying hero is what I am personally really happy about:
Did the buffs hit the hero too hard? Quite possibly. Can he still be a threat in good hands with access to really crazy steroids and high survivability later in the game? Yes.
Much like Naga Siren (who also took a rather strong nerf) this hero can become a "comeback" hero with ease. If he is left unattended for a prolonged period of time he will farm his items and he will destroy pretty much everything on his path. Now, however, it require a lot more skill, patience and time.
Lina: (46.30% -> 45.55%) The hero has received some very interesting buffs making her the second only to Sniper in terms of range. Looking at her popularity, we can see that there was a distinct spike in it right after the patch, probably contributing to a lower Win Rate on a hero that has been consistently receiving buffs from patch to patch: Cross-referencing the Win Rate and Popularity graphs on our trends page yields a disappointing truth - after the initial spike in popularity resulting in a drop of Win Rate, the Win Rate did manage to return to its original value, however it did not increase despite the buffs.
Lina is an extremely interesting hero to play with one of the biggest bursts in the game that transition her into a decent semi-carry with the help of Fiery Soul. The fact that she has decent DPS in all portions of the game make her a very decent pick for any position, except for offlane. Her Aghanim's Scepter upgrade also has no substitutes, as it is the only spell in game that can deal 1250 magic damage that will go through magic immunity.
We will keep our eye on the hero, since her Win Rate still has a decent potential to grow. For now, however, she will reside in the Pub Throwers tier...
Broodmother: (39.20% -> 42.70%) She is a niche pick. She only works well if played by certain players in certain situations and that remained true. And a 3.5% increase in Win Rate with absolutely no effect on popularity only proves that.
It is frequently the case that heroes that require a lot of microing and generally have a low Win Rate in public matchmaking are beastly in the competitive scene. Broodmother is possibly on of these cases, since a lot of her Win Rate comes from higher skill brackets.
Since the hero was previously available in the Captain's Mode, it is possible that we will see her appear in TI4. And, honestly, no matter how much I dislike Rat Dota, Broodmother is always entertaining to watch.
Tier 6: Repick Heroes (<41%)
Shadow Demon: (41.11% -> 40.87%) The changes to this hero were not substantial, except for an Aghanim's Scepter upgrade that is really hard to come by when this hero is played as a support, since he also requires a decent amount of mobility to be effective at later stages of the game.
The fact that this buff is extremely situational and cannot be achieved in every game is what made this hero drop a little bit of his game. It is the possibility of an extremely potent upgrade, however, is what probably makes the situation even worse - disregarding some minor things like [missing item: observer-wards] and even Force staff to save money to get this desired double ultimate is a bad idea. And, as with many other bad ideas, pub players will always love and cherish it.
Tusk: (46.60% -> 40.18%) Interestingly, there was no crazy increase in popularity we have assumed when we saw a drop in Win Rate - after all it is usually the main reason behind sudden drops - something situationally effective (albeit gimmicky) is added to a hero and a horde of new players decide to try it out concentrating all their effort around this change, rather than playing a balanced game.
There was no popularity increase for Tusk. Moreover, the change to Snowball is widely considered a buff, and there is not explanation as to why there would be a drop in Win Rate.
Quite possibly, the case is similar to the one of Night Stalker where a multitude of players decide to try and play around the changed ability and miserably fail at it. It is still not enough to explain a 6.42% Win Rate decrease. We will keep an eye on the changes to the heroes Win Rate as well as his competitive scene performance and will try to come up with an answer to this mystery.
The 6.81 patch was not that game-changing, but it has refined an excellent 6.80 dealing with the more popular heroes without breaking them, while introducing a variety of new options for the players at all levels of gameplay.
We will be releasing "Weekly Trends" Blog Posts each Sunday from now on to see how the meta will be developing and will cover the most interesting changes to come, so stay tuned!
Thank you for Reading!