Several more interesting picks came out in Kuala Lumpur Major as the last hoorah for 7.19. While the majority of games were filled with the same old Terrorblades, Morphlings, Phantom Lancers and Arc Wardens, there were a couple of deviations teams have tried to answer the meta’s biggest threats.
Answering illusion spam with high AoE burst magical damage is not a new idea, but it certainly was underutilized for the last couple of months. While it is hard to call Leshrac successful, Zeus definitely proved his worth as a counter pick to most meta heroes.
These heroes are kind of weak in lane, with Zeus in particular having problems denying his creeps, but what they lose during the laning stage they can more than make up for in the midgame.
Another reason we wanted to highlight these heroes is to once again remind the community that while meta might look stagnant and static, there are always ways to answer the threats. A “bad” hero in a good game is often times better than a “good” hero in a game where he doesn’t fit.
This hero has been absent from the professional scene for a very long time—not being able to dispel hex made him less elusive, directly nerfing his main strength as a core. Despite that, some teams attempted to make him work during the Major, as an answer to Arc Warden.
The idea behind it is quite simple—Slark can get to the real Arc Warden and stick to his target with the help of spell immunity or his ultimate, even through the Magnetic Field. Until later stages of the game Slark can be very strong in this particular type of games, even despite generally being weak in lane.
The matchup completely turns around once Arc Warden gets Scythe of Vyse—this forces Slark to always try to play aggressively and it isn’t the best situation to find yourself in. Still, if you see some weakness in enemy laning and their over-reliance on Arc Warden to carry the game, you can try to make Slark work.
Another long forgotten hero is one of the prime silver bullets in the current meta—Timbersaw doesn’t merit his presence as a hero in vacuum, but can be absolutely devastating against illusion heroes, much like Leshrac and Zeus.
The big difference is that Timbersaw is an offlane hero first and foremost and that means you don’t need to sacrifice your mid for a poorly scaling magic damage-reliant hero to counter something like a PL. Moreover, Timber is a decent laner and is much better at standing solo in the offlane for extended periods of time, allowing one of the supports to either roam or try and secure some other lane.
Playing Timbersaw well requires a lot of experience, since you absolutely need to find the best area to use your ultimate in, but when played well the hero can be devastating to both enemy supports and cores. It is hard to burst Timber down and it is almost impossible to ignore him.