No tournament leaves the meta intact, especially not the ones that feature some of the strongest European and CIS teams. Mad Moon is no exception and today we would like to have a quick look at some new meta developments.
Perhaps an EU/CIS specialty or perhaps a new contender for the top spots in popularity internationally, Timbersaw is certainly intriguing. He is an offlane hero with essentially no crowd control whatsoever, but with a ton of damage to make up for it.
Almost 75% win rate across 15 games speaks for itself: there is a place in the meta and in the game for what we might consider an unconventional position three. Teams just have to make sure that either their supports or even their cores have some sort of lockdown.
Given the popularity and high success of Faceless Void, who has one of the strongest teamfight ultimates and a certain lack of damage in midgame, increased interest in Timbersaw does make a lot of sense. Similarly, he can also be paired with currently popular Puck or Tiny in the midlane for a less pronounced but a much more frequent synergistic effect.
Third most picked hero of the tournament, Earthshaker was typically played as a position four support. His ability to roam the map at level one is close to unparalleled, given the range on Fissure, while his teamfight contribution in the later stages of the game shouldn’t be underestimated.
We’ve talked about how the map in Dota now has more opportunities: there is slightly more gold in the economy, slightly more experience and all that allows for greedier supports to shine. Earthshaker isn’t necessarily the epitome of greed, but a timely Blink Dagger purchase can make or break the game for him. Getting to it before minute 15 is much easier than it was even a year ago.
There are also pretty neat combinations with two of the currently popular heroes: Tiny and Snapfire. Both of them can help with Earthshaker’s mobility in the earlier skirmishes, allowing him to find a juicy spot for an Echo Slam. This extra mobility leads to kills and assists, which leads to a better economy and, ultimately, to relative independence in terms of mobility: from what we’ve seen during the tournament, Earthshaker typically purchases his Blink Dagger after a successful fight.
Given the winner of the tournament and given how they, once again, made an almost full run through the lower bracket, popularity of Dark Seer shouldn’t come as a surprise. But why is this hero suddenly getting attention at all and will he stay in bigger DPC-Tournaments?
We see several reasons to pick the hero in the current meta. Dark Seer is still among the most independent offlaners in the game. He certainly needs help pre-level three, before Ion Shield is skilled at least twice, but after that he can typically be left alone to get full XP. That allows him to have a better level progression as well as fully freeing up a support, who can then go and make plays, while Dark Seer gets his first couple of items.
Movement Speed is also slightly more important, at least it was in the Mad Moon tournament: heroes like Timbersaw, Lifestealer and Snapfire, who were among top five most popular picks, all hate playing against fast targets with the ability to disengage at will.
Finally, there is combo potential and we’ve already covered how the meta is a lot more teamfight oriented and how teams are prioritizing slightly greedier teamfight supports. Dark Seer can bolster this already effective contemporary playstyle into a feast for eyes, which doesn’t only look good, but is also incredibly powerful.
Slightly over a week until the next DPC tournament and we think it is going to be a great one. Even in a relatively tight format of Mad Moon a total of 98 different heroes were picked and 102 heroes were contested. The meta seems to be in a very good place.
Unfortunately we won’t see Nigma participate in the next round of DPC tournaments, but given their performance we are certain that they will come back even stronger in the Spring.