Top 10 heroes with the highest pick & ban rate of TI9
Group stages are over and we are about to overtake TI8 for hero pool versatility. And we still have the whole main bracket left to be played to achieve that feat.
Night Stalker and Riki are the only heroes not picked or banned. Out of 117 heroes, only 7 were not picked, Night Stalker, Riki, Dark Seer, Ursa, KotL, Clockwerk and Brewmaster. Out of these 7 only Riki and NS were also not banned once. As much as the tournament is versatile, each one generates its own meta. Some heroes are just better than others. With that said, let’s look at the top 10 most picked/banned heroes list and analyse advantages these heroes have over others:
Funnily enough there was only one change to Alch in the last few patches. His Aghs upgrade has been changed to: For every Aghanim’s Scepter infused into an ally or himself, Alchemist permanently gains 30 attack damage and 6% spell damage amplification. The bonuses require Alchemist to have Aghanim’s Scepter equipped or infused. So in a way Alch gets a huge late game scaling capabilities compared to many other carries. But I personally don’t think this is the reason for the big surge in interest for him.
I think the people just found a good way to run him as a carry instead in the middle lane. A big reason that makes this hero annoying is that it requires major team coordination and effort to shut him down. And one slip-up can end the game or at least make it multiple times harder. So, in a way, say hello to the new IO.
Ench came full circle. A hero that was strong for TI8, then got nerfed a bit. After the nerf, during the season, Ench received buffs bit by bit. And when the TI9 came, the hero is again in the top of picked/banned heroes. I’m sure internal screaming before TI propelled this hero to the top. Since in Epicenter it wasn’t picked or banned ONCE! Truth be told, the hero got base armor increased from 0 to 1 and Nature’s Attendants heal per wisp per second, got increased from 10 on each level to 10/11/12/13.
SD as a hero got “discovered” during Epicenter. Teams mainly utilized his Demonic Purge to counter Oracle. He came with Purge and stayed with Soul Catcher. Players don’t max Shadow Poison as much as they used to, the Catcher reigns supreme in most games. Valve for sure didn’t realize the full potential of Soul Catcher when they nerfed the spell in 7.22e (mana cost increase). Now the hero get banned almost every game while waiting for the nerf hammer TI.
A classic example of a hero slowly creeping up with the buffs every patch until it’s op. Some of which are: 7.22 increased attack point and attack speed; 7.22c mana regen from 0 to 0.4; 7.22d Reduced Leap charge replenish time from 60/50/40/30 to 45/40/35/30 (a huge one); 7.22e Sacred Arrow dmg increased from 50/140/230/320 to 80/160/240/320. There isn’t much to be added. There were no big tournaments after Epicenter for the hero to be discovered. So now we mainly have Mirana support. But also a flexibility in the draft since the hero can be played in multiple positions.
After 7.20 Multicast rework, the hero struggled with finding its place in the game. There were some games where people tried Ogre Midas, but the build was more a meme than reality. Fast forward a couple of patches and the meme became a reality. Multiple buffs in 7.21, 7.22, 7.22d&e. I’ll signify that Multicast 2x has a chance of 75% to proc and the item buffer range was increased from 200 to 600. But not only were his skills buffed but his talents also got many buffs in the meantime.
The hero is mostly played on position 3 because he needs the space to farm up Midas. Since Ogre has 3 casting abilities, he really doesn’t need many items for the early game. So he can easily take the sacrifice of farming for midas and transition strong to the mid-late game. Ogre also has the flexibility of being played as a support also. Worth noting is that the hero has the lowest win-rate of the top 10 most picked/banned heroes of TI.
Interestingly enough the next hero on the list, Lesh has the lowest win rate (47.22) of the top 10 most picked/banned heroes of TI after Ogre (45%). The hero went 1-3 on the last day of the groups. I’m sure the hero has its place in the meta but I’m not sure for such a high placement. Contrary to the trend the hero didn’t receive any changes since 7.21d! It seems the hero is very situational and maybe not worth enough to be on this list. Early in the tournament Vici Gaming and LGD played the hero several times and this maybe set the trend for weaker teams to pick it. And maybe that explains the heroes pick/ban rate inflation and win-rate deflation.
This hero started strong from day 1 with ~78% win rate on that day. This makes me think that the interest in it increased during pre-TI scrims between the teams for sure. The 7.21c change, the fact that Tidebringer’s attack damage bonus is no longer applied when attacking allied units, deemed this hero useless to many. But professionals are not many, so they figured it out. People forget about the 7.20 Bracer change, especially after the nerf it received in the next couple of patches after its modification. Kunkka really benefits from an early strength, and he is one hero that stops the IO in its tracks. So as many others, his flexibility, ease of itemisation and early game spike gives it a rightful place in the draft of many teams.
I’m not gonna lie, I have a personal bias against this hero played on a support role. But as for many things it turns out I clearly have space to learn from game’s best captains. The hero mainly did well in the groups and has positive win-rate of 57%. Not too much but not too little. In the hands of a good support the hero becomes an unstoppable zoner. With the increase of Astral Spirit attack damage bonus per hit hero from 15/30/60/80 to 20/40/60/80, ET is good against dual and great against tri-lanes. Natural Order is on of the best passive spells in the game if not the best one. You just need to manage to max it and to have enough sustain to apply it on the enemies for the entire fight (not dying). I still don’t think the hero is worth 1st phasing but again what do I know…
As the days progressed, the hero saw less and less screen time. Some teams (EG) really like the hero while the most don’t seem to deem it T1. Lifestealer didn’t receive changes in 7.22. I expect LS to be overtaken by Tiny by the time TI is over.
Last but not the least. Seating one game in front of Chen, Gyro is the biggest surprise, for me at least. One thing I found unmanageable for the hero was his mana pool. I was sure that he cannot be played without IO for that sole reason. Then Puppey pulled out CM + Gyro combo and it worked flawlessly. But that was not the end, there were a lot of the games where Gyro without IO or CM did very well. The key is to rush Aghs to help you farm. With the aghs change, Gyro doesn’t have to waste a slot late game, and Aghs helps him with the stats in the early game. I still think if someone counters the hero with some source of mana burn, Naga snake, or Nyx mana burn or necro books, that the hero would become unplayable.