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Dota Pro Circuit Season 2: Heroes in review

Dota 2 Siddharth “Gopya” Gopujkar

Based on the heroes that dominated Season 2 of the DPC Leagues, we take a look at which ones might reign supreme at the second DPC Major.

 

The Dota 2 year is absolutely whizzing by us, as if it were Surged by Dark Seer. It seems like just yesterday that Season 1 began, and now, Season 2 is already over! We are staring at the second DPC Major of the year, the WePlay AniMajor, which will begin on the 2nd of June, with TI10 just over a couple of months away.

The second season of the DPC Leagues was an eventful affair with some close tables and intriguing encounters, along with all the drama that the Dota 2 scene promises. Except for Virtus Pro in the Eastern European DPC League, none of the other five leagues had repeat first place finishers. The biggest difference between the two seasons? The patches on which they were played. Season 1 was played on patch 7.28 while Season 2 was played on patch 7.29. The change in patch revamped a lot of strategies and heroes, making it interesting for the viewers. A total of 809 games were played in Season 2 of the DPC Leagues on the 7.29 patch. As we head into the WePlay AniMajor, which will be played on the same patch (a slightly new iteration in the form of patch 7.29d), let’s take a look at what heroes found success in Season 2 of the DPC Leagues and which ones were snubbed.

 

Most Picked

Snapfire and Centaur are the two big contenders in the new meta. Not only were they picked in over a quarter of the games, but they also have above average win rates as well. Snapfire is mostly being played as a position 5 support, because the meta has a lot of negative armor strategies floating around, and she fits perfectly into it. She has the negative armor with Lil Shredder and is an excellent Solar Crest builder, which is one of the busted items of the 7.29 patch. However, her role isn’t limited to that and she has been played in the mid lane as well.

Most picked heroes of Season 2 of the DPC Leagues (taken from DatDota)

The most prominent of her mid outings was the crazy second game between Evil Geniuses and Quincy Crew, in which Quinn “CCnC” Callahan played her as a position 2 hero and made her look quite good there. Snapfire, along with receiving buffs to her skills in patch 7.29, also got a significant buff to her Aghanim’s Shard, making it one of the most utilized Shards of Season 2. She’s a hero that can be played in any position except position 1, which adds to her value.

Centaur might not have that kind of flex, but he definitely is one of the strongest offlaners currently out there. Even though these two heroes had good runs in the DPC Leagues, they have been nerfed in the recent 7.29d patch, which might hinder their success at the upcoming DPC Major.

Only three heroes overlap in the 10 most picked heroes in the two seasons – Puck, Void Spirit and Mars. Other than that, there are a lot of new faces in the most picked list. While Puck continues to be a strong hero despite the nerfs, the other two have extremely questionable win rates. Void Spirit’s win rate has taken the biggest of dips, going from 54.40% to 40.54% while Mars has gone down from 48% to 46.67%. At this point, these two heroes who have been in the meta for a number of the past patches, seem to be comfort picks for a lot of heroes more than anything.

Ancient Apparition is the only hero in the 15 most picked heroes who has a win rate of over 60%. The hero, who has historically been picked for his ultimate for a counter against heroes like Alchemist, Morphling and Timbersaw, is now regularly being first picked because of the strength of his Aghanim’s Shard. The nerf from patch 7.29d should make that win rate dip slightly in the Major.

The only two carries in the top 15 list are Juggernaut and Wraith King, and neither has an impressive win rate. Wraith King was riding high last season, but has been brought back to Earth in this one. Even though not a lot of carries are seen here, there are a few in the most contested category, which we will see next, due to how often they have been banned.

 

Most Contested 

Puck is the most contested hero by a long shot. With a contest rate of over 84%, the Faerie Dragon is around 16% higher than the next in line, Timbersaw. And it isn’t the biggest of surprises – even though Puck got nerfed, it is still a very good hero in the mid lane with a high potential to win the lane and snowball off of it.

Most contested heroes of Season 2 of the DPC Leagues (taken from DatDota)

The next in line, Timbersaw, was banned in over 54% of  the games, showing how much teams don’t want to face him. Timber was once a last pick hero, but with the buffs showered on him, he has become first pick material. Thanks to his buffed Aghanim’s Shard, his major weakness of being unable to take towers has been taken care of. The hero is surely a top contender for the position 3 role, and will be on the minds of all teams as the second DPC Major approaches.

The lack of carries seen in the most picked list can be explained in part from the numbers in the most contested list – carries like Lifestealer, Morphling, Medusa and Troll Warlord have been banned in more than 40% of the games. This meta right now is such that no carries are typically being picked fourth or fifth in CM drafts. No carry is strong enough to be picked in the first phase regularly, like Sven or Faceless Void were in the 7.27 meta. This leads to carry picks being saved till the end to see which one fits the draft and counters the opponent’s draft the best, but it also means it is the position which gets most targeted with bans. The position 1 players heading to the WePlay AniMajor need to have a wide hero pool. Here’s a look at the phases in which the four heroes mentioned above were banned or picked.

Lifestealer
Picked: 26 first phase; 7 second phase; 69 third phase
Banned: 8 first phase; 225 second phase; 54 third phase

Morphling
Picked: 14 first phase; 9 second phase; 67 third phase
Banned: 34 first phase; 194 second phase; 68 third phase

Medusa
Picked: 28 first phase; 7 second phase; 65 third phase
Banned: 42 first phase; 175 second phase; 55 third phase

Troll Warlord
Picked: 9 first phase; 17 second phase; 66 third phase
Banned: 17 first phase; 160 second phase; 82 third phase

Beastmaster was banned a lot in the initial stages of the patch (nearly every game), but with the nerf from patch 7.29c, he isn’t contested a lot.

 

The Unpicked

There isn’t a single hero that wasn’t picked at least twice in Season 2 of the DPC Leagues (except Dawnbreaker, who isn’t in Captains Mode yet), which is quite something. The lowest number of picks fall in front of Meepo’s name – two picks and two wins. The list of heroes shown below represents the heroes who were picked less than 20 games in the 809 games that were played.

Heroes picked in less than 20 games in Season 2 of the DPC Leagues (taken from DatDota)

The unpicked list of heroes has some usual suspects like Clinkz, Dazzle, Meepo, Omniknight, Pudge, Sniper and Tinker. These heroes have been neglected in Captains Mode for quite a few patches and it would be good to see some of them make it big in patch 7.30, on which TI10 will most probably be played. Well, some of them excluding Tinker – no one wants to see a Tinker meta! The two heroes who made it out of here are Chaos Knight and Luna, of whom Luna seems to be doing exceptionally well in the position 1 role (was experimented with in the position 3 role last patch).

The heroes that were rampant last season from this list are Alchemist, Earthshaker, Enigma and Lycan. They were nerfed (not to mention Necronomicon was removed from the game) after dominating Season 1 of the DPC Leagues and the effect shows by their appearance here.

 

Game Durations

Looking at the distributions of games based on duration, it seems like a very similar distribution between Season 1 and Season 2 of the DPC Leagues, both of which had nearly the same number of games played. Even though the patch was totally different with a new map, it seems game speed has remained the same with a majority of the games ending in the 30-40 minute time bracket.

There are just a few more days to go before the start of the WePlay AniMajor. The first DPC Major showed us that the majority of the heroes that dominated the Major were the same ones that made a mark in Season 1 of the DPC Leagues. With an even smaller gap between the end of leagues and the Major this time around, it is highly probable that the same trend will continue. However, it is always exciting to look out for those one or two unexpected heroes that teams will come up with as a surprise factor.

QuickPoll

Will we see a lot of new heroes considering strong heroes from Season 2 of the DPC Leagues were nerfed in patch 7.29d?

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Siddharth “Gopya” Gopujkar
A Mechanical Engineer who is as interested in the mechanics of DotA 2 as every machine he studies. Pursuing his Master's at the Michigan Technological University.

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