ESL One Genting is the first major tournament in patch 7.00 and beyond, and this is the first time we’re seeing the top tier teams play this patch. Since the patch is new, the meta is arguably nowhere close to being solved, which can be seen in the varying styles the teams are trying out. Something very apparent though – the game is now very fast paced and focused on heroes that can join teamfights without waiting for big ultimates like Enigma’s Black Hole, Void’s Chronosphere, and Tidehunter’s Ravage. This does not mean that heroes with long cooldowns are not viable – we see Sand King a lot, but mainly because of his playmaking capabilities in Burrowstrike, both in terms of initiating, and avoiding ganks.

Thanks to stats from DotaBuff, we can analyze the picks and bans from the main event, and have an idea why certain heroes were successful. Here are the top picks and bans, and my personal take on the reasoning behind these choices.

Most contested heroes:

  1. Juggernaut
    P: 11 (45.45%) | B: 13 (46.15%)
    Juggernaut is back in the meta mainly because he can go online and join fights if he goes for a Yasha build. He synergizes well with a lot of stuns (spin, auto attack) and the healing ward is amazing for team fights.
  2. Slardar
    P: 14 (28.57%) | B: 7 (57.14%)
    We’ve been talking about how fast the game is and how low cooldown heroes will shine. Slardar provides a highly mobile initiator packed with a ton of stun and armor reduction. However, it seems like the most picked hero this tournament actually had little success. On paper, Slardar is perfect for this meta, but it seems like teams can easily punish him, as he has trouble escaping after an initiation. I feel that adding a defensive support like Dazzle or Omniknight can allow Slardar to perform better.
  3. Underlord
    P: 5 (80%) | B: 14 (57.14%)
    The most banned hero in the tournament, and for good reason. Underlord’s Pit of Malice is too good in team fights. Teams have to choose to fight in the pit and take damage from Rain of Fire, or find a way to go around a zoning field that lasts 12 seconds.
  4. Shadow Demon
    P: 5 (40%) | B: 14 (50%)
    Shadow Demon is great at getting picks because of Disrupt and Soul Catcher. He can also provide additional illusions for more pushing damage after a team fight. It’s no surprise that he’s a good meta pick, given how versatile he is even without farm.
  5. Luna
    P: 7 (42.86%) | B: 11 (45.45%)
    Another carry that goes online very early. Having a low cooldown nuke makes her effective early in tanks, and a well timed Eclipse can easily assassinate an enemy or turn a gank around.

Most Picked (Excluding above)

  1. Rubick
    P: 12 (66.67%) | B: 6 (66.67%)
    Another support that shines in the fast paced meta. Telekenesis is a great setup, and Fade Bolt can mitigate a lot of auto attack damage. The good Rubick players are also able to efficiently cast a lot of stolen spells back at the enemy team, which is great in extended teamfights.
  2. Mirana
    P: 11 (63.64) | B: 4 (50%)
    Remember that the last change for Mirana was a nerf to her Aghanims Scepter. Mirana is still a strong pick, and with team compositions consisting of strong initiators, Mirana’s Sacred Arrow is more easily set up. Her talents allow her to more easily scale to the late game as well, if she wants to switch to a more attack oriented build.
  3. Lifestealer
    P: 10 (80%) | B: 8 (75%)
    I think he was pretty underpicked for the success that he’s had in the tournament.┬áLifestealer has had an exceptional winrate when picked, and like all the carries listed, he thrives the most in the mid game. Most of the heroes listed are good vessels for a Lifestealer Bomb as well, such as Slardar, Mirana, and Sand King. He can easily work in fights because of Rage acting as a BKB, and allows him to do some quick damage down in a fight.
  4. Sand King
    P: 9 (55.56%) | B: 8 (25%)
    We mentioned that long cooldown ultimates aren’t really great, but Sand King’s Burrowstrike is just too good to ignore in this meta. With most teams grouping up, great Sand King players are able to stun multiple enemies when first entering the fray. Add to that the short 11 second cooldown, which means that Sand King can just initiate again after a few seconds.
  5. Dark Seer
    P: 8 (12.50%) | B: 9 (66.67%)
    Another hero that seems to make sense on paper due to the Vacuum -> Centaur Stomp combo, which is a mini RP. The Ion Shell proved to be quite effective, especially when they run a very active ganking 4 like Spirit breaker. However, this seemed to not translate to wins – could this be an effect of team composition and lack of other big AoE ultimates to finish off the job?

From the way the tournament played out, it seems like most successes were due to having a great pickoff that turns into a favorable teamfight. With the lack of creeps to be able to stack in the jungle, most of the multi-stack and farm strategies have been not as efficient as just finding kills and ganks throughout the map. It feels like┬áthis is also carrying onto regular games, as we’re starting to see much more plays made around, instead of people lurking in the jungle.

Let us know your thoughts in the comments below!