With the Group Stage of The International 2019 (TI9) over, we now have an idea of what the metagame will be for the Main Event thanks to the trend of hero picks and bans throughout the preliminary stage of the tournament.
- Unconventional Heroes Delight During TI9 Group Stage. Non-traditional hero picks are one of the bonuses of experimentation during the TI9 group stage. (Image via Valve) Every year at the International, we’re presented with interesting, albeit strange, drafts that.
- Without further delay, on to my TI9 fantasy challenge predictions. DAY 1 There are more Group A series than Group B during the first day, and the teams that play the most amount of games during that day are Secret, Chaos, Keen, LGD, Liquid, and TNC. For carry, top picks would be Nisha, Ame, Miracle-, and Gabbi.
Non-traditional hero picks are one of the bonuses of experimentation during the TI9 group stage. (Image via Valve) Every year at the International, we’re presented with interesting, albeit strange, drafts that closer reflect our own pub games than they do top-level Dota.
View full stats, matches, teams and players for the TI9 Group Stage of The International 2019. The International 2019 is on its way and that means one thing - the clock is ticking to make your TI9 Battle Pass predictions. Everyone's at it - including some of the most high-profile names in the community, including AdmiralBulldog, Tobiwan, Spectre and even Gosu.ai. Vici Gaming are the experts' choice to win TI9, with Miracle- named as the favourite to be the player with the highest kill average.
Join us as we dive into the heroes of the TI9 Group Stage and why teams have chosen to either pick or ban them in their drafts.
Most Picked: Elder Titan
Elder Titan appeared in the most games throughout the Group Stages, being picked a total of 54 times and sporting a decent 57.41% win rate. The hero has been played on both support positions, largely thanks to a skillset that has a high-impact throughout a game regardless of whether he gets a lot of items or not.
His Astral Spirit is very strong early game, as it allows him to harass opponents while buffing himself to effectively trade hits or even right-click enemies to death. Comboing Astral Spirit with Echo Stomp also gives him a very long range of initiation, which also makes him very effective in controlling Roshan especially when used in unison with his ultimate, Split Earth. His passive, Natural Order, reducing the armor and magic resistance of enemies is the icing on top. Free download alphabet letters patterns.
Ogre Magi and Shadow Demon have also been popular choices among teams, with being picked a total of 51 times. Ogre Magi is tanky, has good stun and damage abilities, and can even buff his carry, while Shadow Demon is a solid support that can dish out a lot of damage alongside save and initiation abilities.
Gyrocopter (40), Tiny (39), Ember Spirit (36), Leshrac (36), Sand King (35), Kunkka (35), and Mirana (33) round out the rest of the top 10 most picked heroes.
Most Banned: Alchemist, Enchantress
Teams seem to not want to have Alchemist and Enchantress in their games, as the two have been the most banned heroes so far with 99 apiece — over 20 times more than the third most-banned hero. The two have only managed to sneak through the draft 27 and 24 times respectively, with both having win rates hovering just below 60% to prove their worth.
While Alchemist has always been one of the best farming heroes in the game, he hasn’t always been the most capable carry in teamfights and tends to get outclassed if the game goes longer after he peaks. Players seem to have solved that problem by foregoing the Radiance-Manta-Octarine farm/splitpush-focused build of the past for a more fight-ready itemization with Radiance, Blink Dagger, Black King Bar, and Skull Basher into Abyssal Blade.
Enchantress provides a lot of damage thanks to her Impetus ultimate, while Untouchable and Nature’s Attendants make her deceptively tanky. Teams have largely picked her as an offlaner that can push the opposing carry out of the lane once she hits level 6 or as a position-4 that can also act as a core once she gets items.
Mirana (74), Shadow Demon (66), Chen (62), Kunkka (61), Leshrac (60), Magnus (56), Lifestealer (51), and Ogre Magi (50) comprise the rest of the top 10 most banned heroes.
Top picks per position (>10)
- Gyrocopter (40)
- Ember Spirit (36)
- Lifestealer (30)
- Alchemist (27)
- Sven (26)
- Slark (23)
- Naga Siren (15)
- Wraith King (14)
- Faceless Void (13)
- Morphling/Razor/Juggernaut/Templar Assassin (12)
- Tiny (39)
- Leshrac/Ember Spirit (36)
- Kunkka (35)
- Alchemist (27)
- Storm Spirit (21)
- Outworld Devourer (15)
- Death Prophet (13)
- Broodmother/Timbersaw/Razor/Templar Assassin (12)
- Queen of Pain (11)
- Ogre Magi (51)
- Sand King (35)
- Tidehunter (25)
- Enchantress (24)
- Earthshaker (23)
- Beastmaster/Axe (21)
- Centaur Warruner (18)
- Abaddon (16)
- Magnus (14)
- Pangolier (12)
- Batrider (11)
- Elder Titan (54)
- Shadow Demon (51)
- Mirana (33)
- Ancient Apparition/Crystal Maiden (31)
- Grimstroke (26)
- Lina (25)
- Invoker/Warlock (22)
- Rubick/Shadow Shaman (19)
- Chen (18)
- Dark Willow (16)
- Jakiro (14)
- Enigma/Omniknight (12)
*figures are based on prevalent position for heroes, some heroes like Invoker are considered support after being played at their traditional role (mid) less than their new role in the Group Stage (support)
- Dark Seer
- Keeper of the Light
- Night Stalker
All statistics courtesy of Dotabuff.
Be sure to check out our coverage of The International 2019 Group Stage for more TI9 action.
Most tournaments evolve a meta which is defined during group stages. Teams come out with their best strategies to gain any advantage they can and then other teams study what works well and copy those picks.
The meta of TI9 was defined by OG who dominated games with carry Io, Alchemist, Enchantress, Magnus and other heroes who became first phase bans for most teams.
To understand why some heroes were picked and others ignored, it's important to understand the meta.
Ti9 Hero Picks
The most contested (combined picks and bans) heroes in the group stages were:
- Alchemist (126)
- Enchantress (123)
- Shadow Demon (117)
- Mirana (107)
- Ogre Magi (101)
During the main event the most contested heroes were:
- Alchemist (47)
- Enchantress (44)
- Elder Titan (44)
- Tiny (38)
- Leshrac (37)
Other notable heroes were Shadow Demon, Chen, and Lifestealer.
What is similar about these heroes? Many of them have abilities which can influence team fights in significant ways by mitigating and amplifying damage.
- Alchemist has a large area of effect spell which has massive armor reduction.
- Elder Titan has a spell which removes armor and magic resistance.
- Enchantress has a spell which basically makes her immune to physical attacks and has a magic resistance talent.
- Chen can control neutral creeps to stack magic resistance.
- Mirana can make her whole team go invisible which is great for initiating or escaping fights.
These damage amplification and mitigation spells are sorely missing from Clockwerk and Ursa’s toolkit. They need to buy items such as Crimson Guard or Pipe of Insight and Ursa needs to buy items like Drums of Endurance, Blink Dagger, and Black King Bar before he can become effective in team fights. By the time they get these items other heroes will be out farming them.
Many of the most popular heroes at TI9 were heroes that can play multiple positions. This is very helpful during the draft because when you make a pick, you are forced into a certain play style. When you pick a hero that can play multiple positions, you force your enemies to take multiple roles into consideration and you can switch up your own play style later in the draft.
This is part of the reason Tiny, Enchantress, Ogre Magi, and Mirana were picked so often, they can play multiple positions and multiple roles.
An example of this would be game 3 of the upper bracket match of Evil Geniuses against OG. For OG’s last pick they chose Sand King for offlane and then Evil Geniuses countered this with Anti Mage. OG reacted masterfully to this and shifted JerAx, the position 4, to play Sand King, and then N0tail played Rubick as the position 5, all to allow OG.Ceb to play position 3 Enchantress. This switch up worked well and OG ended up winning the game.
Also in the same game Sumail played Mirana as mid, a hero that is usually played as support.
With Clockwerk, Ursa, and Keeper of the Light, you know which position they're going to be playing and what kind of game they want to play.
Keeper of the Light (kotl) is a hero that went through multiple changes to rework how this hero is meant to be played. Most notably Kotl’s ultimate ability changed from Spirit Form to Will-o-Wisp. Will-o-Wisp is an ultimate ability that causes enemies to be focused onto the Will-o-Wisp multiple times, incapacitating them. This spell was very powerful especially combined with refresher orb which allowed multiple instances of Will-o-Wisp to overlap, causing a very long area of effect stun.
The refresher orb effect was removed because it was too strong and ever since then Kotl has been ignored in professional games.
Kotl is also easily countered by popular carry heroes in the current meta such as Alchemist who has a high rate of attack speed and can get a Black King Bar 15 minutes into the game to kill the Will-o-Wisp before it can be effective in team fights. Lifestealer and Juggernaut are also heroes who can turn magic immune and kill the Will-o-Wisp so teams may have been hesitant to pick Kotl since popular heroes can counter his abilities easily.
Clockwerk’s playstyle did not fit too well in the TI9 meta compared to other heroes.
As a position 4 he needs to get up and close to the enemy to apply pressure. Other heroes like Elder Titan can instantly summon a spirit from a long distance and stomp, Earth Spirit can roll in from a far distance, and Mirana can shoot arrows from a very far distance.
As a position 3 he doesn’t have the same level of tankiness and ability to frontline like other popular offlane heroes. At TI9 offlane heroes were expected to build auras and sustain items which Clockwerk can’t do because he is the one who wants to initiate or counter initiate. He also lacks area of effect abilities to help him farm fast which many popular offlane heroes had like Tidehunter who can farm fast with his Anchor Smash ability.
Even though Ursa is a strong counter to the most contested hero at TI9 - Alchemist, teams may have decided that another hero is a better pick such as Lifestealer. Lifestealer has an ability that makes him magic immune, something that Ursa does not have. Ursa has his ultimate: Enrage which dispels debuffs on him but he can be kited easily.
Ti9 Pick Rate
Ursa is a strange hero to not be picked though because he’s a natural counter to not only Alchemist but Enchantress and Tidehunter as well. Enchantress has the ability to make enemies attack her slowly but Ursa can increase his attack speed greatly which makes him a counter. Tidehunter is tanky against most heroes due to his Kraken Shell ability but Ursa’s Fury Swipes ability cannot be dispelled by Kraken Shell.
He’s also one of the best heroes at killing Roshan who is always important in every high level game.
Perhaps because he does not offer much to his team unlike Sven who has a damage absorption spell and speed movement buff or Juggernaut who has a healing ward or Lifestealer with a built in magic immune ability. Ursa also lacks reliable tower damage which is a big problem for ending the game.