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Group stage meta analysis ahead of TI9 playoffs

The madness of a memorable group stage at the International 2019 has ended and the dust is starting to settle. Dota 2 statistician Leamare analyses the meta from play so far ahead of the TI9 playoff bracket

Compared to competitive meta trends in the past few months leading up to TI9, the main theme of matches didn’t change too much. However, the active hero pool has changed. It was possible to predict those changes, I guess - a lot of these trends were either mentioned in our ranked meta trends reports for patches 7.22e and 7.22f or could be briefly seen in the stats. But it’s not TI if there are no surprises.

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Alchemist steals the show

The main theme of TI9 is Alchemist, as well as heroes who can confront or accompany him. The hero became the most banned (which is rare to see for a position 1/2 hero), holding at high win rate mark as well: 57.69% wins in 26 matches, with 99 bans.

drafts_gs

Alchemist's popularity gave an additional boost to three already strong heroes: Enchantress (58.33% wins in 24 matches with 99 bans), Ancient Apparition (51.61% wins in 31 matches with 39 bans) and Shadow Demon (56.86% wins in 51 matches with 65 bans). There are also some other heroes who start accelerating relatively early and who require some kind of intervention to their early game (which, just like in Alchemist’s case, may be extremely hard to do). We already saw some Naga Siren (15, 60%), Medusa (6, 66.7%) and Templar Assassin (12, 66.7%).

Before TI the go-to carry heroes were Sven and, to a lesser extent, Ember Spirit. While still being viable picks, they fade compared with the new challenger who, traditionally, becomes popular at TI – Gyrocopter. The hero was rare to see picked without Io during this Pro Circuit season (and sometimes Gyro wasn’t contested at all, aside from being picked with Io). This time it’s a bit different: while Io was picked only 10 times (and won seven games) and banned 21 times, Gyrocopter holds fourth place in picks and is relatively successful with 62.5% wins over 40 matches (and having 39 bans).

Ogre Magi is another interesting addition to TI9. The hero was already briefly seen as one of the most interesting trends of the late 7.22f meta. At TI, however, he started dominating in picks since day one, taking the “universal” hero niche and being effectively the aura carrier (or “the walking items wardrobe”). It’s hard to say Ogre Magi is successful: the hero has only 45.1% wins over 51 matches with 50 bans. However, the hero is still extremely useful and fits a lot of lineups, which may be the reason of his low win rate.

day1

Day 1 draft stats

It’s worth mentioning that meta didn’t really change that much after the first day. The main additions to appear later on are Mirana and Tiny during the third day of the group stage.

day3

Day 3 draft stats

Combos

A lot of lane combos (as well as hero combos in general) are pretty much the same as at the end of the competitive season. The most interesting additions of TI9 meta are probably combos based around Elder Titan, who is also one of the most interesting heroes of the tournament as well. It seems like the hero is capable of fitting most of lineups and strategies, while also being extremely useful at any stage of the game.

lane_combos

Lane combos

combos

Next up - the TI playoffs

The meta isn’t going to change a lot going into the Main Event. However, we, probably, won’t see that much of Alchemist, Elder Titan, Shadow Demon, Enchantress and Chen. With the bans list settled and as diverse meta in which there are only two heroes (Riki and Night Stalker) are uncontested, it’s worth hoping to see some new ideas based around this meta specifically, like Carry Io or Midlane Core Earth Spirit.

However, in meta that values interrupting opponent’s initial acceleration the most successful teams are going to be the ones who focus on map control in their strategies. It may also lead to the rise of “anti-carry” heroes, like Legion Commander or Timbersaw. Enchantress and Ancient Apparition are fitting this category as well, but these cards were already played and became too obvious to allow them to be played.

TI9 best matches so far

And for the dessert, I’d like to share my picks of the most interesting matches of the Group Stage too look over.

Day 1

  • Stomp of the day (50k gold) – 2nd match of Fnatic vs Vici Gaming – 4968187584
  • The biggest comeback (23k gold) – 2nd match of KEEN Gaming vs TNC Predator – 4967655141
  • The longest game (1:22:14) – 2nd match of Evil Geniuses vs Natus Vincere – 4968150000
  • Megacreeps comeback – 1st match of Alliance vs Team Secret – 4967602648

Day 2

  • Arteezy rampage as Lifestealer – 2nd game of Evil Geniuses vs Vici Gaming – 4969903576
  • Crazy slaughter between Virtus.pro and Natus Vincere – 4969499647 + 4969405346

Day 3

  • Flawless performance by YawaR as Anti-Mage – 2nd match of Alliance vs Newbee – 4970923784
  • The longest match (1:26:28), the biggest comeback of the day (19.6k) and all-time TI hero damage record (128k) – 2nd match of TNC Predator vs Chaos – 4971343154
  • Bloodbath with 82 total kills – 1st match of Team Liquid vs KEEN Gaming – 4971602368

Day 4

  • Bloodbath with 82 total kills and 104k hero damage Enchantress – 1st match of Team Liquid vs TNC Predator – 4973040677
  • Comeback of Virtus.pro in a match against Evil Geniuses – 4972964911
  • And another Virtus.pro comeback, but against Fnatic – 4973234250

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