The International 2019 stage is set and the time for talking is almost over. With the TI9 action about to click off in Shanghai, Dota 2 statistician Leamare looks at the stats from the past three months to explore each team's favoured playing style. First up, it's teams from the North America, South America and CIS regions.
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Related: Analysis of China and SEA teams for TI9
Roster: rtz, SumaiL, s4, Cr1t-, Fly
Matches recorded: 60, 65% winrate
Evil Geniuses, champions of The International 2015, are still a strong team. They had no changes after getting to the third place at The International 2018 and proved to be a threat and the best team of NA region during the last Pro Circuit season.
The most picked heroes of EG are Doom (15, 66.7%), Sven (14, 92.9%), Lifestealer (12, 58.3%), Leshrac (11, 90.9%) and Dark Seer (10, 70%). It also seems like the team favors Dark Seer a lot since all the picks happened during the first draft stage and the hero showed up in two hero pairs of the team.
The team's most favorite hero combos are Lifestealer + Dark Seer (4, 100%), Sven + Dark Seer (4, 100%), Shadow Shaman + Abaddon (4, 75%), Leshrac + Lifestealer (4, 75%) and Doom + Silencer (4, 50%).
The most effective picks against EG tend to be based either around stealing a hero, like Leshrac (5 picks, 80% winrate and 10 bans), Shadow Shaman (6 picks, 83.3% winrate) or Dark Seer (9 picks, 44.4% winrate and 13 bans), or playing around enemy cores, making them immobile and turning their strength into advantage with heroes like Shadow Demon (4 picks, 100% winrate and 4 bans), Enigma (4 picks, 75% winrate and 16 bans) and Morphling (7 picks, 42.9% winrate and 11 bans).
Newbee (ex-Forward Gaming)
Roster: YawaR, CCnC, Sneyking, MSS, PieLieDie
Matches recorded: 54, 56% winrate
While Newbee didn’t play that much matches during the last three months, the team has one of the widest hero pools across all the TI attending teams. Both of these factors make it very hard to prepare against the team and build any expectations.
One of the most interesting aspects of the team is playstyle. Newbee drafts are always greatly balanced, but what’s more interesting is their approach to game that seems to have a lot in common with CIS teams. The team is usually building its strategies on early to midgame aggression and teamfights, while also playing around objectives as much as possible. The most picked heroes of Newbee are Ember Spirit (13, 61.54%), Oracle (10, 50%), Jakiro (10, 60%), Beastmaster (9, 100%), Centaur Warrunner (9, 55.56%), Grimstroke (8, 62.5%).
There aren’t much heroes successful heroes against Newbee to note, however overall pattern seems to be similar to VP. Newbee’s main threat seems to be elusive heroes who can slow down the team’s momentum, like Templar Assassin, Oracle, Batrider, Pangolier.
Infamous (ex Anvorgesa)
Roster: K1, Chris Luck, Wisper, Scofield, Stinger
Matches recorded: 17, 82% winrate (TI9 Qualifiers) and 13, 38% winrate (competitive season)
Infamous are somewhat a mystery. The first time the team was spotted is actually the last minor of the season. Team Anvorgesa at the time managed to get to the tournament from the open qualifier, but didn’t get too far. However, the team managed to show a great performance during the TI qualifier and it turned out to be their ticket to Shanghai.
The most interesting thing about Infamous is actually the South America meta itself. Like I pointed out in ranked meta trends analysis of 7.22e, the region is the most unique in terms of inner meta right now. And it is perfectly reflected in the team’s playstyle.
The first thing to note is that Infamous values brawling a lot. The team’s drafts always have a lot of emphasis on fights and aggression – a trend that’s often used to describe the region’s playstyle as a whole. The second thing to note is the team’s most picked heroes list – it looks a lot like ranked meta trends of the region as well: Lifestealer (7, 100%), Queen of Pain (6, 83.33%), Silencer (6, 83.33%), Wraith King (4, 75%), Monkey King (4, 100%), Nyx Assassin (4, 100%).
The other side of the coin for this kind of approach is obvious: any team with a much better focus on map control and objectives may be a tough opponent for Infamous. However, this kind of playstyle and hero pool looks unique enough to create a bit of chaos on the tournament and give a big advantage for SA warriors.
Roster: Crystallize, MagicaL, Blizzy, Zayac, SoNNeikO
Matches recorded: 66, 61% winrate
It’s been a while since the good days of Na'Vi ended. Slowly but surely all remaining sparks of hope faded as team didn’t get much success. This time, however, it seems like the team has a great chance to show off what they were working on.
Na`Vi’s strategy is usually based around getting map control (usually with scouting, but there are always some explosive ways to control the map) and trying to get pickoffs to get a good opportunity for objectives later on. The team’s most picked heroes are usually the solid and strong ones, but it seems like the team gives a lot of attention to heroes who can reset fights and control positioning of both teams during the battle: Disruptor (22, 63.64%), Wraith King (14, 78.57%), Templar Assassin (14, 92.86%), Centaur Warrunner (13, 64.54%), Ember Spirit (12, 75%), Dark Seer and Nyx Assassin (12, 83.33%).
Aside from overwhelmingly successful Templar Assassin played by MagicaL, there is also one interesting hero who isn’t one of the most picked, but can be found in the most popular pairs list – Winter Wyvern. In top pairs list of Na`Vi there are a lot of combos with Disruptor, and the top 3 pairs are Disruptor + Ember Spirit (6, 83.33%), Wraith King + Nyx Assassin (5, 100%) and Templar Assassiin + Winter Wyvern (5, 80%).
Na'Vi’s weak spot seems to be in cases when opponents can force a long lasting fight or reset a teamfight by themselves. Some notable mentions are Omniknight (7, 85.71%), Shadow Shaman (6, 66.67%), Bane (7, 71.43%), Storm Spirit (4, 75%), Disruptor (7, 57.14%).
Roster: RAMZES, No[o]ne-, 9pasha, RodjER, Solo
Matches recorded: 57, 63% winrate
Virtus.pro finished previous competitive season with the first place while looking like an unbeatable beast. Even tho their run at TI8 didn’t look as impressing, the team didn’t change the roster and decided to take a second chance to win The International. The team finished with the second place in Pro Circuit ranking and showed impressive performance over the season, even tho it looked more like they tried to test as much strategies before TI as possible.
When talking about Virtus.pro, it’s usually associated with aggressive strategies and “deathball”, but it’s only partially true these days. Over the time Virtus.pro tried more and more new ideas and polished their playstyles, turning generic “CIS deathball” into something unique. Modern VP looks more like a cold-hearted machine. Usually the team’s strategies are based around getting all the heroes to their early power spikes as soon as possible and start getting objectives with precise attacks and map movement (and, funnily enough, this approach seems a lot like how OpenAI plays the game).
Ideal heroes to pick are usually the ones who come online relatively early. There are also some exceptionally great heroes like Earthshaker and other crowd controlling heroes with massive zone of impact. The most picked heroes of VP are Earthshaker (14, 64.29%), Enigma (10, 50%), Sven (10, 70%), Ember Spirit (9, 55.56%), Disruptor (9, 55.56%), while the most frequently occurring pairs are usually based around Earthshaker. It’s also worth to note that the team’s hero diversity value is considerably high, so there are a lot of heroes who are more spread out in terms of their pick rate.
If we’re going to look over the most effective heroes against VP, there aren’t much outstanding discoveries to be made. Most of the heroes picked against VP are those who were “stolen” from them. Altho there are some interesting cases like Templar Assassin (12, 58.33%), Nyx Assassin (9, 55.56%), Juggernaut (4, 75%), Disruptor (7, 42.86%), who are able to interrupt the team’s momentum and force the plan to fall apart.
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Leamare is a Dota 2 fan and the brains behind statistics website Spectral.gg