A time for heroes: Competitive trends of TI9 qualifiers

Leamare is a Dota 2 fan specialising in statistical analysis of the game via his website Spectral.gg. Here, he crunches the numbers from the TI9 regional qualifiers

The International 2019 is on its way. The biggest tournament in Dota 2 is less than a month away and the best way to know what to expect from the TI9 meta is to look over recently concluded regional qualifiers.

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Total matches played: 268
Teams: 48
Radiant winrate: 50.75%
Median match duration: 37:08
Heroes contested: 116 - 105 picked and banned, 8 only picked, 3 only banned
Heroes uncontested: 1 - Pudge
Creeps murdered: 574,388

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Tanks for the support

The meta is still forming and, even since the conclusion of the TI9 qualifiers, we already have a new Dota 2 patch that will to reshape it once more. Although the pros already established some of the essential trends of this patch, the most valuable heroes tend to be tanky cores who can make allies stronger (not only by making them tankier, but also by providing useful auras).


(Above: Hero combinations during TI9 regional qualifiers)

The most popular cores of the patch are Sven, Wraith King, Centaur Warrunner and Omniknight (who is also great to have in any composition just because he can make any core tanky).

Related content: The stats behind Team Secret's success

One notable mention is Pudge. The butcher didn't get any attention during TI9 qualifiers, but he is pretty popular in the Immortal bracket right now and TI attendees are practising the hero as position 3, 2 and even 1 core. There are many other heroes who do the same thing in a different way (such as Spirit Breaker, Warlock, Io, Grimstroke), but the overall idea stays the same.

Star performers

The next trend is a natural answer to the first: What's good against these heroes? It turns out there are a lot of interesting solutions that can either abuse opponents tankiness - like Outworld Devourer and Slark - or mitigate their most valuable buffs and make enemy heroes much easier to kill, like Ancient Apparition, Warlock and Shadow Demon.

The last layer of heroes is far less populated, but as valuable as others: percentage-based damage and pure damage. All heroes who were good enough before turned out to be great in a meta of beefy cores. Notable mentions in this category are Enigma, Death Prophet and Lifestealer.

A final notable mention is Ember Spirit. The hero was picked (and banned) the most and has a considerably high winrate of 56.52%. There are a lot of reasons for his popularity. He was buffed bit-by-bit, but 7.22 introduced a new, and very effective, Aghanim's upgrade for Ember Sprit.

The item turns Ember into an uncatchable monster by removing his limitations, while the hero itself is solid even without a sceptre upgrade. The hero is so popular it feels like everything connects to him and wraps around the idea of Ember Spirit being picked.


Popular pairs

The most popular hero pairs tend to work around the formula of "tanky hero and enabler". It's interesting to see Ancient Apparition with Wraith King and Sven to be chosen a lot, which may be because teams tend to take AA for themselves first to be in a safe position for later picks of Sven, Wraith King or Omniknight.


Related: Which teams will be at TI?

SA region breaking the mould

One interesting thing to note is regional meta. Usually the "Western" meta has global influence in these reports while other regions are a little different in their overall trends. This time there weren't many differences though. The only standout region turned out to be South America with a bit more attention to flashy caster cores, particularly Queen of Pain.

Leading teams and players

Team with most matches played: Natus Vincere (19)
Team with the highest winrate: Forward Gaming (93.33%)
Team with the widest hero pool: The Final Tribe (46)
The most diverse player: TFT.Chessie (13 heroes in 16 matches)



Highest GPM: paiN.hFn as Alchemist (1260) in match 4890149021 against Team Ham
Highest XPM: Vega.cAtfiSh as Anti-Mage (1150) in match 4893508790 against Na'Vi
Most kills: HAM.skiter as Morphling (23) in match 4890440666 against Gorillaz-Pride
Most deaths: Na'Vi.W_Zayac as Techies (18) in match 4895242023 against Vega Squadron
Most assists: paiN.Lelis as Dark Seer (39) in match 4894403418 against Infamous
KDA with 0 deaths: paiN.4dr as Ember Spirit (35) in match 4890149021 against Team Ham
KDA with 1+ deaths: 682.Wish- as Tinker (43) in match 4899420396 against Bald
Total gold earned: Newbee.Sccc as Medusa (83386) in match 4898481037 against EHOME
Last hits: paiN.hFn as Gyrocopter (1212) in match 4894403418 against Infamous
Damage to heroes: paiN.hFn as Gyrocopter (145475) in match 4894403418 against Infamous
Damage to buildings: Vega.cAtfiSh as Troll Warlord (25118) in match 4889981518 against FlyToMoon
Hero healing: AMPLFY.BDz as Io (36784) in match 4890768096 against Team Jinesbrus
Damage taken from heroes: EHOME.430 as Arc Warden (130558) in match 4898481037 against Newbee
Observer wards placed: EHOME.y as Oracle (38) in match 4898481037 against Newbee
Sentries placed: EHOME.y as Oracle (77) in match 4898481037 against Newbee
Observer wards destroyed: EHOME.y as Ancient Apparition (12) in match 4898963307 against Team Aster
Map pings: infamous.Scofield as Earthshaker (541) in match 4894403418 against Pain Gaming
Stuns: Vega.so bad as Dark Willow (326.46) in match 4893206092 against Na'Vi


Biggest networth stomp: 47673 gold in match 4898079807 - Xolotl vs Complexity
Biggest networth comeback: 24428 gold in match 4897840279 - Beastcoast vs Complexity
Longest match and most Roshan kills: 1:31:31 and 7 Roshan kills in match 4898481037 - EHOME vs Newbee
Shortest match: 13:10 in match 4897617647 - Vega vs Winstrike
Most kills combined: 94 in match 4891494163 - Vega vs Na'Vi

Find more stats in the full report at Spectral.gg