If we take a look at our amateur meta there are pretty clear hero tiers this patch. In both RD2L and in its sister league SEAL the top five heroes stand apart, being contested in over two thirds of all matches this season: Lich, Venomancer, Earthshaker, Necrophos, and Spirit Breaker.
The second tier, contested in 40% of games or more, consists of Viper, Nyx Assassin, Bloodseeker, Monkey King, and Sniper.
Strategically, as far as first picks go Venomancer sits way at the top. He counters the rest of the tier-1 heroes save for Necro, which is a more even matchup statistically and could be argued one way or the other, also will probably eat a ban. Shaker and Lich feel very bad into Veno. Spacecow has his merits in theory but the stats don’t favor him; I suspect Veno’s lack of interrupt is outweighed by Plague Wards spotting charge, and by slows reducing Bara’s right-click uptime.
Veno also matches up favorably with the heroes in tier-2, except for Sniper and Viper, who are anyway quite unlikely to go on the 6-7 turn, since it leaves the FP team four chances to counter-pick them.
If favorable meta wasn’t enough, add in complete lane and role flexibility. You don’t want to sink a bunch of counters into a Veno just to find out it’s pos 5, but you still kind of need to in case it’s pos 1/2.
Naturally you could just ban the stupid hydralisk whenever you have have 2P, but that isn’t going to fly against some teams, who may require other bans, eg. Truckwaffle (2 signature heroes). So what the heck do we do when faced with first pick Veno?
It’s a hard question; even the pros don’t really seem to know. But let’s take a look at the two FP Veno matches from PGL Bucharest: Continue reading “Curing First Pick Venomancer”