The top tier for mid heroes before the Dota 3 release was pretty clear: Outworld Devourer, Mirana, Timbersaw. Maybe we can make arguments for Invoker and Alchemist. Either way it definitely at least existed, and was accepted, even if we drew the lines in different places.
But not now. We’re a couple balance versions in, and there is Ember Spirit and then there is everyone else. A few heroes have seen run in the 2-hole; Invoker, Queen of Pain, Tinker, OD. Right now Shadow Fiend is getting a lot of love – I expect his popularity to fade too in this still evolving meta. None of these heroes have particularly impressed. The numbers don’t back them up.
Okay, so, ban/pick Ember, fine. But what else does this mean for drafting?
- Don’t prioritize popular mids – not today’s Shadow Fiend, nor the next pro scene trend. Maybe the upcoming FOTM is a buffed fringe hero like Windranger. Whoever it is, steer clear of the hype for now and fill your first phase with legit meta staples in other positions like Slardar, Weaver, Underlord, etc.
- On that train leave your mid pick for later phases. With no urgency to stake claim to a Tier 1 Mid, you’re free to save it for counter-picks. Maybe you man up against spell heavy teams with a Viper, or maybe you need the closing power of Storm Spirit.
- Explore strong, unpopular mids. An absent Mid Tier 1 means more opportunities for mids across the board, including heroes that aren’t seeing play, but that have huge potential in the right circumstances. Silencer, Jakiro, Zeus, Necrophos, Pugna, Sniper (who is getting some play) all have high impact and flip draft boards – they change the way the enemy team has to approach a fight. Sometimes these picks just win.
- Look at off-role heroes to play mid. Without overpowered mid heroes, there is much less risk of punishment for thinking outside the box, for picking up a hero that may not excel in lane but makes up for it later on. Maybe it’s a Clock or a Banana or hell maybe it’s a Spectre. When mid was full of monsters Dota often came down to “win mid win game” (or for gloaters “gg ez mid”), but that’s not the case right now. Exploit this weakness as best you can – it may separate good drafters from great drafters.
- All this being said, don’t next-level yourself. There’s more bad-weird out there than good-weird.
gg worst captain ever