First for context, whose meta? The meta that I play in is NA region, < 5k MMR amateur tournament and ranked matchmaking. It’s an important distinction because our metagames are all different. If and when I post about tier-1 professional meta, it will be from the perspective of “what about the pro scene can I apply to my own meta?”
The meta is (or should be) defined by power heroes and the matchups among them, extending to the greater pool for strategic picks, who complement or counter these illustrious power heroes and the gameplans that suit them. The power heroes of 7.02 stay alive.
I would say in this match alone Abaddon, Horse God; possibly also Necro, Luna, Riki are all power peoples. Most notable among the uncontested are Underlord, Ember Spirit, Pudge. I think from this list the only hero prone to dying is Luna. Team fights are often dictated by which heroes are the first to fall. So the meta favors heroes that are hard to take down. Let’s talk about a few.
- I think Abaddon is the best hero in the game right now. His Q and E are not bad skills, pretty normal… Mist Coil being able to target both ally and enemy is really quite useful. Borrowed Time making him resistant to ganks isn’t hard to counter, but it is valuable when a fight is on otherwise equal footing. The serious hot shit is Aphotic Shield’s strong dispel every 6 seconds that rules over this meta. Even without the dispel it is a 400 hp swing on a short cd; with the dispel, against say, Ogre’s Ignite, it’s an 800 hp swing and a slow removal. And don’t get me started on the stuns.
- Necro is still top tier but not as overpowered since the nerfs. The key feature about Rotundy in this meta is not that he’s hard to kill (which most power heroes share) but that he specifically counters other tanky heroes with Heartstopper and Reaper’s Scythe.
- I think Viper should be a regular consideration in this meta, not because he is particularly strong, in fact I think he is quite average. But he naturally counters magic damage lineups and melee right-clickers, and has has very strong synergy with heals and other defensive skills.
- Tanky attrition metagames also very much favor backliners; they wall off their ranged dps from the enemy, and themselves often have trouble getting to the opponent’s squishies. For this reason I think Sniper is a vicious pick in the meta, as he will find his way into a lot of drafts that enable high auto-attack uptime. A safe sniper is a won fight. I’ll quickly add that I do think surprise Drow strats will shit on these fatty lineups.
- Finally Riki. A different sort of survivable hero, one that is very squishy but hard to kill – invisibility, blink and a self-banish all in one. Smoke Cloud seems to be phenomenal in this meta, both for offense and defense, especially in conjunction with roots and slows, and also especially against a bunch of survivable heroes that are relying on timely spell casts.
I try to preempt meta shifts, but I think it’s important not to expect other captains to even be up to date. A lot of them haven’t moved on from the 7.01 metagame. Myself included a little bit – Jakiro, who I drafted this match, and first-picked all the way to the throne of RD2L, is on the way out, and I’ve been slow to deprioritize him.
That being said we should keep the above heroes in mind; surprise the enemy with them and don’t get surprised ourselves. I think first phase Abaddon / Riki / Necro is going to pay off in a lot of drafts, teams will struggle to properly counter them.
If I’m thinking two steps ahead, I expect Pugna to become an excellent situational pick as a team-fight backliner with siege. But as always, don’t next-level yourself with a first pick Oblivion (nor ban it for say, first pick Chickenmage).
-gg worst captain ever