I’m back from Europe, and we’re two weeks into Reddit League season 12. Already it looks like a legitimate meta has emerged. A whopping eight heroes have contest rates over 50%, so going into week 3 we can probably guess what a lot of the drafts will look like.
- Earthshaker stands at the top with both the highest contest rate and pick rate. For all intents and purposes the meta revolves around the old bull. The hero could probably use a damage nerf, as being able to stunlock enemies 100-0 without help was likely not icefrog’s vision. He’s definitely a phase one hero at the moment, but with his middling success you should expect that every captain has something prepared for him. Not all Raigors are equal, so I’d honestly avoid if you don’t have a serious shaker player.
- Lich is the 2nd most contested hero, but with a much higher ban rate than pick rate. It’s so easy to get value from this hero, even manned by 3rd-4th round support players, and he steers enemy drafts into awkward magic lineups that tend not to take objectives particularly well. It helps a lot that he is pretty good with and against Shaker. Won’t be surprised to see him at #1 later on.
- Venomancer, one of the most flexible phase one picks, serves as a very strong counter to both Earthshaker and Lich, so I wonder if we’re seeing him getting picked mostly at 6/7/8. On the flip side he’s getting banned a ton, which really helps enable these first pick Shaker/Lich.
- Nightstalker bans are spilling over plenty from TI7, but I wonder how much it would get picked if captains let it through. Definitely another hero that benefits from Veno ban, and his vision impact is pretty nice both with and against Shaker and Lich.
- Necrophos pub god, popularized in league play by Liquid, is kind of like Lich in the way that he steers enemy drafts away from physical damage. He’ll win a side lane matchup pretty easily 1v1, and is extremely gank resistant in a roaming support meta. Balanar is pretty shit against Necro but the rest of the above heroes are quite good, so if the bans are all flowing the right away you can probably get away with slamming pos 1 Necro.
- Nyx Assassin is not seeing the same success as from TI7. I don’t think he has and particularly strong matchups here other than being a pain in the ass for Necro. I think the hero will lose popularity unless it was predictive of meta shifts towards heroes like Pugna and OD.
- Viper seems like an unusual entry here, but I suppose in a roaming-support meta where two top heroes discourage physical damage, tanky Viper should be able to perform pretty well. Actually a really good hero to pair with Lich and/or Necro, so maybe if those heroes stop getting banned Viper can boost his own win %.
- Spacecow is the first entry on the list with more picks than bans. This is another hero for which I think the common bans so far really help this hero out, as Lich, Veno, and Necro are all pretty troublesome for SB to deal with.
- Shadow Shaman is showing signs of being the true king of the meta, so expect to see a lot more of this hero in the new couple weeks, probably a lot more phase 1 bans as well. His winrate is great so far, so maybe people haven’t figured him out yet. Serpent Wards are pretty amazing for take buildings without risking a big Echo Slam.
- Faceless Void is another hero that seems to be performing really well, and plays quite nicely alongside heroes like Venomancer, Shadow Shaman, and Lich. As well, if those heroes are banned it also makes things easier for Voidface. If Earthshaker falls off to a certain extent, I expect Void to pick up a lot of play at pos 3.
- Clock is the last hero that I really think we’ll start to see a lot more of, as he is an excellent counter to the very large swath of the meta.
- Sniper unfortunately is doing quite dreadful, even though it’s a really nice counter to some of most prevalent heroes, like Rhasta, Veno, Necro and Shaker. The hero doesn’t do well in a roaming meta, and can feel very slow trying to ramp up his damage so his team can win fights. Still, he’s great in lane and can be a nut pick sometimes, so don’t shy away if the situation looks favorable.
In short, I think Earthshaker, Lich, Veno, and Necro likely belong in phase one where they are getting banned/picked, and we should start to see a lot more Shadow Shaman, Void, and Clock.
As for my team, we always want to set the meta, so I wouldn’t expect to see too much of RD2L meta spilling over into our official matches.
Try not to next level yourself by just drafting five heroes from the list above.
And good to be back!
-gg worst captain ever