Skulz’s Dota Competitive Hero Tier List April 2018

The Dota 2 Competitive Hero Tier List for April 2018 includes data from 7.12 and 7.13, for a total of 433 games. All heroes are split in five groups. 

  • All heroes are arranged in five tiers based on their draft rate. The tiers are viewed as clusters of data, and each hero is placed in the one they are closer the most.

  • The requisites for each tier never change. The goal is offering a neutral comparison that shows how the meta evolves over time.

  • The win rate has no effect on the tiers, but is included for further info. The tiers depend only on drafts, and aren't affected either by the win rate of a hero, or by their performance in pub matches.  

The tier list includes all matches from April 1st to 25th. I released it sooner than usual to provide info on the meta prior the next biweekly patch. EPICENTER XL will start on April 27th, and the games played there under the new patch might have affected the data.

Every month, I strive to offer new info on the top heroes. Sometimes, it isn’t an easy task because the heroes leading the meta are often the same. Omniknight is a typical example: he is a top draft since November, and I have featured him in three lists and multiple articles.

Therefore, this time will skip him and some familiar ones - you can still find analysis on them in the past lists and in the guides/articles available on the website.

Terrorblade is one of the heroes requested the most by the readers, thus today I will make use of his position in tier 1 to talk about our favorite demon.

Past Tier List: March 2018

All tables are responsive and sortable. If you are using a phone, turn it sideways for a full view. Otherwise, zoom in or click the grey area of each table to swipe and sort them.

Tier 1

 
Hero Name P+B P+B% Picks Picks% Bans Bans% Win%
Omniknight 353 81.5% 52 12.0% 301 69.5% 53.9%
Tusk 343 79.2% 179 41.3% 164 37.9% 49.7%
Tiny 341 78.8% 121 27.9% 220 50.8% 38.0%
Terrorblade 316 73.0% 98 22.6% 218 50.4% 52.0%
Sand King 313 72.3% 179 41.3% 134 31.0% 47.5%
Razor 301 69.5% 64 14.8% 237 54.7% 57.8%
Death Prophet 277 64.0% 100 23.1% 177 40.9% 51.0%
Outworld Devourer 265 61.2% 101 23.3% 164 37.9% 47.5%
Lifestealer 263 60.7% 95 21.9% 168 38.8% 50.5%
 

Terrorblade: Sange and Yasha or Manta Style

One of the main questions on Terrorblade’s item build is about the preference between Sange and Yasha or Manta Style. During April, pro players bought the former in 54 games, and the latter in 35. Let’s analyze the pros of both options. 

Manta Style isn’t only an offensive item

Terrorblade can combo the Manta Style’s Mirror Image with Metamorphosis to get two extra empowered and ranged illusions. The item has a 30 seconds cooldown while in melee form, so if activated just before Metamorphosis, you can enjoy two full-duration Manta illusions as the ability has a 52 seconds duration once maxed out.

For maximum DPS, this is the best course of actions, but the Manta Style is also a defensive item. For example, it can free your hero from silences and roots, so often players prefer to save it to remove a disable. It is beneficial and becomes a priority when facing lineups with such abilities.

Sange and Yasha offers good stats at a cheap price

The Sange and Yasha is a lot cheaper (3,900 vs. 5,000 gold), it grants twice the movement speed bonus, more health points, and a passive to slow down the opponents.

  • A 135 HP difference (between the two items) may not seem huge, but Terrorblade is a carry with a low health pool (470 at level 1) and lots of armor. He is able to survive against physical damage, but is weak versus casters with burst spells - any extra HP is welcomed.

  • All illusions copy the hero’s movement speed, so the bonus is handy in several situations: team fights, split-pushing, or to chase an enemy. In particular, movement speed lets you maximize your free time as you can quickly move from a jungle camp to another while nothing is happening on the map.

  • Terrorblade does possess a slow via Reflection, but often it isn’t enough due to the 16s cooldowns, so Greater Main is really appreciated in ganks and fights. With it, and thanks to all the attack speed via agility (3.2 gain) and items, the hero can basically permanently slow the target.

Generally, the Sange and Yasha is the best choice. At a lower cost you can boost your mid game: Terrorblade will be ready to fight thanks to all the stats and perks it provides. Instead, I recommend to buy the Manta Style when you need to purge disables.

There are also some exception depending on the net worth advantage of your team, the strategy you will employ, the kind of disables and damage of both lineups; but overall the Sange and Yasha is the safest option.

Finally, do not forget that the S&Y can always be disassembled. It is an useful feature in the very late game because your illusions will deal an astonishing amount of damage once full build, so you might want the two extra ones granted by the Manta Style.

 Image: Valve

Image: Valve

Do you fear he who fears nothing?

Alert: turn down the volume if you are using headphones.

Icefrog reworked Terrorblade’s talents in 7.07, but due to popular demand he nerfed our beloved demon in 7.07c and 7.10. He received no further changes, but many believe that more nerfs are necessary.

I am not going to argue about this, but just add that right now he is an excellent hero, and pro players must fear him because he is banned in about 50% of the games.

Indeed, the top hero of hero of the month - Omniknight - shines with a 70% ban rate, but he is a support. In my opinion, Valve should never let a carry become so strong and dangerous to require a ban in a half of the matches.

Talents analyzed

The talent usage stats consider all pub games - courtesy of Dotabuff.

Level 10

  • 10% Evasion - 32.2% pick rate; 50.6% win rate

  • +20 Movement Speed - 67.8% pick rate; 55% win rate

Inexperienced players may think that +10% Evasion is exceptional because there aren’t many sources for this ability. It makes your hero tougher against physical attacks, stacks with the bonus provided by the Butterfly, and works even on your illusions. Truly, this bonus is really negligible on a hero with 11.4 armor at level 1 and who can reach 26.76 at 25 without any item.

The +20 Movement Speed talent is always the superior choice. We already talked about its benefits while analyzing the bonuses of the Sange and Yasha - veteran players know how to exploit it, maximizing any action and their presence on the map. Also, do not forget that Metamorphosis reduces your movement speed by 25, thus this talent ends up re-balancing it while in ranged form.

Level 15

  • +25 Attack Speed - 34.4% pick rate; 54.1% win rate

  • +300 Health - 65.6% pick rate; 56.1% win rate

Absolutely pick the health. 25% attack speed will increase your dps, but Terrorblade doesn’t lack it, neither at level 15 or in the late game, while the health points are helpful to cover one of his weaknesses.

The S&Y gives 360 HP, together with the talent you will have an extra 660 HP in the mid game - this is the safest and most recommended route.

Level 20

  • -10s Reflection Cooldown - 57.2% pick rate; 58.6% win rate

  • +10 All Stats - 42.8% pick rate; 60.9% win rate

This isn’t an easy choice. Statistics are always helpful, particularly on a hero with illusion because they are affected too, but -10s Reflection Cooldown must not be underestimated as it reduces the cooldown of the skill to only 6 seconds.

If you aren’t sure about what you are doing, pick the stats as you can never be wrong with them, but against the right heroes Reflection is a game-changing ability. The illusions it creates inflict 100% of the enemy hero damage, so are incredible to deal versus many right-clickers.

The illusions also carry any aura possessed by the copied heroes and utilize their passive abilities: for example, Medusa’s one will attack all her teammates thanks to Split Shot.

Level 25

  • +300 Metamorphosis Attack Range - 21.6% pick rate; 64.9% win rate

  • -35s Sunder Cooldown - 78.4% pick rate; 64% win rate

Another hard choice, but honestly the extra attack range is more situational. It is particularly strong when the team is sieging the high-ground to destroy the tier 3 towers, and you don’t want to rush in and commit in a fight.

In most games, I prefer the -35s Sunder Cooldown. Sunder has a 40 seconds cooldown once maxed out, so with this talent it will be available every 5 seconds.

It will drastically increase your survivability in the late game, especially if the opponents have no abilities available to pierce the BKB spell immunity. The Black King Bar has a duration of 10/9/8/7/6/5, so often you can utilize Sunder two times while under its effect.

You can also use it on an ally to save them, and 5 seconds later recover your health points on an opponent or even on your own illusions. In fact, with some micro you can maintain an illusion in a relative safe position, and drain it whenever your hero is low HP.

Tier 2

 
Hero Name P+B P+B% Picks Picks% Bans Bans% Win%
Dark Willow 237 54.7% 97 22.4% 140 32.3% 44.3%
Naga Siren 222 51.3% 70 16.2% 152 35.1% 60.0%
Gyrocopter 212 49.0% 108 24.9% 104 24.0% 51.9%
Underlord 204 47.1% 86 19.9% 118 27.3% 54.7%
Nature's Prophet 200 46.2% 53 12.2% 147 34.0% 56.6%
Witch Doctor 198 45.7% 150 34.6% 48 11.1% 49.3%
Night Stalker 193 44.6% 67 15.5% 126 29.1% 56.7%
Faceless Void 190 43.9% 82 18.9% 108 24.9% 53.7%
Phantom Lancer 187 43.2% 56 12.9% 131 30.3% 53.6%
Dragon Knight 181 41.8% 112 25.9% 69 15.9% 55.4%
Ancient Apparition 179 41.3% 106 24.5% 73 16.9% 50.9%
 

Learn more on the tier 1 and 2 heroes

Note: in some articles, you need to look for that particular hero as many are featured in lists. You can also use the search function on the website to find analysis on more heroes.

 

Snowball and Ice Shards are marvelous tools that can change the fate of a battle if in the right hands.

Buy Clarity potions and harass Omniknight with magical nukes. Forcing him to skill Repel in the lane phase is already a victory.

Sand King is both a solid laner and roamer. He can farm stacks in the jungle with Sand Storm, but do not let it become your main job.

A quick look to Dragon Knight's most popular items.

Sniper has the upper hand versus OD during the lane phase and in the late game. His only issue is the mid game, until he gets a BKB to counter Arcane Orb.

Heavy burst damage in the early-mid game, and huge AoE physical dps afterwards. The hero can always be useful to the team.

WD can stun, harass, and heal - do you need more?

The jungle is dead. Don’t waste a hero that can manipulate the lane in an afk-role.

Protecting Death Prophet in team fight is necessary to exploit her ultimate and win the match.

Solid laner and ganker, AA can amplify the damage of his team and combo with several heroes.

 

Tier 3

 
Hero Name P+B P+B% Picks Picks% Bans Bans% Win%
Disruptor 168 38.8% 116 26.8% 52 12.0% 50.0%
Bounty Hunter 167 38.6% 36 8.3% 131 30.3% 50.0%
Leshrac 162 37.4% 105 24.3% 57 13.2% 61.9%
Rubick 157 36.3% 122 28.2% 35 8.1% 46.7%
Batrider 155 35.8% 54 12.5% 101 23.3% 35.2%
Puck 151 34.9% 72 16.6% 79 18.2% 54.2%
Viper 146 33.7% 51 11.8% 95 21.9% 39.2%
Nyx Assassin 137 31.6% 55 12.7% 82 18.9% 60.0%
Beastmaster 130 30.0% 56 12.9% 74 17.1% 57.1%
Abaddon 121 27.9% 62 14.3% 59 13.6% 48.4%
Lina 114 26.3% 72 16.6% 42 9.7% 50.0%
Elder Titan 110 25.4% 54 12.5% 56 12.9% 48.2%
Lone Druid 109 25.2% 43 9.9% 66 15.2% 48.8%
Bane 107 24.7% 57 13.2% 50 11.6% 56.1%
Visage 105 24.3% 34 7.9% 71 16.4% 55.9%
Pangolier 99 22.9% 41 9.5% 58 13.4% 41.5%
Chen 99 22.9% 19 4.4% 80 18.5% 57.9%
Broodmother 94 21.7% 13 3.0% 81 18.7% 46.2%
Tidehunter 90 20.8% 45 10.4% 45 10.4% 51.1%
Shadow Fiend 88 20.3% 46 10.6% 42 9.7% 37.0%
 

Tier 4

 
Hero Name P+B P+B% Picks Picks% Bans Bans% Win%
Troll Warlord 82 18.9% 54 12.5% 28 6.5% 48.2%
Doom 82 18.9% 47 10.9% 35 8.1% 46.8%
Clockwerk 81 18.7% 47 10.9% 34 7.9% 44.7%
Venomancer 80 18.5% 37 8.6% 43 9.9% 73.0%
Luna 74 17.1% 40 9.2% 34 7.9% 50.0%
Earth Spirit 73 16.9% 51 11.8% 22 5.1% 51.0%
Juggernaut 73 16.9% 45 10.4% 28 6.5% 48.9%
Slardar 62 14.3% 41 9.5% 21 4.9% 51.2%
Tinker 59 13.6% 22 5.1% 37 8.6% 45.5%
Vengeful Spirit 58 13.4% 37 8.6% 21 4.9% 59.5%
Queen of Pain 56 12.9% 33 7.6% 23 5.3% 45.5%
Jakiro 55 12.7% 42 9.7% 13 3.0% 54.8%
Lycan 54 12.5% 18 4.2% 36 8.3% 72.2%
Pugna 54 12.5% 25 5.8% 29 6.7% 36.0%
Io 53 12.2% 15 3.5% 38 8.8% 80.0%
Brewmaster 52 12.0% 26 6.0% 26 6.0% 38.5%
Enchantress 52 12.0% 13 3.0% 39 9.0% 38.5%
Lion 50 11.6% 47 10.9% 3 0.7% 42.6%
Morphling 49 11.3% 24 5.5% 25 5.8% 54.2%
Kunkka 44 10.2% 32 7.4% 12 2.8% 43.8%
Dark Seer 43 9.9% 26 6.0% 17 3.9% 57.7%
Monkey King 39 9.0% 18 4.2% 21 4.9% 55.6%
Timbersaw 39 9.0% 20 4.6% 19 4.4% 45.0%
Warlock 36 8.3% 23 5.3% 13 3.0% 43.5%
Templar Assassin 35 8.1% 21 4.9% 14 3.2% 66.7%
Keeper of the Light 33 7.6% 15 3.5% 18 4.2% 33.3%
Sniper 31 7.2% 18 4.2% 13 3.0% 50.0%
Magnus 30 6.9% 20 4.6% 10 2.3% 60.0%
Chaos Knight 28 6.5% 15 3.5% 13 3.0% 53.3%
Weaver 28 6.5% 14 3.2% 14 3.2% 14.3%
Earthshaker 28 6.5% 26 6.0% 2 0.5% 26.9%
Oracle 27 6.2% 16 3.7% 11 2.5% 50.0%
Medusa 27 6.2% 15 3.5% 12 2.8% 66.7%
 

In tier 4 and 5 we find all the situational heroes. They are strong when paired with others, or against specific lineups. These heroes aren't bad, they just don't work in every game, so the pick and ban rates aren't outstanding.

Tier 5

 
Hero Name P+B P+B% Picks Picks% Bans Bans% Win%
Phantom Assassin 24 5.5% 20 4.6% 4 0.9% 55.0%
Treant Protector 22 5.1% 8 1.9% 14 3.2% 37.5%
Dazzle 21 4.9% 18 4.2% 3 0.7% 55.6%
Storm Spirit 21 4.9% 14 3.2% 7 1.6% 35.7%
Legion Commander 19 4.4% 12 2.8% 7 1.6% 33.3%
Huskar 19 4.4% 7 1.6% 12 2.8% 42.9%
Enigma 18 4.2% 7 1.6% 11 2.5% 14.3%
Shadow Demon 17 3.9% 16 3.7% 1 0.2% 43.8%
Anti-Mage 17 3.9% 8 1.9% 9 2.1% 37.5%
Winter Wyvern 16 3.7% 9 2.1% 7 1.6% 33.3%
Invoker 16 3.7% 11 2.5% 5 1.2% 27.3%
Phoenix 15 3.5% 13 3.0% 2 0.5% 46.2%
Shadow Shaman 14 3.2% 11 2.5% 3 0.7% 63.6%
Pudge 12 2.8% 2 0.5% 10 2.3% 50.0%
Zeus 11 2.5% 11 2.5% 0 0.0% 45.5%
Wraith King 10 2.3% 6 1.4% 4 0.9% 50.0%
Skywrath Mage 9 2.1% 8 1.9% 1 0.2% 12.5%
Spirit Breaker 9 2.1% 8 1.9% 1 0.2% 25.0%
Centaur Warrunner 8 1.9% 6 1.4% 2 0.5% 16.7%
Slark 8 1.9% 8 1.9% 0 0.0% 62.5%
Undying 8 1.9% 8 1.9% 0 0.0% 37.5%
Crystal Maiden 7 1.6% 7 1.6% 0 0.0% 28.6%
Ursa 6 1.4% 5 1.2% 1 0.2% 40.0%
Axe 6 1.4% 6 1.4% 0 0.0% 66.7%
Ember Spirit 5 1.2% 3 0.7% 2 0.5% 66.7%
Meepo 5 1.2% 2 0.5% 3 0.7% 100.0%
Lich 5 1.2% 4 0.9% 1 0.2% 25.0%
Sven 4 0.9% 3 0.7% 1 0.2% 33.3%
Drow Ranger 4 0.9% 2 0.5% 2 0.5% 50.0%
Riki 3 0.7% 3 0.7% 0 0.0% 100.0%
Arc Warden 2 0.5% 2 0.5% 0 0.0% 0.0%
Bristleback 2 0.5% 2 0.5% 0 0.0% 0.0%
Ogre Magi 2 0.5% 2 0.5% 0 0.0% 100.0%
Silencer 2 0.5% 1 0.2% 1 0.2% 0.0%
Alchemist 1 0.2% 1 0.2% 0 0.0% 0.0%
Spectre 1 0.2% 1 0.2% 0 0.0% 0.0%
Necrophos 1 0.2% 1 0.2% 0 0.0% 0.0%
Mirana 1 0.2% 1 0.2% 0 0.0% 100.0%
Bloodseeker 1 0.2% 1 0.2% 0 0.0% 0.0%
 

Heroes not picked

 

Note: Techies is currently not available in captains mode.

 

Countering Riki - A pub assassin

I read multiple discussions on Riki. Many Dota 2 fans believe that he must be nerfed to the ground because you can either pick him or lose against him. He achieved a respectable win rate in pub games - and not only at lower ranks - but then why pros do not draft him?

In the end, Riki is rather easy to counter. The heroes picked aren’t even a primary concern, but what really matters is the behaviour of the supports when facing him in the early game, the team play and strategy from the mid game onwards, and the items purchased.

I created a guide on how to counter Riki that I believe will be of huge help to many players. Read it to understand what’s wrong in your gameplay and what you can do to deal with him!

Learn more: How to counter Riki

A short summary

Vision is crucial, especially when facing a roaming Riki. The supports must not place Sentry Wards only in their own lane to safeguard the carry, but all cores require protection against ganks. Of course, you will end up spending a lot of extra gold and become very poor, but that’s the life of the position 4 and 5 when facing invisibility heroes.

The biggest issue at low ranks is the duration of the lane stage. Many players tend to remain in the lane even for 15-20 minutes or more, because that’s often the safer place to farm. As a carry you will benefit from the extra free gold, but you are also causing troubles to the entire team because Riki will have all the time to farm his Diffusal Blade.

A Riki player countered properly in the early game is pretty much useless, and he requires time to reach his next power spike. The first one takes place at level 6, when he unlocks the ultimate, the second one once he acquires the Diffusal Blade.

If the enemy team cooperates and pushes together, he won’t have the time to become a nuisance and a support-killer, but if 2 players out of 5 refuse to push because they want to farm, then their squishy and poor teammates are doomed.

Lack of team play, objectives, and of a plan to win the game are perhaps the biggest problems at lower ranks.

Lastly, here are some cheap but amazing items to counter him: Force Staff, Ghost Scepter, and Glimmer Cape. The first one in particular is excellent on any hero and role because it lets you save not just your own life, but also your teammates. Smoke Screen is Riki's main disable, and to be honest we can compare it to a small ultimate - do not get caught in it without an escape.

Next Tier List: May 2018

 

Header image (Eternal Purgatory loading screen for Terrorblade), hero icons, and Terrorblade voice line: Valve  - Statistics: DatDota.

Vincenzo is an esports writer with five years of experience. Former head editor for Natus Vincere, he has produced content for DreamHack, FACEIT, DOTAFire, 2P, and more. Follow him on @SkulzDota.