Skulz's Dota Competitive Hero Tier List February 2019 - 7.21b patch

Skulz's Dota Competitive Hero Tier List February 2019 - 7.21b patch

The Dota 2 Competitive Hero Tier List for February 2019 includes data from 7.21 and 7.21b, for a total of 524 games. The 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 (picks + bans), and aren't affected either by the win rate of a hero, or by their performance in pub matches.

This tier list contains all pro matches played from February 1st to 24th during patch 7.21 and 7.21b, including ESL One Katowice 2019 and MDL Macau 2019.

Past Tier List: January 2019

More: All the Dota 2 Tier Lists

Quick links

Tier 1 - Tier 2 - Tier 3 - Tier 4 - Tier 5

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%
Tiny 390 74.4% 178 34.0% 212 40.5% 46.6%
Elder Titan 361 68.9% 113 21.6% 248 47.3% 56.6%
Juggernaut 354 67.6% 149 28.4% 205 39.1% 48.3%
Outworld Devourer 332 63.4% 104 19.9% 228 43.5% 49.0%
Sven 331 63.2% 161 30.7% 170 32.4% 44.7%
Lifestealer 321 61.3% 132 25.2% 189 36.1% 55.3%
Magnus 305 58.2% 59 11.3% 246 47.0% 50.9%
Earth Spirit 302 57.6% 143 27.3% 159 30.3% 48.3%
Keeper of the Light 298 56.9% 125 23.9% 173 33.0% 51.2%
Lich 297 56.7% 136 26.0% 161 30.7% 50.7%

Hand of Midas is back

Hand of Midas has been almost completely neglected by pro players during the previous patches, but recently its popularity exploded. I dedicated the entire analysis to this item because the reasoning behind its comeback is quite complex.

We will examine each topic in detail, but here is a quick summary:

  • Hand of Midas buffed: cooldown and attack speed.

  • Less gold and experience available: deny mechanic, trilanes, and creep gold bounty.

  • Battle Fury nerfed.

  • Changes to primary attribute bonuses and related items.

  • The rise of strength cores.

Recent changes to Hand of Midas

IceFrog tends to buff heroes and items that are underused, so he slowly improved Hand of Midas from 7.16 onwards, in an attempt to bring it back into the meta.

The cooldown of its active ability “Transmute” has been reduced from 100 to 90 seconds, and the attack speed bonus has been increased from 30 to 40.

After the recent surge in popularity, Valve reduced the gold bonus provided by Transmute from 200 to 180 in 7.21b, but honestly this adjustment isn’t sufficient to rebalance its pick rate as several factors influence it.

The attack speed bonus alone is excellent. For example, Hyperstone grants 55 attack speed for 2,000 gold, while Hand of Midas gives 40 attack speed for 2,150 gold.

Considering the gold cost, this is a huge amount of attack speed for an item that also gives you additional gold and experience over time, and that can be used situationally to deal with siege creeps and most summons.

There is less gold and experience available on the map

Patch and gameplay changes reduced the amount of gold and experience available during the game. The impact is bigger in the early and mid game as many heroes (particularly cores) need to reach a certain level or purchase a particular item to unlock their next power spike.

Ultimately, Hand of Midas is the perfect (only) solution to the matter because it is able to create extra resources that normally are not present on the map.

  • Trilanes. In the past tier list, I have talked extensively about the return of the trilanes. With three heroes sharing the same lane, there is less experience available for the core.

  • Deny mechanic. Patch 7.20 changed the deny mechanic: now denies no longer give the denier 25% XP.

  • Less gold from lane and neutral creeps. 7.21 reduced the average gold bounty of melee creeps by 3 and replaced the primary jungle’s ancient camps with big camps.

Burning Nightmare loading screen for Chaos Knight - Valve

Burning Nightmare loading screen for Chaos Knight - Valve

Battle Fury nerfed

Hands of Midas has been a solid item already for different patches, but it wasn’t used also because there were better options in the early game, such as Battle Fury and Wraith Band.

After the changes to cleave brought by 7.20, Battle Fury became extremely popular as a farm accelerator item.

Prior 7.20, the cleave mechanic ignored the amount of armor possessed by a hero, while now it works as a normal physical damage type. To balance this change, IceFrog increased both the damage and the radius of Battle Fury.

This is a nerf against heroes with high armor values - and generally against most heroes in the late game - but at the same time, it is a buff against opponents with a poor base armor, such as creeps.

Battle Fury became more efficient than in the past as a neutral creeps killer, so many heroes abused it. An extreme example is Terrorblade: his illusions do not benefit from the extra raw damage nor from the cleave effect, but many players still bought it to accelerate the farm speed of the hero.

7.21 massively nerfed Battle Fury as the percentage damage bonus against non-hero units changed to be a fixed amount. Before, the passive Quell provided a bonus equal to 50%/25% of the base attack damage, while now it grants only a flat 24/7 attack damage bonus.

Wraith Band and primary attributes changes

7.20 removed Ring of Aquila from the game because it was overused both in pub and pro games, but simultaneously it drastically buffed Wraith Band, Null Talisman, and Bracer.

These items (Wraith Band in particular) were so efficient that most players stacked three or more of them in every game.

The situation calmed down a bit after consecutive nerfs from 7.20b to 7.20e, but these early game items were still overpicked, so Valve readjusted the meta again in 7.21:

  • Heroes no longer gain 25% more benefit from their primary attributes (affects attributes from both items and the hero)

Before, all the heroes had extra benefits from their primary attribute; which were particularly strong for agility-based heroes as the earned attack speed, armor, and movement speed. They became dominant in the mid-late game, and quite resilient thanks to all the extra armor.

Now, stacking stats items (such as Wraith Band) provides a lot less value than in the past.

Also, starting from 7.21, all the heroes received an extra amount of primary attributes for free:

  • All heroes’ primary attribute growth values increased by 15%

The two changes above increased the attractiveness of items that are not attribute-based, and influenced also the popularity of Hand of Midas thanks to the substantial 40 attack speed bonus at a fair price.

Ferocious Heart loading screen for Ursa - Valve

Ferocious Heart loading screen for Ursa - Valve

Hand of Midas is overused in pubs

Hand of Midas is not a must-have item on all the heroes.

Pro players do not use it in every single game, but as usual in pubs we tend to copy the strats showed by pros and to inflate them, so now there are too many Hand of Midas in our daily games.

  • If you buy a Hand of Midas while your team is having the upper hand, you will just delay your whole match and power spike timings, so the enemies will have the time to comeback.

To be honest, the situation is not terrible because players in both the teams are committing the same mistake, but you could still be smarter and exploit this weakness to close the game with a suitable early-mid game pusher such as Lycan.

  • Hand of Midas is harder to punish now because all the item timings are delayed following the nerf to the melee creeps gold bounty, but not all the heroes require a farm accelerator item.

Generally, Hand of Midas is very effective if your hero lacks abilities to farm gold and experience, but it is pretty much useless on a hero with AoE spells and who has no use for the extra attack speed.

  • Beside the bonuses, Hand of Midas also helps your item progression. This is particularly significant on heroes who are rushing expensive items such as a Radiance.

For example, you could buy a Sacred Relic quickly, but then the opponents will notice your progresses and start contesting your farm and space, which will delay the completion of the item and thus your next power spike.

Hand of Midas can make a difference in such as a situation because even if the resources you can access are limited, the extra gold provided by the item might be enough to build the Radiance before the next team fight.

Tier 2

Hero Name P+B P+B% Picks Picks% Bans Bans% Win%
Dark Seer 258 49.2% 122 23.3% 136 26.0% 50.8%
Razor 250 47.7% 94 17.9% 156 29.8% 55.3%
Brewmaster 236 45.0% 104 19.9% 132 25.2% 60.6%
Grimstroke 233 44.5% 126 24.1% 107 20.4% 36.5%
Nature's Prophet 225 42.9% 89 17.0% 136 26.0% 51.7%
Kunkka 224 42.8% 77 14.7% 147 28.1% 46.8%
Troll Warlord 213 40.7% 92 17.6% 121 23.1% 51.1%
Doom 209 39.9% 106 20.2% 103 19.7% 49.1%
Pugna 204 38.9% 62 11.8% 142 27.1% 40.3%
Terrorblade 198 37.8% 75 14.3% 123 23.5% 50.7%

The rise of strength cores

Agility-based heroes led the meta during the previous patches as they were the ones who benefitted the most from primary attribute bonuses and related items.

Of course, also strength-based heroes had their own bonuses and could just stack Bracers, but their benefits were just not comparable to the ones provided by agility.

Now that 7.21 removed the extra bonuses, agility heroes do not scale as well as before in the late game, and strength ones had the chance to reappear in the meta as safe lane cores.

Hand of Midas is a valuable item on many strength heroes because they frequently lack farming abilities and attack speed.

Lifestealer is a perfect fit for the meta

Everything we learnt so far about the current meta explains Lifestealer’s place in the tiers.

Lifestealer is a well-rounded hero. He doesn’t have to rely on particular items in the early game because his abilities already grant survivability via magic immunity and life steal, extra attack speed and damage, and a handy slow for early fights.

Therefore, he can focus his attention on greedy items such as Hand of Midas, which is of great help for his item progression because one of his biggest weaknesses is the lack of farming abilities.

Hands of Midas synergizes well with two Lifestealer’s abilities: Feast and Open Wounds:

  • The extra attack speed is valuable in combination with Feast. Thanks to this passive, Lifestealer’s attacks damage the enemies and heal himself for a percentage of his target’s max health. It is helpful in a meta were strength heroes are becoming more popular as they have a high amount of health points.

  • Open Wounds slows the target and provides healing based on a percentage of the damage dealt to that unit. Lifestealer can quickly heal himself using this ability on a high-HP neutral creep and instantly killing it with Hand of Midas’ Transmute.

Ravenous Fiend loading screen for Lifestealer - Valve

Ravenous Fiend loading screen for Lifestealer - Valve

Lifestealer - Radiance and movement speed

If we take a look at the items bought by pro players on Lifestealer during February, we find out that Hand of Midas (109) and Sacred Relic (123) are among the most picked ones.

Completing a Radiance solves any farming speed issue and grants a power spike. Its average purchase time was 19:38 in February, but if you are able to stomp the game, it is possible to finish it from minute 15 onward.

Finally, Lifestealer is now one of the fastest heroes in the game because 7.21 increased his movement speed from 310 to 325.

Mobility is a great perk on melee auto-attackers as they actually need to reach the target to deal damage. Also, agility-based heroes no longer earn extra movement speed via the attribute bonus, so Lifestealer can’t be kited easily anymore.

Patch 7.21 buffed the Phase Boots’ active movement speed bonus from 20%/10% to 22%/10%, so with them Lifestealer is able to reach an outstanding 445 movement speed. Of course, these are the most bought boots on him during February, with 110 purchases in pro games.

Tier 3

Hero Name P+B P+B% Picks Picks% Bans Bans% Win%
Undying 188 35.9% 59 11.3% 129 24.6% 44.1%
Chaos Knight 186 35.5% 75 14.3% 111 21.2% 60.0%
Dazzle 185 35.3% 69 13.2% 116 22.1% 50.7%
Chen 178 34.0% 64 12.2% 114 21.8% 57.8%
Medusa 173 33.0% 57 10.9% 116 22.1% 47.4%
Shadow Shaman 173 33.0% 107 20.4% 66 12.6% 52.3%
Batrider 171 32.6% 70 13.4% 101 19.3% 45.7%
Rubick 168 32.1% 123 23.5% 45 8.6% 51.2%
Timbersaw 167 31.9% 61 11.6% 106 20.2% 49.2%
Beastmaster 163 31.1% 73 13.9% 90 17.2% 52.1%
Phantom Assassin 161 30.7% 95 18.1% 66 12.6% 48.4%
Tidehunter 161 30.7% 69 13.2% 92 17.6% 36.2%
Puck 160 30.5% 83 15.8% 77 14.7% 42.2%
Tusk 156 29.8% 80 15.3% 76 14.5% 35.0%
Oracle 154 29.4% 81 15.5% 73 13.9% 50.6%
Huskar 154 29.4% 23 4.4% 131 25.0% 39.1%
Monkey King 134 25.6% 74 14.1% 60 11.5% 51.4%
Ember Spirit 133 25.4% 65 12.4% 68 13.0% 67.7%
Morphling 133 25.4% 48 9.2% 85 16.2% 43.8%
Ursa 124 23.7% 61 11.6% 63 12.0% 65.6%
Centaur Warrunner 123 23.5% 58 11.1% 65 12.4% 44.8%
Anti-Mage 120 22.9% 44 8.4% 76 14.5% 43.2%
Shadow Demon 115 22.0% 62 11.8% 53 10.1% 56.5%
Pangolier 112 21.4% 55 10.5% 57 10.9% 58.2%
Visage 112 21.4% 36 6.9% 76 14.5% 52.8%
Luna 110 21.0% 68 13.0% 42 8.0% 51.5%

Tier 4

Hero Name P+B P+B% Picks Picks% Bans Bans% Win%
Lone Druid 108 20.6% 37 7.1% 71 13.6% 56.8%
Enigma 102 19.5% 43 8.2% 59 11.3% 55.8%
Night Stalker 94 17.9% 43 8.2% 51 9.7% 46.5%
Phoenix 85 16.2% 49 9.4% 36 6.9% 57.1%
Faceless Void 81 15.5% 30 5.7% 51 9.7% 53.3%
Bane 76 14.5% 55 10.5% 21 4.0% 63.6%
Jakiro 71 13.6% 61 11.6% 10 1.9% 50.8%
Nyx Assassin 66 12.6% 49 9.4% 17 3.2% 65.3%
Shadow Fiend 63 12.0% 34 6.5% 29 5.5% 41.2%
Weaver 62 11.8% 37 7.1% 25 4.8% 37.8%
Dragon Knight 59 11.3% 39 7.4% 20 3.8% 43.6%
Death Prophet 59 11.3% 34 6.5% 25 4.8% 38.2%
Winter Wyvern 49 9.4% 40 7.6% 9 1.7% 55.0%
Phantom Lancer 47 9.0% 21 4.0% 26 5.0% 33.3%
Lycan 46 8.8% 20 3.8% 26 5.0% 40.0%
Viper 46 8.8% 24 4.6% 22 4.2% 70.8%
Lina 46 8.8% 27 5.2% 19 3.6% 40.7%
Leshrac 44 8.4% 34 6.5% 10 1.9% 44.1%
Queen of Pain 42 8.0% 25 4.8% 17 3.2% 40.0%
Slark 40 7.6% 25 4.8% 15 2.9% 40.0%
Bounty Hunter 39 7.4% 17 3.2% 22 4.2% 52.9%
Clockwerk 37 7.1% 23 4.4% 14 2.7% 60.9%
Enchantress 34 6.5% 17 3.2% 17 3.2% 64.7%
Disruptor 33 6.3% 28 5.3% 5 1.0% 50.0%
Slardar 31 5.9% 19 3.6% 12 2.3% 52.6%
Lion 30 5.7% 24 4.6% 6 1.2% 50.0%
Drow Ranger 30 5.7% 19 3.6% 11 2.1% 47.4%
Crystal Maiden 29 5.5% 23 4.4% 6 1.2% 52.2%
Dark Willow 28 5.3% 17 3.2% 11 2.1% 52.9%
Tinker 28 5.3% 13 2.5% 15 2.9% 23.1%
Legion Commander 27 5.2% 18 3.4% 9 1.7% 66.7%
Meepo 27 5.2% 6 1.2% 21 4.0% 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%
Arc Warden 24 4.6% 13 2.5% 11 2.1% 61.5%
Bristleback 24 4.6% 16 3.1% 8 1.5% 37.5%
Witch Doctor 23 4.4% 20 3.8% 3 0.6% 50.0%
Naga Siren 22 4.2% 13 2.5% 9 1.7% 61.5%
Spectre 21 4.0% 11 2.1% 10 1.9% 54.6%
Venomancer 21 4.0% 9 1.7% 12 2.3% 44.4%
Underlord 20 3.8% 12 2.3% 8 1.5% 58.3%
Omniknight 19 3.6% 15 2.9% 4 0.8% 40.0%
Necrophos 18 3.4% 17 3.2% 1 0.2% 58.8%
Invoker 16 3.1% 14 2.7% 2 0.4% 35.7%
Templar Assassin 15 2.9% 7 1.3% 8 1.5% 57.1%
Treant Protector 13 2.5% 7 1.3% 6 1.2% 42.9%
Techies 12 2.3% 1 0.2% 11 2.1% 0.0%
Sniper 12 2.3% 9 1.7% 3 0.6% 44.4%
Vengeful Spirit 12 2.3% 10 1.9% 2 0.4% 60.0%
Mirana 12 2.3% 10 1.9% 2 0.4% 40.0%
Clinkz 11 2.1% 9 1.7% 2 0.4% 44.4%
Skywrath Mage 10 1.9% 9 1.7% 1 0.2% 33.3%
Warlock 10 1.9% 10 1.9% 0 0.0% 60.0%
Storm Spirit 10 1.9% 8 1.5% 2 0.4% 50.0%
Sand King 10 1.9% 9 1.7% 1 0.2% 66.7%
Abaddon 9 1.7% 7 1.3% 2 0.4% 28.6%
Axe 9 1.7% 6 1.2% 3 0.6% 50.0%
Spirit Breaker 8 1.5% 3 0.6% 5 1.0% 66.7%
Broodmother 8 1.5% 5 1.0% 3 0.6% 20.0%
Earthshaker 7 1.3% 6 1.2% 1 0.2% 50.0%
Pudge 6 1.2% 2 0.4% 4 0.8% 50.0%
Silencer 5 1.0% 2 0.4% 3 0.6% 0.0%
Wraith King 5 1.0% 5 1.0% 0 0.0% 20.0%
Alchemist 4 0.8% 3 0.6% 1 0.2% 66.7%
Bloodseeker 4 0.8% 2 0.4% 2 0.4% 50.0%
Ogre Magi 3 0.6% 3 0.6% 0 0.0% 100%
Riki 3 0.6% 2 0.4% 1 0.2% 50.0%
Zeus 3 0.6% 3 0.6% 0 0.0% 100%
Windranger 2 0.4% 2 0.4% 0 0.0% 50.0%
Gyrocopter 1 0.2% 1 0.2% 0 0.0% 100%
Ancient Apparition 1 0.2% 1 0.2% 0 0.0% 100%

Heroes not drafted

  • All the heroes have been picked or banned.

  • Io is currently not available in captains mode. Abuse it in pub games and boost your MMR.

Next Tier List: March 2019

Header image (Redrage Crawler loading screen for Lifestealer) and hero icons: 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 Twitter and Facebook.