Skulz’s Dota Competitive Hero Tier List July 2018

The Dota 2 Competitive Hero Tier List for July 2018 includes data from 7.18 only, for a total of 98 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 July 1st to 30th. I had to wait the end of DOTA Summit 9 in order to gather a suitable amount of pro data for this month.

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.

If you are looking for a particular hero, use the search function on the website as I featured several ones in previous articles, guides, and tier lists.

This month, I focused my attention on some of the new entries.

Past Tier List: June 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%
Crystal Maiden 90 91.8% 40 40.8% 50 51.0% 55.0%
Bloodseeker 86 87.8% 14 14.3% 72 73.5% 57.1%
Phantom Lancer 83 84.7% 27 27.6% 56 57.1% 66.7%
Winter Wyvern 67 68.4% 25 25.5% 42 42.9% 60.0%
 

Crystal Maiden

All the memes on the poor, slow, and low-impact Crystal Maiden may have come to an end as she was the most picked hero of the month! Let’s analyze what changed in the past patches and what she brings to the team.

7.16

  • Increased base attack damage from 24-30 to 26-32.

  • Increased Arcane Aura mana regen on self from 1.3/2.2/3.1/4 to 1.6/2.4/3.2/4.

Crystal Maiden's base attack damage was 19-25 until 7.11, but it has been buffed three times in the past months, reaching 26-32 in 7.16. Now, she has a 40-46 damage at level 1 - which is still very poor - but her harassing capabilities are exceptional thanks to the excellent nukes.

7.17

  • Reduced Crystal Nova cooldown from 12/11/10/9 to 11/10/9/8.

With a low 8 seconds cooldown once maxed out, Crystal Nova is of big help to push the lanes past the mid game.

  • Level 15 left talent: Increased gold income bonus per minute from 120 to 150.

The other level 15 talent (+14% Manacost/Manaloss Reduction Aura) is amazing when the team is snowballing and with the right lineup: for example, Zeus, Skywrath, and Tinker can benefit a lot from the mana cost reduction, and it stacks additively with the Kaya.

In most games, it is almost impossible to refuse the extra gold. This is a huge buff because CM can finally afford some late game items and buy all consumables required by the team, with no help.

Most of us do not notice the usefulness of this talent because in pubs it is usually selected by greedy players who utilize the extra gold for their personal benefit. Instead, in a competitive or high rank environment, the teams can enjoy a support with “free” wards.

The gold obtained via the talent is unreliable, which means you can lose it dying. In the wrong hands, Crystal Maiden can turn into a walking Bounty Rune for the opponent team because her deaths will feed them more than the usual due to the higher net worth.

 Charge of the Tundra Warden loading screen for Crystal Maiden - Valve

Charge of the Tundra Warden loading screen for Crystal Maiden - Valve

7.18

  • Increased  Crystal Nova damage from 100/150/200/250 to 130/170/210/260.

A massive buff to her laning phase. With a level into Frostbite and Crystal Nova, CM is able to inflict 280 magic damage, and at the same time also root and disarm the target for 1.5 seconds, and slow it for 4.5s!

  • Increased  Arcane Aura mana regen on self from 1.6/2.4/3.2/4 to 1.8/2.6/3.4/4.2.

The mana regen on self provided by Arcane Aura has been already buffed in 7.12 and 7.16 - previously, it granted only +1 at level one, so the effect almost doubled.

Many support players believe they must prioritize this skill when there are mana-hungry heroes in the team, but this is incorrect. The mana regeneration bonus on allies is quite low 0.8/1/1.2/1.4, so investing more points won’t make a huge difference.

If your team is complaining about the lack of mana, maybe it is time to explain them why the Clarity potions are so powerful and mandatory in the early game.

The mana regeneration bonus on self is massive, and it is so convenient that you do not need to max this skill early on. Usually, I suggest 1 to 2 points in the early game, a few levels into Frostbite, and priority on your best nuke: Crystal Nova.

With a 4.5 seconds slow and 300 AoE damage at level 4, Crystal Nova is exceptional for all ganks and fights in the early and mid game, and later on you can exploit your unlimited mana to push lanes and farm extra gold (without exaggerating).

7.19

  • Increased Crystal Nova mana cost from 100/120/140/160 to 130/140/150/160.

A nerf to her early game as the skill now costs 30 more mana at level 1 and 20 at level 2. In the previous patches, I have already suggested to prioritize Crystal Nova, and now you should do it also to bring down the mana consumption.

Tier 2

 
Hero Name P+B P+B% Picks Picks% Bans Bans% Win%
Windranger 55 56.1% 31 31.6% 24 24.5% 58.1%
Chen 53 54.1% 10 10.2% 43 43.9% 60.0%
Pugna 50 51.0% 25 25.5% 25 25.5% 48.0%
Mirana 49 50.0% 22 22.5% 27 27.6% 40.9%
Pudge 48 49.0% 25 25.5% 23 23.5% 52.0%
Templar Assassin 44 44.9% 15 15.3% 29 29.6% 46.7%
Ember Spirit 42 42.9% 14 14.3% 28 28.6% 42.9%
Enchantress 42 42.9% 13 13.3% 29 29.6% 61.5%
Io 41 41.8% 12 12.2% 29 29.6% 41.7%
Brewmaster 40 40.8% 23 23.5% 17 17.4% 65.2%
Broodmother 40 40.8% 8 8.2% 32 32.7% 50.0%
 

Pudge

I don’t even remember the last time I talked about Pudge competitively, and now we find him among the top heroes. At DOTA Summit 9, he was the most picked hero of the tournament (19 picks, as many as Necrophos). 

I believe that many casual players misunderstood the correct skill build and the talents he must prefer to be effective, and this is generating a lot of rage and hate when Pudge appears in team.

7.16

  • Increased Meat Hook damage from 90/180/270/360 to 150/220/290/360.

  • Increased Meat Hook cooldown from 14/13/12/11 to 17/15/13/11.

Even if the cooldown increased, this is a big buff because the skill deals 150 damage at level 1.

7.17

  • Level 10 left talent: Replaced +5 armor bonus with +30% experience gain bonus.

In pubs, the level 10 talent +35 Rot Damage is still the most popular one (considering all ranks). Instead, in practically all the pro games I have examined, the +30% experience bonus became the dominant preference.

Pudge is normally played as a ganker, so he earns most of his experience killing people and taking part in fights, thus the talent has a giant impact if you can play him correctly.

  • Level 15 left talent: Replaced +75 attack damage bonus with +12% Rot movement speed slow bonus.

Rot already gives a 32% movement speed slow once maxed out, so +12% doesn’t make a substantial difference.

The level 15 talent 13% Spell Lifesteal is what you want in all your games: coupled with the magic damage via Rot and Dismember, it will drastically boost your toughness and survivability.

 Arms of the Bogatyr loading screen for Pudge - Valve

Arms of the Bogatyr loading screen for Pudge - Valve

7.18

  • Increased Meat Hook cast range and max distance from 1000/1100/1200/1300 to 1300 on each level.

  • Increased Flesh Heap magic resistance bonus from 6%/8%/10%/12% to 8%/10%/12%/14%.

A combined explanation is required. Considering also the changes in 7.16, I now warmly recommend to put your first point into Meat Hook, and then get two levels of Rot.

About your fourth skill point, this isn’t an easy answer because the buff to Flesh Heap enhances the effectiveness of the skill in the early game.

After looking at the data, and taking into account the vast amount of gankers and magic users in nowadays meta, I must tell that Flesh Heap is often a solid choice at level 4. Sometimes, you might decide to invest a second point into Meat Hook, but beware that Rot is always your first priority afterwards.

I noticed on Dotabuff that the most popular ability build maxes out Meat Hook (all MMR considered) and this is a catastrophic mistake that will hinder your ganking capabilities and damage in the early and mid game.

Pudge’s strengths

  • 1300 range Meat Hook at level 1. It is also useful to secure Bounty Runes, and hooking runes refunds the mana cost of the spell.
     

  • Great roamer and ganker, which is already a perk in the current meta.
     

  • STR based hero that scales well into the late game and can become almost immortal with the right items. The level 25 talent +2.0 Flesh Heap Stack Str and the level 15 13% Spell Lifesteal both contribute to your tankiness, and are the most common choices.
     

  • Long BKB-piercing ultimate. The Linken Sphere counters Dismember, while the BKB blocks the damage but not the disable. Situationally, picking the level 25 talent +3s Dismember Duration can change the fate of a teamfight as you are able to disable the main core for 6 seconds.
     

  • Pudge is Dendi’s flag hero, and possesses an Arcana, which means you can boost all your skills for just 30 dollars :D.

Considering all the recent buffs to his skills and talents, Pudge can be a great pick in the right hands, but do not expect to win games just hooking players randomly.

7.19

  • Increased Meat Hook cooldown from 17/15/13/11 to 27/22/17/12.

Many players think this is a massive nerf to Pudge, but to be honest it isn’t that awful, and you will still encounter a multitude of Pudges in your games.

27 seconds cooldown is a lot, and will certainly hinder his ganking capabilities in the early game, but 22 is already acceptable: considering the mana pool (Clarity potions included) a level 3 Pudge can’t spam the hook so many times.

There will be changes in the skill build, and I believe the standard will become two points into Meat Hook and one in Rot. The late game is unaffected with just 1 extra second once the skill is maxed.

 

Tier 3

Hero Name P+B P+B% Picks Picks% Bans Bans% Win%
Lina 38 38.8% 16 16.3% 22 22.5% 37.5%
Drow Ranger 38 38.8% 9 9.2% 29 29.6% 66.7%
Witch Doctor 36 36.7% 30 30.6% 6 6.1% 50.0%
Necrophos 35 35.7% 20 20.4% 15 15.3% 55.0%
Ursa 34 34.7% 21 21.4% 13 13.3% 57.1%
Weaver 34 34.7% 9 9.2% 25 25.5% 66.7%
Phoenix 33 33.7% 16 16.3% 17 17.4% 68.8%
Treant Protector 30 30.6% 10 10.2% 20 20.4% 50.0%
Silencer 30 30.6% 20 20.4% 10 10.2% 55.0%
Clockwerk 29 29.6% 13 13.3% 16 16.3% 53.9%
Faceless Void 29 29.6% 7 7.1% 22 22.5% 42.9%
Morphling 29 29.6% 9 9.2% 20 20.4% 55.6%
Visage 27 27.6% 8 8.2% 19 19.4% 50.0%
Spectre 27 27.6% 9 9.2% 18 18.4% 44.4%
Zeus 27 27.6% 12 12.2% 15 15.3% 41.7%
Dark Willow 26 26.5% 15 15.3% 11 11.2% 33.3%
Undying 26 26.5% 14 14.3% 12 12.2% 50.0%
Lone Druid 26 26.5% 9 9.2% 17 17.4% 33.3%
Lycan 26 26.5% 8 8.2% 18 18.4% 62.5%
Tiny 26 26.5% 17 17.4% 9 9.2% 41.2%
Kunkka 25 25.5% 13 13.3% 12 12.2% 53.9%
Tusk 24 24.5% 11 11.2% 13 13.3% 45.5%
Invoker 24 24.5% 16 16.3% 8 8.2% 56.3%
Lifestealer 24 24.5% 8 8.2% 16 16.3% 37.5%
Storm Spirit 24 24.5% 6 6.1% 18 18.4% 83.3%
Dragon Knight 23 23.5% 16 16.3% 7 7.1% 37.5%
Axe 21 21.4% 7 7.1% 14 14.3% 14.3%

Enchantress

I think that the return of Enchantress in the meta isn’t simply due to the changes she received, but principally to all the nerfs that affected the best off lane heroes in the past few months.

Heroes such as Beastmaster and Clockwerk dominated the drafts for almost six months, but IceFrog nerfed them in every patch, and now they aren’t as powerful as before, so pro teams had to explore new picks.

7.16

  • Increased base strength from 18 to 19.

  • Reduced Nature's Attendants mana cost from 140 on each level to 110/120/130/140.

The mana cost of the spell increased from 125 to 140 in 7.10, and now it has been readjusted.

It heals for a total of 440/660/880/1100 HP over its full duration, so while two points are excellent and will increase your survivability chances, it doesn’t scale well with more levels.

7.17

  • Increased Enchant slow duration from 3/4/5/6 to 3.75/4.5/5.25/6 seconds.

The 55% movement speed slow is superb, but the real issue with this skill is the long cooldown. At level 1, it has a 55 seconds cooldown, and the enchant duration is 50, which means you can never slow an enemy hero if you wish to keep a neutral enchanted. Only prioritizing this skill you can get a better cooldown time: 55/40/25/10.

Honestly, maxing out Enchant as an offlaner makes absolutely no sense and will only weaken your early game, so you will mostly save it as a disable for escapes or ganks.

Finally, I suggest to not play her as a support like Chen, because she is fairly weak on that role at the moment.

  • Reduced Nature's Attendants cooldown from 45 to 35.

A welcomed buff. Now that you can spam the skill more, what I said for the previous patch has even more significance: two levels into Nature’s Attendants are all you need in the lane phase.

 Guardians of Nature loading screen - Valve

Guardians of Nature loading screen - Valve

7.18

  • Increased Untouchable attack speed slow from 20/60/100/140 to 20/70/120/170.

With two levels into Untouchable, you are basically immortal versus auto-attackers in the early and mid game.

I really suggest to try this hero more in your pub games, especially if you are in a bracket with a limited number of supports and many physical carries - the adversaries won't like your hero choice.

  • Increased attack range from 550 to 575.

  • Increased Impetus distance to damage from 14%/18%/22% to 16%/20%/24%.

Every time I play Enchantress, I am surprised by the damage she can inflict even without items, and this is due to the pure damage of Impetus. This patch increased its damage both directly (2% at all levels), and indirectly with the +25 attack range.

The Hurricane Pike is mandatory on this hero because it gives +140 attack range passively, and the active Hurricane Thrust pushes the target farther away while giving you the chance to attack it without range restrictions for 4 hits. Massive!

7.19

  • Increased Nature's Attendants mana cost from 110/120/130/140 to 170/160/150/140.

The mana cost increase at early levels is absurd, especially considering this is a 35-seconds cooldown spell.

You really can’t spend more than two points into Nature’s Attendants, so you will be stuck with a 160 mana cost healing. 40 extra mana isn’t easily fixed with more Clarity potions, so your survivability in the lane phase will certainly diminish (in difficult lanes where you need to use it often).

Tier 4

 
Hero Name P+B P+B% Picks Picks% Bans Bans% Win%
Magnus 19 19.4% 7 7.1% 12 12.2% 42.9%
Shadow Demon 19 19.4% 12 12.2% 7 7.1% 58.3%
Pangolier 17 17.4% 11 11.2% 6 6.1% 45.5%
Leshrac 17 17.4% 13 13.3% 4 4.1% 46.2%
Beastmaster 17 17.4% 10 10.2% 7 7.1% 40.0%
Enigma 17 17.4% 4 4.1% 13 13.3% 75.0%
Bane 15 15.3% 10 10.2% 5 5.1% 40.0%
Elder Titan 14 14.3% 10 10.2% 4 4.1% 50.0%
Jakiro 14 14.3% 14 14.3% 0 0.0% 35.7%
Warlock 14 14.3% 9 9.2% 5 5.1% 44.4%
Skywrath Mage 13 13.3% 9 9.2% 4 4.1% 22.2%
Bounty Hunter 13 13.3% 0 0.0% 13 13.3% -
Huskar 13 13.3% 1 1.0% 12 12.2% 0.0%
Luna 13 13.3% 10 10.2% 3 3.1% 40.0%
Queen of Pain 13 13.3% 10 10.2% 3 3.1% 50.0%
Nyx Assassin 12 12.2% 5 5.1% 7 7.1% 60.0%
Earthshaker 12 12.2% 11 11.2% 1 1.0% 45.5%
Oracle 11 11.2% 6 6.1% 5 5.1% 50.0%
Disruptor 11 11.2% 8 8.2% 3 3.1% 50.0%
Doom 11 11.2% 8 8.2% 3 3.1% 50.0%
Arc Warden 10 10.2% 5 5.1% 5 5.1% 80.0%
Underlord 10 10.2% 2 2.0% 8 8.2% 0.0%
Naga Siren 10 10.2% 8 8.2% 2 2.0% 62.5%
Nature's Prophet 10 10.2% 5 5.1% 5 5.1% 20.0%
Venomancer 10 10.2% 9 9.2% 1 1.0% 55.6%
Tinker 10 10.2% 6 6.1% 4 4.1% 50.0%
Sand King 10 10.2% 5 5.1% 5 5.1% 40.0%
Shadow Fiend 10 10.2% 6 6.1% 4 4.1% 50.0%
Terrorblade 9 9.2% 6 6.1% 3 3.1% 66.7%
Gyrocopter 9 9.2% 9 9.2% 0 0.0% 44.4%
Death Prophet 9 9.2% 2 2.0% 7 7.1% 50.0%
Wraith King 9 9.2% 8 8.2% 1 1.0% 25.0%
Slark 8 8.2% 2 2.0% 6 6.1% 100.0%
Night Stalker 8 8.2% 3 3.1% 5 5.1% 66.7%
Earth Spirit 7 7.1% 3 3.1% 4 4.1% 33.3%
Batrider 7 7.1% 2 2.0% 5 5.1% 50.0%
Monkey King 6 6.1% 4 4.1% 2 2.0% 75.0%
Meepo 6 6.1% 2 2.0% 4 4.1% 50.0%
Clinkz 6 6.1% 2 2.0% 4 4.1% 50.0%
Viper 6 6.1% 1 1.0% 5 5.1% 0.0%
Vengeful Spirit 6 6.1% 4 4.1% 2 2.0% 50.0%
 

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%
Legion Commander 5 5.1% 3 3.1% 2 2.0% 33.3%
Abaddon 5 5.1% 3 3.1% 2 2.0% 66.7%
Troll Warlord 5 5.1% 3 3.1% 2 2.0% 0.0%
Sven 5 5.1% 4 4.1% 1 1.0% 75.0%
Anti-Mage 5 5.1% 4 4.1% 1 1.0% 75.0%
Ancient Apparition 4 4.1% 3 3.1% 1 1.0% 33.3%
Phantom Assassin 4 4.1% 2 2.0% 2 2.0% 0.0%
Tidehunter 4 4.1% 3 3.1% 1 1.0% 66.7%
Puck 4 4.1% 3 3.1% 1 1.0% 0.0%
Techies 3 3.1% 3 3.1% 0 0.0% 33.3%
Bristleback 3 3.1% 3 3.1% 0 0.0% 33.3%
Medusa 3 3.1% 1 1.0% 2 2.0% 0.0%
Rubick 3 3.1% 2 2.0% 1 1.0% 50.0%
Ogre Magi 3 3.1% 3 3.1% 0 0.0% 33.3%
Spirit Breaker 3 3.1% 3 3.1% 0 0.0% 66.7%
Omniknight 3 3.1% 0 0.0% 3 3.1% -
Sniper 3 3.1% 2 2.0% 1 1.0% 100.0%
Shadow Shaman 3 3.1% 3 3.1% 0 0.0% 66.7%
Razor 3 3.1% 3 3.1% 0 0.0% 33.3%
Juggernaut 3 3.1% 2 2.0% 1 1.0% 50.0%
Timbersaw 2 2.0% 0 0.0% 2 2.0% -
Centaur Warrunner 2 2.0% 2 2.0% 0 0.0% 50.0%
Alchemist 2 2.0% 2 2.0% 0 0.0% 0.0%
Dark Seer 2 2.0% 1 1.0% 1 1.0% 100.0%
Dazzle 2 2.0% 2 2.0% 0 0.0% 0.0%
Riki 2 2.0% 1 1.0% 1 1.0% 0.0%
Lich 2 2.0% 1 1.0% 1 1.0% 0.0%
Slardar 2 2.0% 1 1.0% 1 1.0% 100.0%
Lion 2 2.0% 2 2.0% 0 0.0% 0.0%
Chaos Knight 1 1.0% 0 0.0% 1 1.0% -
Outworld Devourer 1 1.0% 0 0.0% 1 1.0% -
 

Heroes not picked

 
 

Learn more

After every patch, I have published articles on the most popular safe, mid, and off lane heroes at 5k+ MMR. Each analysis features 1 to 3 heroes, and explanations on patch changes.

Note: 7.18 lasted longer than the usual two weeks; the players had the time to experiment all the heroes, so many things may have changed. I wanted to post a new updated analysis in August with a month worth of data, but Valve released 7.19 after the end of DOTA Summit 9, so I will work directly on the new 7.19 series in a few weeks.

Next Tier List: August 2018


Header image (Blueheart Sovereign loading screen for Crystal Maiden) 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.