The Dota 2 Competitive Hero Tier List for March 2018 includes data from 7.10 and 7.11, for a total of 587 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 March 1st to 27th, so also the recently concluded Minor: DreamLeague S9.
I compared the list of top 20 most drafted heroes during the past two patches, and they are roughly the same. 7.11, the Economy Update, has not deeply influenced the meta heroes but the gameplay.
The buyback cost increased for the cores, but is less expensive for the supports.
There is less AoE gold available in 3-man and 5-man ganks, but more during solo-ganks.
Killing a support brings a lot less gold in the hands of the enemy team while cores are heavily punished for their mistakes and deaths.
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Gyrocopter is a capable pick throughout the game
The popularity of Gyrocopter lies in his versatility at all stages of the match. We live in a meta packed with action, and he is a hero able to contribute since the first skirmishes.
During the lane stage, Gyrocopter has a solid source of magic damage via Rocket Barrage, and can score a kill with the right support.
Starting from level 7-8, he has enough burst damage to change the fate of a battle. Pub players must understand that teleporting in a lane when a fight occurs can be very profitable.
Call Down is an easy-to-use ultimate that slows and damages enemies in a large radius. It can be used also as a threat when pushing on the high ground, forcing the opponents to leave their positions.
His power keeps increasing during the match, and in the late game he has the potential to wipe out the entire enemy team thanks to the AoE damage of Flak Cannon - if he could secure an adequate farm.
Talents Reworked in 7.07
The level 25 talent Global Call Down is not useful in teamfights as at that point of the match the damage is not enough, and your team needs your presence in the battle.
Instead, especially when combined with the level 20 talent -25s Call Down cooldown, it is great to split-push creep waves, helping to maintain the control of the lanes and to gain extra farm.
The global range is also handy when a teammate is attempting a pickoff as you can disable the Blink Dagger of the prey.
Note: I checked the Gyrocopter games played at the DreamLeague Minor, and most players prefer the mobility provided by +50 movement speed at level 20, and the 3 charges of Homing Missile at level 25. Nevertheless, the other talents give you a different playstyle option which may work in your games.
Finally, moving the extra Flak Cannon attacks from level 25 to 15 has helped the hero, boosting his damage potential in the mid game. You want to have the skill maxed out by then, thus Homing Missile is generally the ability with less priority.
Learn more: Top 10 most played safe lane heroes of 7.11. Info on some of the most played safe lane heroes in pubs - it features Juggernaut, Shadow Shaman, Witch Doctor, and Phantom Assassin.
The team requires too many resources to deal with Omniknight
In November, Omniknight jumped in tier 2, and afterward he raised and maintained a solid placement in tier 1. Looking at his astonishing ban rate during March, we must admit that some changes are necessary: Omniknight is such a nuisance that most teams prefer to exclude him from the game.
IceFrog continued nerfing him from 7.07c onward, but it isn’t still enough. The combination of Degen Aura and Purification makes him one of the most troublesome heroes to face in the lane phase, if you are using a melee hero. In the off lane, all he needs to make your life a hell are experience and the Soul Ring.
How to counter Omniknight
If you are willing to pick the right support, it is possible to have the upper hand against him.
Ranged heroes and spammable nukes. To destroy psychologically your opponent, get Lich or Venomancer.
I consider Lich the easy-mode because with Sacrifice he can refill his mana, deny experience, and maintain the lane equilibrium. Even inexperienced players shouldn’t have issues with him.
Venomancer can keep Omniknight constantly poisoned and force him to get a level into Repel to counter it. Note that this will weaken his lane phase as he wants three levels into Purification and two into Degen Aura to bully the opponent.
Many Clarity potions. Often ignored by low rank pub players, the Clarity is one of the best items in the game. After the changes brought it by the 7.07 update, it provides a flat mana regeneration boosted by your INT.
In most cases, it is worth to buy them even in the mid game, and you won’t regret the extra mana at your disposal in this meta. Whatever hero you decide to play, Clarity potions will be necessary to keep Omniknight under constant harass.
Do not play a melee hero. You are facing a hero with 640 HP and 5.5 armor at level one, with a self-heal, and an AoE debuff that slows your movement and attack speed. Playing a melee support against Omniknight makes little sense, and physical damage won’t help either.
Learn more: Top 10 most played off lane heroes of 7.11. Info on some of the most played off lane heroes in pubs - it features Doom, Sand King, Omniknight, and Windranger.
Protect Death Prophet and get objectives
I am not surprised to encounter Death Prophet among the top picks. She is one of those heroes that can’t be pushed out from the meta for a long time, similarly to Batrider.
A mobile hero with a huge pushing power. Some people consider her a tough hero, but that’s incorrect. A successful Death Prophet must build up her defense with the right items, but meanwhile she can be focused and killed quickly.
Gameplay differences in pro and pub matches
In pro games, the team will protect her, winning most teamfights in the early and mid game, and then quickly destroying the towers with Exorcism.
In the average pub games, you may be able to win the game alone. She has a rather safe lane phase, and afterward can acquire farm swiftly by clearing creep waves with Crypt Swarm. Lead your team in some early pushes, and everyone will enjoy extra gold after crushing the enemy tier 1 and 2 towers with your ultimate
At higher ranks, I consider her a situational pick as the opponents know how to behave when Exorcism is active. Simultaneously, often your team will still ignore your protection needs.
Learn more: Top 10 most played mid lane heroes of 7.11. Info on some of the most played mid lane heroes in pubs - it features Shadow Fiend, Outworld Devourer, Zeus, and Queen of Pain.
Tusk is not a pub hero
In pubs, the win rate of Tusk is below 50% in all MMR brackets. The reasoning is simple: a lot of practice and team coordination are necessary to play him. If you are not an expert, you might even ruin a teamfight using Snowball at the wrong time, or saving the opponents with Ice Shards.
In Dota 2, there aren’t many abilities that can manipulate the battlefield, and Ice Shards is one of them. We can compare it to Clockwerk’s Power Cogs, but the former is a lot more complicated to use.
With Ice Shards you can jump up and down from cliffs, balance the lane blocking creep waves, and even force the opponents to change their gameplay. Being stuck in your shards means death for some heroes, particularly the squishy supports, so they must buy items such as the Force Staff to avoid the danger.
Saving lives with Snowball
Snowball is a great ability to gank, but it also shines as a defensive tool. At any moment, if your cores are risking their life, a well-timed Snowball will counter the enemy actions.
Looking at the top heroes in this meta, the ultimates of Gyrocopter and Sand King are perfect examples. Snowball lasts long enough to protect the team for the entire duration.
It can’t mitigate only AoE spells, but is excellent also against long single-target disables, such as Bane’s ultimate.
Snowball charges for three seconds, as long as the Blink Dagger’s damage cooldown. In this way, you can save yourself and teammates even from the worst situation as they will be able to blink out at the end of the spell.
Snowball doesn’t require just good positioning skills, in fact it is even harder to predict when it is desirable to use it offensively or save it to protect the team.
Note that Valve nerfed it in 7.08, and now Snowball can no longer be cast while rooted, which can be a nuisance against some heroes.
Learn more: Tusk gameplay tips.
Secure Shadow Fiend’s early game
If you are a support, and there is Shadow Fiend in your team, be aware of his weaknesses during the early game.
Low base damage. He starts with very low damage at level one (35-41), and needs to steal souls - last-hitting or denying creeps in the first minutes of the match - to boost his damage via Necromastery.
Very easy to gank. A poor health pool and armor, combined with the complete lack of escapes and disables, make Shadow Fiend one of the most susceptible heroes to ganks in the lane phase.
If the enemy team is able to prevent most of his last-hits during the first five minutes of the game - via ganks or a proper mid lane counter - he will end up with a horrible early game.
There are two great ways to help him:
Be his lane companion. Your presence in the mid lane for a few minutes should be enough to prevent ganks and to intimidate the opponent, so Shadow Fiend will accumulate souls undisturbed. Be aware that some pub players might not appreciate your work and complain for the experience deficit.
Stack jungle camps. An efficient and indirect way to help him is by stacking jungle camps multiple times. He can kill them quickly with Shadowraze, getting experience, gold, and souls. Likewise, you will also get your hands on extra gold thanks to the changes brought in by the Support Update.
Learn more: Countering Shadow Fiend in the mid lane. A multitude of tips on his best mid lane counters.
|Queen of Pain||110||18.7%||65||11.1%||45||7.7%||44.6%|
|Keeper of the Light||62||10.6%||29||4.9%||33||5.6%||48.3%|
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.
Heroes not picked
Sniper requires lots of help from the team
Sniper is the third most played hero in pubs, and according to Dotabuff has a positive win rate in the 2k to 4k MMR range.
Generally, the hero doesn’t work well in competitive and high level pubs:
Sniper is a squishy hero without escapes or stuns. He has an AoE slow via Shrapnel, but that’s not enough to grant him a safe lane against competent opponents.
Even if he can have a good early game, any hero able to close the distance and disable or attack him is a possible counter. In Dota 2, there are plenty of heroes with such abilities, and more can do it once acquired the Blink Dagger.
In pub games, players rely on his attack range and the lower amount of ganks to survive. Statistics prove that it can work, and if well-farmed, he will turn into a beast in the late game.
The attack range and the invisibility provided by the Shadow Blade do work in low MMR pubs, but are not enough in a more competitive environment, where he requires constant babysitting during the entire game.
Learn More: How to counter Sniper. Considering the huge number of Sniper players in pubs - and for a more detailed explanation of the topics above - I highly suggest to read this guide.
Next Tier List: April 2018
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.