Skulz’s Dota Competitive Hero Tier List March 2019 - DreamLeague S11 Major

Skulz’s Dota Competitive Hero Tier List March 2019 - DreamLeague S11 Major

The Dota 2 Competitive Hero Tier List for March 2019 includes data from DreamLeague Season 11 Major, for a total of 290 games played during patch 7.21c.

  • 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 March 1st to 24th during patch 7.21c, including DreamLeague Season 11 Major.

This month, the analysis is completely dedicated to Chen, a hero who (IMHO) deserves more love in pubs after the changes introduced from 7.20 onwards. I believe IceFrog tried to transform him into a more mainstream pick.

Past Tier List: February 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%
Lifestealer 231 79.7% 59 20.3% 172 59.3% 52.5%
Chen 217 74.8% 43 14.8% 174 60.0% 58.1%
Pangolier 205 70.7% 86 29.7% 119 41.0% 51.2%
Ursa 187 64.5% 68 23.5% 119 41.0% 51.5%
Troll Warlord 181 62.4% 75 25.9% 106 36.6% 46.7%
Razor 180 62.1% 54 18.6% 126 43.5% 50.0%
Nature's Prophet 179 61.7% 60 20.7% 119 41.0% 45.0%
Viper 163 56.2% 46 15.9% 117 40.3% 56.5%
Oracle 161 55.5% 83 28.6% 78 26.9% 59.0%

Chen and the pub stigma

Chen is extremely underrated and underplayed in pubs (even at high ranks) because most players are afraid of heroes with micromanagement skills.

Generally, we think that picking heroes we can’t use at their 100% is a terrible idea. Honestly, when I find Chen in a match, my first thought is that the player may be either a pro or a big feeder, but I tend to associate the hero to a negative feeling most of the times.

During the past years, IceFrog tried his best to make Dota 2 and its mechanics as friendly as possible for the average player, which led to drastic changes and reworked heroes.

7.20 certainly affected Chen in a positive way. I understand that many veteran Chen players might miss the old Holy Persuasion (now it has a creep level cap of 4/5/6/6) because his army is not as strong as in the past in the early game, but all his other abilities improved and scale a lot better in the late game.

Chen’s skill build

The image below shows the most popular skill builds used in competitive games during March. The ability without the icon symbol is Divine Favor, the new skill that replaced Test of Faith in 7.20.

As you can see from the data, the great majority of the pro players completely ignored Penitence, invested two points into Holy Persuasion in order to have access to level 5 creeps, and prioritized Divine Favor.

Most popular Chen’s skill builds in March - DatDota

Most popular Chen’s skill builds in March - DatDota

Divine Favor secures the early game, boosts your carry, and has a low skill floor

The skill floor is the minimum amount of skill required to get value out of a hero.

Holy Persuasion is one of the most difficult abilities to master in the entire game because it has an above average skill floor and a very high skill ceiling; the latter dictates how powerful a character can be in the right hands.

Divine Favor is a simple ability to learn and use properly as it is a buff with several positive effects, a long duration, and no cons:

  • Divine Favor gives sustainability during the laning phase. It heals over a period of time similarly to Warlock’s Shadow Word, but also provides 25% heal amplification which boosts any source of healing, including the Satyr Tormenter’s Unholy Aura.

    • Unfortunately, this interaction can’t be exploited early on because you need three points into Holy Persuasion to dominate a level 6 neutral creep.

  • It provides an attack damage bonus, which is of great help for your core to get more last hits, fight back the opponent and trade hits successfully, and in the best scenario even score a kill.

  • The skill has a 26/24/22/20 seconds cooldown and a 14 seconds duration, so potentially you can keep your core under steroids for a good amount of the laning phase.

    • Chen has 303 mana at level 1, and each Clarity potion grants about 2.8 uses of the spell for just 50 gold. They are definitely worth the price and repay themselves quickly because you can boost the chances of your carry to end the laning stage with a greater number of last hits.

Valve recognized immediately the strength of Divine Favor and debuffed the spell two times, in 7.21 and 7.21c. Initially, it granted a massive 80 bonus damage once maxed out, while now it has been reduced to 32.

Update: 7.21d decreased the duration of Divine Favor from 14 to 8/10/12/14. The nerf is noticeable at early levels as the uptime of the buff is reduced, but overall it isn’t a big deal because you already want to level up this skill as soon as possible.

Prospect of the Progenitor's Gaze loading screen for Chen - Valve

Prospect of the Progenitor's Gaze loading screen for Chen - Valve

Penitence is a team fight oriented skill

Divine Favor is also the prioritized ability in pub games: it is not a surprise considering all the benefits it brings to your early game.

According to Dotabuff, there are also skill builds that completely neglect Holy Persuasion and prefer Penitence as the secondary skill. Those are probably used by players who do not love the creep-control aspect of Chen.

Overall, Penitence is not a game-changer in the lane stage:

  • Damage-wise, Penitence brings more DPS than Divine Favor because the buff is applied to anyone attacking the target, so in an aggressive trilane it might be useful as an harassing tool (Chen has a solid 48-58 damage at level 1) and to score skills.

    • It is more effective in team fights as your entire squad can focus fire the enemy affected and enjoy the extra attack speed. The movement speed slow debuff also helps when ganking.

  • In the early game, it will deplete your mana at a quick rate if you want to spam it to torment the lane opponent.

    • This tactic will fail if the offlaner has enough sustainability to survive and you aren’t able to get kills or drive him away from the experience zone for a long period of time.

  • Once maxed out, the ability gives 120 attack speed. As a comparison, the Moonshard (4,000 gold cost) gives 140 attack speed to a single hero.

The top cores benefit from Divine Favor and Penitence

The offensive buffs provided by Divine Favor and Penitence (damage and attack speed) enhance the actual meta carriers.

Looking at the top auto-attackers in the tier list, we find Lifestealer, Ursa, and Troll. They all have passives abilities that proc on hit, so the extra attack speed boosts them: Feast, Fury Swipes, and Fervor.

Slightly below we also find Phantom Assassin. Of course, the 7.20 Divine Favor helped her more because of the huge 80 bonus damage to improve her critical hits, but the actual bonuses are still helpful for her playstyle and skillset.

Chen is also a solid partner for Juggernaut. 7.20 changed Omnislash, and now Juggernaut performs full real attacks that can proc your crits and items, so he can make a good use of the extra damage brought by Divine Favor.

Loading Screen of the Imperious Command for Troll Warlord - Valve

Loading Screen of the Imperious Command for Troll Warlord - Valve

Holy Persuasion is a flexible ability

I believe that right now - if your carry knows how to play - you can pretty much win the lane just spamming Divine Favor.

Chen is not forced to focus on creeps anymore, so even players who are less skilled in micromanagement can be successful with him (at most ranks). That said, there are actions you can perform that require almost no effort:

  • I suggest using the creeps to stack camps in the jungle: it is simple and immensely helpful for your core, and with some practice you will be able to stack multiple camps at the same time.

  • If you want to use the neutrals in the lane, but you are not used to manage them aggressively, do not forget that there are several auras which are of great help at all stages of the game; such creep usage requires almost no micro work.

Chen has been a tier 1 pick a multitude of times since the release of Dota 2 because of the versatility granted by Holy Persuasion, so if you want to master this hero, someday you will have to learn micromanagement and how to use each neutral depending on the situation.

Holy Persuasion is an unique and amazing ability, do not miss the fun! Thanks to the neutrals Chen has access to a considerable number of buffs (armor, health and mana regeneration, movement speed, etc.), nukes, stuns, and even utility spells such as the Satyr Banisher’s Purge.

Holy Persuasion also provides mobility

The ability can be a game-changer in the late game because starting from 7.20 it has a global cast range when targeting allies, and it teleports them to Chen instead of the fountain.

If an ally is split-pushing on the other side of the map and a fight suddenly explodes, or if he died just before or during a team fight and he has the buyback available, Chen can quickly teleport him and potentially change the fate of the battle. It is pretty much the same utility achieved with the Boots of Travel, but for free.

Tier 2

Hero Name P+B P+B% Picks Picks% Bans Bans% Win%
Magnus 149 51.4% 35 12.1% 114 39.3% 42.9%
Batrider 148 51.0% 40 13.8% 108 37.2% 50.0%
Leshrac 144 49.7% 69 23.8% 75 25.9% 50.7%
Shadow Shaman 141 48.6% 91 31.4% 50 17.2% 52.8%
Outworld Devourer 133 45.9% 47 16.2% 86 29.7% 59.6%
Phantom Assassin 133 45.9% 80 27.6% 53 18.3% 57.5%
Ember Spirit 128 44.1% 72 24.8% 56 19.3% 36.1%
Earth Spirit 127 43.8% 52 17.9% 75 25.9% 48.1%
Keeper of the Light 127 43.8% 52 17.9% 75 25.9% 32.7%
Rubick 124 42.8% 72 24.8% 52 17.9% 51.4%
Juggernaut 123 42.4% 56 19.3% 67 23.1% 55.4%
Brewmaster 121 41.7% 60 20.7% 61 21.0% 51.7%
Doom 117 40.3% 56 19.3% 61 21.0% 42.9%

Tier 3

Hero Name P+B P+B% Picks Picks% Bans Bans% Win%
Puck 110 37.9% 43 14.8% 67 23.1% 69.8%
Monkey King 107 36.9% 41 14.1% 66 22.8% 48.8%
Bane 106 36.6% 62 21.4% 44 15.2% 51.6%
Nyx Assassin 105 36.2% 47 16.2% 58 20.0% 59.6%
Enigma 100 34.5% 46 15.9% 54 18.6% 47.8%
Pugna 92 31.7% 23 7.9% 69 23.8% 43.5%
Bounty Hunter 86 29.7% 34 11.7% 52 17.9% 35.3%
Tiny 86 29.7% 58 20.0% 28 9.7% 32.8%
Morphling 84 29.0% 35 12.1% 49 16.9% 51.4%
Lone Druid 79 27.2% 15 5.2% 64 22.1% 40.0%
Elder Titan 78 26.9% 30 10.3% 48 16.6% 50.0%
Shadow Fiend 73 25.2% 40 13.8% 33 11.4% 52.5%
Undying 70 24.1% 31 10.7% 39 13.5% 41.9%
Shadow Demon 66 22.8% 35 12.1% 31 10.7% 60.0%
Dark Seer 65 22.4% 28 9.7% 37 12.8% 67.9%

Tier 4

Hero Name P+B P+B% Picks Picks% Bans Bans% Win%
Sven 60 20.7% 41 14.1% 19 6.6% 58.5%
Lich 59 20.3% 42 14.5% 17 5.9% 42.9%
Terrorblade 58 20.0% 32 11.0% 26 9.0% 56.3%
Grimstroke 57 19.7% 33 11.4% 24 8.3% 33.3%
Slardar 56 19.3% 30 10.3% 26 9.0% 53.3%
Kunkka 56 19.3% 29 10.0% 27 9.3% 48.3%
Tusk 55 19.0% 32 11.0% 23 7.9% 50.0%
Lycan 55 19.0% 21 7.2% 34 11.7% 33.3%
Night Stalker 49 16.9% 22 7.6% 27 9.3% 54.6%
Vengeful Spirit 49 16.9% 37 12.8% 12 4.1% 64.9%
Tidehunter 48 16.6% 21 7.2% 27 9.3% 52.4%
Weaver 44 15.2% 24 8.3% 20 6.9% 54.2%
Spectre 42 14.5% 22 7.6% 20 6.9% 50.0%
Lion 41 14.1% 36 12.4% 5 1.7% 61.1%
Timbersaw 39 13.5% 17 5.9% 22 7.6% 58.8%
Necrophos 38 13.1% 22 7.6% 16 5.5% 54.6%
Dark Willow 35 12.1% 24 8.3% 11 3.8% 45.8%
Venomancer 35 12.1% 19 6.6% 16 5.5% 42.1%
Beastmaster 35 12.1% 17 5.9% 18 6.2% 35.3%
Queen of Pain 34 11.7% 20 6.9% 14 4.8% 35.0%
Disruptor 30 10.3% 26 9.0% 4 1.4% 46.2%
Witch Doctor 30 10.3% 28 9.7% 2 0.7% 57.1%
Lina 30 10.3% 20 6.9% 10 3.5% 35.0%
Anti-Mage 30 10.3% 17 5.9% 13 4.5% 41.2%
Centaur Warrunner 26 9.0% 14 4.8% 12 4.1% 42.9%
Jakiro 26 9.0% 23 7.9% 3 1.0% 52.2%
Phantom Lancer 26 9.0% 13 4.5% 13 4.5% 53.9%
Death Prophet 25 8.6% 11 3.8% 14 4.8% 54.6%
Winter Wyvern 24 8.3% 19 6.6% 5 1.7% 57.9%
Naga Siren 24 8.3% 5 1.7% 19 6.6% 60.0%
Huskar 24 8.3% 1 0.3% 23 7.9% 0.0%
Dragon Knight 24 8.3% 13 4.5% 11 3.8% 30.8%
Chaos Knight 22 7.6% 12 4.1% 10 3.5% 33.3%
Medusa 21 7.2% 10 3.5% 11 3.8% 70.0%
Templar Assassin 21 7.2% 9 3.1% 12 4.1% 44.4%
Abaddon 20 6.9% 11 3.8% 9 3.1% 54.6%
Alchemist 20 6.9% 15 5.2% 5 1.7% 40.0%
Clockwerk 18 6.2% 13 4.5% 5 1.7% 46.2%
Faceless Void 18 6.2% 12 4.1% 6 2.1% 41.7%
Enchantress 17 5.9% 10 3.5% 7 2.4% 30.0%
Tinker 17 5.9% 8 2.8% 9 3.1% 37.5%
Phoenix 16 5.5% 12 4.1% 4 1.4% 33.3%

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.

Tier 5

Hero Name P+B P+B% Picks Picks% Bans Bans% Win%
Techies 15 5.2% 4 1.4% 11 3.8% 50.0%
Invoker 14 4.8% 8 2.8% 6 2.1% 50.0%
Crystal Maiden 14 4.8% 12 4.1% 2 0.7% 33.3%
Legion Commander 11 3.8% 8 2.8% 3 1.0% 50.0%
Mirana 11 3.8% 9 3.1% 2 0.7% 55.6%
Meepo 10 3.5% 2 0.7% 8 2.8% 50.0%
Luna 10 3.5% 6 2.1% 4 1.4% 50.0%
Warlock 10 3.5% 8 2.8% 2 0.7% 25.0%
Earthshaker 10 3.5% 10 3.5% 0 0.0% 20.0%
Slark 9 3.1% 6 2.1% 3 1.0% 83.3%
Drow Ranger 8 2.8% 5 1.7% 3 1.0% 20.0%
Omniknight 7 2.4% 6 2.1% 1 0.3% 33.3%
Underlord 5 1.7% 4 1.4% 1 0.3% 0.0%
Spirit Breaker 5 1.7% 1 0.3% 4 1.4% 100%
Windranger 5 1.7% 5 1.7% 0 0.0% 60.0%
Sand King 5 1.7% 4 1.4% 1 0.3% 50.0%
Bloodseeker 5 1.7% 3 1.0% 2 0.7% 100%
Arc Warden 4 1.4% 2 0.7% 2 0.7% 50.0%
Skywrath Mage 4 1.4% 3 1.0% 1 0.3% 66.7%
Bristleback 4 1.4% 3 1.0% 1 0.3% 33.3%
Visage 4 1.4% 1 0.3% 3 1.0% 0.0%
Gyrocopter 4 1.4% 4 1.4% 0 0.0% 0.0%
Ancient Apparition 4 1.4% 1 0.3% 3 1.0% 100%
Storm Spirit 4 1.4% 4 1.4% 0 0.0% 50.0%
Dazzle 3 1.0% 2 0.7% 1 0.3% 50.0%
Broodmother 2 0.7% 1 0.3% 1 0.3% 100%
Clinkz 2 0.7% 2 0.7% 0 0.0% 50.0%
Sniper 2 0.7% 1 0.3% 1 0.3% 100%
Pudge 2 0.7% 2 0.7% 0 0.0% 50.0%
Axe 2 0.7% 2 0.7% 0 0.0% 0.0%
Ogre Magi 1 0.3% 1 0.3% 0 0.0% 100%
Silencer 1 0.3% 1 0.3% 0 0.0% 0.0%
Wraith King 1 0.3% 1 0.3% 0 0.0% 0.0%
Zeus 1 0.3% 1 0.3% 0 0.0% 0.0%

Heroes not drafted

Io and Mars are currently not available in captains mode.

 
 

Next Tier List: April 2019

Header image (Barren Survivor loading screen for Chen) 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.