The top 10 most banned Dota 2 heroes in pro games during each patch. Match count, ban and win rates from patch 7.00 to 7.21.
7.00 is the oldest patch included in this archive as it revolutionized the game with the introduction of the hero talents. Newer patches will be added over time.
We witnessed numerous balance adjustments when Valve decided to release updates biweekly, but I skipped the small ones because the changes brought in by most of them are negligible.
The statistics from some patches have been aggregated because they have been released in consecutive weeks. We wouldn’t have had enough data at our disposal due to the limited amount of games played during a single patch.
The tables below show the number of games played, and the ban and win rates of the ten most banned heroes in each patch.
Release date: December 12th, 2016
The 7.00 table also includes the matches played during 7.01 as it has been released just 8 days later for balance reasons.
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.
Slardar was a perfect fit for the meta
Slardar was already quite popular prior 7.00, but the changes brought by this patch turned him into a first ban hero.
Versatility. Slardar was mainly played as an offlaner (particularly in pub games), but he could easily adapt to the position 4 role: he was a solid roamer thanks to his reliable AoE stun (Slithereen Crush) and the movement speed boost provided by Guardian Sprint.
Movement speed cap. 7.00 increased the movement speed cap from 522 to 550, which was a noticeable buff for Slardar as with Tranquil boots and Guardian Sprint he was able to reach about 540ms.
Amazing talents. +6 HP regeneration at level 10 boosted his survivability in the early game, and the remaining talents let him focus on toughness (health, armor, and strength) or DPS (attack speed, attack damage, Bash of the Deep proc chance) depending on the needings of the team.
Almost no items required. Slardar only needed Tranquil Boots and Blink Dagger to do his job.
Corrosive Haze versus meta heroes. Generally, vision is critical in a competitive environment, and his ultimate was particularly useful in the 7.00 meta where we had popular picks with invisibility skills such as Weaver and Templar Assassin.
Release date: May 15th, 2017
Night Stalker infested our games for months
Night Stalker enjoyed an excellent early game, and he worked great both as an offlaner and a position 4 support. He has been a top tier hero for a long time both in pub and pro games thanks to his mobility, gank capabilities, and the vision advantages he gave to the team.
He fell off in the late game, so he mostly used an utility-oriented item build able to provide buffs and survivability to the whole team.
The Aghanim’s scepter was literally game-changing in pro games because experienced players know how to exploit the extra vision. Combining the Aghanim’s upgrade with NS’s tankiness and speed, he was the best Gem of True Sight carrier in the game.
The opponents had a hard time placing any ward on the map, which in turn reduced the strain on your position 5 support who could buy survivability items such as Glimmer Cape and Force Staff.
Release date: October 31st, 2017
IceFrog heavily nerfed Night Stalker
Night Stalker was affected by a multitude of nerfs in the successive patches, but he remained a top 5 drafted hero for a long time.
7.07 reduced his daytime vision from 1200 to 800, but this nerf barely affected him as he mostly hunts at night, and he could rely on the team vision during the day.
7.07c decreased Hunter in the Night flying vision from 1200 to 1000, and changed Darkness vision limit against buildings and wards from 675 to 800.
Observer wards had a standard vision radius of 1600. Moving from 650 to 800 at night wasn’t a massive improvement, but could still help and save the (enemy) team from several ganks.
The nerfs continued for months, and among them 7.16 affected him the most:
Void no longer applies a ministun during the day.
Without the ministun, the opponents could easily escape his ganks via a teleport.
Darkness no longer sets enemy vision to a fixed amount; now reduces unit and ward vision by 25%.
Darkness didn’t affect buildings anymore (towers included) so their surroundings were safer at night.
Observer wards provided a 1600 ground vision radius, and Darkness used to diminish it to 800 in the past, instead after this patch the 25% reduction brought the vision radius to 1200, which was plenty to maintain the control of the map.
In the end, Night Stalker slowly declined and finally disappeared from the meta.
Release date: March 1st, 2018
The 7.10 table also includes the matches played during 7.11 and 7.12. These three patches have been released in March; they brought several changes, reworked the buyback cost and assist gold system, and added Pangolier and Dark Willow to Captains Mode.
Omniknight as an offlaner
For several patches, Omniknight excelled as an offlaner, particularly against melee cores with low attack speed and mobility (such as Tiny).
Instead, he was weak against ranged nukers as they could harass him from outside his aura’s range and keep him at bay spamming multiple spells. At the time, I suggested in all my guides to invest lots of money on Clarity potions when dealing with him.
Toughness. Omniknight was a quite tanky hero as he started the game with 5.5 armor and 640 health.
Nuke and heal. Purification worked both as a heal and a damaging nuke; it had a great impact on his early and mid game.
AoE slow. Degen Aura provided a big AoE slow, which gave him a lot of freedom during the laning phase because it was hard to chase him down.
Valve required about 6 months of adjustments to rebalance Omniknight. Here is a summary of the main changes up to 7.14:
Base armor reduced from 3 to 1.
Purification cast range reduced from 575 to 400, and cooldown increased from 11/10/9/8 to 14/13/12/11.
Guardian Angel cooldown increased from 160 on each level to 180/170/160.
Repel mana cost increased from 50 to 85.
Degen Aura radius reduced from 300 to 275.
The nerfs to Degen Aura and Purification affected Omniknight the most because they reduced his survivability in the laning phase, and forced him to stay in a riskier placement to utilize his skills during team fights.
Release date: July 29th, 2018
The 7.19 table also includes the matches played during 7.18 and 7.17. These three patches brought many hero buffs and nerfs, from mid-June to the end of July.
Note: I decided to skip 7.14 (the patch that added Techies to Captains Mode) because there were not enough matches recorded in that period.
These patches all brought a consistent amount of changes, and 7.19 was also the game version used at The International 8. In particular, 7.19d survived until mid-November 2018, when it was replaced by 7.20.
Release date: November 19th, 2018
The changes to Cleave brought to the rise of melee carries
Previously, Cleave ignored the amount of armor possessed by a hero, but in 7.20 it became a normal physical damage type, which damage is reduced by the armor of the target.
To make up for the damage reduction, IceFrog rebalanced the Battle Fury and abilities like Magnus’ Empower by increasing the area affected and the damage. This was a nerf against heavy armoured heroes, but mostly a buff in the early game and against heroes with a poor base armor, which includes lane and neutral creeps.
Magnus (one of the best companions to boost PA’s capabilities; another dominant hero of this patch) became a crucial hero in the meta, and the efficiency of Empower as a farming tool influenced the popularity of more melee carries.
Release date: January 29th, 2019
Dark Seer enables melee carries
Among other things, the nerfs to the popular early game stat items, the removal of Ring of Aquila, and the changes to the attributes’ benefits and growth values, contributed to the rise of many melee heroes; strength-based ones in particular.
Dark Seer was one of the most contested offlaners of the patch because he is one of the best choices with and against melee heroes:
The harassing power of Ion Shell has a big impact against melee auto-attackers during the laning phase, especially if the supports do not have spells to deal with it quickly (such as Oracle, who can purge Ion Shell using Fortune’s End).
He handles well trilanes (previously, the dual lane meta completely replaced them), but he is also excellent in a dual lane setup, especially if paired with a melee carry with a stun.
DS’s entire skillset is of great help for friendly melee cores. Ion Shell provides them with extra AoE damage in team fights and ganks, Surge is a gap-closing skill that makes up for the lack of mobility until they are able to acquire a Blink Dagger, and Vacuum can be used to manipulate their targets.
Dark Seer is a great aura carrier and can easily build many utility items thanks to his farming capabilities. Don’t be selfish, but buy items to improve the survivability of the team and empower your cores.