The top 10 most popular Dota 2 heroes in the mid lane during 7.16. We will have a look at some of the best picks in the meta, and learn how to play or counter them.
More from this series:
The heroes are arranged by pick rate, and the data considers all games played in any region in the 5k+ (Divine) bracket. Note that we can’t filter data for 7.16 only, so the past 30 days are examined. Statistics from Dotabuff.
|Hero||Name||Pick %||Win %|
Lina - An average hero
In the past months, Lina maintained a satisfactory Tier 3 placement in the professional tier lists, but her win rate never shined.
In pubs, her pick rate as a mid laner reaches the peak at Divine, while at lower ranks her usage rate declines, and below Archon she falls out of the top 10.
Talent tree nerfed
Respawn time talent
The hero enjoyed a period of success during 7.xx, largely thanks to the respawn time talent introduced in 7.00. After some adjustments, IceFrog finally got rid of it in 7.06.
I believe he gave up on the idea because it was just too hard to balance heroes that could respawn back in a shorter amount of time, specially if they also had the Bloodstone with some charges.
Overall, the talent tree received more subtle changes that weakened her.
Extra attack range moved from level 20 to 25.
+50 attack damage nerfed to +25.
+35/+3% Fiery Soul attack speed/movement speed per stack reduced to +25/+2%.
Similarly to Shadow Fiend, Lina is a sort of hybrid hero. She is able to inflict a considerable amount of magic damage, but can turn into a physical damage dealer in the late game with the right items and farm. The adjustments to the talent tree reduced her capabilities as a potential dps.
Dragon Slave damage nerfed
The Dragon Slave nerf affected her the most because that’s her main farming spell to clean waves of creeps and jungle camps.
7.06: Reduced Dragon Slave damage from 110/180/250/320 to 85/160/235/310.
It may not appear such a big deal, but her damage in the first levels is seriously decreased.
Now, she can’t inflict as much damage as before as a support, and requires the mid position to gain experience quickly. The difference once the spell is maxed out is negligible, but it still weakens her harassing/ganking power in the lane phase.
A temporary pick
Overall, I don’t consider Lina a strong hero, but she isn’t awful either. She can be picked depending on the enemy midder faced and on the team composition.
Light Strike Array isn’t a reliable disable, so you usually want a hero able to combo with you in order to guarantee the stun. For example, Tusk and Leshrac are popular meta picks in the pro scene, while Axe and Sand King are among the most played heroes in the off lane in 7.16.
All of them can block the enemy in place with a slow, taunt, or stun, so Lina can follow up to chain her stun and unleash all her burst damage.
She has three nukes, and Laguna Blade inflicts 850 magic damage (pure with the Aghanim’s Scepter) which combined with her dps (Fiery Soul grants up to 255 attack speed - 330 with the talent) can wipe out most opponents in a few seconds.
Zeus - The pub God
In 7.08, I explained how Zeus became a very powerful hero in pubs due to indirect buffs. Summarizing, there were different factors that influenced his success:
Black King Bar nerfed.
Infinite mana regeneration via Clarity potions.
Nerds affecting other popular mids.
AoE damage and powerful Aghanim’s Scepter upgrade.
Flexibility versus any opponent.
Great farming skill.
Things aren’t really different, but for some reasons pro players still do not pick him, which brought to further adjustments:
The base attack damage has been buffed three times in that period, going from 21-29 to 33-41. It helps his last-hitting and harassing capabilities, combined with the attack range buff from 350 to 380.
The base strength increased from 19 to 21, but the strength gain has been reduced from 2.6 to 2.3. Overall is a nerf.
Lightning Bolt damage and cast range increased.
Arc Lightning damage rescaled from 85/100/115/145 to 70/95/120/145. A nerf to his lane phase as most players max out this skill and literally spam it to farm and harass the opponent, using Clarity potions for mana.
Some changes to talents.
Strong in pubs, but ignored in pro games
I believe Zeus will always be an absurdly strong pick in pub games due to the massive amount of AoE magic damage, the True Sight via spell that makes up for the lack of Sentry Wards and Dust of Appearance, the global presence with Thundergod's Wrath and Nimbus, and the great farming speed granted by Arc Lightning.
I just wonder when pros will start picking him. The lack of escapes/disables, pushing power versus towers, and relative weakness to ganks are his main cons, and they do have a heavy weight in a competitive environment.
When there is teamplay and the same target is focused, a hero such as Zeus can’t survive long enough to do his job.
|Hero||Name||Pick %||Win %|
|Queen of Pain||7.32%||48.9%|
Countering Kunkka in the mid lane
Laning against Kunkka can be a traumatic experience for many players. Tidebringer and Torrent are formidable harassing tools in the hands of a competent user, X Marks the Spot increases his flexibility, and a well-placed Ghostship grants easy kills in the early game.
Find out the fake Torrent
Kunkka can use Torrent and cancel it, producing only a portion of the animation without actually casting the spell. It is a mind game to confuse your movements: sometimes you will miss last hits moving to avoid it, others you might even get caught in a gank as you were concentrated on his actions.
The Magic Stick is a cheap and simple item that (imho) is mandatory against Kunkka. You don’t buy it for the charges, but to predict the fake Torrents. You can find out when he cast the spell for real as you will gain a charge.
Note that you can also discern the truth by looking at his mana, but that approach requires more clicks.
Optimal mid-lane matchups
Heroes with sustainability. You want heroes able to tank his skills and regenerate quickly. Dragon Knight and Timbersaw are great options thanks to their passive skills and a good starting health.
Outrange him. Lina and Sniper both excel at fighting from long range. Lina’s magic damage is problematic since the early game, and Sniper can take the control of the lane with a good use of Shrapnel.
Outharass him. Viper and Razor are classic choices I suggest against many heroes, but they do work well also against Kunkka. If he comes near to use Tidebringer on a creep, Razor can steal his damage and punish him. Instead, Viper can outdamage Kunkka and force him to play passively if he doesn’t want to be permanently slowed and under poison.
Puck. A skill-based fight, but honestly Puck can easily have the upper hand as he can deny the damage from Tidebringer and Torrent via Phase Shift, and escape with Illusory Orb when caught in a gank.
Templar Assassin. Probably one of the best choices as she can completely deny his harassment using Refraction, and simultaneously heavily damage him exploiting the bonus damage plus Psi Blades.
Outworld Devourer. He can get the control of the lane harassing Kunkka with Arcane Orb every time he is in range. The intelligence stolen reduces his low mana pool, limiting the chances to use Torrent. Finally, Astral Imprisonment blocks all his combos.
Kunkka has not received many changes recently.
7.10 helped him, increasing the damage of Tidebringer from 25/45/65/85 to 25/50/75/100, while 7.16 replaced the +50% Tidebringer cleave damage talent with -1.5s Tidebringer cooldown.
The new talent is a nerf, especially for the critical damage based builds. Before, a late game Kunkka could obliterate the enemy team with a luck hit. Now, he has only the chance to crit more often because he can reuse Tidebringer every 2.5 seconds.
Next: 7.17 mid laners.
Header image: Fiery Slayer loading screen for Lina - Valve