The top 10 most popular Dota 2 heroes in the off 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 %|
Doom - Amazing lane phase and ultimate counter
Doom counters almost any hero. No one in the team will ever complain about this pick as he can have a successful lane and be of great help in ganks and teamfights.
The hero has 785 health points at level 1, so is able to withstand severe magic damage. He is less resistant versus physical one due to the low 0.76 armor. Still, thanks to the health regeneration via Scorched Earth, killing a Doom usually requires three aggressive heroes, lots of resources, and time.
Also, even in the most difficult lane, you can always take a few levels into Devour for extra gold and experience (consuming big creeps in the adjacent jungle).
A “secret”: the Satyr Tormenter’s aura
The Satyr Tormenter, the big creep in the large satyr camp, is your secret key for victory. If you are able to Devour one during the early game, the lane is automatically won: the passive Unholy Aura grants a permanent 5.5 health regeneration bonus to yourself and all allied units in a 900 radius. The effect is almost as strong as the Tango which heals for 7.1.
Of course, the aura also heals your creeps, so the lane will be pushed, but overall I really recommend to get it whenever possible. Scorched Earth gives a 12/18/24/30 health regeneration bonus, so in combo with Unholy Aura you will be very hard to kill and nearly immune to any harassment.
Doom isn’t his only strong ability
Doom is generally considered a walking ultimate, but that’s not his only purpose. Scorched Earth and Infernal Blade are also powerful skills - recently Valve slightly nerfed both of them in 7.16.
Scorched Earth movement speed bonus changed from a static 14% at all levels to 11%/12%/13%/14%, which combined with the movement nerf in 7.13b - from 90 to 285 movement speed - weakened his chasing power in the early game.
The skill is that strong because simultaneously it heals yourself and damages all opponents in a 600 radius. A maxed out Scorched Earth Doom can be devastating in the first clashes.
Infernal Blade base damage decreased from 25/30/35/40 to 25 on each level. Usually, in the lane phase you either prioritize Scorched Earth when you need more sustain, or Infernal Blade for more damage.
Infernal Blade applies a DoT on the target inflicting a static damage plus a damage based on the target’s max HP; it lasts for 4 seconds. In short, the nerf reduces the total damage of the skill by 60 as it changed only the static part.
It is mostly an early game balance because, unless the opponent has lots of base HP, leveling up Infernal Blade won’t increase the damage substantially, so Scorched Earth might become the preferred choice in most situations.
Windranger might be finally back
Windranger is a very particular case. She is usually ignored in competitive play: we saw barely a few games in March, and 0 picks in April. But, in May she got back as a tier 4 hero.
This is still not enough to determine if WR will turn into a popular pick also in pro games, but generally she is one of the most played heroes in pubs, and her win rate remains positive at all ranks.
The new Maelstrom helped WR’s power spike
The Maelstrom has been buffed in 7.14: attacks proccing Chain Lightning have True Strike (can’t be evaded), and the AoE magic damage increased from 120 to 170. The item lost the flat 25 attack speed bonus, but that’s a not a big deal for Windranger thanks to the extra 400 attack speed during Focus Fire.
The new maelstrom build - which requires the Javelin instead of the Gloves of Haste plus the Recipe - is also of great help because increases considerably her damage while building the full item. 25% of the attacks with the Javelin pierce through evasion and deal 100 bonus magic damage - again, it can be exploited with Focus Fire.
When playing as Windranger, I usually suggest to focus on mobility first, but it is well-know that the Maelstrom is her most bought item at most ranks (especially when played as a core), so the buff greatly helped her.
Buffs since 7.00
If we take a look at the patch history, Windranger received almost only positive changes since 7.00, when the talent system has been introduced.
Recently, 7.13b increased her base strength from 15 to 17. 7.14 boosted the damage of Powershot from 180/260/340/420 to 180/270/360/450, and the attack speed bonus of Focus Fire from 350 to 400.
In 7.15 there were only some minor changes (-2 int and +2 base damage), while there are no adjustments in the 7.16 patch notes.
Maybe IceFrog believes that the hero is finally balanced, or is waiting to find out the feedback of pro players. Without going into details, so far in 7.16 she already jumped to tier 3 with a 31% draft rate, but we are still talking about a young patch so nothing is finalized.
|Hero||Name||Pick %||Win %|
Night Stalker heavily nerfed in 7.16
I already reported about Night Stalker in the May Tier List, but I believe he requires more space due to the tremendous changes happened in 7.16.
If you missed the changelogs, you must learn that Void no longer applies a mini-stun during the day, which reduces his ganking abilities as any opponent is now free to teleport away.
Also, Darkness’ enemy vision reduction received a big nerf:
- Heroes and hero controlled units: from 675 to default unit vision minus 25%.
- Observer Wards: from 800 range to 1200.
- Buildings: from 800 range to no reduction!
The enemies are safe near their towers at night, wards have sufficient radius to prevent most ganks, and heroes aren’t completely blind anymore. As you can understand, this is a massive nerf to the hero at all stages of the match.
Statistics in pub and pro games post-nerf
If we take a look at the global pub data of the past 7 days (considering all medals and positions), we notice that nothing really changed. Night Stalker’s win rate decreased by 0.21%, and his pick rate even increased by 0.74%.
I must point out that the vision nerfs may not have a huge impact on pub games due to the lack of communication, game sense, and teamplay, but honestly I expected a bigger influence. Even if you ignore the team, you can’t ignore the fact that now the towers, wards, and your own hero have more vision at night!
We have little data on pro games, but the statistics are still pretty reliable because the best teams in the world are currently fighting in the Chinese Dota 2 Supermajor.
So far in 7.16, Night Stalker is the second most drafted hero of the patch with a 85% draft rate and a 73% win rate (Io is the first). Of course, do not overestimate these values as we are considering a very limited number of games, but they prove that the hero is still rocking.
I am not surprised. Night Stalker has been a top pick for almost an entire year, so teams are used to him in their strats. Maybe, after the Major they will start theorycrafting again, and prepare new tactics for The International 8, but NS might remain a top hero for many months more.
Next: 7.17 offlaners.
Header image: Crown of Hell loading screen for Doom - Valve
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.