The top 10 most popular Dota 2 heroes in the safe lane during 7.11. We will have a look at some of the best picks in the meta, and learn how to play or counter them.
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The heroes are arranged by pick rate, and the data considers all games played in any region and bracket during the past 30 days. Statistics from Dotabuff.
|Hero||Name||Pick %||Win %|
Juggernaut is undoubtedly one of the most troublesome carries to deal with as he works well in all stages of the game and is very hard to gank.
- You want to shut him down in the early game, but as a support or a ganker that’s not achievable easily because he has an innate Black King Bar and burst damage with Blade Fury, and can also survive to harassers using Healing Ward.
I love Naga Siren because Ensnare pierces spell immunity, so if you use it after Juggernaut starts spinning, you will block him in place and even stop his teleport.
- The Battle Fury is a popular item in the meta and is excellent on him. Following multiple buffs and decisive changes in 7.07, the Battle Fury became a very used item among carries.
Afterwards, IceFrog slightly reduced its attack damage, and from 7.08 the Quell passive stopped working on illusions, but the weapon is still a great tool which transforms Juggernaut in a split-pushing machine.
The Battle Fury is also a somewhat greedy item, and an early game team composed of pushers could reach the high ground before Juggernaut is able to acquire his core items.
Omnislash counters solo-ganks
Without abilities or items that can save your hero from Juggernaut’s ultimate, attempting a solo-gank will often lead to your death. There are some interactions you must always remember.
Magic immunity doesn’t block it, and the Linken’s Sphere only stops the first attack.
Juggernaut can use items and spells during Omnislash, except for Blade Fury and Teleport Scrolls.
The Ghost Scepter is one of the best counters, especially now that it can’t be purged by the Diffusal Blade.
The Helm of the Dominator is a hard-counter that can protect the entire team
Any unit which is not hero-controlled - except the Roshan - is instantly killed when slashed. But, a neutral Dominated by the HotD is immune to the one-shot mechanic because it is under your control, and it has also a minimum health pool of 1,500.
Bringing one with you in ganks and teamfights can be of great help as it can tank multiple slashes and save your life.
Learn more: Tips for Juggernaut players
Shadow Shaman is one of the best lane supports. No one will ever complain if you pick him because he is able to harass, can prevent and create ganks thanks to his two disables, and turn in a proficient pusher with his ultimate.
Great lane phase: high attack damage, two disables, good health pool and strength gain by level. He is amazing both as an offensive and a defensive support as he possesses enough damage (71‒78 at level one) to harass most offlaners, and two valid disables to score kills or protect his core.
Hex can’t be dispelled. Starting from 7.07, Hex can no longer be dispelled so it became a guaranteed disable you can easily chain to get a kill. This change also contributed to the rise of other heroes, such as Tinker, who can exploit the Scythe of Vyse for similar results.
No farm required. Shadow Shaman doesn’t rely on items to do his job, and while some mobility items are a welcomed addition, he is a strong partner even in the most difficult games.
Optimal transition into the late game. Thanks to his skillset he doesn’t get weaker in the late game. Ether Shock is a good pusher tool as can kill an entire creep wave, and Mass Serpent Ward is remarkable especially when assaulting a tier 3 tower.
The Wards provide damage, high-ground vision, and a create a small safe-zone for your team as not all opponents are able to tank them, particularly in the mid game.
Great potential with the proper items. If Shadow Shaman is able to get farm and can build the Aghanim’s Scepter or the Refresher Orb, he will turn into a really troublesome hero as two buffed Mass Serpent Wards can obliterate an entire team. Even without farm, from 7.07 the Roshan drops a Refresher Shard from his third death, which is perfect for SS.
|Hero||Name||Pick %||Win %|
I may be a little biased because I love Witch Doctor, but he is another amazing companion both in lane and in teamfight.
- If compared to Shadow Shaman, WD’s stun is less reliable because Paralyzing Cask bounces between the enemy units randomly, stunning and damaging those it hits. It works the best when there are fewer units in the area as it can perma-stun two heroes, so try to not waste it when it could bounce on creeps.
- Voodoo Restoration is a skill often neglected by many in pubs, but a level during the lane phase can save your life and the one of the carry. Heals are extraordinarily powerful in the early game as the heroes are able to inflict only a limited amount of damage, so often you can even out-heal them and help to score a kill.
- Maledict is a skill that requires practice due to the limited radius, but if well used it can add a prodigious amount of damage against the enemies affected. Unfortunately, smart opponents will buy a Black King Bar in the late game, which completely blocks the magic damage of this ability.
Do not rush the Aghanim’s Scepter
Death Ward is a formidable ultimate that can win a teamfight if your hero is well-positioned. Everyone will try to disable you as soon as the ability is active because it inflicts an enormous amount of damage, especially if you boost it with talents and the Aghanim's Scepter. Also, it deals physical damage, so magic immunity doesn’t help.
I know that the Aghanim’s is great on WD, and I like to buy one later on if I have the chance, but remember to not neglect your duties. You are a support, and thus you can’t be selfish and stop helping your team to save money for the Aghanim’s Scepter - in most games this behaviour will lead to a defeat.
A mobility item is mandatory. Your position in a teamfight is fundamental to use Death Ward, and a Blink Dagger is of great help to hide your hero exploiting the high-ground or the Fog of War in the jungle.
Learn more: Three great first pick supports.
The high critical damage and one-shotting potential of Phantom Assassin are particularly loved by low MMR players, and indeed she maintains a high pick rate until 4k rank.
Blur is countered by Monkey King Bar and Silver Edge
- The classic counter to her evasion, the Monkey King Bar, has been reworked in 7.07. The new variant works better against heroes with a poor evasion chance, but PA is an exception with the 50% granted by Blur. Check out the complete analysis for detailed info, but overall know that mostly the new MKB will hit her less times than the old one.
- The Silver Edge raised in popularity as a counter, principally because you can utilize it also against other heroes. The ability Shadow Walk disables all the passives of the target affected for five seconds, so anyone in the enemy team can freely attack PA. This is an excellent item also versus Bristleback.
Overall, I believe that the Silver Edge is a better choice if you have a coordinated team that will prioritize Phantom Assassin as soon as she is disabled.
Note that Hex doesn’t disable Blur anymore since 6.84 as it no longer applies the break mechanic on the enemies affected.
Buy the Black King Bar
Some readers will consider this advice unnecessary, but also at my current medal (Ancient) I find multiple PA that do not have a BKB at 45-50 minutes, and often that’s one of the reasons we end up losing the match.
I can only imagine how bad is the situation at lower MMR brackets. Of course, damage items are welcomed, but you must be aware that PA is a melee hero made of paper.
Thanks to Blur she is resilient against auto-attackers, but crowd control effects and magic damage will impede her actions and lead to her death prior she can even hit a single enemy.
Learn more: PA talent guide.
Update: Top 10 safe laners of 7.16.
Header image and hero icons: 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.