The top 10 most popular Dota 2 heroes in the safe lane during 7.18. 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 7.18 only, so the past 30 days are examined. Statistics from Dotabuff.
|Hero||Name||Pick %||Win %|
Bloodseeker is one of the best last-hitters in the game
Bloodseeker is a solid laner, and can manage the mid lane against the right opponent, but I believe that in this meta he excels in duals, either in the safe or off lane.
Bloodrage amplifies your damage, and heals yourself for a percentage of the max health of any unit killed, which grants a considerable sustainability in the lane phase.
If you are a melee hero, winning a CS battle 1vs1 against Bloodseeker is extremely difficult, and you need to rely on your supports to harass and push him away from the creeps’ experience range.
In particular, attack him while under the effect of Bloodrage, so he will receive extra damage. For example, in the mid lane Tinker can just use Laser and Heat-Seeking Missile for an outstanding amount of damage. Still, a good Bloodseeker that is playing in a difficult lane will just avoid the issue by Bloodraging the creeps.
If Bloodseeker can get experience, even if harassed he will just regenerate quickly as soon as the creep wave reaches the area under his control.
To score a kill against him, you require a disable and burst damage as his main weaknesses are the total lack of escapes and stuns. Everything is more complicated if he has a support on his side as well, which is what is happening often in the current meta.
Utility build or Radiance
Many players just want to get the Radiance, farm creeps, and rush a DPS build. While this is a viable option, I believe they don’t grasp the utility the hero can bring to the team with cheap items such as the Eul's Scepter of Divinity and the Blade Mail.
With those, he becomes a real nuisance in the mid game, but players often skip them in the greedy item builds because they delay the Radiance too much.
I consider the Eul almost mandatory if the team doesn’t have enough disables, but the item is amazing for several reasons:
Extra movement speed that suits well the hero when played mostly as a roaming ganker.
Easy combo with Blood Rite. Also, do not underestimate the basic dispel on the target upon cast.
It cancels teleports, which are the main and cheaper counter to his ultimate.
Still, all item builds are situational and there isn’t a best one, in fact the Radiance has also many useful perks:
Bloodrage works with the Radiance, so your AoE damage is increased by 40%.
During a teamfight, the Radiance may heal your randomly by killing creeps while under the effect of Bloodrage.
The AoE damage and the 17% miss chance are useful against some meta picks, such as Lycan and Phantom Lancer.
Noticeable increase in farm speed.
Reduced Bloodrage cooldown from 12/10/8/6 to 9/8/7/6.
The skill has a 9 seconds duration at level 1, so now you can have a 100% uptime since the start of the match. It is a buff to his laning stage, and the reduced cooldown is particularly useful when you are forced to Bloodrage creeps to survive.
Increased Blood Rite vision radius from 200 to 600.
Considering the 12 seconds cooldown, Blood Rite can now be used as a scouting tool.
Level 20 right talent: Increased Rupture damage bonus from 14% to 18%.
The extra Rupture damage is a strong buff, but be aware that other level 20 talent +25% Lifesteal is the most popular and successful choice in pubs. According to Dotabuff, this talent has a 59% pick rate and 58% win rate.
Level 10 left talent: Increased armor bonus from 4 to 8.
Level 10 Talent reduced from +8 Armor to +6.
Level 15 Talent reduced from +300 Health to +275.
The armor buff in 7.16 was impressive, and honestly +8 armor at level 10 brought too much sustainability to a hero that can also self-heal. The actual value of +6 is quite balanced.
|Hero||Name||Pick %||Win %|
The remaining heroes in the top 10 are the same featured in the past article, only Luna lost her spot and has been replaced by Bloodseeker. Let’s have a look at the changes that affected all of them in 7.18.
Base strength reduced by 3.
Phantom Lancer requires nerfs because right now he is one of the best carries both in pub and pro games. Reducing the starting strength makes him a bit more susceptible to harassment during the lane phase.
- He fits in most lineups, becomes a troublesome hero in the late game, and has a decent early game.
- In the hands of a veteran player, Doppelganger is an amazing survival tool as you can avoid several spells, and it even applies a basic dispel on PL upon cast.
- The Battle Fury, one of his hard-counters, is not as popular as in the past because it is an expensive item (cost increased to 4,400 gold in 7.14) that slows down the early game. Also, starting from 7.08, the bonus damage provided by Quell no longer works with illusions.
If there aren’t more balance patches before The International 8, he might be one of the most banned carries during the tournament.
Level 10 Talent reduced from +10 Agility to +8.
Only two agility makes no difference.
I don’t think the hero required any nerf. He is a very popular carry in pubs, but with a negative win rate. Likewise, during June he was a top tier 3 hero in the competitive scene, but there he barely hit a 40% win rate.
Shadow Word mana cost increased from 90/110/130/150 to 120/130/140/150.
Shadow Word cast range reduced from 525/600/675/750 to 450/550/650/750 .
A nerf to Warlock’s early game. He is a great pick in the current meta, and I don’t think these changes are enough to balance him.
A slight increase in mana cost isn’t a big deal as you can compensate it with some Clarity potions, instead the cast range reduction puts you in danger when playing more offensively.
Previous: 7.17 safe laners - Hero featured: Spectre.
Header image: Tribal Terror loading screen for Bloodseeker - 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.