DreamLeague Major had a few surprises in store. Vici Gaming scored the first champion title of the season for the Chinese region, while fan favorites such as Team Liquid, PSG.LGD, and Evil Geniuses underperformed.
Excitement and heartbreak aside, it was also a great tournament in terms of diversity. A total of 98 heroes were contested and 96 heroes were picked during the tournament. This result is not ideal, but it clearly shows that the last several patches were a step in the right direction. Hopefully, we will see even more diversity in the upcoming DisneyLand Major.
Oracle, Pangolier, Razor, Enigma and Nyx Assassin are the current professional meta staples. We recently covered Oracle in one of our blog posts, and even after the 7.21d nerfs, the hero is very much worth picking.
The same can’t be said about Pangolier, however. The hero was hit pretty decently in the new patch and is no longer a game-winning hero for the highest brackets. He should still be playable and highly contested in the professional scene, simply because of a very unique kit that can deal with a variety of different heroes, but he doesn’t look consistent enough for everyday pub grind.
Enigma and Nyx Assassin came as a surprise to many. Nyx is much easier to explain—the hero works very well against many meta heroes, having access to good disables and a very underrated “break” from Vendetta. Enigma, on the other hand, is interesting, in the way the hero was played.
We mostly saw the hero as a position four support, who would win the lane by continuously denying the ranged creep and farming up in the jungle. He would also go for early pressure items and, more importantly, would share early Ring of Health and Ring of Regen with their offlane.
That allowed many heroes, who would otherwise have problems staying in lane solo, to trade more effectively and pressure the lane. This is a great strategy to use in your pubs, if you can coordinate with your teammates and trust them enough to return the items.
Phantom Assassin and Troll Warlord were the two most overrated cores of the tournament, winning less than 40% of their games, despite sharing the position of the fourth most picked hero. Both of these cores are fully dependent on their items to deal damage and can be pretty low tempo—something extremely punishable in the professional scene.
The most surprising part is that Troll Warlord actually had lower winrate than PA, despite being a stronger hero in lane and having builds that come online in the midgame and don’t revolve around Battlefury. We believe the biggest reason for it was the Magnus factor—teams were almost twice as likely to draft a Magnus+PA combo than a Magnus+Troll one, though the effectiveness of both was still pretty low.
Leshrac and Bane were also among the most overrated heroes, winning only nine out of twenty two games each. Leshrac didn’t look too hot mid, and found most success when played as a space-creating hero in the offlane or as a greedy, position four support. Despite the nerfs, this playstyle is still probably worth trying in your pubs.
Bane frequently simply looked outclassed in the later stages of the game. We’ve previously reported that the meta is not as lane-reliant as it used to be and teams who could survive lanes with higher utility supports generally had an advantage.
We’ve already talked about Pangolier being one of the most popular and successful picks of the tournament, but he wasn’t the most contested hero. That title goes to Chen—it seems the majority of teams simply don’t want to deal with the mobility and push this hero offers to his team. Holy Persuasion's recall component is pretty much Relocate-light, and we all know how highly professional players value global mobility and map presence.
Lifestealer was the second most contested hero of the tournament with 62 bans. This should be pretty much self-explanatory: Lifestealer is one of the few lane-dominating heroes with amazing midgame and decent late-game. He is also a nightmare to play against for most supports and can be safely picked in the first phase—something very underrated for a core hero.
No hero in the tournament had a contest rate of over 90%, Chen got close to it with 87%, but it is still reassuring for the health of the game in its current state that there are no auto-pick or auto-ban heroes, at least until after Io is added back to Captains Mode. Going forward we would really like to see some buffs to ignored heroes, rather than another set of nerfs to overused ones. Though we remain confident that there were definite reasons to pick some of the ignored heroes even in the previous patch.