There is always a hero meta and an item meta. Much as heroes rise and fall in popularity throughout the tournament, so do the items, and today we would like to discuss the most and the least popular items and how the latest patch might influence them.
Solar Crest was probably the most important item of the tournament, built in almost every single game. It is a strong teamfight item that was heavily underused in the previous tournament and that is still underused in everyday pubs.
For slightly below 4000 gold, you can essentially provide the Armor benefits comparable to a full Assault Cuirass to a single ally or reduce the Armor and Attack Speed of the enemy, to a degree comparable to the upgraded combined effects of Desolator and Shiva's Guard.
The item is excellent when ganking, can help with sieging highground, can save focused teammates, allows for much quicker Roshan kills all while providing decent stats for the cost. It is good when you are ahead, good when your team is behind and the only real problem with item is its lack of identity.
Almost 4000 gold is too costly for most supports, especially if they are required to go for Spirit Vessel on position four or Force Staff and Glimmer Cape on position five. It is also only decent in terms of stats on most DPS cores who generally want to build right-click and situational defensive items. After being ignored for so long, it finally found its place on position three utility cores, but even there it is frequently competing against Crimson Guard or Pipe of Insight for the slot.
Despite the cost increase and the small decrease in Shine active Armor increase and reduction, we believe it is still very much worth considering and can still outclass typical defensive items. While it is undoubtedly at its best on position three Ogre Magi, who can multicast it on enemies, even more conventional position three cores should really weight, whether Crimson Guard or Pipe of Insight are as much of a priority.
Whereas the latter two are great “catch-all” defensive items against physical and magical damage respectively, Solar Crest’s effect is a lot more pin-point and focused. At the highest level of Dota, players are fully aware how to position so that the damage is received and outputted on the intended targets. If you can coordinate with your team to do the same, Solar Crest will similarly become an invaluable tool in your arsenal and the latest nerfs are seemingly only piquing the community’s interest in the item.
Given how one is the non-upgraded version of the other, it is peculiar that the former wasn’t as popular. Aura items are always a good choice in teamfight-heavy metas, doubly so if they cost less than 2000 gold and can be purchased on position three utility cores quite early.
Vladmir’s Offering received some heavy nerfs in 7.21. Since it doesn’t build from Headress anymore it doesn’t provide any health regeneration, which made it a pretty good choice with a natural buildup for offlane heroes. That said, almost every single team built Ring of Basilius, sometimes even multiple copies, and the fact that it frequently went on unupgraded and eventually sold is peculiar.
According to statistics, Vladmir’s Offering is the item with the highest win rate in the ~2000 gold category, edging out Force Staff, Glimmer Cape and [item-mekansm]. Naturally, it was frequently built to close out games by the teams who were ahead, but it is still an item that is absolutely worth considering and the one that might find its place on position five supports who don’t necessarily need Glimmer Cape or Force Staff in their particular game.
The buildup can be especially easy if you follow Team Secret’s footsteps and start the game without the initial wards, instead spending all support gold on consumables and Ring of Basilius for the lane. It might not be a good idea in every game, but it is an option, especially if you are playing with a stack.
The second least popular item of the tournament after the Holy Locket. Necronomicon was once among the most popular items in the game, since it provided the team a sizeable increase in DPS and situational utility. Right now it became much easier to deal with, though its utility might be underappreciated.
Potential damage aside, there are several things Necronomicon gives its team. The True Sight aura in a 1000 radius around Necronomicon Warrior is an excellent way of dealing with annoying Glimmer Capes during the fight. It can help during chases, not allowing an elusive target to slip. It is good against Mirana initiations and can be used to help with dewarding missions later on in the game. While Dust of Appearance can be purged and Gem can be risky, investing into a steady Necronomicon progression can be a rational choice that should be made early, but can pay off.
Moreover, there is also a very important Purge active on Necronomicon Warrior that can help in dealing with popular DPS buffs, such as Bloodlust and Empower. It can also be very useful against heroes with Aeon Disk, since the only other purchasable sources of dispel are Eul’s, that won’t allow to focus the target down and Nullifier, which is a better DPS item for right-clicking cores but can be a bit of a waste on non-right clicking heroes.
The mandatory item in all “item meta” discussions. After the cost increase in 7.22g, the Midas became slightly harder to justify, but it is still probably worth it on the same exact category of heroes it was worth it on previously.
The cost increase should shift the item timings on core heroes by less than a minute in most cases and it shouldn’t have as much of an impact on its viability from this change alone. That said, was the item as viable as we were led to believe it was?
For heroes that thrive on playing the avoidance game and can use extra gold, experience and attack speed it might be a viable item as long as it remains unpunished. Figuring out the enemy’s capacity to punish your greed is an art in itself, but looking at the better teams of the International 2019 one thing is clear—Midas was never purchased as a comeback mechanic and most of the time the better teams only committed to it only if they knew they could put up a fight or at least trade map control despite the initial ~2000 gold deficit.