It seemed as if the beginning of the main event showed Lina replace Queen of Pain as the tournament’s most cherished midlaner. This may have had something to do with CDEC having dictated the terms of the early part of the event’s ‘metagame’ during the course of their climb up the winner’s bracket. Both the team’s mid player, Huang ‘Shiki’ Jiwei, as well as Evil Geniuses’ tremendously talented Sumail ‘Suma1L’ Hassan, conducted truly wonderful performances on the hero all throughout the Main Event. Her versatility to be played as either a core or a support – a feature which she boasts over Queen of Pain - has also been praised of late, generally making her an invaluable pick in the early stages of any draft. In terms of carries, Gyrocopter’s early to mid game kill potential (stemming from the fearsomeness of his Rocket Barrage), combined with the strength of his Flak Cannon in the late game, inspired the majority of teams to treat him as the tournament’s top tier safelane pick.
The majority of heroes banned consistently throughout this year’s International were those which, though undoubtedly strong, are not necessarily fit for the label of ‘broken’. Leshrac was effectively the only exception to this rule. Being that most teams proved unsuccessful in their attempts to find a remedy to the hero’s powerful midlane performance, Leshrac was banned roughly 90% of the time throughout the entirety of the tournament, having only been drafted a measly 17 games. His only real showing was in the Grand Finals when EG purposely let him slide into the hands of CDEC, probably having understood that their core players were not entirely comfortable playing the hero.
The support Bounty Hunter was one of the most disputed picks of this tournament – and one of the Main Event’s most successful heroes. Aside from the pressure that he exerts against his opponents in the early game (in the form of rotation ganks and courier kills), his ultimate, Track, proved to be an extremely valuable comeback mechanic throughout the tournament’s countless number of gold swings. CDEC’s employment of the hero was perhaps the most fearsome as the gold attained from five man Track kills ended up being an important and complementary tactic in their overly aggressive playstyle.
Techies – rather shockingly the most successful hero at this year’s International – was utilized primarily by Team Secret and Evil Geniuses as a means to shut down the predominantly aggressive playstyle of the majority of their opponents. Secret’s Kuro ‘KuroKy’ Salehi Takhasomi held a 2-0 record on the hero, though it was perhaps EG’s Kurtis ‘Aui_2000’ Ling who stretched the hero to its full potential: he boasted an impressive 3-0 record on Techies with two of those victories having been achieved during the course of the Main Event. By restricting the map movement of his opponents, Aui was able to relieve some of the pressure being applied towards his mid and safelane cores. Remarkably enough, CDEC felt so inhibited by the Techies pick that they dedicated a first round ban against the hero in every game of their Grand Finals against EG which, in turn, granted EG access to an array of other picks that they felt to be just as strong, such as Suma1L’s Leshrac and Aui’s support Naga Siren.
Razor’s overwhelming underperformance at this event came as somewhat of a surprise; not so much because the hero was expected to flourish in the current ‘meta’, but more so because teams kept insisting on picking him despite his generally abhorrent win record. He was played by nearly every team in the tournament with very mediocre and inconsistent results. His only real success came at the hands of EG’s Clinton ‘Fear’ Loomis - whose Razor was actually undefeated (3-0) until met with CDEC in the Winner’s Bracket Finals; there he went 0-2 on the hero.