With the first major tournament since the new patch having come to a close, we delve into the statistical side of things. Here we take a look at the drafting patterns that developed over the course of the event, examining the most picked and banned heroes, those most sought after, and finally those which proved to be the most successful throughout.
Given the nip and tuck nature of the recent patch, 6.85’s 'metagame' has up until this point remained largely similar to that of 6.84: Queen of Pain and Gyrocopter are still dominant within the first and second positions, early-to-midgame brawlers like Clockwerk and Tusk are still occupying the offlane, and supports like Dazzle, Rubick, and Bounty Hunter are still enabling a playstyle organized mostly around rotations throughout the laning stage. That being said, there have been some new and interesting developments.
It seems to be the consensus within the professional scene that Broodmother has finally solidified herself as a genuine top-tier pick. Even when equipped with tried and tested counters to the hero—Bristleback, Axe, Winter Wyvern, etc.—Broodmother’s split push and midgame kill potential often prove incredibly difficult to manage. Some indication of her potency might be that the hero was drafted exclusively by each of the tournament’s finalists, with each team having employed her with a great degree of success. Both Andrey 'Mag' Chipenko and Rasmus 'MiSeRY' Filipsen—offlaners from both Vega Squadron and Team Secret, respectively—showed the hero to be very capable when placed in the right hands; Mag held a 2-1 record on her, whereas MiSeRY boasted a shorter (albeit flawless) 2-0 count.
The consistent banning of Silencer was perhaps the most unexpected of all, although Alchemist might come in at a close second. Despite him having been banned 7 times throughout the event, Silencer was played only once during the semi-finals. The pick proved to be game-winning, however, as Vega Squadron used Global Silence as a ticket into the finals, employing it as an effective deterrent against Invictus Gaming’s spell-heavy lineup of Earthshaker, Sand King, Dazzle, Lina and Gyrocopter.
Looking at this event’s contestation figures, one cannot help but notice what is quite possibly the biggest change to the current state of pro play: the demise of Leshrac. Not only was Leshrac picked a measly 3 times during the course of this tournament, but he proved the loser in all of them. Since the item’s recent—and much welcomed—'nerf', it seems as if the age of Bloodstone-wielding carries has come to a close; for with Leshrac’s departure so comes that of Storm Spirit. Although he was never quite broken enough to qualify as first pick or ban material, due in part to his highly counterable skill set, Storm always found himself a niche within the hands of certain mid players. During the course of ESL, however, wasn’t picked in even a single instance.
Although his undefeated win record of 5-0 was also held by the staple support, Rubick, the event’s most successful hero was undoubtedly Ember Spirit. Ember is effectively the new challenger to Gyrocopter: Flame Guard’s early-to-midgame damage output seems to match that of Rocket Barrage (in addition to supplementing free magic immunity) and Sleight of Fist possesses an even greater late game danger than does Flak Cannon. Since the nerfing of Bloodstone (not to mention Eul’s), Ember’s counters are fewer, allowing him more room to maneuver than in the previous patch. During the tournament he was led to victory by both Luo ‘Ferrari_430’ Feichi and Jacky ‘EternaLEnVy’ Mao, though it was the event’s champion carry player—Pavel ‘9pashaebashu’ Khvastunov—who demonstrated the hero’s most impressive play, boasting a final record of 3-0.
Statistics come courtesy of datdota.