The International, Dota 2’s biggest annual tournament, often sets its own unique metagame. For example, the metagame of TI4 was shaped by heroes like Skywrath Mage, Faceless Void, Razor, Nature’s Prophet, and Viper. These heroes formed the “deathball” playstyle, focused on early fights and tower takedowns.
TI7’s metagame, however, is expected to be similar to recent tournaments. Valve did not release a major patch before the event, so the current version 7.06 has been in play for two-and-a-half months with only minor tweaks. The prevailing strategies of dual roaming supports and tri-lanes are still standard, thanks to the emphasis on laning phase in the 7.06 patch.
Despite the lack of major changes, teams are not afraid to experiment with surprise hero picks and unorthodox strategies. Heroes considered unpopular may rise in popularity if teams recognize their potential.
We predict the following trends and heroes to watch out for at TI7:
The importance of an early start
Since the release of 7.06, the dedicated roaming 4 support has disappeared. Previously, heroes like Monkey King dominated the early game with their mobility and damage output. Now, roaming is done by both supports using long-range stuns. Combining these stuns with mana batteries like Crystal Maiden enhances their ganking potential. However, supports can also choose to stay in their lanes and gain experience, taking advantage of the increased lane experience in the current patch.
The change to shrines is also significant. With the removal of early shrine regeneration, roaming supports can apply more pressure to enemy lanes without the fear of instant recovery. If they catch enemy heroes in the jungle before shrines are up, there is no escape route to the nearest shrine.
The laning phase remains crucial, whether through dual roaming, dual lanes, or tri-lanes.
Top tier selections
Currently, heroes with mobility and ganking potential are popular picks. Queen of Pain, with her Blink ability and burst damage kit, is often picked for her lane control and rune control. Puck, a similar hero in terms of playstyle, is slippery and difficult to kill, offering utility with crowd control abilities.
For supports, Earthshaker, Night Stalker, and Sand King are considered strong choices for dual roaming strategies. Earthshaker and Sand King have powerful stuns that contribute to the laning phase dominance, while Night Stalker’s night-time pathing ability makes him an even more feared roamer.
Aces in the hole
There are niche heroes that may see more usage at TI7 due to consecutive buffs in recent patches. One example is Visage, who can deal significant burst damage in the lane with Soul Assumption. His XP gain talent puts him ahead of enemy supports, and his ultimate has a reduced cooldown at all levels. Players like Kurtis “Aui_2000” Ling, Ilya “Lil” Ilyuk, and Tal “Fly” Aizik have shown prowess on Visage in the past.
Anti-Mage has also been rising in popularity, especially as a counter pick against heroes reliant on magic damage and high mana cost spells. The recent increase in pick rates at DreamLeague Season 7 suggests his growing influence.
Brewmaster, with minor buffs since the Kiev Major, is another hero to watch. His ability to deny creeps and give experience to allied heroes is valuable in a patch where creep denies have increased XP impact.
Overall, TI7 is expected to follow the recent metagame trends, with some unexpected hero picks and strategies. Teams will focus on the early game and the laning phase to secure an advantage.
Keywords: The International, Dota 2, TI7, metagame, heroes, laning phase, early game, roaming, dual lanes, tri-lanes, Queen of Pain, Puck, Earthshaker, Night Stalker, Sand King, Visage, Anti-Mage, Brewmaster