posted by CozmikMonkey,
With a whopping 99 games, the most played hero was Sand King. However, he only had a 48.48% winrate across all of those games. So why was he picked that much? Versatility. He farms very well, having the highest XPM (456) and CS (147.99) averages in top 10, outside of Position 1 and 2, and also has a 12.24 assist average, meaning he's a great ganker and teamfighter.
In addition, his natural tankiness is very useful in the frenzied current meta, and he is a good fighter. He has a strong single and potentially multi-target stun, and has immense AOE potential with his Sand Storm and Epicenter. In short: he does a lot. And he can also supplement weak drafts in a variety of ways. Shifting like the sands, indeed.
Loading Screen for the Ironclad Mold set by Crowntail
The second most player hero at 92 games was Doom. He had a 3.20 KDA with rather admirable 3.77 to 4.72 kill to death averages. Like Sand King, he had lots of assists (with an 11.74 average), and farms very well, boasting a 427 XPM average and a 121.24 CS average. Plus, he can supplment his own toolkit with abilities from creeps, adding a ton of utility.
But the big reason for picking Doom, as it always has been, is his ultimate. The rise of cores such as Morphling, Sven, Troll, and Ember Spirit makes a holistic lockdown tremendously powerful. Doom's importance in the meta is showcased by his 55.43% winrate.
Loading Screen for the Deamon Prince set by Jashugan
The third most played hero at 83 games is Earthshaker. He's gota 50.60% winrate and the highest assist average of any hero in the top 10 at 12.46. However, he does not farm very well, and thus has a more specialized role: he is a fantastic stunner.
Echo Slam is obviously the crown jewel in his kit. A surprise, instant stun on heroes like Morphling is very useful, and being able chain-lockdown is even more powerful when it comes from a single hero. And despite Earthshaker's lack of farming prowess, he does not need many items to be useful.
Loading Screen for the Crimson Beast set by Mister Foster
The StarLadder Minor
All of the top three heroes have a few important commonalities. For one, they are all strength heroes, and thus are naturally tanky, which is a huge boon in a fighting oriented meta. For another, they are all good at getting into scrappy fights, as their stuns and survivability make the excellent brawlers.
In addition, they all generally have a low dependency on items, but also get much stronger with key items. Lastly, they all have skills that can be used in a variety of ways, but offensively and defensively. Until the new patch drops, the meta will continue in the trajectory it is going at the Minor, and as such, heroes like Sand King, Doom, and Eartshaker will remain powerful picks.
Will we see any surprise heroes at the Minor?
Photo Credit - Valve