First we must qualify what constitutes as being the champion of the midlane. They must be amongst the highest picked and highest winrate across the board. Patches come and go, leaving heroes in the meta or left behind, but there are a rare few who have prevailed throughout the years.
Obviously this isn’t an exact science, things like meta, trends and simply the hero pool of the top professional players all influence the statistics we’re looking at. We used to see things like mid Brewmaster, Nighstalker, or other such mid heroes that have lost their place for whatever reason.
Workshop Item: Brewmaster the Dragon Slayer
So who are the most picked?
According to datdota, Queen of Pain is the most picked midlaner in professional Dota, coming in with 2829 games. A surprising startistic for a hero that has been overtly outside of the meta for such a long time. With the odd performance from SumaiL and the occasional flashy midlaner here and there, QoP is largely ignored these days.
Next we have Puck, sitting on 2646 professional games. A significant decrease from QoP, however still 300 games above the rest. Below Puck, the number of times picked evens out, and the statistics become similar. Outworld Devourer, Dragon Knight and Shadow Fiend are all 150 games within one another.
Image credit: Eternal Nymph Loading Screen
In 6th place is Death Prophet, with 2126. A hero that has been in the meta so frequently in prior years, as much as QoP in the early days too, to have 700 less games than the hero is a somewhat surprising statistic. Whilst discussing the rate at which these heroes are picked, these figures mean very little without taking a look at the mid heroes with the highest winrate.
There is only 1 mid hero with a clearly positive win rate – Templar Assassin, at 54.88%. Despite not particularly ever being the most meta pick, it’s likely that the situational circumstance in which TA is actually picked is what lends itself to her winrate. In essence, TA is the type of hero that is generally only ever picked when the opportunity presents itself, as opposed to being a part of a combination, or strategy.
The next highest winrate goes to Shadow Fiend, with just 51%. Mostly likely again because of the situational nature of the hero, however in the older patches, Shadow Fiend was often a favoured mid. Somnus claims 135 of the Shadow Fiend games, with an incredible winrate, however the biggest props has to go to Arteezy, who on 87 games, has won a total of 64 over the years.
Looking further down the list, we have to skip past OD and his 50.78% winrate to find the first hero that was also on our most played list; Death Prophet. So we have our first candidate for a hero that might be our champion, but what other factors are there to consider?
The pesky meta
The meta can refer to a number of things – not just the heroes being picked, but just about everything from playstyle to item build. The meta changes so frequently and drastically that often the game can be unrecognisable from one patch to the next. There are so many factors that can influence how the meta develops.
As an example, Puck was predominantly a mid hero for the majority of time. However, when s4 first made the move to the offlane, he continued picking the comfort hero and excelling. At this point, the meta of offlane puck began developing, and other teams started picking it in the position 3. These types of factors can influence how the game is played for years after the first decision is made.
The point is that whilst it’s good and all looking at what heroes are dominant in the mid lane, ultimately that could all change with a switch up of the meta. Whilst it might seem that Death Prophet isn’t the best mid lane hero, she might simply just be the most “mid lane” hero. With each patch heroes change so drastically, to the extent that there already, historically, no one “mid hero”.
Teaser image credit: Heavenly General Loading Screen