Prepare for your fate
The most picked hero at DreamLeague Season 11 has been Oracle. Nerif (yes, that's his real name) has been picked 30 times at the tournament and boasts an insane 70.00% winrate, which translates to 21 wins. Interestingly, he is picked much more on Radiant than on Dire—20 picks to 10 respectively. Despite relatively normal kill and death averages, the hero also has a high 11.73 assist average.
The love for Oracle is predominantly because of the style of cores getting picked at the tournament. Mobile melee cores are in vogue in Dota 2 currently, and with those types of heroes comes a lot of risk. Oracle helps mitigate those risks by buying his cores extra time (and sometimes even help them cheat death) and being able to heal them when they are in over their head. It seems that as long as heroes like Ursa and Phantom Assassin are popular, so too will Oracle be picked.
The swiftest blade will take the day
The second most hero at the tournament is of course the roaming, bouncing, rolling Pangolier. We have seen the hero put in lots of work around the map, often able to play a variety of roles all at once. He has been picked 29 times with a 65.52% winrate. For a hero that's not a hard carry core, though, he also has a positive kill to death average at 4.76 - 4.38, as well as a very high 12.69 assist average. With stats like this it's not wonder he is picked so often.
Donté Panlin has became popular because of his natural tankiness, but also because he is so mobile, and can be helpful in almost any situation. His ability to disarm or silence can create kill opportunities where there often isn't one is immensely helpful, but he's also a respectable shield, and his ultimate—when used properly—can secure everything from solo kills to teamfight wins. When a hero is this dynamic it's no wonder why he is picked so often.
I am the messenger of those gone by
Shadow Shaman has been picked at Dreamleague 27 times, and he seems to maintain his popularity with the top teams as well. Despite the high pick rate, he has a negative winrate of only 48.15%. On top of this he has lower averages across the board than both Pangolier and Oracle at the tournament. Rhasta has a 2.33 kill average to a 6.30 death average, with a 10.74 average on assists.
So why is the hero still picked? Because of the control he can apply. It seems as though Shadow Shaman went through a kind of "testing" period in the tournament which equates to his low winrate, but now teams seem to understand when to pick him. His cast range allows him to insta-hex and hold people from range, allowing his cores to deal serious DPS. Alongside this, no one can deny his Mass Serpent Ward, which can catch key heroes, or just clutter the battlefield for some extra damage output. True supports don't need to have great stats if they support their cores well, and Rhasta certainly does this.
I'll have you in my claws
Good ol' Fuzzy Wuzzy has been the fourth most picked hero in Stockholm, and for fairly obvious reasons. The papa bear has been very strong in this patch thanks to his insane damage output, his low reliance on items, as well as the fact that he can stay alive during messy fights. He has been picked 24 times this tournament. Unsurprisingly he has a high kill average of 7.88 versus a rather low death average of 3.33. On top of this, he has been picked equal times on both the Radiant and Dire sides.
Despite his impressive resume, though, Ulsfaar has only won just over half of his games with a 54.17% winrate. This is due in large part to the length of games—Ursa is insanely powerful during the midgame, but can lean toward falling off against harder cores as the game goes late. Furthermore, the right lineup can kite Ursa for long periods of time during fights, allowing him to be less effective. That all being said, however, against certain drafts Ursa absolutely dominates, and is currently so strong he can force the enemy team to change their early to midgame strategies because of his ability to snowball. As long as he retains this fearsome ability, he will continue to be picked.
The strong shall eat the weak
The last of the top five is Troll Warlord. The greedy carry has been picked up the same times as Ursa (which actually makes this a tie) at 24 times. He is incredibly strong lategame, able to beat most, if not all of the top carries picked currently, can farm reasonably well, and like Ursa has an ultimate that makes him very hard to take down in fights. Despite all of this, he has a low winrate of only 33.33%. His kill average sits at 4.12 while his death average stands just below that at 3.00. So why is Jah'rakal picked so often?
In many cases he is a trump card pick because of his strength in the lategame, but his big set back is that he can't come online as efficiently and as quickly as Ursa can. The hero needs lots of farm to really make a difference, and teams also have to build a lineup around him to nullify potential kiting. If Troll is in a situation where he can beat these problems he becomes a serious threat; however, you would be hard-pressed to find a winning match with Troll Warlord in the later stages of the competition, which speaks volumes about his real viability as a hero. All hail the Lord of Trolls?
Final Fight - 34:55
Food for Thought
There was a five-way tie for the sixth most picked hero. Leshrac, Brewmaster, Phantom Assassin, Enigma, and Bane all have been picked 22 times. This tells us that the meta is actually quite strong. There is a solid mix of all kinds of heroes being picked in different situations. It will be interesting to see what is drafted in the final two series of the tournament.
Do you think there will be any surprise picks on the Final Day of DreamLeague Season 11?
Photo Credit - Valve / DreamLeague S11 Logo - Dreamhack.com