Welcome to part 2 of our TI9 Meta Recap analytical series where we’ll focus on the developments of Day 2, which brought a lot of awesome and surprising games. (If you missed out part 1, you can check it out here: TI9 Meta Day 1.)
To sum-up, day two was the day of:
Pos. 1: Lifestealer was one of the most picked and most successful heroes in pos. 1. His win rate of the day was 67%, which is very surprising because on day one he performed very badly (29% win rate). Gyrocopter also saw a lot of play, but unlike day one where he performed extremely well (78%WR), on day two he had the mediocre 42% WR. Alch is still the most contested hero and his win rate on day two improved. It’s interesting to mention here that Lifestealer could be valued highly as a counter to Alch because he is an active carry and has the required DPS to bring down Alch from early on. It’s also worth mentioning, however, that Lifestealer was successful in some not-favorable matchups. E.g. Mineski were able to win a game with a pos. 1 Naix vs a last-pick pos. 1 Terrorblade played by Liquid.Miracle-.
Pos. 2: The most interesting development on day 2 in the mid lane is that Ember, who was the top mid lane hero on day one, did extremely badly on the second day. He was played in 10 games and won only 2. Kunkka is more consistent but still doesn’t have amazing results as his win rate on day two fell to 44% (compared to 78% on day 1). The most contested and consistent mid laner on day 2 was Lesh with 11 picks, 15 bans, and not-amazing-but-respectable 55% win rate.
Pos. 3: Enchantress
is the 2nd most contested hero in the tournament. Unlike on day one,
where she had the very bad 29% win rate, on day two she redeemed herself by
winning 5 out of 6 games she was drafted. It’s worth mentioning that she was
played on the offlane two times against pos. 1 Sven and two times against pos.
1 Gyro – two matchups she can do really well in. Sven and Gyro are popular pos.
1 heroes right now, so it’s fairly likely that in the future teams will make sure
to ban Ench when they intend to draft one of the two carries. It’s also very
interesting that Centaur, Magnus, and Tide, the three team-fight offlaners we mentioned did very well on day
1, underperformed seriously on day 2. It's also worth mentioning that all three have a bad matchup against Lifestealer, unlike Ench, which leads us to the conclusion that playing good hero matchups is more important than playing the popular heroes in the meta.
Pos. 4: Chen is the playmaking support that has the most
success. This is not a big surprise and most teams are banning him, but he
managed to win the three games he was played on day one and 4 out of the 5
games he was played on day 2, showcasing that most teams on TI fear him for a good
reason. Continuing the tradition of heroes that did well on day one
underperforming on day two, Elder Titan was still one of the most popular
supports, but his win rate fell from 62.5% to 33.3%. ET is also a hero that has a bad matchup against Lifestealer.
Pos. 5: Shadow Demon is still the most popular support, followed by AA, which isn’t surprising when heroes
like Alch and Slark are popular. Warlock
did much better on day two compared to day one (57% WR vs 29% WR), but the most
successful pos. 5 hero was Treant
who won 4 out of his 5 games and might attract much more attention on himself in
the following days.
we cannot end this section without mentioning the sensation story of day 2:
Lifestealer might have been the most consistent performer, but pos. 1 IO was by far the most interesting and creative thing that happened! (More on that below).
Above: the standings after TI9 Group Stage: Day 2
In day one I mentioned that overly-creative strats aren’t doing particularly well in comparison to stable drafts. On day 2, however, creativity is back with a vengeance and a lot of teams showcased that you can definitely win by doing something unexpected.
The key, however, is how you implement it. The creativity that teams managed to use successfully on day 2 consisted of unexpected use of heroes and hero interactions. The drafts themselves, however, were very well-rounded and had all major components of a stable strategy, making the game-plan much simpler and the execution – easier, despite the curveball.
The sensation of the day was OG’s successful use of pos. 1 Io (played by Ana) in two consecutive games in their series vs NiP.
The strategy with Pos. 1 IO is as follows:
Notice, however, that OG doesn’t simply rely on
this surprising hero usage to win them the game. Their drafts are very
well-rounded. The other core is a hero with carry potential, and the pos. 3
hero provides good team-fight initiation and control. The supports are strong
laners with good team-fight potential coming from one (ET, Treant) and save
mechanics from the other (SD).
very creative and interesting interaction was used by EG to pull off a surprise
victory against VG. They used Morph with Aghanim’s + Dark Willow. When Morph
uses his ultimate on the Willow, he receives the Aghanim’s effect of Shadow Realm
– he is able to right-clock without leaving Shadow Realm, dealing a lot of
bonus magic damage and gaining huge range. This is absolutely amazing with
Morph’s very fast attacks speed and high damage and is useful not only to nuke
down heroes in fights but also to siege the enemy base from a safe distance.
that like OG, despite having a very creative hero interaction, EG have a solid and
pretty standard draft. They have a traditional farming hard carry, an active
frontline semi-carry on pos. 2, a fight initiator with AoE control in the
offlane, and two strong lane-supports with additional team-fight damage and
Na’Vi pulled-off another big upset in the tournament by beating VP 2-0. The way they did it is also very interesting. They didn’t utilize some kind of crazy strategy to catch VP by surprise. Instead, they drafted some of their signature heroes (in fact, they drafted pretty much the same team two times in a row) and simply outplayed VP to claim the victory.
They played so well individually and as a team, that it is very likely teams will respect-ban e.g. Zayac’s Earth Spirit in the future.
The fact that Na’Vi managed to pull-off those two victories speaks very well for the state of the game balance and the meta. Na’Vi were able to win convincingly using their “favorite” heroes without having to stick to the popular meta picks religiously, which implies that the top meta picks aren’t imba and certainly aren’t the only viable way to play the game.
(i.e. we > LoL :|)
Day two turns most of our day one conclusion on their head – surprisingly a lot of the best-performing heroes on day one performed terribly on day two. This in itself means that not only are team matchups hard to predict, but drafts are also not too helpful if we only observe hero performance. The better way to predict drafts right now seems to be to stick to the basics rather than to try to figure out the “imba picks”. Bet on well-performing teams when:
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