TI Qualifiers Meta Highlights — CN and NA

I got to watch (and even cast) some of the International qualifiers and there are many interesting new ideas to explore. Some of them seemed extremely dependent on good teamplay and high levels of coordination, while some can be easily used in pubs. Today we are going to look at the latter group

Voodoo Fenestration Witch Doctor Witch Doctor

The idea with the lowest skill and coordination prerequisites. 0-3-2-0 Witch Doctor is an absolute menace during the laning stage and a massive early game teamfight contributor. Combining good right-click damage with a massive AoE damage and sustain ability you get possibly one of the best babysitter supports in the game who can 1v2 from minute zero, creating a free lane for his carry.

Even if he dies, there is Gris-Gris, which will allow him to keep up networth-wise with most other heroes. That means he gets to play extremely aggressively, though try to be smart about it. There is zoning and there is feeding and the best case scenario is 1v1 trades, where the second enemy hero in lane constantly has to choose between last hitting a creep, or committing to attack you.

Later on this Witch Doctor transitions into a much more classic hero with decent, if unreliable control and a lot of damage from Death Ward. Be sure to understand when exactly you should stop trying to play frontline alongside your offlaner. Voodoo Festeration provides a decent amount of sustain, but it doesn’t make you a “tank” past minute ~12.

Snot Rocket Bristleback Bristleback

This new aspect was met with a lot of doubt from higher level players. Losing the ability to deal damage while focused seemed like a bad idea on a hero that survives in the late game by healing through random quill sprays. Turns out, players just needed time to adjust and re-evaluate how to utilise this character the best.

The biggest change is that Viscous Nasal Goo has to be maxed out second. The idea behind Snot Rocket isn’t that you continuously pressure the enemy into attacking yourself, applying Goo through passive procs. The idea is to be proactive and aggressive, getting on top of priority targets and reducing their armour by 27.

It works wonders in high tempo drafts and the most success we’ve seen from this Bristleback is when he was played as a carry and went for a tanky Vanguard into Aghanim’s Build. The game ended in under 30 minutes and the enemy lifestealer literally couldn’t manfight Bristleback throughout the whole game, even when the latter was facing him.

Quick Wit Carry Dark Seer Dark Seer

We’ve talked about this concept previously, as the idea is quite simple: by maxing Strength on Dark Seer, you can get a lot of value through his Innate and Aspect abilities and make him an extremely tanky, hard-hitting DPS monk.

What pushed the hero over the edge is the changes to Crimson Guard Crimson Guard. Our initial idea was that Dark Seer has to maximise his efficiency by building a lot of Strength items, but turns out Carry Dark Seer works much better when played in a typical Offlane manner for the first couple of items. And Crimson is possibly the best defensive item right now.

Later on you progress into more right-clicking oriented purchases like Heart of Tarrasque Heart of Tarrasque and Black King Bar Black King Bar. And, again, because of how the hero works these two items are, indeed, some of the best DPS right-clicking options for late game scaling.

Closing thoughts

We’ve only seen two regions get through half of their matches and yet there are already tons of new strategies and tactics players utilise at the highest level of play. Dota is an incredibly healthy place when it comes to the meta and overall game enjoyment and there is still so much to explore.

Moreover, we feel like other, potentially stronger regions will have even more ideas that can be used in your everyday pubs, so stay tuned for more Qualifiers meta highlights. Or share your own findings we might have missed in the comment section below.

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