TI Qualifiers Meta Highlights — EEU and SA

We continue analysing high level Dota to highlight some interesting fresh ideas. EEU and SA are two regions where games are highly chaotic and aggressive and it definitely shows in their draft and build preferences. Some of their ideas are a return to classics, while some are brand new, but all of them should be easily usable in your everyday pubs.

Liquid Frost Jakiro Jakiro

The most recent buff made this aspect a default for the SA region, it seems. The amount of damage Jakiro can deal in trades increases tremendously with the Liquid Frost aspect, especially if you have a Blood Grenade to fix the enemy position and dish out some extra punishment.

The tradeoff is that Jakiro with this aspect doesn’t push at all. He can help with the creepwave, maybe, but the absence of Liquid Fire is definitely noticeable during the early midgame.

In our opinion, it is a tradeoff worth it every time. The pace of the game is incredibly high, especially in higher tier Dota, and having a strong laning stage is preferable to having a pushing support. The usual build is 2-0-2-0 by level four, with optional extra levels in Dual Breath if you are fighting a lot. By default, though, level five is when you typically want to start taking Ice Path.

Itemisation-wise, Mekansm Mekansm remains a very popular and effective purchase. Alternatively, we are seeing a lot of Eul’s purchases, as it is a good way to set up an Ice path, and an incredible item against currently dominant Ursa Ursa and SA-specific Spirit Breaker Spirit Breaker.

Tempo Spirit Breaker Spirit Breaker

[item-hand-of-midas] and Octarine Core Octarine Core Spirit Breaker is no more and this patch, at least in the SA region, is a return to form for the hero. Typical Spirit Breaker in SA gets Phase Boots Phase Boots, Shadow Blade Shadow Blade and starts roaming the map in search of kills and setups.

It works a lot better than trying to farm and beef up, as the game right now is all about tempo. Follow your initial couple of items with an Eul’s and you also get a decent save for yourself or an extra way to set up a kill for incoming teammates.

The hero can’t be picked every game, of course. One of the highest win rate heroes in this patch is Dark Willow and she puts a stop to the Spirit Breaker’s potential dominance. While the professional scene has guaranteed bans, in pubs you can end up with a hero that isn’t as effective, as he can be in more structured Dota. Similarly, don’t pick Spirit Breaker into Clockwerk.

In most other cases the hero is a lot of fun to play, he can be highly effective and as long as you communicate your intentions with your teammates, he will lead you to victory more often that not.

Echo Sabre Echo Sabre Pangolier Pangolier

This is a very baffling build that I personally consider very questionable still. It is very much meta for high level pubs and the professional scene, however, so let’s try to figure out why exactly this item replaced typical Diffusal Blade Diffusal Blade.

Instead of providing an extra burst of damage on Swashbuckle, this item provides Pango with a slow and some extra right-click damage for when the hero fights the enemy without using his abilities. Which is quite rare, but it can be handy on occasion.

It also gives Pango some extra HP and mana regen, making the hero a bit tankier, which is very nice. The same, if not higher levels of mana regen and extra survivability can be achieved with an Eul’s. The latter can also be used as a setup for a second Rolling Thunder stun, making Pango a decent hero against elusive targets.

Finally, Echo Sabre gives a potential upgrade into Harpoon Harpoon, which is very nice indeed. It can be used to pull targets closer to Pango during the Rolling Thunder, allowing for a follow-up stun. It is a nice late game item for the hero, considering his level 20 talent and this talent is possibly the reason why this build became so popular.

It is more of a greedy, late-game oriented approach that has some downsides during the early midgame, when Pango is supposed to be highly proactive, but while we disagree with it for the highest levels of the professional scene, it should be very good in slower-paced pubs.

Closing thoughts

The regional metas keep developing in their own little worlds, but there is definitely quite a bit of an overlap. It is going to be incredibly interesting to see how the game progresses over the next couple of months and how Valve will respond to some questionably balanced heroes.

For now though, we will keep on analysing the matches and keeping an eye on some interesting ideas or even some hero combinations. Tell us if you notice something interesting in the comment section below.

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