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Dota 2 patch 7.28 was released in December 2020 with the main focus being the introduction of Aghanim’s Shard and the new hero, Hoodwink. It has been a month since the release of the new patch and even though the meta is still developing and players are experimenting with heroes and their Shards, the data from Dotabuff suggests there are certain heroes ahead of the curve as compared to others. Here, we take a look at the five most successful mid heroes from the Divine and Immortal brackets to get an idea of which heroes stand out in the hands of the highest ranked players in the game. This data is as per Dotabuff and has been analyzed for the past one month, so it well and truly reflects the games from patch 7.28. The choice of heroes has been made from a combination of high pick rate and high win rate heroes.

1) Lycan (Pick rate: 2.83% , Win rate: 59.26%)

In the past few patches, Lycan has either been crazy good or bad; never in between. In Dota 2 patch 7.28, it seems he is quite the strong hero, which is evident from the 59.26% win rate (57.83% on the whole). Lycan got a number of buffs, as did Necronomicon, which is a bread and butter item for Lycan. He’s been doing well as a core in all three lanes, but the beauty of mid is that he can get a level 3 Necro book a lot quicker than the side lanes and the summons along with Shapeshift make the hero a nightmare to deal with for most supports, who tend to be a good 5-6 levels behind a mid Lycan in the mid game. The new build for Lycan has been rushing level 3 of Necrobook followed by Assault Curiass and Black King Bar. The old build of Helm of the Dominator is out of the window because HoD did no receive any buffs in patch 7.28 and even though it can be upgraded to a level 2, the upgrade costs 3700 gold (on top of the 2350 gold of HoD), which is a total of 6050 gold. Spending that on a BKB and Hyperstone is a lot more valuable in terms of getting kills and objectives. The good thing about the new build is, by not putting all eggs in the summons basket, Lycan falls off a lot slower than he typically used to. With the increased Feral Impulse damage at the level 20 talent (from 15% to 25%), he is a force to reckon with in right click battles. And the old Scepter upgrade, which summoned a uncontrollable Wolf in one of the three waves every 30 seconds, is now a lot cheaper as it is the Aghanim’s Shard upgrade. That, along with the fact that Feral Impulse globally affects units, makes Lycan an excelled hero to keep the waves passively pushed out at all times. This is a hero we can expect to see a lot in the upcoming DPC League games of Season 1.

2) Batrider (Pick rate: 5.67%, Win rate: 56.99%)

Batrider got nerfed in Dota 2 patch 7.28, but there was one buff coupled with a general change that has kept this hero (who was pretty strong in patch 7.27) one of the best mids in the new meta. One of the changes to Batrider was that Sticky Napalm no longer does less damage to creeps. Add that to the fact that the magic resistance of Ancients was reduced from 70% to 50%, and Batrider can take out quadruple Ancient stacks at level 7! The hero, who already is a lane winner, can get an insanely good timing on Boots of Travel and Blink around the 10-11 minute mark, which makes him the most dangerous hero on the map at that point. This can even be pulled off while playing in the offlane, but can take a bit more time to farm the items. Supports need to be cognizant of the fact that they have to stack camps from the early game, which is something that is done in high level pubs. Only then can Batrider have the maximum effect on the game.

3) Puck (Pick rate: 12.61%, Win rate: 55.35%)

Puck was a hero who was out of the meta for a long time, and that issue was fixed by providing the Faerie Dragon a plethora of buffs, including betterment to three of its skills. Puck suffered a setback when the GPM talents were removed from the game, as it had the highest GPM, +420 GPM at level 25. With the new set of buffs though, Puck players can put that in the rear view mirror. The beautiful thing about Puck is, the hero can be played with either a magic damage or physical damage build. The +30 Damage talent at level 10 and Phase Shift Attack at level 15 has made it a potent right clicker and the new item, Witch Blade, works perfectly on this hero when playing the right click build. The hero also brings versatality to a draft, as it can be played in positions 2, 3 or 4, so the enemy team doesn’t have the best idea of who they are facing in the mid lane. The final point to be made for Puck is its Aghanim’s Shard – it knock backs enemies by 250 units, which synergizes beautifully with Dream Coil. The Leashed units can be knocked out of the Leash radius to stun them all for 4.5 seconds(!), making it a Shard worth buying.

Buffs received by Puck in Dota 2 patch 7.28

4) Invoker (Pick rate:  12.23%, Win rate: 51.74%)

Invoker is another beneficiary, along with Puck, of Witch Blade. With the second highest intelligence gain in the game (4.6, less than only Pugna who has an int gain of 5.2), a Quas-Wex Invoker can substantially augment his mid game damage with a Witch Blade, after getting Phase Boots and an Urn of Shadows. The level 10 talent for Chaos Meteor damage increase was increased from +30% to +40% in Dota 2 patch 7.28, which helps an Exort Invoker taking stacks and pushing out lanes. And with two Forged Spirits now available when Quas and Exort are level 4, it makes it possible to have two Forged Spirits at level 8 instead of level 15 (when the talent would summon another Forged Spirit). It also frees up the possibility to have two Forged Spirits and reduced cooldown on Cold Snap in the late game. With a combination of these factors, there hero looks quite strong now. According to Dotabuff, Exort Invoker seems to be a lot more popular in pubs right now as compared to Quas-Wex Invoker, but the Quas-Wex build has a higher win rate.

Taken from Dotabuff

5) Void Spirit (Pick rate: 11.40%, Win rate: 51.47%)

Void Spirit received a nerf to one of his talents in patch 7.28, and that was it. No other changes to the hero, except the addition of the Aghanim’s Shard, which is quite a useful one and makes him more elusive than he was before (as if he needed that!). It seems the hero is a comfort pick for a lot of high level mid players at this time, as he has been ever since his arrival in Dota 2. Being a part of the most picked heroes for every patch ever since he was released, it will take a significant nerf to get Void Spirit out of the minds of mid players.

Honorable mentions

Two heroes who have a decent pick rate and win rate that deserve a mention are Broodmother and Strom Spirit.

Broodmother (Pick rate: 2.53%, Win rate: 55.56%)
Storm Spirit (Pick rate: 10.54%, Win rate: 50.21%)

As the patch continues to develop and players unveil more hidden secrets, this list might see a bit of change. But for now, these heroes seem strong to win some games playing from the mid lane.

Image: cryotube on deviantart

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