At the recent Riyadh Masters event in Dota 2 that took place last month, players could notice that there weren’t all the 124 Dota 2 heroes, just because 12 of them didn’t get the chance to show off their abilities. Among these unselected heroes were three that came as a surprise considering they’ve been performing well in public matches: Wraith King, Omniknight, and Sniper, who have win rates above 50 percent across all ranks.
Wraith King was probably the most shocking omission. The spectacular carry hero whose ultimate grants him a second life has the highest win rate of them all at 52.46 percent. However, he only made a single appearance at the Bali Major as well. It seems like Wraith King is not rated too highly at the moment because his Reincarnation’s maxed-up cooldown was increased by 40 seconds, affecting his late-game abilities.
Omniknight’s absence at the event was also a bit strange. The tanky frontliner has been a force to be reckoned with in the current patch with a solid win rate of 52.38 percent. Nevertheless, that was not enough to entice anyone to pick him at the Riyadh Masters. Similar to Wraith King, he was barely picked at the Bali Major too. The likeliest explanation is his playstyle doesn’t offer as much as other offlaners right now.
Surprisingly, the long-ranged midlaner, Sniper, didn’t make an appearance at the Riyadh Masters too, despite how capable he is in all brackets. With a lukewarm win rate of 50.46 percent in the past month, it seems like his static playstyle in the midlane is not adored by pros, who opted for more dynamic midlaners like Ember Spirit or Storm Spirit instead.
The Unpicked Nine
The list of unpicked heroes also includes other well-known names, each with their unique strengths and weaknesses.
- Abaddon: The tanky support hero has a mediocre win rate of 49 percent in public matches. His lack of stuns has seen him fall down the pecking order.
- Centaur Warrunner: Despite having a stun, lots of health, and a fight-turning ultimate, this burly offlaner struggles with 48.5 percent win rate. He offers less than meta offlaners now like Dark Seer.
- Dazzle: This life-saving healer faces challenges with a miserable pick rate of 47.8 percent, most probably because he needs a few key items to really make a difference, including Aghanim’s Shard to reach full potential.
- Grimstroke: While he has a decent win rate of about 50 percent in public matches, his vitality dropped to as low as 42 percent and 40 percent in high-level matches.
- Phantom Assassin: Despite a 15 percent pick-rate, Phantom Assassin is not a strong carry right now. Her win rate has dropped to 47 percent, likely due to other carries being more survivable.
- Slardar: Slardar’s win rate isn’t bad, and he’s a decent initiator with an excellent stun, but he seems to be too lackluster compared to other offlaners.
- Treant Protector: With a win rate of above 50 percent and great ultimate skills, Treant Protector seems like the perfect fit for the meta right now. However his absence at the Riyadh Masters was a real puzzle.
- Viper: The toxic serpent hero isn’t particularly good right now, nor is it bad, but she is a slow, lumbering midlaner, and is out of favor among pros.
- Zeus: Zeus is actually pretty decent right now, but he hasn’t been picked much at any event this year, and the Riyadh Masters was no exception.
The Dota 2 meta is always evolving, the popularity of heroes is also changing. What works at one tournament might not work at others, leaving some heroes overlooked, while others are dominating the battlefield. The Riyadh Masters proved to be no exception, leaving everyone confused on the reasons behind the unpicked heroes’ omission.