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It seems like a long time since Dota 2 patch 7.26 was released (the first part, at least) and a recent revelation from IceFrog now tells us that we have about two weeks before it is replaced by Dota 2 patch 7.27. Patch 7.26 had a weird transition from patch 7.25, as in it did halt the death ball meta by making the game slower, but a lot of players also mentioned that it wasn’t really an enjoyable patch with chances of comebacks being reduced. As the current meta moves on towards its inevitable end, let’s take a look at the five most successful mid heroes from the Divine and Immortal brackets. 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 7.26 after players had had time to analyze it.

1) Queen of Pain (Pick rate: 15.12%, Win rate: 51.62%)

Queen of Pain has been the mid hero of the patch. It has been a long time since anyone has said this, but QoP’s time is finally here and it isn’t just in the pubs, it’s the same scenario in the professional games as well. Literally from patch 7.13b till patch 7.25, majority of the changes to QoP have been buffs, and have made her a fringe pick here and there, but never quite the top pick of the meta. Patch 7.25 was when she was at her strongest (before the 20% nerfs to all talents), but in the death ball meta, preferences were given to heroes like Lycan, Beastmaster and Pugna, who could push and finish the games quickly. Once their appeal in the mid lane had been curbed with 7.26 being released, QoP stood out as potentially the strongest mid hero in the game. She also offers multiple paths of play with both, right click and caster builds feasible. With a pick rate of 15.12%, QoP is the most picked mid in high tier pubs in the last month. Patch 7.27 is bound to bring some nerfs for her, so the next two weeks would be a good time to inflict some pain on your opponents with the queen.

2) Ember Spirit (Pick rate: 13.01%, Win rate: 50.13%)

Ember Spirit was a strong hero for a long time. Post TI9, he got nerfed in patch 7.22d, which reduced his pick rate. After that, the buffs started coming in again and he’s suddenly skyrocketed to the top of the popularity charts. Like QoP, Ember provides versatility in the mid lane with the ability to go for a quick fighting build with a Spirit Vessel or going into the late game with a Radiance, and lot of other builds in between. For a short period during patch 7.25, he was also being played as a position 4 support. While he may not be as high as QoP with the pick rate, he is still quite the popular hero in pubs, as in professional games. The addition of his Aghanim’s Scepter in patch 7.22 has taken the hero a tier above what he was earlier; but even with the faster Remnants, he won’t be able to escape IceFrog’s nerf hammer in patch 7.27.

3) Void Spirit (Pick rate: 8.90%, Win rate: 51.06%)

Void Spirit is a great example of how high tier pubs and professional games are different, even though the two have a good number of common players. Void Spirit, even though popular in professional games, has an abysmal win rate of 42.5% (in the recent ESL One Birmingham that concluded), whereas in pub games, he seems to be doing alright. On the whole, he had a 47.45% win rate on patch 7.25 which went down to 42.22% on patch 7.26. Makes sense, as he’s an early fighting, aggressive hero who falls off as the game goes late, which means he is more suited to a faster patch. But getting back to pub games, it can be speculated that his early aggression is difficult to counter without the coordination existent in teams, which makes him a decent pick there. Considering the fact that he has received a few nerfs recently and his performance in professional games hasn’t been that good, chances are that Void Spirit might go untouched in the upcoming patch or may even get a slight buff. This is one hero that you won’t have to say goodbye to when patch 7.27 arrives.

4) Lycan (Pick rate: 2.75%, Win rate: 60.81%)

Lycan may not have a high pick rate in the mid lane this patch, but he has the highest win rate of all mid lane heroes and is the only one to cross the 60% mark! And yes, he is primarily played as a safe lane carry (where he tops the win rate charts again), but there are those few games where he can hold his own in the mid lane and tilt the scales early in his team’s favor. The switch from patch 7.25 to patch 7.26 saw a lot of heroes and tactics disappear in the rearview mirror, but Lycan (along with Beastmaster) was hard to get rid of. The wolf still terrorizes pubs, and believe it or not, is also the hero with the highest win rate in the off lane for top tier pubs (all three lanes, really?). What makes Lycan a good hero in the mid lane? Even though he is a melee hero, he has wolf companions, which make last hitting a lot easier. even in difficult lane matchups. Level 3 and 4 wolves can start taking neutral camps and once Lycan gets his Helm of the Dominator, the snowball begins. Unlike a lot of early game heroes, Lycan can be a formidable foe in the late game as well. However, after terrorizing games for two patches in a row, it seems unlikely for the hero to not face IceFrogs wrath and get nerfed into oblivion. Even if not a direct nerf, nerfs to items like Helm of the Dominator and Necronomicon will hit him where it hurts.

5) Visage (Pick rate: 3.32%, Win rate: 59.29%)

Visage is an unlikely candidate here, and it’s not that he is picked a lot, but when he is picked, is second in win rate only to Lycan. Visage didn’t really receive any insane buffs in the last few patches, but a possible reason is the talent he got to replace his experience talent. His level 15 talent now applies -3 armor to any target his hits, which coupled with a Medallion of Courage and the right clicks from Familiars outputs a crazy amount of physical damage. Being one of those snow balley heroes, if the mid matchup is favorable and Visage manages to win it, the hero can race to level 15 a lot faster than other heroes on the map and wreak havoc on lower leveled enemies. In case he decides to concentrate on magic damage, the other talent at level 15 gives him a second Soul Assumption nuke, which doubles his damage in team fights. Either ways, level 15 is a major power spike for the hero and being able to hit it well before most enemy heroes can be a decisive factor in the game. It will be interesting to see how IceFrog decides to change Visage in patch 7.27.

Honorable mentions

Honorable mentions go out to Storm Spirit and Templar Assassin, who have win rates very close to 50% and are quite the popular picks, based on their pick rates. Broodmother, who has been shunned lately in professional games, is still a viable cheese pick in high level pubs, boasting of a win rate almost touching 56%.

Storm Spirit (Pick rate: 12.47%, Win rate: 49.69%)
Templar Assassin (Pick rate: 9.88%, Win rate: 49.76%)
Broodmother (Pick rate: 3.06%, Win rate: 55.81%)

Everything here is about to undergo a significant change as we close up to the release of Dota 2 patch 7.27. Till then, sit back, spam the strong heroes of the current meta, and pray that IceFrog, along with making the new patch interesting, does not hit your favorite heroes with the nerf hammer.

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