It’s been slightly over a month since Dota 2 patch 7.28 was released and after the initial period of experimentation, the meta has started taking shape with certain heroes clearly appearing better than most others. Here, we take a look at the five most successful position 1 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.
Lycan (Pick rate: 4.91%, Win rate: 59.24%)
Lycan’s reasons for success in the safe lane are pretty much the same as those in the mid lane. In both lanes, he is the core with the highest win rate in the first month of Dota 2 patch 7.28. The only difference in mid and safelane is that playing from the mid lane, you level up faster and get involved with the rest of the team earlier while playing from the safe lane as a carry, you farm slightly faster and depending on how the game is going, can make a decision on how active you need to be early on in the game. With a few of the buffs he has received in the Dota 2 Mistwoods patch, Lycan doesn’t fall off as quickly as he used to previously. So even though he is on a timer, the timer is a bit slower, giving him more time to farm if needed.
Monkey King (Pick rate: 11.83%, Win rate: 55.37%)
The change to Monkey King is one of the strangest ones from Dota 2 patch 7.28. The hero was decently strong in patch 7.27 and yet, he received buffs as well as one of the best Aghanim’s Shards in the game. This is a hero who already has one of the best Aghanim’s Scepters in the game and giving him a powerful Shard to go with it has made him a regular pick in high level pubs as well professional games. Valve did nerf the Shard and the Scepter in patch 7.28a and 7.28b respectively, but the hero still remains decenlty strong to ilicit a high pick rate and achieve a more than decent win rate. Why is the Shard so good? Because the reduced cooldown and cast point on Tree Dance makes it a lot more difficult to catch the elusive hero, as he can just jump off in the trees and be out of reach within seconds, especially with the +475 Tree Dance cast range talent. It also gives him the ability to show in lane just for a fraction of a second (a creep wave can be cleared with Primal Spring with the +350 additional damage talent at level 20) and move to another lane without having to expend a Town Portal Scroll.
Riki (Pick rate: 9.95%, Win rate: 53.13%)
Riki saw a number of buffs head his way in patch 7.28, but the one that has made the Stealth Assassin such a big threat in the new developing meta is Aghanim’s Scepter giving Tricks of the Trade an additional target, wherein Riki hits two targets at the same time. If the two are close to each other in the Tricks of the Trade radius, they get hit by the Battlefury cleave as well, which is the common first item to go on Riki these days. If a Riki with Battlefury, Scepter and one or two more items gets a jump on the backlines, he can clear up the paper heroes pretty easily, more so because of the dual targets in Tricks of the Trade. Scepter also increases the cast range, max channel time and attack count of the skill (which was the case even before). It’s a match made in stealth.
Wraith King (Pick rate: 18.23%, Win rate: 52.76%)
The defining change for Wraith King is Mortal Strike being a time based crit rather than a chance based one, like it was before. Having the Mortal Strike crit every 4 seconds makes it a lot easier to last hit in lane; even if it’s an unfavourable lane matchup. The build for the meta in lane is 1-2-2 (or even 0-2-3 if you feel Wratihfire Blast isn’t required in lane). Maxing out Vampiric Spirit and Mortal Strike also gives WK maximum farming efficieny once the laning stage ends, as critical strike and skeletons are both amazing tools for accelerating farm. Besides this, WK also has one of the best Aghanim’s Shard upgrades in the game. With the no mana upgrade for Reincarnation now on the Shard, it gives the hero the freedom to go for it whenever he feels like it, depending on the game instead of level 20 earlier. In a game with a lot of mana draining enemies, it can be prioritized early. In a game where that isn’t happening, it can probably be a luxury item once you’re six slotted. It also frees up the hero to get both skeletop talents (additional skeletons summoned and additional skeleton damage), which makes that aspect of his game a lot stronger. It’s a new world order and in it, Wraith King is a force to be beckoned with.
Juggernaut (Pick rate: 16.94%, Win rate: 52.39%)
Juggernaut has always been a carry who has never been out of the meta as such. He may not be hottest pick, but he can be counted on as a dependable pick. He is one of the few heroes who can flourish in both, Battlefury season and Mjollnir season. The new weapon in his arsenal is the Aghanim’s Shard, which gives him a way to stay on the enemy after using Omnislash or while not having Omnislash. The issue Jugg has always had is that without Omnislash, the hero is quite vulnerable and even though he has Blade Fury to get himself out of murky situations, it doesn’t do an much damage as right clicks after. An Aghanim’s Shard, which isn’t too hard for him to farm, ensures you can stay on top of an enemy while doing right click damage, more so because of the added movement speed for Blade Fury the Shard gives. When spinning with a Shard, the magic damage from Blade Fury and the physical damage from right clicks get added together, while procing all effects like Chail Lightening or Bash. Like Monkey King, Juggernaut is one of the few carries with decent Scepter and Shard upgrades, and the strength of the hero shows in his pick rate and win rate.
Honarable mentions go out to Troll Warlord and Phantom Lancer. The buffs both these heroes received in patch 7.28 have made them strong contenders for the position 1 role. Troll Warlord’s new Aghanim’s Scepter is possibly one of the best in the game.
Troll Warlord (Pick rate: 10.94%, Win rate: 52.30%)
Phantom Lancer (Pick rate: 10.53%, Win rate: 50.14%)
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 in the position 1 role.