The Numbers' Story - ESL One Genting 2017

Shounak Sengupta

12o, Jan, 2017

Patch 7.00 or Dota 3 as many like to call it has been out for a while and now that ESL One Genting is over, we've decided to go ahead and analyze this new meta that has been developing over the course of the last 3-4 weeks.
ESL One Genting was the first big LAN of 2017, and the first one to be played out on 7.00 or 7.01 to be exact. With a host of changes including several new gameplay features, map changes, jungling changes, hero / item reworks and addition of newer elements there was a lot of hype coming into this one as everyone wanted a glimpse of the pro players' take on the patch. Bear in mind though that the patch is still relatively new and many new avenues are yet to be discovered / used. We have seen patches change, grow and adapt without any injection of major changes and therefore it’s very unlikely that a similar meta will prevail all the way till the Kiev major, but for 7.00 this is where we start.
DC wins their first LAN

We’ll start with a rundown of the tournament just to give you a fair idea of what went down. 8 teams across all the regions made their way to the Genting Highlands to fight for the lion’s share of the 250,000$ prizepool. In the group stages, VP and Newbee edged out a very shoddy looking Fnatic and EE’s NP side to move ahead while in the second group DC and Wings outshone Execration and WG.Unity.  This meant that Genting had no SEA representatives in the playoffs. DC looked very solid as they powered past VP in the semi’s while Newbee survived the Wings scare to setup a finals date with Sunsfan and co. The finals went all the way to 5 games but ultimately it was the NA (?what lul) based side who walked away with their first ever LAN victory.

Image credit:Redbull
Without a shadow of a doubt, the number 1 thing I learnt from this tournament, something I won’t ever forget is the pronunciation of Genting. [G as in Ghost Scepter, not as in Gem]. But that’s probably just me.
Switching it up

DC played a total of 4 series' (1 bo1, 2 bo3’s and 1 bo5) and a total of 11 games in which they picked up 31 unique heroes. Every match of theirs featured a hero which they ran for the first time in the tournament. This is bound to be expected as the everyone is still settling into the patch and Misery probably had more than a few ideas for each hero. There was a lot of variation in the core roles especially with w33 rocking 9 different heroes in 11 games and Resolut1on running 8 heroes. W33’s Vangaurd+ Mjolniir build on Invoker was also seen in game 2 vs VP and you’re more than likely to run into this in a pub match pretty soon so fair warning.

In fact all the top 4 teams (VP,Wings,DC and Newbee) ran a staggeringly high number of different heroes bordering somewhere along 30 heroes a team. Not surprising coming from teams like Wings and VP but definitely a bit of a pleasant surprise with Newbee and DC in mind.

A total of 71 heroes were seen in action while 55 heroes were deemed fit to be banned in one game or the other.
A New Offlaner Arises

Slardar ended up with the highest pick-ban percentage having been picked up 14 times in 29 games while being banned out in 7 matches. However his paltry win rate of just above 28% can be attributed to the fact that jungling is simply no longer as efficient with a semi nerf to Iron Talon and the fact the neutrals only spawn once every 2 minutes thereby slowing down the Blink dagger timing that Slardar is so heavily reliant on. Coupled with the fact that this hero’s Talent Tree has nothing which catches your eye expect this hero to decline in popularity as the patch develops more heroes in the offlane role. Having said all this, it is still possible that we see Slardar being picked up on according to the situation in the 4 position. Another regular in the offlane, Dark Seer’s miserable win rate of 12% over 8 games is probably due to the fact that the damage component has been taken away from the Wall of Replica, and the fact that his level 10 talent barely make a big difference in teamfights.
A rough start to 2017

But it was the Sand King and the Centaur who shone in the offlane along with latest addition, Underlord ending up with more than 50% win rates across their games. Underlord was the centre of a lot of attention having been banned out 14 times. His skill set, and his tanky build is just too good to pass up on in the offlane. This might also be the patch for offlane Omni who went 2 for 2 at the event.
Popular offlaners from the previous patch like the Void and the Beastmaster continued their freefall downwards while Tide and Nyx remain situational picks.
Underlord with the classic bait and switch 
Middle of the Pack

17 heroes were picked up for the middle lane, and considering that the entire tournament was over in 29 games, it shows how much teams are willing to put themselves out there in the initial phases of the patch. We saw glimpses of hero’s who were pretty much staples in the last 2-3 patches, all being played in this one and this could lead to an interesting meta if more or less all of them remain viable throughout. It’s still too early to say how much the single rune spawn will affect the lane as with the presence of jungle runes and shrines, the farm intensive mid heroes have not been that affected. A classic example of this would be Beastmaster, who was one of the best heroes for rune control in the older patches where one rune was the standard meta, but he seems to have fallen out of favour with Shrines and jungle runes coming into play. One of the many pleasant surprises was the fact that the long lost Queen of Pain was finally seen making a comeback and with 4 out of 6 wins, surely this patch will see a lot more of screaming and a lot more pain. Mid-late game relevance and scaling potential was QOP’s bane in the earlier patches, but now with some nifty talents and the addition of shrines, she should find the sustain and the damage to make a comeback into the meta.

Also on the rise is the mid lane classic, Shadow Fiend who was picked up a good 8 times at Genting. One of the flashier mids, SF has always been a crowd favorite and was seen doing well towards the very end of 6.89 (VP.noone’s rampage on day 1 of the Boston Major). With the addition of the talent tree, and a significant improvement in the Shadow Raze’s cast point, expect SF to be in full force in this patch. Perhaps we’ll see some of our favorite SF players making a strong return.

Ember Spirit might also get a fair share of gameplay this patch but his build will probably have to be tweaked a little. (The veil of discord build is awesome yet cheesy at the same time). He went 3-3 at Genting. TA fared pretty poorly with a 1-3 record but it’s still too early to write her off. Meepo on the other hand seems destined for success in 7.01 with attribute sharing between the clones buffed and the added benefits of the tree. He went 2-1 but to be fair he was banned out 11 times against teams like Execration and DC who are known to run the hero quite well. Windrunner, Leshrac, OD, Sniper, Medusa, DK, Juggernaut, Puck, Tinker, Ursa, Mirana and even Necrophos all found themselves in the mid lane at some point, but the sample size is too limited to make a judgment for now.
The Carry Conundrum

The carry pool is yet to adapt to the patch, and it seems that 6.89’s carry pool has spilled over which might be a bit worrisome if you wanted a different bunch of carry heroes to make the cut. After having been completely outcast since the infamous Sniper-Troll patch, Troll Warlord is still not being able to find the type of love as before. He received no reworks other than the addition of the talent tree and that has probably sealed his fate. The Luna SD combo still looks pretty potent with Luna being picked in 10 games at Genting. However with SD getting banned out in a significant number of those, her win rate lies at only 30%. Juggernaut still continues to impress with 12 bans and 13 pickups and a win rate of 50%. And with only 2 losses in 8 games Lifestealer looks to be a force to reckon with this patch.

Drow Ranger felt the hate at Genting with 13 bans and only got through 5 times, while heroes like Morphling, Slark and Ursa all got some shots at glory. All of these 4 lie around at the halfway mark when it comes to win percentages. DC seemed the most eager to play around with role with pickups like Naga, WK, Viper and even Chaos Knight. Even Wings tried out Gyrocopter, TB and LD but they weren’t too successful. The now reworked Arc Warden found no success in his first outing into Captain’s Mode and even Anti-Mage, Phantom Lancer and Clinkz were all absent from the event.
The Support Life

The addition of shrines and 4 bounty runes has made the support pool a bit wider than it was previously and already heroes like Rubik, Pudge, CM and Bounty Hunter look more viable than before. Rubik, Mirana, SD, Ogre and Disruptor led the way with very consistent pick as well as win rates. Shadow Demon remains very relevant with both Mirana and Luna in the meta and saw 14 bans handed out to him.  Vengeful Spirit also looks pretty strong with an added arsenal of talent skills which allow her be very versatile. But junglers like Enchantress/Chen/Enigma will still face an uphill battle,with the neutral spawn timings changed to every 2 minutes.  Even the mighty Warlock sees a dip in popularity even though there was no significant nerf to Fatal Bonds.

This also looks the patch where Winter Wyvern will probably be having a slightly better time and Genting seems to be the beginning of the road of resurgence for the hero.  The bane of the mid lane, Earth Spirit is still devastating in the hands of a good player and Oracle too finds usage against/with certain lineups. Pretty sure Visage would have led all the charts if this was patch 7.00 but unfortunately his fame lasted only till 7.01.
What lies in store

Owing to it being a new patch and the first tournament of 2017, most teams chose to play it pretty safe and it’s difficult to establish a very particular playstyle. The average game time was ~40 minutes which is significantly high, and a part of this can be attributed to the nerf’s in jungling which results in a slower farm rate. Average GPM’s for heroes across all games including pubs and have gone down by a margin of 15-20 and that significantly affects the early to mid game transition, thus extending the games by a bit. However the lower net exp required to level across most levels (a total of 5k XP less is required to reach level 25 than from 6.88f) has had an impact, as it enables many heroes no come online and be effect a bit sooner than before. Combined with the sustenance of shrines, this in theory should be leading to teamfights and rotations much earlier. With the jungle not spawning creeps every minute, heroes may need to change their farming patterns and adapt to a more aggressive style. This style was especially prevalent with farming mids who had the easy rotation into the jungle and back to lane with timings and progression down to the teeth. A big nerf to Alchemist who was already hit with the Bounty rune nerf this patch.

There is still scope in this patch for some of the forgotten heroes to make appearances with the likes of PPD, Puppey, Fly and Kuroky missing from the drafting positions, it’ll be interesting to see what these cunning captains have cooked up. Phantom Assassin, Anti Mage, Bristleback, Zeus, Tinker, Storm Spirit, Death Prophet and even Nature’s Prophet got some nice talents added to their arsenal and could be featured in the upcoming tournaments. However it still looks to be a hard game for Doom, Abaddon, Tusk among many others. With Lycan, Techies and Treant still not in Captains Mode along with Monkey King, we might still have a few surprises coming our way as we look ahead to the Kiev Major.

Stay tuned as we follow the patch with tournaments like WESG, Dota Pit and D2AC coming up in the build up to the Major.