Metagame Report: Dota Pro Circuit 2021 Season 1
After three weeks of competition, it’s safe to say that the metagame at the Dota Pro Circuit has had plenty of time to take shape. Some of the most popular heroes right now are seeing plenty of success — with some even being first phase pick and ban material at the same time.
So far, the public matchmaking and professional league metagames are more or less aligned — with the same heroes in one metagame likewise being strong picks in the other. There are a few exceptions as always, but in this latest data set taken from aggregate site datdota, such heroes aren’t exactly doing well in terms of their success rates.
Without further ado, let’s check out some of the most notable picks in the new DPC season with this year’s first Metagame Report!
Bar none, Puck is the most commonly picked hero in the metagame right now. Even when the sample size is taken into consideration, she is also the most successful. With an extremely high pick rate of 33.72 percent, only Mars comes close to the number of games Puck has appeared in so far. Out of all those games, teams picked her in the first phase 121 times — truly an incredible number that indicates just how versatile she is.
Indeed, she can be played in every position except safe lane, making her a viable first phase selection. This is of course because the opposing team won’t really know her assigned role until later in the draft. Such an advantage is rare in even the most overbuffed heroes in the metagame, and presents a unique avenue for good drafters to explore.
As for her actual attributes, there’s plenty to like. Puck has decent agility gain for an intelligence hero, short cooldowns on her spells, a fantastic talent tree, and one of the best Aghanim’s Shard upgrades in the entire game. It also helps plenty that the heroes she doesn’t like facing in the lane aren’t seeing much play. Moreover, she has several viable item builds as well, with Manta/Skadi being the most notable one in terms of unorthodox builds.
To top it all off, she also boasts a 59.03 percent win rate. It’s probably safe to say that she’s really, really good at the moment. We recommend spamming her before she gets nerfed again. Here’s a guide on how to play her in the solo middle position.
Mars has seen play in 143 games as of the time of writing — which happens to be just one shy of Puck’s total. For him to be that close should say something, right? Well, unfortunately, it’s not as cut and dry for the god of war. Though he is immensely popular in the metagame, he has a win rate of just 44.76 percent across all regions.
He is certainly strong when piloted by capable hands, thanks to all that teamfight utility in his kit. But that could very well be the key phrase here. “Capable hands” implies that his kit is less reliable than those of other offlaners, or that he is quite difficult to play in general. Having a skillshot ability adds a significant skill requirement to a hero, and it just so happens that Mars’ bread and butter ability can miss every now and then.
Still, it’s clear that pro teams value Mars a lot right now, and for good reason. His ultimate ability is a teamfight win condition on its own before most heroes hit their Black King Bar timings. He also makes sieging towers much easier thanks to Bulwark (E). It’s unlikely now, but there’s still some time for the son of Zeus to make a comeback in the metagame.
Prior to the two minor balance patches in the wake of Patch 7.28, Nyx Assassin was the best hero in the game. The slippery bug has been toned down in strength since then, but even now he’s still tearing it up in the metagame. A pick rate of 27.17 percent backed by a 57.76 percent win ratio suggests that he’s still amazing. Moreover, he is a first phase pick in almost 90 percent of all games he’s appeared in so far.
The metagame being stun-focused aside, Nyx is also great right now because of his Aghanim’s Shard upgrade. Having another 40 percent bonus movement speed on top of what Vendetta (R) already gives is just incredible. It also causes the movement speed cap of 550 to not apply to Nyx himself, meaning he can zoom around the map quickly to set up ganks or capitalize on pickoff opportunities.
That annoying Spiked Carapace (E) is also worth pointing to when it comes to his success as of late. Having a full damage negation and reflection ability is crazy enough, but to stun heroes on top of that? Priceless. Heroes with “uncontrollable” damage output hate facing Nyx for this very reason. He can simply step into the radius of their AoE and hit one button to instantly stun them, and it can get particularly nasty when Nyx hits Level 20 as well. That damage.
Monkey King appearing on this list should come as no surprise. He has arguably the best Aghanim’s Scepter upgrade in the game, as it enables him to scale at a much faster rate than before. The buffs to his base armor also shored up his incredibly weak laning phase, and now he is one of the strongest picks in the carry position as a result.
Wukong has pretty much everything going for him with how the metagame is played right now. He has a stun in the form of Boundless Strike (Q), strong farming potential with Scepter and Primal Spring (E), and teamfight control thanks to Wukong’s Command (R). Depending on the situation, he can also choose to fight early. His extreme dependence on BKB is a big weakness though, as he gets demolished outright by most magic damage spells.
Still, his pros vastly outweigh his cons. He may be difficult to play, but he is lethal in the right hands. If you want to become lethal in that sense, check out our Monkey King hero guide.
Another king in the fray. Wraith King boasts a 26.23 percent pick rate, combined with an eye-popping 62.50 percent win-loss ratio. Though Puck certainly has him beat in terms of sample size, Wraith King is as consistent as they come even with a limited number of games.
His success as of late is pretty easy to explain. He’s durable in lane, has very little trouble contesting last hits, and has the potential to force tower defenses thanks to the skeletons from Vampiric Spirit (W). He can even do that last bit without showing up in the lane itself, which means he can farm safely while threatening to take objectives.
He is also one of the last few remaining viable Radiance carriers, thanks to his natural tankiness and penchant for sticking around with Reincarnation (R). Farming for a Radiance is almost effortless for Wraith King thanks to his skeletons, as well as the guaranteed critical strike from Mortal Strike (E). And of course, he’s a beast in the late game, able to pump out obscene DPS numbers.
Any time Necronomicon is a strong item, you will find Beastmaster (and Lycan, by extension) in the metagame. True enough, he’s got 72 games to his name already in the current season — of which he’s won nearly 60 percent. Just like in the “zoo” metagame from Patch 7.27, Beastmaster excels at putting tons of early pressure on teams that can’t deal with summoned units. This of course suits the fast, non-greedy pace of the metagame as it stands, where taking objectives quickly and deathballing your way to victory is the most popular and reliable strategy.
He’s also not too shabby in the lane, able to punt opposing heroes out with the annoyance factor of his Boar summon from Call of the Wild (W). Wild Axes (Q) allows him to secure ranged creeps from a safe distance as well, making it difficult for enemy supports to slow his experience gain down.
It will probably take a significant nerf to Necronomicon before Beastmaster is ejected from this meta, so we’ll have to see in the next balance patch if he’ll stick around or not. Until then, expect him to continue terrorizing teams that play too greedy without any sort of waveclear abilities.
The fiery bird that is Phoenix seems to be a favorite pick for soft support players right now, and it’s pretty much generally because the hero is just solid overall. Even with the nerfs to its cooldowns, Phoenix is still irritating to play against, particularly if you’re playing a melee carry that relies on their attack speed.
The most popular carries right now also do not kill Phoenix during Supernova (R) fast enough — at least not without buying attack speed items first. Wraith King needs Assault Cuirass or Moon Shard before he can reliably kill the egg. The same goes for Monkey King, whose attack speed talent certainly helps — but given that he needs Scepter and BKB before any attack speed items he can be easily caught out by Supernova early on.
And of course, there’s the crazy sustain this hero can provide in the late game, which scales as Phoenix’s teammates obtain larger and larger health pools. Sieging high ground can become quite a lot easier with a Phoenix in tow as well thanks to Sun Ray (E). Overall just a reliable pick thus far, and the numbers certainly indicate this: Phoenix has a 62.64 percent win rate in 91 games.
And there you have it! These are the seven heroes that are really making waves in the DPC metagame as of the moment. You will likely find these heroes in pretty much every game played in the regional leagues right now. Hotspawn will return later in the season for another update on the meta — so keep your eyes peeled here for more Metagame Reports!