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Dota 2

TI10 Metagame Report: The Most Contested Heroes

Patrick Bonifacio

The group stage of The International 10 (TI10) has concluded, and with it we see the most favored and contested heroes of the metagame so far. Only 12 heroes remain unpicked at the tournament so far, which is par for the course when it comes to TI. It’s clear that teams are digging into their own niche strategies every now and then, though the popular picks remain at the top for many reasons.

TI10 Meta photoshoot

The picks and bans seen in the group stage shed a light on the favored heroes in the metagame. (Photo by Valve)

The metagame itself has unfolded largely as expected, though there are a few surprises we’ll get into in this report. If you’ve not been able to keep up with the developments in Romania, read on to see which heroes are hot right now!

Statistics provided by datdota.

Elder Titan

Elder Titan is currently the most picked hero at TI10, with a running tally of 52 appearances thus far. This puts him as an active hero in 36.11 percent of games in the group stage, with a staggering win rate of 61.54 percent alongside. That is an incredible success rate no matter how you look at it, and it’s clear that ET will achieve even more at the main event.

The reasons as to why Elder Titan is so good right now are fairly obvious. He’s received so many buffs over the last several patches, with the Earth Splitter effect delay buff from Patch 7.29 perhaps being the most impactful. ET just feels a lot better to play nowadays because of this buff. His Aghanim’s Shard upgrade is pretty much busted as well, functioning as a pseudo Blink Dagger/Nether Swap effect that makes it ridiculously safe for him to initiate.

And of course, since these are pro teams we’re talking about, anything that rewards team coordination will always be good at The International. Squads at this level will always be good at taking advantage of both Echo Stomp (Q) and Earth Splitter (R). Elder Titan is definitely here to stay, and we expect teams to continue to look at him as a TI10 metagame staple.

Monkey King

While we expected teams to look towards Monkey King at TI10, we certainly didn’t see him as the most banned hero after the group stage. Sun Wukong currently sits at a whopping 110 bans so far, with 107 (97 percent!) of those bans coming in the first phase.

This is what happens when you have a hero that teams can play in any position. Monkey King doesn’t even have to be present in the game in order to be a threat. He’s a draft bomb from the outset, as teams can easily just pick him in the first phase and not give away anything about their game plan. It is therefore clear why teams just opt to ban MK at the first available opportunity: to cover their bases heading into the first picking phase.

When he sees the light of day, though, Monkey King just wrecks face. As a soft support, he can scout incredibly well with Tree Dance (W), and set up easy ganks with Boundless Strike (Q) and Wukong’s Command (R). Players like Andreas Franck “Cr1t-” Nielsen have been playing this style to great effect in Bucharest.

He’s been marginally less impressive as a core, but still great at it relative to other picks in the role. He’s amazing in lane, has an easy way to secure ranged creeps, and scales well with items. And speaking of items, carry MK has many routes available in terms of his item build. Maelstrom, Echo Sabre, and even Desolator are all viable right now. This menace will keep making his presence felt in the main event, for sure.


We called it: Io will always be a good hero at the absolute highest level of play, and this is also true in the TI10 metagame. Although the Guardian Wisp won’t fulfill the prediction for most banned hero at this rate, it’s plain and evident that it is still one of the most sought-after heroes in both the picking and banning phases.

TI10 Metagame Io

Io’s win rate is disproportionately low to how hotly contested it is, but teams clearly prioritize it nonetheless. (Image by Valve)

To that end, Io has appeared in 49 games so far, but that’s not the most shocking thing about the hero. Rather, it’s the fact that all 49 of those appearances were from first phase picks. A hundred percent. If that’s not “heavily contested”, we don’t know what is.

Curiously, though, teams have been playing Io as an offlaner when they’re not playing it as a support. Offlane Io hasn’t been very successful, though, and we think that squads will stop experimenting with this come Tuesday. After all, Io has a 40 percent win rate as of the time of writing, which aren’t exactly inspiring numbers.


Now this is one hero that not a lot of experts and pro players hyped up as one of the picks to look out for in the TI10 metagame. Though overshadowed by names like Tiny, Weaver, Storm Spirit, and Io in the days leading up to TI10, Tidehunter is here in all his fishy glory. He is just one game behind Elder Titan in terms of appearances, with 51 games to his name thus far.

It’s easy to see why. Tidehunter wrecks most melee carries in the offlane position, and Dota 2 fans know how game-changing Ravage (R) can be. He’s also extremely tanky and annoying to deal with thanks to Kraken Shell (E), allowing him to take up a lot of space in teamfights. Tidehunter players at TI10 have also enjoyed being able to practically rush a Refresher Orb in the mid game after Blink Dagger and Pipe of Insight.

We have no doubt that Tidehunter will keep getting picked at the main event. He’s too stable and reliable for teams to ignore him.


Granny Beatrix Snapfire is well and truly back in the metagame. Though her win rate of 48.94 percent is below the halfway mark, it’s still more than close enough relative to the 47 games she’s appeared in so far (fourth overall after the group stage) for us to call her a meta pick.

The bag of buffs she received in 7.30 have resulted in a package that’s more than playable at TI10. Her health regeneration now allows her to stay in lane for longer, and her strength scaling is absolutely nothing to scoff at. She also enables offlaners when it comes to bullying opposing carries with Firesnap Cookie (W), which now has a slightly lower mana cost compared to before.

And of course, Mortimer Kisses (R) is as good as ever. Though its cooldown has been increased overall, the debuff damage over time component is actually now stronger than it has been in the earlier levels. Just a solid pick overall, and one that teams haven’t seen fit to ban all that often.


Absolutely no surprises here. Tiny is the best carry in the game right now, and it shows with his 56.82 percent win rate over 44 games. He’s also been banned a total of 93 times so far, making him second only to Monkey King in this area.

What can we say? Echo Sabre is a great item right now. Tiny’s strength gain is absurd, to the point where it’s not strange at all to see him hit 2,000 HP or more before the mid game is even over. Grow (R) takes away less attack speed per level now. His Aghanim’s Shard upgrade enables him to carry the tree from Tree Grab (E) forever. He can even participate in fights early if absolutely needed, thanks to his potent nukes in Avalanche (Q) and Toss (W).

This hero is a hundred percent broken and will be a hotly contested pick until the end of the entire tournament. Teams that don’t prepare accordingly may find themselves crushed by Tiny and his massive frame.


This hero always finds its way into the metagame somehow. Earthshaker is just so reliable and powerful at the highest level of play. Raigor Stonehoof is currently enjoying a successful stint in the TI10 metagame, with 47 appearances (tied with Snapfire) and a 55.32 percent win rate.

TI10 Metagame Earthshaker

Stable as they come, Earthshaker finds himself favored in yet another iteration of The International. (Image by Valve)

To be clear, this is offlane Earthshaker. Position 4 Earthshaker is more or less dead, with teams opting instead to leverage Raigor’s extreme effectiveness with gold in order to snowball quickly. The preferred play style essentially dictates that offlane Earthshaker players secure last hits and harass with Enchant Totem (W) strikes, which can quickly add up over the course of the laning phase.

Either way, though, Earthshaker is one of the strongest initiators in the meta right now, with a ton of lockdown potential and a devastating teamfight ultimate in the form of Echo Slam (R). And of course, Earthshaker still pairs well with Morphling, thanks to the huge damage bonus that the latter hero gets when it gets access to Enchant Totem.


Though we are far off the mark with our Weaver as the most picked hero prediction in our round table discussion, Skitskurr is still firmly within the top 10 heroes in the TI10 metagame. Just like Monkey King, Weaver is another hero that threatens to run away with the game if left unchecked — or in this case, left unbanned.

TI10 Metagame Weaver

Weaver’s flexibility in the draft almost matches that of Monkey King, forcing teams to ban him early. (Image by Valve)

True enough, drafters locked Weaver out of 57 games, which is almost 40 percent of all group stage matches. 42 of those bans were from the first phase, which accounts for 73.68 percent. And it’s understandable as to why teams just don’t want to think about having to deal with Weaver. Falcon Blade is meta, Maelstrom is meta, and Weaver himself is quite overtuned.

He can also be played in multiple roles, with both carry and support being equally viable. Although his win rate of 51.16 percent doesn’t necessarily indicate the extent of his power, the bans sure do. We think his numbers will only go up once the main event rolls around.

Storm Spirit

The jovial elemental himself appears on this list with 35 appearances in the group stage, of which he’s won 18. Raijin Thunderkeg, as he is known in Dota 2 lore, is also the victim of 61 bans thus far, which accounts for 42.36 percent of all games played.

Explaining this one is simple. After pros discovered prior to TI10 that the Soul Ring into Kaya opener was much better than rushing Orchid Malevolence, Storm Spirit’s overall effectiveness went up quite significantly. His mana regeneration stops being a problem for the most part with this build, allowing him to quickly farm an Orchid or Black King Bar More importantly, though, his health pool grows absurdly large with a Soul Ring in tow, allowing him to stick around in teamfights for longer without dying.

Also, his Aghanim’s Scepter is still so good. Imagine Enigma’s Black Hole, but you can initiate from almost anywhere on the map. That’s what the upgraded Electric Vortex (W) feels like right now. It also helps that Storm Spirit loves the bonus stats from the item, which are always welcome on such a mana-dependent hero. It just makes late game teamfighting in the TI10 metagame so much easier when you have the ability to stun multiple heroes at a moment’s notice, with a low cooldown to boot.

And those are our nine top picks in the TI10 metagame! There’s plenty of reasons for teams in Bucharest to take these heroes into battle right now, and we’re sure that these trends will continue through the main event. You might even want to try some of these heroes in your pubs, and copy pro strats to get that sweet, sweet MMR.