Dota 2 is one of the most iconic multiplayer online battle arenas (MOBA) games. The original Defense of the Ancients was among the originators of this genre. That legacy persists today as Dota 2 has become one of the most popular platforms for professional esports competition. Now, a formally organized tournament known as The International takes place each year, pitting teams of five from around the world against each other in competition playing for tens of millions of dollars in prize money.
At the heart of Dota 2 are its playable characters, called heroes. With 122 heroes currently on the roster, the “metagame,” or simply just “meta,” plays a leading role in how tournaments work. Every hero has unique abilities, skills, and weaknesses, and thus teams must work hard to anticipate what heroes their opponents will choose while balancing their strategy.
This incredible depth and complexity can make late stage matches at The International explosive. The potential for upset victories or come-from-behind wins makes Dota 2 betting even more exciting. There is a wealth of information to analyze and consider — and it all comes down to a best-of-5 match at the end. Over the years, what heroes have risen to the top and made a big splash at the hands of the world’s top players?
- Lion Was a Key Contributor in TI10 in 2021
The most recent International concluded in October of 2021, and the most-picked hero of the tournament was Lion. With 173 picks and a win rate of 50%, this spellcaster excelled in his typical support role. Although this hero is something of a “glass cannon,” the potency of his skills and abilities means that teams can use him to open games aggressively and try to establish a foothold of dominance for the later stages of play. Abilities such as Earth Spike and Mana Drain play a key part in his effectiveness.
- Io Played a Major Role in Victory in 2019
Io is an unusual creature called a “Wisp” by in-game lore and is a force to be reckoned with. A manifestation of a universal force, real-world players harness Io’s powers to execute an incredible array of in-game mechanics. Considered by players to be one of the most advanced heroes, Io offers immense potential for innovative and creative play. Team OG used Io to lethal effect in The International 2019. Played in combination with another popular hero, Tiny, the team used Io’s strange abilities to keep opponents off-balance and off-guard.
- Nature’s Prophet Helps Team Liquid to a 2017 Win
One of the oldest heroes in the game, Nature’s Prophet is a powerful foe in the right hands due to the character’s ability to teleport around the map. In 2017, Team Liquid consistently had players choose Nature’s Prophet to develop effective lane pushes and ensure that enemy heroes never had a chance to implement their own strategies properly. This was not the first time Nature’s Prophet played a part in propelling a team to victory, either — he was an immensely popular choice for the winners back in The International 2013.
- Nyx Assassin Boasted the Highest Win Rate in 2016
When it comes to putting another team on their heels during gameplay, Nyx Assassin is one of the most compelling heroes. True to his name, Nyx Assassin excels at executing solo kills against enemy heroes with potent abilities such as Mana Burn. Leaving enemies defenseless and damaged, finishing them off to take control of a lane is easy — and that is precisely the kind of gameplay that propelled the hero to its huge win rate of 68% during The International 2016.
- Storm Spirit Gave North America Its First Win in 2015
For the first years of The International competitions, teams from Asian nations such as South Korea and China dominated the field. Finally, in 2015, the North American team Evil Geniuses had their time in the spotlight. Thanks to the highly effective use of the hero Storm Spirit in the final match, the Geniuses powered their way to victory over their opponents. Although Storm Spirit is often a weaker character in early game stages, when well-handled, he becomes a serious asset in late gameplay with the ability to move quickly for effective ganking strategy.
What Does the Future Hold for Competitive Dota 2?
With new seasons of play on the horizon and a strong future secured for The International tournament series, there is no telling who will rise to the top and claim victory next. As the game’s developer continues to add more heroes to the game and the meta evolves even further, spectators, participants in Dota 2 betting and MOBA-lovers everywhere will have plenty of action to look forward to in the coming years.