The dust is slowly settling after the biggest Dota tournament of the year and both the teams and the organisers are probably going to take a bit of a rest. That means that for a short period of time we get to collectively benefit from the lessons from the International and apply some of the ideas in our everyday pubs. Today we would like to highlight some of the best TI heroes that will also work well in your own games.
Dazzle was one of the most coveted heroes of the International and is finally getting playable in pubs as well. Between multiple buffs to Bad Juju Health cost and a new discovered playstyle, there is no reason not to pick the hero in either support or utility core roles.
The latter can be especially oppressive: an Aghanim's Scepter + Hand of Midas Dazzle farms incredibly fast and can quickly snowball out of control. Being Universal also makes him a decent late-game DPS character, but make sure to not overextend. Dazzle is still very squishy, especially with the current meta builds, and his main contribution isn’t damage, it is saves and crowd-control from Poison Touch.
As a support, you mostly have the same playstyle, but with an earlier and higher priority on getting Shallow Grave. Your itemisation is also quite different, though Aghanim's Shard is still more or less mandatory. It is also worth noting that Guardian Greaves don’t benefit from Bad Juju, so if you want a team defensive item, going for Pipe of Insight is a better idea.
While the hero was flexed into the offlane role a couple of times, we feel like it is not a good idea for pubs: coordinating a timing push after winning lanes can be problematic in a chaotic environment. As a carry though, Chaos Knight is close to unparalleled.
With a 40% uptime on his ultimate, there is no reason not to use it to farm and outpush lanes. CK isn’t a full-on illusion hero with a hard to deal with macro, but he can accelerate well enough to stay relevant.
That and his innate tankiness, strong laning presence and massive late-game burst potential make him an ideal hero to play in pubs right now. He can be a bit micro-intensive, but he is not as reliant on it as other illusion-based heroes, so even beginner players should find him approachable.
Another carry hero who should be ridiculously good in pubs. Sure, Spectre doesn’t have the most aggressive laning stage, but it is more than made up for with a very strong early midgame and insane late-game scaling.
Hero also doesn’t farm very fast and it is one of the reasons her general progression is Blade Mail into Radiance. Urn of Shadows is also a very popular early game purchase, as it provides the hero with a lot of necessary lane sustain and mana regen.
Currently there isn’t really a trick to playing Spectre well — the hero is overtuned and as long as you have some semblance of map awareness and watch for attack opportunities, you should be good to go. Do note that Reality sends a Spectral Dagger every time it is used, so sometimes you can use it a second time to get back to farming in your lane, while also securing a kill from across the map.
AA is a peculiar beast. He was by far the most consistent and successful support of the International, but that largely comes down to tanky meta and Heart of Tarrasque popularity. In pubs the hero can be very good, but making it work is a little bit harder.
Ice Blast requires some training to land well and laning as AA, especially against strong offlane duos, can be very problematic. He has good chip damage and long-range harass, courtesy of Ice Vortex and Chilling Touch, but his kill potential is very limited and he doesn’t really have strong defensive plays. The hero is at his best when losing the lane isn’t going to cause too many issues, or when paired with a strong safelane carry, such as Chaos Knight.
AA’s itemisation is also a topic of debate, as there have been multiple Blink Dagger purchases on the hero during the International and we are still trying to make sense of them. You will want a Glimmer Cape against strong gap-closing heroes such as Spectre, but otherwise AA doesn’t really have a must-have item, outside of Aghanim's Shard. Pavise is also a great fit for the hero due to its cast range and mana regen and while it was only built four times at the International, it is technically a 100% winrate item.
It is really hard to argue against 4.3 Strength growth per level on a hero with this much damage. Primal Beast can frontline, can initiate, can burst enemies down and scales well into the late game. The Aghanim's Scepter progression with applied Break is just a cherry on top, as it counters many meta heroes.
This strength is also a bit of weakness for Primal Beast: one of the main reasons he is so good is the other heroes. Primal Beast deals with Spectre and Bristleback, courtesy of Break. He can deal with illusion-based heroes through Trample and can even stop Pangolier ultimate if he has BKB or any item that gives at least 125 extra cast range.
That means that outside of these matchups, he isn’t necessarily overpowered, so be extra cautious when picking him in pubs, especially if you are a novice player. There are many heroes that can punish an early Primal Beast reveal.
What did you think of the International 2023? Did you enjoy the games and the meta and do you feel like trying some of the strongest TI heroes in your pubs?
Share your thoughts in the comment section below and let us know if you think some other heroes should have been highlighted!