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| 22. October 2021

Dota 2 – The International 10’s Most Banned Heroes

With regard to hero picks, The International 10 was one of the least versatile TIs ever. The meta that was created by the latest Dota 2 patches made it so that around a half of the 121 heroes were heavily picked, while the other half were almost completely ignored. And the compositions that were most favored often involved 10 – 20 heroes. Because of that, some of these heroes, because of their strength or versatility, were very often banned.

Invoker

At other editions of The International, few people dared to pick Invoker and few teams bother to ban him. The bans targeted not as much the hero, but the player. So for instance, people didn’t want to play against Miracle- Invoker or w33 Invoker. But they didn’t mind playing against a standard Invoker opponent.

At The International 10, however, Invoker was the most banned hero. The reason is easy to understand. Invoker is extremely versatile and provides everything you could possibly need to win the game: team fight capabilities, crowd control, buffs, split pushing options, wave clear, defensive capabilities, and much more. His only weak spot is the laning stage, at least until he gets a few levels. After that, good luck dealing with him.

In the games in which he was picked, Invoker had a win rate of almost 57%, which is very high for this competitive level. In the later stages of the tournament (the top 6 matches), he got picked only twice. But not because the teams didn’t want him. He simply got banned over and over again.

Medusa

Medusa was another heavily banned hero at The International 10. Teams just didn’t want to play against her because of the high tempo imposed by the hero. When you’re playing against Medusa, you’re always on a timer. If you don’t do enough in the first 20 minutes of the game to prevent her from farming, the odds of winning the match are slim. And the later the game goes, the harder it gets, even if you’re ahead in farm.

Medusa is a rare type of carry. Just like Spectre, she can deal a lot of damage while being tankier than a tank. So you can’t fight into her. Instead, you need to kill her entire team before you engage her and even then, it’s not easy because of the hero’s ultimate ability. In the late game, ignoring Medusa is no longer an option, so unless her entire team is underfarmed, you will have serious problems in team fights.

Medusa is weak in the first 5 minutes of the game. She’s also vulnerable for another 10 – 15 minutes, but not as vulnerable as you might want if you’re playing against her. This gives her team a big advantage. Because it’s enough to hold the lane so to speak and you’re fine. No need to do anything spectacular. Just don’t feed and the game is yours.

Generally, teams do not like to play a game in which they need to always attempt a low-probability tactic and succeed. If the timer is against you and you also lose the game as soon as the first tactical error is committed because of the loss of tempo, you’re in a bad spot. And that’s why Medusa got banned so many times.

Puck

Being both slippery and versatile, Puck got banned a lot at The International 10. This was the 3rd most banned hero and for good reasons. In the laning stage, unless you’re a Templar Assassin or a Void Spirit that can block some of the damage, Puck can easily destroy you. This hero deals a lot of physical and magical damage as early as level 3. Then, with its ultimate ability, it can easily gank both top and bottom and secure kills for its team.

Puck has one of the best stats increase per level in the entire game: 8.4. That’s enormous. Combined with the latest items added to the game, the hero quickly becomes not just slippery but also very hard to fight into.

One of the reasons why Puck got banned so much was its synergy with other heroes that got abused at TI10. One of them was Tiny. Dream Coil into Toss is a deadly combination. And to avoid it, teams preferred to get rid of the Puck as soon as they saw the potential for it, or any other scary combination, such as Dream Coil plus Wukong’s Command.