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Dota 2 Stockholm Major meta recap: Mars most picked, Timbersaw most banned

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The ESL One Dota 2 Stockholm Major last month featured 14 of the best teams in the world competing for the lion's share of a US$500,000 prize pool as well as Dota Pro Circuit (DPC) points to go towards a direct invite to The International 11.

Western European juggernauts OG triumphed over TSM FTX in the grand finals to claim the Stockholm Major championship as well as their fifth Major title as an organisation.

With five regions competing and over 120 games played, there was a lot of Dota 2 for fans to enjoy.

Across the tournament, it was clear that certain heroes were the best in the current meta while others were ignored.

Let's take a look to see which heroes were the most picked, most feared, most successful, and most overrated during the Stockholm Major:

Mars was the most picked hero of the Stockholm Major

Illustration of the Dota 2 hero Mars, the most picked hero at the Stockholm Major. (Photo: Valve Software)
Mars was the most picked during the Stockholm Major. (Photo: Valve Software)

Mars emerged as the most played hero during the Major with a total of 57 appearances.

Despite all the nerfs he has received, Mars still has a decent stun that can catch two enemies with a Shard upgrade, a good laning phase, a big teamfight ultimate, and an ability that reduces damage from physical cores.

The God of War will certainly receive a bigger nerf in the next patch, but it's unlikely the hero will ever be unpickable in the pro scene as a result.

Chaos Knight was the second-most-picked hero of the Major with 48 picks. No other carry could compete with Chaos Knight, as he was also the most contested hero of the tournament, being picked or banned in 113 games.

Similar to Mars, Chaos Knight also comes with a good stun and a strong laning phase. The hero is well-suited to the current metagame as he comes online early in the game but can still remain a threat later on.

Grimstroke and Pugna were the most picked supports with 44 and 43 picks, respectively. Of the two heroes, it's Pugna who shone during the Major, winning 58% of the matches he appeared in.

Grimstroke, on the other hand, had a tough time in Stockholm and won only 18 of his games — the lowest among the top five most picked heroes.

Rounding up the list is Storm Spirit, who appeared in a total of 35 games. Despite all the memes about Evil Geniuses always first-picking the hero, the North American squad only played him four times during their short stint in the Major.

Storm Spirit is currently the most popular of the Spirit brothers thanks to his interaction with Null Talismans, which reduces the mana cost of spells.

With such a cheap item giving the hero more mana to play with, many teams were willing to let their midlaners run wild with Storm Spirit during the Major.

Teams at the Major didn't want to face Timbersaw

It's hard to ignore the impact of OG's Ammar "ATF" Al-Assaf on the Stockholm Major meta.

ATF's two most played heroes are Timbersaw and Mars, the two heroes who are incidentally the most banned and most picked of the tournament. Timbersaw was banned 71 times and picked up 13 times when he was available.

Chaos Knight and Storm Spirit make another appearance on this list with 69 and 65 bans, respectively. It's no surprise for either of these heroes, as they were either banned or picked in the first phase of drafts.

Io was the fourth most banned hero on the list. Io has always been a popular hero in Europe and due to China's absence and most teams adopting Europe's style of drafting, Io ended up being banned in 63 games.

Pugna appears again as one of the most feared heroes of the meta with 58 bans. Pugna provides teams with the ability to heavily punish spell casters thanks to Nether Ward while keeping his cores topped up with Life Drain.

Ceb made Windranger the most successful hero of the Major

When looking at the most successful heroes in the region, we'll be examining heroes with a minimum of five, ten, and twenty picks.

A sample size of fewer than five picks is too small to draw any reasonable conclusions from. It's also unfair to compare heroes with five or six picks to heroes with over twenty appearances.

Night Stalker had the best performance among heroes with at least five picks, as the hero managed to win four of his five games.

The hero was picked four times by TSM offlaner Jonáš "SabeRLight-" Volek, who abused the hero's durability and vision advantage to take over games.

SabeRLight wasn't the only player who made previously ignored heroes look overpowered.

Sébastien "Ceb" Debs had to stand in for OG as the team's position 5 support and picked Windranger 12 times during the tournament, won all but one of those games. Ceb heavily contributed to the hero's 81% win rate across 16 matches.

For heroes with a minimum of 20 picks, Snapfire had the best record, winning 19 out of 29 games played. Snapfire is one of the best heroes to pair up with both Mars and Chaos Knight in the laning stage while also bringing a strong teamfight ultimate later in the game.

Tiny had the tiniest win rate of the Major

When looking at the least successful heroes in the region, we'll be examining heroes with a minimum of five, ten, and twenty picks once again.

Lich had the worst performance among all heroes with at least five games played. The hero was picked up six times at the Stockholm Major and failed to win a single match.

Lich was picked by teams from every region except Eastern Europe and was unsuccessful. It's likely the hero will receive at least a small buff in the upcoming patch.

Among heroes with at least 10 appearances, Leshrac had the weakest showing with only a 30% win rate in 13 games. Leshrac had bad matchups against current meta heroes such as Pugna, Grimstroke, and Chaos Knight, which makes the low win rate understandable.

When Dota 2 patch 7.31c dropped, we listed Tiny as one of the patch's biggest losers, and it turns out we were right.

Among all heroes with at least 20 games played, Tiny has the lowest win rate. Tiny was picked 33 times and only won 13 games.

At the moment, the hero is just a weaker version of Chaos Knight but with less late-game potential and a smaller power spike in the mid-game.

Overall, Dota 2 patch 7.31c definitely needs some tweaks in the next gameplay update. The meta right now is a little too fast and there seems to be only a handful of heroes in each role who are viable.

Seventeen heroes were unpicked at the Stockholm Major and 39 heroes were picked less than three times.

Hopefully, the 7.32 update arrives soon and introduces some big changes that will make the competitive meta a little more diverse.

Otomo is a long-time gaming enthusiast and caster. He has been playing games since he was 10 and is the biggest Dota 2 fan.

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