Dota 2: ESL One Birmingham Meta Analysis

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Dota 2: ESL One Birmingham Meta Analysis

ESTNN's Veselin Ignatov breaks down the meta at ESL One Birmingham.

The last ESL One event before the upcoming TI 9 is over. We saw tons of back-and-forth action as well as amazing plays. Team Secret did the impossible and won their 4th ESL One title during this DPC season. One of the main reasons for their success was Puppey and his incredible drafts.

ESL One Birmingham was also the first big event played on the new patch that included many new changes. Let’s take a look at which heroes were prioritized the most.

Top picks


Shadow Shaman

Rhasta has become one of the go-to picks in several tournaments in a row. One of the main reasons behind this is the fact that the hero provides a ton of CC as well as pushing capabilities, something which seems to be essential nowadays. What’s more, Shadow Shaman doesn’t even need that many items to become incredibly strong. Managing a Blink Dagger as well as Aether Lens is enough to cause havoc during team fights.

Rhata is also very strong against some of the best cores right now. Storm Spirit, for example, is extremely vulnerable against CC, and the Shadow Shaman has two of them.

The hero was picked a total of 43 times. However, his win rating is around ~44%, which, while not terribly impressive, isn't awful either.


Troll Warlord

With over 90 picks and bans in total, Troll Warlord is the second most contested carry during the tournament. Ever since the change to his ult, Troll gained a lot of popularity because his survivability increase. On top of that, the hero works very well in conjunction with some of the area-of-effect spellcasters in the game right now.

Despite the strong presence, Troll only has around ~48% win rating. It will be interesting to see whether the Aghs introduction will increase that number in the upcoming events. Who knows, we could even see a position 4 Troll soon.


Sand King

Sand King is a hero that can be played in various positions. Even though the days of a mid Sand King are long gone, Crixalis is still a vital part of nearly every team's strategy. Nowadays, the hero is mainly played either as a position 3 or a position 4.

Additionally, SK provides tons of damage during the early and mid game team-fights, which is very important in pro games because the team that grabs an early advantage tends to win the game (this is usually the case, and not necessarily the case in every game, of course).

Sand King has around 42% win rating, even though he got picked 40 times. This means that most of the teams know how to deal with him at this point. It will be interesting to see if he will remain one of the top picks in the upcoming Major.



The mighty Rogue Knight has one of the highest win ratings of any hero at the tournament – 70%. Nisha is probably the one to “blame” for that because he won all his games with the hero. Sven has always been one of the best carries in professional Dota 2 games. His farming capabilities are nearly unmatched by any other carry found in the game. What’s more, the hero also has a very tanky nature, something which is very important. This all adds up to his popularity.

Of course, let’s also not forget the crazy amount of damage output. There have been many games where Sven single-handedly carried his team to victory. Last, but certainly not least, there just aren’t that many counters that can deal with him properly. Unless something crazy changes, expect Sven to continue his winning ways.


Nyx Assassin

Nyx is one of the most annoying heroes in Dota. This makes him a perfect pick in professional games. In fact, the hero is one of the biggest counters to most of the spell-casting mid laners. Invoker, Storm and many others are very hard to play properly whenever there is a Nyx positioned against them on the other side of the lane.

Similar to Shadow Shaman, he provides great utility as well as decent damage output. What’s more, this is all present without the need to buy any expensive items. most of his utility is already present in his kit.

Nyx has been picked a total of 39 times and has around 52% win rating.


Dark Seer

Dark Seer is always one of the top offlaners in professional Dota 2. Apart from the amazing team-fight capabilities that he provides, the hero works wonders alongside most carries as well. In addition to his already synergistic effects, the recent change to his talents allows his entire team to be Surged at the same time. This makes Dark Seer a very dangerous hero to play against, especially during the later stages of the game.

Teams have picked Dark Seer exactly 38 times. Therefore, DS is the 5th most picked hero during the tournament. His win rating is also high – over 52%.



Even though Centaur got picked only 15 times, he actually has one of the highest win-ratings of any hero – 80%! He is a fairly easy and yer super effective offlaner that deals tons of damage.

Apart from the usual position 3, we’ve also seen some support Centaurs. In fact, a position 4 Centaur works very well when he is combined with a Dark Seer and/or Grimstroke.



Even though ESL One Birmingham was the first event that was played on the new patch, there weren’t that many major changes in the meta. However, this is definitely prone to change in the future. Most professional teams will probably need some time to adjust to the patch, and especially so considering all of those Aghanim changes that Valve introduced.

The next tournament on the horizon is StarLadder ImbaTV Dota 2 Minor Season 2. It will be the last Minor for this DPC season, which is definitely a must-watch. The event starts in just over 8 days from now and it will take place in Kiev, Ukraine.


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Image VIA: ESL

Dota 2: ESL One Birmingham Meta Analysis
Zlosterr has been a fan of esports for many years and mainly focuses on Dota 2. He has more than five years of experience writing Dota 2 content for numerous platforms. Besides being a passionate fan of the game, he's also played for various amateur teams.