Dota 2: How The Pro Meta Affects Your Pub Games

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Dota 2: How The Pro Meta Affects Your Pub Games

Pub games have always been a place where people want to experiment. That’s why every big Dota 2 tournament always reflects on the pub meta. Sometimes that might be good but in others not so much. After the end of the Chongqing Major and DreamLeague Season 11 qualifiers, here are some things that you could find in your next pub game.

Supports Played as Cores


In the previous patch playing Dazzle mid was a ubiquitous sight. We’ve seen teams such as Liquid picking him pretty often, and he performed well for the most part. During game one against Fnatic in the Chongqing Major, MATUMBAMAN had a solid game, despite losing in the end. One of the main problems of Dazzle being played mid is his late game capabilities. This forces the team to race against the clock to have a chance to win.

In patch 7.21, Dazzle got nerfed a bit, which will most likely have an impact on his Core capabilities, even though it’s a little bit too early to say at this point. In any case, Dazzle mid is a common sight nowadays.

Shadow Demon

The other support that is a pretty strong mid laner is Shadow Demon. The hero was one of the primary weapons of OG. SD has been one of the top picks before because he was very efficient with cores that benefit a lot from illusions.

Beside the classic SD-Luna, Morph, Jugger, etc. combo, the hero is incredibly annoying to play against in a 1v1 match-up. This is mainly due to his Shadow Poison stacks, which do tons of damage once they get to a certain level.

Also, Shadow Demon received two big buffs this patch. A lower mana cost on Soul Catcher and Shadow Poison can mean only one thing – he will be one of the top picks this patch. One of the chief advantages of SD mid used by OG was his fast leveling and farming capabilities. This made the hero a real nightmare to deal with in the mid-game. Being a strong laner and decently scaling hero makes it very likely to see him walking down your mid-lane.


Rubick mid is not something new, because the hero has been played in this role since the first days of Dota 2. Probably the most famous person that did it back in the days was Dendi.

Many people play Rubick to near perfection. Cr1t, FY, and Yapzor for example always manage to leave the crowd speechless with their incredible individual plays.

Beside them, there were several teams mainly in the DreamLeague S11 qualifiers which tried to sort of “resurrect” the mid-Rubick. Probably the most notable one here has to be EHOME. The Chinse used the strength of Fade Bolt to win the lane, followed by a quick Blink Dagger rush to secure the ganks. When we take into account the fact that Rubick is one of the most played heroes, it is very likely for players to try and copy the item builds and play him as position two.

4th Position Magnus

Magnus is one of the heroes that has been played in pretty much every position. From the noble days of Magnus mid to the Echo Sabre-Shadow Blade Magnus carry, we’ve seen it all.

The most popular trend nowadays is a support Magnus, which proves to be very strong. One of the teams that do this the most is Virtus.Pro. They love to pair him with some melee carry and use him as an Empower bot.

While this is indeed very strong in pro games, the pub situation is a little bit different. I have personally been in many games where people pick Magnus as support and don’t even bother to level Empower early on. That’s why having him as a support in your game could end up the wrong way.

Even though the hero doesn’t have any heal or defensive spells, a good Skewer could save someone. One of the biggest pluses for a support Magnus is the item choice. All he needs is a Blink Dagger and/or Force Staff to be effective. Of course, as the game progresses, it is possible to fall behind, but a good RP can turn things around.

Lich and Sven

Two of the most popular heroes of the previous patch, Lich and Sven have been amazing. Both heroes provide good damage and survivability, which made them the go-to pick for many pro teams both in the Chongqing Major and DreamLeague S11 qualifiers. Lich went through a lot of changes, but he was always played as a support. The same does not apply to Sven, who was one of the most common carries few patches ago.

The Rogue Knight can still be played as a carry, but his position 4 capabilities seem to overshadow his insane right click damage. No wonder Storm Hammer got nerfed, instead of his cleave. Seeing the success of the hero in pro games reflects in pubs as well. The main problem, especially in the lower MMR games is that some people pick Sven as position four but decide to play as a carry. Other than that, he is rock solid.


In the last couple of patches, there is a trend for heroes to be as tankier as possible. While the days of the “glass cannon” heroes are long gone, nowadays we see heroes such as Lion having as much as 2k HP, despite being a pos 5. Why is that?

Ever since the gold bonus buff from killing heroes was introduced, it was clear that something had to change. It was way too easy for teams to make comebacks. So what do you do to prevent that? You stay alive. That’s why nearly every support is going for that double Bracer build. Having a lot of HP on your support is very important due to the fact that the enemy has to waste more resources to kill them.

This is yet again something that came from the pro into the pub games.

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Dota 2: How The Pro Meta Affects Your Pub Games
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.