ESTNN's Veselin Ignatov takes fans through the top four mid picks at Dota 2's TI 9 in Shanghai.
The International 9 was one of the biggest tournaments in esports history, and it was the biggest in terms of its record-breaking prize pool. Now only was it incredibly fun to watch, but it was very contested as nearly every team had the chance to end up as winners when it was all said and done. However, OG lifted the trophy yet again, increasing their TI streak to two after their win last year. They have written their names with golden letters in Dota 2’s history after they became the only team to win two consecutive TIs in a row.
Top Mid Picks at TI 9
Now that the dust has settled, though, let’s take a look at the heroes and picks throughout the tournament. We already covered some of the top picks at TI 9 earlier this week. Today, however, we'll focus on a specific role and the heroes in it – the mid lane.
Just a heads up, we won’t include any of the heroes mentioned in the article above.
The good ol' disco pony took the crown as the most picked mid hero this year (apart from Tiny). He is an incredibly strong hero at every stage of the game, but his strength is definitely post-laning stage. A well-farmed Leshrac is capable of demolishing the enemies lineup during any mid-game fights.
Also, don't forget the fact that he is one of the strongest pushers as well. This makes Leshrac perfect for those heavy push-based lineups that teams tend to pull out these days.
Even though Leshrac's current form is nothing compared to where he was at TI 5, he was still the go-to option for many of the pro teams during TI 9. Having said that, we are still waiting to see how the new update will affect the scene. If we had to make a guess, Valve will smash Leshrac with the nerf hammer once again.
The second spot on our list goes to Tidehunter’s archenemy. Kunkka, much like the other heroes on this list, can be played in different positions. However, the hero definitely shines the most when he is put in the midlane. Given a good start, he is capable of inflicting terrible damage to his enemies during the early to mid game. What’s more, he also works very well with many other AoE based heroes, which makes him a perfect fit in many circumstances.
Teams picked Kunkka total of 45 times and has around 56% win ratio according to Liquipedia.
Finally, we can’t talk about Kunkka and not mention his third skill. “X Marks the Spot” is, by far, one of the most annoying spells in the game to play against. It is one of the best tools to set up ganks or just engage in team-fights.
Xin, the Ember Spirit, used to be the top mid-laner prior to TI 9. Of course, this did not go unnoticed and Valve soon punished the hero with a series of nerfs. Despite that, the Ember Spirit remained one of the strongest tempo-controllers in Dota 2.
If we take a look at Ember’s history, we can see that he went through massive changes. The days of the infamous glass-cannon build are long gone. Nowadays, players love to get purchase various fighting or cost-efficient items in order to make the most out of the mid-game. The great thing about Ember Spirit is that he can also transition very well towards the late game if it's needed. One of his most popular items recently is the Aghanim Scepter. It makes the already hard-to-kill hero even more annoying.
However, it seems like the nerfs worked if we look at the stats. Teams picked Ember Spirit 42 times in total, but his win rating was only 48%.
Last, but definitely not least, we have the one-man-army hero – Alchemist. It is worth mentioning that teams often play Alchemist as a carry nowadays, but he can also play mid lane when needed. That's what earns him a spot on this list.
There aren't that many heroes in Dota 2 that are capable of winning a game alone. Well, given a good lane, Alchemist is definitely one of them. We’ve seen this happening countless times in professional games, and we're pretty sure that everyone has experienced this at least once in their PUB games.
However, Alchemist does have weaknesses. He can be easily bullied out of the lane, dramatically affecting his farm, especially early on. What’s more, if teams continually pressure him, he can end doing nothing all game. After all, in order to be effective, he requires way more items compared to the enemy cores.
During TI9, the hero was picked 33 times. He also had one of the most impressive win rates at 61%.
If you missed any of the TI action, be sure to check our full recaps here.