Dota 2: StarLadder ImbaTV Minor – Top Picks and Bans

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Dota 2: StarLadder ImbaTV Minor – Top Picks and Bans

The StarLadder ImbaTV Minor was the first DPC tournament in patch 7.21c. Ninety heroes have been either picked or banned during the event, which is a slight increase compared to some of the previous Minors. However, most of the core picks remained the same, despite all the small tweaks made to them.

Without further ado, let’s take a look at some of the most popular heroes at the Minor.

Top Picks

Ember Spirit

Top Picks and Bans DOTA 2

With 14 picks for the entire event, Ember Spirit gets the crown for the most picked hero of the tournament. Despite that, his win rate was only 21%, which is very strange. Usually, if a hero does not perform well in most of the games, the teams do not go for him, regardless of whether he is a meta pick or not. After all, nearly every tournament has its own meta.

Probably one of the main reasons for Ember’s pick rate is the utility that he provides. The hero has come a long way from the good old “glass cannon” days. Nowadays everyone goes for the “fighting” build and focuses more on the mid-game. Even though Ember has not been mentioned in the last “small” patches, in 7.21 he got a buff to his Sleight of Fist and his Base damage.

Since the Stockholm Major starts just a few days from now, we will definitely be seeing more of the elusive core hero.



Tiny has been a crucial hero for over one year now. He is highly diverse and can be played in pretty much every position. What’s more, as long as he is not position one (and since we are not in 2014, that rarely happens), all he needs is a Blink Dagger and he is pretty much good to go. Similar to Ember Spirit, Tiny has a fairly low win rating – just 33%. Interestingly, he got banned 5 times in total and each time that happened, the team that banned him got the victory.

Tiny got nerfed in 7.21 and 7.21b but regardless of that, he still remains one of the top picks for nearly every team.



The third most popular hero at the StarLadder Minor is Chen. He got picked eleven times and received 17 bans. Chen is a hero that usually gets picked by just a handful of players who played him “before he was cool”. However, as the meta slowly changes, he seems to be fitting in quite well.

After the recent XP changes (you now get more XP for denies – read about it here), the old Dota seems to be on the rise. The good old trilanes and roaming supports are becoming more and more popular. That’s where Chen comes into play. He is probably one of the best roaming heroes, and he can completely shut down an enemy lane. We will definitely be seeing more from him in the upcoming Major.

Top Bans


One of the top meta carries in 7.21 is Lifestealer. Even though the hero got nerfed in 7.21b, Naix continues to be one of the go-to carries for nearly every team. He got banned a whopping 20 times. Flying Penguins was the only team that managed to pick him, but they still lost to Gambit.

Lifestealer works very well with many other heroes. He is also a fairly decent farmer, especially when you get Midas. On top of that, heroes such as Storm Spirit are slowly regaining their former glory. This all adds up to his popularity and strength.

In my opinion, Naix will remain one of the top carries until some of his biggest counters get buffed again. Ursa is so far one of the few heroes that can deal with him.


One of the worst feelings in Dota is when you have to lane against Viper. The hero has seen many “incarnations” throughout the years. From a right-clicking late-game beast to an offlane dominator, Viper always has his place in most of the metas. However, his current playstyle has to be the most annoying one yet.

Even though his Nethertoxin finally got nerfed in 7.21c, Viper still continues to be the most popular mid laner in professional Dota. His ability to farm the lane as well as the jungle camps is his strongest advantage compared to the rest. His ultimate is an excellent counter for heroes such as Ursa, who is one of the top carries this patch.

The jungle-farming mid heroes meta seems to slowly be coming back. After Shadow Fiend’s recent buffs, he too will probably become a top pick again. As we know, he is one of those heroes that loves to farm stacks. That’s why, in my opinion, we could see some nerfs added to camp stacking pretty soon.


Troll Warlord

Having the same amount of bans as Chen (17), Troll Warlord is a hero that is more than capable of winning games by himself. The hero got slightly nerfed in 7.21c but it was definitely not enough to “force” him out of the meta.

Honourable mentions

Bane and Shadow Shaman have been ripping through their enemies in the last couple of months. Both of them have been picked 10 times and they also have the same win rating – 70%. However, there is a huge difference in the bans – Shadow Shaman had 14, whereas Bane had just one.

Both of those supports are good for laning as well as ganking. Until IceFrogs tickles them with the nerf hammer, they will continue to be prioritized.

What’s next?

The Stockholm Major starts in just a few days from now. Sixteen of the best teams in the world will be competing for the $1M prize pool and DPC Points. It’s definitely an event that you won’t want to miss out on. Be sure to follow us on Twitter for more information regarding the tournament.

Image VIA: HaveFun.TV

Dota 2: StarLadder ImbaTV Minor – Top Picks and Bans
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.