The Dota 2 meta is already set in stone heading into the Lima Major. The last major patch was update 7.32d on Nov. 29. It had a number of winners and losers in terms of heroes and item changes, but that doesn’t always determine the meta, since it takes time to see what works best.
But now that the 2023 Dota Pro Circuit Winter Tour is done and dusted, meta-defining heroes have emerged, some of which will likely see high pick and win rates at the Lima Major which kicks off on Feb. 22.
They’re all heroes that tie into the long, drawn-out fights that have been a staple in this patch, whether it’s because they can sustain themselves or others, dip in and out of battle with ease, or turn the tide of a battle.
Let’s take a look at what those heroes are, and why they’re likely to run rampant at the Lima Major based on statistics from high-level ranked matches, as well as professional matches throughout the season.
At the moment, two carry heroes stand head and shoulders above the rest at the highest level—Lina and Slark, who have drastically different playstyles but have been equally brutal.
Lina has the highest win rate in high-level ranked matches by far. She’s sitting at 58.5 percent, 3.5 percent higher than the next closest, Slark, despite being the fourth most picked.
Before this meta came to be, Lina was more suited to the support role. Now, she’s an absolute powerhouse—a long-range, consistent damage dealer capable of stunning and bursting.
Combined with items like Boots of Travel, Gleipnir, Black King Bar, Silver Edge, and Satanic, she can be everywhere and anywhere, with incredible control, damage, survivability, and even an escape that can also be used to surprise unsuspecting opponents with near-instant death.
The next closest hero to Lina is Slark, who has an impressive win rate of 55.6 percent in high-level ranked matches, and is the most-picked carry hero by far because he has a lot to offer.
Slark’s abilities mean he has the ability to dive in and out of battle down pat without items, but adding Aghanim’s Shard and Aghanim’s Scepter makes it even more effective. Tenfold, perhaps.
Items like Echo Sabre, Diffusal Blade, and Mage Slayer make him an absolute menace for spellcasters, but can be substituted for Abyssal Blade and Eye of Skadi to wreak havoc on tankier melee heroes. His ability to sap agility also makes him the perfect fit for long brawls.
Like with the carry heroes, two midlane heroes have reigned supreme so far this patch, and that trend will undoubtedly continue at the Lima Major. Those heroes are Batrider and Ember.
Batrider was one of the surprise benefactors of the latest patch. He didn’t receive any changes, but his ability to utterly dominate the lane and snowball out of control in the mid game has been first-rate in the meta.
Items like Boots of Travel, Black King Bar, Blink Dagger, Witch Blade, and Octarine Core play into his strengths, making him a maneuverable, high-damage dealing threat all over the map, and unlike Lina, he can initiate, too.
Batrider’s win rate is a tepid 53.7 percent in high-level matches compared to others like Tinker and Huskar, but he’s also been picked four times as much, so it’s an impressive number.
Ember Spirit’s moveset was built for this meta. As one of the most frustrating and elusive heroes to play against in the hands of skilled players, it’s no surprise he’s the most picked midlander by far.
The items people have been picking aren’t out of the ordinary—things like Phase Boots, Kaya and Sange, Black King Bar, Aghanim’s Shard, Aghanim’s Scepter, Gleipnir, to name a few.
Like Batrider, he hasn’t undergone any major changes. It’s more so his strengths have become even better in the current meta. We’ll likely see him get picked or banned almost every game.
There are quite a few meta offlane heroes right now, but Death Prophet and Broodmother are the standouts. One is less maneuverable than the other, but they offer similar things in different ways.
Death Prophet is the clear-cut meta offlaner. She has the highest pick rate and win rate in high-level matches, the latter of which is sitting at an impressive 57.1 percent. Her Crypt Swarm damage and Magic Resistance were increased in the last patch, making her stronger and more durable.
What’s more, her abilities make her the perfect foundation for a team to fight around in the current meta. Items like Phase Boots, Eul’s Scepter of Divinity, Guardian Greaves, Black King Bar, Aghanim’s Shard, Shiva’s Guard, and more allow her to survive for an extended period of time while her ultimate burns through buildings, enemies, or both.
Having a Death Prophet as the cornerstone of a team allows other cores to weave in and out to dive the backline and retreat back to her, all the while she proves blanket cover to her supports, and cannot be easily stopped herself if all the defensive item timings are on point.
Broodmother is the second most-picked offlane hero in the meta right now, and for a good reason. She does what she always has—shove lanes, mow down towers, and induce pain and misery on enemy caster cores and support heroes.
Despite having her Spiderling Vision and Spinner’s Snare Root Duration nerfed last patch, she’s still a massive threat with plenty to offer when paired with items like Guardian Greaves, Pipe of Insight, Aghanim’s Sceptre, Black King Bar, and Orchid Malevolence or Scythe of Vyse.
These items allow her to weave in and out of combat while sustaining herself and others, drawing the attention of enemies in the process, and even silencing or hexxing key targets as she chips away at their health.
Two Soft Support (Position Four) heroes have stood head and shoulders above the rest in the current meta. The first is Riki, which comes as a surprise since he was better off as a core not too long ago, and the second is Rubick, who has been dominating lobbies for months.
A while ago, Riki in a support role felt like a disaster. In the current meta, though—at least at the highest level—it’s one of the best picks for the role in the game. Maybe even the best.
Not only is it the second-most picked soft support hero in top-tier ranked games, but its win rate is technically the highest, since the two others that match it, Earthshaker and Treant Protector, have been picked much less.
The playstyle is all about one ability, Sleeping Dart, which puts the target to sleep. Aghanim’s Shard is required to unlock it, and it becomes more effective and constant with Aether Lens and eventually, Octarine Core.
Expect to see many pros running amok with it in the Lima Major, especially when paired with silences, the ability to scout while invisible, and perhaps even saving allies with Force Staff.
Rubick has been one of the most picked and most dominant Soft Support heroes in the past few months, particularly because his base damage was increased by three in the latest patch.
The real reason, though, is that he offers so much, be it a stun and drag, a nuke, a save if Aghanim’s Shard has been purchased, and of course, the ability to turn the tide of a battle single-handedly with a stolen spell.
Common items include Tranquil Boots, Aether Lens, Aghanim’s Shard (for the reason mentioned above), Blink Dagger or Force Staff, and Glimmer Cape. It’s nothing out of the ordinary, but it’s damn good right now, and he’ll almost certainly appear a lot at the Lima Major.
No Dota 2 team would be complete without some meta Hard Support picks. As the lifeline of a match, they’re expected to do all the nitty gritty work with none of the glory, and two heroes do that best right now—Treant Protector and Mirana.
Treant Protector received a slew of massive buffs last patch, including an increase to Leech Seed’s heal per second, cast time, and cast range, and Overgrowth’s damage per second.
As a result, he’s become a staple Hard Support pick in the current meta, with a whopping 54.7 percent win rate at the highest level while also being the most-picked hero in the role by a long shot.
This burly hero has it all, from slows and stuns to heals, especially when paired with items like Mekansm or Guardian Greaves, Aghanim’s Shard, Blink Dagger or Force Staff, and more.
Last but not least, we have the second most popular Hard Support hero in the meta right now—Mirana. Her pick rate and win rate are less impressive than Treant Protector’s, and not far off two other meta Hard Support heroes, Silencer and Undying, but expect to see her more than them.
The reason is that Mirana is better equipped at diving in and out of dangerous positions, while also providing one of the best follow-up stuns in the game from a distance, and the ability to cast Moonlight Shadow to make her team invisible for both offensive and defensive moves.
A general of sorts on the battlefield, Mirana’s strengths become even better when paired with Guardian Greaves, Eul’s Scepter of Divinity, which allows her to set up her own stuns, Spirit Vessel for those pesky heroes capable of life-stealing or regenerating health quickly, and Force Staff or Lotus Orb for saving allies.