Despite nerfs to Centaur Warrunner’s Return interacting with Illusion in 6.88f and his Agility gain in 7.00, where he was the #1 hero in win rate at 57.55%, he still continues to dominate pubs in 7.01. His current win rate places in him 5th in our charts, among the usual suspects like Spectre and Omniknight.
Where Centaur is unique is that he’s at the top of the pub win rate charts as an offlane hero. His only competition is Underlord, who exceeds his success in higher skilled games. In fact, offlaners in general are scarce at the top of the win rate charts. Axe comes it at #11, where he’s played almost equally in the jungle in pubs, and further down the list is Slardar at #23.
Easier heroes to play are usually what tops our win rate charts. The average player benefits more from playing a basic hero well than a meta hero inadequately. It’s why one button-Wraith King is a perennial pub stomper. It’s why Underlord is a top ban in the competitive meta, the #1 hero in the very high bracket, the # 4 hero in high, but #7 when averaged with the rest of the Dota playing population. It’s why Dark Seer loses more than 50% of his games in pubs, while being the 2nd most picked and banned hero at the ongoing DAC qualifiers.
Centaur Warrunner lies within the category of “heroes who can help the team if you only press 0-1 buttons.” That includes Crystal Maiden (global aura), Spectre (press R), and Zeus (press R). Stampede is a get out of jail free card for his team. It saves teammates from themselves, and those opportunities are a dime a dozen in pubs.
Before the nerf to Return no longer working on illusions in 6.88f, Centaur received a series of consecutive buffs across 7 patches. It started with the introduction of an Aghanim’s Scepter upgrade, where Stampede reduced damage to teammates and granted them unobstructed movement over cliffs and through trees. It gave Centaur another utility option versus the usual, aura-carrying offlaner.
He received buffs to the bonus damage of Return over two patches, increased duration of Stampede, a reduction of Double Edge over two patches, and finally a small boost to his strength gain in 6.88. All of this amounted to practically nothing as to his viability in the meta. He was picked only once through the entirety of TI6’s main event and qualifiers (625 recorded games).
That extra +30 damage may not be that useful after all
Centaur has one of the lowest base INT and INT gain stats in the game. It stands to reason that the extra +2 mana regen is more valuable for him, but pubs overwhelmingly pick +30 damage by over twice as much. Centaur doesn’t need the damage to farm, and so the extra damage becomes fairly trivial in team fights. This choice is also favored by the recent Centaur games played at DAC, by NP’s MSS and Secret’s Khezzu.
Resistance vs. Evasion can be a tricker choice, and it’s more than likely a situational one. Even if Hood of Defiance or Pipe is part of the standard build, more magical damage reduction can still be a useful pick, considering burst damage is what will take Centaur down before he can pop Stampede.
An extra second to Hoof Stomp’s stun is nice, but it’s nothing new. The Return Aura is a fun and strong interaction that lets Centaur provide some scalable, extra damage for his team. It also has the benefit that most pub players probably haven’t caught on yet of the passive being on other heroes.
Centaur had a brief flash at ESL One Genting, where he had a 83% win rate across 8 games. Currently, he is getting some play during the DAC qualifiers, with a meager win rate of 48% across 42 games. For now, Slardar, the most picked and banned hero at DAC, is the better choice in a similar role. He’s safer in the lane, and his weakness in the jungle isn’t as important anymore in today’s meta.
Centaur certainly is trending just slightly, but it’s from the low bar of TI6. If he can’t find a place in the competitive meta, he’ll always have one in pubs.