105 different heroes were picked and banned over 104 games and 42 series during the China Supermajor. Even Techies was banned once. That leaves 10 heroes completely ignored during the drafting phase.
Patch 7.17 event addressed some of the meta trends throughout Supermajor, nerfing some of the popular picks and buffing our neglected heroes. While the changes are too minor to launch these heroes into the meta, it may be enough to pull them up from the bottom of the barrel.
Alchemist came out as the only hero neither picked or banned. He’s been victim to the various changes to the bounty runes over recent patches, while being out of place in the current mid lane matchups. Chemical Rage now having a basic dispel is a significant buff to the hero. He can now just shed off slows with a low cooldown ultimate. The brief invulnerability during Chemical Rage’s animation is still there, leaving room for dodges against other effects.
Bristleback used to be one of the most dominant, solo offlaners. It’s unfortunate that the Break mechanic renders him useless, but this minor buff to Nasal Goo is some recourse for the hero’s current state. It also mitigates the terrible cast animation for the spell, while making Aghanim’s Scepter a little bit better. And now that Chakra Magic no longer has a mana cost, we could be seeing some KOTL/Bristleback cheese back.
With Hand of Midas being a rarity in the meta, gone are the days where Crystal Maiden could jungle on her lonesome (though it hasn’t stopped 13% of pub players from playing her in the jungle). For pubs, CM is one of the highest impact supports, due to her global aura and low skill floor. Phoenix is the only other hero with a 150 GPM talent at level 15. For a position 5 support like CM, it could be the change she needed to come back.
Chen had a 100% win rate over 8 games, and it used to be the case that these two heroes were similar in their early game impact. Enchantress gets much needed buffs to her laning stage. That extra 0.75 seconds for Enchant at level 1 is quite significant, and the lower cooldown for Nature’s Attendants may fit today’s fighting meta better.
Magnus is a good hero, but he was hit hard by the bottle changes. He could manage his own in the mid lane, provided with some bottle-couriering to spam Shockwave. The additional early damage buff for Shockwave makes harassing and last hitting a bit better, and perhaps opening a window for him to come back in the offlane.
Like Crystal Maiden, the trend seems to be to get more gold for supports. With Huskar gaining a strong power spike with his new level 25 talent (Burning Spears deal pure damage), we may be seeing Oracle come back regardless of his tweaks. Fortune’s End did gain quite the buff, now that it is no longer disjointable and also a root. Blinking heroes can neither dodge it or blink out of it.
The changes don’t affect Pudge’s utility enough to be in the meta. But regardless of the hero’s state, he’s still the king of pubs in popularity, appearing in 39% of games this month.
The meta doesn’t seem to fit greedy support 4’s, which is the role Riki played during his brief time in the meta. Though he has better team fight impact than Bounty Hunter, he has very low utility in the early game. Some base stats can help, but it seems like this isn’t enough.
While Shadow Shaman can be a good support to zone out heroes, he also happens to be squishy and slow, both attributes that make him poor in the lane in today’s 2v2 matchup. Hex no longer being dispellable was an incredibly strong change, but it also says a lot about Shadow Shaman’s state that he was ignored during the Supermajor. The manacost change is much needed at lower levels, but it’s still only a 1.25 second duration at level one.
Ursa has had a string of buffs since 7.10. He’s gained more Armor, Strength, Strength gain, a buff to Fury Swipes against Roshan, and now a buff to Overpower. He did have some late game issues, but his level 25 talent, allowing Enrage to gain 80% status resistance, has good synergy with his Aghanim’s Scepter upgrade. Ursa seems due for a comeback.