Today, we are going to look at the top tier offlaners in the current patch and the reasons they are so popular and successful. Offlane is historically the role that requires the most flexibility, and this is heavily emphasized in the current patch, with a variety of heroes with very different playstyles.
Venomancer shouldn’t surprise anyone as a top tier offlaner: the hero is excellent at pressuring his lane opponents, provides a lot of soft control in team fights, provides map control, and deals a tremendous amount of damage, albeit very slowly.
From what we’ve seen in the professional scene, and what we would recommend most pub players do, is lean toward lane dominance in the early game. The second level of Venomous Gale coupled with Poison Sting is infuriating to play against, especially for most melee heroes.
Naturally, it doesn’t allow Venomancer to be as strong of a presence in terms of pushing until after he also gets levels into Plague Wards, but reliable harassment and damage against the enemy carry is often more profitable.
When it comes to stats, Venomancer is in the top five heroes who were picked more than 100 times by the pros in this patch. His professional win rate is almost 57%, and there is absolutely no reason for these stats not to get mirrored in pubs. Build tanky, push lanes, join team fights and you are almost guaranteed to ruin someone’s day.
This hero will probably come as a surprise to most players, but Tidehunter is, indeed, a top tier offlaner, at least according to stats. He is significantly less popular than Venomancer, but was still picked more than 100 times in professional games, maintaining an around 56% win rate.
On one hand, there is an undeniable weakness of having a very long-cooldown ultimate. At the same time, Tidehunter is not just Ravage. Against agility-based cores who build stats, Anchor Smash is among the best damage-mitigation tools. It is also decently powerful as a nuke against supports, especially the ones under the effects of armor reduction from Gush.
Even without Ravage, the hero is more than capable of doing the usual offlane things: get in and create chaos, while providing necessary tactical information for his team. With Ravage, especially pre-enemy BKB or when they are already short, Tidehunter can be the ultimate initiator, counter-initiator, or even a zoner. Bursting him down requires specific item builds or specific abilities, so the enemy will have to somehow win a fight, after spending three seconds in stun. Not impossible, but definitely quite hard.
Regardless of the meta or the patch, Beastmaster always brings value to his team. Strong, BKB-piercing lockdown coupled with high lane presence and possibly the best set of scouting tools in the game make Beastmaster a top tier offlaner in the professional scene and a decent choice for pubs.
The hero won 55% of his games while being slightly less popular than Venomancer and slightly more popular than Tidehunter. He is a reliable, though not particularly flexible pick. Most of the time Beastmaster is skilled, built, and played in the same way: max out Call of the Wild, build auras and maybe some mobility, push relentlessly and try to punish anyone out of position, with or without your team.
This easy plan is certainly not as easy as it sounds: Beastmaster does require a lot of micro skill to be effective, as well as macro understanding of the game, to know which lanes and how far can and should be pushed in. That said, if there is a micro-intensive hero to learn to play, Beastmaster is probably the best option: he isn’t as overwhelming as Chen and is not as easily and frequently rotated completely out of the meta as Visage.
Three offlaners — three distinct in-game roles and playstyles all from the same position. This is why we love Dota: the amount of options the game provides the players with is exceptionally high. In fact, even these three heroes are just statistically the better options on average; in certain games, they are going to be heavily outclassed by less popular and less successful offlane heroes like Doom, Mars, or Centaur.
As such, there is no reason to use this article as a guide on how to pick and act in pubs. It is rather an overview of what qualities are generally dominant in the current meta and the reasons behind it. We hope this post will help newer players better understand the current patch, as for our veteran players: do not hesitate to share your experiences on the battlefield in the comment section below.