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Looking at the actual presence of 7.06’s notorious heroes

Necro, Lich, Veno and Viper—are these complained-about heroes actually as present as we think?

The Apostle of Decay cosmetic set for Necrophos.

It’s no secret that the 7.06 patch is becoming a bit stale—and with a stale meta comes a pile of complaints about heroes that players just can’t stop seeing. In this case, we’ve got a green meta, with versatile heroes such as Necrophos, Venomancer and Viper coming out of the woodwork. Plus, some have seen Lich pop up more after his powerful presence at The International.

But how do the rumors hold up against the numbers? Perhaps the statistics will lay to rest whether or not these heroes have actually seen more play—and the taste of victory.

We’ll be using DotaBuff to look at these stats, as they provide a pretty clear visualization of how pick rates climb and fall. (These stats are as of publication on October 6, 2017.)

Viper

Viper has been a common pick for new or inexperienced players for plenty of years, as his anti-last-hit passive and easy damage output aren’t too difficult to comprehend. His damage output also makes long teamfights painful for an enemy team who can’t pull it off quick.

Over the past year, he was the 39th most-picked hero—not too notable. However, just in this 7.06f alone, he climbed up to be the 16th most-picked hero today. His pick rate went up by a drastic 8.72 percent of games in the last 12 months, and 7.49 percent since the last six months alone. (Much of it seems to be at the start of 7.06, as the number drops to 3.82 percent in the last three months.)

Now he’s present in a cool 17.07 percent of games, despite approximately a 50.81 percent win rate. So maybe you’re not seeing things if you think this reptile is popping up quite a bit.

Lich

While squishy, Lich has a pretty strong support kit that can throw a curve-ball at any team. He can use his Frost Armor to keep his teammates alive just a bit longer in a teamfight, and Chain Frost is never taken lightly.

Looking at the stats of the last six months, it’s clear that Dota 2 pubs didn’t value this skillset, as he’s only been the 69th most popular pick in that time period. However, in the last three months, he’s gone up to 58th; today, he rests at a much hotter 49th place. In that time span, his pick rate went up from 5.52 percent to 8.16 percent of games.

In other words, despite his notoriety and increased pick rate, he’s not that common in pubs. His surprisingly low presence could be because he’s certainly difficult to stay alive with, making him not an ideal pick for those who lack expertise in positioning. Still, with a 53.90 percent win rate, it seems like some people are learning how to use him.

Venomancer

Venomancer, much like Viper, has plenty of chances to do some long-term hurt. Despite being a bit less tanky than Viper, his Plague Wards make for obnoxious laning situations, and his various venom attacks (hence the name, we guess?) make his presence in a teamfight simply obnoxious.

Over the past year, he’s been the 56th most popular pick, but he’s soared to a significant 22nd as of today. It’s likely due to his repeated presence at The International, including his increased presence as a versatile pick: a pusher, a teamfighter and a strong laner. He’s not a perfect pick with a 51.75 percent win rate, but done right, he can clearly bring a world of hurt.

Necrophos

Necrophos has always been pretty powerful in both competitive and pub meta. In every stage of the game, his Heartstopper Aura combined with his ult, Reaper’s Scythe, make him a powerful harass and lockdown hero.

So, it’s no surprise that he was the 14th most-picked hero over the year. Plus, his presence at The International certainly gave him a boost, as he’s now the fifth most-popular hero in Dota 2. As of three months ago, he’s appeared in 7.35 percent more pubs, at 23.82 percent total—and that’s a bit more than double last year’s percent at this time, 11.69 percent.

And he’s no joke, either: he has a 56.72 percent win rate at the moment, second only behind the intimidating carry Spectre, who has less than a third of the pick rate. Basically, until Icefrog makes his chilling touch, we’ll probably be seeing a lot more of him.