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Dota 2 patch 7.28 has now had time to soak in and feels like home. The Aghanim’s Shard upgrades, which initially might have seemed overwhelming, are now second nature to most players, especially the ones at the top of the MMR ladder. A stable meta has formed and while we already looked at the carry and mid heroes that have made a mark on the game in the first month of the patch, it is time to look at the five best offlaners of the patch in the first month of Dota 2 patch 7.28 from high ranked pubs. This data is as per Dotabuff and has been analyzed for the past one month, so it well and truly reflects the games from patch 7.28. The choice of heroes has been made from a combination of high pick rate and high win rate heroes.

1) Beastmaster (Pick rate: 11.12%, Win rate: 54.83%)

Beastmaster did not get any huge buffs as such, but the hero has such an unbreakable bond with Necronomicon, just like Lycan, that any buff Necro books receive is a buff for Beastmaster. The reduced cooldown on Necro books is quite good, but the Archer Warrior providing a 9% Movement Speed Aura is a significant boost for Beastmaster and his minions while either split pushing or chasing down heroes. This meta is also sees a decent number of four-protect-one drafts with tempo controlling heroes like Batrider and Puck in the mid lane, and Beastmaster’s Primal Roar is one of the best, if not the best, single target disables. While the zoo meta is not back, the current patch is a subset of the zoo meta where most zoo heroes are viable, with Beastmaster and Lycan leading the charge.

2) Dark Seer (Pick rate: 5.57%, Win rate: 54.17%)

There are a couple of reasons why Dark Seer is making his way back into the meta, and both of them revolve around Ion Shell. In the past patches where denies gave the denying hero gold and experience, Dark Seer’s Ion Shell got the enemy more gold and XP in the lane, as the skill makes it easier for the opposition heroes to deny creeps in lane. With that out of the equation for the last few patches, pressuring a lane with Ion Shell doesn’t feel too bad now. In the most recent patch, Dota 2 patch 7.28, the Ion Shell radius was increased from 250 to 275 and the Aghanim’s Scepter was changed to give the ability two charges, +350 HP and an additional 20 seconds, which makes his Aghs one of the most prioritized Scepters in the game. Dark Seer is one of the fastest farming offlaners and can get his Aghs pretty early in the game to maximize its impact. Except for the last few patches, DS has historically always been one of the most sought out offlaners in the game, and with the new changes, it seems he is heading that way again.

3) Lycan (Pick rate: 2.29%, Win rate: 54.16%)

Lycan is amongst the top five cores in all three lanes, although the offlane is where he has the least win rate. The reasons he is so good in the offlane in the current meta are pretty similar to the reasons for his popularity in the safe lane and mid lane, although his win rate in those two lanes is slightly over 59%. As a position 3 hero, Lycan isn’t the win condition for his team, and acts as the tool to draw focus on himself while taking objectives in order to make space for the carry. Not the most conventional of offlaners as he lacks the initiation and disable component, but with the right lineup, can work quite well.

4) Sand King (Pick rate: 12.23%, Win rate: 51.67%)

Sand King is one of those heroes whose well landed ultimate can be game changing. The only problem till now was, it had a channel time, which meant if he was interrupted (silenced, stunned or rooted) or even his Blink dagger was disabled, Epicenter would be completely wasted and on cooldown for nearly two minutes. Now, it can get cancelled, but doesn’t go on cooldown, which gives Sand King a second chance to make an impact in a team fight with Epicenter. Epicenter’s radius has also been increased from 275-725 to 500-725, which means the radius of the smallest ring is now nearly twice of what it used to be. Where it used to be a necessity to stick to a hero to get the maximum Epicenter damage out on an enemy, SK can now do it from a distance. Other than that, the hero farms fast and push out lanes quickly, has an AoE stun, quite a good Scepter upgrade which make a case for him to be picked in the position 3 role.

5) Enigma (Pick rate: 5.51%, Win rate: 53.75%)

When players tend to think of Enigma, it’s always the Black Hole that pops into the mind. While that is a major part of the hero, Enigma accomplishes a lot more in the game, which is amplified by buffs he has received in Dota 2 patch 7.28. The hero dominates lanes, thanks to the ability to deny the range creep and apply pressure using Demonic Conversion with improved Eidolons from the new patch. Unlike in most of our pubs where Enigma goes jungle, in high level pubs, the hero plays in the lane and makes life difficult for carries. The reduction in Malifice cooldown at the early level gives Enigma another tool to harass enemies in the laning stage. The new trend on Enigma is to rush Necronomicon and send the summons along with the Eidolons for split pushing. Thanks to the new movement speed aura, the Eidolons have a movement speed of 403 and aren’t too easy to chase and get rid of. And the cherry on top of the cake, is that Enigma has one of the best Aghanim’s Shard upgrades of the game, which makes Black Hole even more of a threat. Get ready to see a lot of big Enigma plays in the upcoming DPC Major!

Enigma buffs from Dota 2 patch 7.28

Honorable Mentions

Pangolier (Pick rate: 10.50%, Win rate: 52.14%)
Mars (Pick rate: 19.40%, Win rate: 48.05%)

Image: LemKuuja on deviantart

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