There were quite a few unselected heroes in this TI, but today we want to focus on the ones we found the most surprising. The reason for this surprise is simple: while these heroes were utterly disregarded by the pro gamers at the biggest esports event of the year, in pubs they are undeniably, sometimes overwhelmingly, powerful.
You are most likely playing Bounty Hunter incorrectly. His previous pub build was that of Aghanim and maybe an Octarine Core, but those days are over. Currently, you have to abuse BH’s absolutely ridiculous statistics to be effective.
The hero starts the game with 8.5 armor and 600 HP. He has high attack damage, 325 movement speed, and at level one he can attack for ~120 damage every 9 seconds without consuming mana. The hero is an absolutely bestial lane dominator who can fight magic damage lineups but otherwise has free rein in his lane.
When playing offlaner, it’s very possible to quickly turn your lane dominance into card dominance. An early flow of gold allows you to outperform pretty much every hero on the map, and since you can speed up your item career by killing enemy heroes, the playstyle is pretty simple: look for targets and destroy them.
Items like an early Vanguard or Hood can really increase your survivability in the early game. Finding problem-solving items like Orchid or Halberd can be a nice progression, while Desolator can help assert map dominance.
In the support position, Bounty Hunter can still take advantage of his abnormal early game stats in lane, but then has to look for suitable support items. Getting Force Staff, Lotus Orb, or even Vladmir’s Offering can be pretty important.
There’s also a potentially powerful shard that turns your teammate invisible for a very small upfront cost. For many carry heroes, this can be a game changer. Heroes like Slark really like being invisible but can rarely afford to spend money on it as they need to level up and get stronger. This is where Bounty Hunter can come in very handy.
All in all, we feel that Bounty Hunter is oddly underrated. Before the International, many professional players played the hero in their pubs with great success and we are still surprised to see him completely ignored.
Another invisibility hero, but not really. The common build for the hero is currently 4-2-0-1 at level seven. This ensures maximum farming speed without sacrificing laning presence, and currently Clinkz is all about farming his Gleipnir.
To be honest, the hero doesn’t fare too well in the upmarket pubs, so maybe there’s a good reason why he was ignored at the International. He is exceptionally farm dependent, but still very easy to gank. Its attack animation, attack damage, and projectile speed can be very limiting against better opponents. Finally, 520 starting HP and 4 Armor make for a very attractive target for any type of setup.
He also doesn’t scale all that well in terms of stats, having some of the lowest stat gains in the game. However, the hero more than makes up for this with his potential burst damage in a teamfight as long as he has good positioning and manages to get his items.
Burning Barrage essentially grants Clinkz massive attack range and massive attack speed steroid every 18 seconds. Getting 0.33 seconds per attack up to level seven is very difficult for most heroes in the game. In addition, it is a full teamfight damage that has a very high potential despite the 0.65x attack damage modifier.
Landing a good Burning Barrage can be game-winning, so it’s no surprise that the hero performs so well in Ancient and Below Brackets where good positioning isn’t common. Above this skill rank, the hero can struggle a bit, but he’s still a force to be reckoned with in Divine+ games, and only loses relevance in High Immortal.
Unlike the other two heroes we discussed today, Treant Protector actually gets better with the higher level of play. A strong lane dominator with high ultimate and potential global presence make for a very great combo.
Surprisingly, however, the hero was completely ignored by the pro player. The current default build of 1-2-0-0 at level three and then 1-2-4-1 at level eight didn’t change things much, although it was oppressive at times on a global scale.
A big problem for why the hero might not be popular is the overabundance of dispel effects. We’ve talked about this many times before, but with the introduction of neutral items with dispels as well as dispels being hit on Satanic, it’s now really difficult to get the stat out of soft control. Not impossible, but better players usually find a way to counterplay.
Another problem is that Treant Protector is very level greedy. He’s also somewhat gold-hungry if you want to use his full potential. While he can be an asset to his team as early as level seven and offers a very strong global armor and regen increase, in the current meta teams typically prefer more proactive support that can be useful to those setting up kills and ganking.
In order for this to become a reality, Treant Protector needs his shard, and that usually comes in 15 minutes, if not later. At 25 minutes most carries have either Manta Style or BKB in case they need one against Treant Protector. So there is less than a ten minute window in which Treant Protector can be overwhelming and missing can lose the game.
Despite its potential weaknesses, we would still advise players to experiment with the hero. He deals a lot of damage in the laning phase and sometimes it’s the only thing you need to win a game. Destroy your enemy ghosts early and be victorious.