There were quite a bit of unpicked heroes this TI, but today we would like to concentrate on the ones we found the most surprising. The reason behind this surprise is simple: while these heroes have been completely disregarded by the professional players at the biggest esports event of the year, they are undoubtedly, sometimes overwhelmingly powerful in pubs.
Most likely, you are playing Bounty Hunter wrong. His previous go-to pub build was Aghanim’s and maybe an Octarine Core, but these days are over. Currently, you have to abuse BH’s absolutely ridiculous stats 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 gets to attack for ~120 damage every nine seconds without using any mana. The hero is an absolutely beastly lane dominator, who can struggle against magic damage dealing lineups, but has free reign of his lane otherwise.
When played as an Offlaner, it is very much possible to quickly translate your lane dominance into map dominance. Having an early influx of gold allows you to out-tempo pretty much every hero on the map and since you can accelerate your item profession by killing enemy heroes, the playstyle is pretty straightforward: search for targets and destroy them.
Items like an early Vanguard or Hood can really amp your early game survivability. Going for problem-solving items like Orchid or Halberd can be a nice progression, while Desolator can help in asserting map dominance.
In the support position, Bounty Hunter still gets to utilize his abnormal early game stats in lane, but then has to go for proper support items. Getting Force Staff, Lotus Orb or even a Vladmir’s Offering can be pretty important.
There is also a potentially powerful Shard that gives your teammate invisibility for a very low upfront cost. For many carry heroes this can be a game-changer. Heroes like Slark really like having invisibility, but can rarely afford to spend money on it since they need to stat up and get tankier. This is where Bounty Hunter can come in very handy.
All-in-all, we feel like Bounty Hunter is peculiarly underrated. Leading up to the International, a lot of professional players were playing the hero in their pubs with a great deal of success and we are still surprised to see him completely ignored.
Another invisibility hero, but not really. The common build for the hero right now is 4-2-0-1 be level seven. This ensures maximum farming speed without sacrificing the laning presence and currently Clinkz is all about farming his Gleipnir.
Truth be told, the hero isn’t doing all too well in the higher level pubs, so perhaps there are good reasons for why he was ignored at the International. He is exceptionally farm-reliant, but still very easy to gank. His attack animation, attack damage and projectile speed can be very restrictive against better opponents. Finally, 520 starting HP and 4 Armor make for a very juicy target for any kind of lineup.
He also doesn’t scale too well in terms of stats, having some of the lowest stat gains in the game. However, the hero more than makes up for it with his potential burst damage in a teamfight, as long as he has good positioning and manages to get his items.
Burning Barrage essentially gives Clinkz a massive Attack Range and Attack Speed steroid every 18 seconds. Reaching 0.33 seconds per attack by level seven is very hard for most heroes in the game. Moreover, it is a full on teamfight damage that has very high potential despite the 0.65x attack damage modifier.
Landing a good Burning Barrage can be game-winning, so it is no surprise the hero is doing so well in Ancient and below brackets, where good positioning isn’t habitual. Above this skill rank the hero can struggle a little bit, but he is still a force to be reckoned with in Divine+ games, only losing relevance in high Immortal.
Unlike the other two heroes we discussed today, Treant Protector actually gets better with the higher level of play. Strong lane dominator with high impact ultimate and potential global presence make for a very great combo.
Yet, surprisingly, the hero was completely ignored by the professional player. The current default build of 1-2-0-0 by level three and then 1-2-4-1 by level eight didn’t change things much, despite sometimes being oppressive on a global scale.
One big problem for why the hero might not be popular is the overabundance of dispel effects. We’ve talked about it many times already, but with the introduction of Neutral Items with dispel effects, as well as dispel effect being slapped onto Satanic, it is now really hard to get value out of soft control. Not impossible, but better players will usually find a way to counterplay.
Another problem is that Treant Protector is very level-greedy. He is also somewhat gold-greedy, if you want to unlock his full potential. While he can be an asset to his team with level seven already, providing a very powerful global armor and regeneration increase, teams typically prefer more proactive supports in the current meta, the ones who get to set up kills and be useful in ganking.
For that to become a reality, Treant Protector needs his Shard and that usually comes at minute 15, if not later. By minute twenty five, most carries will have either Manta Style or BKB, if they need one against Treant Protector. So there is less than a ten minute window for when Treant Protector can be overwhelming and missing it can be game-losing.
Despite his potential weaknesses, we would still advise players to experiment with the hero. He provides a ton of damage in the laning stage and sometimes it is the only thing you need to win a game. Crush your enemy spirits early and be victorious.