Steven R. June 23, 2020
The current Dota 2 “zoo” meta is absolutely ridiculous.
It’s ridiculous enough that Jacky “EternaLEnVy” Mao made a troll build look legitimately overpowered. Playing as Faceless Void in a high-MMR game, he went mid with the hero and rushed a Necromonicon and Medallion of Courage en route to an easy victory.
While his picking Faceless Void instead of Void Spirit was unintentional, it provided a great demonstration of how potent the zoo meta is right now.
For those that haven’t been keeping up with professional Dota 2, the zoo meta refers to the overwhelming power of heroes with controllable units and strong split-pushing skills.
The greatest testament to this came in the BLAST Bounty Hunt, where Beastmaster, Lycan, and Nature’s Prophet were the three most contested heroes in drafts. Even more impressive is that, per Dotabuff, Lycan, Visage, Beastmaster, Broodmother, Chen, and Bane have the highest win rates in Divine and Immortal-ranked games. All except Bane have spells that involve controllable units.
Necronomicon is an item that can functionally turn any hero into a “zookeeper,” allowing them to summon a pair of powerful creeps that can be used to rough up enemies or knock over towers. Faceless Void is theoretically one of the worst heroes for this item due to its high mana cost and generally underwhelming stats. Despite this, EternaLEnVy was able to use the item to force a rage quit out of his opponents in short order.
This wasn’t a one-time thing from EternaLEnVy, either. He recently did a similar build as Doom, playing the hero mid and scrambling directly to a level-three Necronomicon.
Odds are that this strategy will be gone before long. Dota 2 creator IceFrog stated on the official Dota 2 developer forum that a new update is set to ship in the near future. Odds are that it will address the potency of split pushing, either by buffing towers or by directly nerfing these heroes and items.