Surprise and off-meta Dota 2 heroes from The International 2019

By Neslyn Apduhan


Sep 10, 2019

Reading time: 3 min

The International 2019 graced fans with more than a few surprising drafts from some of the game’s biggest and brightest minds.

Top Dota 2 teams that battled it out in Shanghai showed fans not just top-tier plays, but also some wild and eccentric drafts. These teams defied the usual meta picks and showed that these heroes, when played in the right way, can do just about anything.

Here are some of the unconventional hero picks that will probably ruin your pub games for a while.

Carry Io


Who can forget the legendary carry Io, who knew that it would come to define the entire event? The International 2019 champions at OG were famous for their unbeatable Io drafts. Anathan “ana” Pham showed fans the true strength of the adorable wisp in his play.

With Io’s Aghanim’s Scepter and Level 15 talent, the hero can dominate any game. A total of 155 damage that constantly surrounds the hero is a real game-changer.

OG concluded The International 2019 with its Io carry and Team Liquid couldn’t find its rebuttal even with time to plan and practice against it. OG asserted its dominance throughout the game and even took the final fight near to its opponent’s fountain.

Team Secret also tried out the famous carry Io and successful used it to chalk up a win against Vici Gaming.

Offlane Ogre Magi


The two-headed hero was popularized as a position three for several teams. Alliance’s Samuel “Boxi” Svahn bullied Team Secret’s Michał “Nisha” Jankowski during the first day of The International 2019.

Although Team Secret managed to flip the game around, the game marked the first of many offlane Ogre Magi appearances.

The offlane Ogre Magi is a viable pick because of its huge nuking potential. The hero is also surprisingly tanky and can definitely suit its frontline role when given appropriate farm.

Mid Ancient Apparition


Dota 2 fans were surprised when Evil Geniuses picked Ancient Apparition for Syed Sumail “SumaiL” Hassan. This was to counter Hector Antonio “K1” Rodriguez’s Huskar in the middle lane. Evil Geniuses took an early lead in the ensuing game, but Infamous did not back down easily.

The Ancient Apparition pick was key to successful team fights for Evil Geniuses. Combined with Artour “Arteezy” Babaev’s insane damage output on his Lifestealer, it forced Infamous to tap out of the game. Sumail’s final stat line on Ancient Apparition was an incredible 12/1/9.

Support Invoker


Newbee tied off the series against PSG.LGD with a surprising Invoker pick for Arif “MSS” Anwa. The draft was paired off with a Crystal Maiden support pick.  

PSG.LGD stomped its opponents in the early phase of the game. The Chinese powerhouse even managed to take Mega Creeps. However, Newbee kept its high morale and dragged the game out longer.

The Invoker pick paid off after a crucial team fight with a failed Chronosphere from PSG.LGD. A few more mistakes from PSG.LGD cores sealed the deal for Newbee’s surprise success.

Aside from these notable hero picks, TI9 fans also saw a few more special mentions. The Techies pick from Jesse “JerAx” Vainikka did not pan out, but it was quite the sight. There was also a middle lane Centaur Warrunner from Vici Gaming against TNC Predator.

In the upper bracket, OG also drafted a middle lane Bristleback for Topias Miikka “Topson” Taavitsainen, and he dominated the game against Newbee.