The most popular heroes in the history of The International

By William Davis


Oct 24, 2021

Reading time: 2 min

The International 2021 is done and dusted, adding to the tournament’s illustrious history.

The likes of Magnus and Lycan dominated the tournament, but that hasn’t always been the case. Other heroes have long histories of success at the event and have defined the meta for pub games as well. 

Here are the top-performing heroes of TI9, and how they did.

History of Dota:

The International tournament is the biggest esports tournament in the world in terms of its prize pool. The first installment of The International was in 2011 and served as a coming-out party for Dota 2. The International is run by Valve, but is typically organized and operated by PGL.

Every year, teams from different countries battle it out to determine the best in the world. Unfortunately, not all countries’ players have access to this famous tournament. 

Players from regions like Oceania, the Middle-East, and South Africa have historically been underserved by Valve, forcing them to check the server and change regions using a VPN. That forces them to deal with intense lag when playing in high-MMR matches, which only undermines their ability to make a splash against pro-level competitors.

Dota 2 Heroes:

5. Abaddon:

Pick Rate: 2.71%

Winrate at TI9: 63%

Abaddon is a melee strength hero who is often played as a right-click carry these days. However, before this Abaddon was a hard support that could save allies by healing them with Mist Coil and dispelling debuffs with Aphotic Shield. Abaddon has fallen off in pro play since TI9, but the hero is still commonly found in pubs.

4. Treant Protector:

Dota 2 Pick Rate: 8.55%

Winrate at TI9: 68%

Few heroes in Dota 2 have emerged as more popular than Treant Protector, who just always seems to end up broken. The hero is a support, but has bounced back and forth between being a healing hard support and an initiating position-four option. 

3. Templar Assassin:

Pick Rate: 8.97%

Winrate at TI9: 65%

Having been introduced to the Dota 2 universe back in 2012, Templar Assassin bounced between irrelevance and being a meta-defining core. She’s traditionally a mid, but saw some play at TI10 as a safe lane carry as well.

2. Chen:

Pick Rate: 9.25%

Winrate at TI9: 62%

Chen is one of the top heroes for Dota 2’s most successful players, Clement “Puppey” Ivanov and Johan “N0tail” Sundstein. The hero is technically a healer, but his greatest strength has historically been in his ability to push down towers with dominated neutral creeps and giving auras to allies.

1. Io:

Pick Rate: 11.82%

Winrate at TI9: 63%

Io has always been an awful hero in pub games and one of the best in the world at the professional level due to its ability to warp across the map with an ally to jump into any engagement. Io had a particularly fun TI9 where the hero was a breakout safe lane carry option thanks to Anathan “ana” Pham.