Top 5 players by role at TI9

Stuchiu picks the best players from the 2018-2019 DPC

Dota 2's Icon Stephen Chiu · 12 Aug 2019


Photo via Helena Kristiansson for ESL

'Chiu on This’ is a short and regular opinion blast

In a previous blog post, I wrote about the top five teams that were headed into The International 9. In this one, I’ve picked out the top five players for each respective role so that the casual viewer can get a grasp of the relative strengths of the players in attendance.

Best Carry: Zhang “Paparazi” Chengjun

Runner-up: Amer “Miracle-” Al-Barkawi

There have been a lot of brilliant carry players in the 2018-2019 DPC. Among all of them, I think two stood out in particular: Paparazi and Miracle-. Paparazi has been the focal point of ViCi Gaming and ViCi’s best wins come off of Paparazi having a brilliant performance. While Paparazi is at his best on hard carry heroes, he’s also been consistently good on objective role heroes (Drow, DK, Razor) and roaming heroes like Weaver or Clinkz. 

As for second, it was a three way race between Miracle-, Artour “Arteezy” Babaev, and Michal “Nisha” Jankowski. Overall I went with Miracle- as I thought he performed as well as those two, but in worse circumstances as Liquid had a harder year as a team.

Midlane: Vladimir “No[o]ne” Minenko

Runner-up: Lu “Maybe” Yao

The mid lane was highly contested this year. All of the top teams had strong mid laners and it was hard to differentiate who was the best among them. In the end, I decided on No[o]ne as I think he’s been the most dominant and consistent among all of the various mid-laners. As for my runner-up, there were multiple choices: Maybe, Yeik “MidOne” Nai Zheng, and Zeng “Ori” Kiaoyang all came to mind. 

In the end, I settled on Maybe as I think he had a more pivotal role in his team relative to the other players. Secret are more liable to play around their carry, offlane, or support. Ori and Maybe are both secondary stars in their team, but Maybe also sets the aggressive tone for PSG.LGD, which makes him more important to his team relative to Ori’s importance to ViCi Gaming. While PSG.LGD isn’t nearly as strong this year as last year, Maybe is still an elite player.

Offlane: Ludwig “zai” Wahlberg

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Runner-up: Neta “33” Shapira

In every role, I’ve mentioned a Secret player that was in contention to win the slot. However I’ve given the nod to other players as I think it is the teamplay, drafting, versatility, and cohesion that makes Secret so dominant. The exception to that rule is zai. Zai is the clear best offlaner in the world. He can play all three styles of offlane: he can be the hard carry, the farm heavy team fighter, or the sacrificial space maker. While some offlaners had close peaks (like Daryl “iceiceice” Koh Pei Xiang at ESL Katowice), no one was close to his consistency or versatility.

My runner-up was between iceiceice and 33. Both players are in a similar spot as they are the superstar offlaner of their respective teams. Both of them were fairly similar in performance, but I gave 33 the edge as his unique style of play characterizes NiP more than iceiceice does for Fnatic.

Four support: Xu “fy” Linsen

Runner-up: Tazied “YapzOr” Jaradat

The four position has become more prominent in recent years and is considered one of the two starring roles of the team. Where the carry or mid-laner close out the game, the support often sets the tempo and opens the game. No one this year was better at this than fy. His hero pool, consistency, and playmaking put him a cut above the rest. Even when PSG.LGD suffered, there were times when he looked like the best player in the tournament.

As for the runner-up, YapzOr was the clear favorite. While there were plenty of good four position players, YapzOr fills a unique role in his squad as he can switch off with zai in terms of resources and playstyle. This unique niche put him ahead of the rest of the pack.

Five support: Alexei “Solo” Berezin

Runner-up: Kuro “KuroKy” Salehi Takhasomi

The five role was the hardest to differentiate as it’s the least flashy role in the game. Among the five players, Solo has been the most consistent at making plays, creating space, and setting the tempo in the early game. He continues to be one of the best captains and five players in the game.

As for second place, the three choices were between KuroKy and Johan “N0tail” Sundstein. KuroKy was consistently good and had great versatility, whereas n0tail plays a bunch of unique heroes that makes it weird to play against OG. In the end, I went with KuroKy as the sher amount of heroes he plays and the consistency he plays them with make him a more well-rounded player. 

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