Top 3 Dota heroes from ESL One Stockholm to bring to your pub matches

ESL One Stockholm 2022 is the first LAN major, which gathered every region’s top dogs (except China) to compete among themselves. What’s significant here is that we get to watch some pretty baffling hero picks from these teams just to defeat their opponents.

Here’s a look into the top three selections and why you should bring them into your pubs.

Chaos Knight

With a combined pick and ban rate of 90%, Chaos Knight is among the most prominent hard carry pick in the Stockholm Major. It also boasts a 54% win rate, which is tremendously better than other popular options.

Yet, CK didn’t get any overpowering buff during the massive Dota 2 Patch 7.31 update. In fact, his Aghanim’s Shard upgrade had its Chaos Bolt (Q) cast range bonus reduced in the recent patch. Instead, it was the build-up of minor buffs over consecutive updates that put CK as a viable option for hard carry players.

For starters, he’s a Strength-based hero, which means he’s naturally durable from the get-go. Early laning phase is much easier to play independently if you pick up two Bracers just for raw Strength stats. This is crucial in a meta, where having the optimal laning condition equates to being able to join your team for midgame objectives.

Strong offense

Despite not being an Agility hero, which is synonymous with damage, CK makes up for high damage output with his Reality Rift (W) into Chaos Strike (E). Reality Rift makes him a threat to opponents who get too close, while also applying a devastating armor reduction debuff. Followed up with a potential critical strike of 245% damage, even full-health opponents will have a tough time staying alive. Let’s not forget about his ultimate, which essentially gives him more illusions of himself to deal the same painful blows.

Since CK typically doesn’t require Black King Bar for its spell immunity, this enables CK players to prioritize damage items. Of course, this would require CK to have reliable supports to synergize, such as Keeper of the Light or Io. KOTL is particularly useful for his large AOE skills while Io provides more durability and global presence. The last thing an enemy carry wants to see is a CK tethered to an Io relocating onto him.


Long duration stuns, durable damage reduction, and terrifying team fight initiations? Well, all those perks come in a bundle of joy, Mars. Besides being an absolute powerhouse in the lane, Mars scale well into midgame territory, where a quick Blink Dagger can make wonders when catching out unsuspecting carry players in the jungle.

The Spear of Mars (Q) is a powerful stun when successfully hit a tree. Hence, making Mars’ presence in the game alone to be quite the threat to free-farming carries. While Blink Dagger would be of great assistance during early smoke-ganks, Mars with a first-item Vanguard can very well roam to hunt down enemies.

His ultimate, Arena of Blood seals any enemy hero’s fate if they are caught in its AOE. This leaves the victim with little to no chance of survival, as he would get speared as a combo. Mars’ strong disables are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to utility as an offlaner.

His passive Bulwark (E) reduces incoming damage, making him the perfect frontline if the opponent intends on fighting back. Statistics-wise, Mars has the highest pick and ban rate of 93%, albeit only 45% win rate.

Mars may have been popularized by the International 10 (TI10) champion, Magomed “Collapse” Khalilov from Team Spirit. For what it’s worth, the hero is finally getting some attention for good reasons.


Pugna is a hero pick, which doesn’t come off as high-impact at first glance. The hero’s skillset revolves around magic damage, which is already a massive setback if we consider the alternatives. There’s always Skywrath Mage, Lina, or even Puck with Level 5 Dagon if you’re feeling adventurous.

Perhaps what makes Pugna a hot pick is plausibly its direct counter to popular carries, notably Templar Assassin. TA is notoriously known for her exponential power creep into midgame, where her damage shreds enemy supports.

This makes Pugna’s Decrepify (W) effective against TA’s auto-attacks, as it prevents her from attacking. Of course, she could opt for BKB or Nullifier to deal with the debuff, but that forces TA to build into less offensive items. Greatly reducing TA’s potential in the midgame is key to prolonging the match until your hard carries can overwhelm TA.

Pugna’s other supportive skills are great utilities too, such as Nether Ward’s (E) mana reducing attacks can be a nuisance to opponents with low mana pool. Furthermore, his ultimate provides a decent health regen. At 83% pick and ban rate around 64% win rate, Pugna is certainly viable in today’s midgame meta.

Honorable Mentions

Although unmentioned, Io as a support pick has high demand for his global presence. Alongside are useful buffs for its carry, such as movement, attack speed, healing, and durability. While Io has fallen off the popularity poll, his impact in Dota 2 meta has roots way back in early DPC Tour 1.

Storm Spirit is yet another popular mid-pick, especially by Evil Geniuses. The North American powerhouse first-picks the hero for Abed Azel “Abed” L. Yusop every match in Stockholm Major, unless it’s banned. That said, EG isn’t the only team with a Storm Spirit obsession. Other top performers, such as Gaimin Gladiators, TeamSoloMid, and Fnatic also play the hero if it managed to survive the ban phase.

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