(Update 12/05/2016, patch 1.24) Congrats to Phoenix Armada! Not just the World Champions but easily the best team in the world. What's amazing to me is that Phoenix Armada also completely dominates their region. They didn't just settle for winning, but pushed their level of play to an apex in the presence of no rivals. That takes true dedication, discipline, and commitment. What's more, we witnessed Willy (and a Roam at that!) that is arguably the best player in the world, even in comparison to his teammate Druid. How did they do it? A huge focus on 1. Early game pressure through clear + mobility. 2. Kits that combo. 3. The best rotations in the game. 4. The most crisp shotcalling and reactions in the game. I said I wouldn't update again before the year ended, but after watching the Worlds, I had to bring you guys... Tier List: 2016 World Championship Edition. Happy Holidays everyone! S Tier Consistently Picked or Banned / Outperforms in High ELO Lyra Lyra Lyra, kit on fiyah. +[CC Utility] Lyra's Perk -> mini-Shiversteel. Imperial Sigil -> mini-War Treads (bye Fortress). Bright Bulwark -> abruptly stops 'Dash' abilities like some Gauntlet + Goop hybrid (bye Ardan). With a kit that supersedes the staple mechanic of so many other heroes/items, it is easy to see how her kit consistently outperforms. +[Flex Pick] Much like Adagio, Lyra offers the option of CP Carry or Backline Support, making her difficult to handle in Draft. Try pairing Roam Lyra with Krul or Saw. - [Extra Squishy] Lyra is the squishiest hero in the game and has 'stepped' damage. If you have an opening to trade burst damage, take it and run with it. But don't fail; she'll heal her team and turn the fight. - [Burst + Blocks + Extra Mobility] Extending from above, the effects of Bulwark can actually be blocked and you can follow her through Arcane Passage. Experiment with War Treads and multiple sources of mobility. =[In This Patch] Not just the most impactful Roam but the most impactful hero of this patch. Highest winrate in high ELO and in the Worlds along with Koshka. Koshka You hide, I'll seek! +[In-and-Out Assassin Mobility] Intense pressure on early-mid game with mobility and damage through Pounce, Twirly Death, and her Heroic Perk. With the +2 Move Speed buff, she is able to constantly skirmish and decide whether to flee an engagement (ideal to steal Jungle camps). +[Early-Mid Game] Little in energy concerns and relatively easy to generate effective results. Hits a nice power spike in mid-game in both mobility and damage that often leads to Jungle snowballs. - [End Game, Counters: Mitigate Empowered Damage, Block Ultimate] Huge drop off in value when Yummy Catnip Frenzy is blocked and her upfront stats are out-scaled by other heroes. The bulk of her damage comes from the two empowered attacks she gets after Twirly Death. =[In This Patch] What a surprise! No drop-off to be found. Immense early game pressure facilitates rotations to win in high ELO. Now an almost instant ban/pick post Worlds. Lance I like to Lance... a lot. Huehuehue. +[Reach and Initiation] Even though Lance is 'melee', his hit box is long and can hit multiple targets. With the lunging CC initiator Impale (145% WP ratio) into a Gythian Wall, this opens up some interesting offensive possibilities. +[Base Stats, Frontline Protector] Second only to Phinn, Lance has extremely high eHP stats. Coupled with Gythian directional damage reduction, this makes for one tanky knight. Using his low CD abilities and the ability to roll around like a Russian gymnast in a full coat of plate armor, Lance excels at protecting his carries. - [Fights in the Open] While Lance has few weaknesses, he will heavily lose impact in a fight if he's unable to use Gythian Wall effectively. Avoiding walls means Lance loses the stun on his B. Likewise, Long-ranged heroes such as Skaarf or Celeste can Poke the team down while avoiding A initiation. =[In This Patch] As shown many times throughout the tournament, once Lyra is off the board, Lance has a clear advantage over Ardan and just generates wins. Particularly good as an A-side first draft to keep B-side guessing as to what to do. Celeste Is it a bird? Is it a plane? No, it's Solar Storm about to steal Kraken. +[Zoning] Top level zoning with long range Heliogenesis and a Heroic Perk to grant vision. Disrupts standoffs between opposing teams with Nova poke damage. +[CP AoE Damage] Global ultimate, Heliogenesis, and Core Collapse produce high AoE damage mid to late game. - [Counter: Mobility, Squishy] Poor ability to rotate safely in early jungle with short range, squishiness, and lack of mobility. Late game, use strats that dive and burst. - [High Skill Cap] Requires immaculate prediction and skill shots to fulfill potential. Win or loss is often in the placement of one Core Collapse. =[In This Patch] A pure skillshot hero, Celeste's potential damage output is likely the highest of all heroes. Kestrel Pew pew. + [Poke and Snipe, Early Game] Plays Poker, likes Pokemon, and eats Poke bowls. Glimmershot and One-Shot-One-Kill will either chunk you locally or snipe you globally. Very strong in early jungle rotations. + [Stealth Mode] Like Taka, Kestrel has the option to disengage but with an added threat of an AoE stun. - [4 and Done, Dives] With only four arrows in her quiver at a time, she becomes elf meat after unleashing her payload. It also takes time for her to fire all four, so a good coordinated dive can quickly eliminate her. - [Counter: Body Block, Catherine] Put a tanky hero between her and your carry to absorb the bulk WP portion of her arrows to stop an ultimate from taking down a teammate. =[In This Patch] Close to 100% Ban/Pick rate, but not necessarily the best winrate. Lost some niche value due to parity with WP Gwen. Gwen Y'all reckon I have an Ace up my sleeve? +[Skirmishing] Amazing at choosing her spots and whittling down a target at max range. Her Boomstick Perk makes spaced-out WP shots effective and helps her transition into the mid-game with perfect CS. But the real star of her kit is Buckshot Bonanza, an AoE cone with 210% CP Ratio that slows, is long ranged, and virtually unblockable. . +[An Extra Pair of Boots and Block] Effectively an extra Boots active and Reflex Block on a low CD, Skedaddle allows Gwen to more freely move in and out with than other Carries. - [Burst Damage Trade + Multiple Gap Closers] Due to the stepped nature of her damage, Gwen's biggest fear is an enemy that can gap close and live through her damage output such as Blackfeather or Alpha. Often in these scenarios, if she can't run around and escape effectively, the stun on Aces High is her only saving grace. - [Early Game] Gwen is squishy and her early damage trade is below average. Her CP build is dreadful at pushing early lane and only hits a power spike at level 8 when she overdrives Buckshot Bonanza (a 5sec CD!). =[In This Patch] IMO, the biggest surprise! WP Gwen was nowhere to be found before the tournament in NA. Her ability to open with a chunk of damage and WP Base damage on A and C really kick start Breaking Point stacks. With a Stun, more mobility, and a free escape button, by and far one of the best WP Lane options. A Tier Consistently Outperforms / Rarely Banned Samuel This is my happy face. +[Ranged Kiting and Zoning] Samuel operates around the empowered ranged damage and mobility boost from using Malice & Verdict within Drifting Dark. The distance and ticks of damage can become frustrating to deal with, especially when used with items like Frostburn and Broken Myth. - [Predictability, Squishy, Mobility] Samuel's kit is fairly straightforward. He will kite you at a distance and his intended direction is given away by Drifting Dark. His build path is fairly singular and you can counter with Shield preemptively. While Oblivion sounds scary and can lead to some super combos (Adagio Verse of Judgement!), it's telegraphed and should be blocked or dodged. - [Counter: Drifting Dark Downtime] Look to bait DD out and then gap close. When Drifting Dark is down, Samuel has neither good damage nor mobility. =[In This Patch] Nerfs brought Samuel down to earth but Samuel's stream of empowered shots is still problematic when in conjunction with peel or another ranged carry. The difference between Samuel and other ranged zoning heroes? His power output begins at level 2. Flicker *NEWCOMER* Now you see me, now you don't. + [Hide and Go Seek] A lot of stealth. Flicker gains stealth in bushes and can stealth his entire team for covert initiations and operations. + [Massive Slow] Much of Flicker's kit takes a backseat to the power of the 40-70% AoE slow of Fairy Dust. It must be anticipated, or it will be used as a lockdown initiation or lockdown of aggressing heroes. - [Counter: Vision] The trick to stopping a magician? Never let him disappear. With ample vision, much of Flicker's early-mid strength is truncated. - [Endgame?] Endgame situations usually consist of sufficient vision and Flicker is reduced to his slow and speed boost on C. =[In This Patch] While definitely strong (mostly due to the massive slow), Flicker wasn't showcased as much as predicted at Worlds. He lacks some endgame strength and a clear escape if vision is established. Skaarf Like lighting a match in a Taco Bell bathroom. + [Ranged CP, Mid-End Game] Mid-end game CP damage from Fan the Flames, Spitfire, and Goop must be respected. Spitfire is the longest spammable skill in game. + [Objective Clear] One of the best choices to takedown Turrets and Minion Objectives. - [Mobility, Squishy] Reliant on boot tactics as Goop provides little in the way of escape. - [Counter: Skill CDs] Dive on Skaarf after a missed Spitfire or Goop. Run a circle around Skaarf when he does Dragon Breath. =[In This Patch] While Skaarf lags behind Celeste a bit in consistent output, at times he is the better pick because of the ability to work around his Goop, such as drafting into Blackfeather. Adagio Half Elder Dragon but ALL fabulous. +[Flex Pick] Versatile Hero and good flex pick in Draft formats as either CP carry or Backline Support. Early game is able to push back opposing Laners with range and replenish both HP and mana to win early prolonged engagements. +[Buff + Sustain Comps] Agent of Wrath is the primary damage boost skill featured in buff comps with heroes like Vox, Saw, and Ringo. Meanwhile, Adagio has Gift of Fire to AoE DoT damage, heal, and a slow while Verse of Judgement can initiate or potentially stun an entire team. - [Counter: Mobility] Lacks mobility and GoF is not a reliable defensive escape. - [Single Target 'Stepped' Damage, Dependent on AoW CD and GoF Burn] Stepped damage can lag behind the burst or AoE potential of other carries. Furthermore, look to take advantage of Adagio when his burning misses or buff CD is down. =[In This Patch] Great in conjunction with a clear Gift of Fire target like Flicker or Ozo. Showcased a few times in Worlds as Roam with early game Koshka. Ardan Sheds manly tears when a dog, sophisticated lady, emo elf, or Godzilla are picked over him as Support. Lance is ok. +[Team Sustain + Mobility] Healing from Julia's gift, pinball mobility with the swiss-army knife Vanguard (HP barrier, escape, AoE damage, slap-ass boost of speed, and slow all-in-one) provide top-level sustain and movement. +[Damage Trades] Wins prolonged damage trades over other Roamers at most parts of the game using a gap-closing Blood for Blood. Gauntlet punishes opposing teams without Blocks as an initiator, separator, team escape, pre-emptive barrier, or a flashy leap over walls. - [Impact] Lacks the combo strength of a Cath or Phinn or the impact of an Adagio or Fortress. Extremely significant in endgame when 1 or 2 engagements can determine the winner of the game. =[In This Patch] Sometimes lacks the endgame impact of other Roamers but remains the best choice for backpedaling tactics while keeping your Carry alive. Ozo Join me on a journey to the west! +[Early Game, Base Stats] At the top of effective base stats, Ozo is a hero you want to fight often and early with. Abuse Three Ring Circus with items like Aftershock, Alternating Current, and Tension Bow. +[Sustain] Like Phinn, Ozo has an interesting perk that enhances his sustain. Partner him sustain sources like Adagio, Fortress, Phinn, or Lyra and use items like Fountain and Blocks (and Potions!) to watch him go Super Saiyan. - [Sitting Duck Crying Monkey, Late Game] In advanced matches, teams will focus Ozo down during Acrobounce (which deals the largest of damage on the last bounce) and block Bangarang, leaving him to be a three-ring circus clown. =[In This Patch] We didn't get to see OP Ozo, but Ozo (behind closed doors), is still one of the best kept secrets of high ELO players. Taka Great at opening cans or stealing cookies. +[Burst Assassin, Mid Game] Pervasive burst KO threat and minion stealer. Hits a big power spike once his ultimate is unlocked at level 6. +[Slippery Mobility, 'Wildcard' Hero] Fast and slippery, Taka can constantly be a menace and give a less organized team a chance to steal the game. With sharp reaction, use Kaiten to dodge CC skills like Celeste's Core Collapse or even nullify damage from ultimates. - [Counter: Vision, Coordination] Well-placed Wision and team coordination tend to suffocate Taka's advantages. - [End Game, Solo Act] Falls off when mid-game advantage is not secured. Taka usually does not have Ki stacks up in endgame standoffs and thus usually predictably leads with X-Retsu. Like Krul, somewhat lacking in team utility other than just bursting down one target. =[In This Patch] Taka's synergy with Stormcrown and CD reduction continues to be problematic, but he's become a little less reliable in the face of other early game heroes.