Since it was first held in 2011, The International (TI) has been seen as the peak of Dota 2 competition.
The top teams and players around the world look for strategies and hero drafts that would give them their best chance to stay ahead of the competition.
This has led to TI having a wide array of hero picks and bans with all six regions bringing in their unique playstyles to the tournament.
And out of all the heroes that have appeared in TI, Io has been seen as the most contested hero by all the teams that have attended Dota 2’s most prestigious tournament.
Despite making its TI debut in 2013, Io has accumulated the most bans across all 10 TI tournaments with 653 in total.
3 reasons why pros consistently ban Io
1. Relocate is one of the most versatile ultimates in Dota 2
Io’s ultimate, relocate, allows it to teleport anywhere on the map after a short cooldown. If it’s tethered to an ally, it takes them along for the ride.
This ability to show up anywhere on the map with reinforcements gives it an incredible amount of map influence. Teams will always hesitate to engage if they know backup can arrive in a couple of seconds.
Besides its offensive use, Relocate allows the hero to have one of the best saves in the game, all the way back to base if needed.
Jerry “EGM” Lundkvist demonstrated how best to use this ability when he saved Jonathan “Loda” Berg’s Chaos Knight in their TI6 group stage match against LGD. To avoid an incoming gank by the Chinese squad, EGM preemptively cast Io’s Relocate that sent his hard carry teammate back to the Radiant base.
2. Io has one of the best steroid spells in Dota 2
Two of Io’s abilities are all about buffing allies. Tether allows the hero to connect with an ally and offer increased movement speed and HP regeneration, while Overcharge provides offensives bonuses to attack speed and spell damage on top of sustain.
These bonuses make Tethered carries nigh unkillable. Some of the top iconic combos are with heroes like Gyrocopter, Choas Knight, and Tiny.
Maroun “GH” Merhej was infamous in 2017 for his ability to use support Io to the hero’s maximum potential. It had an 80% win rate whenever it was picked by GH in TI7, and was almost always banned against Team Liquid.
3. The hero is so versatile, it can also be played as a carry
The hero was added into captain mode in March 2012, and the hero was immediately picked up by pro players to be used as a strong support hero.
However, it wasn’t until OG’s Anathan “ana” Pham came along and picked the energy hero as a carry during the group stage at TI9. OG finished their group stage run with 14 wins and the best record going into the playoffs. This made everyone realize how much potential the hero had as a hard carry.
Io’s level 10 talent provided it with 60 damage, while its level 15 talent allows spirits to do an extra 90 damage per spirit. This means it can be played as a fast-tempo carry that can come online early in the game and make a tremendous impact.
Ana demonstrated the hero’s impressive damage against Virtus.Pro during the group stage of TI9. The moment Ana hit level 15, OG took a big team fight and managed to team wipe Virtus.Pro without a single death on their side.
OG put a lot of faith in their Io carry strategy and picked the hero six times during TI9, and won all six games.
In their playoff match against Newbee, OG was able to control the high ground at the 27-minute mark, then proceeded to fountain dive Newbee in their base.
This hero’s versatility, global map presence, role flexibility, and unrivaled support has kept it popular throughout many tournaments, and not just in TI.
READ MORE: How to be a good support player in Dota 2