With the Group Stage of The International 2019 (TI9) over, we now have an idea of what the metagame will be for the Main Event thanks to the trend of hero picks and bans throughout the preliminary stage of the tournament.

Join us as we dive into the heroes of the TI9 Group Stage and why teams have chosen to either pick or ban them in their drafts.

Credit: The International Twitch Stream A

Most Picked: Elder Titan

Elder Titan appeared in the most games throughout the Group Stages, being picked a total of 54 times and sporting a decent 57.41% win rate. The hero has been played on both support positions, largely thanks to a skillset that has a high-impact throughout a game regardless of whether he gets a lot of items or not.

His Astral Spirit is very strong early game, as it allows him to harass opponents while buffing himself to effectively trade hits or even right-click enemies to death. Comboing Astral Spirit with Echo Stomp also gives him a very long range of initiation, which also makes him very effective in controlling Roshan especially when used in unison with his ultimate, Split Earth. His passive, Natural Order, reducing the armor and magic resistance of enemies is the icing on top.

Ogre Magi and Shadow Demon have also been popular choices among teams, with being picked a total of 51 times. Ogre Magi is tanky, has good stun and damage abilities, and can even buff his carry, while Shadow Demon is a solid support that can dish out a lot of damage alongside save and initiation abilities.

Gyrocopter (40), Tiny (39), Ember Spirit (36), Leshrac (36), Sand King (35), Kunkka (35), and Mirana (33) round out the rest of the top 10 most picked heroes.

Credit: The International Stream D

Most Banned: Alchemist, Enchantress

Teams seem to not want to have Alchemist and Enchantress in their games, as the two have been the most banned heroes so far with 99 apiece — over 20 times more than the third most-banned hero. The two have only managed to sneak through the draft 27 and 24 times respectively, with both having win rates hovering just below 60% to prove their worth.

While Alchemist has always been one of the best farming heroes in the game, he hasn’t always been the most capable carry in teamfights and tends to get outclassed if the game goes longer after he peaks. Players seem to have solved that problem by foregoing the Radiance-Manta-Octarine farm/splitpush-focused build of the past for a more fight-ready itemization with Radiance, Blink Dagger, Black King Bar, and Skull Basher into Abyssal Blade.

Enchantress provides a lot of damage thanks to her Impetus ultimate, while Untouchable and Nature’s Attendants make her deceptively tanky. Teams have largely picked her as an offlaner that can push the opposing carry out of the lane once she hits level 6 or as a position-4 that can also act as a core once she gets items.

Mirana (74), Shadow Demon (66), Chen (62), Kunkka (61), Leshrac (60), Magnus (56), Lifestealer (51), and Ogre Magi (50) comprise the rest of the top 10 most banned heroes.

Top picks per position (>10)


  • Gyrocopter (40)
  • Ember Spirit (36)
  • Lifestealer (30)
  • Alchemist (27)
  • Sven (26)
  • Slark (23)
  • Naga Siren (15)
  • Wraith King (14)
  • Faceless Void (13)
  • Morphling/Razor/Juggernaut/Templar Assassin (12)


  • Tiny (39)
  • Leshrac/Ember Spirit (36)
  • Kunkka (35)
  • Alchemist (27)
  • Storm Spirit (21)
  • Outworld Devourer (15)
  • Death Prophet (13)
  • Broodmother/Timbersaw/Razor/Templar Assassin (12)
  • Queen of Pain (11)


  • Ogre Magi (51)
  • Sand King (35)
  • Tidehunter (25)
  • Enchantress (24)
  • Earthshaker (23)
  • Beastmaster/Axe (21)
  • Centaur Warruner (18)
  • Abaddon (16)
  • Magnus (14)
  • Pangolier (12)
  • Batrider (11)


  • Elder Titan (54)
  • Shadow Demon (51)
  • Mirana (33)
  • Ancient Apparition/Crystal Maiden (31)
  • Grimstroke (26)
  • Lina (25)
  • Invoker/Warlock (22)
  • Rubick/Shadow Shaman (19)
  • Chen (18)
  • Dark Willow (16)
  • Jakiro (14)
  • Enigma/Omniknight (12)

*figures are based on prevalent position for heroes, some heroes like Invoker are considered support after being played at their traditional role (mid) less than their new role in the Group Stage (support)

Unpicked Heroes

  • Brewmaster
  • Clockwerk
  • Dark Seer
  • Keeper of the Light
  • Night Stalker
  • Riki
  • Ursa

All statistics courtesy of Dotabuff.

Be sure to check out our coverage of The International 2019 Group Stage for more TI9 action.