Unfortunately, numerous nerfs caused him to become a niche pick in pro play.
During the M2 World Championship for example, Popol and Kupa was picked four times, and won only two matches.
According to the latest MPL PH data, Popol and Kupa has been picked 44 times, and won 27 times. That’s an astounding 61% win rate for the Icefield Companions.
Popol and Kupa has also been banned a total of 64 times, which shows that the dynamic duo is viewed as a threat to many team compositions. What exactly makes Popol and Kupa a threat in the current meta?
Popol and Kupa is a good substitute for Selena
Selena is one of the most banned heroes in MPL PH — 108 bans in total. She is one of the best support heroes thanks to her Abyssal Trap, which provides vision around the map.
In a meta where being aggressive is the name of the game, having control of the map is a big advantage. Selena used to be the only hero that does this effectively.
Then, a monumental buff for Popol and Kupa was deployed in patch 1.5.62. Similar to Abyssal Trap, Popol’s Surprise now exposes a target’s location if they step on a trap.
So if a team wants to have a map-control heavy lineup and Selena is banned, the next logical thing to do is lock in Popol and Kupa.
Popol and Kupa can initiate team fights with ease
The Icefield Companions’ role is marksman, but teams have been playing him either as a tank or as a support.
And who can blame them? Popol and Kupa has one of the best crowd control abilities that can either pin down one hero with Bite ‘Em, Kupa! or knock up multiple enemies with Kupa, Help!
Popol can initiate team fights by using Bite ‘Em, Kupa!, sending Kupa to do all the hard work. It’s a lot safer compared to other heroes who need to go in deep past the enemy’s frontline to set up plays.
Kupa can act as a damage absorber for the team
Playing with a Popol and Kupa on your team can sometimes feel like you have an extra teammate on your side. Although you can’t directly control Kupa, Popol can use some of his abilities to place Kupa in the frontline and act as a damage absorber.
This is especially effective if you are up against high-tier heroes such as Granger or Chang’e, for Kupa can block most of their projectile abilities.
It’s exciting to speculate what the future holds for Popol and Kupa. For now, expect to see more of this hero especially in the upcoming MPL PH playoffs that will begin on Wednesday, May 26.