During the group stage events, there was an unexpected kind of meta that surfaced. Faceless Void, a hero that most expected to be absent, was being picked. It seemed that teams were placing their bets for his Chronosphere to win fights. In early matches, it looked like those bets were well placed, and that strategy flourished.
But as that strategy grew, the more it proved to be a misplaced bet. Teams would build their entire lineup behind his ultimate and lose due to a lack of damage. Other times, his Chrono wasn’t well placed. As a result, his appearance dissipated during the main event. While he still gets some picks, the question remains: why was he so popular? The answer could very well be in the meta itself.
WHAT DOES CHRONO PROVIDE?
After the 7.06e update, the meta favors ganking, early game strategies, and team fight capability. Any hero that could be an asset for starting or sustaining a team fight gained value. Because of this, Void’s “Chronosphere” became alluring. While he doesn’t have the right-click ability to be a position 1 carry, his ult provides an opportunity to kill a hero uncontested. This is everything the meta aims for.
While the ult is on a 140-110 second cooldown, there aren’t that many heroes that can prevent a surprise Chrono. The heroes locked inside can’t move, activate abilities, or items. So, during early game, this can be devastating.
Early Game Strategy
Once a team’s key heroes hit level six, Chrono can open up many opportunities. A common pairing for an early strategy with Void is a Lich or Lina. Lich will speed up experience gain for Void using Sacrifice and can damage heroes in the Chrono using Frost Blast or Chain Frost. Lina can throw a salvo of damage at the enemy using Dragon Slave, Light Strike Array, and Laguna Blade. With the right pairing, early team fights will lean in Void’s favor.
Team Fight Capability
As stated prior, Chrono disables opponents and works for early game strategies. But, the best thing about it is that it’s always useful. Even if it’s not used to engage the enemy, it can save an ally. If used well, it can provide some time to make sharp decisions that can make or break a team fight. It works on escaping heroes, magic immune heroes, and wastes time sensitive abilities. Point being, it provides time and answers.
WHAT ELSE CAN VOID DO?
While Void isn’t a right-click powerhouse; he does have a particular use. The current meta shows that having the ability to chase down fleeing heroes is pivotal. Using Time Walk, Void can play both sides of this scenario. Let’s say he’s the fleeing hero; Time Walk allows him to walk through obstructing terrain to escape.
He also backtracks any damage taken within the past two seconds. Any initiation on him has to be a commitment. On the opposite end, Time Walk combined with Time Lock and Time Dilation makes it hard for an enemy to escape. With a good lineup, other heroes will obliterate one or two enemies while Void chases down the straggler.
While we’ve seen that Void has some potential in this meta, what makes him stand out is which heroes stand out more. Some of the top ten heroes include Puck, Qwop, and Lina. What theses heroes have in common is their sudden burst damage. Void’s Chrono is at its best when there’s someone who can make quick work of the enemy. Nothing short of a Linken’s Sphere or preemptive BKB can save them.
Heroes that hate facing Void are ones that have pivotal ults and a fragile body. Disruptor, Ancient Apparition, and Venomancer are examples of those who hate going up against him. If they’re outside the Chrono, they’re powerful heroes, but if caught, the fight could already be over. Even without the Chrono, Void still has the means to pick them off by chasing them down. Time Lock and Time Dilation make it hard for them to respond, and should he have a Diffusal Blade, they won’t have the mana to fend him off.
DOTA 2 TI ANALYSIS: CONCLUSION
With all this evidence, we can see that Void had a pretty good reason to be picked. He has a very clear use and provides options for his team. However, there’s also a very clear reason why his pick rate declined. Void isn’t a right-click powerhouse. He also isn’t a durable hero.
If left alone during early game, he doesn’t have an efficient way to farm or even kill a hero. If he uses Chrono on a lone target, there’s no guarantee he can kill them. And if he attempts to chase them down afterward, he loses his means to escape and could very well die to a counter gank.
Point being, Void shouldn’t be the character to set the meta. While he has some advantages, he doesn’t have a stable position to play. He can’t carry a game without the entire team cooperating. There are also several other reliable initiators. If Void is picked, it should be for a very niche strategy that has supplementary carries and initiation.