Dota 2 pro scene analysis: the Clockwerk meta

By Peter AndersAugust 22, 2020
With OMEGA League and ESL One Thailand both underway, Dota 2's patch 7.27 is finally reaching maturity as a defined metagame is formed across most regions. Valve made many changes, both to the game itself as well as the format of Captain’s Mode. One of the biggest winners of these changes has been Clockwerk, a hero that’s received a string of buffs to his more prominent weaknesses, such as his movement speed, armor, and mana pool.

Professional priorities

As one of the biggest winners of the current patch, Clockwerk has been prioritized across most major regions. Kurtis "Aui_2000" Ling from CR4ZY, Zhang "y`" Yiping from EHOME, and Adam "Aramis" Moroz from Vikin.gg each have been utilizing different strengths of the hero.
In game one of IG versus EHOME in the grand final of DPL-CDA Professional League Season 2, y', the support player from EHOME, uses the high base effective HP and move speed, along with the overall strength of Battery Assault at level one, to guarantee a kill on IG’s mid player, Zhou "Emo" Yi.
While y' dies, this is precisely what makes Clockwerk an excellent position 5 hero. He has strong initiation skills and the ability to keep a hero in one place for a long time, but no escape. This results in the hero often dying early on in a fight. So rather than putting farm on the hero and increasing his chances of survival, Dota 2 teams have realized accepting that the Clockwerk will die and making the death as insignificant as possible is more optimal.
In game one of a semifinals series between CR4ZY and Thunder Predator during The Great American Rivalry Season 1, Aui_2000 as the position 5 player on CR4ZY, uses the vision and initiation tools in Clockwerk’s skillset to safely initiate onto Alonso "Mnz" León's Weaver. While the pickoff does not go as planned due to a Romel "MJZ" Quinteros Vengeful Spirit being just out of vision, Aui_2000 uses Rocket Flare to scout nearby enemies, before using Hookshot and Power Cogs onto the enemy Weaver. The ability to gain vision without wards is rare among heroes and can be used to make it clear whether an engagement will be safe or not, as Aui_2000 displays.
In game one of OG versus Vikin.gg in the group stage of OMEGA League: Europe, the position 4 player on Vikin.gg, Aramis, uses each of Clockwerk’s ability to dominate the beginning of a Roshan fight, using Rocket Flare to steal the last hit on Roshan, Power Cogs to control the Faceless Void, Hookshot to control Topias "Topson" Taavitsainen's Invoker, and Battery Assault to control Sébastien "Ceb" Debs' Phoenix.

Clockwerk in the meta

Clockwerk’s abilities perfectly match the current meta of constant fighting and map control. With low cooldown high-impact abilities, including one that provides vision, he is able to turn a small advantage into a huge lead and create space for his cores when fighting from behind. The ability to create a form of terrain with Power Cogs, along with a BKB-piercing stun, makes teamfight control very easy for Clockwerk. In addition, Clockwerk’s high effective HP, mobility, short cooldowns, and low mana costs make it easy for him to get off all his spells in fights with little counterplay.
Clockwerk’s itemization route is also extremely favorable for the meta. In past metas, one of Clockwerk’s largest weaknesses was that he wasn’t a good aura carrier. Items such as Guardian Greaves and Vladmir’s Offering, while okay on Clockwerk, are more effective on other heroes. This is because Clockwerk is typically in the enemy team’s backline during fights where the auras will not reach his own allies, unlike other offlaners such as Underlord and Tidehunter. However, these aura items have been greatly nerfed from the previous deathball meta. Now, some of the most powerful items are Heaven’s Halberd and Spirit Vessel, both of which are natural items for Clockwerk.
The new Captain’s Mode changes favor Clockwerk, along with other non-oppressive, top tier support heroes. With only two bans in the first phase, from the previous four bans of 7.26, choosing to ban one hero will come at a high cost. It is easy to allow him to slip through the draft in favor of banning an oppressive hero such as Doom or Batrider instead.
Clockwerk currently fits the professional Dota 2 meta as a jack-of-all-trades type hero. He can be drafted in several different roles and has no glaring weaknesses. Clockwerk’s game plan of applying pressure in the early laning phase, providing vision and getting pickoffs in the middle game, and controlling the enemy’s backline and vision in the late game is well-suited to what nearly any lineup wants. He is a safe and comfortable first pick for top teams and is being utilized by high-level teams around the world.
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