Tidehunter’s Tumble: An Analysis of the Leviathan’s Falling Popularity

Tidehunter used to be such a frequent appearance in professional games that he even had a team, No Tidehunter (now playing under the name of Alliance), jokingly named in honour of him because they found him so annoying to play against. Unfortunately, (at least for those who enjoy watching him being played in professional matches), his popularity has fallen off considerably since TI2.

By looking at the gradual decline of Tidehunter from TI2 to TI3 we can begin to try to piece together a narrative of what exactly happened to our favourite, watermelon-striped Leviathan.

Tidehunter’s Performance in Professional Games

Games W L Win % Before After
Tidehunter (since the beginning of DotA 2) 574 286 288 0.50
Post TI2 373 178 195 0.48 2/9/2012
Before the beginning of TI2 125 69 56 0.55 20/8/2012
Up to end of TI2 196 105 91 0.54 2/9/2012
During TI2 76 40 36 0.53
7 months before TI3 91 41 50 0.45 2/8/2013 2/1/2013
During TI3 12 6 6 0.50

Source: Datdota.com

 As you can see by the win rates and games played above, Tidehunter’s popularity and general success rate dropped precipitously in the months leading up to TI3 with only 91 games played that included Tide (and a saddening 45% win rate) and a mere 12 games played as Tide during the tournament (with a respectable 50% win rate) Tide was no longer the omnipresent, teamfight turning force that he once was. Compared to his run in TI2 with 76 games played and a 53% win rate he is a shadow of his former self.

So what happened to Tidehunter? His decline in popularity can be attributed to a number of factors.

  1. The introduction of new heroes (like Magnus who was slightly more prominent at TI3) who serve a similar role but are arguably stronger and more versatile. As well as the emergence of alternate laning supports and offlaners (through release of new heroes and buffs to current ones).
  2. The nature of the meta and the shift towards fewer large, decisive teamfights and more frequent skirmishes.
  3. Nerfs made to Tidehunter (ultimate travel time, reduced ravage damage) that have limited his effectiveness.

As it stands, it seems unlikely that Tidehunter will return to his previous lofty heights. He faces substantial competition from other supports who offer more during the early stages of the game and are not as dependent on items like Blink Dagger in order to be able to initiate effectively. Tidehunter feels like a remnant of the way in which DotA used to be played before the sweeping changes made in patches 6.78 and 6.79. Without a reinvention of the way he is played or a shift back to a more TI2-esque way of playing matches he’ll have to hang out on the sidelines. The exception being in niche circumstances where he fits a specific requirement.

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