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M2 World Championship META Analysis

2 February 2021Wilson Wongso

The M2 World Championship didn't only showcase the world's best teams, but also the best set of heroes that Mobile Legends has to offer. Which heroes were constantly picked, banned, and had the highest win rate? Who secured the title of Top Kills and Top GPM?

Mobile Legends Bang Bang’s most prestigious tournament, M2 World Championship, may have ended, but the exciting memories that trail will forever be remembered. But it’s not just the adrenaline-filled games that we could talk endlessly about, we can learn a lot just by seeing which heroes were constantly picked, banned, and had amazing outcomes.

It’s apparent that some heroes became favorites of almost all teams, being constantly competed and even attained respect-bans from the world’s best teams around. What may be the reason behind such trends? Does the M2 META reflect where the game’s strongest potential lie?

In this article, we shall explore some of the most notable heroes, starting with the most picked, most banned, highest win rates, as well as the hero with the highest GPM throughout. Moreover, we will find out which player achieved the greatest number of kills during M2.

 

Most Picked Heroes

The following are the three most picked heroes throughout M2 World Championship. Multiple aspects contribute to the heavy favoritism towards these heroes, ranging from being an overall good and stable pick, to being an all-time powerful hero.

Lapu-Lapu

Since his revamp in the last patch, Lapu-Lapu became a top favorite pick among players in Ranked Matches and professional tournaments alike. In M2 alone, he was picked 40 times and had a pick rate of 58%.

Lapu-Lapu’s modified Ultimate Skill and Passive Skill is just too strong in the current META, especially against heavy Crowd-control Effects which is essentially the mainstream. The damage he can provide is also a threat to anyone he is going to face on the Offlane. Lapu-Lapu is almost good for every circumstance no matter what heroes the enemy’s team is going to be picking.

Lapu-Lapu. Source: Mobile Legends Bang Bang.
Lapu-Lapu. Source: Mobile Legends Bang Bang.

The Courageous Blade hero is virtually a complete hero, where he can provide Crowd-control Effects, a decent amount of consistent damage output from the early-to-late game, has Crowd-control Immunity from his Ultimate, has great durability from his Passive, as well as mobility from his second skill and at times of urgency. Indeed, Lapu-Lapu is a hero that anyone could definitely benefit from.

Nevertheless, some items could be used to counter this hero like Antique Cuirass as Lapu-Lapu relies on his Basic Attack at times. Another item to counter him during the late-game is either Sea Halberd or Necklace of Durance. These help to reduce 50% of his HP (Health Point) Regeneration from his skills, so he wouldn’t be able to survive for too long during team fights.

Chou is also a great counter-pick to Lapu-Lapu thanks to his Ultimate, The Way Of Dragon, that could set Lapu-Lapu asleep.

Benedetta

Benedetta is by far one of the strongest Assassins in the game, securing a 54% pick rate in M2 and was played 37 times. Her strongest ability is how versatile the hero is as she could be utilized in either the Gold Lane or the Experience Lane, even as a Hyper Carry in some cases.

She is indeed one of the most mobile heroes in the game, due to her Passive Skill, allowing her to Dash without using up any of her Mana. Furthermore, today’s META heroes have one thing in common: Crowd-control Immunity. You name it, heroes like Yi Sun-Shin, Lapu-Lapu, Chou, and many others share this similarity.

Benedetta counteracts such an ability with her second skill, An Eye For An Eye, by dodging Crowd-control effects. Likewise, it could double as a counter-attack thanks to its stunning capability.

For now, Benedetta is a very safe pick for most situations, but there is one hero that could stop her: Silvanna. Silvanna is an absolutely perfect counter against Benedetta, as her Ultimate Skill will be inescapable unless with help of the Purify Battle Spell. However, that is very unlikely to happen because Benedetta is most effective with the Execute Battle Spell.

Items like Antique Cuirass could also be used to counter her damage output, as well as Dominance Ice to slow her Movement Speed for means of chasing this agile hero.

Yu Zhong

Since his premiere arrival into the Land of Dawn, Yu Zhong has never left the META. Despite the nerfs that he got in the recent patches, he is still one of the top priority picks in Ranked Matches as well as tournaments. Such a trend is evident by his 51% pick rate in M2 where the hero was picked 35 times.

Yu Zhong. Source: Mobile Legends Bang Bang.
Yu Zhong. Source: Mobile Legends Bang Bang.

It’s safe to say that Yu Zhong is by far one of the most annoying Offlaners the game has ever had. His Passive Skill allows him to drain his enemy’s HP and regenerates his own, making it really hard to survive against him in the early-to-mid game. Another plus point that this Black Fierce Dragon has is his Ultimate’s Crowd-control Immunity, transforming him into a literal beast in team fights.

However, Yu Zhong is only very strong when going against Melee heroes. When it comes to dealing with Marksmen in the early-game, it’s quite challenging for him to remain dominant. Some great counter-picks include Wanwan and Claude, while items like Sea Halberd and Necklace of Durance assists in nullifying his HP Regeneration from his skills.

 

Most Banned Heroes

While the previous section discussed heroes that are frequently picked, others aren’t as fortunate. These heroes get constantly banned due to how dangerous it might be if ever set loose. However, there are items and heroes which could help counter these deadly heroes in the case of urgency.

Natalia

Natalia is the top banned hero for a good reason: her invisibility and silence ability. Basically, she is a rotation destroyer, disrupting the enemy team’s rotation by targetting the opposing Main Hyper Core. In M2 alone, she has an 88% ban rate, tallying a total of 61 ban-counts.

In today’s META, the Hyper Core will often be farming the Jungle monsters on their own and that is where Natalia comes to play by disturbing and possibly killing the hero. While the Hyper Core is struggling to get their crucial items, Natalia can come online earlier than they do. Simply put, she is the current META destroyer and is banned so that neither team will have the advantage against the other.

Natalia. Source: Mobile Legends Bang Bang.
Natalia. Source: Mobile Legends Bang Bang.

Natalia is the only hero that can totally disrupt the present Hyper Core’s efficient ways of farming. Even if Natalia is not near enemy heroes, they still need to pay greater attention and thus require them to farm in a safer, yet slower, farming area. In the parallel world of Dota 2, Natalia is Riki, except she can snowball very early on.

Natalia is always used as a Support as it is the best position she could be tasked in. Effective counter-items against Natalia include Cursed Helmet, which is especially beneficial for Tank heroes to detect Natalia’s position. While for the squishy heroes like Mages and Marksmen, Antique Cuirass and Twilight Armor can be used to nullify her damage to avoid getting one-shotted.

Brody

Ever since his recent adjustment in the latest patch, Brody became a must-ban in almost every game. Trailing slightly below Natalia, Brody had an 84% ban rate in M2 and was banned 58 times. What makes this hero a must-ban, given that the new patch made him a different beast?

Before his buff, Brody was indeed strong during the early-game but struggled as the game progressed into the later stages of the game. What allowed him to re-enter the META is his increased Damage Growth per Level, making him all too powerful.

If you’re an older player, you might recall a similar characteristic to that of the good old Granger. Brody only requires a Blade of Despair, along with an Endless Battle to deal a significant amount of damage.

Despite such potential, Brody still isn’t the game’s best Hyper Core due to the lack of mobility. At the same time, Brody has a Stunning Skill while most Marksmen alike do not possess it. Plus, like Benedetta, Silvanna is a good counter against Brody due to her ability to further reduce his mobility and enter into a melee-distanced skirmish.

Otherwise, Chou could also be a very good counter against this must-ban hero, especially during the late-game. Items such as Dominance Ice, Antique Cuirass, and Twilight Armor are all great defensive items to counter Brody’s massive damage output.

Esmeralda

It’s actually no surprise to see this Astrologer remain as a top banned hero in this current META, despite receiving a multitude of nerfs in the last few patches. With a ban rate of 78% in M2, this hero was removed from the draft 54 times.

Aside from being one of the most durable heroes in the game, Esmeralda’s most annoying factor is causing her enemies to reconsider purchasing an Athena Shield. Although the item provides an additional shield for defensive purposes, Esmeralda can easily suck up all the shield to her advantage, translating a huge loss for the enemy team.

Esmeralda. Source: Mobile Legends Bang Bang.
Esmeralda. Source: Mobile Legends Bang Bang.

What that means during the drafting phase is that whoever gets to play Esmeralda could easily outweigh the opposing team’s Magic Damage output — given that the hero is not banned for some reason.

Furthermore, Esmeralda can be utilized as a Hyper Core in the Mid Lane but is most effective when placed in the Gold or Experience Lane. Experience Lane is nonetheless more preferable as she struggles to man-fight Marksmen heroes which typically appear on the Gold Lane.

Wanwan, for instance, is the absolute perfect counter during the early-game. Like Yu Zhong, Esmeralda struggles to deal with Marksman heroes. Items like Sea Halberd and Necklace of Durance helps to counter her High HP Regeneration and Oracle is a great option to nullify her Magic Damage.

 

Heroes with Highest Win Rate

As much as there are heroes who get constantly picked, they might not be the best heroes to win the match nonetheless. Some heroes get picked rarely, but is proven to be amongst the most effective heroes during M2. The following are three heroes with the highest win rate, where the hero is picked at least 10 times.

Claude

Claude is the most successful hero throughout M2 for a specific reason: late-game advantage. With a whopping 71% win rate, Claude was picked for 31 times, that’s 22 wins in total. In fact, her 71% win rate is right below Diggie’s, Rafaela’s, Balmond’s, and Uranus’s 100% win rate, but they’re all played for less than 5 times.

Unlike other Marksmen or Assassins, Claude is by far the strongest late-game hero as long as you can keep his stack alive. Due to this, Claude requires great mastery of micro and micro knowledge in order to not only maintain a stack, but also to time his Ultimate perfectly.

His Passive Skill, Battle Side-By-Side, gives Claude the edge above all other Marksmen and Assassins alike, further strengthening the hero especially when facing enemy cores with a complete set of items.

In a nutshell, Claude’s Passive is like a bonus item that allows him to be a better late-game performer. That means, when the enemy core has a maximum of 6 items, Claude virtually has 7 items plus his 10-stack Passive.

Claude. Source: Mobile Legends Bang Bang.
Claude. Source: Mobile Legends Bang Bang.

Claude is certainly versatile in terms of choosing between becoming a Hyper Core or a Sidelaner, but it all boils down to which Hyper Core and Gold Laner the enemy team drafts. Players like Bren EsportsKarltzy, Burmese GhoulsACE, and RRQ Hoshi’s XINNN has displayed wondrous plays with Claude during M2.

Nevertheless, their builds do not differ as much. Items like Magic Shoes, Demon Hunter Sword, and Golden Staffs are mandatory, while the rest of the slots depend on what the situation calls for.

On the other hand, the Assassin Emblem along with the Killing Spree talent is the standard for whichever lane Claude is placed in. Otherwise, the Support Emblem could be its substitute to provide greater Mana Regeneration for Gold Laner Claude.

Atlas

Atlas made an unexpected return in M2 and is more often used during the Playoffs stage of the tournament. The Ocean Gladiator was picked 10 times, banned 9 times, and had a win rate of 70%. Such a commendable win rate is due to Atlas’ game-changing Ultimate Skill which could be the key to winning a major team-fight.

In this META, however, Atlas is somewhat underwhelming when it comes to invading enemy Jungle — a practice which many players still constantly do today. Yet the hero remains as a comfort pick for a few participating players of M2, such as Burmese Ghouls’ MayBe and Bren Esports’ Lusty. They both executed Atlas’ style of gameplay perfectly and secured multiple victories with this hero.

The Support Emblem goes well with this hero, providing extra Cooldown Reduction and further allows Atlas to spam his Ultimate Skill. There isn’t a de facto item build when it comes to Atlas as it depends on what counters are present in the enemy team. However, Fleeting Time remains compulsory to further reduce his Ultimate Skill, Fatal Links.

Alice

Unlike Atlas, Alice has been a favorite among professional players since MPLI Season 2 and numerous teams started to utilize her as an Offlaner ever since. Played 19 times in M2, Alice attained a respectable 68% win rate.

In the early-game, Alice isn’t as strong until she gets an Enchanted Talisman. With that one item, she could easily destroy any minion waves efficiently and obtain HP Regeneration by doing so.

Alice. Source: Mobile Legends Bang Bang.
Alice. Source: Mobile Legends Bang Bang.

Like Yu Zhong and Esmeralda, Alice doesn’t perform well against Marksman heroes during the laning phase. But as soon as she gets her Ultimate Skill, she can utterly dominate the lane. Despite not being able to take down the enemy team’s Marksman easily, she can quickly fly away with her first skill and avoid getting ganked.

Notable players of Alice include Bren Esports’ Ribo and RRQ Hoshi’s Wizzking, both of which may utilize the hero in either the Gold Lane or the Experience Lane. When it comes to the Emblem of choice, the Mage or the Support Emblem could come in handy. Demon Shoes and Enchanted Talisman are necessary for Alice’s early laning stages and rotations.

 

Top Kill

When it comes to finding out which hero had the greatest number of kills throughout M2, you’ll gradually conclude that one player racked up the top three on the leaderboard. And that player is no other than the Grand Finals MVP, Bren Esports’ Karltzy.

Karltzy has proven that he’s the world’s best Core in competitive Mobile Legends. He’s not only talented in terms of hero versatility, but also how he flawlessly executed heroes in different playstyles that the game calls for. His top three kills are as follows: 16 kills as Lancelot against Alter Ego, 13 kills as Harley against Omega PH, and another 13 kills as Lancelot against RRQ Hoshi.

Bren Esports’ Karltzy. Source: @mpl.id.official.
Bren Esports’ Karltzy. Source: @mpl.id.official.

What then, enables Karltzy to achieve such a notable title? Aside from his undoubtedly excellent gameplay, the rest of Bren Esports paved the way by making impactful plays. For instance, Bren’s Offlaner Flaptzy plays a hero like Baxia, serving as a Secondary Tank whilst Supporting and providing the upper-hand kill-advantage for Karltzy.

But this isn’t always the case, especially when Karltzy opts for his key heroes like Lancelot and Harley. These require him to be more independent and steady to solo pick-off enemy heroes. In either case, Bren’s mindful draft consistently synergizes with Karltzy’s, and vice versa.

Like Karltzy, a good Hyper Core should survive and farm independently, before transforming into an unstoppable, late-game beast.

 

Top GPM

Like the Top Kill leaderboard, there’s a hero that becomes the highlight of this title: Yi Sun-Shin. The Paenlong Legend excels at gaining gold thanks to its player’s farming pattern, as well as the hero’s characteristic itself. Do realize that getting gold earlier than the enemy could mean a lot, especially when it comes to competing against the enemy’s Core and securing key items as soon as possible.

The reason behind Yi Sun-Shin’s highlight in M2 is because of his ability to farm with high efficiency and casually take objectives like Turrets and Turtles. What allows such a speed is Yi Sun-Shing’s Critical Damage ability — a skill which not all heroes possess.

After his last revamp that made him META relevant, Yi Sun-Shin can proc 100% Critical Damage most of the time, if not every single time for both farming and objective purposes as discussed previously.

Yi Sun-Shin. Source: Mobile Legends Bang Bang.
Yi Sun-Shin. Source: Mobile Legends Bang Bang.

Another plus point of Yi Sun-Shin is his Ultimate Skill, Mountain Shocker. With it, Yi Sun-Shin could still get easy assist-counts even if he’s not present during the team-fight. That means, without jeopardizing his life, Yi Sun-Shin could still gain as many assists as a typical Tank or Support would.

The general playstyle for Yi Sun-Shin is usually starting the game off by taking both buffs and rotating to either the Top Lane or the Bottom Lane to get the Gold Buff. Then, as soon as he hits Level 4, he can definitely try to gank the lane that he’s at.

One major mistake which Yi Sun-Shin beginners often commit is not using his Passive efficiently. His Passive Heavenly Vow is very crucial because Yi Sun-Shin depends wholly on the skill to deal a significant amount of damage. Without it, Yi Sun-Shin could easily lose team-fights because of how irrelevant he will be.

The top three GPM leads in M2 were all secured by Yi Sun-Shin. At first-place is Karltzy with a 990 GPM rate, followed by Omega PH’s Hadjizy at 986 GPM, and finally Todak’s Ciku at 979 GPM.

 

Cover Image by Mobile Legends Bang Bang.