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Why Io is the best hero that every support main needs to play
Dec 13, 2021, 4:25:00 AM

Why Io is the best hero that every support main needs to play

Dota 2 is filled with solid heroes that can make a huge impact with their kit. You can always expect a hero that stands out in the metagame but Io is always up there. Let’s talk about Io, a hero that fundamentally changed Dota since its release.

Most Dota players were sceptical about what the hero can bring to the table. It was a complex hero that mostly relied on empowering other heroes to be the unkillable giants. At the time of Io’s release, it was mostly paired with heroes like Chaos Knight and Tiny who struggled with farming but they thrived with ganks.

Io is one of the most unique heroes in Dota history because it doesn’t function well without a partner hero. Most Dota heroes can sustain by themselves but Io struggles on its own. When you watch Dota Pro Circuit games, you should see that they maximize Io to its fullest potential. Let’s look into what makes the hero work so well at the highest level.

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Io’s skillset makes a team better

Io’s skillset is a complex mix of sustainability for his teammates and a global presence. With skills like Tether and Overcharge, these are used to empower Io’s teammates with insane healing and buffs to both attack speed and movement speed. This accelerates Io’s partner’s growth because they can farm faster with the buffs and they will be stronger when it comes to scraps against opponent heroes.

The Spirits ability is Io’s main damage output as it provides the hero with five spirit circles around Io that deal damage. Creeps take minor damage from touching a spirit which means that this is also Io’s main farming tool. This is used to zone out the opponents because it deals solid damage at the max level depending on talent tree choices.

Lastly, Relocate is the biggest reason why Io is such a popular hero. As the name suggests, the skill is used to teleport Io and the tethered target to any spot in the map and they will stay there for 12 seconds. This gives the team with Io a time frame where they can gank opponents or take an objective like a tower or the barracks.

With this constant threat of a Relocate, Io applies pressure to the opponents simply by existing. It should not be a surprise that Io is one of the most effective heroes in the game because of how its presence can change the dynamics of a match.

This can also change with items like Aghanim's Scepter/Shard because they bring a new dimension to Io’s skills. The Shard is probably the biggest one for Io since it brings back the old-school Tether stun where an opponent is stunned if they touch the Tether between Io and its partner.

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Pro teams have proven Io’s value

When you look at the stats from The International, you can see that Io is far and away the most banned hero of all time. Since it was added to Captains Mode in late 2012, Io has been the biggest threat to any team in the game. Teams have maximized Io as the centrepiece for their tactics over the years and it has led to teams refusing to play against it.

Since Io is an auto-ban for most teams, that leaves the drafters with more options because the hero already took up a spot. This has led to some strong meta heroes popping up but even if there have been nerfs and big changes to the hero, Io remains supreme for pro teams because it is fundamentally designed that way.

When you watch TI, you could see teams like TI3 Alliance and TI9 OG win the Aegis of Champions with Io as a cornerstone in their tactics. Alliance swapped between Jerry ‘EGM’ Lundkvist and Joakim ‘Akke’ Akterhall as the Io players and they won the event beating Natus Vincere 3-2 in the grand final.

On the other hand, OG won the event using a unique carry Io build with Anathan ‘ana’ Pham playing the hero. It was an entirely different Io playstyle but it further proved that the hero can be the centrepiece of any team’s strategy and they can still make it work.

Io will always be a top-tier hero in the pro scene but the ranked matchmaking players have yet to unlock the hero’s potential as a top choice for the matchmaking rating grind.

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Most non-pro players don’t know how to counter Io

Due to its complexity, players avoid Io because they don’t know how to use it. Non-pro players struggle mechanically and Io is a difficult hero to play because it mostly relies on communication and positioning. If you’ve ever played a Dota 2 game, you should know that players mostly don’t communicate with each other using voice chat, unlike other games. There are a unique few that do but playing Io is a different beast compared to a hero like Crystal Maiden.

It is nearly impossible to beat a good Io in ranked matches because it is very hard to counter. If pro players struggle against a good Io, you can expect that the rest of the Dota world will also be on the back foot. If support players want to win more MMR, they should try learning Io because it gives them a great hero to spam if they know how to use it.

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Io will help any player improve their mechanics

When it comes to positioning and mechanical skills, Io is the hero where players will be challenged. You will learn how to make the correct move as support with Io because you have to play the ‘right’ way.

Io has a long track record of helping pro teams and players in ranked matchmaking should try their hand at using the hero. It will be difficult to play against a good Io and that might be the key to earning higher medals.

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Words: Cholo Martin

Image: PA