AniMajor: Heal and Holy Lockets

5 min readJun 15, 2021


11 days of action ended with a dominant victory by PSG.LGD, in a 3–0 sweep of the North American outfit, Evil Geniuses. One change as the major progressed, the increasing prominence of the use of Holy Locket and the importance of your support hero being able to heal.

Change of direction.

The meta will always get defined within the tournament, not in the scrims before. It took until day 4, the second day of group stage, for the teams to get to the shift of an increasing importance of picking ‘healing’ supports.

The Wild Card stage saw a high proportion of Grimstroke, Snapfire and Ancient Apparition present in games. In contrast to that, Phoenix and Winter Wyvern were only picked twice, and three times, respectively.

Early front-runners.

Nigma, maybe by luck or fortune, began day 2 of the Kyiv Major with a greater emphasis on healing supports, and used the first double support healing duo of the tournament, picking Io and Winter Wyvern in game 2 versus Secret, the game which was remade 20 minutes in due to a server crash. Throughout the tournament, the Nigma captain, Kuroky, picked 0.8125 ‘healing’ supports, per game, i.e. for every 10 games played, Nigma would select, on average, just above 8 ‘healing’ supports.

With GH, their position 4, Nigma were able to play to his strengths in the meta and used him to great success on Phoenix, Winter Wyvern and Io. Nigma had a >50% win-rate on all 3 heroes, coupled with Kuroky’s 4–2 on Enchantress, like always, they were quite the duo.

Two birds, one outcome.

In the support roles, Phoenix and Winter Wyvern both became ‘premium’ picks, with a 23–11 record and 21–13 record respectively. Both possess heals, though one being single target, and one being AOE, they both had their benefits. Against top core heroes picked in the major, Phoenix and Winter Wyvern stacked up well.

Combined 8–1 against Mars, who’s popularity decreased rapidly as the tournament progressed, the benefits of the birds probably the reason why Mars became unpopular towards the closing stages, and the reason they began to be picked.

Phoenix actually the perfect ‘block-pick’ to any team who picks Mars. Whilst stopping the opposing team to combo bother Supernova and Arena of Blood, Mars, a strength hero with +3.4 strength gain, feels a greater burn to Sun Ray’s “max health as damage, per second”. Fire Spirits are also useful and Supernova itself also gives your team superior team-fight compared to Mars’ ultimate.

Both heroes are also incredibly powerful against Templar Assassin, the mid hero leant on heavily for drafts to snowball to victory. TA is borderline unpickable into Phoenix who can offer a multitude of instances of damage to make Refraction futile. Winter Wyvern can also do the same, except to a lesser extent with Arctic Burn, which can provide 8 instances of damage over 8 seconds. Winter’s Curse also becomes incredibly powerful we an opposing hero is stunned and Templar Assassin is taunted.

The mediocre rest.

Was it ‘healing’ supports that were excellent, or was it the powerfulness of Phoenix and Wyvern. Probably the latter. The Win/Loss of all other ‘healing’ supports is not spectacular.

Amplifying your support.

Move over Solar Crest. With just a 59.46% win-rate at the AniMajor, it is no match for the 75% win-rate of Holy Locket. Whilst only purchased 4 times in the past major, at Singapore, it was picked up 72 times in the 137 games in Kyiv. So what changed?

In 7.29 the Energy Charge interval charge gain time got reduced from 15 seconds to 10. It also was one of many support items to benefit from the reduced cost of Energy Booster from 900 to 800. The changes are not drastic, therefore maybe the item was undervalued in Singapore, but whilst amplifying heal the ability to use Energy Charge on allies can not be dismissed.

A full charge of Holy Locket is now completed in 200 seconds, instead of the 300 seconds in 7.28. 300 health and mana restored on a disabled ally is valuable but couple that with an extra heal and the benefit is tremendous.

Phoenix and Winter Wyvern also have their heals amplified in other ways, thanks to the Aghanim’s Shard. Cold Embrace becomes a 4 second heal on a 10 second cooldown, whilst with Phoenix, Sun Ray can now be used in conjunction with Supernova. With the Shard and Holy Locket, Wyvern, with level 4 Cold Embrace and the level 10 talent “+1.5% Cold Embrace heal”, can heal up to 243 health points + 35.1% of the unit’s max health, every 10 seconds.

Stop the heal.

So why wasn’t Ancient Apparition picked to counter the healing? Simply put, it was banned.

Against Phoenix and Winter Wyvern combined, AA was only present in 7 games and only went 1–4 against Phoenix.

Spirit Vessel also was picked up just 52 times, exactly the same as in Singapore 3 months prior. There wasn’t a greater emphasis on restricting healing even with the slightly cheaper price, 2840, in 7.29 compared to 7.28, 2940.

Did ‘healing’ supports impact winning?

You can see, teams that did well picked more ‘healing’ supports on average. This is probably synonymous with teams which had a better grasp of the meta and therefore picking heroes who have a greater chance of winning the game.

‘Healing’ supports are: Phoenix, Winter Wyvern, Enchantress, Treant Protector, Abaddon, Warlock, Chen, Oracle, Io, Witch Doctor, Undying.