By quincy0191

Hero combinations are often a major point of emphasis in the drafting and laning phase. Teams like to pick to maximize not only the individual power of their heroes but their ability to work together. Swiftblade and Glacius are a time-honored TMM example: Glacius’ freeze plus Swiftblade’s spin is a common first blood attempt. Individually each spell is powerful, but together they are more than the sum of their parts. Synergy is a beautiful thing.

This time I’m looking at the best hero combos, the one-two punches that exponentially increase each others’ power. Which heroes, when run together, should send the opposing team running in fear?

First off let’s just look at teammate winning percentage. The table below features the heroes with the highest win rates when they are on the same team (minimum 10 games):

Best Win% When on the Same Team

So Rhapsody pretty strong hero. Stick her in a lineup and things tend to go well. Ophelia and Rhapsody make sense, as their pushing power is extremely strong. Rhap’s also a great ganker and lane partner, which likely explains the Kraken entry. Chipper may benefit from her stun and ult to keep heroes in place for his strong skillshot burst damage and low durability.

It’s harder to immediately explain the Doctor-Rhapsody or the Engi-Puppet combo. The biggest reason is likely that those are just really good heroes, and putting them in the same lineup helps you win because picking good heroes generally ends well (that also applies to the Chipper, though not as much to Kraken or Ophelia). These combos weren’t played more often by better teams, either.

Let’s try to correct for the presence of generally powerfully heroes, then. The first thing to do is subtract combined winning percentage (add both heroes’ wins and divide the both heroes’ games) to determine the difference in win% when they are together and separate.

Greatest Win% Gain by Difference

Well, that’s not very different at all, is it? The first three combinations are the same, while Rhapsody and Kraken get knocked off in favor of Magmus and Tempest. That’s understandable; their ultimates definitely work very well together when it comes to lockdown and damage output.

Still, the Rhapsody-Doctor combination seems to be very effective, gaining a win rate boost of nearly 35%. Together they are 13-1, and separate they are 76-55. Engineer and Puppet Master have not only hung around, they’ve moved into third place.

Perhaps this isn’t the best way to go about correcting for powerful individual heroes. Using a ratio will reward some situations more than simple subtraction. So let’s see examine the change as a multiplicative.

Greatest Win% Gain by Ratio

Another new pairing, this time Torturer and Puppet Master, and yet again it’s difficult to figure out precisely why. They’re not actually all that good when played on the same team, just 6-4, but when apart they’re quite bad at a 42% win rate. That’s the fourth-worst mark out of all 72 combinations that appeared at least 10 times, and the sort of thing we’re looking for: two heroes that are generally pretty bad when apart, but when together, at least get a little better. Engineer and Puppet fit that description as well.

There seems to be a consistent theme when it comes to the top hero combinations in the game right now: pick Rhapsody and she makes you better. Additionally, the best hero combos might not be the ones that you would immediately think of because their skills are synergistic.

I spoke with willowkeeper captain Fusen about some of the stranger pairs on the list, particularly Engineer-Puppet and Doctor-Rhapsody. He suggested that they go well together mid, which allows the team to open up the shortlane for another hero. Sure enough, they were laned together in eight of those 15 games, most often mid, and had an improved 75% win rate.

Meanwhile, Reason Gaming’s ImbaBoy echoed the idea that PM and Engineer set each other up well, as Engi usually likes to have someone lock a hero down so he can be sure to land his spells. On the Doctor-Rhapsody front, he suggested that Rhap provides another level of security for DR, as he can be squishy once he runs out of mana, as well as the valuable Arcane Hymn which adds magic armor penetration and magic damage lifesteal, both of which go well with Repulsor.

No doubt some of these combos have luck on their side as well; we’re not dealing with samples of thousands of games here, just the last 200, so it’s very much within the realm of possibility that some of these are fluky. It’s notable, though, that in general the theme we saw was support + something else. Magmus-Tempest was the only instance of two heroes that generally aren't played as support, and the rest of the top combinations generally follow the same pattern.

There definitely does seem to be some credibility to the idea that certain pairings are what we were looking for: heroes that are much better together than they should be based on their individual records. This isn’t the entirety of the list, of course, and that means next time around we’ll check out some of the worst hero combinations, the ones that seem to trip each other up.