The ESL One Stockholm Major has seen the rise of one particular item: Wraith Pact. We go into the reasons why it’s so good, and how it got to be so popular.
Every major has it's own meta. Every International has it's meta setters. As Kyle Freedman frequently reminds us, OG at TI 9 had a strategy of healing manipulation, as evident by their position 1 Io. The ESL One Stockholm Major, of course, has a meta all of it's own. There are common heroes and not so common heroes that some teams use to great effect. However, we're not going to be talking about the heroes, we're going to be talking about the items. One item in particular: Wraith Pact.
What is Wraith Pact?
Wraith Pact was created in patch 7.31 as an upgrade to Vladimir's offering. This would continue the trend of having more powerful upgrades for lower-cost items, such as Blink Dagger. The item provides 250 health and mana to the holder and also provides the buff from Vlads. For those who don't know, it's a life steal aura for yourself and your team. What separates this item from Vlads is that it has a new active ability called Wraith's Reprisal. The active spawns a little skeleton totem, that provides a 1200 radius aura of 30% damage reduction to yourself and your teammates.
You may ask yourself, that seems pretty good, why wasn't it bought in the past. Well, in the 7.31c, the item got a buff. The recipe for the Wraith pact had its price reduced and had virtually all of its abilities buffed. The original reduction on the totem was 25% which was increased to 30%. A flat 30% damage reduction for your whole team adds up a lot over time. The item received a DPS buff of 25 to 30. The life steal buff went from 15% to 18% and a mana regen buff. All of these things together have made the item a hot ticket for pros during this major.
Why is it being bought now?
The item is mostly being purchased on supports and offlaners. This makes sense, as many 4 positions and offlaners, such as Mirana or Underlord are heroes that often build Vlads. Consequently, These heroes have also begun to rise in popularity, especially Underlord. The excellent thing about damage reduction is that it's useful in pretty much every situation. Combined with a lot of the healing supports that have come into the meta, this makes heroes extremely hard to kill. It is especially helpful against burst heroes because it makes it less likely that you will die in the period of the damage. This allows you to be saved by your teams, or even turn around and fight should you have the items for it.
Wraith Pact appears to be the item of the major so far and the main stage event awaits us. Have people figured out how to counter it yet? Will the item still be picked up? Keep sticking with us here at esports.gg for all of your Stockholm Major news and reports!