Michael J Jackson’s Draft Priorities

Captains Mode drafts are nuanced. There are dozens of aspects to consider, hundreds of heroes, and nigh infinite variation. It’s impossible to think about everything, so here are the fundamentals that I prioritize.

  1. Player Confidence – The biggest thing is having good vibes going into a match, everyone feeling good about the hero they’re playing, high morale, ready to fuck some butts. I make sure we’re all happy by using a give and take method. When I want to pick a 3, I ask my offlaner what he wants to play and suggest a couple heroes that I like. If he chooses a hero that I think is incorrect, I explain my hesitation and see if he likes another hero – if he insists I pick it for him anyway. He has to play the hero, at least make sure he wants to. Continue reading “Michael J Jackson’s Draft Priorities”
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Mini Quickie: 7.07b Practice


  • Really like our Pudge-Jakiro opener, they countered it very hard but the heroes are really strong and cover a ton of bases together. I don’t think it is particularly good into Kunkka, who makes you really want one of banish, fast stun to break up X combo, Euls hero, or vision skills to prevent X initiation in the first place. Pudge-Jaki don’t really fill any of these.
  • In the future might try something like Lesh / Silencer + Lion / Tusk.
  • We planned a Voidface at 15 and forced it, but I think this actually would have been quite a nice Puck game.
  • Liked the Sniper pick at 17, nice team pick, can be sketchy into Mirana but great team synergy and doesn’t care about Silencer at all. Other options here are Veno and also Arc Warden, who I’ve been working on.
  • Setting up for Brood was the plan from the beginning. I think it ended up being a very favorable spider game, but we should have swapped the lanes up to keep him away from Puck.
  • If I have this draft back maybe we end up with something like Lion Lesh Puck Veno Brood.

Continue reading “Mini Quickie: 7.07b Practice”

7.07 Dueling Fates: New Cancers

Here’s my guess at the top 10 buffed heroes in this big patch:


It’s safe to say that ol’ Atropos is going to be the 2nd ban in every game until his inevitable nerf. Bane was already alright, and even the simple cast point buff above would have been enough to make him pretty popular. Now, however, with the maniacal Nightmare and Enfeeble (talent) buffs Bane is going to be smacking people out of All Pick. People will legit move to Captains Mode, Ability Draft and Gem TD just to avoid motherfucking Bane of all heroes.

You’ll never get to draft him, but it’s safe to say you can play him at literally any position now too.

Continue reading “7.07 Dueling Fates: New Cancers”

Curing First Pick Venomancer

If we take a look at our amateur meta there are pretty clear hero tiers this patch. In both RD2L and in its sister league SEAL the top five heroes stand apart, being contested in over two thirds of all matches this season: Lich, Venomancer, Earthshaker, Necrophos, and Spirit Breaker.

The second tier, contested in 40% of games or more, consists of Viper, Nyx AssassinBloodseeker, Monkey King, and Sniper.

Strategically, as far as first picks go Venomancer sits way at the top. He counters the rest of the tier-1 heroes save for Necro, which is a more even matchup statistically and could be argued one way or the other, also will probably eat a ban. Shaker and Lich feel very bad into Veno. Spacecow has his merits in theory but the stats don’t favor him; I suspect Veno’s lack of interrupt is outweighed by Plague Wards spotting charge, and by slows reducing Bara’s right-click uptime.

Veno also matches up favorably with the heroes in tier-2, except for Sniper and Viper, who are anyway quite unlikely to go on the 6-7 turn, since it leaves the FP team four chances to counter-pick them.

If favorable meta wasn’t enough, add in complete lane and role flexibility. You don’t want to sink a bunch of counters into a Veno just to find out it’s pos 5, but you still kind of need to in case it’s pos 1/2.

Naturally you could just ban the stupid hydralisk whenever you have have 2P, but that isn’t going to fly against some teams, who may require other bans, eg. Truckwaffle (2 signature heroes). So what the heck do we do when faced with first pick Veno?

It’s a hard question; even the pros don’t really seem to know. But let’s take a look at the two FP Veno matches from PGL Bucharest: Continue reading “Curing First Pick Venomancer”

Draft Quickie: In the Mood for Mercurial

My RD2L squad, Super Weenie Hut Jrs, scrimmed with some chill boys a couple nights ago. I wanted to share one of the drafts and talk a little bit about Spectre’s place in the meta.

In theory this hero plays really well into a lot of the popular heroes. She can kind of get run over by Spacecow (especially with Silver Edge) and Venomancer (especially with Veil), but these two heroes are commonly banned, and she plays quite well into the rest of the stunlock meta – few other heroes continue to deal damage while stunned. She is particularly good against Earthshaker with Haunt’s dagger canceling, and against Shadow Shaman, as she can easily bypass Serpent Wards and get to the backlines.

I think if players don’t get too attached to radiance and try to go for early stats and/or blademail, Spectre can actually start fighting pretty early. Anyway let’s look at the draft: Continue reading “Draft Quickie: In the Mood for Mercurial”

SEAL Season 1 Finals Game 1 Draft Analysis

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This is my analysis of our Game 1 Draft in the finals of SEAL Season 1.  Here’s a strawpoll for what I should make my next post on.

Selection Priority: We took second pick and our opponent took Radiant.  I had wanted first pick (you can counterpick more cores in the second phase this way), but CRAP was big on second pick and there’s no doubt that the overall last pick has done a lot of work for us this season.  Also, CRAP was in charge.


Our First Phase Bans (2, 4): Spirit Breaker, Night Stalker

In our scouting, we identified a few different threats.  We considered Zoompa’s Spirit Breaker, Night Stalker, h!’s Tidehunter, and Potato Farmer’s Lycan as potential first bans.  We were planning to first phase CRAP’s Bloodseeker though, and we believed it to be strong in lane against Tidehunter and strong later against Lycan.   CRAP…

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Outsider’s Angle: TI7 Group Stage Meta

We’re now through all 144 matches of the TI7 Group Stage, which was diverse enough to leave a mere four heroes uncontested – Bane, Spectre, Tiny, and Wraith King. The crop’s cream also comprises four heroes – Nyx Assassin, Nightstalker, Batrider, and Puck – who were each contested in 114+ drafts (79%+). The next hero down, Sven, appeared in only 77 drafts (53%).

In terms of the pro and amateur metas fucking each other it’s debatable which scene prefers top/bottom, but I’m confident in The International’s ability to spread its cancers to our pubs and free leagues. Let’s try to prep for the spillover. Continue reading “Outsider’s Angle: TI7 Group Stage Meta”

Draft Planning: Cheat Sheet Types

When new captains join a league and start playing official matches, I like to tell them,

Put shit on paper!

I say that it doesn’t matter how you do it nearly as much as just actually doing it, so that you have some ideas about what you want grab going in, which saves you a lot of time in phase 1 so you have more time to figure out the nut picks in phase 2 and 3.

Doesn’t have to be literal paper, I usually have a google doc open with scouting information and planned openers. Have something written down or typed up.

We’ve utilized a few variations of draft plans / cheat sheets over the last few months. I used to think that I was evolving my planning, iterating into new styles in order to improve effectiveness. The reality is that opponents give you very different information when you scout them. Our cheat sheets keep changing styles, because our opponents change, and the “new” style just makes more sense for the given opponent.

Let’s look at a few cheat sheet types: Continue reading “Draft Planning: Cheat Sheet Types”

The Weird Tier 6 Meta in 7.06e (Battle Cup)

Special treat, we have a vod with comms.

I spent the week in Buffalo at a client site, a pretty under-the-radar city that has a lot of great venues for kids (and parents that want to get their drink on). Nice place, but I didn’t have Dota there, so it’s good to be back on the button.

Last night we notched our second Battle Cup win of the summer under the moniker Enjoy your vacation (kotlguy pictured). The bracket was easier than usual, no 5k stacks to block us from the trophy, and in the drafts opposing captains did us some favors as well. But you can’t choose who you draft against, you can only try to beat the captain across from you.

Anyway let’s talk meta a little bit and then look at some drafts. Continue reading “The Weird Tier 6 Meta in 7.06e (Battle Cup)”

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