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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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)”

Draft Quickie: The SD-Mirana opener

My Echo League team Five Potatoes played a seeding tiebreaker Thursday night against the Cinderella squad Daft Gank. We drew a series 1-1 with them during the group stage, so both teams were itching to finish the pseudo bo3, especially with coveted seeding positions at stake.

The cast wasn’t streamed, but the replay is available under match id 3311906298. Dotabuff link.

I think there are a lot of interesting things going on in this draft, so I want to highlight the high-impact choices: Continue reading “Draft Quickie: The SD-Mirana opener”

7.06e Lane and Let Lane

A quick look at how the new patch will influence the way we draft:

Neutral small camps gold bounty increased by 10%

Small changes have a big impact in Dota – this boosts the camp from I think 60g to 66g on average, or 120g to 132g if you’ve stacked it once. Combined with a nerf to mid-lane dominators and tempo offlaners, there is definitely added incentive to stack-pull the safe lane, rather than trilane mid, to help your supports come online faster. Early-focus pos 2-3 won’t be snowballing nearly as hard. Continue reading “7.06e Lane and Let Lane”

A Week in League Matches: Style is Everything

I played three series in the past week, so we have a nice half dozen drafts to look at.

Let’s check out these drafts right off the bat, then talk about style and how we can develop it a little afterward. Continue reading “A Week in League Matches: Style is Everything”

A Week in Pubs 7.06d

7.06d has been out for nine days now, so I thought it would be cool to do a draft dump, look at what we’ve been picking up in pubs and hopefully see if there are any patterns or trends forming.

Not going to analyze these matches very deeply, but happy to answer any questions. Here’s a link to all these matches on Dotabuff. There are two drafts on the list that I did not screen below, one of a 3-stack, the other just my buddy on the button. Is that why I skipped them? Or because we lost? Either way, let’s look at some drafts: Continue reading “A Week in Pubs 7.06d”

7.06d and Sunday Evening Amateur League

The release of 7.06d marked the start of Sunday Evening Amateur League or SEAL, a new US-West player-draft league that takes the RD2L formula and adds exclusivity and stability to what was the flaky PST-SUN division.

Week 1 is in the books for my new team, Batman Forever (soundtrack). Establishing contact with the new posse was difficult, but we were able to bring everyone together by the end of the night. So, not much in the way of preparation for our match against CRAP’s Mein Covfefe, but let’s take a quick look at these ad hoc drafts anyway, then brainstorm how we’ll prep for the rest of the season. Continue reading “7.06d and Sunday Evening Amateur League”

7.06c Tier 6 Battle Cup, Step by Step

It took us five attempts, but we finally notched our first Tier 6 Battle Cup victory of the TI7 battle pass, under the intimidating moniker How Many Yams in a Netherdrake? 

We employed a good mix of strategies, but in an effort to present our thought process in a way that helps fellow captains apply the same concepts, let’s try to homogenize the draft breakdowns in a sort of step-by-step format. Off we go: Continue reading “7.06c Tier 6 Battle Cup, Step by Step”

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