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.
- 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.
- Win Rates – Some heroes are legitimately stronger than other heroes, so I pay attention to hero strength. Hero strength correlates with win % for the most part. There are exceptions such as Chen, Io and Earth Spirit that are great to snag with the right players, otherwise a good opening consists of high win rate heroes. If the enemy team first-picks Faceless Void, responding with Broodmother + Enchantress would counter it really well, but these heroes have very low win rates; they are weak outside of specific situations. We don’t yet have enough context to pick these heroes – better to grab universally good stuff like Pudge + Underlord even if this duo is softer as a counter.
- Counters and Synergy – As the draft progresses there is more and more context to make a pick along with fewer and fewer chances to respond to an opposing pick. Maybe we win-%-slut the first three picks with Underlord + Necro + Luna, but if the enemy picks up a Sniper and I don’t know how to counter it, I’m in for a bad time. So I study up on counters and common pairings to not lose automatically to a Tinker, Meepo, or Slark – and so we can cheat out some free wins the same way. Maybe Broodmother sucks, but if we last-pick her in the right draft, omnomnom.
I do consider other aspects of a lineup albeit with less emphasis, which can get me into trouble. The most important things I de-prioritize are probably laning, disables, and initiation; concepts that top the to-do list for many drafters. They are common weaknesses in some of my drafts. I try not to ignore any aspect altogether, but with any priority set something is going to suffer some of the time.
So TLDR: if you think I’m good, then take care of your players; pick strong heroes early; counter-pick & synergy late. And glhf.
-gg worst captain ever