Also known as the Minus Armor Strat, we’ve all seen it before in different variations – probably even in this exact variation too. The lineup focuses on hard hitting right clickers and their synergy with armor reduction.
Slardar is the most notable exclusion from this particular lineup. But other supports common to this strategy include Ogre Magi and Io for buffs, Weaver and Riki for roam, WD and SS for wards, Enigma and Chen and Visage for zoo pushes. Speaking of Visage, the Drow strat itself is really just a subset of the minus armor strat.
Pretty much any right click focused core works in this type of lineup but some of the strongest choices include Lycan, TA, Troll, Sniper, Drow, Medusa, Viper, Lone Druid, Clinkz, PA, Naix. There are a lot of possibilities for adapting to the enemy picks without disbanding the right click theme.
So what are good reasons to employ this strategy over another one?
- Comfort picks. In this match, one player offered to play Dazzle. If a first phase comfort hero lends itself to minus armor gaming, you have a strong impetus to follow up.
- Power heroes. Perhaps you consider some or all of Slardar, Weaver, Vengeful Spirit, Lycan, Riki to be first phase locks or power heroes. If you end up with heroes like these in the first phase just due to their strength, you have a good start towards a right click strat.
- Enemy has low armor. I won’t do the exact math for you here but basically armor reduction is at peak effectiveness when absolute values approach zero. E.g. if you apply -10 armor, it is most effective from 5 to -5. If they pick up Pudge or Doom, punish them with minus armor. Similarly if they have high magic resistance like Viper or Anti Mage, boosting your physical dps is a good way to kill them.
- Consistency. There are plenty of areas where a draft can be deficient, but the most punishing of them all is in the ability to hit towers and roshan. Buildings are the objective, and right click strats ensure that you can take them.
Some quick notes on the picks in this draft.
- CM + Timber made a good Vengeful Spirit opportunity even better – both heroes are very position dependent, and both have skills that suffer against interrupts.
- Shadow Fiend was both a comfort pick and a source of magic burst to help take down the Timbersaw. It’s advantageous for us to pick mid or offlane here to keep VS’s role open.
- Meepo and Chaos Knight bans help protect Right-Clicker strats, which tend to have trouble against armies and burst damage.
- Slardar and Drow Ranger bans by Nova Strike were easy calls but nonetheless smart.
- Weaver + Void both capitalize on poor lockdown from the enemy team, and with four ranged beat-down heroes we have the Chronosphere synergy to make it work. Both heroes are strong Lifestealer counters.
Overall, Minus-Armor strats are not really my favorite, but they are a staple in every meta and will often be optimal in the context of a given draft. If you favor Right Clicker lineups you should do well, just don’t try force this strategy through heroes like Lich, Winter Wyvern or Underlord.
-gg worst captain ever.