Draft Recap: Do we need a stun?

This draft is not neatly themed like the minus-armor right-clicker strat in my last post; much more an assembly of counter-picks and comfort heroes than anything else. We’ll start with some quick notes about hero picks, then move on to the title topic of stuns and, why the fuck don’t I ever pick them??

  • Riki fell out of the pro meta, but I think he would fit well right now. He’s very solid at all levels of play and seems to counter a lot of popular heroes; I’ve played him six times this month myself and all I do is counter-pick. As well, anywhere under 5k he is straight up a power hero with a top tier win %. Plus comfort.
  • Actually not super fond of Juggernaut right now, but this is a comfort pick. It’s quite good against Disruptor, and probably neutral with Slardar.
  • Silencer is not especially good with our lineup currently, but GS is a really good counter initiation tool against Snowball and potentially against Slar blink / Glimpse too. Helps that I consider him a power hero right now.
  • We have rather awful initiation outside of Smoke Cloud into a bunch of nukes, and conversely the enemy team is chock full of initiators. But our lineup is not easy to jump – very hard to lock down a Riki or Juggernaut, and diving into March, GS, Omnislash, Smoke Cloud is a very dangerous game. Tinker could find Ice Shards to be pretty scary (flying vision), but he matches up well everywhere else, and is a classic Viper counter in lane.
  • Offlane Necrophos helps give us killing power when an enemy hero swallows too much incidental damage from March, Rockets, Tricks, Spin, Omnislash, Curse. Again it punishes initiation, but also helps take down tanky heroes like Tusk and Viper. If their lineup is about getting the jump, ours is all counter-jump.

Okay, so what’s the deal with the no stuns? If a teammate says we could use stuns, why do I say, it’s okay, we’ll be okay without them?

First a quick disclaimer I’m not talking about initiation, which is important too, and is also lacking, painfully. But I want to cover that topic in a separate post.

Stuns, as far as debuffs go, are situational in my view. Kind of a counter-intuitive claim, because stuns are really a catch-all; they combine every debuff together at the same time, totally the opposite of situational.

I suppose the better phrase is “stuns are situationally optimal“. If you compare a stun to a slow, silence, disarm, or root, most of the time a different debuff is the best. Not because the debuff itself is better – stuns are always the best effect. It’s because they are tuned more generously, they tend to last longer, or be faster to cast, or hit a larger area, or do more damage, or combine multiple effects, etc.

A stun would be optimal against say, Lina, AM, or TB. Not so much against Centaur, who suffers more against slows and roots (and damage amplifiers more than anything). A Weaver or Morphling would rather be stunned that silenced. Hex a Viper or Medusa, they don’t bat an eye, but disarm them and they will all-chat you to go fuck right off.

And against Tusk + Slardar? I don’t think a stun is necessary, they’re pretty likely to get a couple spells off unless we initiate and stunlock them until they are dead, full hp to zero. And they are pretty tanky. I feel like longer-lasting slows and silences do more against these two heroes. When I’m Slardar trying to amp a whole team, jump in and out for crushes, I hate Curse of the Silent. And I hate Last Word. Much more annoying than a couple two second stuns.

In this game there aren’t a ton of examples; our draft focuses more on avoiding clean ganks than on forcing any sort of issue. Which I think is completely fine, considering that if left alone we become a 5-core lineup… But next draft pay attention to the enemy picks and their weaknesses – stuns are sometimes but usually not the strongest way to mess with them.

As always, don’t next-level yourself. Stuns are still good, don’t avoid them and then blame MJJ for giving up a Shadow Fiend rampage.

-gg worst captain ever

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