Played our first opponent a couple nights ago, Lich Gonna Have Your Girl. Here’s a cast link. The matches continue through the caster’s next two videos. For the result here is a dotabuff link (spoilers).

Biggest takeaway for me is don’t be afraid – draft our signature heroes in the face of counters in the first phase, and make the correct pick at the end even when the worst case scenario is scary and ugly. We have a really strong squad, have to count on our boys to execute; we can win this league outright barring any egregious smurfing.

Just a few individual draft notes:

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  • Ban Underlord goddamit goddammit. He didn’t put up numbers but Pit of Malice lasts so long and makes choke point fighting totally impossible, even as just a zoning tool it’s really annoying.
  • We adjusted our first phase to account for matchups, which I think is incorrect. Don’t adjust in the first phase, that’s the time for signature picks – trust the troops to man their best guns into typical counters; after all they don’t play their heroes like typical people.
  • Ban enemy signature heroes. By the same logic it doesn’t matter that say, Dazzle isn’t normally a great pick in this situation (they don’t have physical damage synergy). Their Dazzle is much stronger than a normal Dazzle. Take it away and force him off his expertise.

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  • Pick your guys when they want to be picked. Maybe we want to pick our star player last, but if he is ready to snag his hero earlier, snatch that shit. Give our guys what they want. It turns out that not everyone wants to pick their hero last – lock in for whoever is ready.
  • Of course it can be scary to play a glass cannon like Drow Ranger into explode you combos like LS-Slar. But fuck fear. It’s the right pick. I mean look at this lineup; is it not beautiful? It has to be one of the best Drow lineups possible, no way it’s not at least top three. With Haze and Feast, Slarbombs are designed to blow up any target, not just squishy ones – Trax is actually a counter to these heroes; she destroys them if they go on anyone else.

Overall a very encouraging first week. I feel confident in our path to progression and improvement, and suspect we’ll make a run in the playoffs. From a drafting perspective I plan to make good on the lessons above. And of course, we won’t next level ourselves by say, picking only blue heroes.

-gg worst captain ever

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