Last-Picking Carry (Battle Cup)

Went 1-1 this week in Battle Cup, knocked out in the semifinal. We opened with a similar strategy to last week, but with no Rizod we looked at Tinker + roaming support to replace the Visage. We like the vision and map control they provide; combined with a Tinker they make it difficult for enemy teams to split up. If they stay grouped they get outfarmed, or have to siege into March of the Machines.

Our draft order this Cup again went 4-2-5-3-1, but with me shifting to carry and two friends replacing last week’s 4 and 1 role players. Let’s talk a little about carry last picks.

  • Context is crucial to picking the correct carry. In a vacuum, it’s important that the carry is able to farm against the enemy offlaner (depends on supports). However, in this context of Tier 5 Battle Cup, I’m at the upper end of the skill range so I can expect to outplay the offlaner by at least a little bit. I can pick greedier carries if the pay-off later on is worth a tougher time in lane.
  • Draft Anchor. The goal with any last pick, carry or otherwise, is to cap the draft and give the team what is most needed to win the game, whether that is filling a hole (eg. Clinkz to hit towers), countering a late pick (eg. Spectre to destroy Sniper), or boosting the team with huge synergy (eg. Drow Ranger)… I’ll note that deciding the best anchor ever is much easier if you don’t have to worry about the lane match-up and can just focus on the interactions among the 8 or 9 selected heroes.
  • Comfort. If the correct pick is outside the player’s hero pool, I recommend taking his hero earlier and giving last pick to a more versatile player.

Individual carry choices:


  • DB link. I knew it wouldn’t be a particularly easy lane against the Axe, but I felt Anti Mage would pay for itself later by hard-countering Medusa and escaping Omnislash. With pos-4 Night Stalker I didn’t think they could dual lane without sacrificing too much to Magnus or Tinker. Without Ogre Magi in lane the Axe actually can’t deal with Necrophos.
  • Can a map even support both Tinker and Anti Mage? Maybe not cleanly, but I’d argue these two heroes are still good together; Laser makes AM super hard to kill in those “disable windows” before he blinks to safety.
  • Magnus is one of AM’s best friends.
  • Aghanim’s Scepter gave us a lot of valuable spell reflections, including Omnislash, which similar to Lotus Orb‘s interaction channeled some Dragon Ball Z action.


  • DB link. We mostly wanted a carry that could handle all the disable and magic burst coming from Invoker, Nyx, Lion. LS is a strong counter to all three heroes, who become useless during Unholy Rage. Axe does better but Feast helps. Juggernaut was the last pick.
  • I wrote before about how Spectre shines against disable heavy teams, so it turned out to be an unfortunate ban by us.
  • Again, not the easiest lane match up, but with a high damage ranged support it becomes much more manageable.
  • From a synergy perspective Naix has two potential Infest targets; utilizes minus armor from Weaver bugs; enjoys Global Silence for initiation and counter initiation; serves as a nice front liner for the Tinker.
  • Extra synergy with Tinker in the form of Laser + Unholy Rage = invincible, and spell lifesteal for Tinker during Open Wounds.
  • Only real anti-synergy is the inability to Press the Attack a raged Lifestealer.

In retrospect there may have been slightly better picks than the carries I chose. Statistically it seems game 1 was more favorable for a Wraith King, game 2 was more favorable for a Luna. Not sure how those would have panned out, or if context really warranted our choices, but the goal is not statistical optimization, rather to improve the way that we process a draft, so that we can consistently make good calls in the time allotted.

Anyway no more Tinker – next Battle Cup we will open Ember Spirit, Luna.

-gg worst captain ever


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