Battle Cup: Steering Heroes


My stack Buttsex got beat up pretty good in this Battle Cup – two grueling 70+ minute matches. In the grand final we finished ahead by 28 kills, but mostly on the wrong heroes, who had respawn talents to boot. TA, Morph got ahead too quickly, their ability to rat and flash farm exposed carry Chaos Knight’s weaknesses.

I’m seeing a large uptick in Chaos Knight usage lately, but I believe the meta doesn’t favor it outside of situational (but impressive) roaming pos 4. Fantastic in a minus-armor strat when the enemy team is squishy and lacks AOE, but I’d say avoid carry CK for now until a new build is invented that helps his map presence.

This Battle Cup shows a lot of different strategies so I think let’s talk about enemy picks that steer the draft:


  • Game 1 we learned that we should probably pick Tinker second if we have first-pick. Going from potentially five Tinker counters to three is a big difference.
  • I will say that first-pick Tinker very much pushed Dire into what is essentially a global ganking machine, with Moonlight Shadow, Rocket Flare, Hookshot, Zeus Ult, Nimbus.
  • For us, with these Tinker openers we usually like to drive towards more map control, but the Mirana’s ganking power made me look instead for counter-initiation and deathball. Abaddon‘s osfrog shield against Ogre, Mirana was too strong to pass up.
  • The Clockwerk, Chaos Knight picks cemented their approach and in turn reinforced our own – Dire loading up on ganking and skirmish tools, us sporting more team-fight and control. More counter-initiation and AoE from Disruptor, Axe, Necro.
  • The Zeus last pick was a great way for them to both complement their strategy and shore up their team fight. In the end, even with a slow start I think we matched up too well in engagements, and they didn’t have enough rat potential to just dodge.



  • Game 2 draft was much more in line with the style we try to run. Take control of the map and pressure them everywhere.
  • The Lifestealer pick was the big tell for us to stay the course. I didn’t think they would complete the LS-Slar combo, with Weaver being a Naix hard counter, Omniknight being a soft counter. I figured we could get a lot of lock-down and map presence out of Spacecow, which would help enable our DPS and flash-farming Weaver, Tinker by diving people and always bashing them. Our last-pick Drow Ranger suffocated Radiant.



  • Game 3 I’d say the steering hero was Keeper of the Light. I treat KotL very much like a Sniper, except instead of killing you he annoys you and just makes fights really hard as long as he can chill in the fog. So I drafted a lot of initiation in the hopes of getting on top of Ezalor and creating 4v5 situations. They responded with rat cores that could punish us when their supports were creating space, and they got out to a huge tower and xp lead while we were busy rotating to charges, hooks, and mana leaks.
  • I think a lot of the problems in this draft really stem from me forcing a Tinker opener into an already unfavorable first pick Spirit Breaker. Just by grabbing Tinker we already had to account for early charges on a vulnerable mid, and pick up defensive heroes like Omni / Shaker to teleport in.
  • I think we adjusted to the rest of the draft well, and while the pos 1 Chaos Knight got outfarmed it did do its job and rack up kills. But you never want to play catch up from the start of a draft – you may never get the opportunity to pass.


Overall it was a pretty exhausting Battle Cup, so I think we’re done with the Tinker openers for a while. I actually drafted our mid in RD2L, and he’ll be moving to support, so we will work on expanding that hero pool, including maybe shifting his position in Battle Cups if we keep stacking.

My recommendation is look at what the picked heroes offer and to steer your draft, and try to keep your eye on the big picture. Every pick matters, so start steering right away if you see cause. We didn’t and we got next-leveled (seriously that was a crazy amount of respawn time reduction).

-gg worst captain ever


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