My fresh team Duck and Goose 1 2 3 kicked off season 11 of Reddit Dota 2 League against the formidable Truman Did Nothing Wrong led by CRAP. We’re at the onset of the new 7.04 patch, the league meta still in its infancy. The top contested heroes of week one (below) will surely look weird to us in week eight. Personally I think people will care much less about Slardar, KotL and Lifestealer, and a few unpicked heroes like Witch Doctor, Lycan, Clockwerk, will see a lot of consideration. The DAC Lina flavor of the month has not caught on fully just yet, but I expect to see her spammed thoroughly in week two. 

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We in the DAG# have put together a half dozen or so opener styles that we’ll test out in the coming weeks, depending on opposing hero pools and phase one bans. Let’s take a look at the draft from game 1:

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In this match, CRAP snagged a mix of comfort, pro meta, and simple good stuff. They did a nice job of counter-picking; punished a lack of lockdown with Tango Wango’s beau, Timbersaw, exploited squishiness of our cores with Lina. Crystal Maiden in particular has a lot of difficult match-ups here.

  • I missed a ban, ran out of time. Nothing really to learn from here, but if you’re curious I expected a mid Timber and was going to ban pos 1 Clinkz.
  • He had some minor nerfs, but I think Abaddon is still the strongest hero in the game. I consider it the best first pick hero, especially if you are already banning counters, in this case Rubick. PST-SUN has quite a few Grand Magus players (I suspect) so banning that hero then picking LoA is really strong.
  • In this match we don’t open with Abaddon; the hero isn’t listed in the scouting report (quick shout out to our analyst Diaspora) but another hero we really like is – Crystal Maiden, who I believe is the strongest position 5 in the game. So we steal the CM and hope they don’t respond with Abaddon, and luckily they don’t.
  • The Monkey King and Centaur picks are quite strong and should give CM a hard time, but they actually play quite poorly against Aba, so while he isn’t a great CM partner it is still kind of a monster pick, who TDNW should have banned. We looked at Tidehunter and Riki for a bit as well, but ultimately drafted for strength.
  • One hero they did ban was okay’s Oracle, I think because they are afraid of Huskar. Strangely they end up banning Huskar anyway, maybe thinking we’d pair  with Abaddon.
  • The Jakiro pick is perhaps not ideal from a disable standpoint against Timber, but I really like stockpiling AoEs against melee heroes. The debuffs and tree clear should work great against MK and Centaur, and the high magic damage should be helpful against Timber and combos well with CM. We thought about Nyx and Disruptor here as well… I think 7.03 raised THD to borderline tier 1 support status so we’ll tend to lean towards that hero.
  • Weaver I felt really good about, they don’t have great lock-down on their team either, and he has really nice synergies with our heroes as well.
  • The mid Gyro pick is ellen pudge’s brainchild, which I supported for its massive AOE magic damage, but didn’t really realize its strength until I saw it in action. His build was max W-E in lane, which makes sense for mid. Items went phase aquila, maelstrom, aghs, mjollnir, linkens, butterfly, satanic; it was incredibly effective. I wonder what the hero’s winrate would be if everyone used that build.
  • Finally TDNW last picks Respawn Lina. I think it’s pretty strong, but overhyped and best picked situationally – this is a pretty good situation. Plenty of our heroes are susceptible to her burst and she tends to out-range most of our nukes. In the professional scene I think teams will figure her out soon and push her into phase 2/3 status.

Overall we came out the draft with a decent advantage, posed well to take fights with all our AoE magic damage and a good composition for spacing engagements in favorable ways. If we’re behind we have rat potential among Weaver, Jakiro, and Gyro (Aghs build kills towers really fast). I think the Lich pick into three magic damage heroes really hurt them – possibly the result of a hero pool issue from us banning Honey Badger’s Beastmaster.

We’ll finish scouting our week 2 opponents late in the week, then decide what opener variants to prioritize for Sunday. Maybe our opponents will ban out Centaur, Lina; maybe they scout us and ban Sniper, Tinker; maybe they ban or block-pick the heroes we drafted in week 1, paving our way to new looks, playing into our meta to see how we take it to the next level.

-gg worst captain ever