The weekend marked our last group stage match of Echo League. My boys on Thanks for Breastsfast needed a clean 2-0 to ensure ourselves a playoff spot. We slammed the door shut. We are happy to hear that our opponents, Slick Daddy Club, ended up clinching the playoffs anyway through the wildcard tiebreakers system.
We threw a couple different looks at SDC, did a lot of lane-hiding, tried to exploit specific weaknesses, but mostly we put our guys on heroes they liked and relied on them to make plays. Now that we have a few weeks under our belts we have a better understanding of the style of dota that suits us best and really draft according to that style. Let’s do a draft rundown.
- We open both games with Abaddon, Centaur bans. LoA seems to show no signs of slowing down as the ultimate draft powerhouse, skill for skill nothing seems to match up to Aphotic Shield. Horse God is finally starting to drop off a little bit from the series of nerfs, but he’s still great and still very meta, so I don’t think we’re quite done banning him until people realize the strength of support Zeus (please no flame, play-testing is going really well).
- Our expected opener for the series was Pudge-Shaker-jungler with serviceable solo laners at positions 1 & 2. Their Lina first pick looks good for our plan-A, and with CM being squishy like her sister we lock in Tinker for the woods. I think it’s likely that they expect the hero mid.
- I really liked Clinkz for safe-lane, but Nyx Assassin is not the most threatening 1v1 offlaner so I felt we could get away with a Spectre to further punish their glass cannons.
- The Templar Assassin pick is mostly to counter Lina and give us a good tower hitter.
- Overall, we have initiation, map presence, team fight, and greed – strengths that this team utilizes really well. We’ll focus on these attributes as a general principle.
- The only respect ban in game 2 was Boss’s Pudge, which kept Slick Daddy Club on the defensive in game 1 and too scared to punish the greed of our lineup.
- SDC opens this match once again with fp mid Lina, they must really value the hero to not switch things up.
- We definitely prioritize roaming and initiation against Lina and similar backliners, so we go for a Mirana to replace the banned Pudge. We maintain lane flexibility throughout this draft as well, but don’t end up swapping any expected lanes.
- Verve’s carry PA creates great spacing for engagements so that SDC can’t get value out of their AoEs. She provides more burst damage to take down Lina as well as to complement the long disables we have. We thought about this pick for a while, because we had so many options from the opener and expected them to adjust if we went for another jungler.
- Silencer was an easy pick for us in this context, we have plenty of setup for Global Silence and their heroes are rather vulnerable to all of Nortrom’s skills. Silences have particularly strong synergy with PA; she is unlikely to die to right-clicks, and dagger keeps them slowed while they are useless.
- The last pick Zeus is vulnerable to Clockwerk, but really punishes the low hp of Lina and Weaver, reveals Weaver and Sand King, interrupts daggers, etc. We don’t take towers well but we’re also not worried about how Radiant scales here, so we feel like we can take map control, find good fights, and win through gold advantage.
Not much in the way of focus for this post, just sharing the thought process of a couple solid drafts. We were fortunate that our Plan A openers anticipated their picks correctly. From there we sought to exploit their heroes’ low hp pools and reliance on counterable abilities.
I do think Lina is pretty strong this patch, probably not first-pick material unless she is being used to hide lanes. If you have first overall pick you don’t need to save your mid hero for phase 3, because it will be countered in lane anyway; that being said you probably still next-level yourself if you straight first-pick the position and give them five chances to counter-pick.
See you in the playoffs.
-gg worst captain ever