We were MMR underdogs this series, so I wanted to put together a pretty comprehensive strategy. Our draft plan centaured¹ around setting up an offlane Chaos Knight to force grouping and boost the output of a carry Morphling or Anti Mage. We felt that this line transitioned well from our initial bans as well as from NCFC’s anticipated initial bans.
Before I break down the individual drafts I thought that it would be mighty swell to do a little show-and-tell, so here is a link to my draft plan for this match. I’m using a new style that we’re going to formally term as Scenario Scoping to sound cool; it’s really just a scratch pad. It utilizes a stream of consciousness that gets as much hero matchup information into text as possible so that we can look for “rug heroes” that tie a draft together. Then we build around those heroes for our Plan A.
On to the drafts:
- In game 1 we kick off with Boss Pudge and my Jakiro into Vengeful Spirit. I don’t really think Pudge is good into VS, but sometimes Boss’s enthusiasm is difficult to refuse. Jakiro manhandles physical teams with his devastating attack speed debuffs, and we are going to have really good setups for Ice Path.
- We figured NCFC would take Axe both games with their Centaur banned. We didn’t want to give that up, because it takes AM out of the equation, but nonetheless we prioritized Disruptor.
- Radiant locked Sven in roughly two seconds after our Verve Chaos Knight reveal – a pretty good example of the benefits of feint picks. Rare to capture this gross of an overreaction (lets start a r/draftingisfuckinglit).
- We planned for a Doobs Morphling and really struck gold with the pick given Radiant’s lack of silence and a vulnerability to magic burst. There is debate on the Morph vs Axe matchup; my take is that Axe has relatively low strength gain, great Replicates, and Morph is a tough dunk.
- Finally, the Stairs Silencer pick is pretty good overall, but I was mega pushing for a Zeus here. He cancels daggers, annihilates squishies, bypasses armor, and his primary weakness, structures, crumbles under a sea of watery holograms.
- Game 2 gave us first pick. NCFC neglected to respect ban Pudge (opting to remove Jakiro), so we locked it in. I’ll note that most of my Scenario Scoping pointed to Riki-Lich rather than Pudge-Lich, however when we got into the draft we decided that opening Pudge could bait them into a weak phase 1 Lifestealer.
- The Lich and Morphling picks went as expected, then Dire selected Winter Wyvern to preempt a Chaos Knight pick. We instead elected to run an offlane Shadow Demon, which still gives us the Replicate synergy and also helps us deal with Axe and Lifestealer.
- Finally, we felt like NCFC lacked the gap-close to deal with a backline Sniper. The draft is all but won by their fifth pick; they seal the deal with a bizarre Shadow Fiend grab, who captains would often counter with the Sniper we already have. In the same situation I would take a long look at Timbersaw.
We naturally have a brand new plan set up for our quarterfinals opponent, Wards in Base. I just took a look at our team stats – Verve has played 11 heroes in 11 matches. I cannot reveal whether that is likely to change, however my latest draft planning method is here to stay. It felt pretty helpful, so I’m sure to iterate on it, and I hope I gave an enjoyable sample of one decent draft planning method.
The Boobs crew and I will make sure not to next level ourselves by say, picking all new all different marvels just for the sake of it.
-gg worst captain ever
1. Couldn’t bring myself to correct this freudian typo.