It took us five attempts, but we finally notched our first Tier 6 Battle Cup victory of the TI7 battle pass, under the intimidating moniker How Many Yams in a Netherdrake?
We employed a good mix of strategies, but in an effort to present our thought process in a way that helps fellow captains apply the same concepts, let’s try to homogenize the draft breakdowns in a sort of step-by-step format. Off we go:
- We have first pick. We want a Power Hero that has common counters banned out. Venomancer fits the bill (AM, Abaddon, SB). You can try to plan the pick and set up the bans accordingly, something we definitely do in official matches. In Battle Cup it’s not as important, but follow your arrow. Veno gets bonus points for position flexibility.
- Radiant’s response is Treant, Invoker. We’re still in Phase 1 so we want another Power Hero – we’ll hard counter if it’s reasonable but not yet at the cost of overall strength, eg. Phantom Lancer is fantastic against their two picks, but the hero isn’t good enough for Phase 1. We like Crystal Maiden: reveal and aoe against RT; high cast range and auto-forge-spirit-ko against Invoker.
- Phase 2 bans we remove two problem heroes in Weaver, Huskar. Our support duo is not useful against them.
- Radiant opens Phase 2 with Slark. They’ve revealed carry, which enables us to pick our offlaner. We want a strong hero overall, who also lanes well against Slark + Tree, and outright wins 1v1 vs Slark. Clock fits the bill, though I rather like Void. Our boy Terfellion desires the Clock, so he gets the Clock.
- Radiant responds with Bloodseeker. We can assume that it is a jungler. Our desired cores should be resistant to post-6 ganks with strong teamfight matchups against their team, especially the cores Slark, Invoker, Bloodseeker. We settle on Storm Spirit and Phantom Lancer.
- We have first pick. We want a Power Hero that has common counters banned out. Skywrath Mage is not suitable, but I’m experimenting a bit – laning meta, right?
- Dire’s response is Witch Doctor, Ogre Magi. We’re still in Phase 1 so we want another Power Hero. Spacecow is a disruptive force and will give Chickenmage a lot of room to cast freely, even though WD-Ogre are not the easiest supports to gank.
- Phase 2 bans we remove two problem heroes in Troll, Chaos Knight.
- Dire opens Phase 2 with Horse God. They’ve revealed offlaner, which enables us to pick our carry. We want a strong 1v1 matchup against Centaur that is also good overall in the context. Already having SB for a vessel, Lifestealer is perfect.
- Dire responds with Juggernaut. We need an offlaner that can manage the lane as well as win 1v1 vs Jugg. I rather like Abaddon here, but Terf’s favored Sand King also works. We haven’t seen their mid, so we want a mid hero that, if countered, can move to safelane and 1v1 Centaur. Lifestealer could fare better mid against say, Tinker or Ember. We settle on Shadow Friend.
- We have second pick. Quick scouting reveals Io, Silencer to be good bans. Radiant opens with Crystal Maiden. We want two Power Heroes that fare well against CM, so we start with Clockwerk. Treant Protector is not as strong against maiden, but pairs too well with Rattletrap to pass up.
- Radiant responds with Disruptor. We don’t like Clock’s chances in lane, so we decide that we will select an offlaner that Terf likes into those supports, Centaur. Clock’s flexibility pays off, allowing us to move him to pos-4. In the future we should pick a support/core flex hero in this spot, that is also good in the context, eg. Lina.
- Phase 2 bans we know that we will pick Horse God, so we ban two problem carries in the lane – Bristleback, Juggernaut.
- We lock in Centaur, and Radiant responds with Phoenix. They’ve revealed offlaner, which enables us to pick our carry. We love Sniper against Cacaw in lane as well as overall, and can move him to mid if necessary.
- Radiant responds with PA, Troll. Either hero could be mid, so we want a mid that performs well against both. We decide on Razor, whose static link is very high value against both heroes.
Overall, we are known to draft eclectically, but we mostly pick what we think is good. Strength early, counters late, emphasize flexibility when the enemy has not revealed certain lanes. Role flexibility is more important with second pick, because you have fewer counter-picks overall, and because staying flexible helps enable you to slam a draft-breaking last pick. If last pick Spectre will win you the game, but you already have Slark, it’s much harder to resolve the choice with your lanes.
Good luck in your Battle Cups tonight, don’t next level yourself with say, flex Alchemist.
-gg worst captain ever