The release of 7.06d marked the start of Sunday Evening Amateur League or SEAL, a new US-West player-draft league that takes the RD2L formula and adds exclusivity and stability to what was the flaky PST-SUN division.
Week 1 is in the books for my new team, Batman Forever (soundtrack). Establishing contact with the new posse was difficult, but we were able to bring everyone together by the end of the night. So, not much in the way of preparation for our match against CRAP’s Mein Covfefe, but let’s take a quick look at these ad hoc drafts anyway, then brainstorm how we’ll prep for the rest of the season.
Game 1 is a really disparate draft with conflicting themes. Vengeful Spirit’s utility sets up well for heroes like Timbersaw and Undying, but the physical damage synergy is slim; similarly the lineup is not optimized for Battle Trance, though I admit Troll gives us a much needed building hitter. The draft isn’t bad, but lacks vision – lots of half synergies that can be optimized with some planning. Undying is weirdly strong with Timbersaw despite the awful lack of disable; heals go further on reactive armor, and Timber has great chasing power for heroes that run from Tombstone.
Game 2 goes the other way with an obscenely strong death-push lineup that doesn’t take enemy picks into account very much. Despite a focus on synergy I think we match up well with the enemy heroes, so this draft easily outperforms the first. The Underlord-Venomancer-Jakiro 3-4-5 is a nightmare in team fights, especially with no dispels or magic immunity on Dire. The cores add valuable utility in DP’s AOE silence, Sven’s initiation and armor buff. The player-hero comfort level, however, is inferior in g2. Hopefully we can put together solid drafts using comfort or even signature heroes in the coming weeks.
Season Draft Planning: The MMR Cascade
Our SEAL roster boasts the largest MMR difference I’ve ever seen on a single team with a range of ~5300 MMR from high to low, with decently staggered skill levels across the middle.
I can’t help but think that this needs to be the focal point of our strategy. Our best path to victory is to enable the massively better players on the team, otherwise we risk suboptimal distribution of net worth. The philosophy feels off-putting, but I think the reasoning correct – every 100g on a 5k player just goes further than 100g on a 3k player.
Similarly an extra counter-pick for the strongest lads helps us achieve victory just that much more. Good play maximizes advantages. Feed the fastest fingers.
So I think that we should draft, for the most part, in order of MMR ascending, and give the lower skill guys heroes that still have high impact when poor, and have good lane presence immediately. Heroes like Lich, Jakiro, Spacecow, Warlock, AA. From there we leave it up to the top guys whether they want to rice or tempo, try to hit a timing or dive for kills right away.
With this approach in mind, the dilemma becomes: secure Wheelhouse, our superstar, one of his signature heroes? Or let the enemy team ban him out, and last pick a non-signature hero?
Not sure if we’ll see Underlord and his now game-leading 57% winrate make a big splash in the meta, or if the other biggest risers, Monkey King, Leshrac, and Chen will see any play at all, but as long as I have teams I’ll be trying things out. Changes that I have real opinions about:
- Chaos Knight: Base strength increased from 20 to 22.
- Extra 40 hp right off the bat on Dota’s best aggro trilane hero? Great buff for pos-4 roam, unfortunately that role is already so stacked.
- Phantom Lancer: Base HP regen increased from 0.5 to 1.5
- Extra mango pushes this hero from situational to solid I think.
- Bounty Hunter: Movement speed increased from 315 to 320
Gyrocopter: Movement speed increased from 320 to 325
- MS buffs are always worth at least a percentage point, starting to suspect that both these heroes are good.
- Pugna: Attack range increased from 600 to 630
- Seems small but goes a long way for zoning and trading with offlaners especially with his high MS. After several buffs in a row, he’s straight good now, which is probably bad for the game as Oblivion should really only ever be situational. Again, the wealth at pos-4 is the biggest bottleneck.
Casting my homies Riggity Riggity Rekt tonight at 9 pm EDT, should be on the Echo League ticket, then on Sunday I’m playing two series for different leagues. GLHF to everyone – I’ll have no mercy in the draft analysis tonight, so prepare your ears for unrelenting cautious optimism.
Let’s hope they don’t next level themselves with the all-invisibility strat.
-gg worst captain ever