A Week in League Matches: Style is Everything

I played three series in the past week, so we have a nice half dozen drafts to look at.

Let’s check out these drafts right off the bat, then talk about style and how we can develop it a little afterward.

 

Batman Forever (soundtrack) vs Burg Blarg Blam

 

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From a drafting perspective we’re 2 weeks in and starting to find a groove, definitely did a good job of deathballing this match as well as planning map movement around cooldowns. My teams generally take 3 weeks before we find an identity, so hopefully after 4th of July weekend we’ll have it all figured out.

We’re not practicing, so a give-and-take style approach reminiscent of Les Champignons is a good drafting method for us. It’s important that everyone feels happy with the draft going in, since the team is just getting to know each other at this point – we’ll push harder for certain picks after rapport is built. Everyone picked or okayed their own heroes, just with suggestions from myself, and as well I shortlisted my own pick options and absorbed feedback.

I think our draft is quite good, not very initiation heavy but creates very good spacing in fights to avoid giving value to ice and fire spells. Nature’s Prophet pick looks good on paper but Battlefury Mortred will always be good against NP.

 

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I think we drafted quite well into the Nyx Assassin pick, but Shea Dr. outplayed our whole team anyway. They got a lot of value out of Storm Spirit as well, a hero I wanted to ban, but I opted to give the choice of ban to Wheelhouse for his mid matchup. Even though fiery nabbed the nut pick I wouldn’t do it any different – I’ll always trust my star players to set themselves up for success, especially in SEAL / RD2L where the big dogs play at a different speed.

Game 1 felt like a much better style for us – I think Silencer vs Venomancer at position 4 was key in encouraging us to tempo and get int stacks rather than trailblaze our neutral camps with plague wards. Something to expand on in week four.

 

Five Potatoes vs Daft Gank

 

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I like this draft quite a bit, very much a team fight lineup that can run over people, and is extremely hard to kill in a 5v5 barring a huge misplay into Epicenter. I don’t think it’s our style – not enough outplay mechanics and not enough rat / skirmish value. I’ve mentioned Undying before for the same reason – we don’t rock the deathball naturally so it isn’t a good look for us. Cat herding was an issue this game.

That said, teamfight is the correct response to pick-off heroes like SK, Bane, Kunkka, and to some extent Juggernaut. If we run into a similar opener, we’ll kick off our own lineup with more flavor, something like Phoenix-Pudge would fit our style really well without sacrificing too much on the 5v5 front.

 

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We’re really settling into a skillshot gaming playstyle; Mirana and Ancient Apparition have become key parts of our trend towards unreliable spells. A newfound commitment to dodging means that we can wait until high value fishing skills land before we try to engage, maximizing the percentage of goofy-footed fights*.

Daft Gank committed hard to magic damage in this match, which allowed us to punish them with magic counters in Anti Mage and Viper. With survivable cores, Dire had trouble securing favorable engagements. An arrow-ice blast-hoof stomp combo or two or three allowed us to take buildings and secure map control.

 

 

Five Potatoes vs Jungle Legion Commander

 

Playoffs started early for us in this series, as we needed a 2-0 in order to make it out the group stage alive.

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To me this game 1 is a big indicator that we’ve figured it out and established our style; normally I’d just hard counter their first pick Puck, but instead we opt for a high synergy cancer-duo that we love playing, AA-BananaClock-AA is another classic pairing that JLC drafted into unsuspectingly with their Nightstalker pick.

We had issues selecting the back half of the draft, so I offered a guideline for us to follow when there is indecision – if my suggestions are vetoed, and no other other ideas arise in a reasonable time, we’ll use one of my suggestions regardless.

 

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In this match we transitioned our Mirana-AA-Clock skillshot magic opener into a full fledged global meme strat, which I was pretty giddy about. I think this is a really good idea against three types of heroes: savers, dagger initiators, and rats. This game alone, globals take away Blink-Echo, secure kills after Shallow Grave, and give vision of Naga Siren wherever she hides.

Pretty sure this was my best draft all week – even though TA got a great matchup and built up a huge personal gold lead, she was unable to translate her net worth into teamfight impact, with Sacred Arrow and Hookshot into global combo routing JLC at the start of every engagement.

 

 

Echo League playoffs are another animal, but they don’t start for a few weeks, so I’ll likely write Battle Cup, and we’ll play SEAL on Sunday and hopefully take a look at how a new team evolves over a few weeks. We need a style.

Looking back on my earlier squads, usually it’s a player or two that dictates the style.

  • Les Champignons was largely a yolo team playing diveball with 6dog while Doobs ratted other lanes.
  • Thanks for Breastsfast was a Verve-inspired mystery rice farm in which the draft was randomized and everyone bought a midas, and Boss hit hooks to stall the game.
  • Even Five Potatoes is, now, a mini league-of-legends clinic housing Diaspora’s unquenchable thirst for landing skillshots, with arcade game-esque combos and emotes to support that addiction.
    • The early, old style was founded on my own haphazard rotations, in which we wandered around panicking until we had enough farm to accidentally use Snow as bait to start a good fight.
      • Our new style is better. Pinktops gets farm in this style.

As the lads on Batman Forever (soundtrack) get to know one another, my hope then is that someone has a very distinct modus operandi that influences the rest of the team organically, and playstyle can emerge just like that. If style is saying who you are without speaking, then we’re all going to have to hear each other without listening.

Pretty sure I’m next leveling myself.

 

-gg worst captain ever

 

 

* they start off on the right foot

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