Draft Quickie: The SD-Mirana opener

My Echo League team Five Potatoes played a seeding tiebreaker Thursday night against the Cinderella squad Daft Gank. We drew a series 1-1 with them during the group stage, so both teams were itching to finish the pseudo bo3, especially with coveted seeding positions at stake.

The cast wasn’t streamed, but the replay is available under match id 3311906298. Dotabuff link.

I think there are a lot of interesting things going on in this draft, so I want to highlight the high-impact choices:

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  • 1st pick makes the draft significantly easier in this particular match up. Our posse tends to have flexible lanes, which softens the advantage of last pick, as there is usually 2-3 mid possibilities. Both teams get more out of being able to see the picks at 7, 13, and 15 – more of the other team’s strategy is revealed while their own agenda remains hidden. We won the coin toss that night, probably made a big difference.
  • The Mirana-SD opener for Daft Gank. I’m very fond of this old school roaming duo, but it does require some practice; it’s a new look for DG – the first time they’ve picked either hero. If they use this opener a few more times it’ll become much deadlier.
    • There’s two problems with the opener, one is that it’s risky against me in particular. Mirana and Shadow Demon are two of my favorite heroes, and I have a really solid understanding of how to counter them.
    • The second problem is that one of these counters is Zeus, currently one of  if not the strongest heroes in the game, and a hero that we practice often in multiple roles. SD-Mirana is really squishy; Disruption is not useful defensively against Thundergod’s Wrath; illusions are cleared easily by Arc Lightning, Moonlight Shadow loses value against Lightning Bolt and ult; Leap and Demonic Purge also relatively low value spells.
  • The nut Treant Protector pick. Arguably the most important ban for SD-Mirana opener. Defensive heroes are really strong against this combo and other ganking duos in general. Of these, Rooftrellen takes the cake, because Living Armor is global. As well, we have heroes that benefit very much from having a few extra seconds to live – Zeus and Windranger both have really low cooldowns they can use to pump out extra damage, or to escape in WR’s case. Our later picks, PL and Bloodseeker, have similar strengths. Finally, again a product of having 1st pick, Tree’s multiple roots are very helpful against Centaur’s Stampede.
    • Quick aside that Abaddon is another special counter to the duo, as Aphotic Shield can remove both the 5 second stun and the Soul Catcher.
  • Last pick Medusa. I think this is just a really hard Medusa game. The prime reason being Phantom Lancer and his diffusal blade. I’m betting that a lot of captains mistakenly think this is a good matchup for Medusa because of Split Shot, which is indeed helpful, but it is outweighed by PL’s ability to chew through mana shield. It’s an excellent synergy pick, but there are other dangers: Windranger’s evasion, disengage, and Focus Fire + diffusal; Zeus’s backline damage out of Split Shot range; Treant’s sustain and two disarms; Bloodseeker just being super duper fast.

 

Overall we were very happy with how the draft played out, and ended up adding four new heroes to our repertoire (though we had practiced with all five before). As a drafter I’m pretty obsessed with openers, and I think we’ve found a gem here in Windranger-Zeus. As for SD-Mirana I think SD is countered by a few too many power heroes, so I think opening Mirana + 1 and looking at Shadow Demon later is a stronger start. Perhaps Mirana-Centaur with a phase 2 SD/Bane/SB.

Best of luck to Daft Gank in the playoffs, I expect them to surprise some teams so that we can face them again.

We’ll try not to next level ourselves with say, Mirana + 4 arrow setups – Shadow Demon, Bane, Outworld Devourer, Faceless Void. …actually is that legit?

 

-gg worst captain ever

 

Snow’s contribution (above).

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