Special treat, we have a vod with comms.
I spent the week in Buffalo at a client site, a pretty under-the-radar city that has a lot of great venues for kids (and parents that want to get their drink on). Nice place, but I didn’t have Dota there, so it’s good to be back on the button.
Last night we notched our second Battle Cup win of the summer under the moniker Enjoy your vacation (kotlguy pictured). The bracket was easier than usual, no 5k stacks to block us from the trophy, and in the drafts opposing captains did us some favors as well. But you can’t choose who you draft against, you can only try to beat the captain across from you.
Anyway let’s talk meta a little bit and then look at some drafts.
On the Meta
Small sample size but pro meta seemed to be ignored for the most part. The current meta darlings Nightstalker, Earthshaker, and Batrider went completely uncontested save for one NS ban in the quarterfinals. In Echo League, Nightstalker and Shaker do see strong representation, showing up in almost 50% of matches, but they are feared much more at the pro level (80%+ contested). In SEAL the three are mere situational picks.
Shadow Shaman appears to be trending, getting picked up in phase one against us twice during Battle Cup and once more after cup. Several heroes were contested more than once last night – SB, Slardar, Lifestealer, Invoker, Enigma, LC, Viper, CK, maybe more. I think the main takeaway for me is that current pro meta revolves around flavor of the month, top heroes see much higher contest rates than they do at my tier level.
- We have first pick in this match. Kunkka, Pudge were scout bans. We’re really digging the flex Windranger lately, and with four survivable, high-lockdown bans we feel good about snagging her right away.
- Radiant opens pretty strong with SB-Rhasta, tons of lockdown for Lyra, so we’re pretty sure she’ll be pos 5. Lich Ice Armor on towers is superb, and Chain Frost punishes SB dives really well.
- They’ve shown offlane with LC, so I’m looking for a carry that man fights well and is hard to gank. Radiant is pretty ult dependent so far, so I opt for Wraith King over Sven or Ursa.
- Invoker picked up to hard counter WK right away, then we counter Invoker in kind with mid PL and Enigma. We probably should have banned Anti Mage.
The Lifestealer last pick was pretty game-losing for Radiant. Third pick LC into Lich didn’t help their case much either. Our cores are hard to gank with Charge/Duel, and they couldn’t fight 5v5 into WK Ankh, Black Hole and Chain Frost. We basically make it hard for Radiant to trigger their win condition.
- Radiant opens Witch Doctor, and we respond with our global meme opener AA + Zeus. I find AA to be really strong right now, so even just one heal on the enemy team can tip me in the direction. Zeus is just an all around solid backline dps support, with an interrupt and low chance of getting hit by WD’s spells.
- Phantom Assassin pick gives us a frontliner, additional burst to go with our global pickoff potential, and a counter to physical damage lineups with her evasion. Slardar + Witch Doctor signify minus armor strat, and they will lose a lot of value from Corrosive Haze, Bash, and Death Ward against PA.
- We take Viper to destroy the Centaur 1v1.
- The Magnus last pick gives us PA synergy and CK counter for the most part, but also helps us with initiation, counter-initiation, and set up for Ice Blast. OD’s Astral Imprisonment sets up well for Skewer.
We opened this match with a lot of backline damage, so we really wanted cores that man up well and get in your face to enable Zeus, AA, and especially Magnus to punish Radiant if they dump bodies on PA/Viper. The OD pick into PA was pretty detrimental to their draft.
- Dire bans Magnus, Enigma, Viper, but they don’t seem like scout bans due to Invoker and QoP. Seems like there is a lot of variety in bans overall, which may be the strongest indicator of an unsolved meta.
- First pick Shadow Shaman I actually really like, but it’s not a very flexible pick for us so we stopped using it. I think Silencer + Spacecow is nice to counter, lets you flank pretty well, interrupts for Shackles and gives an easy cue for Global Silence.
- They show offlane Tidehunter so we pick a 1/2 flex that lanes well against him in Sniper. Can’t purge triple shrapnel. Sniper also kills Rhasta wards pretty safely.
- Venomancer into double blinkers is always going to be effective. The hero is also great against the squishy Shadow Shaman – Plague Wards can pick off Serpent Wards, and even if Veno is chain disabled the pesky wards keep on spitting.
- With Dire’s vulnerability to silence and our clicks, Drow Ranger seemed like a perfect choice. Trax is staple for us into the Slar-LS, her huge physical dps punishes Naix bombs if they target any other hero.
I think we drafted a pretty standard lineup into Dire’s bruiser draft, but they made it easy with tough Lifestealer and Puck picks.
Victory Celebration Pub
- We experimented this game with MK-Kunkka supports. Actually worked out pretty well, as MK tends to get enemy heroes to run away in straight lines to set up torrents. Shadow Shaman first pick again. Shackles creates an easy torrent target, and boat rum is great for keeping people alive during the disables.
- This is the hardest Anti Mage game ever, but we picked it anyway.
- Most of Radiant’s damage is physical, and they are pretty vulnerable to Chain Frost, so Lich offlane seems like a solid pick.
- Razor has really good static link targets, and Radiant has a ton of single target spells.
The Razor and Lich completely snowballed, and Anti Mage got the space he needed to mega rice and beat the other team off pure net worth.
I think the 15 heroes we picked during Battle Cup, plus Shadow Shaman, Earthshaker, Clockwerk, Clinkz and some others are in a really good place right now, meta-wise as well as in terms of overall power. Nightstalker and Batrider seem alright, not valued nearly as high outside pro level. Lifestealer feels like he’s in a bad place. In the right situation I’m pretty scared of Anti Mage, Huskar and Arc Warden.
Really interested to see how the pro meta evolves at TI7. I do expect the top trending heroes to fall back down to earth during the tournament, and for pick rates to level out among the most contested heroes. If that happens I think there will be a lot more overlap of the metas with some exceptions here and there like Rhasta, Bloodseeker, Nature’s Prophet.
It’s refreshing also to see when pro drafters next-level themselves, which is sure to happen a few times at TI7. Let’s have a quick toast to Resolution and his first phase Anti Mage.
-gg worst captain ever