Game One

Game ID: 430152171 (download) (Place replay in the “replays” folder found in “steam/steamapps/common/dota 2 beta/dota” and it should show up in the downloaded replays section under the “Watch” tab.)

Let’s get the excuses out of the way: I am having some serious connection issues at the moment, but I felt an overwhelming urge to at least try the new ranked matchmaking, and this was the result.

Game Type: All Pick

Pick Phase

I was certain that I would be getting lag spikes at some point during the game, so I was going to avoid mid lane and offlane. The other team picks Broodmother immediately, my team randoms Visage, who starts asking for a trade. I do not want Visage if I’m going to lag, and the Visage wants another random. The other team then randoms Nature’s Prophet. My team is requesting Storm Spirit. The other team picks a Kunkka. They now have jungle, offlane, and what will most likely be a mid Kunkka. I am fine with a Storm Spirit going up against a Kunkka if the Storm can last hit, as they will have ample opportunity for ganks. My team randoms a Weaver, which will be traded for the Visage. Most likely our offlane is covered, but Weaver is neither a strong pusher nor a strong ganker, and so far the other team doesn’t have much reason to fight us head on. Either way, we need disables, and I’m not picking Shadow Shaman or Witch Doctor to lane against Broodmother. The Broodmother especially makes Paralyzing Casks ineffective in lane, and Kunkka has too many ways to cancel channelling skills. Shadow Shaman is fine against Prophet, but Ether Shock and Mass Serpent Wards will not cut it against massed spiderlings. Since we’ve already got our random Weaver I decide to get Earthshaker, hopefully pushing our other 2 picks into a mid and carry roles. The other team picks a late Bounty Hunter, who has no place in their lineup as we have no real jungle action and they will probably still want a carry. Maybe to counter our Weaver? Hard to say. They last pick a Luna, which is even more pushing power. If that Bounty Hunter had been a Crystal Maiden or a Rubick or some other ranged support with a disable and half decent nuke I would be scared, but it wasn’t, so I wasn’t. We get our Storm Spirit for mid, but our last pick is taking a long time. The problem now is how to lane: getting the trilane against a Broodmother when we only have 1 not very effective stun will not work out very well. I would have loved a Naga pick, or at least a Legion Commander to help with tower farming broodlings. Instead, we get a last pick Dark Seer, which forces the Weaver into the safe lane and gives us less chance of consistently killing Broodmother.

game start

Starting Items

Tangos x1, GG Branches x3, Gauntlet of Strength x1.

This is one of my biggest problems. I build stat heavy like a carry or a mid, even on a support where I probably won’t be trading harassment. It goes with how I like to play early, though: I have no desire to sit in a lane and try and out-regen my opponents. I will be going for first blood as soon as possible, and either my team gets a kill and I have enough money to buy whatever, making consumables a non-issue, or I die and I get a fountain trip. Visage, because of random gold, bought wards and chick, so I’m saving 191 starting gold to get sentry wards for the Broodmother, even though at this point I have no plans on actually staying in the lane. We leave the wards for the Dark Seer, who resolutely ignores them. The branches will be for a magic stick, the gauntlet will hopefully be for an Urn of Shadows.

First Blood

I make the sentry ward hand-off, then double back to pick up the observer wards at the base: don’t want to send that innocent donkey into the world while Bounty Hunter is obviously hanging around the mid lane and jungle. Broodmother has come to her lane with no stats and no stout shield, so the first blood is nothing special: she stands around while 2 ranged heroes put the boots to her, and as soon as she turns to scurry away Visage drops a nuke, Weaver comes in with Shukuchi, and it’s a done deal. If I could see into the future I would have stayed in the lane for the free gold and xp, but if I could see the future I would have known that every inch of my front porch and walkway were covered in ice last Monday and I wouldn’t have fallen on my ass when I just wanted some fresh air. C’est la vie.

Early Game

The first blood did nothing to set the tone. The spider wised up and just hung out in the trees till she could get her Soul Ring, then got a solo kill on both the Visage and the Weaver by smartly skipping her ult and passive (She isn’t going to be right-clicking against either of those heroes) and whittling away at them with her nuke. The Dark Seer continues to show forward thinking by creep skipping against a level 8 Luna. During the night. She obliges him by walking right up and ulting all over his face. The situation is a little better mid: I hide in the trees, keeping mostly out of xp range unless Storm leaves, because I really want him to get level 6, and I’m more than willing to trade an underlevelled Earthshaker for an underlevelled Bounty Hunter if that dumb cat wants to just hang around mid. I interrupt some kill attempts against Storm, and once he has some mana under his belt we go after Kunkka. The first time he stumbles away with 50 hp after dousing himself in rum, but the next time Storm has a double damage rune and we get the easy kill. Being able to kill the hero I hate more than any other is helping me emotionally while our other lanes start blasting Papa Roach and practice cutting themselves. It’s important to keep things in perspective while playing DotA.

Things start to turn around, though, thanks to my brilliant planning. Weaver and Dark Seer switch lanes, which is great, and Storm gets his ult and starts getting easy ganks while Bounty Hunter looks on in mute horror. With my team being so mobile there’s no way I can keep up, so I just place wards and hang out mid. I also have a bit of Empty Lane Syndrome, formed by the over thinking of a deep philosophical problem that takes the form of a simple question: if creep waves are dying and no hero is there to get gold and xp, why aren’t we pushing a lane?

Prophet rushes an 8 minute Dagon. Dies.

First Tower

Kunkka doesn’t want to leave mid lane and is apparently dead set on getting that tower. Visage floats in and denies it. Broodmother does manage to get the top tower at 13 minutes.

Courier Kill

Fifteen minutes in and Dark Seer is farming top lane, with full knowledge that Broodmother is around, and they have a Nature’s Prophet. In defiance of logic, God, and good taste, he sends for the courier to get a Staff of Wizardry. Prophet teleports in, the courier is dead, and both he and the bug walk away. KFC count: 1

Mid Game

Sixteen minutes in and we have no sentries, dust, or gems against 2 invisible heroes. But I finally finish my Arcane Boots, so whatever. Prophet has decided he’s better off with Phase Boots than a Shadow Blade, because he seems to think we’re 8 minutes in and he can still gank lanes that don’t have escape skills. Or won’t just kill him. Storm starts building for a Bloodstone.

The issue at hand is that we have worse late game, and worse split push, and better team fight, but since they have better late game and better split push–and a Midas on Kunkka and Broodmother–our team fight shouldn’t count for much. We could gather as 5 and push a lane, but we’d lose another lane if we did, and if Kunkka throws out a boat and Prophet throws out his ult we probably couldn’t get a tier 2 tower, let alone any of their tier 1 towers. As much fun as it is for Storm to zip in and pick them off one by one, there are at least 3 more of them farming while that happens, and we have yet to take a tower.

Things get good at 17 minutes, though. They actually try for a team fight in full view of our top tier 2 tower, and lose 3 heroes for their trouble. Much as I’d have loved to be there, I was busy trying to channel a 45 second teleport in full view of their Luna. I guess I was hoping that she was even dumber than me, and that almost worked. But her eyes eventually uncrossed and I died a painful and useless death. That, or I forced her to waste her ult on a support. I mean, I bought, so the joke’s on them, right? We get our first tower, Luna gets their third tower.

Many bad plays are the result of greed, and not always the obvious greed of overextending for an extra kill. At 20 minutes a fight breaks out in the bottom lane. Storm dives deep to take down Luna after Bounty Hunter baits them into eating a full Luna ult. Storm has blown all his mana trying to dodge the last few Eclipse beams, and he is also low on hp, so he starts to back off. That’s when Prophet shows up and Sprouts him, trying to get an easy kill behind the fight. I arrive at the fight fashionably late, because I have seen both Zoolander and The Devil Wears Prada, and I took them to heart. As fashion is superior, I am in the perfect position to Fissure the Prophet before he can get the last hit in on Storm, who is now sitting on a 5 kill streak. Everyone turns around to kill the Prophet and save Storm, and that’s when it happens: because I threw the Fissure out early to interrupt the Prophet I have to walk up to him if I want to get my Enchant Totem stun. Prophet has a Dagon, though, and will kill Storm the instant Fissure stun wears off. The solution would be me dunking Prophet to get the kill. He’s at the edge of my range, but he would definitely die. But Kunkka is also coming, and I would much rather kill him, or use my ult when we take the tower. And as I waddle over to Prophet and everyone else is either running or sending their projectiles through the mail, Prophet comes to his senses and Dagon’s Storm. Of course, Storm also could have just killed the Prophet, but I’m lagging, so I take the blame. Also, my grandmother was Scottish. I do get to drop a pretty satisfying ultimate on Broodmother and Bounty Hunter soon after, which totally makes up for it. That, along with that Scottish blood, also gets me my Blink Dagger, and I find 24 minute Blink, Wand, Arcanes to be acceptable.

Other bad plays are the result of tunnel vision, which is somewhat different from greed. After getting my Blink I get an easy kill mid against the dumb cat with the help of some Dust and Storm, and then knuckle-walk my way up to the top lane, where Broodmother and Prophet are pushing our tier 2 against Dark Seer. I blink on them and get an decent Echo Slam with a few spiderlings involved, but I am so concerned with trying to kill the Broodmother before she goes invisible, since our tower is down and my Dust is on cooldown, that I neglect to also stun the Prophet, allowing him to teleport away. It’s not a complete error, since we did get a kill and lost nothing but the tower that I couldn’t save anyway, but the Prophet would have died for sure, and trading both of them for the tower would have been a much better deal. Live and learn.

Late Game

30 mins

We are 30 minutes into the game now, and things are starting to look questionable. Storm has free reign, since they have few worthwhile disables, and Prophet isn’t getting either an Orchid or a Scythe of Vyse to stop him. Instead they all got BKBs, which is a fine alternative. Meanwhile they’ve had 4 heroes farming, and that Bounty Hunter is so far behind doesn’t matter much as long as he can throw out a few tracks. Weaver has no damage, and is getting a Linken’s for some reason. I’m more of a Linken’s fan than even I think is sane, but they don’t have anything worth the trouble, and we don’t have any damage once they activate their BKBs.

I also have to make a decision about my next item, which is tricky when playing a support like Earthshaker. A carry or semi-carry has some luxury of options, since they can build for an item and expect to actually get it if things go well. A melee support, though, does not have the same leeway. So the decision is not only which item can I get that will be helpful, but which item can I get that will be helpful and that I can actually get. After getting solo ganked (I’m lagging you guys I swear to God.) by the Prophet, now sporting a Desolator on top of the Dagon, I decide that a Force Staff is the way to go.


It should be noted that by now everyone on Radiant is bitching at and about the Broodmother, because she’s doing what Broodmother usually does: pushing to the tier 3 tower and then spending the rest of the game buzzing around the top of the map doing nothing but annoy the other team. It doesn’t work for many reasons, chief amongst them that spiders don’t buzz. So we get a few pretty easy pick offs on the bottom lane and decide that if we’re ever going to get anything done then it will be because Storm Spirit is still balling around after all their BKBs have run out, and giving him an Aegis is as good a way of getting that to happen as any other. Thirty-three minutes in and Weaver takes the Aegis. I guess when I say, “we decided,” I meant the royal “we.”

The rest of the game is a formality. My team pushes mid with the Aegis, while I stay at home to keep Broodmother honest. They get the melee barracks and start to retreat. I make an aggressive play by blinking on 3 of them to save Dark Seer, so of course Dark Seer immediately turns around so that he can be killed by Kunkka’s cleave. We then push bottom lane, and with 21 Bloodstone charges Storm manages to get himself killed. With 5 seconds left on his buyback time and 3k gold in the bank he decides that it would be a better idea to buy back and teleport to our bottom tier 2 and then run the rest of the way to the fight instead of waiting 5 seconds, buying Boots of Travel, and teleporting directly to the creep wave. It doesn’t matter much, though, since without reliable disables they can’t kill Storm a second time, or Weaver the first time, and the rest of their base is forfeit.

end game

Dire Victory

Ranked solo queue record: 1-0

Best Pick

Random Visage. Hard to beat that when there’s a player who is willing to take the hero.

Worst Pick

Late pick (not even a random!) Bounty Hunter on a team that already has a dedicated (and invisible) offlaner, and no supports, against a bunch of heroes that he wouldn’t be able to solo, and no jungler. He must have had really interesting expectations about what Prophet and Kunkka would do in the early and mid game.


Storm Spirit. The scoreboard may give an edge to Weaver and Visage, but it was Storm who played sensibly when it counted and used his mid advantage to keep the other lanes down. He was the only one that could do what he did. Without his ganks Weaver wouldn’t even have finished his Linken’s, and they may even have gathered for split pushing that we couldn’t have stopped.


You may assume it’s the Bounty Hunter, but it’s actually the Broodmother. She rushed a Midas, pushed to our tier 2, and then sat on 3k gold and did nothing for the rest of the game. At least Bounty Hunter was moving around the map, throwing out some tracks and denying runes.

Personal Rating

Meh. For the most part I was just there in the game. Nothing I did after keeping Storm safe in the early game tipped the balance in either direction. As I’ve said, I was getting periodic lag spikes throughout the game, which always makes me hesitate when I’d rather be aggressive. I got my Blink at a reasonable timing, but then didn’t do much with it that I couldn’t have done without blink. Not to say it was a bad purchase, and the threat of my blink continually made Broodmother pause in her aggression, but it’s not like I made any great plays. Serviceable DotA. I got carried. For what it’s worth (not much), assigned the game a DSR rating of 2093, which is pretty high. I include that only as non-arbitrary number to be measured against my eventual Ranked MMR, and because it’s all I have.


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