Game Four

Game ID: 455415160 (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.)

Game Type: Captains Draft

Pick Phase

The great thing about sub-competitive DotA is that there are plenty of opportunities to do things just because. There is more to picking a team than knowing what the flavour of the month and meta dictate, and that’s easily lost to players who haven’t spent time doing scrims and in-house games. Pubs can generally get by on knowing a few powerful lane combinations, eg. Naga + Dazzle, Crystal Maiden + Anti-Mage, Shadow Demon + Warlock. But when it comes to putting together an entire 5 hero team things get more complicated. There plenty of theme teams in DotA 1, like all trolls, or all bears, but they don’t necessarily translate into DotA 2. There are still plenty of strategically themed team options available, and they should be used more often. Maybe a global team isn’t as strong as it once was, but playing it is still fun.

Sometimes a theme is less the result of careful planning than it is a result of a happy accident, and sometimes it’s a bit of both. That’s what I end up with here. Captains Draft doesn’t allow a big enough pool to guarantee special lineups, but when one is there for the taking who wouldn’t go for it?

Dire Bans: Death Prophet, Nature’s Prophet

Radiant Bans: Templar Assassin, Nyx Assassin

(Themed bans yay!)

Dire Picks: Windranger, Drow, Dazzle, Sniper, Witch Doctor

Radiant Picks: Juggernaught, Magnus, Tidehunter, Leshrac, Ancient Apparition

game start

Their team is obvious enough: they want that wombo-combo team fight, dumping the AoE and disables onto all of our lean, squishy bodies and then walking over us to an easy win. They definitely have an edge when it comes to team fights. However, with our Drow pick we decided on a theme of our own: nothing but pew-pew ranged heroes that will make it essentially impossible for any of them to lane. Going against a Witch Doctor with Drow’s Trueshot aura to augment his already absurd base damage would be bad enough, but having to put up with Windranger, Sniper, and even Dazzle plinking away at a bunch of melee heroes will be even worse. Of course, if they ever manage to get a decent team fight they can easily snowball that into too many items for us to handle, but what is life without risk?

There is some minor disagreement about our starting lanes, as the Drow player wanted to take Windranger mid and doesn’t want to even play Drow, but they get over it. Even though the Windranger was in my last game, that’s pure coincidence and we’re not a stack. From what I remember the top 3 players on Radiant are a stack and a couple of heroes on Dire are also together.

Starting Items and Lanes

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

I usually like a Ring of Protection on Witch Doctor to get an early Ring of Basilius. I love his base damage, but he still can’t trade effectively with many heroes because of his terrible armour. The Basilius gives him the armour he needs and also some extra damage for more effective harassing and denying. This game the Sniper says he’s going for a Ring of Acquila, and there’s also a Windranger, so I decide on a Gauntlet to make into an Urn.

In order to get maximum coverage with our ranged harass we’re going 2-1-2 for our lanes, with Drow and Witch Doctor bottom, Sniper and Dazzle top. If we went for a trilane with Dazzle’s slow and Witch Doctor’s stun we could have dominated a lane even harder, but that would have let the other lane have an easier time. The biggest problem they’re going to have is that they picked heroes that could and should be aggressive early on, but have no way of doing anything with them. We have no melee heroes that are going to run up to Juggernaut, and the Ancient Apparition and Leshrac both need setups to get anything going, so unless someone is really dumb and lets Leshrac hit them with a naked stun there should be no way that they get any kills.

There’s a bit of foul play when their Leshrac starts the game AFK, but it’s not long enough to make a real difference. He heads top to make a trilane with Ancient Apparition and Juggernaut, which means that Tidehunter has to solo bottom lane against a Witch Doctor and Drow.

First Blood

Despite what I want, first blood happens mid. Drow not getting Frost Arrows first means that Tidehunter was able to get away when I hit him with a Paralyzing Cask (he made the mistake of walking in for a last hit when there were only 2 creeps left), but Windranger gets to work immediately and just right-clicks on Magnus mid (he doesn’t even have a Stout Shield) until she hits level 2, where she is able to use Windrun to chase and slow him and finish the job. Of course, she then stands right next to his tower with less than 100 HP while he TPs back and immediately kills her with a Shockwave. Win some, lose some.

Early Game

Juggernaut is obviously frustrated with all the pot shots Sniper and Dazzle are taking at him whenever he gets near the creeps, so at the first opportunity he tries to spin on Dazzle. Sniper leans back against a tree and gets down to business, so that when everything has settled Juggernaut is dead and Dazzle escapes to his tower with about 10 HP thanks to saving his first skill point until he needed it and Shallow Graving himself. Leshrac dies as well. Ancient Apparition puts his first point into Chilling Touch, trying to even out the harassment deficit in the lane. For whatever reason, Dazzle takes his sweet time getting Shadow Wave, and Sniper retreats back to the fountain, leaving Dazzle alone at the tower when Juggernaut comes back, and this time his spin gets the kill.

I’m a little frustrated as well. Tidehunter is staying out of the way and Drow isn’t being as aggressive with her Frost Arrows as I’d like. I even put my 2nd skill point into Maledict, something I rarely do, because I’d like to get a kill. When Drow finally decides to go in we’re too close to Tidehunter’s tower and Drow has to retreat, letting Tidehunter live again. She’s farming well enough, so I decide to leave her to it and TP top if that’s where the action is going to be.

There is a minor panic when our courier shows up to mid lane after 3 minutes still walking, and Magnus tries to Skewer over to it for a kill. I think I was so fixated on getting my boots from the side shop to help our early game aggression that I completely forgot about upgrading the courier.

Dazzle gets Juggernaut to spin on him again and we kill Juggernaut and Leshrac again. Juggernaut comes back, tries another spin, but this time only Leshrac dies. Progress? At 5 minutes Drow gets to level 6 and finally kills Tidehunter.

Overall, the early laning works out how it should have. The only hero on Radiant having any kind of success is Magnus, who kills Windranger twice. But, frankly, Windranger is playing like a reckless idiot and taking silly risks like using an Invisibility rune to jump a level 6 Magnus right next to his tower. She got what she deserved.

Mid Game

Really, this game was so short that there wasn’t any sort of late game, and barely a mid game. Things did start to ramp up after 6 minutes, though. Drow wandered into their jungle alone and almost dies, but luckily for her Tidehunter is still only level 5 and can’t use his ultimate to finish her off before she fogs him and hides in the trees until I can get there to extract her.

Juggernaut spins in top lane, dies.

At 7:30 into my 4th ranked game I finally make a decent (or at least important) play: Juggernaut and Ancient Apparition smoke up in their jungle and Tidehunter gets level 6 and initiates on Drow while his allies circle around through the trees. Drow makes a break for her tower, but Tidehunter lets out his Ravage. I was waiting in the fog near that tower, expecting only the Tidehunter, but I still manage to throw out a Paralyzing Cask before the Ravage hits me, which bounces to Juggernaut and Ancient Apparition in turn, preventing either of them from getting close enough to Drow to do any damage, and stopping Tidehunter from getting close enough to Anchor Smash. I’ll thank IceFrog for nerfing Ravage by giving it a travel time (It used to instantly hit everyone in range, if you can believe that.), and also the cold hands or slow connection that stopped Juggernaut from spinning as soon as he saw the Cask coming for him.

Juggernaut spins late, dies.

The rest of the game is simple enough. We make up for our weaker team fight by all being ranged, which means that we are able to keep relatively spread out so that Magnus and Tidehunter have little opportunity to hit big ultimates and swing the game back in their favour. More than once they take runs at us, but are unwilling to commit to ultimates that will only hit 1 or 2 heroes, and they take so much damage in the attempt that the fight ends in our favour anyway. The one time Magnus does land a decent ultimate–thanks to plenty of baiting from Tidehunter–Voodoo Restoration, Shadow Wave, and Shallow Grave allow us to get a 5-0 trade and then take their tier 1 and tier 2 towers in the mid lane.

Roshan

At 12 minutes we kill Roshan. Radiant gives up.

In conclusion:

game end

Dire Victory

Ranked solo queue record: 3-1

Best Pick

Getting the Drow. If this had been a normal Captains Mode game we could have picked Drow later to better disguise our plan, but as they had no more bans and couldn’t pick every ranged hero in the pool we were safe enough.

Worst Pick

It’s a tossup between first picking Juggernaut without a disable in mind, or last picking 2 supports who didn’t have the needed disables. One of those needed to be something different.

MVP

Probably the Dazzle for making several clutch Shallow Grave plays that baited the other team into diving to their deaths early on.

MUP

Leshrac.  He didn’t do anything. If he’d been able to maybe land a few freak stuns things could have gone better, but the only time he managed to land anything was when it didn’t matter.

Personal Rating

I did well enough. I wanted my lane to go differently, and it should have, but that’s not all my fault. One thing I definitely could have done better was toggling Voodoo Restoration. Against a team with good initiation and disables it should be turned on before a fight breaks out, not after they’ve already done all of their damage. Be preemptive. I’m usually careful about that, but not this game. I blame dog sitting.

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