Game Seven

Game ID: 466753104 (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.)

Doing It Wrong

I have some serious issues with carrying. Issues that could only be the result of childhood abuse. Maybe my priest played carry and growled creep stats and 6-slot item builds at me while he groped for me in the dark. Except that I didn’t go to church as a kid. I know it wasn’t my father, because he hated video games, and struck me as a position 3 kind of guy anyway. You know, the weird one. After all, he was a drummer and introduced me to Captain Beefheart. Maybe that’s an excuse and the truth is I’m just bad.

The entire process of playing a carry goes against my nature. First off, I have a natural resistance to doing things the way they’re supposed to be done. Part of my lack of a killer instinct, I suppose. No matter how proven an item or skill build may be, there is always a part of me thinking, “Yeah, but I could do it differently.” That doesn’t mean doing things differently isn’t an option, but the role of a carry is to be dependable, not to be messing around with esoteric fever dream builds. When the shit hits the fan the carry needs to be there, getting the job done. That’s not me. I’d much rather be throwing that shit than having to respond to it, which is why I prefer roles like mid and offlane.

On top of that, I know for a fact that my late-game decision making leaves something to be desired. There are statistics backing that up. One thing a team definitely doesn’t want from their carry is that stupid move at 52 minutes in that throws away all of their hard work, and that’s the stupid move I always make. I have no tolerance for late game situations at the best of times, but there’s nothing more crushing than playing a carry and doing nothing for 45 minutes while the rest of the team tries to keep the game alive, only to be the one that ruins it all.

That said, I really love Naga Siren. She has been one of my favourite heroes since I started playing DotA, way back when she had that 45% crit instead of her little splishsplash. Naga is the kind of carry that I could appreciate, because she didn’t need 45 minutes, or even 5 minutes, of farm to start actively doing things. As I’ve said before, I like to win lanes, and Naga is a hero that can win lanes. Give me a Naga + Dazzle lane, a Naga + Vengeful Spirit lane, basically any Naga lane where I can start getting kills before I have to worry about my creep stats, and I’m happy, and I’ll carry. Give me a lane where I’m doing nothing but worrying about how truly terrible I am at last hitting and I will lose every time.

Game Type: All Pick

Pick Phase

When I pick Naga in a pub I do it in 2 situations: either everyone else has picked and they demand a carry, or nobody has picked and I am free to play support or mid instead. That’s what I did this game: first picked Naga right after the other team randoms Slark (I really don’t mind that matchup: as long as the nets are timed properly it’s possible to hold him in place for his entire ultimate.) and said that I would play support or carry depending on what the rest of the team went with.

The other team then randoms Spirit Breaker and picks Mirana and Drow. My team picks a Bristleback. Looks like I’m not offlane. Other team picks a Queen of Pain, we pick a Doom. I probably won’t be mid, either. We pick a Templar Assassin. I’m definitely not mid. Our last pick is a Distuptor.

So, this is my nightmare. I’m going to be in the safe lane up against a Slark with random gold, a Spirit Breaker with random gold, or a Mirana, and my support will be completely useless for getting kills against any of them. This is a lane I can’t crush, and with random gold on their side I may even be in danger.

game 7 start

Starting Items

Tangos x1, GG Branches x3, Slippers of Agility x2

This is my usual starting build for carry Naga. The Slippers will be a Poor Man’s Shield as soon as possible. I get Slippers when I’m not up against heavy ranged harass, otherwise I’ll get the Stout Shield first and buy the Slippers from the side shop. I get these items to boost Naga’s abysmal starting damage, and for the extra stats in general. My goal is to quickly build up small stat items in the lane that will help me win fights there and will then help my illusions push and farm. I could get a Quelling Blade instead, but then I would be significantly weaker in fights, which I do not want. Why do I bother even when I’m pretty sure I won’t be fighting much? A Poor Man’s Shield is still a godsend for any melee hero in a pull lane. If I have to fight the creeps under my tower I need that block chance to not get pulverized, even with Naga’s high base armour. Of course, I don’t actually buy the PMS before the creep wave gets to my tower, but that’s my fault.

First Blood

I get to the lane, late because Disruptor took his sweet time deciding whether or not he was going to support. When I get there it’s pretty much the worst situation imaginable. Spirit Breaker with 2 Branches, 2 Gauntlets, and plenty of regen. He has twice my damage, so if I want any chance of getting some farm I have to scare him away from the creeps. Except he also has twice my HP and plenty of armour. There isn’t much I can do alone.

Meanwhile, Templar Assassin gets hit with a Shadow Strike mid, then a long range Sacred Arrow. First blood goes to Queen of Pain.

Early Game

It only gets worse. Mirana is camping our jungle, preventing Doom from doing anything, and Bristleback is dying to the solo Slark in their safe lane. At the same time, Drow is ancient farming and there’s nothing we can do about it. Disruptor shows up in the lane and I take a shot at Bristleback, getting him down to about 30 HP, but he still has his Salve, and Charge. He gets away.

I then get a random disconnect during a team fight in our jungle.

After 8 minutes things are bad, but not awful. The score is only 2-1 in their favour, but their important heroes are getting all the farm they want, and nothing is being done about Drow, who already has a Midas.

Mid Game

By 12 minutes the situation has progressed from worse to awful. Slark has turned his free farm into Power Treads and a Sange, and will now have free run of the map. Any exposed hero is liable to get Charged, Pounced on, Blinked on, and even hit with a random Arrow. We don’t have better team fight, or better pushing power, outside of my illusions, which won’t be that strong since Templar Assassin is building Drums instead of me. Our options are limited unless someone makes big plays.

Our bottom tier 1 tower goes down to Slark at 13 minutes, after their entire team jumps me in the top lane, forcing me to Sleep and TP away. I wouldn’t have made it, either, if Mirana hadn’t missed her Arrow. We lose our tier 1 mid at 14 and a half minutes. Now Mirana has a Midas as well.

We then lose our top tier 1 tower, but come out slightly ahead in the team fight afterwards. Bristleback takes down their bottom tier 1.

I feel an overwhelming need to be aggressive, so I go after Queen of Pain, farming near our tier 2 in the bottom lane. I try to bait out a Blink and catch up with Sleep, but she gets a little too far away and has a second Blink to get away before I can finish the job. With my ult down the other team decides to Moonlight Shadow and try to take a team fight, but we back away without taking any hero losses. They do get our bottom tier 2 tower.

The game is 20 minutes old now and I’m still trying to finish my Yasha, while Slark has finished his Sange and Yasha and has 1k gold saved for his next item.

I have to admit, even with my terrible farm and sub-optimal item choices, I am still contributing. Every kill we have is either something I instigated, or a counter-kill when they dove too far. Precisely the reason I don’t want to be playing a hard carry: even at my worst I can usually get something done.

Let’s back up a second so I can explain my items a little as well, since they’re unusual. Dumb as they may seem, I do have reasons. The PMS and Ring of Aquila are not too much of a stretch, and given the option I would even have Drums. The reason is both for the abundance of stats, but also for illusion. Illusions can carry both of those auras, which makes them much better at pushing, which makes them a much bigger distraction. I don’t rush a Radiance. I don’t like Radiance, and I don’t like to be so weak until I get it. I don’t often send my illusions to the jungle. I’ll be in there instead, with my illusions in the lane. It’s safer that way. Next is my choice of boots. I have preferred Phase Boots on Naga ever since she lost her crit, and especially now that he base damage is so low. I am not very good at last hitting and I need all the help I can get, and attack speed doesn’t help. Phase Boots do absolutely nothing for illusions, true, but Naga is not a weak hero on her own, and I don’t often invest heavily in illusions till I have other items anyway. Level 1 illusions and level 4 illusions are still going to die to any AoE until the hero is buff, and the extra damage they do is trivial compared to them just being there for the aura and being able to Rip Tide. Lower level illusions are also less of a drain on my mana pool. The attack speed on Treads does nothing for illusions, so all they would be getting is the stats, which are insignificant. Treads are the superior choice for late game, but even better are Boots of Travel, and I value the extra speed and damage from Phase Boots too much.

I’m also going to add that the biggest nerf Naga got in the last patch was lowering Rip Tide’s AoE from 450 to 350. It may not seem like much for a support Naga, or in a fight when she can easily catch most heroes, but it’s a big deal for her illusions. With 450 range Rip Tide was able to hit the ranged creeps when the illusions were fighting the melee creeps. At 350 range it only hits the melee creeps. Now I have to pay attention and run the illusions behind the melee creeps to get optimal coverage. It’s not a huge deal, but there is only so much attention to go around.

Late Game

The rest of the game doesn’t matter very much. We are too weak, but put up a token fight. All of our heroes who are designed to win 1v1 fights can’t hope to take any of their heroes, so we have to devote 2 or 3 or 4 heroes to any kill, which gives them a chance to team fight, which we will lose. It also stops us from doing much farming or pushing, so by 25 minutes we don’t have a single major item complete.

I give a silly kill to Queen of Pain in the bottom lane, figuring she wouldn’t use Sonic Wave on me for some reason. They kill our courier and even defend their top tier 1 tower against 3 of our heroes with only 2 of theirs, which is as good as a team wipe. We stand around limply while they take the rest of our outer towers. Someone laments our picks, deciding that getting a jungle Doom on top of a safe lane Naga was way too greedy.

At 26 minutes they make their first big mistake, going for Roshan while we had full vision. As soon as Roshan dies I use Sleep and Templar Assassin grabs the Aegis. They then lose 3 heroes and we get their mid tier 1 and tier 2 towers. Of course, Slark immediately shows up and kills Disruptor and Doom.

Eventually they gathered together their stronger, more farmed heroes, and rolled right over us.

game 7 end

Radiant Victory

Ranked solo queue record: 4-3

Best Pick

Random Slark in a pub.

Worst Pick

Bristleback or Doom. I’d be tempted to say Disruptor just because of the situation it put us in, but it was as decent a support as any. Bristleback is not going to do well against a team of high mobility, high armour, high damage heroes. Doom was a greedy pick and he didn’t have much to do, but that was more to do with how the game played out. I guess Doom could have worked out fine, but we needed a more active hero who could contribute to team fights for our offlane.


Slark. He got an advantage and just kept going, never giving us any space to farm or push.


If I had to pick someone from the losing team it would be Doom. He had nobody really worth using Doom on most of the time, but even worse he built a Shiva’s Guard (when we already had one) instead of any sort of damage. The way to win from behind is not to tank up with big items and hope you can weather the storm. Damage is required to punish mistakes and win fights. If he got an Assault Cuirass instead we probably still would have lost, but we would have had a better chance.

However, the hero that was actually most useless was Drow. Not her fault, but the game was won without her input.

Personal Rating

I farmed poorly, made dumb positional mistakes, and spent most of the game second guessing my item choices. Our other lanes lost anyway, but that doesn’t mean I wasn’t able to do more. It was my typical carry play, which is not good.


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