Game Eight

Game ID: 469355313 (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.)

Aghanim’s Sceptre is one of the more interesting items in DotA. It’s the only item in the game that has a different effect depending on which hero buys it. Most heroes get nothing from it except for its base stats, which are not exceptional. Some heroes have their ultimate skills improved. A bit more damage, longer duration, shorter cooldown. Sometimes those extra numbers make it essential, and sometimes those extra numbers can’t justify the item’s cost. But for a couple of heroes buying an Aghanim’s Sceptre changes the way that hero plays.

The prime example is Tiny. Aghanim’s Sceptre changed one of the game’s most iconic and fun solo mid heroes into another boring right-click carry. Of all the changes IceFrog has made to DotA over the years, Tiny’s Aghanim’s upgrade is the one I dislike the most. Even more than all of those Naga nerfs.

And it’s not as if Tiny’s Aghanim’s upgrade made him worse at mid, or worse at ganking. It didn’t. But positive reinforcement

So maybe that’s my team’s excuse here. Maybe they weren’t used to what a classic solo mid Tiny was going to do to them. I’m trying to be generous, because the only other way to explain how poorly we dealt with it was that we were just bad.

Game Type: Captains Draft

Pick Phase

game 8 draft

Starting Items and Lanes

I’m going to be playing Lina in a trilane with Bane and Luna. They’re going to send Juggernaut and at least 1 more support at us. I expect to out-range everyone involved, and want to take pot shots at them with Luna’s aura.

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

It’s a pattern.

Bane then buys wards, and a second courier. If I had known he was going to buy a courier and wards to begin with I would have just got more stats, or saved some gold to try and get boots earlier.

That means Nature’s Prophet in the bottom lane against Anti-Mage, and Necrophos mid against their Tiny. That’s what we get, at least. They could have run Tiny in the trilane and put Juggernaut mid. We also could have gone with Nature’s Prophet mid and Necrophos bottom, which probably would have worked out better, for a variety of reasons. As it is, Nature’s Prophet will offer much more consistent right-clicking on Anti-Mage during the early laning, which is a positive, but he will also be less likely to want to TP into the trilane if he thinks he has to keep Anti-Mage down.

Our team is also incredibly squishy and will be unable to take straight fights for most of the game. We also have worse late game, and only moderately better split push, which will only last until Tiny gets his Aghanim’s Sceptre. If we want a convincing win it will require coming out ahead in the early game and never losing that advantage.

First Blood

The theme of this game is hesitation.

Their Juggernaut, Visage, Vengeful Spirit offensive trilane gets a Double Damage rune, which spurs them into early aggression. But, like proper pubs, none of them are on the same page, so when Bane and I find their supports hanging out near our neutral camp their Juggernaut is in no position to follow up when they use their disables. Of course, our position isn’t much better. We cancel each other out, but their Juggernaut went boots first and decides to spin on Luna anyway. In the end, both sides back off and regroup without taking a loss.

The next time Juggernaut is ready to spin his supports are there for him, and they lead with a slow and stun on Luna. Bane sees Juggernaut coming, but hesitates on the sleep. Juggernaut spins, and Luna dies.

Realizing that I can’t do anything to save Luna, I instead begin right-clicking Juggernaut, while Bane tries to cleanse himself of sin by diving deep on their Visage. Bane still dies, but we manage to get Visage and Juggernaut. We still get the worst of it, since their carry got the experience.

Early Game

Our trilane is perpetually in a state of being not quite sure if the other guys are ready to go, which limits our aggression. What happens in the other lanes is more significant. Nature’s Prophet is doing a good job of keeping Anti-Mage down, trying to punish him for being greedy and rushing a Ring of Health. But it’s coming at a cost, and Prophet is either not noticing the other lanes, or is unwilling to leave his own, so we can’t count on him for help.

To make matters worse, both trilanes ward the jungle so they can see any incoming heroes, but neither team bothers to deward those spots, even when it’s clear that the ward is there. It’s a stalemate.

It’s the mid lane that is the real story. Tiny rushes a Bottle. He’s going for a classic ganking build. And why not? Necrophos is unable to stop him from getting his early farm, and also seems to be to be unfamiliar with how a mid Tiny works. Necrophos chases Tiny to the 2 minute rune and gets brutally murdered when it turns out to be a Haste. He gets killed again by standing in the lane with 200 HP while Tiny has full mana.

At 6 minutes Prophet finally leaves his lane, teleporting in after their trilane gets a successful kill on Bane. He and I get both of their supports, while Luna and Necrophose, having just grabbed a Haste rune, chase down Juggernaut in the river, trying to stop him before he can get back to the safety of his top tower. Hesitation: Necrophos has full mana and is close enough to nuke Juggernaut, but holds off till they are almost at the tower, giving Juggernaut time for his spin to come off cooldown. Necrophos finally nukes, but Juggernaut is magic immune. Now he and Luna are diving past the tower, and Necrophos compounds his mistakes by using his ultimate on Juggernaut while he’s still magic immune. Visage respawns and TPs back in. Luna snipes Juggernaut with a Lucent Beam, but Necrophos also dies, giving Visage a huge XP boost.

Necrophos TPs back to the mid lane, dies to Tiny. He does get something back when he respawns again and gets Tiny with his ult, but he’s throwing a lot of gold at their heroes with little to show for it.

At 8 minutes I get my first death, and it’s appropriately stupid. Bane Nightmare’s Visage, but before I can cast my stun Nature’s Prophet uses his ult, which hits Visage and wakes him up. Fortunately, Vengeful Spirit, seeing me coming, decides to try and stun me before I can stun Visage, but in doing so she walks next to Visage and gets stunned instead. A Brain Sap and Vengeful Spirit is dead. But Juggernaut wants to show off the shiny new Phase Boots he just bought, so he spins in on us, and I’m chuffed because I just hit 6, so I’m just standing there like an idiot waiting for Juggernaut’s spin to end. Visage right-clicks me a couple of times and then plops his nuke onto my chest like we’re doing German porn. Luna and Bane kill Juggernaut, then Bane and Luna kill Visage. All in all, it’s a good trade, but it was still a stupid death.

The score is 9-8 in our favour. Necrophos has died 4 times.

Tiny shows up in the top lane and throws Vengeful Spirit at Bane. A stun and a spin and Bane goes down. Nature’s Prophet continues to pressure Anti-Mage in the bottom lane, and eventually Necrophos shows up and helps him get the kill.

I go mid to place some wards and grab a little extra farm so I can finish my Urn. Like any really good player would, I’m watching another lane on my way back to pick up my items, so when Tiny comes out of the jungle between our mid towers I notice too late and he kills me instantly with Avalanche + Toss.

Necrophos destroys their bottom tier 1 tower. Our creeps take down their mid tier 1 tower.

Tiny grabs a Haste run and catches our Luna on the wrong side of the river. Even when she uses her ultimate and an extra Lucent Beam he kills her with Avalanche + Toss. She went with Phase Boots instead of Power Treads, so she’s extra squishy. Nature’s Prophet doesn’t TP in, but Tiny had a Haste and a full Bottle, while Prophet didn’t have his ultimate. Prophet probably wouldn’t have killed him unless he got to Luna before Tiny did.

I’m so wrapped up in this sight that I’m not paying attention again while I head back to the top lane. I get caught by Vengeful Spirit and Visage, who have a ward in our lane, behind the tower. I die another stupid death.

Mid Game

Team fights continue to get messier and messier, giving Tiny every opportunity to pick heroes off with his combo, back off to Bottle up, then come right back in and do it again. At 13 minutes he’s 7-2 and is demanding more and more focus, which gives Anti-Mage the space he needs to start farming. At 14 minutes Anti-Mage is 5th in net worth, 200 gold behind our Luna. Prophet continues to try and harass him as much as he can, but without Bane around to hold him in place there’s not much he can do anymore.

At 15 minutes Tiny decide to buy a Blink Dagger. At 16:30 Anti-Mage finishes his Battle Fury. At 20 minutes Anti-Mage is 1000 gold ahead of our Luna, who hasn’t picked up the first piece of a BKB, getting a Helm of the Dominator instead. I don’t blame her completely, since she wanted to stack the ancients, but if she had asked then one of our supports could have done it instead.

Things take a slight turn in our favour when we get into a fight defending our bottom tier 1. Tiny isn’t around, which makes up for our Nature’s Prophet getting very adventurous by TPing into their supports from behind with a level 1 Necronomicon. I valiantly save our Necrophos by taking the hits from Juggernaut’s ultimate, which gives him time to use his Mekansm, and then I get a triple kill, taking down Juggernaut, Visage (he’s almost saved by a Bane Nightmare), and Anti-Mage in turn. With my Urn heals we’re able to get their bottom tier 2 tower, and I finish my Force Staff.

I’ve got 900 gold in my pocket and I’m making a decision about what to buy. What I see are a lack of good disables for Anti-Mage and not enough physical damage on our team against heroes who are naturally resistant or immune to magic damage, and who will also be buying BKBs. We already have a Mekansm, and my other concern is being so squishy Tiny can kill me from full HP any time he catches me. I vacillate between a sheepstick and an Orchid. The sheepstick is the superior choice 9 times out of 10, and it will help me be a little less squish, but I see that Anti-Mage has gone for Vladmir’s Offering after his Battle Fury and he doesn’t have any pieces of a Manta Style. I decide that sheepstick is too ambitious for my budget and opt for Orchid instead. This means I will start putting points into Fiery Soul so that I can start putting out some decent damage if they give me a bit of space.

At 24 minutes we win another team fight and we even up the score at 26-26. That lasts for about 15 seconds, until Tiny Blinks on Necrophos and kills him again.


My team decides to go for it. Luna has a BKB now and we’ve got treants to tank for us. But we go in without dewarding, and they come for us immediately. My team is still unwilling to fight, so we back out, which allows Tiny and Juggernaut to go into the pit. Roshan dies, and at 28 minutes Juggernaut picks up the Aegis. Then they try to jump us between our bottom tier 1 and tier 2, which leads to Juggernaut losing his Aegis, then Vengeful Spirit and Visage dying, and then Juggernaut dying again.

But Anti-Mage has all he needs to start split pushing now, so when we try to push their bottom lane he gets our tier 2 mid, which gives him the gold to finish his Manta Style, while I’ve only completed a single Oblivion Staff. Every victory we manage is costing us too much in attrition. Hesitation is killing us.

Late Game

We win more fights and even demolish their bottom lane melee barracks, which gives me the gold to finish my Orchid. Things aren’t so bad. We’re behind in most ways that matter, but we’ve got a lane of barracks to give us some breathing room, and if we keep winning fights we stay in the game.

But our mistakes are piling up. Necrophos continues to get caught out, running in when he shouldn’t, or hesitating when he should be backing off. It forces us into fights we aren’t prepared for. Then Luna gets jumped in their jungle and tries to BKB and TP out, but Anti-Mage has a Basher, and Tiny shows up to finish the job. With that opening they take down Roshan again, giving the Aegis to Tiny. We catch Tiny in our jungle, but I choose to run instead of fighting when it’s only me and Bane. Nature’s Prophet insists, and we catch him again and take out the Aegis. Maybe if we’d gone for it we could have killed him twice. Hesitation.

We charge down mid lane, not wanting their carries to keep farming while we fall further and further behind. But, for once, their entire team is in the fight. Tiny gets a Blink, Avalanche, Toss combo on 4 of our heroes, which is made worse when Anti-Mage Blinks in and uses his Abyssal Blade stun on Necrophos, stopping him from using his heal or Mekansm. Juggernaut ults, Tiny swings his tree around. It’s a full team wipe.

Luna and I have buyback. I wait till our mid tier 3 tower is already being pummelled to use mine. Hesitation. By the time I get out of the fountain we have already lost the melee barracks. The ranged barracks dies next. Then they get our top barracks. Luna waits out her respawn timer. Nature’s Prophet and I kill Vengeful Spirit, but Juggernaut catches us with his ultimate. Instead of sharing the damage, Prophet uses his Shadow Blade. I die again. We kill their Anti-Mage, but they still get our bottom barracks, and he’s got 4300 gold in the bank.

Luna finishes her Butterfly.

We lose, even if it takes another 10 minutes. I manage another silly death in our mid lane, when Juggernaut shows up out of his Shadow Blade invisibility, tongue flopping loosely out of his mask as he runs toward me and screams obscenities at the top of his lungs. Instead of immediately silencing him with Orchid and running like a bitch, I let him Omnislash all over me. The game was just going that way.

game 8 end

Radiant Victory

Ranked solo queue record: 4-4

Best Pick

The Tiny pick after we didn’t have a mid who could stop him. A solo mid Tiny who gets a good start is very hard to deal with.

Worst Pick

Third pick Necrophos and sending him mid. If I could do it again I would have put Prophet mid, or even picked Sniper instead so we’d have better late game. They had too much magic immunity and too much damage for Necrophos to do really well. Maybe if he’d rushed a BKB so he could run around more in the fights, but even then.


Tiny. I may be biased because I love solo mid Tiny, but he was doing all the work for his team the majority of the game.


I’d like to say Necrophos, but it was Luna. The wrong items in the wrong order, and she kept getting caught and killed when we really needed her to not get caught or killed. She also saved her buyback so she could finish a Butterfly. Not saying we would have been able to defend their last push if she had been there, but we may have saved at least 1 lane of barracks.

Personal Rating

Lina is an easy hero to get kills with, and I got plenty of kills, but I should have been more aggressive early on, and I should have made fewer really stupid mistakes during the rest of the game. It was a passable performance.


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