Sunday, January 26, 2014

Competitive Roundup (Part 10)


There are so many tournaments going on at the same time that it can get overwhelming trying to keep up with them. In this series of blog posts, I will share matches which I have found notable and worth watching in the past week or two.

TA Off-lane


Tournament:  Starladder VIII (game 2)
Teams: Na'Vi versus Alliance
Caster: Beyond The Summit

I've been kind of slack with these, but I'm getting around to it! Today's focus is on the off-lane role played by Funnik. There was some speculation that the solo-offlane versus defensive tri-lane meta would fall out of favour after changes to lane creep equilibrium, but that hasn't happened. What has happened though, as a sum of all the changes, is that the roster of possible off-lane hero has expanded, which makes things a lot more interesting.

Rather unusual picks from Na'Vi - nice to see the casters confused and get the lane matchups wrong. We see the return of Invoker, which is always exciting, and a really interesting off-lane by Funnik on TA. Alliance had Wisp in their lineup, which means they will dominate the mid-game because of their strong gank potential, but lose out in terms of teamfight - their two supports (Tusk and Wisp) cannot influence a 5v5 teamfight as much as Na'Vi's Treant and Dazzle. Both critical teamfights were won by the Treant being able to blink in and Overgrowth.

TA being played off-lane is a threat not so much because of what she does - which isn't much, since TA as a ganker requires the gold and exp of a solo mid - but is a threat because it forces the opponent to divert resources into controlling her, lest she gets too much farm and snowballs out of control. Ultimately Na'Vi had 3 strong carry heroes (TA, Luna, Invoker) while Alliance only had one - the Alchemist. Alliance were able to score repeated ganks using the Wisp Relocate but that was not enough to suppress the farm of all of them at once. Knowing they were on a clock Alliance tried several times to break into the Na'Vi base but the Treant's Living Armor was able to repeatedly heal the T3 tower back up. At the end, even Funnik's off-lane TA was able to solo the Alchemist in the final fight and still have nearly 100% hp remaining.

Link to game start

Nyx Offlane

Tournament:  Starladder VIII (game 3)
Teams: Alliance versus Na'Vi
Caster: Beyond The Summit

Very typical picks from both teams. This game exemplifies the differences between Alliance and Na'Vi - Alliance tend to prioritize winning every lane, making sure all their heroes get good farm and experience. It's usually more typical for teams to sacrifice some lane compositions in order to have better teamfight and midgame control.

Funnik running Nyx offlane is an example of this. Nyx gets absolutely crushed in the off-lane - he has to face up against Naga, Jakiro and Gyro. The three of them are able to keep him away from the creeps and keep him severely underlevelled and underfarmed. On the other hand, Admiral Bulldog gets Timbersaw, which is able to get a much better start as he can farm the lane without fear even against 3 opponents.

However, the Nyx pick does pay off in the mid game, as the fear of ganks from Nyx and Storm Spirit inhibit Alliance's movement and farming to the point the Luna can roam the map uncontested and pick up a huge amount of farm. Funnik plays a very safe off-lane, rarely giving up kills, and then coming back strongly in the mid-game to change the tides of the game.

Link to game start

Bonus game: Singsing's Mirana

This isn't a competitive game but I had a great time watching it. Singsing is probably the most popular DOTA2 streamer right now, he plays for Speed Gaming. He plays a lot of pub games, and is well known for playing Mirana.

In this pub match he faces off against S4, the solo mid player for Alliance. S4 counter-picks his Mirana with Shadowfiend, but due to lack of support he gets killed over and over by Singsing.

It's actually shocking how easily Mirana scores kills when played aggressively. Singsing makes it look so easy. In particular the presence of mind he displays at 3.45 is impressive: just after executing a gank and retreating from diving the enemy tower, the enemy support CM rotates in (too late) to help: instead of running out, Singsing skills up a point in Arrow and has barely enough mana to fire it to score a kill on the CM.

Link to draft stage