Welcome to big 5vs5 clashes, where about 20 spells are released in less than thirty seconds, where one bad timing or one miss-click can completely change the outcome of the fight, where the players’ concentration is maximal because they all know the game can be lost or won during this critical stage. Teamfights are probably one of the primary focuses of professional players when they analyze games, amongst other aspect of course. We all try to understand and highlight what went wrong or right, what decision was key and had the most influence on the outcome of the clash. I seize this opportunity to repeat once again my admiration for Asian teams’ discipline and knowledge when it comes to this aspect of DotA.
But let’s cut to the chase, here are, in my opinion, the two crucial factors for teamfighting: Vision and Initiation. Today, I’ll be talking about vision, leaving the initiation aspect for future writings!
As an introduction, it appears essential to explain what exactly is meant by vision in DotA. It is the part of the map that is not hidden by the fog of war. The reason behind it doesn’t matter; vision can be given by observer wards, heroes’/units’ sight or even by the usage of spells. Once that is said, it becomes easy to understand how important it can be to see the enemy’s positioning before taking a fight. Are we exposed to a devastating reverse polarity from the opposing-ready-to-jump Magnus? Is Clockwerk in range for a very key Hookshot on one of our supports? Are they all facing us or are some of them going around trying to surprise us from behind? So much decisive information that find its answer in in-game vision…
The outcome of a teamfight can never be predicted. It is very rare to witness games where, regardless of how the fight develops and how spell are used, the winner is known in advance. Thus, for a team, knowing if they can burst down a hero before the fight begins, if they can disable key opposing teamfighters, or simply knowing if the enemy is ready or not to take the engagement is absolutely crucial.
This has many consequences on what you spectate in competitive games:
- The wards war:
It is not needed for me to explain that point. Wards are extremely important in DotA, they are obviously the best way to offer your team a clear map vision. This is why throughout the game, the supports (but not only) from both teams ward & unward key spots on the map.
- The choice of the “battlespot”:
Teams can’t always choose where they take fights, the usage of smokes, the lucky invis rune and many other things can force fights. But you often see, in crucial moments of the game, the two teams gather as five and wander around. This phase might look pretty weird for viewers, you must wonder why they keep moving and facing each other during endless minutes. The explication is actually quite simple, both teams are trying to bait the enemy into taking a fight where they have better vision/positioning. For instance, if a team fights uphill (than the other fights downhill, dah??), they consequently have a pretty big advantage. Same goes for warded/non-warded spots. Of course, the place itself is also important, some heroes are stronger when they fight in open spaces (Gyro), some use better all the juke-spots in woods (Slark), whereas other benefits from fighting in narrow places (Dark Seer). But that is not today’s topic.
- The hidden impact of certain heroes/items:
Once you understood how crucial vision is in competitive DotA, (because players will land their spells on the right targets in 99% of the cases, the only unknown factor that remains is whether they are technically able to do it), you might realize how certain heroes make huge difference in-game.
One hero I really want to highlight here is BeastMaster. His hawk summon is such a big deal for important matches. It secures his team to always have vision on the enemy, even If they got completely unwarded. As far as I’m concerned, he is the ideal teamfighting hero, because he gives insane vision (and eventually has one of the best initiating spells in the game). The list of heroes/items that have big impact in terms of teamfight vision is very long, I’ll try to mention some important ones: “Beastmaster’s hawk, Naga Siren’s ultimate, Bounty Hunter’s track, Batrider’s firefly, Clockwerk’s rocket, Aghanim scepter on Nightstalker, Luna/NS/etc natural night vision, etc…”
Also note that very mobile heroes with easy escape mechanisms can also do the job, weaver, qop or puck for example.
Do not wonder anymore why teams set up baits anymore, decide not to take a fight they would theoretically win, or suddenly initiate a fight when Roshan was already killed by the opponents. In-game vision wins or loses almost every competitive game, that’s the hidden importance of it. Especially in today’s metagame, where initiation & counter-initiation is very prised by drafters, where heroes such as Magnus, Batrider or Puck(NAIXBOMB) are top picks.
I hope you had a nice read, and I’m looking forward to any feedback.
Please keep in mind that this is nothing but the opinion of a professional DotA 2 player. Cheers!
(Do not hesitate to give feedbacks by writing comments below, I’ll take those into consideration for the next articles, wether they are positive or negative!)
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