Itembuilds at a Competitive Level, the Decision Making Process

Hello guys!

You can find my latest blog post on this link :

http://2p.com/2904114_1/7ckngMads-blog–Itembuilds-at-a-competitive-level-the-decision-making-process-by-i7ckngMad

Topic is  : Itembuilds at a Competitive Level, the Decision Making Process

 

Enjoy your read, cheers!

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How to snowball in a DotA2 competitive game?

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Hello everyone ! So it has been a while since the last article, but from now on I will be publishing on a more regular basis. Indeed, and as you probably noticed, I had a lot of stuff to work on with the introduction of Sigma. It is actually still under development, and the announcement will soon be made. There also was ESWC, and the MLG Columbus invitation. Long story short : there is a lot to come for Sigma and everyone that supports the team in the upcoming weeks.

 

Nevertheless, today’s article will be in-game oriented, as I know this is the kind of content most of the readers are looking for. I decided to highlight a very interesting topic when it comes to DotA 2 strategies, I have actually been asked via tweets (@7ckngMadDOTA) many times to discuss that subject :

“How to ‘snowball’ in a competitive game?”

Before I get into the details of that question, I’ll just briefly give some context. The term snowballing is used in DotA when it comes to try to increase consistently and significantly your advantage, as a team, on the opponent. The snowballing obviously ends when you are able to end the game, either by destroying the enemy’s throne or by forcing their ‘FF’ call. The mechanism is quite simple, it is about outfarming and more generally outmoving the enemy thanks to the advantage you acquired during previous phases of the game.

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Although this might seem quite easy and natural for newcomers, DotA players perfectly know that in actual fact, it really is not. The reason behind is the following : the more advantage you earn, the more map control you get, the more opportunities you get, and thus the more chances to do mistakes you have. Here is by the way a very good way to differenciate top teams from ‘unexperienced’ teams, as it is a double-edged sword kind of situation : top teams will be able to apply pressure everywhere on the map and to asphyxiate their opponents, whereas unexperienced players will just find in this situation a way to multiply mistakes and give away their advantage. I will seize this opportunity to finally say what I think about the famous ‘throw‘ trend… I know it’s been very funny and it helped to prettify many casts/games, but there is no such thing as ‘throwing’ a game. First of all is it a real lack of respect toward the opponent to say that a team threw away a game, indeed, playing from behind is probably one of the hardest thing to do. And secondly, this article will explain how difficult it actually is to snowball and to never, at any point, relieve the pressure you apply on your opponent.

“They had that game, but they just threw it”

To start off with this explanation, you should know that there are, amongst all the top teams, snowball specialists! Agressive teams by nature fit perfectly to that description. Watch Na`Vi play and you will quickly understand what ‘applying pressure’ means in DotA : ganks everywhere, towers falling one after the other, a completely black map for their enemy, etc. One thing that has to be mentioned, though, is that snowball always starts from an advantage you have on your opponent, whether it’s in terms of G&E (gold and experience), or just because you have a superior draft.

 

Map control :

So the first aspect and probably the most important one to ‘snowball’ properly is the map control. By map control I mean remove the enemy’s wards by getting a gem or by purchasing sentries. The idea is simple : your advantage allows you to buy more counter-wards then what the opponent can afford, therefore you should have a stronger map control. If you are leading in-game, that means that the enemy can not afford to take a 5vs5 upfront teamfight, so playing with a black map makes it extremely difficult for them, because whenever they get caught out of position, the others can’t really back-up as it would mean the risk to take a fight (indeed, they do not see your position on the map and do not know if it constitutes a bait or not). Gem should be the first reflex, and unlike what people usually think, the sooner the better.

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Outpush lanes :

The second major aspect, in my opinion – and I want to take time to highlight it because it goes again what I usually see from teams – is to outpush lanes permanently. Indeed, there is absolutely no need to control lanes, even if you think it denies farm from your opponent (and it does!). The reasoning once again is simple : you have the advantage and consequently you probably pushed more towers than your opponent did. When you outpush your lanes fast, your creeps will walk toward their base until they find themselves in front of a tower. They will grant you vision, map control ( ability to tp with bot, etc), but more importantly they will force your enemy to defend their towers and outpush (their turn now) the lanes. This will, naturally force them back on the map and extend your positions. Additionally, during the time they waste farming under their towers, you have all the space in the world to think of what you want to do. It can be many things :

– Prepare a gank or a dive under a tower ( they are split since you outpushed all the lanes )

– Outfarm them by farming your jungle & their’s

– Do roshan

– Smoke yourselves and force a fight.

Permanently outpushing lanes is, I hope you understood it, the key to pressure your opponent and apply map control. It is also the best way to deal against split push, not even the best actually, but just the only one.

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Force teamfights :

It brings me now to the third aspect that I mentioned, ‘forcing fights’. If you are able to pressure them on the map, it means that the enemy is dodging the 5vs5 clashes, because it is very unlikely they can win one. So of course, you will be looking to force fights. This is one of thoughest thing to do in DotA, and to be completely honest I am still trying to figure it out. It is hard because forcing a fight requires to be minimum 3-4, maybe even 5, in case they do decide to take it. The problem with it is that they can then split push you as much as they want since you are more or less visible and showing what you do. There is of course the smoke of deceit, it’s the best way to force fights, but it’s limited, so my reasoning exludes smokes. From my perspective, there are several ways to force fights. The best one is probably your pushing ability. The faster you push, the harder it is for them to avoid fights, as they will just lose their barracks if they do so. Another very clever way to force fights is to control the opponent’s jungle. The first step in order to secure the enemy’s jungle control is to take their t1 tower safelane. This is why you often see teams gathering for this tower, and most of the early game / mid game action is determined on that zone of the map, it’s usually the game-breaking clash. (To be completely honest it is also because it’s one of the hardest tower to defend). There are other ways to push in that direction, of course, but since it is not the main focus of the article, I’ll leave it here.

 

 

Respect between teams :

I want to add another aspect, as important in my mind. This one is less concrete though, and maybe harder to explain. I’ll try my best. First of all you have to understand that in a DotA game, the respect or by opposition the lack of respect between the two teams is crucial and will largely impact the game played. For instance, a random team against Alliance will probably think twice before they try anything, and have way more pressure on them than what their opponent actually apply. It is natural, but it will inevitably distort the match. The same is happening between top teams, for the one that are known for their agression, and the more passive ones. It’s also a very key factor of success in LAN events, the ability to force your opponent to respect you, to over-respect you if I can say so. How do you achieve that ? Well, you basically have to go for gamble moves. When HVOST wanders alone in the enemy jungle, and forces back his opponents because he made them think that there was more than only him, he is achieving an insane amount of map control. This is something you usually don’t see as viewers or spectators, but trust me, the opposing team feels it. So of course, he will get picked-off once in a while, and it might cost his team a lot ( a roshan, a tower etc), so at the end of the day the aim is to do it as smartly as possible, and to minimize the risks. But the reward is way higher than the loss of a hero, no matter how important he is to the game. Another type of gamble is the fake-dives, this is really important. Forcing tps will bring your opponents to lose map control, by definition. You know you can’t kill, but you act like so. It can even be a shadow demon support rushing on the opponent’s carry under his tower and instantly going back when he was able to force a tp. He can be on his own, as long as they do not see what’s behind him (in that case, nothing).

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Outfarm the opponent :

As a conclusion I would like to remind you the most important thing : the aim of all this map control is to OUTFARM your opponent. Agressive teams are actually very greedy, they pressure their opponent in order to extent their positions and to outfarm them, until they are strong enough to break the base. This is why over-agression is always bad, and not even worth it. Snowballing requires a lot of control and thinking, even if it doesnt look like it. A logical article to follow that one would be ‘ How to break the base, to go high-ground ? ‘ Because that is also insanely tricky …But well, all this is what makes DotA so interesting, and us so passionate about it, right ? 

 

 

Anyway, I hope you enjoyed the reading. Thanks for all the support you show for the team and myself, it means a lot. Once again, more details will come on SIGMA and hopefully it will create a movement, that’s the aim. I’ll keep it unclear on purpose for now. Remember, these articles are nothing but the opinion of a professional player. You can follow me on twitter @7ckngMadDOTA. Cheers!

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The support role II

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Kieeeeeeeeeeeeeev ! So we made it to the Starladder VII Lan finals yesterday with different standins. It feels good after the disappointment of Minsk (although the event & the people there were wonderful). FATA- will hopefully be ready to play again soon, and then we can finally continue building this team. Playing with standins, even with top-class players, is always different. The motivation just isn’t the same, and the coordination is in almost all the cases very poor.

The Support Role:

So the article today, as mentioned in the previous one, will highlight once again the Support Role in competitive DotA2 games. I will try to go deeper in the analysis this time around, but it should be obvious to everyone that it is impossible to cover everything, it has to be step by step, article after article as the subject is immensely large. The first thing to emphasize is that there are different ways to play support. It’s not about finding a hierarchy between them; they all have their advantages and all highly depend on the playstyle of the team the support player plays in. A very quick example of that would be supports like EGM or Akke that prioritize their team mates situation and shutting down the opponent. Whereas other support players, undoubtedly as skilled and talented, like ARS-ART or Goblak will rather focus on getting early levels and farm, in order to have more impact in the mid-late game.

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So as you probably understood, in this article I will share my vision of supporting, which I of course believe to be the right one, else I wouldn’t play the way I play…

The importance of early game:

First of all, the most important, the absolutely crucial phase of the game for support players is the early game. It has to be clear in everybody’s mind, really. Early game defines the pace of the game, at least that is true in the current meta-game. I can’t think of a team that emphasizes more on mid-game line-ups than on laning stage & early movement, 95% of the game are decided in the beginning of the match. My explanation is that the Gold & Experience vision helped DotA to change. This is a topic that has been discussed in previous articles by the way.

Playing support is about being able to adapt your positioning and decision-making fast and live. Therefore, everyone will easily understand that the best asset of a support player is his experience playing support, but not only. A support player has also to understand, at least equally, the other roles. A very basic example is the following: a rotation to gank the opponent’s mid-laner will never be successful if you have no idea of the runes / lane push timings.

The search for gold & experience :

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Well, this has to be an important point of focus. If we follow the logic, in order to have the strongest early-game impact, the faster you get levels & start gold on supports: the better. But this is true to a certain extent. Indeed, the main enemy for support players is the clock. Every second is important. Try to stay passive 1-2 minute as a support and you’ll quickly understand that unless you pull out big plays, you are out of the game. The art of supporting is being able to, with minimal means, have a huge impact. But let’s go back to what I started to explain about using your time correctly. Concretely: getting level 3-4 with jungle pools is kind of fast, it will take more or less 2 minute of your time, maximum. Getting level 6 is actually way harder, simply because of the way experience scales in DotA. My personal advice would be to never keep on pulling and stacking after level 4, it’s really a waste of time, and it is only justified in few cases.

Decision making:

As a support player, you will be, or should be, setting the rhythm of the game. The main aim is to force your opponent to play your game. Then you will probably ask, how do I know what is the right move, the right strategy? Well, it’s obviously a hard question. You have to keep on analyzing what path the game is taking at a specific moment. You should also have beforehand analyzed both draft, and draw conclusions on those.
Let’s suppose that the opponent is running a 4 protect 1 strategy. You then understand, as well as your enemy, that if you manage to pressure their 1, you will push them out of their comfort zone, and force them to react to your in-game decisions. You will then have to make the plays, as a support, and it requires no farm/experience what so ever. I will prove it, because this is something support players need to integrate, the desperate search for xp & gold is a waste of time in 95% of the cases, and as I pointed out earlier, time is your main opponent. So I am a support, very low level, and I want to pressure the opponent’s carry who already got solid farm, and is additionally protected by his two support players. What can I do? One reaction could be to keep on stacking, try to get level 6, or blink dagger/w-e. Well, one way, but that is just one amongst others, would be to single pull, stack two waves and then pressure the opponent’s offlane towers. This will force their supports to rotate, defend, and will weaken their safelane. This required nothing but an analysis and a decision following it, it is doable with boots, without boots, with ultimate or without.

The point I am trying to make is actually simple, supporting is about macro-vision, not micro. Once you understood that, be aware that you are on the right way, and your support play will improve. There is nothing wrong with making bad decisions, you learn from your failures. What is, though, really problematic for a support player, is the incapacity to take decisions.

In-game sense and anticipation:

Another aspect of support play I want to highlight in this article is the following : the capacity to anticipate your opponent’s movement is probably the strongest asset for a support player. Indeed, attacking succesfully your opponent is always good : take a tower, gank and kill a solo-laner, force a teamfight and win it, etc… But what’s even more impactful on a game is to react properly and punish agressive movements. You basically achieve two things at the same time, not only you proceed to win a fight, or kill heroes, but you also force them to waste all the efforts they put into what they attempted. I could also add to that the fact that proving to your enemy that you can easily read his decisions is also huge. It will most likely dissuade him from trying risky moves, which is always good. The respect that exists between the two teams is a huge factor in DotA, whether you fear, underate or just dont know much about your opponent changes your gameplay completely, and some players (the most experienced ones usually) know really well how to use that to their advantage. But that will have to be the topic of an upcoming article!

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Reaction vs action:
    Back to the support role, reacting is even better than acting. It is also way harder to put in place, because it is always a gamble. It is important to analyze the risk and the reward. High risk and low reward actions should be banned from your play, especially when there is a lot at stake. The mindset of your opponent is very important because it directly influences their decision making. When I mentioned the respect between the two teams, it’s the exact same situation.
For the next article I will analyze one of my games, and explain the decision-making for the first 5 to 10 minutes, depending on how interesting it can be for you readers. Later on we’ll get to the mid-late game phase.  Remember, this is nothing but the opinion of a professional DotA2 player. I hope you had a nice read, see you for the next article!
Cheers!
PS : you can follow me on twitter, @7ckngMadDOTA. Do not hesitate to share feedbacks and comments.

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October 2, 2013 · 8:18 pm

The support role

Hello Everyone !
 
     Many things happened since the last article, fortunately. The team’s results are very satisfying, as you may have noticed. The practice is going really well, the atmosphere is great, and we are all looking forward to what we can demonstrate in the upcoming weeks. The highlight of this week was of course the very controversial ending of our match versus Alliance in the StarSeries season VII. A few words on that topic…Do not blame the admins’ decision, as they made sure beforehand that both team were completely fine with it. One thing you have to know is that the SLTV staff is, if not the fairest, one of the fairest staff in the whole scene as they always make sure their decisions make sense when it comes to the in-game part. Their deep game understanding is a real guarantee in that matter.
 
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    The crash was of course very unfortunate. To be brutally honest I think we deserved to win that game, as everyone could see we controlled the game completely from the very beginning, putting huge amount of pressure on Alliance. But well, when you face the strongest team in the world, one slight mistake and suddenly what was a stomp in your favor turns into a very close game with them having the better late-game. This is what makes them so strong; even one mistake is too much. Moreover, the last fight was clearly in our favor, as they had no buybacks and our position and spell casting was about to give us a clear win. In the end it doesn’t really matter that the game is going to be replayed. Indeed, Alliance is clearly a way stronger team than what we are the moment, the comparison isn’t even relevant. But we were able to pressure them, and to maybe take a game from them, which isn’t a surprise at all for us. We know that the potential is here for us to compete with the very top on a regular basis. So we are already looking forward to the next game, and will try to repeat the performance, and not only once.
 
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     Now that this is sorted out, I can finally jump into today’s topic, which will be ‘The Support role’. As you probably guessed, this topic is immensely large, in particular for me. Nevertheless, I will try to structure it through different articles, but in that one I would just like to highlight or deny general facts about the support role in competitive DotA. I will not fall into the very standard trap that compares the different roles and rank them. Every role is brutally crucial in DotA, the support is as important as the carry, the individuals shouldn’t prevail on the team, etc etc.
 
     The difference between tier-1 teams comes mainly from their support players:
 
On that part, you can really trust my experience, and share your questions to any tier-1 player. We basically all played in different rosters, tried different players, build different teams, some were successful, some weren’t. And the conclusion is almost always the same: ‘the support duo’ didn’t work out, or the support players weren’t skilled enough, or even the team chemistry just wasn’t there. Do not get me wrong, I am not comparing support players with core players, all roles require the same amount of skill, game understanding and experience. This conclusion is actually very frustrating when you try to build a team, but it explains itself. I’ll give the main reasons :
 
          Let us assume that I want to break into competitive DotA. I’m skilled and have good in-game sense. In order for me to succeed, I need to find a way to shine and attract other players’ attention. I can choose between two type of roles, the ‘Cores’, they are given the farm and the experience, and they end up having more impact than the other heroes on the game. The second role is the support role, where the major part of the action is actually in the in-game calls, or little details like warding, positioning or spell execution, best case scenario being a low amount of death and decent assisting. (Please note that a good support is not necessarily a support that never dies, that is completely false. A good support is a support that dies only for good reasons). I will obviously choose the ‘Core’ option, and that is completely natural.              
We all experienced the painful match-making games where the team coordination just isn’t there, and playing support suddenly feels like a waste of time. Well, players naturally tend to play core. The consequence of that is that finding an excellent solo mid, carry or offlane is actually very easy at a pro level, because they simply outnumber the support players. But finding an excellent support player, whose game understanding & skill can compete with the top support players, is insanely hard.
 
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          The second main reason why supports are crucial factor in pro games is that they are responsible for the early game action in most cases. When two very strong teams face each others, the early game rotation is decisive. Indeed, the strongest teams are also the one to do the least amount of mistakes. So when they secure an advantage early on thanks to their support’s rotation, they usually rarely drop it. This can end up with a very one-sided game. A quick and quite standard example would be : Offlaners are woods, Mid-laners are both playing well on their lane, and carries are barely missing a creepkill. Team A’s supports decide to rotate mid and get the firstblood on the opponent’s laner, whereas Team B’s supports failed their rotation few mins ago. This can be decisive, and all came down to the supports and their decision-making.
 
     Those are two reasons I could easily think of, there are many others obviously. The cores basically reward the support players for their early game plays by carrying them through the mid-late game. The supports somehow ‘create’ the conditions of the core’s success and well-being during the game.
 
     The role is also very ungrateful; this doesn’t need to be explained. If a teamfight happens, and a team crushes the other one thanks to good warding/vision or to a clutch swap/nightmare (or anything else), what will be seen and remembered at the end of the day is the naix crushing the enemies and getting a rampage. The hero pool is wider for support players, and every game is completely different. One game requite passivity and intense stacking, the other requires early game rotation and aggressiveness. Sometimes the support has a 3k gold net worth in 5 mins, and sometimes he can afford boots at the 12’. Playing support is about being able to read, LIVE, what particular turn the game is taking, and being able to ADAPT to it. This is precisely why support players are, in 99% of the cases, also the in-game leaders.
 
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    If I happen, for instance, to watch an Alliance replay, I will 90% of the time follow Akke & EGM. And it should be useless to mention that I watch it as a team captain, and not as a support player. I’m not interested into the mechanics, but into Alliance’s decision making. And it doesn’t matter if it is actually made by the supports, what matters is that it is readable in their movement, and only there. They set the pace for the game. This is valid in early game, of course, but not only. But that would be too long to describe.
 
     In the next article I will describe in further details the support role, the positioning, the attitude required and some specifics to know in order to play an ‘efficient’ support. What should you aim for? How to achieve it? If, as a support player, ending up with a positive score do not necessarily mean that I did well (and vice versa of course), then how can I know whether I played a good game or not?
 
    I’ll try to answer those questions in the next writing, this one aimed to give you guys an idea of my opinion on the very large ‘support topic’. I hope you enjoyed your read.
Please always remember that this is nothing but the opinion of a professional DotA2 player! Feel free to drop your comments.
     You can follow me on twitter and show your support for those articles @7ckngMadDOTA. Cheers!

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What’s next for Quantic… A fresh start for something new!

  As specified, the team is yet ‘unsponsored’. Updates will be published probably in a couple of weeks on that topic, as all the players are still under their respective contracts

      Hello everyone! As you may have noticed, this year’s competitions started a few days ago. It will be intense as all the teams are now eager to win and prove the world their skill and dedication. Whereas in Asia the doubts are still very present concerning what truly happened in Seattle in August 2013, in Europe the mindset is definitely changed. Indeed, the myth about the Asian teams being one step ahead the western ones got completely demolished by Alliance’s performance in TI3. Every competitive European DotA player already played with/against or knows very well the Swedish crew: where they come from, their level of skill and game understanding, their DotA background and past results…. And even though they have been crowned kings because their skill was way above everyone else last year, people do know they are not untouchable. And this is one of the main motivations of the scene right now; the model of success brought by the Alliance allows all the other players to identify themselves in it. It is the usual: ‘If they were able to do it, why wouldn’t I?’ To be honest, the top-1 position isn’t comfortable at all. Indeed, by becoming the best of the best you also become the favorite target of every other team.

I usually stick to the in-game aspect, but for today’s blogging, I will be mainly writing about the team, or what remains of it, and the on-going projects that are related to it. First of all, allow me to do a little bit of background analysis with what actually happened during and a bit before TI2:

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The mTw episode:

          Sockshka, Funzii and myself have always aim for nothing else than the top level. mTw was built to achieve that goal, basically. Unfortunately, and that is what’s common between all the team I have been in, we started playing together pretty late: around march 2012. Back then, NaVi was dominating the scene with an indecent ease. No team had been able to win them whatsoever, whether it was online or offline. They crushed everybody at TI1, of course, ESWC, Starladder(s) etc… It was actually me and Socks who decided to form that team and to contact SyndereN & Kebap-. We did try many other players, but this line-up looked to work. We tried to find the right balance between in-game skill and good team atmosphere, which we definitely succeed in, at first! So we started to practice, hardcore mode. We knew perfectly we had the skill & game-understanding required to compete with top teams, and to qualify for the International II. In a matter of two month we became a force to reckon with in Europe, as we won many online tournaments, and amongst those the TI Western qualifier. But the goal still wasn’t achieved. Indeed, it has always been very frustrating for us to witness matches between the dominating teams and the other high level teams. There are always openings as even the best make mistakes, and plenty of those. They are beatable with the right strategies and proper execution. Obviously it is easier to say than to do, but still. That is a factor of motivation for us. We understand their weaknesses, and also often understand that their opponents do not, and that is the cause of our frustration. After our win in the qualifier, we knew dreamhack was coming, and started to prepare for it. That is actually the biggest achievement for mTw, in my opinion. We were the first to defeat NaVi in a lan situation, when we won DreamHack summer 2012, But what comes next is a bit sadder, as full of hopes we went into TI2 and got completely destroyed. Indeed, forming a team only a few months before such events is very dangerous, as when problems appear, you do not always get the time to solve them, assuming there is a way to solve them. That time around, it was because of a very bad team atmosphere (I’m not even sure we went into TI2 as a team to be honest).  Anyway, that year we learnt that team bonding was at least as important as in-game preparation and strategies.

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Quantic Gaming :

          After the big disappointment that has been the international II, we collectively decided to take a break from competitive DotA ( Funzii, Sockshka & myself that is ). This brings us to the mont of april 2013 basically, when, keeping nevertheless a close eye on the pro scene we came to the same conclusion we had in 2012 : the overall level of play has insanely increased, but the dominating teams and the metagame they instored hold many weaknesses… We then had to find the right players and avoid, this time around, the mistakes of the past year. This is why we decided to approach Silent & Goblak. We knew Empire was going through troubles, with the departure of Funn1k and the very bad shape of the team. Those two players were (and still are) skilled, smart and experienced. But one of the most important thing was that they both played in teams with very bad mindset & atmosphere during important events, Darer & Moscow5 at TI II. They basically had the same experience we had on mTw so we knew that we would all, as a team, make sure it doesn’t happen again. But again, the come back was made few weeks prior to the western qualifier, and about 2-3 month before the International III. The road to Ti 3 was exactly the same, we rapidly grew and started wining, we eventually qualifier to Seattle by placing 2nd. At this stage, the top team was Alliance, they had just come back from China where they dominated the G-1 tournament. We were able to defeat them in the groupstage of DreamHack 2013, but lost to them in the grand finals on a 1-2 score. That team building was very different, as we had almost no practice games before all those events, it was quite the opposite of mTw. We favored the drafting and team bonding over anything else, and it worked out to a certain extent. Unfortunately the tournament in Seattle showed us that it wasn’t enough, once again, and the approach had to be more serious. The drafting at TI was awful, and the youth of the team made it so we had no plan B.

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What’s next: 

          The frustration was really big after TI III. We proved ourselves many times we deserved a spot, not only in the top 16 teams in the world, but maybe even higher than that. Every year something different comes up and forces us to learn from our mistakes. I would say that some team are relatively new, and although they play a bit “shaky”, good conditions a bit of luck allow them to place decent in huge events. Whereas others have to go through all the possible mistakes in order to secure their spot. We lost because of low level of plays, we lost because of the lack of team spirit, because of the lack of practice, because of individual attitudes… I feel like there isn’t much more reasons to lose anymore… It might be time to start wining on a regular basis. So here it what’s up today :

          We built a team of 5 skilled, experienced and hard-working players. The open-mindness and the personal stability are the most important criteria for this long-term project. As you may have noticed, the practice starts now, unlike other years, no more 2-months-before-event-come-back. This will offer us the time to practice our teamplay like never before, to optimize the drafting and possibly change (once again!) the meta-game, and last but not least, to face any slump the team is going to go through before important events. That’s the aim, I obviously would never claim that I am 100% sure we will make it, that would be being arrogant & cocky, a behaviour I really dislike. But I am confident we can achieve that goal, else why would I even be involved?

Our line-up will be the following :

Brian “MaNia” Strandby

Mikkel “miGGel” Berg

Adrian “FATA-” Trinks

Titouan “Sockshka” Merloz

Sébastien “7ckngMad” Debs

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     I wanna seize this opportunity to give a very special shoutout to Funzii, our mate but more importantly our friend! He decided to retire from competitive DotA and DotA in general. I wish him the best of luck, and thank him for all he has done during the past two years, he is very unique as player.

    You will have to wait a bit more concerning the sponsorship, as it is still being negotiated at the moment. I’ll give updates as soon as we take a decision. Once again, I emphasize the serious of this year’s project. We will aim for nothing but top level plays and strategies, and I hope we can manage to offer the viewers some great DotA. Every team aims for that, but for once we’ll handle things differently, by starting off right now.

I want to thank Goblak & Silent for Quantic , we are still very good friends, and I can’t emphasize enough on how much I was impressed by their in-game sense. I really wish them the greatest success with their future DotA-related projects!

The next articles will of course be in-game related, that is what they are meant to be anyway. But I felt like I had to clarify the situation once and for all, as we already started playing official matches, in EMS cup one which we won, and with our second STLV day. We are not hungry for results yet, the more wins the better, but we have a very long-term vision on this team building, we will take it step by step. So arm yourselves with patience, and I can promise you that you won’t be disappointed. For all the Quantic-spirit fans, we are still Quantic. We will obviously keep thinking out of the box if it’s needed. Thank you all for the support, it really matters a lot.

PS : you can also follow me on twitter, @7ckngMadDOTA, and see you in the next matches =), Cheers!!

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Filed under Team & projects

Lane analysis : The International Wildcard (G4) : Quantic vs RattleSnake

Image

Hello everyone! I hope you are getting ready for the start of all DotA tournaments, online & offline. This year is going to be different from the last one: the competition will be more intense, the players more focused and hungry for victories/achievements and the organizations will most likely act more professionally. You surely don’t get to see what’s happening backstage but, I can tell you that already teams are assembling and practicing. That is for sure the first it happens that early after The International.

Image

But anyway, let’s jump into the game itself! As suggested by many of you, today I will kind of continue my last article, as I am going to grab a high level game and analyze more precisely the lanes set-up. Obviously, I will have to explain its impact on the game as well. Feel free to cross that write with the previous one, and maybe to assign each team the laning style they went for (or the one they are the closest to!)

 

The game I chose has a particular meaning, because it was the last game my team played at this year’s International. We are going to analyze the lane setup of the WildCard game 4 between Quantic Gaming and Rattlesnakes.

 Image

The draft is just over, the two captains decided their final 5-man line-up,   and here is the result :

Quantic : VISAGE / CHEN / TINKER / QOP / NATURE’S PROPHET

RattleSnakes : CK / AA / KOTL / WEAVER / STORM

Image

THE QOP LAST PICK :

 Image

Right now, if you are Quantic Gaming, what are your thoughts?

–          The opponent grabbed an early Chaos Knight, well know for offensive triple lanes. The combination with AA CK and KOTL is really scary, as they can burst down any hero.

–          Additionally, the storm pick up, usually used a mid laner, would benefit a lot from their aggressive trilane. Indeed, one big, if not the biggest, advantage of going offensive is to prevent the opponent’s supports to rotate in early game (whether it is to the midlane or to their offlane).

–          Last but not least, the weaver is a powerfull safelaner, one of the best match up to have against nature’s prophet

ImageImageImage OFFENSIVE 

ImageMIDLANER

ImageSAFELANER

The threat is clear, RS might have a laning advantage… Quantic’s line-up clearly lacks disables so far, it basically has no stun against a weaver / storm line-up.

A very key pick for Quantic at this stage is the BEASTMASTER. Indeed, it synergizes perfectly well with visage, tinker, chen and prophet (huge map control & push potential), and it will also give the line-up a more than reliable stun.

Image

But, as I described earlier, if RattleSnakes do go for an offensive trilane, the BM pick would offer them another easy lane, as a pooled Storm Spirit does great against almost every melee hero. The decision is though, and the outcome will be a Qop pick. So regardless of the 5-5 situation, the Qop pick can be explained by two things : (all based on the offensive trilane assumption) : Qop will give storm a very hard time, and she is one of the best hero to rotate on its safelane. Level 7 or so, Qop will easily get 2-3 kill on the 3vs3 lane, and then completely change the early game. (in addition to the rune control, blink vs no blink).

RattleSnake’s game understanding and reaction :

Far aside from the laning mindgame, one information will be crucial in RS’s decision making : They are running a Storm + Weaver line-up against a 0-disable line-up. Enough said, they understand that if Storm gets a good start, he will snowball insanely hard. So first decision here is to put Storm safelane, in combination with AA’s ultimate and KOTL’s wave, he will be able to pick-up any hero without even commiting.

ImageSTORM SAFELANE

The other smart move will be the following: In the first minutes of the game, nothing can stop SS from snowballing. What could then possibly be the first difficulty?  The answer is QOP having a great start and getting orchids fast to shut down storm.

The answer : Set a dual lane mid with CK & AA. CK doesn’t need much space this game, he will be used as a disabler / bait, so it’s okay for him to go midlane (this lane is always harder and more exposed than the safelane). Additionally, this dual lane mid will give RS the rune control, and will apply pressure on Quantic’s safelane (ck might rotate if he gets a good rune). And that might not look key, but it actually is. Weaver is going offlane against visage and tinker. Don’t get me wrong, those two should be able to force Weaver back, but they will have to commit a lot for it, to chase weaver off the lane, which is very dangerous to do if CK ‘might rotate’.

 

At last, the kotl + storm combo should do just fine against nature’s prophet. Depending on the plays they can or can’t really force him back, but at the end of the day it does not matter, as they can just abuse pulls and farm lane + neutrals (infinite mana).

 

Taking a look at the final lane setup :

ImagevsImageImageImageSAFELANE DIRE

 ImageImage vsImage 

MID

ImageImagevsImage 

SAFELANE RADIANT

It is clear that, not only RS has the upper hand, but they also secure themselves a flawless midgame, as Quantic is very clearly outpicked  in this game. (Nothing to deal with weaver and storm split pushing and ganking).

In addition to that, CK’s start will turn out to be great, and he will get a fast BKB, making him invulnerable to any form of aggression as well.

That game will be lost by Quantic after 5-10mins, as RS will not give them a chance to fight, or to take any initiative. In that case, RS played surely better, but the laning phase was really key, and decided the game pretty much from the start.

Possible solutions for Quantic :

Because there are always solutions in DotA, that’s the reason why we play this game ! Even when you get outpicked and outlaned :

–          Chen & Visage rotating to the midlane in order to give Qop the upper hand

–          ( The one I really defend ) : Chen & Visage rotating very early to Prophet’s lane. Basically Visage should give Tinker a small advantage for his 1vs1, and rotate very early (min1 or 2) with a smoke and with chen to gank Storm & Kotl. Both are very weak in early game. This will allow NP to snowball bottom, and Chen/Visage to sit in the enemy’s jungle, and control it. Later on, they can strike mid & bottom as much as they want, and destroy RS’s lanes. As AA & KOTL are very weak at ganking, nobody except CK can force Quantic’s support out of RS’s jungle. And the CK missing is very obvious to run away from. If you ask yourself why didn’t we go for such an option, just make sure you realize there are lots of different options, and pro players have different game visions, and in the end it has to be the captain making the call. But anyway, on the D-Day, if you play bad, no matter the decision making, you lose!

Image

Well… That will be it for today!

Remember, that’s nothing but the opinion of a professional player. I hope you had a nice read, see you next week!

PS: you can follow me on twitter, @7ckngMadDOTA. I announce the next articles, the team’s update, and I might ask for topic suggestions! Cheers.

3 Comments

Filed under Draft analysis

Lane analysis : The International Wildcard (G4) : Quantic vs RattleSnake

Image

Hello everyone! I hope you are getting ready for the start of all DotA tournaments, online & offline. This year is going to be different from the last one: the competition will be more intense, the players more focused and hungry for victories/achievements and the organizations will most likely act more professionally. You surely don’t get to see what’s happening backstage but, I can tell you that already teams are assembling and practicing. That is for sure the first it happens that early after The International.

Image

But anyway, let’s jump into the game itself! As suggested by many of you, today I will kind of continue my last article, as I am going to grab a high level game and analyze more precisely the lanes set-up. Obviously, I will have to explain its impact on the game as well. Feel free to cross that write with the previous one, and maybe to assign each team the laning style they went for (or the one they are the closest to!)

The game I chose has a particular meaning, because it was the last game my team played at this year’s International. We are going to analyze the lane setup of the WildCard game 4 between Quantic Gaming and Rattlesnakes.

 Image

The draft is just over, the two captains decided their final 5-man line-up,   and here is the result :

Quantic : VISAGE / CHEN / TINKER / QOP / NATURE’S PROPHET

RattleSnakes : CK / AA / KOTL / WEAVER / STORM

Image

THE QOP LAST PICK :

 Image

Right now, if you are Quantic Gaming, what are your thoughts?

–          The opponent grabbed an early Chaos Knight, well know for offensive triple lanes. The combination with AA CK and KOTL is really scary, as they can burst down any hero.

–          Additionally, the storm pick up, usually used a mid laner, would benefit a lot from their aggressive trilane. Indeed, one big, if not the biggest, advantage of going offensive is to prevent the opponent’s supports to rotate in early game (whether it is to the midlane or to their offlane).

–          Last but not least, the weaver is a powerfull safelaner, one of the best match up to have against nature’s prophet

ImageImageImage OFFENSIVE 

ImageMIDLANER

ImageSAFELANER

The threat is clear, RS might have a laning advantage… Quantic’s line-up clearly lacks disables so far, it basically has no stun against a weaver / storm line-up.

A very key pick for Quantic at this stage is the BEASTMASTER. Indeed, it synergizes perfectly well with visage, tinker, chen and prophet (huge map control & push potential), and it will also give the line-up a more than reliable stun.

Image

But, as I described earlier, if RattleSnakes do go for an offensive trilane, the BM pick would offer them another easy lane, as a pooled Storm Spirit does great against almost every melee hero. The decision is though, and the outcome will be a Qop pick. So regardless of the 5-5 situation, the Qop pick can be explained by two things : (all based on the offensive trilane assumption) : Qop will give storm a very hard time, and she is one of the best hero to rotate on its safelane. Level 7 or so, Qop will easily get 2-3 kill on the 3vs3 lane, and then completely change the early game. (in addition to the rune control, blink vs no blink).

RattleSnake’s game understanding and reaction :

Far aside from the laning mindgame, one information will be crucial in RS’s decision making : They are running a Storm + Weaver line-up against a 0-disable line-up. Enough said, they understand that if Storm gets a good start, he will snowball insanely hard. So first decision here is to put Storm safelane, in combination with AA’s ultimate and KOTL’s wave, he will be able to pick-up any hero without even commiting.

ImageSTORM SAFELANE

The other smart move will be the following: In the first minutes of the game, nothing can stop SS from snowballing. What could then possibly be the first difficulty?  The answer is QOP having a great start and getting orchids fast to shut down storm.

The answer : Set a dual lane mid with CK & AA. CK doesn’t need much space this game, he will be used as a disabler / bait, so it’s okay for him to go midlane (this lane is always harder and more exposed than the safelane). Additionally, this dual lane mid will give RS the rune control, and will apply pressure on Quantic’s safelane (ck might rotate if he gets a good rune). And that might not look key, but it actually is. Weaver is going offlane against visage and tinker. Don’t get me wrong, those two should be able to force Weaver back, but they will have to commit a lot for it, to chase weaver off the lane, which is very dangerous to do if CK ‘might rotate’.

 

At last, the kotl + storm combo should do just fine against nature’s prophet. Depending on the plays they can or can’t really force him back, but at the end of the day it does not matter, as they can just abuse pulls and farm lane + neutrals (infinite mana).

 

Taking a look at the final lane setup :

ImagevsImageImageImageSAFELANE DIRE

 ImageImage vsImage 

MID

ImageImagevsImage 

SAFELANE RADIANT

It is clear that, not only RS has the upper hand, but they also secure themselves a flawless midgame, as Quantic is very clearly outpicked  in this game. (Nothing to deal with weaver and storm split pushing and ganking).

In addition to that, CK’s start will turn out to be great, and he will get a fast BKB, making him invulnerable to any form of aggression as well.

That game will be lost by Quantic after 5-10mins, as RS will not give them a chance to fight, or to take any initiative. In that case, RS played surely better, but the laning phase was really key, and decided the game pretty much from the start.

Possible solutions for Quantic :

Because there are always solutions in DotA, that’s the reason why we play this game ! Even when you get outpicked and outlaned :

–          Chen & Visage rotating to the midlane in order to give Qop the upper hand

–          ( The one I really defend ) : Chen & Visage rotating very early to Prophet’s lane. Basically Visage should give Tinker a small advantage for his 1vs1, and rotate very early (min1 or 2) with a smoke and with chen to gank Storm & Kotl. Both are very weak in early game. This will allow NP to snowball bottom, and Chen/Visage to sit in the enemy’s jungle, and control it. Later on, they can strike mid & bottom as much as they want, and destroy RS’s lanes. As AA & KOTL are very weak at ganking, nobody except CK can force Quantic’s support out of RS’s jungle. And the CK missing is very obvious to run away from. If you ask yourself why didn’t we go for such an option, just make sure you realize there are lots of different options, and pro players have different game visions, and in the end it has to be the captain making the call. But anyway, on the D-Day, if you play bad, no matter the decision making, you lose!

Image

Well… That will be it for today!

Remember, that’s nothing but the opinion of a professional player. I hope you had a nice read, see you next week!

PS: you can follow me on twitter, @7ckngMadDOTA. I announce the next articles, the team’s update, and I might ask for topic suggestions! Cheers.

3 Comments

Filed under Draft analysis