Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Drafting Analysis: Good Draft, Stupid Lanes


I didn't draft this game, but I was watching it.  I thought "yeah, that's a decent draft", and then the guy totally messed up the lanes. Thus, I thought it would be a good example to explain why the lanes wouldn't (likely) work, even though the draft itself is fine.

The Draft:



The way these lanes sit, all Dire lanes will lose, even though I think they have a more balanced draft with better hero synergies.

Morph against Razor:  Razor has a longer attack range, can steal Morph's damage, and harass Morph a lot.  Yes, the roamers that the draft proposed COULD shift the balance, but only if the Razor was bad at denying and the lane stayed pushed out, or the Razor played badly when the supports were missing.

Meanwhile, Centaur isn't going to do well against Tide's Anchor Smash.  Tide can spam it, meaning that Centaur will find it hard to get CS.  Tide is also VERY tough, and hard to burst down.  Again, the roaming supports could make a difference, but the way the lane stands, it will lose.  Tide will get Blink before Centaur, and team fights will swing the way of Radiant.

Sven isn't up against a lot of disables in his lane, so he actually might survive, although with that much healing, the enemy tri-lane isn't going to worry about diving the tower.  Also, Necrophos' Heartstopper aura might drive Sven out of lane all by itself, even without much aggression from Rubick and Abaddon.  Sven won't be able to contest pulls, and Warcry isn't a huge movement buff for escaping.  Unlike using Centaur as a solo offlaner, Sven doesn't really get a game-changing ultimate at Level 6, and needs a lot more farm than just a Blink Dagger.

While I think the Radiant lineup lacks damage, push, and is healing-heavy, the lanes are quite strong.  Furthermore, after Sven is driven off or at a level disadvantage, Rubick and Abaddon can also roam, probably just to keep Razor safe and to annoy Morphling further.

In summary, I like the idea of Venge + Sky roaming (or pulling), and the Centaur solo.  Morph might do okay if the roamers get kills, but Sven cannot handle suicide lane - he's only got enough mana for 1 stun, and he MIGHT escape with Warcry, but he can't spam it.  Likely, he's going to be driven off lane, or feed.  He can't catch up easily by doing ancients early, unlike Tidehunter.

I would have laned Dire like this:
Mid:  Skywrath (vs. Razor) - Skywrath has long attack range, and can harass with nukes.  Instead of early-game roaming, he can go ganking once he gets level 6 (and might even kill Razor in lane).

Bottom:  Morph + Sven + Venge (vs. Tidehunter)  - supports could probably roam, or pull, or stay and drive Tidehunter away or even possibly kill him with Storm Hammer + Magic Missile + Waveform/Adaptive Strike.

Offlane:  Centaur (vs. Def trilane) - Centaur isn't going to get much farm, but his Level 6 ultimate is game-changing, and all he really needs is a Blink Dagger, and going early Tranquil Boots to help him survive this lane doesn't hurt his build or effectiveness.

Alternate Laning Strategy for Dire:
Mid:  Sven + Skywrath (vs. Razor) - Sven's farm is secured with the help of Skywrath's harass.  Could probably get a kill early on Razor, especially with a rotation from Venge.  Skywrath could also help with (top) rune control, while Venge secures bottom rune.

Bottom:  Morph + Venge (vs. Tidehunter) -  Morph isn't likely to get ganked and could probably solo this lane adequately against Tidehunter, but denying Tidehunter an early Blink Dagger is probably a good reason to keep Venge near this lane.  A haste rune from Skywrath could enable a gank on Tide.

Offlane:  Centaur (vs. tri-lane):  given the defensive tri-lane, this isn't a bad choice, for the same reasons mentioned above.

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Composite Damage

Composite damage was a mechanic where damage could be both physical and magical, and both armor, damage block and magic resistance applied to it, but it could damage magic-immune target, but does not affect ethereal units.

Composite damage will be removed in Dota2 patch 6.82.  The heroes that had composite damage abilities prior to that patch included:

Leshrac - Diabolic Edict (changing to Physical)
Beastmaster - Wild Axes (changing to Physical)
Alchemist - Acid Spray (changing to Physical)
Techies - Land Mine (changing to Physical)
Lone Druid - Backlash upon death of Bear (changing to HP Removal)

... and HP Removal is no longer a "Damage Type", but a side-effect of using certain hero abilities (e.g. Huskar Burning Spears).

From the dota2 wiki:
** Composite damage is calculated by multiplying the initial damage by the target's magic resistance and armor. For example, if you had 25% magic resistance, 50% physical damage resistance, and stepped on a full damage Level 4 Land Mine, the equation would be 600 x 0.75 x 0.50 = 225 actual damage. (Magic resistance and physical damage resistance percentages are subtracted from 100%.)

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

A Breakdown of Initiators

Types of Initiators:

  • AOE damage (direct or over time)
  • AOE lockdown (slows, stuns, movement restrictions, positioning)
  • AOE debuffs (silences and debuffs)
  • Isolation (separates a hero from their team for a pick-off)

Examples of Initiator by Type

AOE Damage:

  • Earthshaker (Echo Slam)
  • Sand King (Epicenter)
  • Elder Titan (Earthsplitter)

AOE Lockdown:

  • Enigma (Black Hole)
  • Disruptor (Static Storm + Kinetic Field)
  • Warlock (Chaotic Offering + Upheaval)
  • Puck (Dream Coil)
  • Medusa (Stone Gaze)
  • Naga (Song)
  • Faceless Void (Chronosphere)
  • Magnus (Reverse Polarity)

AOE Slows

  • Beastmaster (Roar)
  • Brewmaster (Thunder Clap)
  • Crystal Maiden (Nova, Blizzard)
  • Wraith King (Ressurection)
  • Gyrocopter (Call Down)
  • Omniknight (aura)
  • Invoker (Ice Wall, Ghost Walk)
  • Lich (Frost Blast - small AOE)
  • Medusa (Stone Gaze)
  • Riki (Smoke Screen)
  • Sand King (Epi)
  • Timbersaw (Chakram)
  • Tusk (Ward)
  • Warlock (Upheaval)
  • Ursa (Earthshock)
  • Venomancer (Venomous Gale)

AOE Debuffs

  • Dazzle (Weave)
  • Warlock (Fatal Bonds)
  • Elder Titan (Natural Order aura)


  • Vengeful Spirit (Nether Swap)
  • Batrider (Lasso)
  • Magnus (Blink + Skewer)
  • Clockwerk (Hook + Cogs = Isolate 1 hero, split enemy team around Cogs)

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Team Ideas: Global Pain!

Just for fun, I thought up some viable teams with global-effect spells or positioning.

Heroes of Choice:  Clockwerk, Gyro (Aghs), AA, Zeus, NP, Spectre, Invoker (Exhort), and Wisp.
Also "Global":  Spiritbreaker,  Tinker, Centaur, Troll, Drow, Crystal Maiden

Team Ideas:

Clock, Gyro (Aghs), AA, Zeus, NP

Clock solo offlane
NP jungle
Zeus mid (early Refresher)
Gyro + AA safelane

Zeus, Silencer (Aghs), NP, Spectre, AA

NP + Zeus offlane
Spectre + AA safelane
Silencer mid

Clock solo offlane
Invoker mid
NP jungle
Gyro + AA/Zeus safelane

Tiny, Io, NP, Gyro, AA

Tiny+Io mid
NP solo safelane
Gyro + AA dual offlane*
* depends heavily on enemy team laning and draft

The Math on Axe

There's been an idea that taking a double-stout shield on Axe is actually more effective for damage mitigation than other alternatives.

Now, double-Stout Shield doesn't completely stack.  However, you get a 60% chance to block 20 of the damage that gets through the first 60% chance, meaning your net block chance is 84% to block 20 damage.

There's been some controversy about the usefulness of double-stout shield on Axe as early items.  I did the math, and here's the result:


Summary of Double-Stout on Axe:

Yes, double-stout IS actually quite effective for damage mitigation.

It's only once attack damage passes 60 per hit that the RoP + single shield option overtakes the double-Stout choice.  Thus, for almost all camps and neutrals (except Rosh), you actually mitigate more damage by using two Stout shields.

The Math on Ogre Magi

Here's a spreadsheet of the math on Ogre's Magi's Fireblast-versus-Ignite damage scaling:

As of patch 6.81:

As of patch 6.82b:

Fireblast has a fixed damage scaling of 65 additional damage / level after L1.

Ignite, on the other hand, increases in damage faster than Fireblast, and each subsequent level adds more damage than the previous level-up.

Ignite is also more efficient damage per mana, at all levels.

This leads to the idea that maximizing Ignite first actually boosts your damage slightly.

As of patch 6.85:

Fireblast has a fixed damage scaling of 55 additional damage / level after L1.

Ignite, on the other hand, increases in damage faster than Fireblast, and each subsequent level adds more damage than the previous level-up.

Ignite is also more efficient damage per mana, at all levels.

This leads to the idea that maximizing Ignite first actually boosts your damage slightly.

If you look at the damage including Multicast, you get the following average damage:

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Strong 1v1 Lane Heroes

The following heroes are strong solo-lane against another hero 1v1.

See also:  List of Solo Offlaners (also called Suicide Laners)

Strong Solo Laners:

a) are unlikely to die 1v1
b) may be able to get kills 1v1 with no level advantage
c) have strong harass and/or strong escape
  • Batrider
  • Beastmaster
  • Bloodseeker
  • Brewmaster
  • Clinkz
  • Clockwerk
  • Dragon Knight
  • Ember Spirit
  • Invoker
  • Mirana
  • Nature's Prophet
  • Nightstalker
  • Obsidian Destroyer
  • Phoenix
  • Puck
  • Queen of Pain
  • Razor
  • Slark
  • Templar Assassin
  • Timbersaw
  • Viper
  • Weaver
The following heroes are SOMEWHAT good against other heroes 1v1, and could be put against another such hero 1v1.

These heroes have some of the traits above, or some of the following:
  1. Health Regen (passive or active)
  2. Speed boost abilities that aren't outright escapes (e.g. Slardar Sprint)
  3. Spammable abilities (with which to get CS, harass, or potentially get a kill)
  4. One or more dangerous nukes
  5. Ability to control the lane (superior right-click, long attack range, etc)
  6. Ability to zone out an opponent (Plague Wards, for example)
  • Ancient Apparition
  • Bane
  • Beastmaster
  • Bounty Hunter
  • Broodmother
  • Centaur
  • Dazzle
  • Death Prophet
  • Doom
  • Enigma
  • Huskar
  • Jakiro
  • Juggernaut
  • Kunkka
  • Lich
  • Lina
  • Lion
  • Lone Druid
  • Luna
  • Lyncan
  • Magnus
  • Naga Siren
  • Necrophos
  • Nyx
  • Ogre Magi
  • Phantom Assassin
  • Pudge
  • Rubick
  • Shadow Demon
  • Skywrath Mage
  • Slardar
  • Sniper
  • Storm Spirit
  • Tinker
  • Venomancer
  • Warlock
  • Windranger
  • Zeus
Note that some of the "typical" mids have fallen out of favor in one patch or another, but are usually still considered "mid heroes".  In pubs and in unusual drafts, they may still take on other roles.

Mid Heroes:

Typical Mids:
  • Brewmaster
  • Death Prophet
  • Dragon Knight
  • Drow Ranger
  • Ember Spirit
  • Invoker
  • Magnus
  • Night Stalker
  • Outworld Destroyer
  • Puck
  • Pudge
  • Queen of Pain (QoP)
  • Razor
  • Shadowfiend
  • Storm Spirit
  • Tinker
  • Viper

Unusual Mids:

Carries:  Kunkka, Sven, Phantom Assassin, Faceless Void, Luna

Gankers/Semi-Carries:  Vengeful Spirit, Shadow Demon, Venomancer

Nukers: Skywrath Mage, Lion, Lina, Nyx, Zeus

Big L6 Ults:  Tidehunter, Lich, Beastmaster, Enigma, Magnus, Shadow Shaman, Io

Pushers:  Jakiro, Pugna, Venomancer, Leshrac

Monday, September 1, 2014

Drafting Practice Mayhem: A quick evaluation of many drafts

Okay, so I saved up some drafts from awhile ago, and there are enough of them that I can't remember which side was me, so I can hopefully give a less-biased evaluation of the drafts.

I'm keeping it short, because there are FOURTEEN drafts.  Feel free to disagree.

#1: http://dota2draft.the-cluster.org/show?op=d&fp=d&pick=ZY4a4Q0M1p2ZH1Zo2S2ZJ0O2&ban=KZkZfZaZIYZCZmZdk

Lanes fairly even.  Aggro tri from Dire would force defensive tri from Radiant.  First blood could go either way.  Dire lacks counter to NP split push, although Batrider may be able to mitigate that with ganks on NP once Blink Dagger is up on Bat.  I favour Radiant slightly in the draft, but could go either way.

#2: http://dota2draft.the-cluster.org/show?op=d&fp=d&pick=Zk0Za1q1ZI1ZJ2a2K2D2d0za1&ban=ZdZfZCZoMZYYZmLZL

Radiant won't be able to run the aggro tri, and will be forced to defend their Invoker bottom.  Mirana will stay vs. Elder Titan, and lanes will be stable, though Kunkka might have trouble vs. a smart Razor if static link cuts down Kunkka's damage enough to harass him out of lane.

The Dire-side teamfight combo looks good - Song of the Siren or Earthshaker initiation into Earthsplitter from Titan, as well as a Ghost Ship from Kunkka.

Radiant will have to win earlier against the farming Naga, as their cores are weaker late game.

#3: http://dota2draft.the-cluster.org/show?op=r&fp=r&pick=Zm1ZC2ZG0ZA2Zw2Zf2K2k0q1Zh2&ban=ZkZJZYZoZLZdLZIZxZE

Interesting match-up here.  It's all about who can get farm for their cores first. 

Dark Seer mid will do well against Brewmaster, as Ion Shell will make it very hard for Brew to get farm.  Yet, Brew will still get levels, which will make him very dangerous at Level 6, similar to Lycan.

Void will farm so-so against Mirana, but will take a lot of harass.

Radiant's aggro tri might actually do well, since it's against a 2-melee tri-lane.  Lycan should have a bit of trouble farming, and Undying and Shadow Shaman both need some levels to be aggressive.  Both teams have decent push and will rely on big cooldowns for fights.

4 http://dota2draft.the-cluster.org/show?op=d&fp=d&pick=Zt1q1m0k0Zo2K2Y1T2f0Zb2&ban=ZmZdZaZYBZfZkZIZJZg

Radiant has some good lanes - Brew + Wisp will do well mid, although might not kill DK, who will get some farm with Dragon Breath + Bottle.   Mirana + Bane should be able to zone out Tidehunter decently well, although they might not have enough burst to kill him, even with an Arrow (Tide is just stupidly tough).    Viper will have a very bad day bottom, but Bane could rotate down to help out a bit, as could Wisp, though the aggro tri is very strong from Dire.

I favour Dire's line-up because of teamfight and push.

5 http://dota2draft.the-cluster.org/show?op=r&fp=r&pick=ZJ2K4O4L0e1Zf1ZY0Zv1g2Za4&ban=ZkYZHZofZdZmMZCk

The lanes as shown seem fairly stable, with slight advantages on one side here or there, but Radiant can afford to roam an additional support, and both are ranged, so that might tip the balance.

Both teams have push and split-push, and decent burst and disables, but I favour Radiant's line-up slightly for teamfights, although their challenge will be to survive the burst from a Clockwerk initiation, followed up by Skywrath and Lion.

6 http://dota2draft.the-cluster.org/show?op=d&fp=d&pick=Zk2a2ZY2ZJ0W1K1M3ZD0p1e2&ban=ZfZIZxZdkZCYLSZm

Lanes will need some re-arranging from Radiant.   Most likely, Razor will stay bottom solo, and SS and ES will rotate to kill Pugna, NP, or mess with the opponent's safelane duo.  Both teams have decent push, anti-push and teamfight, but if NP gets going, Dire's pushing power is far superior, and also has more split push.

The game will depend on whether Pugna and NP can get enough farm and levels to be effective.

7 http://dota2draft.the-cluster.org/show?op=r&fp=d&pick=Zk1ZY4ZC0S4g2K2ZJ1w0Za2zd2&ban=LZfZdZoZHZmZIMQY

Drafts look fairly even, except that Dire is lacking a good teamfight initator (it will have to be WK, and he might die doing it), whereas Clockwerk is a more potent initiator, and doesn't need to farm a Blink Dagger to do so, which WK might have trouble doing.  Ember Spirit and TA will both do well against the squishy supports on the Radiant side.  Shadow Shaman may have issues getting into range of his targets, and might be mostly useful for his Serpent Wards.

8 http://dota2draft.the-cluster.org/show?op=d&fp=d&pick=Zd1ZY4L0k2a4Zf1K1ZJ0ZH2S1&ban=ZmZIZxPQZkZCMgT

I doubt Radiant will be able to roam their two supports, or else both Doom and Brew will lose their lanes and get little farm.  Tinker might have a bit of trouble against an Exhort Invoker (Forge Spirits), but should do well enough to counter some of Lycan's split push.  Batrider + Exhort Invoker would also be powerful for pickoffs on most of the Radiant heroes.

I like Radiant's early teamfight slightly better, if they can do well in the laning phase, but I like Dire's choices for pickoffs on split-pushers.  Dire's push is slightly stronger (Radiant really only has Tinker to push or anti-push), and Rubick has some good abilities to steal, so I favour the Dire line-up slightly.

9 http://dota2draft.the-cluster.org/show?op=r&fp=r&pick=Zm1ZA0a4Zt2ZJ2Zd2ZY1Za1Zk1Zo0&ban=LYKMSZfZITWZC

I favour the Radiant line-up slightly, because Doom will have a hard time not getting picked off, whereas Faceless is more likely to survive to Time Walk away.  Viper should be able to dominate mid vs. Warlock, except that Radiant will be slightly more likely to be able to rotate supports to gank, while still zoning out their respective enemy offlaner.

This game will come down to who can gank better with roaming supports.

10 http://dota2draft.the-cluster.org/show?op=r&fp=d&pick=Zd1W2l2ZF0B2ZJ1K2Za2q2L0&ban=YZkgMZLZfZIZYSZo

I favour the Dire line-up.  The aggro-tri looks good, Invoker should dominate Doom solo laning, and Leshrac solo will do decently against Tinker, but won't be able to shut him down, and Leshrac won't bring as much to the table with a few item upgrades as Tinker will.

I don't think this is an open-and-close game, where Dire will obviously dominate, but they have the slight upper hand from the draft IMO.

11 http://dota2draft.the-cluster.org/show?op=r&fp=r&pick=Zk2ZD0D1W1Zv1Zm1ZY1F2ZE1ZV0&ban=YkZwZJzaVnQtZo

I favour Dire again.  I don't think the aggro tri from Radiant is strong enough, and Dire has the stronger lategame carries.  The multiple silences and Dazzle's heal are going to do good work, and I think Dire has more counter-initiation, even despite Song of the Siren (has long cooldown).

12 http://dota2draft.the-cluster.org/show?op=d&fp=d&pick=W2Y1S4Zi2I0ZA1ZY1Q0ZR2b1&ban=sMZmZkFZCLKZfG

Radiant has a stronger early and midgame, and Dire has a stronger lategame.  Will come down to how well the Dire supports can protect their carry, versus how well Radiant can get ganks and snowball.  Silencer's ult timing will make a great deal of difference in the teamfights, and getting him to use it early or at wrong times will be critical.

13 http://dota2draft.the-cluster.org/show?op=r&fp=d&pick=t1ZO1za2f0ZS1K1Zd2q1Zp1F0&ban=ZmZfZYhZkkZCoYZo

I think the teams and lanes are balanced.  The tri-vs-tri looks very interesting, too.  I slightly favour Dire because the Elder Titan, though he will do well against Doom, won't carry as hard as Doom will.  Also, Radiant's farmer is melee (Slark), compared to the all-ranged composition of the defensive tri-lane of Dire side.

14 http://dota2draft.the-cluster.org/show?op=d&fp=d&pick=K2Zu2h1zd0Zo2ZH2q1S1L0x1&ban=ZdkZtZaZRZCZkZmZxZf

Slightly favour Dire.  Better disables and initiation, and some split-push from Tinker.  Rubick also loves to steal ALL of Omni's spells (no steal is bad).