Draft battles, Puppey vs KuroKy at WePlay! Mad Moon

Analysis of how the world’s greatest drafters developed their strategies and at how the result of how one game’s plan shifted to another and changed the entire dynamics of the best-of-five grand finals of WePlay! Tug of War: Mad Moon.

Nigma couldn’t play Lifestealer and Tiny, two of their most aggressive heroes. Tiny was banned whereas Lifestealer would have been a bad choice against Faceless Void. The opening combo of Secret was great and Nigma couldn’t draft a way around it. Their idea was to keep two 2 cores alive during the Chronosphere but it failed. The problem is that Sven can’t face Faceless Void even without Chrono because of passive bashes.

Nigma’s last pick, Puck was a good and its purpose was to evade the Chrono and to disable the Secret cores. The problem was that he had too many targets to take care of. If Sven uses his stun to initiate, then Puck has to disable Snapfire’s ultimate and if he does that then the hero disabled by Sven would get the time to escape. They didn’t have enough burst damage to finish a kill on core heroes within just two disables.

In every series, previous game’s draft strategy evolves into the next game’s draft so, in this draft, Secret banned all good Nigma heroes instead of IO. Their strategy was perfect because they were ready to counter Nigma’s IO with Ancient Apparition. In the first game, Nigma couldn’t first pick Lifestealer because of Faceless Void so they picked Lifestealer in the first phase and banned Faceless Void in the next phase. But Secret still had the upper hand in this draft because AA countered both hp regen heroes and Batrider’s lasso helps against Lifestealer’s main skill, Rage.

Nigma then picked Dark Seer because they wanted the supports to be free from that lane and help Lifestealer more. Their plan was again well countered by Secret when they picked Timbersaw. Timbersaw is a good counter to any durable hero and a huge nuisance in the lane. So, Nigma made a good choice of drafting Lina, as she is a counter to Timbersaw and she can get good farm in the mid lane against Batrider. But Secret’s last pick,Juggernaut, was a great choice pick because it countered Lifestealer and Nigma had no spells to disable him for too long so, Omnislash was guaranteed in every fight. This was a huge out draft by Team Secret.

After winning two games in a row, the third draft should have been in Secret’s favour but they made a big mistake. They changed their picks and bans which were successful. These four heroes were their major mistake: Slardar not banned, Batrider banned, Chen banned and AA not picked. As Team Secret, if your strategy is to pick Morphling then why not pick AA when that hero already helped you massively in the previous game. AA also counters Nigma’s drafting strategies. Nigma is fond of picking hp regen heroes such as Lifestealer, Io, Oracle and Winter Wyvern. AA is the best pick against Nigma.

However, Nigma were skilful in not drafting greedy heroes. They knew that Secret’s heroes were extremely greedy and needed items to shine and this is exactly what Nigma wanted. Nigma had been playing this tournament while not allowing the game to go late and when they saw Secret’s draft aiming for late game, they knew that they had it the bag. They not only destroyed Secret in the draft and game but also in their minds. Now mentally, Secret went on a defensive.

At this stage, the momentum had shifted and Secret were on the back foot. They knew that they would be able to control Nigma’s top heroes. They banned Io and Leshrac and they picked Oracle and Tiny. On top of that,  they picked Troll, a counter to Lifestealer. This was a good drafting initial strategy but their first mistake was picking Dark Seer. Nigma instantly picked Lifestealer which they wanted to anyway, and he destroyed DS in the lane.

Secret followed up that mistake with another one when they picked Slark. Razor’s static link can’t be removed by Slark’s dark pact so technically Razor is a huge counter to Slark. Now support Tiny, Oracle and Dark Seer have no high damage output after the early game so when you rely on your position 1 and 2 to handle the game and they are both physical damage dealing heroes against Razor’s static link and Underlord’s negative buff on physical damage then it is catastrophic. This draft by Secret was worse than the previous game.

Secret were finally fed up with Nigma’s healing heroes hence all their first phase bans were of healing heroes. Even so, Nigma had Winter Wyvern who is not a great healer but prevents physical damage for a while and counters Lifestealer. This time around, Secret also snatched Lifestealer who happened to be a big problem. The most shocking thing was that Secret didn’t pick Faceless Void instead of Lifestealer. Secret’s first game’s draft was Snapfire and Faceless Void that forced Nigma to not pick Lifestealer even though it was available. This strategy could have been implemented again. Lifestealer can surely be killed by Faceless Void whether he is inside the Chrono or not.

Now even though Secret picked Lifestealer, they could have banned Faceless Void but they didn’t. They banned Beastmaster who is definitely not a bigger threat than Faceless Void. After that Secret picked Shadow Demon, Tiny and Pangolier who were neither good nor bad. Secret had the option to pick Nisha’s Morphling but they picked Tiny. Nisha’s Morphling has brought Secret huge success and he is almost unbeatable on that hero. On top of that Morphling can burst down Faceless Void quickly and if morphs into strength then can stay alive throughout Chrono’s duration. It would have been a better pick than Tiny.

Closing thoughts:

Secret either underestimated Nigma’s aggressive gameplay in the 3rd game or took the match lightly and that made them draft greedy. This event didn’t only disturb their game play momentum but also their drafting. Secret couldn’t recover after losing that game and lost the next two as well. Secret losing this series had two major benefits to the Dota 2 world. Firstly,  Nigma gained their confidence and silenced their critics by defeating one of the strongest teams in the world. Secondly, Secret now know that they better take this year more seriously than they thought and this defeat will actually make them stronger in the coming International. During the last few years, Secret were always strong in every major and any other tournaments but they always lost badly at The International. Now that they have tasted the defeat when they least didn’t expect it, they will prepare more for future battles.

all drafts source: dotabuff.com

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