Thursday, August 7, 2014

Dota 2 Next Level Meta: Introduction

From time to time it's fun to write something else entirely. This new Dota 2 blog post series is mostly for entertainment. In all honesty, it would probably work better as a YouTube series, but I don't really have the resources to do that just now. In short, I will be writing about how to play various core heroes as supports, regardless of how poorly they fit the role.

Background

When playing solo queue pubs in Dota, every now and then you're bound to encounter a game where everyone picks a core hero and no one wants to support. Some of us, myself in particular, usually take the supporting role in these scenarios. This usually results in some rather weird plays but also leads you think about some heroes in new ways. It's also a fun thought experiment to just think about supporting potential of each hero. Of course this business usually ends badly, but at least sometimes it's surprisingly fun. I can also take some pride in discovering three cores' supporting potential before it was picked up by the professional teams.

I was playing support Mirana, Wraith King and Naga Siren over a year ago. Mirana and WK are now both commonly picked in the support role, and Naga support was a huge factor in Alliance's The International 3 championship. Admittedly my ideas of how to play these were slightly different from how they ended up being used but hey, called it! I have in general played various unconventional supports throughout my pub career.

About this series

I will only include heroes that to my knowledge have not been considered supports in the pro scene. Wraith King for instance is not included because he is already recognized as a totally legit support. The same goes for heroes like Axe and Doom, and even more recent discoveries like Juggernaut. The format is as follows: in each post, I will first write an analysis, trying my best to think about how the hero might play as a support; then I will try it out in a bot game and finally write about my experiences.

The reason I'm doing bot games is quite simple: some of the heroes I'm going to support with will be absolutely horrible in the role, and I don't really feel like ruining a teammate's game by trying it out in an actual pub game. Besides, bots play more consistently. I would need to probably also mute all teammates if I suggested playing support Faceless Void. For this series the hero needs to be played with no lane farm; jungle farm is ok as long as the hero is still active like a real support should, in the first ten minutes of the game. I will not necessarily buy support items like wards on all of these heroes (even some actual support heroes are also greedy like that).

The heroes and predictions

This section incudes the heroes I'm going to go through. I have also made some initial predictions about how I think they will turn out. For this purpose they've been divided into four ranks: trash, poor, playable and legit. Anything that's playable or legit I would play in a pub; anything below that just really, really should not go without farm.

trash: Anti-Mage, Broodmother, Clinkz, Huskar, Lifestealer, Lone Druid, Lycan, Medusa, Outworld Devourer, Phantom Assassin, Shadow Fiend, Spectre, Terrorblade
poor: Bloodseeker, Brewmaster, Bristleback, Death Prophet, Drow Ranger, Ember Spirit, Faceless Void, , Legion Commander, Luna, Morphling, Phantom Lancer, Razor, Riki, Slark, Sniper, Templar Assassin, Timbersaw, Tinker, Troll Warlord, Ursa, Viper, Weaver
playable: Centaur Warrunner, Chaos Knight, Dragon Knight, Night Stalker, Storm Spirit, Tiny
legit: Magnus, Puck, Queen of Pain, Slardar, Spirit Breaker

As you can see I'm not terribly optimistic about this - but at least it should be fun! I will explain my predictions in the post for each hero.

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