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7ckngMad's Blog : DRAFT ANALYSIS : Na`Vi vs DK – MLG Semi-Final Game 1





Hello everyone! So we are back from MLG, the tournament was really amazing. The organization was close to perfect, the crowd was cheerful and supportive, and of course the competition was insanely tight. Even though we had very minimal practice before going there, because of our schedules, I feel like we had a really good run. It is a great feeling to see that our choices have been the right ones. We were able to play very different drafts and strategies, with a very few amount of mistakes. It allowed us to pass the group stage phase quite easily, losing only to DK and Alliance. I am personally very disappointed by the semi-finals, although Speed Gaming is a very good team, and them wining the whole championship proves it, I feel like we had both games in our hands. We got badly outplayed in the first 20minutes of game one, but after that, we basically threw away our advantages in both games because of very basic mistakes and over-extension.

But whatever, I guess we need to work harder. I was truly impressed by their play though, calm and control. They are a great team, undoubtedly. Next step are the EMS LAN finals, so we will focus on that next week. Anyway, that being said, let's jump into the draft analysis. I might do more of those with MLG Columbus 2013 games, because the drafts were overall very interesting. I picked a game in particular:

"Na`Vi vs DK, game 1 of the semi-finals"

I had a lot of suggestions, including that one of course. I made this choice because there is a lot to say concerning both drafts, which are in my opinion very smart. Hopefully you will agree with my choice by the time you finish reading the article!

So before we get started, let's give a little bit of context. Na`vi & DK is a very long love story, both names mean a lot in their respective part of the world, Na`Vi has been dominating the western scene for years now, and same goes with DK in the eastern one. This clash is also the clash East vs West, and it is always watched very closely by the fans. The funny part is that both powerhouses always manage to meet each others in crucial phase of big tournaments... WCG, TI2, TI3, etc. Both teams have huge respect for each others, but there is also a lot of rivalry going on. More concretely, as an example : I personally saw DK players watching very attentively every single game that Na`Vi played in the group stage prior to their group match. One very important thing to consider when we analyze the first semi's draft is that both teams met the day before in the Robin's Round stage. DK won very convincingly against Na`Vi. So, let's get started! For this draft, DK has first pick advantage.

They start up with a veno ban. Nothing very special here, Venomancer is used a lot since the buff, especially by Na`Vi. It’s a great support hero, very strong on lanes, and perfect to secure map control. Their second ban will be naix, also one of Na`Vi’s key heroes. Those are really respect bans. DK have been watching Na`Vi play, for sure.

On Na`Vi’s side, the two bans are TC and Visage. Again, nothing really different from what is usually done. Both heroes are top picks in both the eastern and the western scene.  It is now DK’s turn to pick, and it will quickly become more interesting!

DK starts off with a clockwerk pick. Very strong hero overall. This firstpick makes total sense for different reasons : it denies the hero for Na`Vi (Funn1k is insanely good at using CW), and also give close to no information, clockwerk can be played mid, safelane, offlane, support, basically anywhere.

The answer from Na`Vi is : Alchemist and Crystal maiden. From my perspective, this can be explained by two main reasons : First of all, Na`Vi has always been scared of the ‘chinese’ Alchemist. They banned it every single game during TI3, or first picked it. Getting alchi here allows them to deny it from DK, and it also turns out to be a very good pick versus clockwerk on the lane. The long range initiation, the stun length as well as the insane damage output early on makes it a great counter to clockwerk on the lane. For instance, CM + ALCH + X can easily kill clockwerk level 1. Na`Vi has the upper hand in the draft, the offlane will, it seems, be a problem for DK.

DK follows up with a Gyrocopter pick. Nothing really special here, it’s a great hero in every kind of situation basically. It has great synergy with clockwerk, as solid initiation allows Gyro to use call-down and flak canon to its best potential. Its either you let your ally die, or you have to commit to save him…but committing and being in range of call-down + flak against a farming Gyro is never a good idea =D

Second banning phase! DK removes OD. Well, yet again, a hero used a lot by Na`Vi. I don’t think it necessarily counters DK’s pick, although what comes later might explain it. Right now it’s just them trying to push Na`Vi out of their comfort zone (which is impossible ^_^).

Na`Vi removes Pugna.  This makes more sense in my opinion. DK is still looking for their solo mid hero (as CW mid is viable but not that used). Moreover, Pugna will give them an insane pushing power, it synergizes with clock and gyro in the sense that, the only way to stop pugna from pushing is to fight him, and you do not want to run into a clock+gyro line-up.

Juggernaut ban ! Well, it’s a very good hero against Gyrocopter in my opinion. He can basically burst him down without committing too much, in early game with bladefury or in late game with his ultimate. Maiden & Alchemist gives a great setup for Jugger to get a good damage output, the Acid Spray, the Concotion, etc. It’s also a hero Na`Vi uses a lot. Understandable ban.

Na`Vi ends up with an Enigma ban. This one is very smart. To be honest, generally I feel like Na`Vi’s bans are more precise than DK’s. I might not understand them as well, because of the playstyle difference…but I think it’s just how it is. Again, I’m just sharing my opinion here, not claiming to know everything that’s going on! Anyway, I’ll explain more in details the Enigma ban.  Obviously Enigma would have made sense for DK, to synergize with CW & Gyro. I mean, clockwerk being one of the best initiators in DotA, creates the best condition for Enigma & Gyro ( AOE heroes ). Indeed, generally AOE heroes need an initiating point in the fights. Chaotic fights do not help them, but Enigma could have been a great pick for DK for another reason. Gyro is one of the strongest safelaners, if not the strongest. It is litterally a nightmare to challenge him, even if it’s a dual lane safelane setup. It basically gives DK the space to go greedy, and run an Enigma woods. By banning Enigma, Na`Vi give a crucial information, they will not go aggressive, or at least they really don’t want to. The draft is getting interesting, What I call the dialogue phase starts with this ban. It usually starts earlier, but in ths picking phase, close to no clear information was given before.

It is now Na`Vi’s turn to pick, and they will confirm what they expressed with their Enigma ban. They pick up a Dark Seer, very strong offlaner. They will definitely focus on their safelane for this game.  Dark Seer is a very strong pick, especially for Na`Vi. Indeed, Puppey & Funn1k are famous for their THD+Dark seer combos, destroying teams 2vs5. Their team fight awareness is insane. Alchemist/DS is actually even easier. Just Vaccuum a second before alchi’s stun hits, and it’s a full team stun.

And here is probably the biggest turning point of the draft. DK picks Wisp !  It is a hero they have been using a LOT during the tournament and before it. With Na`Vi clearly showing that they do not want to challenge DK’s safelane, the Asian powerhouse now feels very confortable grabbing Wisp for their safelane. Indeed, the hero is not very good versus challenges. Unlike what people think, it is not because it’s weak early on. It’s actually one of the best heroes to get on level 1. It’s just because Wisp is more effective when he can get a lot of levels, and go greedy  with jungling. Moreover, Na`Vi’s DS+ALCH is very effective when both teams face each others before a fight, indeed, both alchemist and dark seer need to have vision on the opponents to land their combo properly. It is great against a clockwerk, for example. Wisp makes it really harder, because he will tp two heroes (himself & the tethered hero) behind Na`Vi, or in the middle of the fight. This will make the Na`Vi combo almost impossible to execute.

The direct answer from Na`Vi is Medusa. Most likely on safe lane, a hero that benefits a lot as well from early game farm. It’s great against Wisp for two reasons: It’s really hard to gank, first of all. And generally in the fights, Medusa just stands her ground. There is no chase going on (Wisp excels at chasing and creating chaos).  It’s either you break Medusa’s defense, or you don’t. Obviously Medusa’s damage in late game will be insane thanks to the acid spray. Moreover, with DK being forced to focus and commit a lot on  Medusa (Ultra tanky), it will give dark seer a very good setup for his vaccuum/wall combos.

Honestly, right now, both drafts are very smart. The two captains try to counter each other’s but always make sure to secure a very high level of synergy in their respective picks. This is very high level drafting in my opinion.

DK picking up Kunkka next will allow them to team-tank more in team fights (always good against Medusa’s split shot), to have better initiation potential. It is also a great hero to have against Dark Seer, with the cleave just clearing illusions in one hit. Gyro is also good for that, basically, DS’s illusion will really have minimal impact in that game, that’s for sure.

Kunkka is clearly DK’s solo mid hero, as clockwerk is their only viable offlane. This explains Na`Vi’s ban lich. Lich Kunkka is a very strong and viable lane. Although the lich + melee lane got really nerfed by the latest patch. People use to get this lane because Lich usually can’t force back entirely the opponent hero.. He would still stay in xp range, especially mid. But Lich do allow his ally to safely farm/deny. With a melee doing that against a range, the experience difference was really huge. It is now changed, but whatever, I digress. Na`Vi wants to deny the dual lane mid, and secure Dendi a good start: they ban lich.

DK’s answer to that is to ban Batrider. This is also toward the midlane. Bat vs KK is a very good matchup for Batrider, like against every other melee basically. Also being able to jump on Kunkka in the fights makes him pretty much useless. Kunkka needs perfect positioning in order to be fully effective.

NaVi now gets Windrunner, or Windranger (:°). Thats a very good matchup for dendi mid, as well as more initiation potential. Indeed, beside Alchi’s stun (really obvious and easy to dodge), they had no initiation what so ever. Shackle shot now gives them that. Great pick-up. It’s also hard for wisp + one to gank windrunner now, almost impossible actually. She can always windrun and tp out. Indeed, neither wisp nor gyro can cancel her. This will give Na`Vi a very good split pushing power with both windrunner and medusa being hardly gankable.

DK’s last pick will be Doom Bringer. Greediness to its maximum with the dual wisp+gyro and doom woods. It also fits perfectly with their line-up, as we mentioned earlier, DK aim to break Na`Vi ground when they run into them. Disabling completely with doom’s ultimate on opponent hero makes it really hard for the Ukrainians to stand still and fight. They will have to reposition, and DK is looking to take advantage of that. Both drafts are very even in my opinion. It will all come down to the laning stage and the player’s rotation and decision making.

I guess it’s now time for you guys to watch or re-watch the game, or maybe wonder what you would have done if you were Na`Vi or DK… Remember, this is nothing but the opinion of a professional player! You can follow me and Sigma:

I hope you enjoyed the read, Cheers!










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