What we can learn from Fnatic vs Ehome:
Lane setup and predicting enemy tactics

MATCH ID 4349717315, Upper Bracket Round 1

Fnatic and Ehome were two of the most interesting to watch teams in this tournament because it is very hard to predict how far they could go. Fnatic didn’t play a lot outside of their region, but the individual quality of their players and their flawless performance in the groups (they went 4-0, 2-0 against group favorites EG) should bring up the hopes of SEA Dota fans. 

Ehome also made a strong case for themselves when they won the Bucharest Minor (effortlessly). Their large hero pool and varied strategies meant that they were very easy to compare to Wings, which gave a lot of people hope that they have the potential to make a deep run in Chongqing.

Group A vs Group D CQM


Fnatic took the first place in their groups, while Ehome took the second with 5 won and 3 lost games, which should make Fnatic the favorite in this match. Yet, you could argue that group D had the weakest competition (with EG and even Aster seeming to underperform), which makes the outcome of this clash less clear-cut.

And indeed, after three games (two one-sided games and an intense decider) Ehome managed to take the victory. We decided to analyze game two of the series (the game which Fnatic won) because we believe there were a few very valuable moments from the perspective of a person that wants to learn and improve:

fnatic ehome draft

After the draft, in particular, the last pick Anti-Mage, all analysts were convinced Ehome had the upper hand because AM is a brilliant counter-pick this game. Not only is he a counter to Medusa, but Fnatic also lack enough disables to control him.

Yet, Fnatic were able to win in 18 minutes. So, how were they able to achieve this?

Lane Setup:

The analysts pointed out the outcome of the laning stage as the most important factor for the outcome of the game. It’s hard to argue with that. Fnatic made a few laning choices that helped them accumulate a significant resource advantage (4k gold) by the 10th-minute mark. They were able to win all three lanes:

  1. First, they laned Timber vs Tide. Timber has a lot of kill potential on Tide after lvl6 and MP used this advantage to snowball hard in this game.
  2. Second, they managed to win the Pango + ES vs Visage + Undying matchup.
  3. Third, they dealt with an unfavorable lane matchup (Medusa vs AM) by bringing in Lich to support the Medusa and heavily harass the AM (even securing an early kill).

Anti-Mage vs Medusa

We’ll go into a bit more details for this matchup because we believe it was arguably the most impactful and moreover –Medusa, AM, and Lich are top tier heroes in this meta, so you are likely to encounter a similar situation in your pubs.

Medusa is theoretically at a disadvantage 1v1 against AM. Not only does he burn her mana, but he can also reflect her Snake quite easily with his Counterspell (the projectile moves slowly). 

Instead of leaving Medusa in a 1v1 matchup in which she is at a disadvantage, however, Fnatic dual-laned her. Lich came mid with 4 Mangos in his inventory and the intention to harass AM heavily:

Fnatic Ehome Mid

This secured them an early kill (a misplay by ASD), but even without the kill, the lane would have been very hard for the AM. He is playing a melee farmer against two ranged heroes that can harass him not only with attacks but also with spells. Lion came mid to help him out, but Lion is not as strong lane support as Lich and the result was that AM had a very rough start in a lane that he should have done well in according to plan.


What was harder to catch, however, were two tactical moves that allowed Fnatic to keep their firm grasp on the game and not to give Ehome any chance of a come-back. It’s what allowed them to secure an 18-minute victory.

After the laning stage, Ehome had two big problems that they had to fix.     

The first one was that Timbersaw is snowballing hard. 

He was making the top lane, using BSJ’s term, a dead lane. He was pushing it out hard and even got a few kills on the Tide when he tried to go on the lane.

Then, on minute 09:30 Ehome ganked MP and Anti-Mage managed to secure the kill with his mana Void. This was a big win for Ehome because their AM, who had a bad start, took the kill bounty of the 2nd most farmed hero on the map.

It was logical that Ehome would try that move a second time if Timber tries to push out the lane again. Fnatic read the game very well and managed to counter Ehome’s move:

counter-gank fnatic ehome

ES and Lich were smoked behind Timber to provide him with the needed protection to survive and turn a gank. Meanwhile, iceiceice’s Pago was coming from the mid lane, ready to flank the enemy team if a fight breaks out.

This great positioning by Fnatic resulted in a 3 for 1 trade in their favor. They kept control of the top lane (and jungle) and Timber kept his momentum in the game.

The second problem Ehome had to solve was Medusa. 

After a good laning stage, she was flash-farming the Ancients and jungle camps. If she is left unchecked, she would become too fat to overcome.

To solve this, Ehome smoked-up as a team to enter the enemy jungle and hopefully catch Medusa while she’s farming. This move should allow them to take control of the enemy jungle, which would not only slow Medusa down but would give AM the needed space to farm.

Yet, once again Fnatic read the game very well and were prepared for Ehome’s move:

Tank Gank Ehome Fnatic

Earth Spirit is in the perfect position to break the enemy smoke. He dies for this (tanks the gank), but this is definitely a positive outcome for Fnatic - Medusa is safe. Because of their resource lead, they decide to take the fight, which results in a good trade for them once again and Ehome are forced to retreat, unable to claim map control of the Radiant jungle.

With both offensive moves of Ehome countered, they have very little hope left. They have almost no map control, they are falling behind in resources badly and it is only a matter of time (minutes) before Fnatic are able to break the base and end the game.

In our pubs:

Sometimes predicting the moves of the enemy team isn’t that hard, especially if they are playing from behind and lack map control.

(1) Are they likely to try to sneak Rosh?

Make sure you have vision around the pit and if the enemy team is missing make sure to scout Rosh. If you are ahead and manage to take a 5v5 fight near the Rosh pit, this could in itself win you the game. Failing to counter this move would increase the chances of the enemy team a great deal because they would have Aegis for the next fight (which would compensate for the resource disadvantage).

(2) Are they likely to gank?

Are your cores farming passively (as Medusa in this example)? Are they playing deep in enemy territory by themselves (like Timber)? In both cases, the enemy team needs to do something about it. If they don’t they are losing by default. Staying close to the core you think is going to get ganked to take a favorable fight is the best thing you can do.

(3) Are they likely to turtle in their base?

Don’t risk pushing as 5 if your enemies have great anti-push and team-fight potential (unless you have a huge resource advantage). Use the map control that you have. Split-up, out-push the waves, farm as much of the jungle as possible, make sure to ward and deward to take away any vision from the enemy team. You will out-farm them severely. They would have to exit their base because they are falling behind in resources, and once they do you would be able to do the same thing as in (2).

In an organized team, predicting the moves of the enemy would usually be the job of the captain. You can do the same yourself, however. If you are right and communicate it to your teammates, you would decrease your amount of thrown pub games tremendously.


Paying close attention to the lane setup is very important for live betting. If you can predict the outcome of the laning stage in the first few minutes of the game you could beat the odds because of this. Being very familiar with lane matchups is important to be able to do this reliably, however. AM usually beats Medusa mid. It takes a sharp eye to notice that Medusa + Lich would cause a lot of problems to AM and his support.