What we can learn from Flying Penguins vs Evil Geniuses:
Gunnar's Awesome Ember

Match ID: 4391194638, Dreamleague Season 11 Major, NA Qualifiers, Game 2

In these articles, I usually talk about strategy and tactics on the level of the team rather than the individual player. This time I’ll try the exact opposite – we’ll focus on a single player’s perspective to get valuable lessons on the micro, not only the macro level.

fp vs eg liuneup

In Flying Penguin’s (Eternal Envy’s team) surprise victory against EG, Gunnar played an incredible game on Ember Spirit. He did by far the highest damage in the game (twice more than his position 1 PA) and even more surprisingly – took the most damage on his team, yet died only three times. I’ll explore the decisions and moves he made throughout the game and hopefully, we’ll be able to emulate his playstyle in our own Ember games!

Laning Stage

In the laning stage Gunnar's goals are:

  • To survive Leshrac's constant harass (pre lvl6)
  • To use his kill potential and mobility to start applying pressure (post lvl6)

1) Preparation

Before the creeps spawn, Gunnar clicks through enemy heroes to get information. He gets a standard starting build, but queues-up two Salves and a Bottle. The easiest way to lose the lane against Lesh is to get pushed away from the creep wave due to his constant harass. Gunnar anticipates this and plans ahead how to handle it.

2) Surviving the early laning stage

Ember handles the constant harass from Leshrac pretty well thanks to regen items in the early minutes, Raindrops and his Flame Guard later on and Remnant, and Bottle after lvl6. Notice how he uses creep aggro mechanics to keep farming and taking last hits while spending as little time as possible in the range of Lesh. All of this allows him to trade farm relatively evenly.

3) Kill Potential

Gunnar participates on a kill on Leshrac thanks to rotations from his Tusk. He dies at the second attempt but kills Lich after he spawns thanks to the mobility from Remnants.

On minute 08:30 he makes his first rotation – he pushes out the wave and walks top to kill Brewmaster together with his carry.

Ember is not a passive laner. He pushes out the wave relatively fast, but he deals low building damage. This means that after level 6 it’s a great idea to use his mobility and kill potential to help the side-lanes and score kills. The ability to TP back to base, regenerate, and Remnant back to lane also makes his rotations time and cost-efficient. 

He finishes the laning stage with a score of 3-1 and net worth approximately the same as the NW of Leshrac.

Mid Game

In the mid game he keeps applying constant pressure on the lanes either passively, by pushing them out, or actively, by ganking. The goal is to secure a lot of map control for his team.

1) Pushing out-waves, farming

He pushes out the lanes (mostly mid) aggressively, and even back-creeps, but is impossible to kill at this stage thanks to always having a pre-prepared remnant. This keeps his farm levels high, forces inefficient reactions from his enemies, and reduces the vision EG have (because the lanes are pushed-in). This, in turn, allows him to participate in further rotations.

2) Rotations and Fights

A great example is the 11:40 rotation to the safe lane (a classical move to restrict the farming space the enemy carry has after the lanes). FP smoke-up with their strongest fighting heroes (Ember, PA, Tusk) and walk down bot, where they manage to kill Troll (but pay with PA and Omni).

Notice the micro decisions that Ember does in this fight. After spending his mana, he decides to leave a Remnant and TP back to base to recharge (without mana he’s useless in a fight). After he is ready, he doesn’t Remnant in right away but waits for the right moment (most probably communicating with his team so that he knows he’ll have back-up). This results in a kill on the enemy Leshrac and ET. 

Another fight worth watching is the 19:00-minute fight top in which he gets a triple kill and gains a lot of momentum. Notice the way Gunnar moves in and out of the fight and doesn’t allow the enemy team to focus him (he abuses the fact that they don’t have reliable disables). As long as he has remnants left, he can repeatedly disengage and reengage. This is the main reason he takes plenty of damage in fights but very rarely pays with his life:

3) Rosh

Since he deals very little damage to Rosh, there is no need for him to stay in the pit and right-click. He leaves a Remnant next to Rosh (23:30) and goes top to out-push the lane, pressure the tower and even to scare the Troll away. 

The fact that he is visible on the map makes EG less suspicious of a Rosh attempt. Moreover, the fact that he is not in the pit means he is less susceptible to possible initiation attempts by the enemy team (less of a concern this game, but still). If a fight breaks out, he’d be able to join if he chooses to.

Late Game

After Gunnar takes the Aegis, FP are in firm control of this game and need to find a way to secure the victory.

1) Map Control

In the late game, using Ember’s mobility to push out waves is equally, if not more important than in the mid game.

Notice how Gunnar places a Remnant in the lane where his team is pushing and TPs to another lane to push it out alone. He can always instantly join his team when a fight breaks out (or when he gets ganked).

This keeps multiple sides pushed into enemy territory, which is extremely valuable.

  • The creep waves give vision (consequently, EG have less).
  • The creep waves pressure enemy towers, forcing reactions by EG and giving further information to FP. 
  • If FP lose a fight (e.g. an unsuccessful base push), it would take EG a lot of time to reach the enemy base because they would have to out-push the waves first. This is illustrated in the 30th-minute push, where both Gunnar and Envy die because of EG’s buybacks, yet EG aren’t able to claim objectives while the enemy cores are dead.

2) Pushing

Ember is a terrible tower pusher, which means he isn’t good at taking objectives by force. It would be a bad plan for FP to start hitting the enemy T4 towers when the enemy team is alive because it would give them the initiation advantage.

Because of this, FP’s plan is to get kills before they commit to taking the buildings. Gunnar continues to employ his in-and-out fighting style to get pick-offs in fights on heroes even inside the enemy base. 

On the 30th minute fight, FP manage to team wipe EG but pay with the life of Gunnar and Envy after EG’s buybacks. In the next fight, however, EG don’t have any buybacks left and once they die, they lose two sides of Barracks.  

In your Pubs

Gunnar has over 500 games on Ember with a win rate above 60%, so his Ember certainly is worth learning from.

Gunnar vs Sumail

This is the blueprint of Gunner’s Ember in this game, which hopefully you can apply to your own games.


  1. Cheap consumables to survive the early laning stage and get farm.
  2. Rotations to apply pressure and secure kills
  3. Use Remnant to get to the fountain and back and to regen quickly and easily.

Mid & Late Game:

  1. Push-out the waves with a defensive Remnant prepared. Even back-creep, if needed, to force reactions.
  2. Rotate for ganks and force fights. Use your elusiveness to go in and out of fights repeatedly in order to stay safe while also dealing damage.
  3. Always push-out the other lanes before you try to break the enemy base. 
  4. Claim objectives after you get kills, don't over-commit to pushes.


Signature heroes are less popular now than they were a few years ago (the age of Admiral Bulldog’s NP and Druid are over). Yet, some pro players simply play certain heroes on a higher level than others. In that sense, betting against a team who manages to get their hands on their signature heroes (e.g. Ramzes and RTZ on TB in this meta) is a risky move

In this game versus a top-level opponent, Gunnar certainly proved that he is a master of Ember Spirit.