Match ID: 4422075046, We.Play Valentine Madness, Game 1
Even though 0 of the original El Clásico players are participating in this matchup, it still feels very good to have Na’Vi vs Alliance fighting it out in the upper bracket of a relevant tournament.
On one hand, Alliance.Qojqva is a good friend of ours and we can’t help but root for him! On the other - Na’Vi are starting to find consistency. They had a great lower bracket run that got them a spot on the upcoming Dreamleague Major and so far they are doing great in We.Play.
This series gives us a good opportunity to examine what they’re doing right!
In the last month, Razor has been Na’Vi’s most picked hero with a 77% win rate before this series. Magical has been playing him really well, and the hero has become very prominent in this meta because he benefits a lot from the 7.21 stats changes. Razor is one of the heroes in Dota who love prolonged fights thanks to the way Static Link works. This is why he usually builds a lot of survivability (S&Y, BKB, etc.). Getting more HP out of each point of STR makes him tankier than he was before, which means he is more likely to survive in fights for longer and has a greater impact.
Razor’s game plan is pretty straightforward: first, he wins the lane (heavily). Second, he transitions into aggressive 5-man Dota and helps his team.
In order to deal with Magical, Alliance decided to counter the first step in Razor’s game plan. A very good laning stage is crucial for Razor because he is inflexible and overall a bad hero to play from behind. To do this, they picked QoP for Qojqva (he has plenty of experience on the hero, you can check out his Queen of Pain Guide).
QoP has been one of the least popular competitive picks for a while, but at the same time, she is one of the best lane counters to Razor. She can easily break the Static Link with Blink, and she can harass him with Shadow Strike.
The plan was working decently well and Alliance were slowly but steadily building an advantage. Until the fight on the 25th minute…
Despite a resource deficit, however, Na’Vi have a very powerful mid-game timing. Razor + Luna supported by Sven’s Warcry and Doom’s and Disruptor’s initiation and utility is an extremely scary 5-man mid-game lineup.
Once they got BKB’s on their cores, Na’Vi knew they had a fight advantage and used it. Alliance have a single physical damage dealer (Troll), who gets countered in long fights from Razor’s Static Link. All other 4 heroes can’t fight during the BKB duration. All of this allowed Na’Vi to win a fight even though they were playing from behind.
QoP is a great counter to Razor in the lane, but Na’Vi have plenty of heroes to deal with her in the mid and late game: Disruptor can Glimpse her after a Blink, and Static Storm and Doom provide two sources of silence to lock her down and kill her.
A successful pick-off on the QoP immediately after the 25th-minute fight (thanks to Doom’s Blink) allowed Na’Vi to secure a lane of Rax and get in a dominant position in the game within three minutes.
The meta nowadays is defined by two key aspects: Lanes and Mid-Game fight and push timings.
We believe understanding those two aspects in depth is what gives Na’Vi their recent good form. With picks like Razor on Magical, they are able to consistently win the lanes and hit their push timing to secure victories.
Despite the non-ideal lanes, Na’Vi’s great mid-game timing was about to secure them the victory. Yet…
Will-o-Wisp is arguably the best counter-initiation spell in the game right now. It isn’t as instantly impactful like an RP or a Black Hole, but it is much, much easier to use. Missing an RP can lose you a fight. Missing a KotL ultimate is almost impossible. KotL doesn’t even need to enter the fight to place it – it has a huge range and AoE. He simply needs to wait for the enemy team to commit on one of his allies and to place it on top of them from a safe distance.
Once the BKB’s of Na’Vi started getting shorter, they found themselves in a huge team-fight disadvantage which became insurmountable once KotL got Refresher. Sand King, as well as Dark Seer’s sources of control, made it practically impossible for Na’Vi’s heroes to get out of the Ignis Fatus range. Thanks to the massive control, Taiga and Boxi on DS and Sand King actually managed to deal higher hero damage than their position 1 Toll.
In a meta where 5 vs 5 fights win or lose games, team-fight timings are extremely important.
Historically, the way to play around the enemy team’s 5-man timing is to avoid fights – to stall the game and split-push. In this meta, however, teams rarely draft for this possibility (with the exception of Anti-Mage, or Lone Druid in the case of Alliance).
Na’Vi utilized their timing but didn’t manage to secure the game. Once Alliance hit their team-fight timing, Na’Vi didn’t have the tools to play against it.
Games in which the outcome is decided by 5-man timings are a great opportunity for live betting. In this example, once Na’Vi secured the mid lane of Rax the odds would be heavily skewed in their favor. If you are able to predict that they wouldn’t be able to close the game, however, you have a great opportunity to profit.
In practice, of course, this is very hard to do. The fact that Alliance have a single hard carry (Troll) playing against a Razor is very discouraging if you want to bet on them for the late game. At the same time, however, the power of KotL + Refresher + other control heroes in this patch is insane. Being confident in this knowledge could nudge you in the right direction.