AoE Potential:
What we can learn from Gambit vs OG

MATCH ID 4326819878

Gambit achieved an upset 3-0 victory against OG very recently at the WePLay! Dota 2 Winter Madness and established themselves as one of the teams at the minor most in touch with the current meta. In fact, they are one of the teams (at least in Europe), who started emphasizing on the 15-20 minute team-fight timing with great success. Because of this, it was interesting to see if our current TI champs had some new ideas prepared to beat them.

og vs gambit lineup

At first glance, the draft of OG seems more in touch with the current super-fast-paced metagame.

Huskar Portrait
Razor
Sven
Grimstroke
Dazzle Portrait

They have two lane-dominator cores (Huskar + Razor) in addition to Sven, who is a top tier utility pick nowadays and usually builds the Vlads/Crimson/Pipe needed to win the early team-fights. They have HP sustain and the save mechanisms needed to keep the Razor and Huskar alive when they play aggressively (coming from Dazzle and Sven). The game plan is the standard one for this meta – win the lanes, get cheap team-fight items and force and win fights.

Medusa
Shadow Fiend Portrait
Tidehunter Portrait
Earth Spirit
Lich

Gambit, on the other hand, have a very balanced and “standard” draft that wouldn’t look out of place over the years:

Medusa

Medusa as the position 1 hero who needs free space to out-farm and out-carry the enemy team in the late game.

Shadow Fiend Portrait

Shadow Fiend as the position 2 who can also focus on farming and becoming a big damage dealer, but if needed can fight.

Tidehunter Portrait

Tidehunter as the team-fight-control, utility position 3, who doesn’t get farm priority.

Earth Spirit

Earth Spirit as the active, roaming, play-making position 4.

Lich

Lich as the sacrificial, ward-buying position 5 lane support.

Gambit’s lineup looks like it has a much later timing than OG’s lineup, which theoretically should put them at a disadvantage in this meta. If OG win the lanes and enter Gambit’s territory, the SF and Medusa wouldn’t have the needed space to farm.

One additional worrying factor was that Tide, despite being relatively contested in the minor, had less than 20% win rate before this game.

And indeed, based on the draft, the whole analyst panel picked OG as the team more likely to win the game. 

As is apparent, however, the game didn’t end up like that at all. Gambit made a few subtle decisions to ensure that OG’s game-plan never came into fruition.

Lanes:

First, OG were never able to dominate the lanes despite having very strong laners like Razor, Huskar, and Grimstroke. Gambit dodged the unfavorable matchup of Medusa vs Razor. Instead of playing her mid, they put her top together with both supports. Even though Medusa usually likes to play mid because of the access to the mid camps for farming with split-shot, playing her top is also not a bad choice – she can stack and farm the camps near the secret shop.

Shadow Fiend is a better mid hero versus Razor because if he gets his damage drained he can rely on Razes to get farm. Moreover, with ES rotations, again thanks to Razes, he has very good kill potential. With ES as a pos. 4, Gambit can afford to be more active during the early laning stage. Grimstroke and Dazzle are both better at lane-supporting rather than making rotations. 

Finally, Gambit left Sven vs Tide in a 1v1 situation. Ceb was able to get 88 creeps in 10 minutes and was the most farmed hero on the map until the 15th minute. Yet, this didn’t worry Gambit too much: Sven right now is played as a utility hero buying the team-fight items rather than a damage-dealing and farming carry. This means that even though he has the most farm on the map, his impact in fights wouldn’t be much higher than that of Tide.

Itemization:
gambit og items

Second, despite the fact that Medusa and SF are heroes that usually want some free space to farm, Gambit doesn’t play them greedily. Medusa buys a lot of cost-efficient stat items – the multiple Wraith Bands + Dragon Lance make sure that she is tanky enough in the early-mid game and can contribute to fights.

SF went for the Guardian Greaves build. This solves his squishiness problem and even gives his whole team some utility for the crucial 15-20 minute fights (the active of Greaves gives a huge heal to Medusa because she uses her mana as HP). Moreover, building SF with Greaves doesn’t really diminish his damage output a great deal – he contributes to early fights with Requiem and Razes and his right-clicks aren’t too bad either thanks to Necromastery and Presence. Because of this, SF was the hero with the highest damage output in the game despite building Greaves as first item.

Tactics:

Medusa and SF are much faster farmers than Razor and Huskar, which means that it’s up to OG to take the initiative. And indeed, they took Roshan (using the fact that Gambit didn’t have Ravage) and decided to enter the enemy territory. This, however, ended in a disastrous team fight for them. 

The problem is that even though OG have an aggressive draft, they are at a big team-fight disadvantage. Fighting into Ravage, Chain Frost, Greaves, Stone Gaze and even ES’s ultimate is very hard because OG don’t have a lot of team-fight presence of their own. Their only source of control is Sven’s stun, and their damage is primarily single-target coming from right-clicks. The fact that they don’t have a significant resource lead as well makes it even harder to take a favorable fight. 

Takeaway

The current meta is not only about strong lanes, pressure, and early-fights. AoE team fight potential seems to be equally important. In matches where two 5-man fights in the early-mid game decide the outcome of the game, it’s important to plan how you’re going to win said fights. This might be the reason why Ehome and Keen prioritize Void a lot and Gambit prioritize Tide and Medusa for 20-minute games, when none of these heroes is particularly fast.


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