Match ID: 4366102736, Chongqing Major Grand Finals, Game 2
First, Puppey has success in the winner-bracket finals with a 5-melee strat. Now, he wins a game in the grand finals with a support Luna. It seems that Puppey decided to let loose all of the pocket strats he’s been saving since his time in Na’Vi.
What a time to be alive if you’re writing analytical articles about Dota.
The draft, although very unexpected, is actually pretty straight-forward conceptually. It’s a 5-man aura strat with a powerful push timing in the early-mid game (15-25 minute). This is probably the most dominant and prevalent kind of lineup in the 7.20 meta and the reason why 15 to 30-minute games aren’t uncommon.
What’s creative about it is that Puppey managed to benefit fully from Luna’s aura (arguably the best 5-man aura right now in the game), without committing to a core Luna.
A support Luna is without a doubt extremely unconventional, but as Secret demonstrated, has potential. Her case is a bit similar to Sven, who received a powerful buff to his Warcry that made him a great pick for early-mid game push drafts and a viable utility and support hero even though he is traditionally played as a pos. 1.
There are a few big differences between Sven and Luna, however:
Unlike Sven, Luna is a squishy AGI carry without any control who has never been played as a support before. When they see the changes, most players wouldn’t immediately think “hm, support Luna might work”.
Luna, however, has other strengths that Secret managed to exploit to make the pick successful:
All of this resulted in Luna having a good game and contributing a lot for the victory. YapzOr dealt the third highest damage on his team primarily with his nuke and ultimate while dying only once (it’s worth noting that after Vlad’s he started building Aghanim’s, which has great synergy with Centaur who can easily get on top of the enemy team).
More importantly, YapzOr enabled his cores with his aura and made the team’s early-mid game timing extremely strong.
Having a support Luna frees up space for another hero with a powerful aura that benefits 5-man Dota: Drow, who in turn benefits a lot from the bonus AGI from Lunar Blessing because it increases her DPS and makes her aura a bit stronger.
With Drow and Luna’s auras secured, all Secret needs are three other heroes that benefit from the auras:
Outworld Devourer: OD is the main damage dealer on the draft. Unlike most other INT heroes, the bonus stats that Luna provides translate directly into more damage thanks to how Arcane Orbs work – it deals damage based on OD’s mana. Moreover, he benefits greatly from attack speed – the more he has, the more Orbs he can cast in a fight, and the more INT he can steal.
Centaur: Secret already have two damage dealers. They need a frontline tank to push towers easier, an initiator to take fights (and ganks) more comfortably, and a hero to buy the needed aura items (Pipe/Crimson). Centaur fits perfectly those requirements and although he doesn’t benefit from Drow’s aura, he has amazing synergy with Luna’s. On the 14th minute, when Secret is trying to break into the enemy base mid, Centaur has 2.7k HP with Pipe in his inventory, which makes him pretty much impossible to kill at this stage of the game.
Sven provides Secret with a disable in the lanes, which they lack, and more importantly – another powerful aura for 5-man pushes in the early-mid game (his new Warcry). Sven benefits from Luna’s aura himself and becomes very tanky even without items.
This graph demonstrates beautifully the strength of Secret’s timing. By the end of the laning stage, the game is dead-even. Yet, they manage to secure the victory in 7 more minutes.
Once they had some core items, they gathered as 5. They took Roshan extremely fast (admittedly, with a lucky DD rune) and used the Aegis along with their 2.7k HP Pipe Centaur to break the enemy base mid.
Afterward, they won a 4v5 fight top, at which point VP realized the game was over.
Most people cringe when they imagine a support Luna in their pubs, but we think it might actually work very well for two reasons.
First, 5-man Dota strats with a strong early timing are extremely powerful in pub games. The reason is that such strategies are very simple and straightforward to play. You go through the laning stage normally and then you gather up as 5 and start forcing fights and taking objectives. Your team is not spread around the map, your allies don’t have the opportunity to get picked-off needlessly, which makes it harder to throw. Efficient farming patterns don’t matter too much – all you need to do is execute the team-fights well.
Second, the fact that you are very strong right after the laning stage makes it very hard for an unorganized enemy team to play against you. They are very likely to take an unnecessary fight that they are supposed to dodge, which against a pushing lineup could cost them Rosh or even a side of Rax. Stalling the game, split-pushing and using the map efficiently to out-farm and out-last the team with the early timing is very hard to do in unorganized pubs. Admiral Bulldog even once said that rat Dota (split-pushing/stalling) is less effective in pubs than in pro games simply because it’s hard to execute and needs team-work.
Third, playing a support Rubick, for example, requires a lot of mechanical skill. Luna, however, requires just good positioning and a basic understanding of the game plan.
In the 7.20 meta, it seems that the team that has the stronger early-mid game 5-man Dota pushing draft is usually at an advantage. It’s not a coincidence that shorter games are relatively common in tournaments recently, and this concept might provide an advantage for people who are betting live.
Moreover, timing drafts are also interesting and present an opportunity – if you wanted to bet on VP for this game, it might be a great idea to wait until the 15-20th minute before placing your bet to see if they would be able to survive Secret’s push timing.