Midking Simp Society — A Journal

a very safe boy

Foreword

While “concise” has never exactly been a quality of the content I’ve written in and for these communities, I’ll note at the start that this “review” is a particularly egregious exercise in long-winded stream-of-consciousness commentary. I’m taking some liberties with the term review here; while it is what I’m posting in lieu of the traditional team and season review, it’s not really that. Review tends not only to imply the presence of an after-the-fact retrospective of the experience, but also generally works around an emphasis on the reviewing bit, which is something I do fairly little of in what I’ve instead dubbed a “season journal”. So — this is a journal of my thoughts and experiences as player in, and captain of, the RD2L WED Season 25 team Midking Simp Society — a name that’s aged both dreadfully and incredibly well at the same time (the former due to the realization that Midking is like seven years of age, the latter due to him being a complete monster ingame).

I’ve tried my hand at this idea a couple times now, failing each time to complete it — usually forgetting to add to it here and there and subsequently losing interest. It happened here as well, but I decided to just keep trucking along, partly because others had stuck to it in recent times and it led to fun results…mostly because I’d get bored waiting for the next series.

I’m doing very little editing for this, which I mention mostly because the vast majority of this was written during the season on my phone, so it’ll inevitably have the occasional error and jump from place to place. This foreword and the final section at the very end are the only parts that I’m writing after the season; past that I did a once over and removed a couple rambly bits here and there — none containing anything interesting, mind you, as I’ve left in everything that could be perceived as “spice”.

Pre-draft

I come into this season off the back of a massive climb from 5.5k to 6.5k at the start of the year, leading into a drop right back throughout June. I’m largely unphased by this, though obviously dropping a cool thou does have an impact on your confidence. Nevertheless, I do feel that I’m going into this season at a level at or near my peak, play-wise, though that doesn’t necessarily mean much.

Looking ahead towards the draft, I’m well aware that — despite the drop — I’m still bound to be in the final third of picks for the first round on Wednesday, so I’m not really looking at the top 20 odd players; all worthwhile cores will be long gone by the time I get to pick. Four years ago I could’ve maybe hoped for lower MMR captains to jump at the highest MMRs in the pool, but by and large after a dozen or two events, people have caught onto basic drafting ideas like securing core roles, accounting for future draft round placement, dodging unsavory characters, so on, so forth.

My absolute best-case scenario here is ponpo making it unscathed to whichever pick I end up having, but I’d give this about a 2% chance of happening. My planned first pick at the time of writing is Mads; 34th on the sheet, generally not super well known among the newer crowd, likely to be undervalued by some due to the unranked-only trait. Unfortunately, even with all of that, he’s far from guaranteed to fall to me, as I’m certain multiple captains will shortlist him — at best I can hope they (particularly if not core players themselves) opt to first pick a higher MMR carry player over Mads. Still, he’s the 4th highest MMR non-captain with a comfort of 5 for mid, and numbers 2 and 3 are first-timers. I’m not entirely certain what my alternatives are if someone does pick him; the best case here is landing Mads, and subsequently Stl and Boo. The main idea here is that I don’t think the alternative options are good enough to forego a vibe stack that is like 80% of the way there skill-wise anyway.

But they’re necessary to look into nonetheless, so — alternatives. I’m giving slight consideration to potentially playing offlane if I land an appealing 1, but I’m sure that’s an idea that I’m much more down for now than I will be in 3 weeks — so for the time being, I’m still operating under the assumption that I want to play 1.

One approach to consider is just taking an okay 3/4/5 and grabbing a mid in the second or third rounds, in the Midking/jetamo/Lightning range depending on how things shape up; my major qualm with this is that I’ve come to only really care about my teams consisting of vocal, communicative players, and for one reason or another I don’t get the impression that a lot of these players fit that bill. It’s also hard to plan for that because some of these players are decently likely to get sniped in the first round by people who have ideas similar to my own with Mads.

One thing I’m not too sure about is what the lowest I’d be willing to go for my last pick is, and in turn how much I’d need to adjust in terms of average team MMR throughout the draft; I absolutely don’t want to end up with a sub 2k last pick (largely because this is somewhat likely to be my 5), but whether I’d be willing to make heavy sacrifices to get a top 5 pick in round 4 is something I still need to think over.

Back to the top of the board; when doing rough planning I tend to look at the draft sheet in segments. 100 players means 20 teams, means I’m largely planning around getting one player in each of the 20-player segments by MMR. 1–20 no one other than ponpo — a probable top 10 (or lower) pick, and thus out of my range — really catches my eye, maybe Kenshi if I proceed with the idea of playing off-role, but that’s all fine since I can just count myself as being my teams player in the top 20, and being in the bottom half of it means favorable subsequent round placement, depending on my firstpick. 21–40 I’m obviously looking at Mads as my first option; pending further research I’m not really looking at the first timers. Other standout options include Mikel and Marceline, as well as Gecko, STJ, potentially also Tammy, Average, and perhaps f mega.

None of these options except Mads and f mega are players I’d be looking towards to fill my mid slot which is really my main priority for the draft. The major alternative to picking from this pool of players is dipping into the 41–60 range and fishing for a well-rounded tricore with a high value 2 & 3.

41–60 includes a couple of options across multiple roles. Fred, stl, Kimer, Syrphx, nfd and ashteezy are all players whose levels I’m fairly familiar with. Intriguing options include Midking, jetamo and veteran-who-disappeared-for-2-years-and-reappeared-a-thousand-mmr-lower Tal.

In the 61–80 range by far atop my wishlist is Boo, who I’d likely have to take in round 2 rather than 3 unless I get a ridiculously high pick and some luck; from here the draft pool gets less and less interesting. Options in the range include Lightning, maybe Ruski? It’s a range with a fair few dodges, so there’s a nonzero chance this is the round where I opt to tank some MMR to get a better spot in the final round.

Speaking of which, 81–100 looks pretty rough. I’d look towards Ernie, maybe icOn and KayTD, maybe rmbl and Revenger though I can’t say for sure as I don’t have much of an opinion on some of those latter names. Again, perhaps my most significant worry here is getting a player that doesn’t shrink in comms (but, y’know, also someone who gets the basics, hence the whole bit about avoiding the bottom of the barrel, MMR-wise).

As it stands, my ideal (if not entirely realistic) draft looks something like Mads — stl — Boo in rounds 1/2/3, then picking up one of the people I just listed in round 4. Not super unrealistic looking purely at MMR ranges (with the team landing at draft sheet numbers 14/34/53/61/81–90), but it’s never that simple; even ignoring roles and whatnot, these are all pleasant people that I’m looking toward and lord knows those come at a premium nowadays. To be continued post-draft.

Post-Draft

Well, that certainly did not go exactly as imagined. It rarely does I suppose, but having both my planned first and second picks almost fall to me, only to both get picked one spot higher, was pretty annoying. Looking back at my pre-draft thoughts, I’d say the only shakeup was opting for the, uh, alternative to the alternative — in securing a fallback mid player in the first round, since I was fairly confident I’d be able to then get a fairly high MMR second pick, which I do think was likely the better call, since the pool of mids I valued was smaller than what my projected second pick pool for a 3 or 4 was going to look like.

With picking Midking I sort of ended up deciding that I might just want to do what this kind of format is better suited towards, which is getting players I hadn’t played with. All of my picks with the exception of Average were mostly made on the basis of what I’d heard or read about them, rather than what I’d seen or experienced myself. In any case, I don’t see much value in doing individual reviews of my picks right now.

On a general scale, I think the team is solid. I’ll admit I’m not sure about the general consensus that my team is one of the stronger ones, but I think it’s just also very hard to tell with 20 teams with massive MMR spreads. Having seen the hero pools, I’m not massively concerned about having heroes to pick, but if I did have to point to things that worry me at this stage — again, not having played a single game together yet — it’d be the likelihood of comms being very quiet.

Of course it’s also decently likely that I’ll end up having to draft, which generally ends awfully (unless I manage to pawn it off onto Average or something); I’m considering bringing in a coach, which in this context is to say, bring in a nerd who likes talking Dota and just spend time working through drafts ahead of games. I have a couple of ideas for drafts, but a lot of them revolve around things like Io and Dawnbreaker and I’m sure those will start picking up regular bans if we do well with them, so figuring out drafts is sorta first priority. In any case, as I alluded to, communication may turn out to be an issue. I don’t know Average to be super consistently vocal (though I’m fairly certain he can be, particularly if we manage to establish a bit of a tryhardy environment), and while I doubt Ruski and Kay will turn out to be super quiet, I think it’s a fairly common occurrence for the lower MMR players on mixed MMR teams to take a step back. Totaling that up, with the note that I don’t think I’ve actually heard Midkings voice (despite watching streams), it leaves me with the worry that I’ll have to do a significant amount of shotcalling and generally leading communication which I’m never super fond of doing, at least while playing 1.

All that being said, I do think there are also major positives here; I managed to avoid having a super low MMR last pick, and in general think the team is well-rounded. Our tricore in particular should be able to consistently secure at least one of us a really good game, particularly in terms of just getting one of us a really solid pick for the game and just sort of taking over. It’s one of the ways in which I feel like my play has developed this year, in terms of adding heroes to my pool that I can pick up with late picks into good matchups, but also just generally getting (if only slightly) better at playing to enable my game. Here’s hoping that, uh, doesn’t age poorly.

Week 1

A lot of the worries I had are somewhat calmed going into our first official, having played a scrim against Dan’s team. We went 1–1, stomping game 1 and sorta crumbling game 2, but I’m choosing not to read too far into that since we sorta chainfed early game and played messy. I’m generally not fussed about scrim losses, particularly when my focus is less on the result and more on getting an idea of what we might need to work on and trying out draft ideas.

My main takeaways from the first 2 games we played together is that I don’t have much reason to worry about comms, since I felt like they were pretty decent out of the box. There’s a definite lull of silence in more passive moments in the game, and I get the impression people sometimes feel pressure to make unnecessary moves, but I think that’s a kind of discomfort that dissipates through playing more. Midking is, as expected, on the quieter side, but makes up for that in mechanical skill, and — unlike a few other quiet mids — has no issues with communicating go’s and openings when he spots them, which should ideally be all we need out of him (at least until later on, when I’d like to hear mid-fight updates from him with regards to targeting).

I’m fairly impressed by Ruski and have a strong feeling I’ll come out of this season inflating the man’s stock, but he isn’t stunted or intimidated in communication by a gap in MMR, seems confident in his button pressing and generally does about as much as you could hope for. Definitely higher value than MMR might suggest. I think the main thing to work on for myself is just figuring out drafts; particularly how to approach first pick scenarios, since I’m fairly confident we’re a solid second pick team in a mixed MMR division with the ability to secure good matchups for 1–2 of our 3 cores at 18/24. First official tonight, and I’m hoping my feeling that it ought to be a 2–0 for us isn’t misguided. This is gonna be a long doc.

Post Week 1

vs Enigmadude: 1–1

Should’ve been a (clean) 2–0 but I literally griefed g2, wcyd. Thoughts at this point? Uh, Midkings an actual menace, this enigmadude guy is cringe, griefing loses games. I don’t really have any comments or grand takeaways that I haven’t gone over already; I’m still not very confident with the drafts, though Io and Dawn are a solid foundation in terms of forcing bans. Main priority is finding ways to make use of that, just make people have to choose 2 of like 4 heroes to ban. Don’t really have a clue what those extra 2 should be, would probably like to scrim just to figure that out. Pudge might be one? Still keen to try Undy and Tree but I’d like another flex across multiple roles to have for the first phase. Might just get everyone to play Marci or Pango or Tiny or some shit.

Week 4

vs Roran: 2–0; vs Tammyb: 1–1

Whoops, I did the thing I alluded to at the start of forgetting to write regularly and now it’s been 3 weeks since the last update. Maybe it’s for the better, considering I don’t have all that much to say for individual weekdays.

We’re currently got a record of 4–2, having 2–0'd Roran and 1–1'd Tammyb. Normally that'd be a perfectly fine win-loss, but I must admit that it feels pretty bad considering I felt we were significantly better than both the teams we dropped games to. As expected the drafts are still the crux of most issues — this isn’t to say that there aren’t problems that extend past the draft, more that it feels like we should be able to win a lot of these games despite those other issues if the drafts were better.

G1 vs Roran we got a pretty free last pick timber game for Bunny and so the match was fairly straightforward, despite our best efforts to throw it (and it’s a lack of discipline that I do think is one of the overarching issues that is likely to cause issues in harder games). G2 was similarly straightforward, again largely due to bunny popping off (which you’ll notice is going to be a common occurrence).

G1 vs Tammy was just more of the same, and perhaps it’s that bit of cockiness that lead to the G2 loss; it was a fairly tough game, but I do think it was winnable as our lanes went ok and we had decent tempo getting out of the laning stage, until we eventually took one too many awful fights that made it incredibly hard to come back from. It’s the kind of game where having a steadfast shotcaller would’ve made the difference, but I don’t know that Avg nor myself are really qualified to step into that role — best bet really would be to just figure out a way to set us up for success out of the draft — particularly by focusing on easy to execute setups that let us rely on individual playmaking rather than clean teamplay — but I’m not exactly sure how to accomplish that. I might need to shed my overreliance on securing heroes that are generally strong to get through the first phase, but I don’t feel I have a good enough grasp on what works well in terms of player+hero comfort to focus on that instead in openers. Might just be time to bring someone in to help me prep for drafts.

As far as the Gecko series, it really ought to be a simple 2–0. I could see morale dropping a fair bit if it isn’t, since I expect everyone to again have the same feeling of us being better than the enemy team, and it’s pretty rough to lose those games. Feels like that’s the biggest source of our collective tilt thus far.

Post Week 4

vs Gecko: 2–0

Got the expected 2–0 v Gecko, should really also pick up another against an underperfoming Dan team, particularly since playing them in a scrim preseason gave me the impression they’re not a particularly strong team, and I’m unsure that’ll change even after an FA or two. I’m curious whether being drafted onto a second concurrent team with Midking in Clarity will affect the dynamic of this team — past a drop in number of scrims. I’ll probably get to pluck draft ideas from Ekken at the very least.

Post Week 5

vs Dodgy Dan: 2–0

I must admit this whole “not really playing any Dota outside of officials” thing has me being more irritable than I usually am and it’s pretty cringe — it’s one of those states you find yourself in where you cling onto some tiny little tilt throughout the rest of the game, which I think happened game 1 against Dan. In any case, still a fairly straightforward series as expected, but I’m not super happy coming out of it, partly because people not listening to calls — or generally not paying attention — leads to unnecessary complications (like game 1 going to an hour despite being winnable much earlier), and partly because I’m annoyed at, well, how annoyed I’m getting.

Positives out of this series include, uh, winning a match as second pick where Puck and Dawn were banned, I guess. G2 suggests it might be worth exploring putting a heavier emphasis on stacking and picking 1s that benefit off it — but maybe the better takeaway is we might want to just pick more Bristle. There’s definitely still an issue with discipline and restraint, and a lot of it I think comes as a direct consequence of being fairly bad as a team at starting fights and exploiting openings that come up — too early, too late, suddenly it’s late but people (myself included) still commit. Again, not proving bothersome in terms of the actual results since we’re still winning, but as I’ve been telling people, it’ll come to matter a lot more in the playoffs.

Come to think of it, we’re at about the halfway point of the season, so I’ll do a brief player review here for two reasons — one, I’m keen to see whether my takeaways at this point change much come the end of our run, and two, I feel like the egregious wall of text I’ve meanderingly conjured up thus far hasn’t been particularly interesting to someone outside the team, so they can get their fill of “drama” here before being eased back into the lull of “waaah drafting hard”.

Midseason Player Review

[5] Kay | I won’t really sugarcoat much here — Kay’s been struggling a fair bit, and for lack of a nicer way to put it, I’ve been struggling with him. To his credit, he’s more of a 4 than a 5, and his mental fortitude is top notch, particularly considering I can be, uh, quite pointed in expressing my tilt.

I’m not really certain what the crux of the issue is; my best bet is that Kay sorta just autopilots through a lot of games and lanes, in the sense that he’s just defaulting to things that might seem fine in the moment without taking a moment to think through the next 15–60 seconds and the potential consequences of any given thing.

He does a fairly good job of internalizing general ideas that are explained to him, but as is often the case when a higher MMR player asks a lower MMR player to do something differently to how they usually would (and I speak to this having experienced it from both ends), they simply don’t have the experience necessary to fill in the gaps between the start and the end goal. This can result in assigning greater importance to things that were said at one point — to give an example: we talked about the idea that blocking the hard camp is generally a good idea, but that earlier emphasis then resulted in Kay ignoring a call to go contest a starting bounty on Undying in favor of running to the small camp to block it in a later game. The other thing it can lead to is simply not knowing what steps need to be taken to execute an instruction: when I asked Kay to zone the enemy 3 in lane, he just instantly right clicked them, dragging the creeps and upsetting the equilibrium, because I hadn’t elaborated that to zone as a melee hero, he first needs to move closer to the enemy hero, and only then right click them. Obviously it’s not his fault for not realizing this, but rather mine for not including this step, but that’s where a lot of the struggle of trying to “micro” (again, for lack of a better term) someone comes from — you have to make assumptions about their level of understanding, and it’s very easy to assume something is known when it’s not — and just as easy to appear demeaning when you overexplain things. It goes without saying that I’m not saying these things as flame — it’s just what’s happening, and where some issues stem from.

[4] Ruski | As I’d mentioned previously Ruski’s been a fairly pleasant surprise; thinking back to the draft I do recall part of my decision to pick him being that I’d watched him have decent success in Clarity, and it’s plain to see why — I’d say he’s definitely capable of performing above his MMR, and I feel he processes ideas about Dota better than someone at the same mmr as him. This isn’t to say that he’s a massive sandbag or anything — he definitely still has his issues. I get the impression that he was a 5 player who realized he enjoyed greater farm priority, leading to him playing 4, but retained a big chunk of his hero pool, resulting in his preference for ranged squishy supports which I’m not a massive fan of as a drafter.

He’s slightly feast or famine, and rough starts will often result in fairly low-impact games. I think he’s a bit too lane-focused, putting less emphasis on a 4s part in helping mid by securing runes or rotating for ganks on power spikes or refilling bottle, or generally doing things outside of the lane like stacking or looking for opportunities to respond to aggression on the map. Admittedly it’s hard to knock him too much for this, as I haven’t really had a sit down with him to talk about these things and try to implement them into play but it’s worth stating in a review nonetheless.

He’s got a bit of a tendency to perhaps dwell on mistakes too long, but this is a bit of a pot kettle black situation so eh, can’t be too harsh. A more recent issue that I’ve been noticing is that he perhaps doesn’t play with full focus a lot of the time, completely ignoring calls made ahead of time — this most often pops up in positional calls, where I’ll outline what I want to happen 30–60 seconds from now and what area I want us to play and he’ll just meander elsewhere on autopilot.

[3] SgtAverage | Average is a fairly stable player, and I think once you understand what you’ll get out of him you can expect to get it consistently. Perhaps his most notable quirks are communication related; he’s generally a fairly quiet player, and does very little in terms of calling for plays, preferring instead to play a somewhat passive game and hang back until a decisive call is made. When a fight does start he in contrast is pretty good at calling out targets and intent, and his execution of this is generally sound.

Still, there’s definitely a lot of room for him to take the reigns in midgame scenarios where he could be looking for plays to make with supports and simply doesn’t seem to look for them, preferring instead to play for farm — which can on occasion spill over into being late for time-sensitive things like defending an objective, to the point of being one of the last to arrive to a tower defense for example despite being the hero we might need there first or second. He does admittedly tend to be fairly farmed even after very rough lanes which I think is a direct consequence of all of this, so there’s a bit of a silver lining to it.

[2] Bunny | I might have the least to say about bunny to be honest; I’ve talked enough about him being a menace in mid and the (since outdated) signup MMR of 4.8k being a bit of a joke compared to his impact. Put simply, he’s by far the highest impact per MMR player I’ve played with. He’s already good, improving rapidly, has developed a fairly distinct playstyle to my eyes of striking a great balance between farming and looking for opportunities to pick people off or respond to aggression, often getting this farm out of dangerous parts of the map and creating pressure that inevitably draws responses that rarely result in his getting punished.

Naturally, he has a massive issue: you’ll hear all of 4 sentences from him per game, and the bit about putting the team on 10% volume and blasting music at 100% is absolutely true… but hey, if that’s what he needs to do what he does that’s fine with me. It’s worth noting that he’s not super comfortable speaking English in general, and that for sure plays a part in his saying very little (though, uh, I’m pretty sure it’s a much smaller part of it than you might expect — most of it is just the mode 1v9 ghoul zxc mentality), and what little he does say is generally quite valuable.

[1] Madsen | I won’t dwell too much on this section since the majority of this gargantuan document is essentially me reviewing myself and my perspective. To sum up, I’ve not played great at all (with the occasional good game), and while there’s a good couple of excuses that do contribute to it — not, uh, playing Dota outside of officials, having to draft, having to do the vast majority of shotcalling, none of which are things I’m super comfortable with — I should still be doing better. It’s particularly annoying that all of that gets me fairly tilted, but more than that, I thoroughly dislike how much that spills over into me being toxic to the team. Sorry fellas!

Post Week 6

vs UniqueWithATwist: 0–2

Hopping back into the week by week, we got sorta crushed by Yaz’s team, suffering our first series loss of the season. I’ll be honest in saying I was pretty upset with the loss, and notably it was sort of a worst-case scenario as they, intentionally or not, abused a lot of our biggest issues thus far. I did poorly in lane, they committed resources to making bunny’s life hard, the drafts were bad, our play in the midgame was sloppy, just getting exposed all over.

That said, it’s not all negative: thinking through this series lead me to finally making some decisions on things I was uncertain about, particularly with regards to drafting, resulting in my developing a fairly straightforward plan for the future:

I’m sticking to a very rigid draft plan. Picking mid and a support first phase, unless potentially I see value in a strong hero that we can flex across 1 and 3 like Razor and Dawn, making sure the supports contribute to our pool of disables, drafting lane dominators offlane and last picking farm centric win cons for myself. Additionally, I’ve outlined what I’m willing to pick for each role, and am keeping it fairly simple. Give Bunny Puck, if that’s banned get some Ember or VS, potentially Timber. Pick a strong and simple support for 5: Dazzle, Ogre, Jakiro, Clock. Find a 4 that works for what we see in the draft from a pool of something like Marci, Io, Clock, Nyx, Dazzle, maybe a couple more. Give Avg a 3 that is bound to do well in lane and be an issue for the enemy team in the midgame: DP, Viper, Razor — or if need be, give him something that contributes to a potential lack of disables: Mars, Earth Spirit, Tide, DS, Pango. Finally, pick whatever I feel confident on last pick, and what I feel gives me the best chance at having a high impact. Most importantly, no attempts at some convoluted drafts that require better execution than we’re capable of.

Post Week 7

vs ElNino: 2–0

Putting the above plan into action worked out, and we claimed a very straightforward 2–0 vs ElNino, but I think they’re not a super strong team, especially with 2 standins, so I don’t want to read into it at all. I’m content with the approach to drafting, but the real challenge should presumably be in playoffs.

Pre Playoffs

I’ve just been told that after round 1 of playoffs, both Avg and Kay will be gone for the next two weeks (provided we win, which we should).

Suffice to say this is thoroughly suboptimal — if we were to make a run to the finals (which, to be completely honest, has become thoroughly unlikely due to this development), we’d play half our playoff series without 40% of the team, and even assuming our replacements are equal (which isn’t massively likely, considering Avg is flat 5k at signup which I’m not convinced is representative of his level and Kay has climbed a good bit from his 2.3k signup MMR), it still means that loading into the finals match it would have been 3 weeks since we last played with a full roster. This is pretty fucking tilting — people signing up for the season and then missing guaranteed series is whatever if it’s the first group stage week or two…but 2 of the last 3 weeks is sorta unacceptable.

Playoffs: Round 1

The annoyances keep stacking up as Bunny tells me he’ll only be able to play game 1 as he’s got something with his folks around 21:00 and my attempt to reschedule to an hour earlier start is unsuccessful. Ideally we’re able to pluck a straightforward 2–0 here regardless, seeing as Jesus team hasn’t been all too successful, but a lot of our play and my drafting revolves around Bunny. In any case I don’t blame him for this, since he gave me enough heads up to get a standin in Mads and is playing game 1 — plus he’s young enough that parent stuff is as good an excuse as any. Would be a pretty stupid end to our season if it comes to that though.

Playoffs: Round 1 — Postgame

vs Jesus: 2–0

We were luckily able to make it through 2 games with Bunny around, despite a good couple of pauses and longer-than-ideal delays. The games were fairly straightforward, even with some hiccups here and there, which I’d largely attribute to the enemy team making one or two fairly significant mistakes that we were able to snowball into decisive leads and eventually wins.

Game 1 our offlane was a fair bit rougher than it maybe should’ve been, but at the same time it wasn’t a great matchup. The start of my game was pretty perfect though, and while my overeagerness did lead to us losing some of our advantage in the early midgame, Bunny managed to recover his own game from a slow start and I had good enough matchups that I could just farm until I could breeze through fights, so with BKBs they became unable to kill any of our cores (case in point — they didn’t kill a core in the final 15 minutes of the game) and we were free to grab Rosh after a good fight and the game essentially ended there.

Game 2 saw a lot of things fall into place for us in the draft; they blockpicked Puck but let Bunny have Void Spirit which is a matchup he’s very confident in, they picked a Beastmaster at 17 alongside the Puck but hadn’t banned NS which we could then grab at 18. The only complication was that I didn’t have a great idea of what to pick up against the 23 pick PA, particularly with Void banned, but settled on Naga — despite not having played her for a while — since it’d make for a pretty free lane against Beast, I didn’t feel they had much kill threat once I got the ball rolling and, quite frankly, I felt confident that I’d be able to carry the game if it came to it. They swapped the PA into my lane, and I briefly considered mirroring it, but didn’t feel threatened by the lane and thought NS Io would do perfectly fine bottom so I didn’t call for it. Kay had a bit of a rough series and died a fair bit in lanes but I had okay farm and things were more or less going well overall. These deaths did lead to the PA being more farmed than I’d like and so she became a bit of an issue in the midgame, but eventually we got our shit together, took decent fights, I farmed ways to deal with PA and we eventually managed to get a game-winning fight near Rosh and subsequently ended the game. My main takeaway personally was that the Naga is not ready for officials against better teams, as I’m not great at creating pressure on the map with illus by cutting waves and shit.

This is where things get dubious, as we’ll need two standins for the next two series. While I’d be decently confident about our chances with a full roster, I’m not too optimistic against Agnitos’ team with the situation at hand. That said, you kinda always have to go into games confident or you’re just waiting to lose, and I’m sure we can roll over them if Bunny and myself have good games. Still not completely convinced we’re headed for a season win here, but whatever, gotta take it week by week.

Playoffs: Round 2

Alright, standins have been cleared after a bit of a hubbub that I don’t really want to get into much, with picapau in for SgtAverage and Wipeout/TE in for Kay. I think this should be okay, with my biggest potential concern being that I rely a great deal on having multiple weeks of trying stuff with a team to figure out what’s comfortable for them if I’m drafting, so — for example — where I’ve found a preference based on Avg’s play for giving him heroes he can dominate lanes on, it’s hard to tell if I can simply slot picapau into a similar role. That said, I quite like his hero pool and don’t expect to have any issues come game time. Nevertheless, the dynamic in the team is bound to be affected by swapping out two players, and that’s the main thing that I could see going wrong as we head into the series vs Agnitos.

Playoffs: Round 2 — Postgame

vs Agnitos: 0–2

Well, that certainly made for a sadder ending to the season than I’d wished for or could’ve expected, considering some of the momentum we had. Of course said momentum doesn’t really exist when you’re missing 40% of the team, and I think that’s about half of what this unceremonious loss comes down to (in ways which I’ll elaborate on in a second). The other half, to be entirely frank, was a pair of below-par performances from both Bunny and myself.

Before I continue, I’ll state very clearly that I don’t blame our standins, and especially not Bunny, for the loss. The latter especially, seeing as Bunny was just a complete monster throughout the whole season, and I should be there as the team’s highest MMR player and captain to have his and the team’s back when he’s not massively overperforming for once. That’s without really making mention of the fact that his hero was first phased the entire season, this series included.

While this may sound like — and essentially be — an excuse, I’d pin most of my own shoddy final performances on having to deal with a lot of the same things as at the start of the season, specifically in the sense that I had to (or felt like I had to), once again, figure out how to make things work for the team and readjust to new players and what to expect out of them and how to best make use of them. I’m not nearly good enough at Dota to do that so rapidly, and having to call the shots and pay attention to a fuckload of things at once and make attempts at describing what I want from someone in a given situation is a gargantuan detriment to my ability to, well, play my game. Of course, that’s not the entirety of why I played poorly, as I’d say I came into this with a misguided amount of confidence that I wasn’t able to back up.

All of that being said, while I’d describe the end result as disappointing at best, this was still a fairly interesting season for me, as I got to work on being the actual captain of the team in the ingame sense, rather than being a glorified lobby setter. Unfortunately I didn’t exactly do a great job of it, and the amount of things I — at least felt like — I had to do often led to me getting upset and subsequently tilted and abrasive, which is really kinda the only thing I more or less regret about the season. I do feel like I wouldn’t be writing this summary were we not forced to play with two standins, but that’s just how it goes, and I don’t really want to be super upset about something I had no control over when there’s a host of things I did have control over and fucked up.

I was initially intending to do a very brief set of individual player reviews, with an emphasis specifically on contrasting that with the ones I wrote mid-season and whether or not my stances have changed much, but…I kinda don’t feel like doing so, and don’t really feel too much has changed from what I said then, past a fairly general and all-encompassing “everything slowly got slightly better”.

Thanks to Bunny, SgtAverage, Ruski and KayTD for the fun season, as well as our standins hortensja, picapau and Wipeout for helping out.

--

--

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store
Madsen

Madsen

Clarity League Content Writer | Main Over at medium.com/@Maadsen | Buy me a coffee at https://ko-fi.com/madsen03