Team 4 Obs, a Razor and Mikel — Season Review
Roster: Madsen © (1/2), Batsphemy (1/2), ColNilsOlav (3), Mikel (4), hi (5), Clone (5)
Alright, this is pretty late since I put it off until I got back from ESL One Hamburg (amazing experience, was lovely to meet so many friends!), but here we are.
It was interesting to realize that this was my worst result in WED since I started captaining, losing in the first round of playoffs after a win and two top 4 finishes, since this was an incredibly fun team to captain and play with. Well, moreso play with than captain, but I’ll get into that. I’ve had great luck in drafting lovely teams in WED, and this squad was no exception, as I got to pick some people I’ve wanted to play with for a while and had a very positive team. Things didn’t quite work out, and unfortunately, I couldn’t attend what would be the team’s final game due to the circumstances of my Hamburg trip.
Coming into the draft, I knew one thing. I did not want to play mid or draft (you might notice a trend between reviews in this regard by now), so my first pick shortlist consisted mainly of mid players. My first pick preference, in order, was: Boelens, Anstar, Moonchild, Excel, Crayon, Mikel.
The first five picks of the draft were, in order: Anstar, Excel, Moonchild, Boelens, Crayon.
Well, that made the choice pretty easy. Mikel is a good friend, a capable Dota player, and someone I’ve wanted to play on a team with for a long time. The one slight hiccup with this is that Mikel hasn’t played that much Dota for a long time, and when he does, he plays 4, rather than his acclaimed mid. Still, this is a 4 who got ridiculously far in TI NA Open Qualis with a mediocre team, and I’d seen him play the role, so I was confident in his ability.
By the time my turn came in the second round, there were very few mid players in the pool (read: none), so I did the logical thing that any sane person would do and…picked a second support?
Jokes aside, I couldn’t resist the prospect of a 6k second pick in Nils, so I snapped him up quickly. The team I had by now, on paper, would’ve been fucking incredible a couple of seasons ago. Unfortunately, Mikel was now playing 4, and Nils was a 5 player. This meant I had to pad out two core roles with my next two picks — not a good time. I realized all of this at the time, but I knew Nils was a good player, and I vividly remembered talking about him with someone.
At this point, I realized I’d need to put Nils on 3 to be a realistic contender, so I proceeded in the draft with this in mind.
I followed this pick up with Batsphemy, one of the more famously value-for-MMR lower bracket cores — partially following the recommendation of one Chris P. Bacon.
Having scouted the lower part of the sheet as well, I had a decent list of players on my shortlist for the last two picks, and managed to snag two of the better-looking ones in hi and Clone, whose Dotabuffs looked promising. At 3.3k and 2.6k respectively they were great value pickups for the last rounds, enabled chiefly by Bat being one of the lower MMR 3rd round pickups.
All in all, I was pretty happy with the names on my roster, though I — and many others, looking back — had doubts about the way the MMRs would be distributed across roles.
Honorable mention to the aforementioned mid players, as well as Zakke, ElNino, Barg, MoltenKnight and some others I was keen on picking.
Mikel — Man, Mikel’s a headache sometimes. He wouldn’t even consider the prospect of taking up a core role, but I picked him with that in mind, so I was ready. Him playing 4 was useful to me though, since his (limited) hero pool gave me direction in drafts…for a bit. Then people figured out that he can (or wants to?) play three heroes, and the first ban phase in our games soon became identical between games. Pango, Enigma, Invoker. Every game. We looked for alternatives, but Mikel doesn’t really play pubs or anything — he shows up for the officials (at the deadline every single time, mind you), and with some wrangling, you can get him to play a scrim or two as well. He’s not exactly the most invested teammate — he’ll give feedback or help prepare mostly when prompted, but didn’t want to draft and his shotcalling was mostly based around his timings (core player much?). As far as his play, it goes without saying that he absolutely fucking destroys when given any of those heroes. With Mikel on 4 and Nils playing offlane, our win condition was often destroying the enemy safelane so hard that they had no realistic chance at coming back, and for a long time, this worked really goddamn well. Make no mistake though — even if Mikel doesn’t want to play mid, his primal instincts will still come through, and he’ll snap up any wave that isn’t claimed well ahead of time by a core. Annoying as this might be, it meant we essentially had 4 cores in most games, and what Mikel lacked in hero diversity, he always made up for in terms of his game impact and, honestly, his presence — it’s always fun to play with Mikky, and I’d snap up every opportunity to do so. Oh wait, I already did! Cya in Franchise. There’s more to be said here I’m sure, but if you’re to take anything away from this, it’s that Mikel is a great player, and a cool guy — but might not be perfectly suited to an RD2L team unless you can manage your expectations with him.
ColNilsOlav — Let me start this off by saying right away that Nils has no right being as good at offlane as he is, considering the vast majority of his games are in the support role. He had a solid streak of incredible KDA’s, destroyed lanes left and right and sometimes, paired with Mikel, straight up won games alone. With that said, I drafted Nils losing lanes more and more often as we got deeper into the season, which drastically limited his impact, and made the fact that he’s playing off-role more evident. I think after a certain point our opponents figured us out — which is to say, they focused on shutting down Nils and Mikel. Still, I enjoyed playing with Nils more than I expected to; he’s a very quiet guy — his communication usually came through when prompted, or when he was having a great game, so he’d take over shotcalling. These games were pure magic. We labeled ourselves a discount OG after some of our early wins, dominating weird fights and pulling off strange drafts, and I’d attribute this in large part to Nils. I have to say, there are few things more satisfying in RD2L than when someone as quiet as Nils gets excited, vocal, cocky and loud — it really is a sight to behold, and it made the atmosphere a lot warmer and each player happier when it happened. Outside of these moments of utter brilliance, though, Nils would be very quiet, not participating much in the preparation for games, contributing sparsely during drafts (and god knows I needed input from my best players when drafting), and overall not communicating quite as much as I would’ve liked him to. Still, he was happy to take up a new role, had faith in whatever wacky idea I’d present and would play anything he’s given and do his best. Nils second pick is fucking insane.
Batsphemy/Wooloo — Bat was my core partner, swapping around mid and safelane with me, and never batted (HAH) an eye when I put him in the worse lane to secure my own game. He’d play literally anything he was asked to with no complaints, though he’d ask for his favorite heroes often (Ogre). Looking back, Bat might’ve been the one to suffer most from my draft gaffes, ending up with some of the worst lanes — I’ll show you a screenshot from a hilarious scrim later — and still managed to perform well above his MMR. Sometimes the inexperience shows, in terms of positioning or itemization, but he’s always open to taking advice and isn’t scared to ask questions. He’s also the person I’d entrusted with being the captain in my absence for the final series, which is sort of telling in terms of how much of a cornerstone Bat was for the team. He had some great performances and some not-so-great ones, but I think he solidified his niche as one of the most value lower MMR cores to salvage drafts like mine. Boy also plays a mean Ogre, which netted us some much-needed bans, but his WK, Sky, Zeus are also really decent and provide you with draft and role flexibility. On top of that, he’s a super nice guy, so I can’t recommend him enough to any future captains
Hi — I cannot recommend Hi enough. He’s a great lower MMR support player, with a decent hero pool, but most importantly, he’s a very vocal person and helps fill the gaps of silence. He was one of the most active members of the Discord, and would constantly chirp in with ideas on our opponent preparation, and was probably one of the most vocal people during the drafts. Admittedly, sometimes his input was a bit misguided, but having ideas being bounced around is generally very positive. Hi and Clone also made captaining them a breeze, as they’d coordinate amongst themselves who’d play which game, meaning I never had to worry about making sure everyone was getting equal playtime. Hi himself is super pleasant, and in my opinion dedicated to his teams, making him a great addition to honestly any team — especially considering he’ll take any advice to heart.
Clone — Despite being more of a core player than Hi (and being 500 MMR lower), Clonetrooper slotted into the role very comfortably and made sure our transitions between the two were about as seamless as you can get in RD2L. There’s a bit of a gap there in terms of laning and communication, but Clone definitely did very well. I think there’s no better way to express that I would recommend him to other captains than the fact that whenever someone was looking for a support around this MMR in SUN, I’d suggest him or Hi. A bit of a quieter person, Clone still contributed to the overall pleasant and fun experience this team provided week in, week out.
Madsen — I was looking forward to this bit even less than I usually do after a loss. I think my drafts were the main issue for the team, and there’s really no way around that. I think I was focused entirely too much on trying to enable myself and some of the heroes that I might’ve wanted to play that weren’t anywhere close to ideal for the game; the freshest example of this in my mind is the last game I played with the team, where I picked CK despite something like a Slark being much better. I think I got pretty cocky after we started winning early, and I couldn’t adjust to people figuring us out early enough, which meant I stuck to some ideas that weren’t necessarily viable anymore. I also managed to let the team down by missing the first playoff game, which we unfortunately lost. Moreso than in any other season, I think I managed to fuck up the season via my lack of tangible impact, and while I’d like to be able to attribute that to the added duty of having to draft, I really needed a much earlier wake up call to stop trying for the Shaker mids and looking for opening for shit like CK, Bristle, Razor or Silencer in every possible game. My performances got progressively less and less clean during the season, and I’d attribute the loss in large part to that. I realized that things weren’t working and asked for my teammates to take up a more active role in drafts and communication, but I can’t pin my own failures in these aspects on them. Still, I think people had fun on the team, and while I do regret not working on my issues earlier, I’m still glad I had the chance to play with this team, and don’t feel particularly bad about it all, despite going out early.
Here’s a fun scrim screenshot to close this all out:
I think this was the worst outdraft I’d ever seen. I managed to draft a solo offlane Ench with a jungling Enigma against a Timber, a Night Stalker mid against Brood, with a Sky Wyvern safelane against Grim, Bat and MK. It’s so fucking bad.
Yet we won.
Thanks for reading, and shoutout to my lovely teammates Mikel, Nils, Bat, Hi and Clone, as well as our standin Helix.