Team Post Clarity Nut — Season Review

Clarity League Season 1, Division 2

Roster: Irevall (1), Madsen © (2), ZaikS (3), Elpie (4), Ben1 (5)

This is usually where the team logo goes, but I er…didn’t ever get around to making one. I was gonna do it for finals, but we didn’t /quite/ get there, so instead I will treat you to this otter who graced our team Discord server’s logo.

Unlike usual I don’t really have a long blog to start this season review with, as most of what I have to say about the team in general will come through in the individual player reviews.

On an overall note, the things I do think I’d mention are:

  • My intent with this player draft was largely to pick up players I think are fairly underappreciated/underrated in the community, and for the most part I’d probably stick to that assessment of the individual players on the team.
  • I’d argue we were very close to getting to the finals. I think with a proper mid player this team, all else being the same, easily gets to finals. In terms of team matchups, it’s hard to say what would’ve happened if we’d got past Gonzo, since we haven’t played Kuro or Melalez’s teams at all. I’m largely to blame for the crucial losses we had against Gonzo (mostly off of drafts, in the tiebreaker game and game 3 of the lower bracket), but to some extent, not being able to take more than 1 game off of a team we played 6 times was probably more than enough chances we had to prove our ability to beat them and we just never took it.
  • Massive thanks to Omegasaw who helped out with draft prep, even if I have a tendency to ignore everything we plan in the most crucial games. I swear it’s not intentional.

Player Reviews

1 | Irevall

My impression from spectating Irevall’s performance in previous teams and seasons was by and large that he plays above his MMR, albeit not necessarily in terms of maybe mechanical skills, and moreso in terms of a very high degree of consistency. I’d argue he definitely suffers from some of the fairly common issues carry players around his MMR have (and I mean, I’m very much a pot calling a kettle black here), such as occasionally questionable laning, a tendency to play the wrong part of the map (in particular being very late to move out of the safelane) and general overaggression.

That said, I think similar players — myself honestly included — are often much likelier than Irevall to fall significantly behind and not have any farm due to the above issues, whereas he almost always had decent at minimum farm (even if somewhat as a byproduct of our teamwide playstyle). In practice this means that you’ll generally feel quite comfortable with Irevall as your carry and you won’t be scared to rely on him in lategame scenarios.

At that point, I think I only have two more things to mention about Irevall.

A major negative is that he is very quiet. While he did make the occasional call to play around a power spike or item timing of his, these instances were few and far between. Additionally, you’ll only really get a draft contribution from him when you specifically prompt him for one, and even then you might be met with the response that he’s unsure and that you should just make a decision as a drafter. Admittedly this was probably more of an issue than it’d usually be since I was the drafter and I’m not great at drafting, but I feel like he knows enough about his role and his heroes to contribute more than he does. Formulating these prompts as giving him a couple options often did help this, though.

A major positive, however, is that Irevall is very competitive and as such places a great emphasis on wanting to improve, both individually and as a team. This makes him an amazing fit for more tryhard captains, especially if they’re also actual ingame captains who might rely less on him to communicate things than I did (or than we as a team did).

All in all, I think Irevall did very well, and at the risk of ruining a couple seasons for him by inflating his stock as I have in the past, consider him to be a very high value pickup, particularly if you have a vocal and active core and/or ingame captain to pair him with.

Sorry for yelling in game 3!

2 | Madsen ©

This season was a bit of a mixed bag for me, performance-wise. I think the easiest way to talk through it is by splitting things up into 2 categories — my performance as the mid player on the team, and my performance as the drafter and, essentially, main shotcaller on the team.

Chances are, if you know me, reading the above you’re shocked this team came out of this with a top half finish — and I can’t exactly blame you. These are generally roles that I try to avoid since I’m just godawful at them and have been for a long time, but the setup I spotted in draft meant that I’d have to play mid, and the way things worked out in the team meant I’d have to be the in-game captain as well.

In terms of my performance mid: very much a mixed bag. I think I did okay relative to my expectations and general experience with the role, but on the other hand, I underperformed significantly compared to what you’d likely get out of an equivalent-MMR natural mid player. My hero pool is very limited, and all teams starting to first-phase ban mid CK didn’t exactly help matters much either. Laning was up and down; at some point I just started picking things that are nigh impossible to lose the lane on, but I still gave up plenty of 1v1 solokills and generally took a good while to get into the swing of things. In the grand scheme of things, I played okay, but I do feel like I could’ve been a lot better if I didn’t have to spend as much time trying to shotcall and formulate gameplans. Speaking of which…

My performance as an in-game captain was, similarly, inconsistent. I think my drafting was potentially the worst aspect of this, and looking back, I feel like I got outdrafted in MANY of the games we won, but we just played fights extremely well and won games off of big plays, rather than off of having good drafts. I don’t think this would’ve been as problematic if I didn’t have a tendency to get a bit cocky after wins and pick things we hadn’t really practiced in important games, which overall was probably where my inability to draft well had the biggest impact.

In terms of shotcalling though, I think I did a serviceable job. My biggest issue on that front is the somewhat formulaic/auto-pilot approach I have, where I often default to things that I recognize as being generally good, even if the actual gamestate didn’t call for them. On top of that, it was fairly hard to strike a balance between my innately very aggressive playstyle as a core with the fairly calm playstyle I wanted to establish for the team. All that being said, considering how much of the comms from minute 10 onwards I had to occupy — from a core role, at that — I’m not dissatisfied with my performance in this specific aspect of the season.

3 | ZaikS

ZaikS was another pickup that was influenced by my impression that he’s largely undervalued in the community, despite his surprising performance in RD2L SUN Div 1 and fairly low MMR at the time of the draft.

I’d argue this definitely worked out, at least in terms of gameplay. ZaikS is definitely a very stable offlaner, and I’d point to his teamfighting ability as his key strength, and I do think his eye for spotting openings turned the tide of many games for us. That’s further backed up by some of our rougher games being ones where the draft didn’t really allow ZaikS to do that; this was, I think, partially caused by his preference to play somewhat weirder heroes if he wasn’t really able to play one of this favorites, like Dark Seer or Enigma, and in hindsight I do somewhat regret not picking more of the traditional offlaners when his favorites were off the board. If I had to guess, I’d say he either underestimates his ability on the more traditional offlaners, or finds them boring and thus tries to lean towards weirder picks. Despite what their hero pools may suggest on paper, I didn’t feel like he made a great fit with Elpie as the 4, and I feel like in general based on past reviews this may be a bit of a weakness, but as I said, ZaikS true strengths mostly come up later into the game.

That then becomes a fairly decent description of ZaikS as a teammate in general; I think he was definitely a fair bit less invested than the rest of us, and that may partly be a byproduct of him wanting a more relaxed experience in a lower division, but between saying he’d like to draft for the team and then pawning it off on me until I became the permanent drafter (which, admittedly, I didn’t protest too much and could’ve probably insisted he do), him not paying too close attention to what’s happening with our team scheduling (especially with scrims and such) and general apathy towards contributing to gameplans.

He also has a slight tendency — even though evidently not intentional — to be fairly negative, but I don’t massively hold this against him, seeing as it did get a fair bit better when I brought it up privately.

That said, I wouldn’t necessarily consider any of that to be a negative for ZaikS as a player — I’m just unsure whether expecting much committment from him is a good idea for future captains. He will definitely do his job as an offlaner, and in that sense is a very reliable pick with high potential to have massive impact on his best heroes.

4 | Elpie

I feel like I’ve praised Elpie a fair bit in the best, often right before thoroughly underwhelming results, which gave a lot of people the impression that I’m overrating him a lot. The difference coming into this draft, though, was that that might’ve been true of his mid performance, but resulted in people somewhat underrating him as a 4, which has been his main role for a while.

For starters, Elpie’s hero pool is massive, to the point that we’d had discussions about it potentially being too big, but considering some of the limitations I had to work around in drafts, knowing that I could put Elpie on just about any 4 — and, potentially more importantly, rely on him to point out which 4 would do well in a given situation based on what I thought we needed — made my job a fair bit easier. For context, Elpie played 12 different heroes across officials and scrims, and at no point did I feel like he did badly on one and that I couldn’t pick it if need be.

It’d be remiss of me not to mention that I also relied on Elpie a fair bit in this team, both in and out of game; he was usually the most active in discussing and prepping plans, tended to be the most responsive and vocal in-game (which I particularly appreciate as he’s usually fairly quiet), and generally salvaged a lot of my mid lanes that I would’ve handily lost (I’d argue a better mid player would’ve done a lot more to sort of unlock his potential as a 4 by just having better game sense and controlling the lane better to set up for rotations).

Overall, though, while he definitely did his job as a 4 in many ways — and made a fair few big plays — I do think we didn’t really see the best of him in terms of having a massive and consistent impact (the kind that some 4 players achieve with lots of farm). I’d argue this was one third not really setting him up for success with the drafts, one third not enabling him too well with either of the lanes he’d participate in (mid/offlane), and one third relying on him too much to always be a part of any play we made, no matter what. I don’t think we had many smokes throughout the entire season that didn’t involve Elpie, and our success rate with smoke plays was not nearly good enough to make up for what we lost out on in terms of his farm.

In any case, I’m fairly biased as I enjoy playing with Elpie a lot, and his performance might not be at a stand-out level this season in the eyes of spectators, but I 100% think he was essentially the glue guy of the team who kept things together, and anyone who’s ever played on a Dota team can appreciate the value of that, even if only behind closed doors.

5 | Ben1

Ben, I have to admit, does not fit into the overarching narrative behind my draft here. I don’t regard Ben as being an undervalued player. I’ll be the first to admit that I thought his improvement after my initial season with him (and his subsequent massive MMR uptick) would start fizzling out sooner than it did, but I think he generally does a good job of picking up new things from every competitive experience, which is what made me feel comfortable picking him. That and him being super chill and nice to play with.

However, I do think Ben has a slight tendency to focus a bit too much on certain things he’s told, and some of those ideas have expiry dates that he might not respect. This is mostly a fancy way of saying fuckin Nsphere gave him the greenlight to buy Midas on Ogre one season and he hasn’t stopped since.

I’d say Ben still has some way to go in terms of his laning, but what made him a fairly good gameplay fit on our team was his consistent impact on teamfights, both offensively and defensively, ability to adhere to calls made on short notice, and overall willingness to play what’s asked of him. I don’t think Ben was really out of his depth in Division 2, and while there’s definitely an argument to be made that there were skill-wise better 5s to pick, I don’t really regret picking Ben.

Cheers for the season boys. I do really think we could’ve easily pushed for a better finish, but I feel like I came out of the season having learned a fair bit and so don’t really regret much.

Thanks for reading — and good luck to the teams still in the running!

Especially Gonzo’s. I will feel a lot better if y’all win.

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