United —SEALson 1 in Review, Pt. 1

The Players

Alright, I was going to do this all in one massive post with a full season analysis and everything, but then the word count got out of hand. All people really want to read is player reviews, so I’ll post that first. Each player has a writeup about how they were drafted, their role and effect on the team, and recommendations for future captains who might look to draft these nice boys in the future. Per request, TL;DRs are provided in Haiku format.

So what was it like playing with the players of United?


Atran
Atran is the best
Played the role he didn’t want
Carried me anyway

In retrospect, there isn’t a better first pick I could have gotten in the draft than Atran. I had narrowed down my first pick choices down to three players who were likely to be available by the time my turn in the draft came up: Atran, Osis, and Paradise. Paradise is a strong player (and just got 6 0 0 0 ranked matchmaking points!), but my math showed that picking him would have moved me to near the bottom of the draft order by the second round which was not where I wanted to be. Osis had this weird pseudo package deal thing going on where he was telling everyone that he’d spam Leshrac offlane unless he got to play with Smacktrickz, and I didn’t really want to put up with that for an entire season. I hadn’t played a ton of games with Atran, but he seemed like a reasonable dude and I’d heard good things over Discord. Asking around gave me the impression that he was a mechanically skilled player who could lead a team lategame and only tilted a little bit - exactly who I was looking for, honestly.

Atran was my team’s carry player for about 10 minutes, until I picked a second carry player in the second round of the draft and bumped Atran over to mid. Fortunately Atran’s lack of confidence in his mid was only due to inexperience and he picked it up easily. He usually not just won but dominated his lane, with only a little help from Bolt and myself.

As a factor in drafting, Atran’s inexperience with his role actually helped — I could suggest pretty much anything and he at least had an open mind about it. With how we usually drafted, I ended up delaying picking his hero until 4th or 5th pick and gave him a couple options to pick from, and that worked pretty well. While the draft and early game strategy for the team was done by me, Atran ended up helping out with shotcalling more as games went on past about thirty minutes, partly because he was the best player on the team at it and partly because he always ended up being the most dangerous hero on the team.

Would I want Atran on my team again? Definitely. He was fun to play with, only got frustrated at things worth being frustrated at, and carried us through some rough games. He’ll tell you he threw our second match in the semifinals, but we wouldn’t have even been there without him. TY Atran

When you should draft Atran for future teams? When you need a very strong core player who can win his lanes and do some shotcalling during games. That’s basically every first pick player in a nutshell, but he’s real good you guys.


Aeosynth
Aeosynth played well
I can’t explain why it worked
Made sense at the time

This is where things got interesting in the player draft. As a primarily offlane and support player, I knew I needed to pick my carry and mid players as soon as possible. However, I was one of the only captains who picked their carry player first, and all five of my top ranked 2nd round mid player choices got taken in the picks leading up to mine. Since I was planning to be my team’s offlaner, I needed to either pick a support player or pick a second carry player and hope that one of them was more versatile than they were letting on. Until I thought better of it, I was going to pick Bloodninja. However, he tilts like a carnival ride when we play because he’ll make calls and I will, after some thought, not follow them. That’s how we won PST-SUN together back in Season 9, but also why I got kicked from the team a few times. Aeosynth’s reference in the SEAL rules — “no one is allowed to be more cancerous than Aeosynth” — was written by his former teammate Bloodninja who also doesn’t like playing with me, so my twisted logic told me that Aeosynth was the right pick. Honestly? It worked out.

Let me set the record straight here. Saying that playing with Aeosynth is cancer is like saying that living in Antarctica is cancer; you might not like the weather, but there’s no malice to it. He’s just going to do his thing and if you can play around him you’ll win the game. The main obstacle I faced early on in the season was making sure my team wanted to play with him at all, though. During games he’d say things like “Could you just buy me the wards so I can place them?” after dying or “We need to group up and push” whenever anyone stopped talking for thirty seconds. I was pretty sure both Atran and Bolt wanted him off the team by week 3 or so, but then I had a season-saving epiphany—Aeos wasn’t raging or tilting when he said these things, he was legitimately trying to help the team win the game by speaking in the most blunt and direct way imaginable.

SEE

Outside of matches, Aeos’ biggest contribution to the team was his draft and strategic input. I couldn’t get him to post in my team’s strategy channel for the life of me, but I’ve got a discord PM log with him of about 1500 messages. This is where I realized that he wasn’t actually a rager, because no matter how well or poorly our games would go, he’d give me a list of things he thought could be improved about his own play and our play as a team, along with what picks he thought were good.

The communication vastly improved over the season.

During the season there were definitely a couple games where Aeos did something baffling and we lost from it, but for most of the season he was a stable and efficient carry player. It was partly because of his play that no team was able to win a passive game against my team — if they didn’t do anything, they would get outfarmed.

Would I want Aeosynth on my team again? I don’t think I would mind being on a team with him, but I don’t think I would draft him again as a captain unless the stars aligned and the pick really made sense. Nothing’s impossible.

When should you draft Aeosynth for future teams? You should pick him to play carry for you when you already have someone to shotcall in games. He’d probably do best as a first pick for a high MMR captain who is confident in their ability to lead their team from mid or offlane, or as a second pick for a lower ranked captain who used their first pick on someone to help lead their team.


PULLBACKTHEBOLT
The space in space cow
Don’t take shit too serious
Wine shots with grandma

I have no idea why Bolt got passed over for about 20 other players on the draft sheet before I got to third pick him. Bolt had 4.6k party MMR and 4.2k solo on the draft sheet, and his dotabuff clearly showed that the party MMR was by far more accurate. If I remember correctly, he came into the league from one of RD2L’s EST divisions, where his team disbanded during the Season 11 playoffs because his highest MMR player threw a tantrum. That might have been what gave people a bad impression of the guy, because I don’t know what else would have.

Drafting with Bolt on the team was very easy. If the other team gave us Spirit Breaker, we picked it and we won the game. If they didn’t, I could depend on Bolt to tell me what heroes he’d been spamming lately and we’d pick that instead. I could pretty much let Bolt do his own thing (primarily roaming the map and killing heroes) during the laning phase without direction, which let me focus on making sure my two carry players stayed alive for the first ten or fifteen minutes.

As a player, he was a riot to play with. Other than Smacktrickz having a meltdown over some minor all-chat in a scrim where he threatened to start a scrimmage boycott of my entire team, I managed to keep Bolt’s all-chat to a reasonable level by letting him shit talk as much as he wanted in ally chat. And honestly, he wouldn’t have even been breaking any SEAL rules by all chatting, I just wanted a clean and United public image for my team. Friendly guy, friendly banter, can drink his grandma under the table, he’s the whole package.

Would I want Bolt on my team again? Yeah, of course. I don’t know when I’d get the opportunity to third pick him again though, and second picking a support player as a sometimes support player myself seems like a recipe for disaster. If I could get away with it, absolutely.

When should you draft Bolt for future teams? When you want a really good player who doesn’t play carry, mid, or offlane. Bolt = United Team MVP


Rabbi-
Rabbi plays offlane
Support makes him want to die
But he’s a good lad

In a draft league like SEAL or RD2L, eventually the draft breaks down somewhere in the mid-3k MMR range where people just pick a friend or two because they recognize the name in the list and a couple hundred MMR either way isn’t going to make a huge difference. I had played about half a dozen pub games with Rabbi, in which he played carry once and support every other time. Naturally, I assumed that he was fine with playing support, though he had marked offlane as his most preferred role on the draft sheet. I was wrong.

Rabbi was the single most complicated part of captaining United, even moreso than being Atran and Aeosynth’s camp counselor. I managed to draft a player who not only would only play one role, but could only play one role. Rabbi seems to hold the opinion that playing support is something that only bad players do, and that if he’s not good enough to play offlane he should play support instead. This leads to him playing support in the most stereotypically awful way you can think of. He’ll buy every ward off cooldown…even if he doesn’t have boots at ten minutes into the game. He’ll put those wards in common ward spots all game long and never once change the spots if they get dewarded or his team’s objectives change. He becomes allergic to last hits, not even farming if he’s the only hero around (and he doesn’t have boots). His positioning goes out the window and I don’t even know why because it’s mostly fine when he plays anything else. There’s clearly plenty of room for improvement here, but as far as I could tell Rabbi- had no interest in improving his support play because he wanted to only practice offlane and thus be “too good” to get forced to play support, which is baffling when there are so many high-skilled support players in SEAL like Bolt, Deadprez, and Xag who basically carried their teams through games this season. We played a grand total of two Rabbi- support games before he nearly quit the team and I switched roles with him for the good of the team.

His struggles with playing support is in sharp contrast to his offlane play, which while generally uninspiring was perfectly acceptable for what I expected from running my last two picks as offlaners. He had a positive attitude even when he didn’t have great games, and helped United steal some wins we otherwise wouldn’t have gotten. We tried a lot of different heroes for him in scrims and eventually landed on a few that worked well with the team. With enough practice and willingness to at least understand the other roles he plays against each game, he could actually be a good offlane player. He definitely improved throughout the season, to the point where I could trust him to lane solo rather than having Bolt dual lane with him every game. I think that if another team gives him a chance to play offlane, he’ll do just fine.

The first game Rabbi- actually requested a hero he plays

Would I want Rabbi- on my team again? Being honest, probably not. He’s a friendly guy (if seemingly tense at all times) and will probably be a good offlaner in SEAL in the future with the rate he improved over the season, but his current role inflexibility combined with him wanting to play the same role I do undermines him as a future pick on my own teams.

When should you draft Rabbi- for future teams? Unless he becomes inspired to actually learn how to play support instead of faking enthusiasm while telling you about how it’s killing him inside, pick him to play offlane and offlane only. He’s a good fit for a captain who has a high skilled support player or two and skimped a little bit on his core role picks. Rabbi- improved a lot at offlane throughout this season, and between the reputation he earned near the beginning of the season with his near-abandonment of United and the vast amount of shade thrown here, he’ll probably end up as a value pick drafted way later than he should be and win the league next season.


SupermaN!
Superman farmed blink
Let the gank squad assemble
Keep it PMA

I don’t have a ton of commentary on SupermaN, and that’s because I can easily summarize my season with him as a positive one. He joined the team in week 4 at Bolt’s invitation, because Treebeard had me search for literally anyone worse than Gharnef to replace Pordlawsinned as a free agent. As I recall, he was on Bolt’s RD2L Season 11 team. He joined the team at around 3.2k solo MMR and now he’s got 3.7k international ranked MMR, so either playing with United was a fantastic learning experience or I accidentally got a Bloodninja tier free agent for the player he was replacing.

SupermaN! usually rotated out with Rabbi- in the offlane during most weeks, but his hero pool was a little bit different which changed our game plan between games 1 and 2. I think literally every hero I picked him was something like Centaur or Axe who could lane well with whatever Bolt was spamming that week and then go farm a blink in the jungle and come out to fight. I think the tempo change between games threw some teams off, and that was a big help in counteracting how our opponents adjusted from the first games.

As a team member, he was honestly just fun to play with. Always PMA, generally knew what he needed to do and where to do it on the map, and he communicated well. I couldn’t really ask for more from him.

Would I want SupermaN! on my team again? Yeah, I think it’d be fun.

When should you draft SupermaN! for future teams? He played offlane for my team and seems to prefer that role, but apparently he also plays a lot of support heroes. I think he’d make a good fill pick on a team that’s willing to change roles based on the heroes they draft.


Pordlawsinned
Pord was our fifth pick
But preferred bigger quarry
Realm of the Mad God

I didn’t even draft Pordlawsinned — I had the last pick in the last round, so he got assigned to me. As ominous as getting the last pick player might be, he was better than I expected going in. If nothing else, he could be depended on to farm a blink dagger in the jungle and go fight early to make space for Bolt’s Pugna to take over the offlane. In scrims and the couple officials he showed up for, his primary weakness was baiting Bolt into impossible kill attempts, but in the grand scheme of things the lanes ended up working out. However, his love for Realm of the Mad God grew stronger than the tenuous bond we had formed as teammates, and in week 3 he left our discord without a word. I literally haven’t heard from him since.
Would I draft him again? Nah. And neither should you — dude’s a ditcher.


Gharnef
Once a Lich spammer
Now with ambiguous skill
Asked to include him.

During week 1 of the regular season, United had just played its first pub game as a team. We went our separate ways to get some food before the night’s official games, and Rabbi- mentioned that he’d return right before the game. 7 PM PST rolled around and Rabbi- was nowhere to be found. Since this was the beginning of the season and everyone (including Rabbi-) had serious doubts about Rabbi- wanting to stay on the team, we didn’t wait very long before pulling in Gharnef as a standin for the week. Burgeoning’s team didn’t stand a chance against his Lich and then whatever else he played after they first banned his Lich in game 2. I dunno, it wasn’t ticketed. He didn’t end up joining the team afterward, because it turned out that rather than ditching us Rabbi- had accidentally knocked himself out with cold medication. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

Someone PLEASE draft Gharnef next season. Best 3k / Worst 4k (circle one) support player you can find.

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