PogChimps Review+Self-Centric Auction Draft Post-Mortem
This team did all that I was hoping for and more, even though I completely misdrafted. For context regarding the name, while in the past I’ve usually had some excessively long team name planned that hits the team name character limit which people hate and find obnoxious because it fucks up the coin flip in draft, I had no ideas this season. Then All My Apes Gone guy came along and then I was thinking about Monkey NFTs and then I realized I could reclaim history for the good people in the world.
For those who don’t know, a kid named Smacktrickz once tried to make his team name “PogChimps” with an image of a black guy named TriHex as the flag. This rather flagrant racism begot complaints and he was ultimately told to fuck off, but it caused a lot of drama at the time. With Smack being a captain in the league again this season, this was my chance to enact justice. So I collected images of Pogging Ape NFTs and named us the PogChimps, with the sole goal of beating Smacktrickz. And so we did, 3–0 (we 1–1'd his team, but we lost when he had a stand-in so no cares). Justice was done.
As for the actual team, going in draft order (since we did Auction Draft).
First pick: Mantis, Safe lane 50/479 budget
As always, Mantis god. I drafted Mantis thinking I would finally have the chance to make Mantis a support player, since Mantis teams with him support have done really well, while teams with him core can do really well, but I don’t think are always as consistent. Unfortunately, a later pick I drafted as Core I didn’t realize actually wanted to play Support. So we went through a bit of a role crisis, involving making the mistake of playing me as core before we settled on Mantis core. The only flaw here was that Mantis, for once actually had to miss a couple matches (his coworkers had to get late-night fuckin’ tattoos while he was stuck with them wtf) and it’s much harder to replace a competent 2k carry than a 2k support, which resulted in later role swaps that led to me playing core and us losing games we shouldn’t have.
It’s actually probably the biggest problem with drafting Mantis for me, since it was an issue we had when Mantis repeat-drafted me in my last 2 seasons before I became a Captain-only player where we 100% lost games we shouldn’t have because we just had such a non-standard team that it was incredibly hard to find someone to fit in. That said, it was whatever since we still did very well and won when we needed to. Other people seem to have made a bogeyman out of the Mantis; maybe some people have bad experiences from him captaining, or maybe I’m just on a different wavelength — after all, at TI8 when a bunch of us went and did karaoke, I think it was just Mantis and me that sang all the like 10 Ke$ha songs I queued up in a row. Everyone else was too much of a hoser.
Second pick: Hanmingzyy, Mid 246/479 budget
I felt pretty bad dumping this much of my budget on a player who was only 5k MMR for mid, but outside of the Mantis exception, I played hard on the “wait-and-see” draft strat — after all, it wins me Fantasy Football auction leagues so why not RD2L auction draft? So, I didn’t have much of a choice if I still wanted a mid player by the time Hanmingzyy got offered for auction. And last time I missed out on the last mid player in the pool, I ended up with Toth mid.
That said, Hanmingzyy, who everyone just seems to know to call Mike, was definitely worth the money. His hero pool isn’t exactly the standard mid hero pool, but it’s got plenty of normal mid heroes, and the real strength is that a lot can be flexed between all three core roles. He can shot call and knows what counters his heroes and what bans we need in order for him to play things. And most importantly, unlike everyone with Shadowfiend as their most played, he isn’t a huge tilter who whines the second things go wrong. He initially was upset we weren’t rotating to secure him runes as is meta, but eventually accepted his fate since we were doing well enough in the side lanes that it all worked out. And he had the honor of being the first person on the team to tilt in our first pubs together (after a cacophony of “fer real fer real?” back and forth from our third and fourth picks).
Third pick: Pingaling, Soft Support 69/479 budget
I drafted Ping trying to get a value 1 pos, and assumed I was just getting him this low because of him having a bad rep for toxicity when losing. Turns out, he hasn’t really played 1 in a while, barely plays any 1 heroes right now, and wasn’t going to practice 1 since he just enjoys playing 4. We tried putting our fourth pick as 1 which worked okay, but meant I was offlane. Then I gave up and put Mantis 1 which I should’ve done off the start.
At that point, everything was pretty smooth. Ping has a bad rep, and I won’t say all of it is undeserved, but it’s much more manageable when he’s on 4 instead of 1. Not being on a core role seems to take a lot of pressure off of him, and letting him play what he wants also helps. And he plays some weird shit you’ll have to work around. It took until our semi-finals match for someone to finally do what should’ve happened much earlier and spend both their bans on Ping’s 4 pos Techies and Tinker. If you pick him, just give him the weird shit he wants to play. First phase it. There’s a Zeus, Night Stalker and Spectre? No cares, he’ll still play Pos 4 Tinker. He might die a bit more but he’ll be happy that the opponent spent all their time trying to counter him.
Fourth pick: Rabisu, Offlane 114/479 budget
Rabisu’s only season prior to this was S22, where he captained and ended up having to abandon due to work a couple games in. This was the team where he drafted Riv, who we banned earlier this season in response to a Reddit thread where some dude went nuts investigating Riv after losing to him in a pub and discovered the dude hacking. Turns out, the real reason that team was popping off early in the season was Rabisu — not the hacker.
Rabisu is a no-cares player. He comes home, gets drunk and plays Dota to relax. I think he’s absolutely fucking nuts for that, as someone that doesn’t play Dota to relax because losing Dota games can be fucking soul crushing and miserable, and instead only plays either for party queue invites, or to tryhard some ranked on the weekend when I’m a bit more relaxed and am making the decision to use my valuable free time while I’m (relatively) high functioning and full of energy to grind Dota for some god forsaken reason.
But basically, that’s why Rabisu is so value. He’s only Ancient because of that, as well as because of the fact that he’s a random main. He queues to play random. I’m sure this tilts out plenty of his pub teammates too. In officials though he’s very tryhard; he wants to be active and keep doing shit on the map. There’s a reason why, if you paid attention to the Bot stats, that he (under the “VR Chat Raver” name — he changes his Steam name a lot) was constantly at the top of the stats for Offlane, and only ended up second to 7k MMR Hobo in the end. He carried a ridiculous amount of games from out of the Offlane, effectively being our Pos 1 even a couple times. He flexed over to being legitimately Pos 1 when Mantis was out-of-office, but while he hit creeps good, I think carrying from Pos 3 is the role from him since he’s an incredibly active player, who tends to have a good balance of creep-hitting and activeness that I wish I could hit. He even managed to not tilt out from being forced to lane with a Pos 4 Tinker half the season, which a lot of Offlaners couldn’t manage. He doesn’t talk in PST so people don’t know him, but people were definitely underrating the hell out of him, even in the late parts of the season.
His main weakness is that his hero pool is a bit “limited,” by way of he wants to play active heroes. He does not want Underlord, no matter how cool you tell him that Underlord’s new ult is. Dude doesn’t want to play Underlord or Mars or Centaur. He’s gonna play LC, Night Stalker, MK, Bloodseeker, etc. He can play it all; he is a random main after all, but he’s definitely a happier player if you give him heroes he doesn’t think are “boring.” It’s like when Cr1t is owning games over and over and solo carrying on active heroes like Tiny and Earth Spirit and then Bulba decides “okay cr1t that is enough we need a jakiro for this lane” and then EG loses. Just give the man the hero he wants to play that he can win the game with so can win you the damn game.
Captain: Vuvuzela Virtuoso Hans Rudolph, Hard Support “4500 MMR”
So, I was honestly shocked by how little controversy there was over my adjustment, even the mostly-joking “admins r corrupt” jokes RD2L is typically inundated with. But while I started the season technically at 5300 MMR, I hadn’t played at all for basically the entire previous season, and in general not a ton the rest of 2021 either.
As said above, unlike a lot of people I don’t really take the “no cares” approach, and I only play Ranked to “tryhard.” And even as it is, my MMR is typically pretty boosted — while queuing as a 2k support player is just suffering, once you’re at 4k+, all you really need to do to gain MMR as support is not deliberately grief pick, not force your cores to pick before you, carry detection and place wards instead of rushing Ag’s on 5 Pos Lion. Being good at pressing buttons is optional. Basically you do anything to manage your cores’ mental states and prevent the unstable people who are better at pressing buttons from tilting. And, it always helps that no smurf is playing support, so you’re not screwing your team out of a potential smurf on the team by existing. There’s a reason me becoming Immortal is a joke that has both inspired/depressed many other prospective immortals in the league.
The season I hit immortal, even gaining 1k MMR post-draft my team still didn’t make playoffs that season. And both seasons since drafting at >5k MMR, my team finished dead last. In fact, looking at my 12 seasons before this, I’d only made playoffs twice both times when valued at Divine 1 (even when I was Ancient 2 I didn’t make playoffs), and the only time I won any playoff matches before this was Season 14, back in 2018. And keep in mind that we usually have a minimum of 60% of our teams making playoffs each season. Which is to say that regardless of what MMR I am, my existence as a player in this league was a proven grief since EU draft doesn’t care about anything except your MMR value.
Given that information, I took an admittedly self-serving look at our league one season and as anyone who wastes their life reading PST-SUN general saw a couple seasons ago, I found that it wasn’t just me that struggled as a high MMR support. High MMR Support captains suffered horribly, and high MMR support players did too. EU draft was an issue since it tied worth to MMR, but Linear still had flaws so swapping back to that wasn’t popular. And while EU was “fixable” it would involve manually adjusting a huge portion of the draft pool, which is a burden and inevitable controversy that we didn’t want. The Immortal support adjust existed, but extending that to an adjust for Divines as well, and to a lesser extent Ancients was a hard sell. Luckily, Treebeard was actually looking at an auction system, and we had some Dev named Toth (and his friends Kden and Fspoon) willing to code the bot. With Treebeard practicing for his future employment project managing Toth, it actually worked very smoothly.
With the auction system, we had no real reason to adjust Players — Captains would bid, and probably make mistakes, but that’s what people signed up for. But instead we could apply more exact adjustments to Captains. We chose this path as this would be better than creating a system where, while other high MMR supports and I could potentially be auction drafted at an accurate valuation, we would be completely eliminated from even considering captaining. While it introduces some subjectivity, it’s still fairer than the alternative, and also much better than having a system where we just make it so any high MMR support is 100% griefing themselves by captaining, thus losing us captains (which god knows we need each season).
For myself, I went for an adjust all the way down to 4500 MMR, a full -800. Which is why I mentioned at the start of all this that I was shocked so few people complained, since it IS so drastic. That said, I didn’t feel bad about valuing myself at this MMR since it was the MMR I was the only 2 times I made playoffs, and I’d only done worse in RD2L the higher my MMR had gotten (aka I don’t believe I contribute any more to a team than I did when I was Ancient 5/Divine 1). And I think most people that have played with me long enough in the league recognize I’m definitely not high value for my MMR — especially poor people like Jotatoe who got to make the mistake of drafting me at points, even where I was lower MMR.
That said I was still a bit wary seeing as this ended up being one of those seasons where I got to have my season where I fluked hard into a really successful team full of people that could carry me, even though I myself am hardly responsible for having some sort of “genius” draft, given that I had us playing entirely different roles, and everyone I chose (besides Mantis) was effectively the last person I saw as being remotely viable for each role as I was drafting due to how inadvisably stingy I was about my draft bucks.
I think the only two people who complained were on a team that had the same 10–6 record as us, who we 1–1'd in a pair of matches that were honestly pretty similar stomps going either way, and whose captain we’d adjusted up 800 MMR prior to draft (EST-MON didn’t adjust this player when he captained there last season so he got to draft at ~Divine 2 — it was a massacre). Which, honestly I think plays pretty well in the favor of Buck and I, when it comes to fairness of our adjustments. I’ll still probably reduce my adjustment, but I’m pretty sure that even drafting at 4500 again, I won’t even remotely consistently have this success, especially once we get things on more even footing with our auction draft.
For next season, we’ll definitely make some minor adjustments to auction. The initial auction $$ values were only tuned for a league with a smaller MMR disparity like Treebeard’s Fluffy Hat league, so 6–7k players got a bit too much leeway with their money. That said this might also be skewed — as much as Ultragunner will complain in general saying “wow theres NO WAY i can captain this pool/this $$ amount so bad it would be such a GRIEF” the man has literally only had a sub-500 record once in recorded-on-RD2L.gg-history, and it was back in Season 14 when he didn’t captain. He is too powerful. I don’t think the man is capable of having an unsuccessful team in this league, especially if captaining.
Though, fellow absurdly-high-MMR-player-with-long-history-of-RD2L-play Yfu has a similar history of success, so maybe it’s just skewed for people who, ya know, are good enough to basically solo carry teams. But, maybe 7k players having to try absurdly hard each week to carry an entire squad is enough punishment, especially if they’re “captaining” and thus probably shotcalling, etc. too.
The other bit was that to an extent we exchanged the success of higher MMR supports for the success of Lower MMR captains. We normally have at least one fairly dominant lower MMR captain, but we had two Archons only just make playoffs (god bless poor TCSlayer for tanking the Week 8 MOCA into facing MOCA in playoffs).
With EU draft, I think it’s harder for the Archon-MMR players to mess up their draft because they’re basically gifted one of the highest MMR players in the league, who may-or-may-not actively shotcall, but will at least provide some guaranteed guidance. For auction, we can’t just tell people “Don’t forget, you have money, don’t be afraid to use it, if you’re low MMR you probably want a really high MMR player” since guidance like that is also a grief in that maybe you have the low MMR players ruin their draft by bid warring so hard that one ends up spending all their money to get Hobo, who then has to carry four Archons through the season on his lonesome. We probably adjust the money low MMR players get a bit in our formula, to better compensate with what they have to face. And/or adjust the Divine+ formula further, but either way, we’re looking to achieve the same goal here.
As for my own contributions on my team, I’m unfortunately still not much of a shotcaller. Maybe that changes with a different team. My last team, the only people really talking were mostly Toth and myself, and I would make a suggestion and if someone else suggested something (Toth) I would make what was usually a mistake and say “oh yeah sure let’s do that whatever.” In-game, I’m very usually not strongly opinionated — the same skills that get me high MMR-wise as a support where I stay non-confrontational and say “Sure yeah whatever let’s just do that sure go” work in some low-record RD2L matches and uncoordinated pubs, since “Sure just do something with a plan that everyone can follow” is more likely to win a game than not having an agreed on plan. Not so much in more coordinated matches.
Even then, in the draft I’m super reliant on other people to know their match-ups and what is good for them. Especially as a support player in pubs, I’m used to having to just picking first — thus considering counters and whether I’m giving myself a good match-up is literally something I’ve never had to do while climbing MMR, so I don’t always even have a good scope of what the counters are, even for my own role, unless I’ve just spammed a hero enough to naturally have people pick counters into me so I learn them.
In trying to facilitate myself improving via learning and shotcalling more, I’m in this weird limbo in RD2L of roles. I can’t play core, because even though I can play offlane, I don’t do the creep-hit thing and getting punished harder for feeding especially goes bad for me, since I am so aggressive and liable to feed kills. I got a bit better at not feeding this season (relatively) but that doesn’t say much — I’m not worth my MMR as an offlaner.
I can play it in pubs when needed to fill out a stack (please don’t grief 4 other people by inviting me and making me 1/2 in a stack), but I don’t know match-ups or have the sense of when/how to know where to jungle, and I tend to overplay my lane and go ride-or-die with my 4 pos (again, trying to make sure people aren’t getting frustrated by “player no do x”) and then they become the 3 farm/XP-wise and I’m behind and don’t have a game.
I can do better than that sometimes, but I don’t have the practice to play the position well, let alone while trying to also be aware of wtf is happening on the map; vision, opponent positioning, etc. — even when my current (very low) dose of ADHD meds is in-effect, it’s still easy for me to tunnel vision and be unaware of most of what’s going on since last-hitting and jungling and other nonsense isn’t natural to me.
I like playing 5, and it was nice to be on a team where I got to play 5 for the first time since my pre-captain days of being drafted by TheMantis, but I play too passively as 5 and don’t lead people around the map or make things happen. But as a 4, I want to ward the same as a 5 would, and most typical RD2L 2k 5s aren’t necessarily putting down good vision or buying it nearly as aggressively as we need, and I hate micro-managing that — You don’t just want to tell them “Can you get vision up here.”
That said, I don’t think I was near as valuable this season as I was in the previous seasons where the Mantis drafted me where I played 5. I think in those seasons I owned vision on the map, but this time, I wasn’t making the same moves to get down deep vision early and snowball off that. Part of that is that back then, I was playing very mobile supports only like Weaver/Puck, or I was an Axe terrorizing and chasing Krenn to his T3 4 minutes into the game. And the other part of this is ironically because I was “captain” — even if I rarely was the real shotcaller, I still kinda had to be discussing our next move with other people and saying “Yes okay sure let’s do that” so my attention was split, even though I should’ve been able to use ward vision considerations as to guide movements.
What I’ve felt like I was most successful on in the past was 4, even though it hasn’t really been the case. In RD2L, you have two choices for a 4. Either you get a second 5 who maybe plays like, a Mirana or Shadow Demon or Hoodwink or something else that your standard 5 doesn’t (but mostly is just another Witch Doctor/Jakiro player), or you get a 4 who’s usually way more active playing Tusk and Earth Spirit-style heroes, and is way greedier and values their life like a core. Usually this is how high MMR pos 4s contribute their value on the team, carrying well into the mid-game and surprising you with a random Aghanim’s scepter way earlier than anyone anticipated.
My issue is I end up playing that role in a non-greedy way, where I’m barely farming, and I roam the map buying too many wards that I don’t necessarily trust our 5 to drop. And either I’m on the map farming and leaving the enemy feeling safe, or doing nothing for large periods of time staying off the map, and managing to be WAY lower leveled than even our 5. Either way I achieve the active playmaker role, but I don’t do the greedy playmaker portion of it. It’s maybe the best way for me to contribute as captain, but I don’t contribute my MMR’s worth by any means since you know I’m not getting an Ag’s and carrying us.
Okay though, seriously, why the fuck are you still reading this. At this point this has been like 8 pages of meandering about my play, with some bits about our auction draft. Even if you’re MOCA, you’ll probably never draft me since I basically only captain each season now. I write way too much to say too little and naturally meander and say shit until I (hopefully) say shit worth saying. If I go back and edit and do a second draft it’ll end up like, a quarter the length, but this is mostly stream of conscious shit that I spent way longer writing than I intended to. As per why I normally, don’t bother with these, since I know I’ll always do this, and because my reviews will never be very interesting since every season is just “well we did x (probably ‘missed playoffs’) and my teammates were really good and I wasn’t!!” over and over, like so many reviews always are. So why do that every season rather than save up for a rare exception season like this?