I think as the stakes are raised we’ll see more from NP.
Their variety in hero picks has increased as people learn to play around Sven/Naga/Mirana — but instead of feeling like they’re backed into a corner, I can’t help but notice their results are improving (or at least staying consistent against increasingly difficult competition). This indicates to me they have two very important concepts down:
- If you can’t beat it, we’re not changing our strategy which leads to…
- Outdrafting becomes significantly easier if you know what your opponent is going to ban before you get on the stage, no matter what opponent it is.
Wings style of play is (currently at least) an anomaly which works in this extremely balanced meta, but I’m not sold that it will work going forward. DotA has a history of being unbalanced, so when IceFrog strikes next I expect NP and their team of super-mega-theorycrafting-analysts to break the game faster than most other teams and have an edge because of it (it may not even take that long if people decide Tree is actually worth a ban against them).
All that being said, there’s no arguing that NP did not throw that Grand Finals — they got outplayed. Hopefully they haven’t reached their final form.