I walked in on Derpy Dots fucking my girl and I wasn’t even angry

Post-mortem team review and analysis

Last night marked the unfortunate end of our rather brief playoff run. After floundering game 1 but crushing game 2, game 3 was a drawn out defeat that I’d generally argue we lost off the back of a poor decision we’d repeated time and time again this season. So let’s jump right in.

Overall strengths

The team’s biggest strengths, in probably some sort of order, were tSwift himself, an unrelenting PMA from everyone involved, and our rather flexible pool of players. That flexibility let us pull off some drafts that probably never should’ve worked and opened up a lot of opportunities for laning. But let’s end this part here, no one cares about why we were good.

Overall weaknesses

The most glaring weakness our team had was something that we’d discussed post-game numerous times but failed to really address, and in the end it very well might’ve cost us the series. Rosh. More often than not, we’d ignore Rosh as an objective in order to try to force a buyback or get structural damage, and more often than not this meant that we’d end up losing one or two cores and be put in the exact same situation we’d just had the enemy in, except they’d take Rosh first and then proceed to fight, putting us at a serious disadvantage. This pattern is probably the thing I’m saltiest about this season, just because it often felt like some sort of upsetting deja vu. In the final game of our playoff run in a scenario that was likely game-deciding, there was hesitation about whether or not we should Rosh or force a buyback and we opted to force the buyback. This resulted in 4 deaths for us, including all 3 cores.

The blame for this happening again and again probably falls mostly to me: even as the lowest MMR player in the game and even if I was overriding someone else (exception for tSwift) my calls were generally respected the handful of times I made them. It’s clear in retrospect that I should’ve been far more vocal especially in these scenarios. Unfortunately, I’ve got to shift some blame to my teammates as well simply because I was only in half the games most of the time.

The only other serious weakness we had was draft prep. Our first ban phase each week was almost exclusively tSwift banning 3 heroes we banned almost every week while I or someone else pulled up Dotabuff to do some last-minute scouting and hopefully be able to piece together what picks we needed to block before the other team had a chance to get those picks. Frankly, it usually didn’t matter because we could just out-skill other teams regardless of draft, but we definitely lost some games we should’ve won simply because we gave away a strong comfort pick or two.

Closing thoughts

This team was a truly great bunch of lads and it was a pleasure playing with every single one of them. I don’t think I’ve ever been on a team that was simultaneously as communicative and non-toxic as this one: there was almost zero conflict at any point. If I ever get the chance to draft or be drafted onto a team even half as wholesome as this one, I’ll be absolutely thrilled.

Player Reviews/Draft Guide

With the fluff review already out, I’m going to use this as a chance to really highlight any details that I can think of that relate to playing with each of these guys. All draft position suggestions are based on this year’s player pool and subject to change accordingly. Listed in pick order.

tSwift

PMA, genuinely kind, and incredible at the game. This guy’s probably never going to make it past 3rd overall pick. If he continues to work on drafting (particularly in terms of doing some draft prep) and shotcalling, he’s only going to become even more value.
Draft guide: If you’re somehow in a position where you can pick tSwift, pick tSwift. No caveats.

DerpyDots

PMA, genuinely kind, and pretty good at the game. Derpy is an incredible personality to have on the team. He’s like Gabe in that he keeps your entire team from tilting simply by existing, but you’re not going to get memed on nearly as bad (although be prepared for relentless offlane Ogre requests). Derpy’s a generally tough one to nail down as far ass value. His initiations, especially on Axe, carried us through most of the season. I think a lot of games we lost may have been at least partially a result of not giving him some sort of playmaking hero.
Draft guide: Derpy probably won’t ever make it past second round, so getting him somewhere in the middle is probably ideal. Assuming he keeps improving, early second round isn’t a stretch. Derpy won’t solo-carry games but he definitely knows how to set up fights and will reliably make the plays he needs to, and can do so from a variety of roles.

Brie

On this team, Brie was probably the most salty player, but he’s still significantly less so than the league average. Him and I butted heads a couple of times early on, but some lengthy PM conversations helped us find an actually tremendous amount of common ground and understanding. The biggest problem with Brie is a general lack of DotA. He simply doesn’t play as much anymore and it’s apparent (not that I’m one to talk). Just the occasional missed timings or skill shots or some minor lack of communication. I think Brie mentioned at one point he was disappointed at first that he didn’t go 2nd round, but later realized he was really happy he didn’t.
Draft guide: Previously a primarily core player, he ended up role-filling the 4 for us after I picked 2 mids and 2 carries in a typical preference-ignoring Danny fashion. He seemed to do quite well on it, although I imagine he might prefer to not play Kunkka for the next year or so. With his current schedule and focus, I think Brie’s an ideal early-to-mid 3rd round, especially given his role flexibility.

Swoliosis

My mystery pick this season. Swoli ended up being more value than I could’ve imagine and, frankly, I suspect we would’ve had a MUCH harder time if I hadn’t snagged him. With most of his experience straddled across the 1 and 5 positions, we decided giving him the 1 was our best option for success. Unfortunately, that meant his laning partner was almost always one of the lowest MMRs on the team, which in turn meant that he didn’t often have a great start, a fact we helped mitigate by picking stronger laners like Gyro (on whom he had a 100% winrate across 5 games). Swoli improved a lot over the season, especially in terms of how he approached fights, and it seems like he picked up on how to play in RD2L (which definitely has a number of differences when compared with pubs). The biggest problem I noticed was a lack of confidence/general deference.
Draft guide: Swoliosis making it to the 4th round this season was absurd, but RD2L is all about balancing the risk of higher skill players new to the league versus picking lower skill players you know. Next season he absolutely shouldn’t make it based early 3rd round, and might even be justifiable mid 2nd depending on your captain and first pick.

raven_blaze

I think I had one of the last picks of the draft after picking up Swoli, so my options here were rather limited. Given his number of Venge games, I felt he’d be an easy one to slot in as, regardless of a lot of people’s opinions in RD2L, Venge is never really a bad hero as far as RD2L goes and someone who plays that hero a bunch presumably has at least some idea of when to use Swap. Overall, raven definitely picked up on quite a bit this season but he’s still got a long way to go. I suspect raven will continue to improve, albeit slowly as his real life continues to throw stuff at him that takes precedent. His winrates on his most played heroes are impressive, so all he really needs to do is play more dota to keep getting better.
Draft guide: For now, he’s a late 5th rounder. He’s responsive to coaching, he has decent mechanics, but his game awareness and knowledge are pretty lacking. I think a team with a high-skill carry player that really wanted to take on some coaching duty/give him more direction in-game could get a LOT of value out of him.

Danny

I hate self-evaluations and this isn’t any different. The end-all-be-all is that I need to play more DotA because any benefits I bring to the team in game/draft knowledge are absolutely crippled by my shit-tier awareness and mechanics (on a related note, I also need a proper desk but that’s already in the works). With that said, I think this might be my last season captaining until I’ve started dedicating more time to playing and improving. My willingness to bench myself might be something a lot of people respect about me, but at the end of the day it’s definitely not enough.
Draft guide: 4th round at the earliest for the love of god. I got third picked once and IceFrog nerfed the only thing I’ve ever been “good” at in DotA into the fucking gutter like a day later so I can only imagine what vengeance he’ll rain down upon the game if it happens again.